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A silhouette of a man standing on a large boulder with his arms stretched wide
Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

We live in a world of go, go, go. We’re always on the move — to appointments, jobs, extracurriculars. What little bit of free time we have we fill with everyone else’s business by equipping our cell phones with highly addictive apps. 

In our high-paced society, it seems the essence of being has been replaced by the action of doing. The hand-held devices we use to distract ourselves from the disturbances of life always remind us of what’s wrong with us. Perhaps it’s no wonder that rates of depression and suicide are rising, and that insecurity and low self-esteem are at an all-time high.

But I doubt a 24-hour electronic cleanse, as some have suggested, would do anything to help our current state of mind. The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with our social media addictions. In my view, there’s a deeper issue at play here: When did our perceived relationship with others overcome our relationship with ourselves? 

This constant search for online attention, I think, is hurting us spiritually. I’m not talking about religion, which is as man-made as the phone you’re reading this on. Spirituality is different, more personal and unique. 

Spirituality is the intuition that guides you in times of luck or chance or fate. It is the potential you possess within you at this very moment. It’s that intangible sense you feel when you read something empowering or inspirational or deeply relatable. That presence of mind that comforts you in moments of crisis. That mysterious power that brings you to tears in times of overwhelming joy. That profound healing you experience when you forgive. That motivation you feel to build yourself up when you break down. That comfort that envelops you when you’re all alone.

You must cultivate this relationship with your deeper self. You must be the master of your senses, the dictator of your desires, which so often long for online affirmation. 

Try to spend quality time getting to know the real you, not the image of yourself according to society’s new standards. I pose two questions: What can you lose by becoming a spiritually attuned master of your deeper self? And what can you gain through this transformation? 

I promise you: It will not be a waste of time to ponder these questions. 

I am experiencing spirituality myself as I sit at my steel desk in my two-man cell. This is my meditation this morning. The time I spend in prison is not wasted if I use it trying to vividly imagine who I am and who I strive to become. 

As the days turn to months, and months become years, my dreams are as real as my steel bunk. One day, I know my reality will begin to line up with my hopes and dreams. I joyously await the arrival of infinite possibilities ahead of me

What do I have to lose by believing this? Nothing at all. What can I possibly gain? The manifestation of my dreams. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

C.R. Addleman is a writer incarcerated at Centinela State Prison in California.