Have you ever stopped to consider the cost of our willingness to be connected to the constant bombardment of information – important and trivial – in our world? Look around where you may be and observe our reliance on our devices – text messages, social media, YouTube, email. Have you ever asked what this constant distraction and surface-level entertainment is costing you?

Do you know how to be present with another person? That means no glances at your device to check notifications. Do you know how to truly listen to someone else – to truly be in the same space with him or her – and hear not only with your ears, but with your heart? Do you know how to be fully with others so that you can experience their energy and all the nuances of messages that facial expressions and body language communicate? Do you take time away from that demanding little screen to really notice? Just think about it. When was the last time you really sat with a friend or family member and were there with them and for them 100%? What are we losing in not being truly present for those we love and care about – and even for those we encounter in our lives? Do we even see them as they really are?

Do you know how to be still and how to open into that stillness? Can you even sit in silence? Or do you feel like you need to be plugged in at all times? It is only in silence that we can hear our inner guidance. It is only in silence that we can open into who we really are. When we are constantly distracted by messages and images, we can not hear what we most need to hear … and that is our inner, or soul, guidance.

Do you get out into nature, but block it from soaking into your being through your five senses because you are playing music to keep you entertained and “moving to the beat”? Do you know how to sit and be with nature – to just sit and breathe into the beauty and energy of your surroundings? It is there that you will find peace; it is there in that vibrant silence that you will begin to see your connection to all living beings.

When you are upset or frustrated or worried, do you distract yourself with what's new on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram? It seems to me that this has become our default strategy for dealing – or not dealing – with our lives. Is constant distraction and trivial entertainment living? While you are watching what others are doing or reading about what they are doing with their lives, are you living? Each day, each moment, carries within it such a potential for engaging with life. My question to you is how are you spending it?

Our electronic devices are such incredible tools and windows to the world, but what is the cost of allowing our devices to take over our lives so that we become passive audiences for the constant stream of images, messages, and headlines that vie for our attention? When is the last time you shut everything off so so you could be with and hear yourself? Are you willing to be a passive consumer of other people's lives, or do you want to get to know you and the treasures that are within you?