Bombarded by information: are we losing sight of what is essential?

Dolors Massot | Apr 19, 2020

If we lose our peace by loading ourselves with messages every day, there is something that can help us master that urge.

In many countries the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to be vigilant. To avoid massive contagion, numerous governments have decreed a state of emergency and require that we be confined to our homes .

Overnight, we have found ourselves within four walls, unable to go outside, with  few exceptions,  and with a health hazard that causes us to be on  the alert.   

Mesmerized before the screen

The shock of such an elevated death-toll has made us stay glued to our screens, just as we did on 9/11. At that time, the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York created such a powerful reaction in us that we were "hypnotized" by the television .      

Now something similar can happen: as soon as we get up, we connect with the radio or television to find out how things are in our country, we follow the news, the press conferences of the authorities, the political gatherings, the "magazine" programs ... Viewing of television and other screens has risen stratospherically since the pandemic began.  The coronavirus has taken over communication .


Do we need this much connection?

With the restriction of our activities, the danger of the pandemic and the need to know the situation on our context and way the pandemic is evolving, it may happen that we are continually glued to some screen.  

Added to the news are the communications via WhatsApp and social networks . There is a bombardment that does not distinguish between memes, contested information, hoaxes, "fake news", rumours, humour, feelings, different work activity, etc ... Everything attracts our attention and we pay attention to everything " in case it might be of interest . "   

Anguish and hopelessness

While we are naturally driven by our survival instinct,  at the end of the day -or after a few weeks- we begin to take stock and realize that the overload of messages of all kinds generates stress , tires our minds, causes us to waste time and - what is worse - leads us to despair . 

Life has changed , and we lose our  peace

This combination of events  can make our 24 hours quite frenzied . At the end of the day, we see that we have been running, trying to cope with everything that has come our way, with the feeling that we are up to our necks. But in the process, we have lost our peace.  

Saturated? We have to take back control

Paying uncontrolled attention to any event has its downside. It can lead us to saturation-point, exhaustion and hopelessness. We are full of data but we have let go of the reins of our life. 

Go to the essential

In order for this not to happen, it is worth considering a fundamental question: what is the purpose of my life? 

We must make an effort to focus our thinking and be able to reflect on our reason for being. Let us put it in writing or engrave it on our hearts. For this we have an excellent tool: intelligence and will-power.  These rank above the mere instinct for survival and must be put to work.        

Once we have remembered what our life purpose is, we will be able to examine whether our journey is directed towards that objective or whether we have deviated from the path.

Activism is a form of materialism

Perhaps in this time of quarantine we have immersed ourselves in activity. Even though space is more restricted, it is easy to fall into activism. Do, manage, change, adapt ... all are action verbs. If we stay on that plane, activism is a clear form of materialism .  

There is materialism if there is consumerism. Perhaps now we are not consuming material products but rather an excess of ideas, information, entertainment, leisure ... 

Give transcendent value to our day

The situation will change radically if from now on we give our day-to-day activities a  transcendent value . How to do it? Simply by attending to our own human nature, which has a spiritual dimension . 

Each concrete action can hold a spiritual dimension: we can connect with God while we telework, while we help the children with school tasks, while we cook or clean. We can live continuously in God’s presence , because God is  always available to us and because we can offer Him everything, our entire 24 hours. "God walks among the pots and pans," said Saint Teresa. And today God is there among the papers, emails, cell phones, microwaves, laundry and children’s toys. 

We will return to calm

When I fill my life with press releases, whatsapps , news and memes I move only on the material plane, but if I seek God there , He will also help me to distinguish the urgent from the important . Not every novelty described as urgent will deserve immediate attention. We can lower the rate of our craving for data.  

When we let God into our lives, He helps us find the measure of things: what value do I attach to  them, what do I  really need to be informed about, where do I detect that curiosity or superficiality is taking the upper hand, or that  vanity is  dominating me in a selfie ...

A pause to speak to God

In this quarantine situation that easily causes information  overload and saturation , taking a break in the day -or several times a day - to dedicate time to prayer , to help us to reset, get back at the wheel and adjust the course of our lives. 

Peace is earned by battling, but that battle can be as small as clearly deciding: "Now I switch off the television" or "I turn off my phone for a while."

Let us listen to God in order to master ourselves

Being present to God and talking to Him , listening to God within us, is something simple but very deep that changes the  landscape: it is what restores our balance, hope and strength, so that we can be fully ourselves even during quarantine, even in the most difficult  circumstances..