There are 7.2 billion people in the world. Of these, an estimated 3 billion are on the Internet. Already, more people have access to mobile phones— 7 billion subscriptions worldwide— than have access to electricity or clean drinking water.
The technological explosion in Silicon Valley and in tech companies all over the world has made a huge difference in our lives at a rapid pace. In an era where information is like oxygen, the Internet is leveling the playing field for humanity. Think of the learning this information ignites, the opportunities it creates, the lives it can truly change. But these amazing technologies also have a tendency to drive us to distraction. The information— e-mails, status updates, blogs, videos, reports— coming at us can be relentless.
In the midst of all this advancement, we must remember that the most important technology we deal with is right here, inside us. It is our “inner-net,” our brain, our body, our mind, our breath, our consciousness— the set of personal technologies that we carry with us everywhere.
For our inner technology to operate at peak performance, it needs periods of quiet; it needs periods of restoration and replenishment. Living consciously, living with full engagement, and working with well-developed sciences, such as yoga and meditation, drawn from the world’s wisdom traditions — these are all ways by which we can touch and transform our inner technology, so that we can live in harmony and balance with the outer.
While I believe we need to regularly unplug from the Internet and plug into our inner-net, I’m not advocating unplugging from the outer world completely. Instead, I think it’s important to integrate the two worlds in a way that works for you.
I have spent years living in two worlds. I was blessed to be born into a culture where practicing meditation, yoga, and mindfulness has been an integral part of people’s daily lives for hundreds of years. When I was a teenager, two seminal events occurred: I was initiated into meditation by my spiritual teacher, Tara Devi, and I studied at the Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam in Kerala, India, to become a yoga teacher. I continue to incorporate those practices in my everyday life. At the same time, I now live in Silicon Valley and work in the fast-paced, warp-speed, hyperinnovative environment that is Google, the high-tech industry, and, increasingly, life in general.
In exploring both worlds in which I live, I’m always experimenting. Often my experiments reinforce the experiments of others— my meditation and yoga practices, 20-minute naps, mindful eating. I also experiment with ways to fit those rituals into my hectic life in the high-tech industry.
I am grateful to be able to share these experiments. I hope that in the pages of “The Internet to the Inner-net” readers will find principles to reflect upon, that my experiments will spark their own, and that they will develop their own ways to find their balance and live fully and joyfully in both their outer and their inner world.
Gopi Kallayil is the author of “The Internet to the Inner-net: Five ways to reset your connection and lead a conscious life.” He is the Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google. He works with Google’s sales teams and customers and helps grow customer brands through digital marketing. In his prior roles he worked as Chief Evangelist for Google+, led the marketing team for the Company’s flagship advertising product, AdWords, in the Americas and Asia Pacific, and the marketing team for AdSense, Google’s publisher-facing product.