I was interested in this new project in the US, Camp Grounded. A place where Americans pay over $500 for a weekend of digital detox. Participants pay the money to have their phones, watches, computers and electronic devices taken away from them for a few days. Instead, participants are given a feast of activities, such as camping, arts and crafts, star gazing, meditation, home cooking, typewriting. The aim is to recreate the joy of life without the distractions and addictions of modern-life. Also, participants are not allowed to talk about their profession, so people can’t define themselves by the work they do.
I learned about Camp Grounded from a link from an article about the addictiveness of mobile phones by a former Google design ethicist.
With the exception of some details (perhaps more meditation, less home-brewed beer), the spirit of the camp very much reminded me of the joy weekends we have within the Sri Chinmoy Centre. They are weekends to forget work and the world of commerce, and regain the connection with the spirit and joy of life. Sri Chinmoy loved joy weekends and encouraged his disciples to have meditation, music and games – games which help encourage a child-like spirit and spontaneous joy.
Increasingly I’ve noticed that joy-weekends are a good excuse for my own mini digital detox. A weekend without checking email and computer is always a real boon and feels like I should do it more often. I’m not a fan of mobile phones and assiduously try to avoid unwanted notifications, the social media world and interruptions e.t.c. But, with a computer I use for work, it’s often hard to escape the pull of that easy than the easiest access to check news, latest sports and the labyrinth of human opinion which is on the internet.
I’m lucky to I have a meditation shed in the garden, when I leave the house and computer behind, a look at the moon or the nature of the garden is a reminder there is a world much more real and meaningful than the electronic world with all its pulls and pushes. But, sometimes I think a few visits to something like Camp Grounded would be very good.