A couple of hours ago my laptop died, it was as if a giant pit had opened up beneath my house and the walls were crumbling and all the furniture, and all my books, and everything, were falling into this gaping pit.
Perhaps I exaggerate a little. However I did become deeply conscious of how dependent upon technology I am for many things.
I've been writing an essay today, and don't have the changes saved anywhere but on this laptop! I'm running an e-course on Eastern Theraputic Writing at the moment, and yesterday Fiona and I launched our new e-course The Art of Paying Attention (and the free course too). I need my laptop to work, and sometimes I need it to procrastinate too (Facebook, I'm looking at you!)
So my laptop died and there was nothing I could do. I did the washing up and broke one of our pasta dishes. I sulked on the sofa. I thought the motherboard had died, but just in case it wasn't, with a sigh, I opened the laptop case and took out the memory. I put it back in again, and closed up the case. I pressed the power button and the whole thing worked.
I lived and trained in a monastery for four years, but looking at the depth of my reaction when my laptop died I wonder how spiritually mature I am. We try and build a world around us that we are comfortable with, or that suits our Egos. My world includes unlimited internet access, which supports my identity and (at times) serves as a distraction from the real world.
I remember hearing a talk in which my teacher, Dharmavidya, called this 'building castles'. The ideal of the spiritual life is to give up our castles and go out into the world. To confront existential realities. Fiona has been reading Spritual Materialism, the main message of which is how easily we do build castles, and how we even make our religions into a castle too.
Having a hole open up in the floor beneath us is good spiritual training.
I wouldn't ask for it though.