A meditation for our devices

I wrote the meditation below for the Oil Ancestors project after experiencing many online webinars and video conference calls during the Covid-19 pandemic. The extreme carbon footprint of the media we stream on our devices daily is a result of our intimate and daily reliance on fossilized matter.

A written transcript of the recording follows below. The best way to experience this work is not to read it, but to listen and try it for yourself when you have a quiet moment to pause.

As we begin, have your mobile phone or laptop directly within reach.

I recommend sitting in a chair, in a comfortable position, possibly with your feet touching the ground.

Let’s go ahead and do that now.

Take a moment to gently settle into your seat. Feel the weight of your body held by gravity.

I invite you to engage with the physical qualities of your device with all your senses.

So if you feel comfortable, you may try to do this meditation with your eyes closed.

Touch your palm to the screen. How does it feel?

Now touch the screen with the back of your hand.

Next, extend your touch to the machine’s backside, its underside, and its edges.

What textures are you feeling?

What is the temperature of the different parts of this machine? 

Try leaning into your device.

Bring your nose close to your device and consider how it smells.

Think about all the matter that came from underground, now contained inside this machine.

Think of the substances that were mined from the earth.

Imagine all the people who assembled this multifaceted compound mineral stone.

Which of the elements can you name, and which are unknown to you?

Consider all the places they’d been before they came into your hands.

Where will they go when the this machine’s life ends?

Where will they be, when you’re no longer here?