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The Most Important Answers Aren’t Found on the Internet

Updated: Jan 11

The internet is an amazing tool. I am old enough to remember life without it though. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, not only did we not have internet, we didn’t even have microwaves or GPS. To heat up leftovers we actually had to use the oven (gasp) and if we got lost driving somewhere we needed to stop at a gas station to ask for directions. All telephones had cords, too. As a kid, if someone had tried to describe an iPhone to me, I genuinely would not have believed that such a device was possible. That we could have access to literally all of the information in the known history of the world, AND that we could carry it around with us everywhere we went, and have a clock, calendar, phone and camera built in as well? What? How cool is that? Sometimes I think we get so used to today's technology that we forget how truly remarkable it is.

I did a uniquely modern day thing today, and “googled” some information about Google. According to a couple of sites I scanned, there are 3.5 BILLION Google searches per DAY. The company doesn’t publicly share exact numbers, but if it’s anywhere close to that it’s safe to say it’s a massive amount of searches. I’m sure the same holds true for people asking Alexa questions. Or turning to YouTube or other online platforms for answers. What a blessing that within seconds we can find websites that will help us learn to repair a broken toilet, try a new recipe for pork chops or research the history of the town we live in. We can hunt down the best price for airline tickets, participate in a guided meditation or ask how old a favorite celebrity is. No matter how random, if you can think up a question, there is probably an answer to it on the internet. Overall I think this is wonderful, and I wouldn’t want to go back to a time without these possibilities. One problem I see, however, is that in this digital age where “googling” has become the norm, people are often forgetting that the answers to life’s most important questions usually can’t (or shouldn’t) be found on the internet.

Maybe it’s just because I am getting older and this is just something old people say, but there is part of me that longs for a simpler time, where there were fewer choices to be made, and less noise to filter through when making decisions. A day when we put our trust in sources other than the internet, when it came to questions involving the heart and spirit. Questions about love, values, religion or what kind of people we hope to be. Questions about pain, how to be a good parent and what our deepest dreams and desires are. I’m not saying not to search the internet while pondering topics such as these. There are fantastic resources to help inform, motivate and guide your path. I write a blog myself, so I am clearly not against seeking wisdom wherever you can find it, and the internet is a great place to begin. I guess I just don’t want the good old-fashioned sources to be forgotten and lost. Where did we used to turn before computers were a thing? Where can we still go today to find personal messages tailored just for us?

1) People who know and love you. I learned about faith and God from my grandmother, both in verbal lessons, and in watching the way she lived. What I would give to have another day with her teaching me to memorize a hymn. Enthusiasm and energy have been my primary lessons from my dad. To find the joy in simple things, and giving your all to reach your goals. My sweet mom taught me homemaking skills, and the incomparable power of unconditional love. The kindness that you show when no one is looking, while expecting no reward. Giving just because, and always striving to do what is right. My sister is a great example of living life fully present and genuine. I have close friends that I share my struggles and heart with as well. There isn’t room to mention everybody here, but the point is that when I need to seek wisdom about personal things, there are people that have known me all of my life to turn to. Understanding my yesterday helps them to help me create my tomorrow. The internet gurus are fine for general ideas, but someone who loves you enough to tell you truth about yourself, and cares what happens to you afterward, is invaluable. Even as a grown woman, when the rain falls down, I really want my mom to help me figure out what to do. This applies to small things also. I want to learn to play golf, for instance. I can look up videos that show me technically how, and I may do that still. But I have asked my mother-in-law to take me. It’s something she loves, so she will teach me with passion and fun, and that time with her will be worth a lot more than time on my computer ever would be.

2) A higher power. The internet cannot predict the future, nor can it delve deeply inside your heart and soul. Even your closest loved ones cannot do that, or know for certain what the consequences of various choices will be. Personal inspiration provides you with vision that sees beyond mortal eyes, and a mind that is open to ideas your own thoughts could never have conceived of. I am a Christian so I believe in God, and that He grants us the power of discernment when we seek His council. So for me prayer, the bible and communing with nature are my primary sources of inspiration. Others from other faiths may call on a higher power of a different name, on the universe at large or look to a collective consciousness. I’m not one apt to argue with others over the semantics of spirituality. But whatever words they use to describe it, most people have experienced moments of pure inspiration in their lives - where a force greater than themselves poured out light, truth, knowledge and understanding. On the big life questions like who to marry, how to spend my money, whether to have children, what job to pursue...the kinds of questions that can change the course of life as we know it...I might check the internet for ideas and knowledge, but I won’t step forward without checking in with my spiritual compass as well, so I can walk forward with faith and confidence.

3) Gut instinct. Life experience (often called the school of hard knocks) combined with inspiration creates an invaluable tool called intuition. We know far more than we sometimes think we do. Memories, prior study, personal experiences and things we have learned (yes even on the internet) stay inside of us even if we don’t consciously think about them. We can recall lyrics to songs we haven’t heard since childhood, because they are stored inside just waiting to be called back up. In his book Blink, Malcom Gladwell describes the science behind intuition, and goes into detail with many studies proving how and why our instincts are correct such a surprisingly high percentage of the time. I highly recommend the book, as it lends some credibility to trusting your own gut when it tells you what to do. If the internet and friends are leading you one way, but it just doesn’t feel right, even though you aren’t quite sure why, it’s important to listen to that instinct and at the very least examine it.

The internet is great for facts, figures, amusing anecdotes and research. We can even find self-help information, motivation and a form of connection on its pages. But spiritual inspiration, advice from loved ones and intuition are important resources too, when seeking answers to the questions that matter most. Love and pure wisdom on a real, personalized level are not found on a computer screen, and I don’t believe they ever will be.

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