RYAN ALTMAN

📱5 Spiritual Tools for Thriving in the Digital Age

We live in an unprecedented time.

We’ve reached an inflection point where technology that’s supposed to empower us is doing the opposite, making us dumber, weaker, and destroying our wellbeing.

With plentiful forms of instant gratification and addictive sources of content consumption like TikTok dominating the attention of people, our brains are literally wasting away.

“Digital dementia” and “TikTok brain” are some of the new disorders caused by the shrinkage of grey matter in the brain that come from screen addiction.

The side-effects?

Anxiety, depression, and the impairment of memory, attention, self-esteem, and impulse control (which increases addiction).

Alongside the rise of screen addiction is the growing spiritual hole left by the commodification of all aspects of life.

Materialism reigns supreme.

Pleasure is purpose.

Short term gains win out over sustainable long term growth.

Everything is potentially a product for sale.

And no there’s value other than the price that things are sold.

Materialism is literally devouring itself.

These two things: technology and materialism are the defining hallmarks of the digital age.

So, how do we address a meaningless world and the brain rotting technology that it creates?

While there’s no simple answer, there are definitely tools we can use to help combat the digital onslaught against our brains, societies and souls.

Policy changes and regulation must come, but first, it’s up to each of use to help ourselves.

The tools are old.

They are inner technology.

They are spiritual tools that have been practiced for thousands of years.

The tools I’m sharing with you are proven to stimluate grey matter growth, and as a result empathy, memory, critical thinking, self-control, and attention–pretty much reversing and enhancing development in every area that screen addiction impairs.

Sound good?

It should.

Let’s get into them.

1. Witnessing

Witnessing is our ability to step back and observe our experience as it is.

In witnessing, we watch the flow of experience outside the conceptual overlay of thought projected by the mind.

Rather than being caught up in the labels, judgements and thoughts presented by the mind we step-back and watch them objectively.

We take interest in them, yet remain detached.

Neurologically, this means stepping out of the discursive thinking of the left brain into the open experience of the present moment produced by the right brain.

Witnessing is a natural, spontaneous act of consciousness, however, our attention has become so habitually conditioned to attending to thoughts that witnessing has become unnatural.

In the same way that it’s easier to watch a 30 second reel than a two hour movie, it’s easier for our brains to attend to the successive flow of quickly appearing thoughts, rather than the subtle background witness of them.

The thoughts are objective and alluring while the witness is subjective and subtle.

The result?

We get attached to thought, and identify with it.

Whether we realize it or not, this witnessing consciousness is what unifies our lives, and allows for the assimilation of all experience and knowledge.

The more we abide as the witness, the more our sense of individuality becomes transparent–we literally see through it as a mental construct–and in doing so, dissolve the irrational emotional attachments caused by identifying with the mind, body and ego.

We practice witnessing in meditation by just abiding as we are, observing our experience spontaneously in the moment.

Keep in mind that witnessing cannot happen without a meditation practice. They are both equally important.

To help, there are yogic techniques and meditative practices we can do to purify our minds and help us abide in the witnessing state of consciousness.

2. Self-Inquiry

Who am I?

What is the nature of the world?

What does it mean to be human?

What is real?

Am I wrong?

Self-inquiry is the ability to self-reflect on our beliefs, behavior and habits to discern their purpose and functioning.

Are they helpful or harmful?

Do they represent truth, or a mistaken belief?

Self-inquiry rests on the cognitive ability of discernment, the ability to judge accurately what is true or false.

It’s a self-checking process that allows us to reorient ourselves away from the false and align ourselves with the true.

It allows us to reflect on the values and purpose we define ourselves by.

The process of reflecting on ourselves is the source of all meaning in our lives.

Without Self-inquiry, we’re automations, conditioned by our external world and evolutionary programming.

It’s only once we inquire into ourselves that we can define what our values are, what our purpose is, and what we find meaningful in life.

3. Energy Control

The human mind and body are what create all technology.

Unless we learn to control this human mechanism from within, there’s no hope in controlling its technological creations without.

All modern tech runs on electrical impulses.

Similarly, our bodies function using electrochemical signals that are sent throughout the body and nervous system.

The main power source?

The breath.

Ancient yogis discovered that the breath, mind, and nervous system are interconnected–control one, and you control them all.

Over millennia, yogis created “inner technology” like pranayama, mantra, kriyas, asanas and other meditative practices to harness the mechanism of the body and mind.

Modern breathwork only scratches the surface, missing the subtle energy that rides on the breath.

This energy has psychological implications, since all emotions and emotional reactions are forms of energy.

By practicing energy control techniques, we cultivate emotional stability, purifying the residue of emotional reactions in the brain and nervous system.

As the energy is purified through practice, it resolves upwards into the brain and manifests as higher states of consciousness like joy, contentment, and peace.

4. Silence, Space, Stillness (SSS)

This tool is the simplest, yet serves many purposes simultenously.

Like controlling the breath controls the body and mind, doing one of the SSS activates the others.

I say doing tentatively, since all three of these imply “nondoing.”

To combat the overstimulation and apathy from excessive tech use–we can simply stop–put down our phones, close our computers, and be quiet.

Go for a walk.

Sit under a tree.

Paint a picture.

Swim in the ocean.

The mind is like a sponge that’s become oversaturated when its overstimulated.

When its overstimulated, it loses functionality.

We default to insticntual behavior that conserves energy–we “veg out.”

Occasional vegging is fine, but consistently doing so due to mental overstimulation and dopamine fatigue is unhealthy.

SSS gives us the space and clarity we need for Self-inquiry, practicing meditation and reconnecting to our values and purpose.

5. Faith

In the shadow of materialistic nihilism and accelerating technological change, faith remains our most powerful ally.

Faith is light, casting forward the divine truth that this world is more than material.

At the core of life lies a spiritual essence ever-directing the universe towards justice and goodness, even when its guiding light seems dim.

Faith is found in connection with God, spiritual communities and teachers–ultimately, it’s found within our conviction that life’s apparent meaninglessness and careless violence conceals a greater good.

Evil is merely a turning away from this light; by itself evil has no existence.

The struggle towards faith is real.

Faith encourages struggle with the wisdom that the more we struggle, the more powerful we become.

Throughout history, faith has empowered worldmakers and revolutionaries with an unshakeable determination.

Our challenging digital age provides an opportunity.

As our faith is tested and we struggle to grow we have a chance to create a new world, an integral world that harmonizes matter and spirit, technology and humanity, progress and peace.


The digital age presents immense challenges, but also precious opportunities for growth and positive transformation.

By embracing spiritual tools we can combat the negative effects of the digital age, and like a lotus emerging from the mud, flourish in our troubled world.

Stay watchful, stay faithful.

The future remains unwritten.

Thrive in our Digital Age with My New Zoom Meditation Classes

In these turbulent times of digital overload and social disconnection, inner spiritual technology and meditation have never been more urgently needed. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce my new live Zoom classes designed to help you:

  • Cultivate a meditation habit and learn witnessing techniques
  • Rediscover your authentic Self, and align with your purpose through Self-inquiry
  • Regulate your energy and emotions with powerful yogic practices
  • Integrate more silence, space and stillness into your daily life
  • Cultivate unshakeable faith to navigate uncertainty

Through live instruction, guided practice, and an engaged community of fellow seekers, you’ll experience profound shifts in your mind, energy, and life.

Together, we can create the integral world our future is calling us towards.

I’ll be announcing more details next week including a special offer for those who sign-up first!

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