VIDEO: Tara Brach on Awakening from the Cybertrance

Dealing with the Challenges to Mindfulness in a Digital World

Tara Brach

How do you deal with the trance-like quality of immersion in the digital world?

Mindfulness invites us to live fully in an unpredictable real world where we have no control over what happens next. But in cyberspace, we can inhabit an entrancing virtual reality designed to make us feel competent, in control, and safe.

It should come as no surprise that, in our culture, immersion in cyber activities far outpace the interest in Mindfulness. But according to Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge, this seductively numbing cybertrance is not inescapable.

In this quick video with Networker Editor Rich Simon, she speaks—as a parent as well as a mindfulness practitioner—about her experience of challenging the cyberworld’s hold on her teenage son.

Tara Brach, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, lecturer, and popular teacher of Buddhist mindfulness (vipassana) meditation. She is author of Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha and True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart.


Did you enjoy this video? You might also be interested in our interview with Jack Kornfield, "A Doorway to Mystery," in which he explains the importance of creating "a sacred space" in therapy and specific practices therapists can use to bring ritual into their work. Or, check out Ron Siegel on Mindfulness in the January/February 2015 issue of the magazineMindfulness Goes Viral: What Would Buddha Do?

Check out our other blogs on Mindfulness by clicking here!

Find full articles too on mindfulness in our Archives on the new, enhanced Networker mobile app! Click here for more details

Topic: Mindfulness

Tags: cyber intimacy | mindful meditation | Mindfulness | Tara Brach | technology | Cultural, Social & Racial Issues | culture | Mindfulness Exercises | mindfulness techniques | Networker Symposium | Symposium

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Monday, March 28, 2016 6:08:27 PM | posted by Kimberly Meere
This video was very helpful for me both in my personal life and in my practice. My 10 year old son is often in a cybertrans (great word by the way) and I've always suspected that he uses video games and online activity to decompress. We have limited his exposure to electronics but he becomes very frustrated when the time is up. There is a loss of socialization skills and family interaction that comes with this cybertrans and I have found myself attempting both the tough love/hard line approach and the let's talk it over approach. Talking is better but I can't negotiate each time especially when he has lost all concept of time while playing online. I worry as a mother that I am failing my child by not preparing him for real social interaction. I purposely schedule playdates for him only to find them playing video games together inevitably. In my professional life, I am a psychotherapist that works with a lot of kids struggling with anxiety and socialization issues. Most of the parents and colleagues I know agree that technology has robbed many kids of the face to face opportunity for interaction. In addition, the enormous amount of school work kids today are responsible for has further limited their social interaction. This video taught me the importance of understanding why they like to be on the electronics as much as they do (such as the sense of mastery). My son is not very good at competitive sports and therefore this may be an area that makes him feel good about himself. If that's the case, I may not want to limit his time with his games as much. I think the key is balance. Perhaps writing out a basic schedule with him that we can both agree to is a good idea.

Sunday, March 27, 2016 7:48:28 AM | posted by loretta pitilli
I wish mindfulness was this alive 23 years ago. I remember going to the store with my son to purchase a computer for him. He said he needed it to researsh his art ability. I of course went along with it. But it only led to distance. He was on the computer all night and would be extremely obstinate. He would not let me into the room and strated to withdraw feom the family. I had 4 younger siblings at the time and everypne was watching. I was like Tara very angry but I never got to the point where I could balance it with a mindfulness calm. He became uncontrollable. I asked him to leave the house. He moved in with his girlfriend. He is now 38 and a very successdul artist. It was a difficult road for many years. I wish I could have resolved his aggressive and anry behavior differently. My husband was very low key and didn't support anything. I was the tough guy. To this day so many years later I regret what I did. This video is very helpful to understand the calm you need to enter into a situation that is so difficult. Wanted to share this. And I thank you for allowing me to know that I didn't know any better. I wish I did.

Saturday, March 26, 2016 3:26:21 PM | posted by Anne
Would love to have had this pearl back in the days when my son was interested in Mortal Combat! Thank you. Will forward this to my sister who has the issue at home right now!