The Still Web is a project that is teaching me the richness that can be found when living and learning on the open web. It is being developed by some members of the DS106 open community on an entirely voluntary basis. We all think there is something interesting here and want to make it come alive in this web of ours I have learnt to love.

Alan Levine and I have been in conversation for nearly a year now exploring what it means to use a digital space for contemplation. Who am I? Well, it depends where you find me. I am the DS106 Shrink on Tumblr and a part-time lecturer at a business school in my physical life among other things.

The Still Web is the result of a simple question: Can we create a website that offers the ethos of a monastery on the web? I took Alan to visit the monastery that I call my own and he took some wonderful photos.

Meditate Here

Since we started this project we have held on to that short visit as the core of what we want to create here. Alan says you go to the monastery and nobody forces the ‘right’ way on you. You go to that space to be in it and listen to yourself. Visit the different rooms and hear different echoes. Can the open web offer a space like that? We don’t yet know but this is what we are aspiring to create here.

Since reading ‘Memories, dreams, and reflections’ by C.G Jung in my teens, I chose to dedicate my life to the study of mind. A first degree in Psychology from Warwick University followed by a M.Sc. in Intelligent Systems, and a PhD Knowledge Acquisition for Expert Systems provided a sound academic base for a long career as an executive coach. A published author, a chartered research psychologist, a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, always pushing the boundaries of conventional wisdom in business: highlighting the human side of knowledge management, using laughter as a tool for creative living, challenging clock time as a time management technique and now integrating a contemplative life with running a business outside a monastery. I am on a supervised 3 year part time retreat in the Thai Theravada Buddhist Tradition, having made a commitment to extensive daily practice as an 8-precept contemplative. I aim now to bring all this experience to finding sustainable ways to develop a digital presence. The still web is the result of that desire.

There are some religious orders already exploring the potential of the web for spiritual development:

“The Internet, the equipment, the technology is neutral,” explains Brother Patrick Creeden, of the Monks of Jerusalem. “Part of what we’re doing in using computers is to prove in some tiny way that you can use modern technology and not be dehumanized by it, not lose one’s soul. The information revolution can be a humanizing force.”

If the still web could create a learning space for digital contemplation practice not tied to any particular religion, our wish for it would have been achieved.

Your Still Web guide will be my little Jack Russell dog Colin. He has a digital presence and has taught me much about living out my contradictions and appreciating each step I take. We thought that beautiful images of him in the practice bank, for example, would be more insightful and calming than my own image or Alan’s. I hope you agree – Alan and I are both dog people and believe in the wisdom of aspiring each day to be more dog, so please indulge our imagery around the site.

You can follow him on Twitter @gifadog
You can follow him on Twitter @gifadog

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