Here’s a question I’d like to ask of both young and old. Have you considered that you might be wasting a miracle? Do you realize the true value of those few hundred dollars you’ve spent on your computer, laptop or other device? Here’s a machine that you can program to fit the person you long to become. So how are you using it?

I’ll soon be celebrating a birthday and beginning another decade, a milestone that warrants a reassessment of where I’ve been and where I’m going in this life with its beginning, middle and, much as we avoid discussing it, end.

Last night I realized how grateful I was to be alive during this particular time period. Even 20 years older, I might have missed the opportunity to avail myself of a great mind expanding experience. If I confess to you my belief that the Internet is one of the greatest tools for self-knowledge, it might seem a tad over the top, so let me try to explain.

Relatives and friends have sometimes commented that they wished they could be “creative” like me. Because I write and draw, they assume that somehow I’m smarter than they are. It’s not true, of course, I’ve simply spent my time finding out what I love and what I have a knack for doing. Right now there’s no better place to do that than the Internet. Unfortunately, both young and old have become addicted to playing games, setting up virtual gardens, and commenting on issues they don’t even care about. In the meantime their life clock keeps ticking. Months turn into years, years into decades, and they’ve missed learning who they are and what they are passionate about.

Consider, for a moment, your friends and family. You love and cherish them, but are any of them dramatically smarter than you? When was the last time you came away from a conversation feeling you’d really learned something, maybe even grown as a human being. Do you know any saints? Any inventors, geniuses, leaders, world changers? Probably not. We choose our friends, and they choose us, not to learn from, but for their comfort level, in other words, we choose people just like us. Even if we were invited to a gathering of people who were miles ahead mentally or spiritually, we might be too timid or frightened to accept, thinking we’d be out of our depth or possibly embarrassed. Not so with the Internet, where we can mingle unseen.

I’m not talking here about improving your education or taking courses by computer, although opportunities for those abound. I’m talking about “meeting” entertaining, wise, likeable people you would give your eye tooth to have mentor you, but would never have the courage or means to approach.

Last week I meditated with Sylvia Boorstein who shared the Buddhist practice of Metta. Her soft-spoken, sweet demeanor immediately drew me to her. On TED, Sir Kevin Robinson and the author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave entertaining talks with much food for thought. I’d never seen either of them before and I enjoyed their company for their allotted 18 minutes. Two online friends and I met daily in a private Facebook group to encourage one another with prayer as we each go through difficult times. They expand my soul.

I frequently visit or take courses on Spirituality and Practice for their take on world news, entertainment and the wisdom of all religions. The French site, L’Evangile Au Quotidien, contains daily Bible reading in many languages. I read the English and attempt the French, or Spanish. For the fun of it I watch creativity videos, or listen to music from the past with Youtube. There are rarely annoying commercials, no one lying to win money, screeching car chases, or shows with grisly murders and mounting body counts. I’m never bored. Unlike TV, my viewing is tailor-made to nurture and grow my mind and soul in any way I choose.

This is the world according to “porchsitter”. It isn’t the world according to you, but the point is, it could be. Why not experiment and learn who you are? Start by accessing the things you love and then ramp it up a notch. How? That’s what this little series of posts will address.