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Spiritual UX

By profession I'm a user experience designer. At its core, that means my job is to make sure that things (in my case, websites and apps) are designed with their users in mind. It's pretty simple - if something is designed well, with its users in mind, it will help them. If it's not, it will frustrate them at best, and cause harm at worst.


Drawing a parallel from UX to spirituality, I've come to realize that we, in our true essence as spiritual beings, are the users of our minds, our hearts, and our external world. Meaning, we experience all of those things, yet we are not those things. We are the users, while our thoughts, emotions, energy flows, and the outside world are all things we experience.

However, most of us don't know this. We don't live like this. Most of us think we are our thoughts and our emotions, that those are symbols of who we are at our core. In fact, we build our whole identities around our likes and dislikes, our past and our future. This is all the psyche. It's not wrong, but it's not who you are.

That would be like saying you're your favorite character in a video game. No, you're experiencing that character through the gameplay and through a screen. It's quite different.

To further illustrate my point, if you're the user of a frustrating app, you don't call yourself frustrating. You say, "This app is so frustrating! I'm deleting it now and never using it again." However, when a thought arises, or when an emotion stirs up within us, you say, "I'm crazy! I'm depressed! I'm angry!"

What's the difference between the app and the thought? If you had a thought, if you felt an emotion, then who are you?

So often we mistake ourselves for the thoughts and emotions that arise as we experience things. Events happen to us, and we either resist them because we can't deal with them, or we love them so much that we cling to them. Because we're involved in so much resisting and clinging, we're rarely there for the moment unfolding in front of us. Our perceptions are distorted because we view reality through the filter of our psyche.

If we learn to just experience - that is, be the user, and not the master - to all events unfolding in front of us, and simply participate without identifying to them, we will learn to be happier over time.

Live with substance!

Gabe Orlowitz

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