Living Mindfully and Beyond Our Facebook Status.
So, my Facebook page indicates that I’m a Buddhist; it’s actually now one of the standard drop down menu options.
I don’t know quite how I feel about this.
I mean, to be honest, I guess I have never really thought about it that much—until just the other night, when a new friend asked about my ‘Buddha-status.’
I don’t know why, but that just struck me as all kinds of funny.
(Sexy, purring voice) “I see by your Facebook status that you are a Buddhist.”
It just doesn’t sound right.
I mean, how can I be living a mindful, centered and bliss-filled life—while I’m out sniffing around in an electron filled cyberspace? How can I possibly connect to a series of ‘zeroes and ones’—or a smattering of code intended to brighten my day? Has my spirituality been reduced to a mere Facebook status?
This is not real life, and yet, to some…it most certainly is.
Want to completely screw with someone’s day—just take away their Facebook access, if only for just a few moments…that ‘fallout’ is unreal.
Love blooms, and relationships disintegrate in sometimes what equates to just a few simple clicks.
When did a mouse click replace sitting face to face? And why do we insist in keeping this self-imposed internet distance?
This is not real life—real life extends far beyond a quick status check.
And though, I believe social media can be used to empower and engage—it’s not without compassion and intent.
I think that’s sometimes the problem with Facebook—we often use our profiles as ‘shields.’ It’s so much easier to act and speak without regard, when you know you’re a good virtual arm’s length away.
It just seems to be such a spiritual contradiction in terms—but then again, even the Dalai Lama has his very own Facebook page.
Is it possible to ‘exist’ in this new social media world, without losing my Buddha within? I believe, perhaps—but, not without a few mindful rules in place.
Here are my “Five Rules for Maintaining a Mindful Buddha-Status:”
1. Be mindful always of your truest intention. Don’t lose yourself in the flurry of cyber-emotions—remember, so much is lost without that face-to-face context. To look someone in the eyes sometimes can tell a story that a status update or comment response can never fully express. You know your heart going into this mess—just don’t lose it in the process.
2. Listen with your fullest attention. Even if it is, at best, a virtual ear—someone is still out there sharing with you their heart. So close out a few of those dozen or so screens, and take the time to really listen. By giving them this gift of your fullest attention, you are offering them this space to be real.
3. Pause first, breathe, and then type. But more so, know when to let go. Before each post, ask yourself—what is it that I am trying to achieve? Do I want to be right? Or, do I want to be ‘seen’? It’s your own personal duty to self to make sure you get that clear before you begin.
4. You are far more than a simple Facebook status. Live fully beyond your ‘headline’—because, real life is about the experiences that you may share.
5. Connection does not equal ‘engaged.’ It’s ironic, but sadly true, ‘social media’ can sometimes detract from intimacy. When the quantity of ‘likes’ is valued more than the quality of ‘friends’—we take away from our ability to relate meaningfully. In order to really engage someone, you have to go deeper than those news feeds, funny photos and quips. To engage someone meaningfully requires that we open our hearts and communicate directly from our spirit to theirs.
After all, if we really want to make a difference in this world—we need to remember that it’s only from our heart that true change can begin.
Hilarious Bonus Video: Ellen DeGeneres, “In Your Facebook”
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta