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A Mindful “Break” from Social Media

How does one even come back from a two and a half month blog writing hiatus? Well, just like this, I suppose. I have been writing, and almost daily, but I’ve made the conscious decision to not publish. I wrote regardless to process, think and prove to myself that what I am writing can be kept private and still be as valuable.  Making conscious choices is a characteristic unique to human beings. Nonetheless, cognition, clear and logical thinking can be easily clouded through various delusions of the mind. Moha, is a Buddhist concept of character affliction or poison, and refers to “delusion, confusion, dullness”. It is sometimes synonymous with “ignorance” also known as avidya. The mind, if in a state of ignorance and has not been exposed to a certain truth will be functioning under said state of “delusion”. Luckily, or rather, if we are fortunate, we have episodes or moments that shed light on our deluded and dark mind, similar to how Plato described in his Allegory of the Cave, where one’s own mind is illuminated from a state of ignorance through new, discovered truth to a state away from darkness. This is usually when paradigmatic shifts in thought and lifestyle choices occur. The last piece I wrote, based on an experience which quite literally shook me to my core, paradoxically titled On Life and Death, was one of these wake up calls.

I’ve had my journal from Nepal very accessible these days and I keep turning to random pages here and there. As I read some of the notes I took on the buddhist concept of “mind” during the first few days at the retreat, I was inspired to share some stuff. I had written the following:

Mind is delusional; it superimposes the basic experience and exaggerates it so it becomes horrible or intolerable. All of this can be alleviated. It’s [full of] stories we keep telling ourselves.  A mind of hatred, anger or aggravation is not valid. We are in fact not seeing things correctly. A mind of love is rather peaceful and is built on valid foundation.

It is the latter state of mind, that which is peaceful and compassionate, where we are able to make clearer decisions. A “mind of love” should not be confused with someone who is “in love”. Here let’s assume a peaceful mind is one filled with unconditional love. With love, one is not afflicted and is likely not to act with greed, jealousy or anger. In an effort to get to a state of equanimity in my own mind, where it was not overexcited or too relaxed, I have in the last four months prioritized my meditation practice. Through mindfulness, one does not want to diminish thoughts or push them under the rug, as many misconceive it to be the case.  But rather, one wants to eventually have a few moments of clear focused breath, with the absence of sporadic thought processes. It is that gap or space between a full cycle of inhalation and exhalation without said thought, which can be classified as “meditation”. One works on increasing the numbers of these “thoughtless” cycles, remaining in the present, rather than engaging in thoughts based on the past or the future.  A mindful meditation practice brings about positive changes to one’s mind, which can materialize generally into healthier decision-making and living. The research is out there, but personal practice is the only proof one really needs in the case of self-inquiry. 

I took a little break from technology as I wanted to understand better my relationship to social media use. This came as a result of, and thanks to meditation, surely. It was a necessary break from constantly having the urge to create and share. Although I knew a lot of the things I posted in the past came from the heart and a strong willingness and urgency to share, I decided moving forward to ask myself three questions before I posted anything. I  realized that there were many things I was posting for the wrong reasons. The questions I now ask are simple and as followed:

  1. What is my intention with this post?
  2. Am I trying to gain validation or acceptance through this post?
  3. How and why would my readers benefit from this post?

In an effort to post more intentionally and authentically, I will continue my practice with less online engagement. With the time that I have gained from not having to create content, I’ve been able to entertain other hobbies and have made time for people and things that matter. Most importantly, I have given myself a much needed and deserved break from the urgency to be recognized or heard. I have focused on my craft as a teacher. But more importantly, I have given myself the opportunity to nurture growth and evolution.

Think of your mind as a bed of soil. If you leave it alone, nothing grows. Perhaps weeds grow. If you plant seeds for flowers or vegetables and tend to them, you can receive the fruits of your labor. That bed of soil can easily support the weed or the flower. You make that individual choice as to which one you’d like to nurture on your bed of soil. I choose the flowers.

As always, with utmost gratitude to all my friends, family and the online community who have been a part of my humble journey.

Namaste!

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