Isn’t it amazing how mean and nasty people can sometimes be when commenting on the Internet and social media?
The Buddhist tradition has many teachings about expressing ourselves skillfully and mindfully. I think these guidelines need to be updated for the Internet era. One of the big problems is anonymity, or at least, perceived anonymity, which isn’t . If we don’t think we will ever have any personal contact with the person we are leaving a comment for, then we feel more free to be nasty.
The simplest guidelines for mindful speech in the Internet era are (you can study traditional guidelines for mindful speech as well):
1) Would I say this to this person if I considered them a close friend and was looking to maintain a good relationship with them?
2) Would I say this to this person if they were standing right in front of me and could respond?
3) Would I say this to them in person if a large crowd of people were gathered around, watching our conversation?
4) Would I say this if there was going to be a permanent and public record of what I said? (because there is)
These, and others, are very good questions to ask before we press enter.
Hey friends, I only have 60 or so copies left of Your Emoticons Won’t Save You- the Kindle version is also gone now. We won’t be printing any more copies, because the novella inside is going to be repackaged in the future with a follow-up novella (sans poetry collection), but I’d love to get you a copy (they’re really physically beautiful little books) if you want one. It was always a labor of love and I’m happy to share with anyone who wants one. Here’s the order page on my website but I can also just give you one the next time I see you, if you reserve one. Let us know if you want one and we’ll get it to you. You can also get a signed copy of One City at the same link.
Despite all of the teachings to the contrary, it still seems like most of us, even those of us with committed Dharma practices, still fall into the trap of trying to avoid, dissolve or destroy difficult emotions. It’s not so much that we want to go to war with our own thoughts and emotions, it’s more like we want to hire a ninja assassin to take our difficult thoughts in the middle of the night, to quietly slit the throat of our feelings when no one is watching.
Keeping the impossibility of destroying any thoughts or emotions well in mind, I’m really looking forward to discussing Buddhist approaches to working with major emotions: Fear and Anxiety, Desire, Anger, Grief and Sadness, Pride and Arrogance over the next six weeks in the Dealing with Emotions course.
Either way, my thought for this week is that if you sit down to meditate, Try to notice the stealth ways that you attempt to destroy your thoughts and emotions or make them go away. When you notice it, I encourage you to fire your ninja assassin, or at least give him the morning off.
Several months back I gave a few meditation lessons to Vogue magazine editor Sally Singer. No, it’s not in the Kimye issue, I just can’t get enough of that couple.
Sally wrote an article about her meditation practice and our conversations about Buddhism in the modern world for Vogue.com. She compared me to both Paul Auster and Paul Rudd. I’ll take it.
While the visual that shows for the online article is a little, well…hmmm…, Sally was a very serious student and journalist and it was a total pleasure to work with her. Check out the article and let me know what you think.
A new podcast of a talk Ethan gave entitled “Meditators Make Better Lovers” is available both on the iTunes podcast and the Shambhala NYC website. The talk is a few years old but we especially like this one about love relationships and heartbreak. Enjoy!