-isms and the need to belong

“The desire to…the identity to belong is based on fear, and inclusion and exclusion. The aspiration to awaken is prepared to negotiate all of those boundaries.”

I was particularly struck by Ajahn Thanasanti’s words in this conversation with Gina Sharpe because of my own strong desire to be inclusive, which is then reflected in a corresponding aversion to any sense of exclusion and perhaps paradoxically, if unchecked, results in the same! Sadly, I sense a lot of “clubby” behavior, particularly online.


Unraveling anonymity and identity

Identity itself is an outdated concept. We are not some static and immutable list of descriptors and qualities. We are flexible and under constant change—we’re all in perpetual beta.¹


The (elusive) middle way and social media

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with balance. Though a reasonably good student, I often opted for socializing over studying. I had semesters of really putting the nose to the grind and others where I hung out with friends for hours in a bar playing electronic darts, or in a club dancing to house music (I know, you’re thinking, “really?”). When in intimate relationship, I have struggled greatly with wanting to be with that other person virtually all the time. When alone, I make solitude a fortress. When working, I put myself in it whole-heartedly, but then I end up being burnt out from working 12-hour days too frequently and just quit everything … Then there are the addictive behaviors re technology that result in a sort of “binge-and-purge” approach to life. When I was younger, it was computer games, then pre- social media Live Journal, then Last.fm. Obsessive behavior for a while and then a complete relinquishment. Now it’s reading, aggregating, and sharing Dhamma tidbits I find online, through conversations, and through scouring my own bookshelves. And so much of this, particularly personal blogging, as I’ve discussed before, just enables becoming, “selfing”, creating images of me, myself, mine over and over. See how many images of “me” lie just in this one paragraph alone! The wonderful thing is there’s an awareness that these are just ideas and that that illusion of an identity is dismantling and recreating itself all the time. (more…)

The Internet is a perennial source of dukkha

Has any person ever not had the thought, at one point or another, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t said that.”? Or felt remorse after sending an email? I think it’s a pretty common human experience to not always speak or write as wisely as we might like upon reflection. I know I’ve certainly had my fair share of regrets. One thing I’m hopefully learning to do right now is to reduce the opportunity to feel such shame and remorse. By cultivating awareness moment to moment, we can probably avoid saying the wrong thing. By asking ourselves whether what we have to say is 1) necessary and 2) beneficial before we say it, we also will end up speaking less but more meaningfully when we do. I know this is easier said than done, but I can think of few things more important in developing ourselves and our relationship with others.


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