Social Media and Yoga

Tias,

I have a burning question for you relating to social media, the direction of our culture and citta vrtti. I have several young people who help me manage the studio and they are frustrated in my lack of interest with facebook, twitter, linkedin or whatever else is out there. Yoga is about connection, right? I know I am supposed to keep up with the times but how do we traverse through these waters that intuitively run counter to our body/minds.
~Viki

Dear Viki,

I understand your hesitations on the social media network. On the one hand it is impersonal, far from the skin. And we lose nuance of meaning and the feeling of intimacy, the “taste” of connection. Yet twitter, facebook, groupons are what is current, in the here and now. I recall the Parable of the Raft in the ancient record of the Buddha, where the two wayfarers must build a vessel to get across the river to the other side. And so they use what is available to them, in order to construct it—branches, hay bale string, pieces of Styrofoam. And so they get across and the teaching is that the raft is a construction. There is nothing inherently significant or sacred about the raft. In Sanskrit this is called upaya, that may be translated as “action that is relevant to the situation”. So I think if the Buddha were alive today, he would use the internet and its various streams in order to spider out his teachings. People today who reject the common currency of facebook, twitter and the like are adhering to some ideal version of a more superior or spiritual means to relate. This has its own real limits. So I would view the social media as rafts. Significant in that they help communicate, but impermanent and short-lived. In the next decade their will be a new set of media outlets that we will be required to learn to network. So mindfully and with integrity, we must build our raft according to the passing times….

So be like a chameleon and keep changing according to the surrounds. This strikes at the very nature of the dharma and the teachings on inter-being.

Tias

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