Social media, as a form of self expression, might be a means to share the World with others- to showcase what our families are achieving, as a way to highlight personal goals, or to build support for a social mission- but this longing for followers skews our mindset from initial selfless intent into selfish self-promotion.
As The Onion does incredibly well, an article mocked a pre-med student volunteering in Africa not as driven to mediate positive change for the community, but motivated by how her trip would transform her Facebook page: article here
If we look within, translating the inner monologue that is scrupulously guarded by our external actions, it is easy to relate to this scenario. "We rarely consider an object or an idea as it is in itself, because it comes saturated with personal association that immediately distort it and make it impossible for us to consider it objectively." (pp. 49 Buddha- Karen Armstrong)
We find ourselves simultaneously on polar ends of desire: It "makes us 'grab' or 'cling' to things that can never give lasting satisfaction. On the other hand, it makes us constantly discontented with our present circumstances." (pp.74 Buddha - Karen Armstrong) Once we attain the desired object or feeling it is superseded with a more desirable one. A continual yearning for the next-best-thing draws us through a vortex of unhappiness, not its desired counterpart.
So how do we stop this vortex of desire from sucking us in further, which prevents us from living peaceful, happy, meaningful lives? Mindfullness- the act of being present in each and every moment, not worried about future outcomes. When we live within the confines of now, allowing raw data to determine actions, and not succumbing to the stories we have accumulated throughout our life as a means to translate what is happening, an understanding evolves: what I do here and now forecasts the future. My actions this exact moment shape what happens next; therefore, this life is important and meaningful. This raw interaction with people deepens understanding, builds compassion and alters our unconscious self. One vow, taken seriously and practiced daily, is a step toward living happy, free of suffering:
How have your relationships been injured or stymied from growth? How would incorporating this vow into your daily life transform your self and the people around you? How would that transformation from you to those in your life cascade from them to their network, and so on? Practice with just one component of the Right Speech Vow per week. After five weeks how has your life changed? Why does altering our mind-frame change our external interactions?
Right Speech Vow was sourced from Posts from the Path.