It is amazing how our thoughts can own us. They can take over our affective states and disable our ability to function at a high level or even normally. Incessant thoughts bombard us at tremendous speed with each one vying for a piece of our attention. If our attention is too full the unnoticed thoughts burrow themselves into our subconscious waiting to be projected at a later time.
Unfortunately, our "monkey mind" is patterned and habituated to run constantly and unabated. It is not helped by the fact that in our modern society, our mind space is under constant attack from external information and messaging. The only way reclaim our mind space is with a conscious practice that silences the mind, in other words, meditation. For many, the word meditation connotes Buddhist monks, hippies and new age yogis and that is unfortunate because meditation is probably one of the most beneficial tools available to humans looking to develop themselves (and improve their lives). Meditation allows the brain to rest and renew itself, it helps us recognize and objectify the bombardment of thought-feeling running through us, and it helps us tap into intuition as a way of knowing. In short, it helps us develop as human beings.
Change requires a somewhat paradoxical appreciation for what is. From this point of view, lasting change is rarely a violent revolution against something. Our own selves are reflected back to us in the world; a revolt against that world is a revolt against ourselves. Our selves are much more effective when warts and all are seen, loved and accepted. The same can be said for our external systems. The love I am speaking of is not blind "idiot love"; it is the willingness to see and speak of our darkest shadows. Far from being narcissistic, this love requires humility. In seeing and accepting our darkest parts, we become more whole… and that is the exact change we want for ourselves and the world. Deep change is not necessarily about becoming "better", it is about continuously evolving to greater wholeness.
"A spiritual religion of humanity is the hope of the future. This does not mean what is ordinarily called a universal religion, a system, a thing of creed and intellectual belief and dogma and outward rite. Mankind has tried unity by that means; it has failed and deserved to fail. The inner spirit is indeed one, but the spiritual life insists on freedom and variation in its self-expression and means of development. A religion of humanity means the growing realisation that there is a secret Spirit, a divine Reality, in which we are all one, that humanity is its highest present vehicle on earth, that the human race and the human being are the means by which it will progressively reveal itself here. It implies a growing attempt to live out this knowledge and bring about a kingdom of this divine Spirit upon earth. By its growth within us oneness with our fellow-men will become the leading principle of all our life, not merely a principle of cooperation but a deeper brotherhood, a real and an inner sense of unity and equality and a common life." -- Sri Aurobindo
By bits, I mean digital bits and the words you are about to read are an exploration and a free flow of ideas about sharing things online. Here is a list of some things people share online: photos, recipes, videos, articles, opinions, commentary, personal experiences, events, advice, business, achievements, charity. Initially, I was going to try to categorize all this with a type of sliding scale between surface level sharing and deep (i.e. more meaningful) level sharing. I realized, though, that what seems like a surface level of sharing to one person might be deep and meaningful to another person. Furthermore, a large number of surface level posts might very well add up to something far more meaningful than a few deep level posts. Categorizing everything shared online is not a simple task. However, in trying to understand online sharing I think it is important to examine it from two interrelated perspectives: the perspectives of the individual and the many.
Individuals sharing online can influence the things others see, hear, eat and think about. Being able to influence people on a large scale is an extraordinary power that until recently was held mostly by governments and large media conglomerates. Now, every individual with access to the internet has this power available to them. The level of influence can very depending on an individual's intention but even the most benign sharing, a music video on you-tube for example, has an effect of influence. Essentially, when individuals share online, it connects them to other individuals. As those connections spread, the influence becomes amplified.
The aggregate of many people sharing takes things a step further so that the (somewhat intangible) things being shared become realities reflected back to us in the "real" world. When many people begin to share an idea, that idea becomes a part of the collective consciousness; the idea becomes rooted in our everyday actions, it influences public policy and becomes the basis for our social (and political, and economic) systems. I think it is important to note that some of the ideas shared online will be more evolved, more whole, and more inclusive than others. I believe that these ideas have a greater weight of influence even if they are not initially shared by the majority of people. The more evolved ideas eventually seep into the consciousness of many. For example, the rights of a woman to vote, something we now take for granted, were at one time supported by only a minority of people. Today, the internet has the power to spread more evolved ideas into the collective consciousness at a much higher rate than ever before. It might even be argued that we are now witnessing our own collective evolution occur before our very eyes.
Many wisdom traditions through out the ages have explored the paradoxical concept that the one and the many are the same thing. The word "individual" is itself somewhat a paradox in that the meaning refers to one person as separate from many but the root of the word means undivided. Certain people (Jaron Lanier for example) have argued that the "hive mind" mentality of the internet will be the end of individual creativity. I disagree; when the "yin and yang" (i.e. paradoxical) relationship between the individual and the many is recognized, both the human collective and the individuals within it can be honoured together.
Sharing online is a very powerful tool for expressing ourselves. When that expression has the right intention behind it, it can, as it is embraced and amplified by the many, change the world for the better. This exploration on sharing has left me with a few new questions: What are the barriers (both internally and externally) to my own public self expression online? What, exactly, is it I wish to express and through what mediums should I express it? And, ultimately, in what ways do I want the world to change?
Anyone else remember this commercial?:
This made me laugh. It kind of reminds me of my friend Cam at the Pennywise concert in Portland Oregon circa 1994
I hate to admit it, but this goal made me scream like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert:
Nice to see the now middle age white men still laying down excellent music. The new album is called "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two". I love that they just uploaded the whole album to sound cloud for anyone to listen to in its entirety.
Here's the whole album...Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys
As the Vancouver Canucks prepare for game seven with the Chicago Blackhawks, I can't help but think that the negative energy and pessimistic attitude of Vancouver fans and media has played a role in this teams recent losses.
I have been around sports long enough to know that the energy from not just the crowds at the games but also the fans in the city, plays a huge role in helping or hindering a team. Energy fields are real things and self-fulfilling prophecies are real phenomenons.
An example of how this works to the detriment of the team can be seen with the British world cup football (soccer) team. A plethora of horrible, paparazzi style media in the UK is constantly searching for the slightest issue to turn into a massive negative story. This constant negativity combined with the high expectations of UK football fans creates a highly charged negative atmosphere that constantly hangs over the team. Englands results at World Cups over the last 40 years speak for themselves.
An example of how positive energy from fans and a city can support a team can be found most recently with team Canada's performance at the Olympics. If you were in Vancouver durring the Olympics, then you know that the positive energy that I am talking about is a real thing. Team Canada's win in the hockey gold medal game is now legendary, but without the positive energy that permeated this city, I am convinced that the pressures on the team would have been too great to overcome. The "I believe" campaign worked; we did believe.
I once was part of an Ultimate frisbee team that won the Canadian university championship. We had a skilled team but it was on the mental side that we really excelled. The team openly preached something we called PMA: positive mental attitude. PMA means never getting down, it means staying light and having fun, it means never yelling at a teammate when they make a mistake, it means believing in yourself and your teammates.
Canucks fans that want to see the team win need to embrace a PMA. We need to consider ourselves as part of the team. If you were on the team, would you yell "Luongo, you fucking idiot" if he let in a bad goal? Would you boo and cat call from the bench if things weren't going the teams way? Would you say out loud "Oh no, here we go again, were're going to lose". If you did those things, you would be kicked off the team pretty damn quick.
Of course, as a fan, you have every right to yell and scream whatever you want and to think however you want. But if you want this team to win, then you will be best served thinking the way you'd want the players to think: positively. If you want the players to believe in themselves, then you have to believe in the players... you can't have it both ways.