4 Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Facebook Newsfeed
Recently, after all the political stuff going on, I asked myself: is my time on Facebook supporting my mindful practice?
After about 2 seconds, I realized that was a resounding ‘no’.
Honestly, my time on Facebook oscillates between boredom and comment threads, neither of which really serves my peace of mind very well. So what’s a mindful person to do? I’ve heard lots of people say that just deleting Facebook off your phone is the best path to take. It keeps you from going down the ‘rabbit hole’, and hence keeps your mind clear. But that’s not the balanced, Buddhist approach. After all, Facebook serves a great purpose; it brings together friends and family in incredibly new and exciting ways. So how do we take that perspective and apply it to our social media?
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1) Real Mindfulness
The beginning of mindfulness is grounding yourself into a non-judgemental awareness. You can do this easily by just focusing on the breath as your performing your daily activities. But this is just the first step and one that is important to understand in the context of the whole practice. If you were to just stop here and become a neutral observer in everything you do, you’d become a zombie! The whole point is to create an ‘open awareness’ you can use to engage with the moment in a mindful way that works for your values.
To apply this to Facebook, just start by focusing on your breath. You can even try this now by taking a deep breath. Notice how it creates a heightened sense of awareness. Now from this place, you can mindfully engage.
Mindlessly scrolling through Facebook is pretty much the exact opposite definition of mindfulness, so we know that’s out. So what do we do instead? If you want to laugh, laugh — but do it intentionally. Go to cat pages and laugh. Find trusted news sources to raise your awareness (a difficult task, I know). Or maybe tell a friend you haven’t seen in a while you miss them. The key is to make a choice, not have it thrown in your face. Being mindful is also paying attention to how much time you spend on social media. Try to be aware of hours slipping away when you could be doing something else that’s more fulfilling.
2) Love and Compassion
There’s absolutely zero doubt that love and compassion are necessary facets of life everyone craves. And there’s also little doubt that these cornerstones of Buddha’s teachings should be practiced everywhere — including Facebook!
It might sound cheesy, but it’s true. Next time you see an angry friend on Facebook, reach out with a personal message and ask how they are going and if they are ok. Offer an ear that listens and a heart that cares. Social media is a legitimate form of communication, like talking or writing; and you can be loud, opinionated and righteous but you can also be diplomatic, empathetic and show loving kindness and support for others at every turn.
Nearly every emotion can be recognized, channeled and transformed into understanding, love, bliss and wisdom. It takes practice and the initial mindfulness to create the space to engage in the transformation but it is worth it and turns Facebook into a powerful tool for enlightenment.
“Who am I?” is perhaps one of the most important spiritual questions we can ask ourselves. Finding the real self or at least the real illusion of our imagined self is the final goal of many ancient spiritual traditions.
As you scroll down your news feed ask yourself the simple question – who is scrolling? is it your fingers? is it your mind? or is it something else? If it’s my fingers, whose fingers exactly? do ‘my’ fingers belong to some other inner entity that controls them? or if you respond with ‘my mind’. Whose mind? who is the one watching the mind? who is the one aware of thoughts?
Often this level of inquiry completely silences the mind. When a deafening silence comes over you try and take a moment to rest in the silence, dwell on it and immerse yourself into it. It is this inner emptiness, an inner void so full of presence and a sense of identity yet so spacious and boundless; so undefinable and also unfindable with our normal perceptions.
If you incorporate these 4 tips, you’re bound to have better success with your time on Facebook! Remember, it all comes down to the way you approach it. Funny thing is..I think I wrote this for me more than I did for you haha.
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