Facebook is becoming the face of the nation...and of much of the world. About 1 billion people are now active users, with half a billion posting each day. On the one hand, Facebook is a blessing. We can share parts of our lives with friends and loved ones around the world: a photo of an exuberant child enjoying a day with grandma, the latest video of your dog at the park, or a picture of your latest culinary masterpiece that makes every reader's mouth water. I am grateful for the ability to stay so immediately connected with what is happening in the lives of people far and near.
And yet, there is a downside because Facebook is also an addictive ego trip consuming countless hours of our lives. I've been listen to my own internal dialog as I browse through posts. Here's some of what I hear within:
- Wow! Look at how many people liked my post...they like me, they really like me!
- Hmmmm, I wonder why no one commented on or shared my post? Did I say something offensive or was it just not that interesting?
- He needs a filter. That was way too much information.
- I'm doing or looking fantastic/pathetic in comparison to....
- I can't believe the ignorance of these people I've known since elementary school.
My internal chatter sounds like the din of a middle school cafeteria. My little ego wants recognition, approval, and to be proved right and superior. And Facebook is the perfect venue for my ego to play out its addictive games in pursuit of those pusillanimous yet very human drives.
This morning I brought my Facebook experience into my prayer/meditation time. I let go of all that was arising for me: my desire to be approved as evidenced by people liking and sharing my posts, my comparison of myself to others on Facebook, and my anger about what I perceive to be narrow-minded, closed-hearted posts from people I grew up with.
Over and over again, I acknowledged, owned up to, accepted and then released these ego trips into the divine spaciousness within. As I did a realization arose. Facebook had become my prayerbook. I then prayed for my loved ones and for those childhood friends whose posts had offended me. I prayed for our country and our world in light of both the beauty and the ignorance I had seen on Facebook. I prayed for my own beauty to be revealed and my own ignorance to be lifted. And then I let go; I let go of my needs, my self-righteousness, and of Facebook itself and experienced a deep peace, freedom and wholeness.
I intend to return to Facebook with a different posture. While I'll still share and read and like and post, I'll also use it as my book of prayers for all the faces behind those electronic posts. I'll use it as a mirror to reflect those patterns within myself that I will bring to my meditation and prayer time for healing and release. And, of course, I'll take it less seriously. After all, it's just an online middle school cafeteria. Might as well have some laughs, spend fewer minutes there, and move on.
Oh, and even though I know Facebook is just a glorified middle school cafeteria, I still hope you'll like and share my post. Everyone else is doing it.
P.S. Please join us for the new series of day retreats I'll be leading this fall, and/or spread the word to those you think might be interested. Details are on the Classes page. Thank you!