Here’s my rant. (Yep. I’ve got one...well, more than one...but...well...): Social media has given our society more opportunities than EVER to network. I think THAT is terrific! Really. In the privacy of our own homes...still clad in jammies (or nothing at all...), unshowered, dirty, smelly...and NO ONE KNOWS! We can even post fake pictures of ourselves. FANTASTIC! But, and, also...it’s easier than ever to offend someone. Especially now. I don’t remember every presidential campaign...but I remember the last one especially well because it was during the Facebook era (well, at least MY Facebook era.) Political opinions were rampantly posted. Friends were “lost” because of some of them. I made a concentrated effort to not post my opinions. But, I did “unfriend” a few because of flagrant abusive comments to ALL who didn’t agree with them.
It’s happening again.
But, this time I’m not as easily offended (by political comments, that is...football is another matter entirely...). I’ve kept ALL my friends (uh. well. at least I haven’t unfriended any) so far. Yay for YOGA! And my sense of humor.
Very recently (like two days ago), I picked up my well-worn copy of the Yoga Sutras (by Swami Satchidananda) and I’m reviewing the 8-limbs of Yoga. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. It’s like reviewing the most obvious directions for good living. Well, “obvious” depending on the translation being read. I own about four or five, but always come back to Sri Satchidananda. “Yama”, the first limb, is comprised of five behaviors...ethics to live by. “Ahimsa”, non-harming, is the first Yama...and, if one lives by that then the rest fall right in line.
Like, the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm...”. The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you”. “Code of Hammurabi” reciprocity as a rule. Epicurus, “It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing 'neither to harm nor be harmed'), and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life." And, the Mahabharata “Hence...by self-control and by making dharma (right conduct) your main focus, treat others as you treat yourself."
Thinking...contemplating, really...what it means to “do no harm” will keep me occupied for a lifetime (or 20). It is more than avoiding physical violence, veganism, and expletive-free language (yikes!)...and, often times might contradict initial instincts. I found I challenged more relationships when I was a vegan because, when they cooked for me I would leave large portions on the plate (perhaps my own fault from the beginning since I didn’t limit my relationships to other vegans...). A simple example, but a good one.
I argue that sometimes the truth is worse than saying nothing. Maybe more than sometimes...how ‘bout “often”. I have a fourteen year old daughter. With wild (and different) taste in fashion. On a morning before school, “Mom, how is this skirt with these thigh high fishnets...?” (an example, not real...) “Uh. Probably not the best choice...” Ack. Catching the drift? Not easy. Made even more challenging with children...harm is subjective depending on maturity. Which varies from kid to kid.
Yay for YOGA!
Ahimsa. Do no harm. Keep your Facebook posts innocuous and shallow...
HA! Just kidding! *whew
but, remember to consider the source. Be compassionate (cuz we all have a story...). And think love. A lot.