“Stand back a bit, and you see that a new identity is being formed, a global ‘we’ that anyone can participate in.” – The Mideast Protests, Social Networks & the Global Brain
There are positive and negative perspectives of the increasingly evident rise in awareness with social networks being blamed and lauded as the catalyst for this current global cultural shift. Online communities are helping people connect and share inspirational stories along with methods of how to become more awakened or aware. In my recent article, Yoga has the power to change lives I gave an example of a Phoenix based organization, Conscious Community Yoga who is stepping outside the virtual world to help create supportive communities and teach methods of mindfulness and self-improvement for those most in need through the practice of Yoga. For people and organizations like this one, social networking can be a powerful tool to help gain further support for a genuinely good cause.
There are other patterns of thinking however that can also be perpetuated throughout society that are not as healthy and not as genuine. In the blog, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” the writer, (who is a male specializing in women’s studies), gives examples of how society in general has a certain view of women and how this pattern of thinking can be seen when a woman is told to “Relax” or is told that she is over-reacting when she is feeling the emotional distance from a partner or the dominance of an over-bearing boss. The article discusses this process as “Gaslighting”, “No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.” This is just one example of an unhealthy pattern that is being perpetuated.
Realizing that information, knowledge, and societal norms are increasing at a rate that is difficult to fathom because of the internet, how we choose to use the information and knowledge we acquire needs its own delicate balance. In the earlier example of using Yoga and mindfulness there are those who are resistant to meditation because the examples of people they see learning mindfulness through meditation are not the examples they consider to be positive. In the article, Meditation and the False Lure of Zoning Out the writer points out that there are those who meditate to escape, similar in the way they would escape through using sex, alcohol or doing drugs; there is no difference for some. Meditating is a way for them to continue to avoid problems or emotional trauma or pain with the veil of self-improvement or mindfulness.
If the goal in self-improvement through meditation and/or prayer is true mindfulness then, as the earlier mentioned article brings out, a person will have an increase in empathy, be more attuned, and more contingent. This means that the person would actually feel more connected to others, especially those closest to them, not alienated. The person would have a deeper understanding of other people’s feelings and perspectives without their own feelings and wants interfering or causing emotional outbursts or emotional distancing. If the path of self-improvement has you feeling more alienated or distanced, then perhaps discuss with those closest to you what their impression of your changes has been and be sincerely mindful to their feedback and resist the urge to be defensive or argumentative. True self-improvement means knowing sincere altruism, genuine concern for others and less selfishness.
If you are interested in more help with trauma or pain, or need help with any chosen method of escape, or you are experiencing any of these issues in any of your relationships, please seek out professional assistance.