Social media connects us. We become acquainted with people in cities and countries we will never visit. We build professional networks, collaborate on projects, seek advice, become educated on new topics, and even form meaningful personal relationships. The world is suddenly much larger than our physical sphere of influence. And with this expansiveness comes great responsibility to behave with a universal benevolence.
In an era where messages disappear and feeds constantly update, it takes an extra amount of presence to stay committed to an attitude of love toward others. Judgements are cast and comments are left, often with little regard for the person on the receiving end. Even positive comments can be absent of ahimsa.
Social media, and any online platform that allows interaction between users, really only reveals a glimpse of a specific moment in time. The infinite number of variables that factored into the images we see or the videos we watch are left out of the story.
If we remember how much we really don’t know about what we are viewing we can perhaps be less reactive. If we remember that the individuals in our favorite Udaya video live into a commitment to bring great yoga to good people all over the world, we may be less agitated if they don’t match our preferred demographic or speak the way we wish them to.
If we consider the hundreds of thousands of hours of work that goes into production of our yoga videos, we can see far more than the video. In addition to acknowledging the crew (from set design to camera to editing and everything in between), we can take a moment to offer love to the flight crew that flew us to Bulgaria safely, the housekeeping staff that made our beds at night, the kitchen staff who fed us warm meals, the drivers who got us to the set on time, even the family members who support all of these people that make all of this happen.
Social media is the perfect opportunity for us to expand our repertoire of emotional responses. We often go to Udaya to watch a yoga video to practice asana. But what if we watched the video to become present to the commitment of every single person and animal along the way (including your favorite teacher’s pet cat that stayed home alone during the week of filming)? We might find that non-violent behavior towards others is an easy choice to make.
by Jules Mitchell
Socialize with Jules this summer at UdayaLive, a yoga and music festival in Borovets, Bulgaria.