Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Spiritual Use of Internet Forums

I have come up with a simple exercise that can be used when posting on on-line discussion forums. On-line discussion forums can be a great resource full of different people from different places and cultures sharing insights with everyone else. On the other hand, they often fall into a bickering/fighting/arguing (or so-called “flame threads”) in which nothing is accomplished. This becomes the literary equivalent of two people with their fingers in their ears yelling at each other.

Discussion forums give us the opportunity to practice our spirituality in delayed time with real people. In my mind, it ranks somewhere between real time, real life interactions and just sitting there thinking about it on your own. You are allowed time to think before you reply, you can wait for angry moods to pass, and essentially put your best face forward to the world.

I have found the following exercise very rewarding in expanding my spiritual practice. When I read a post, especially one I disagree with, I ask myself:

Considering this from the other person’s point of view, how can I see that this post is right?
Spiritual teachings of totality tell us that things may exist at the same time without agreement, and neither one is really right or wrong. For one person on the earth, the moon may appear to be the size of the ball. To another standing on the moon, the moon may appear to be a large planet. If the two of them argue, we see this is quite useless. Each of them has a valid view from their perspective, even though they differ. The problem is when each states that their view is the complete or true view.

I find that when I disagree with someone, I have run into a limit in my own mind: my mind is too narrow to see another person’s point of view. By running through this simple exercise, I find that most of the time, I can see a valid point from the other person’s point of view. I find I have much less to disagree with. As a bonus, I find that I have expanded my own consciousness.

Try it and see. Once you practice this on-line, you can also take it into real-life.

1 comment:

  1. I totally love the combination of Dao and Zen. It is such a beautiful combination!:)