Meditationtime Forum Post
Date: Posted 3 years before Jan 11, 2017
chavez 3 years ago
Podcasts, blogging, video-streaming and the many truncated informational websites provide unprecedented opportunities for laypeople to study and learn. But that very accessibility enables what I call the “lowest-common-denominator eclecticism,” or a “cafeteria-style” approach to spirituality. The ability to pick and choose religious teachings without reference to religious authority or community norms can certainly be of interest to the wanna-be Jesus freak, Buddhist inquisitor or a Yogi master. Thus, to answer the question as to whether the digital communication of the 21st century encourages or inhibits spiritual progress, is something for discussion.
The “spiritual” pertains to the soul, the spirit, God, the atheist, and also may refer to religion itself. Spiritual progress entails moving toward a deeper experience and awareness of these intangibles. Spiritual progress can result from education or from experience; it can be collective or individual.
As you follow me, remember, these are my thoughts and observations, so they are in the subjective strand, but with variable objectivity.
So anyway, the potential for spiritual progress through the use of digital communication comes with caveats. By spending more and more time at the computer, whether it be for spiritual guidance or just checking e-mails, the democratic nature of the digital beast I believe, reinforces individualization to the detriment of community itself. Its openness challenges religious authority and devalues spiritual apprenticeship and the ongoing, long-term commitment to mastering esoteric knowledge. Its accessibility yields to the demands of a competitive marketplace as commercialization creeps in, not only for the providers but for the users themselves.
In closing, the responsibility continues to rest, where it always has, upon the shoulders of those committed to spiritual progress in the context of a changing world.
Therefore the question is this, How has digital communication changed and affected your spiritual life?
Alfredo 3 years ago
Thanks for this post, very interesting. I think, like anything else, this is mixed bag, that can affect or help depending on the user, but in general my take is that it is deleterious to the spiritual seeker. Why? Because most users will lack the strong discrimination to stay away (para vairagya), and will constantly fall into the trap of the attraction presented by the over-present digital media.
The danger is indeed in thinking, to our detriment, that the interactions provided by these media connections you mentioned have deep and lasting meaning when they are mostly shallow and flimsy. I am talking from the yoga point of view, basically, Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, where what you get is obtained in the crucible of meditation, hours of meditation, and specifically in mastering Samyama as a tool of deep knowledge.
Thus, verily, the cheap digital media is another type of addiction, that uses our energies in a wasteful manner, and from which, given the onslaught of availability, is very difficult to stay away from.
beverly 3 years ago
Great question! There is no denying that digital communication has affected my spiritual life. I listen to Buddhist lectures in the morning digitally, online I am able to search out techniques, explanations, demonstrations of yoga, meditation, mantras.....the list goes on. It has more easily made available esoteric knowledge & opened up conversations with people near & far.
However, it does not take the place of having a spiritual community close by, I truly miss the fellowship of other practitioners as I am not in an area where I have found many other individuals practicing yoga-breath infusion-meditation. But I have at least found a peaceful vegetarian rural farm community that is trying to incorporate these values. That I am thankful for.
I feel that technology in general has contributed to society's non-communal atmosphere. For instance, without the internet....people are forced to seek out and/or develop a Sangha of their own among the local population. Instead, I see people forming connections to spiritual groups/assemblies primarily through their computers. What would the indigenous American Indian think of the ONLINE SHAMANIC CERTIFICATION PROGRAM? Where one can become a Shaman for a nice price! Where's the apprenticeship & relaying of personal knowledge one must acquire to transform? What if Carlos Castaneda took this approach? hehe
On the other hand, I am TRULY grateful for the digital communication of Meditation Time.......which lead me to meet, get instruction & practice with Yogi Madhvacharya.
Conclusion: Direct experience and hands on practice/technique will always be my preference!......this is all we have if you take away all technology.
Terri Ana 3 years ago
Well, a few generations back, there was no Google. If I wanted to learn something, I would go to the library and look through index pages. It could take hours to search in an index in the library. Today, at the press of a button, we can get anything we want on our laptops. Today's generation is very fortunate to have all the knowledge in the world available in no time. Everything pops up at the tip of your fingers.
Similarly, in the digital age, science is speaking the same language as spirituality (ex: the god particle, different types of space)... it is authenticating spirituality, which means that no generation will be deprived of this higher spiritual knowledge.
chris_hall1951 3 years ago
Namaste to you Chavez!
I think technology is highly over-rated, but for the genuine seeker, I think there will be a protective veil provided by Sweet Providence, surrounding the said individuals who are genuinely seeking the Truth, and thus for them the computer will not be a tool that will lead to the expansion of their already delusional views of theirselves and the Universe.
For the idiot, the computer would further their idiocy, but for the genius it would simply be a tool for the expression of their genius.
More choices doesn't make one smarter, if anything it could cause more confusion.
If an idiot has more choices, that could be a source of expanded confusion, but a genuinely intelligent person would know what choices to choose amongst a large amount of choices.
Because information is readily available, doesn't mean that the individual has the intelligence to process it correctly, or to utilize it in a manner that would be factually beneficial and not supposedly beneficial when in fact it was to their detriment.