This is a Dharma Glimpse that I originally presented on 11/3/19 as a participant in the Lay Ministry program of the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism
There is an old saying: “Take a picture, it will last longer”. This phrase is often tossed around when one person is gazing at something or someone else continuously, perhaps in a manner which may be perceived as rude or disrespectful. “Take a picture, it will last longer”. But at what possible cost does this approach come?
At the time I am writing this it is Halloween and I am preparing to head back out to work to drive the students I transport to and from school each day. No doubt they will all be looking for different opportunities to take pictures whether they are at a party, trick or treating or some other event – and the same could be said about most people in this contemporary day of social media where it could be suggested that a large amount of people wish to either share or memorialize virtually every aspect of their lives. Social media has done wonderful things for society and proves to be a great way to back up photos, videos and other digital forms of events and memories. Unfortunately, it can easily be said that far too often many of us may live for the the act of creating that media-sharing opportunity to the extent that we dull the experience itself – whatever that action or event may be.
As I look back at old social media posts or other old photos from past years I find that while many do allow me to relish in memories of evemts and old friends of the seemingly distant past there are many others that I recall very little of if at all. Former classmates, old participants in the cadet program I was enrolled in throughout high school, various church members I never knew well – many of these appear to be people that I wouldn’t have immediately recognized if I had met them on the street. This discovery leads me to believe that while I do have some “physical” evidence of the event, I did not consciously live the event to its fullest extent or level of participation. Rather, I was likely more fixated upon the ability to relive these instances in the future or the social media status I may gain from a great post. How frequently can it be said that we are trying to relive the past or live for a particular projected future? What are we missing out on in life?
While the various forms of media are wonderful innovations and have contributed to the progress of humanity at an immeasurable level, they are no substitute for the “real” experience of mindfully living in the present moment. This Halloween I won’t be making a fancy status showing off movies I’m watching or spooky food I may be eating. Rather than being occupied with how I want to remember this day or how others may perceive my activities socially, I will simply enjoy the holiday by living in the present moment and work on shifting my mind to this as a perspective to try to hold throughout each day.