How Social Media Can Be Used to Elevate Consciousness
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi, 13th-century poet/ scholar/theologian/Sufi mystic
By and large, human beings have an extremely difficult time being human. This was clearly displayed by psychologists from the University of Virginia in 2014. In a landmark study, the researchers tested to see if people preferred negative stimulation over no stimuli at all. Over the course of 11 studies, it was uncovered that most people cannot stand to be alone with their thoughts. When left alone for 6 – 15 minutes, 67% of male subjects and 25% of female subjects opted to give themselves an electrical shock during the “thinking period.”
The results were clear and the researchers reached a conclusion:
“Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.”
You might be thinking that it sounds absurd for people to have such an antagonistic relationship with their own minds. Absurd or not, this is our reality. On average, people check their phones 85 times per day. This is a clear sign that folks are actively using technology as a form of escapism; a way of ignoring the mind’s constant storytelling. Many of these obsessive phone-checking moments aren’t about texting, their about social media; these platforms now consume 30% of all time spent online. What if people could use this “escapism” as a way to elevate their consciousness and connect with something far greater than any one individual?
Social media has come to dominate a large portion of people’s lives:
Facebook has nearly 2 billion users – over a quarter of the global population. 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day. Each day, 1 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube. Rather than write-off these platforms as frivolous destinations for shallow shares, social media holds a lot of potential for depth and connection. Three is a silver lining here. Social media provides people (especially those who may be experiencing a spiritual crisis) with unprecedented and unbridled access to a vast ocean of information, tools, and insights that could otherwise be extremely difficult for to uncover based on their geographic location, economic status, and other personal variables.
Without social media, the incredible benefits of meditation, yoga, tai chi, or similar concentrations might never be discovered by a teenager living in Ohio. Those suffering from debilitating mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and PTSD might never uncover the miraculous effects of various plant medicines. Innovative and impactful tools like sensory deprivation tanks might seem strange and scary to those who have never encountered content about its uses and effects.
This kind of information can be a catalyst for a profound spiritual shift; or at the very least, help them cope with their current challenging circumstances.
It’s not just the information and shared wisdom featured on social media platforms that can be the spark that starts the fire of healing and spiritual awakening. It’s about the people, too.
Communities Come Together
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is how small it makes the world seem. You can connect to just about anyone. This benefit is shared by nearly everyone who engages in a digital community and develops connections with its members. Such a congregation can provide support for those who are struggling through the awakening process, act as a lighthouse when they get lost, supply guidance when they feel stuck, and provide a general sense of worthiness and connectedness with others.
Additionally, these communities typically share deeper knowledge of spirituality and its various flavors and practices in the form of blogs, videos, infographics, slide shares, etc., than one might be prone to discover on their own. This, in itself, can help point an individual in a direction that resonates with them and their greater purpose in life. One of the best parts of social media’s easy access to this planet of people means that there is a community sure to fit anyone’s interests, needs, and desires. We can all find our online tribe.
What may be even more important is that social media now has to capability to connect people with local communities who are centered on these same principals. This is extremely vital as digital relationships – while important in their own right – are not a substitute for real-life interactions. But they are a sacred part of our current connectivity, and they can lead to deeply intimate and life-changing relationships.
The Highest Ways to Use Social Media
Not everyone uses social media as a way to connect with loved ones and new and interesting people, discuss compelling concepts in a productive manner, and share vital information with one another. And that’s OK. Many use it as a megaphone to shout down the ideas others, to shine a spotlight on a false representation of their lives, and some even use it merely as a means to “troll” others.
Like most everything in life, social media is not good, nor bad; it is merely an instrument. The moral aspect comes from how an individual chooses to leverage it. Even Shakespeare recognized this truth when he stated, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” A great number of those who have undergone a genuine spiritual awakening use these tools as a means of infection; a way to transmit positivity and inspiration to others. They often act as a candle on a dimly lit path, showing others the way.
Spirituality is not some esoteric construct of mystical ideas and forces. Instead, it is a humble investigation into what is true. This is what many seekers are led to by spiritual “influencers;” what is true about right now and how to use that information to lead a happier and more meaningful life. This is the power that social media holds. It can be an engine that drives personal transformation, spiritual awakening, connectedness, and inspired actions. The key to achieving this, however, lies in how you choose to curate your feed and show up in the world.
Good luck out there, spiritual seekers. Give us your best.