‘There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.’ – Hermann Hesse
A while back a social media savvy friend advised me to “like” my own posts because it raised my profile or visibility or something. At the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be more visible and I wasn’t sure I didn’t feel stupid praising my own and every declaration in the media but I gave it a shot anyway and found a certain and unexpected sense of gratification upon clicking “like”. More significantly I felt a sense of closure that appeared to come from feeling appreciated. My approval had more merit than I had realized.
Sweet Emily, my social media guru came by today to help me create a Facebook page for bitchin yoga. I clicked the “like” button when the page went up and nothing happened. Emily said;
“Hmmm, I don’t think you can like yourself”.
What! That is unacceptable.
I had grown accustomed to myself.
I’ve been taking notes and taking note for most of my life, a small notebook usually in my pocket or purse since my teens. My comments have given me immense satisfaction; for no eyes other than mine.
I don’t know why I was recently reminded of a note I made a lifetime ago on a hot day outside my third floor walk- up by the East River in Manhattan. But it came on the heels of feeling lousy that some pieces I’d posted recently on Elephant Journal hadn’t gotten much attention.
Taking out the garbage on that Manhattan morning I’d been assaulted at the foot of the stairs by wet summer heat and a fly covered sweating baggy of dog shit perched on the lid of the garbage can. New York City law obliged you to clean up after your dog but in that moment I noted that the terrible offence of baking plastic covered dog shit tossed in my way was far worse than something left unadorned on the tired patch of grass beside it.
It was nothing much; a moment, a remark in a worn red leather notebook but I thought it was funny and I enjoyed it. What if I had published that observation and no one got it? Or thought I was insane or weird? What then of my satisfaction? What of the satisfaction of a lifetime of commentary?
I considered the verses on Karma yoga in the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, that are an admonition to do the work suited to one’s essential nature without attachment to the results. In a new world where one is measured by virtual visibility and the barometer of one’s importance is called status and determined by numbers it is easy to be uneasy.
Writings and posts liked or commented on gives instant pleasure but liking them oneself gives what Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras describes as santosa or contentment. And contentment absolutely trumps pleasure’s fleeting vanity. It took some experience to understand that in the context of internet interaction but the lesson is learned.
Bitchin yoga declares itself content and contented. The circle is complete but wide enough to embrace you. Welcome.