"When I forget my ways, I am in The Way"

Philosophical and experiential notes on Nothingness, with supporting insights from martial arts, quantum physics and Taoism

06 August 2016

The monastery and social media

I recently closed the monastery’s G+ site.

Before G+ the monastery was on Facebook. Both times I was wondering if it were possible to use social media to convey the spirit of what the monastery represents, at least to me. While the experience of both FB and G+ have been personally positive, I’ve had a bit of a realization - which is mainly what prompted me to get off G+.

The Monastery of Nothingness, I’ve realized, is more a personal statement, perhaps more of a one-man monastery, than I had considered. As the website states, “The monastery is in you.”

I've been increasingly uncomfortable with the whole notion of promoting spirituality. Not the concept, but the promotional aspects. Particularly the parts that make people whisper or scream, "Hey, look over here! Here's how you're supposed to be living!"

For me, the monastery is a place to remind me of what is inside of me, Mark Walter. While I might sometimes refer to it as the Nothingness, it really is nothing more than a reference to the quiet, still spot within us, the spot out of which, in my opinion, creativity and thought itself emerge. But too often we think of that emptiness as a dark space or a void - as in something to be avoided. 

I see a lot of avoidance behavior in my life. I keep trying to improve it within my own self, but it can be a very stubborn thing to move. So when I see others struggling, I do my best to say, "Yeah, I get that."

"Independent inquiry is needed in your search for truth, not dependence on anyone else's view or a mere book." - Bruce Lee

That being said, I respect people who approach spirituality as if the term and concept itself doesn't exist. Call it what you will or don't call it anything at all. To me, in my better moments, it can be as simple as doing my best to be a decent person. The fundamental essence of life is less about the pursuit of purpose and objectives, and more about the art of living.

Which brings me back around to social media. While I've met a number of decent people on social media, I'm not happy with how social media amplifies dysfunction, or how it empowers insidious, competitive behaviors. And all the attention seeking. Too often, social media brings out the mundane, and even the worse in us. And I'm just not into that. I don't see the point. And I've decided I don't want to be around it if I have a choice.

Getting back to my original and unachieved goals on social media, there are some things in life that cannot be learned through endless quippy-ness or pop-tart posting. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings has summarized my thoughts quite succinctly:

"We've been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it."

So sign me off, at least for now. I'm plenty content to put up my little sketches, or to quietly write over on Medium.