A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Being alone in a crowded world

You hear in the news about how with all the new technology to communicate, that people feel even less connected, today then 20 years ago. We have the internet, chat, sms, mobile phones, Facebook, email, thousands of dating sites, chat rooms yet people are lonely. I remember when you went to a coffee shop and people talked to each other. Today go into a Starbucks and unless they came in as a group they barely make eye contact. Before the technology and mega malls, we shopped in our neighborhood, we saw the same faces regularly.  We went to gatherings or special days at the Temple, Wat or Church. Today look at a busy city street, people are rushing along, chatting to the same few friends on the cellphone as they walk, or replying to emails. Perhaps they use Foursquare or one of the other apps that lets everyone know where we are, by checking in via our smartphone. If we only keep in touch with the same small circle of friends, how will we meet anyone new. Yes these are valid ways to meet someone we otherwise would not have met, but how about that cute lay two seats over at Starbucks, the one with the beautiful smile. The point I am making is live in the present, if we fins someone that appeals to us, make an effort to get to know them, whether on-line or in person. A relations ship is like 2 pieces of Velcro coming together. If there are enough connections then it is hard to tear the two apart. When we make an effort we can meet people, the question is are we trying to make connections between us, or are we here to collect a million friends on Facebook who we never really know. Make a new friend, treat them the way you want to be treated. Say hello to your current friends this week, in person if possible, or on-line if the distance is too great. A phone company used to have the slogan “Reach out and touch someone” as part of their advertising, it’s good advice even now. Say hello, how have you been? Have a conversation with as many friends as you can this week, I mean a real conversation, not a two line chat. Practice a state of Metta to all you know, and perhaps to that someone you meet, at work, on the bus or even the grocery store, remember they are probably just as alone in this crowded world as you are.

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