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HomeMeditationAware instruments for overcoming social media dependancy (The Social Media Sutra, Introduction)

Aware instruments for overcoming social media dependancy (The Social Media Sutra, Introduction)

Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash


In late 2019 I recorded a sequence of talks for “Tricycle” journal. These mentioned how instruments from the Buddhist custom may help us to beat social media dependancy and web dependancy. The talks didn’t seem on-line till January of the next 12 months however within the meantime I believed I’d flip my notes right into a sequence of articles. There are six in complete — this introduction plus one article for every of the 5 instruments.

I’ve expanded somewhat on what I stated in these talks. Due to course as quickly as you give a chat you notice all of the issues you could possibly have stated however didn’t!

Listed here are hyperlinks to Half 1, Half 2, Half 3, Half 4, and Half 5.

My title is Bodhipaksa, and I’m an addict

I put my hand up as being a social media addict. Due to the way in which I educate, I spend a whole lot of time on-line. And due to that I’ve needed to cope with getting sucked into social media. Like most individuals I carry a so-called “cellphone” round with me, though it’s a tool that I rarely use for making cellphone calls on. As a substitute it’s a type of glass portal that results in a world of countless distraction.

So, spending a whole lot of time on-line, and carrying round a tool that allowed me to try this any time I wished, I’d usually discover myself spending approach an excessive amount of time on the web. My work would endure, and generally I’d keep up too late, studying fascinating articles, normally about science and psychology. What I used to be studying was good, however I simply couldn’t cease, and I’d find yourself depriving myself of sleep.

Typically there have been “bonus” issues—for instance after I’d get entangled in on-line disputes. These wouldn’t solely give rise to anger, however would generally depart me feeling fairly anxious, in order that my coronary heart would pound after I was logging in to my social media accounts. Or I’d discover that I’d crave consideration. I discovered myself logging in, anxious about whether or not my posts had been “favored” or shared. All of those are, after all, types of struggling.

Utilizing the Buddha’s teachings to beat dependancy

I don’t very like struggling, so the query naturally arose for me, “How can my Buddhist observe assist me with dependancy to on-line actions?”

I’m going to share a number of the instruments I’ve discovered helpful, in case you’ve comparable patterns of getting hooked on-line.

On the time I wrote these six articles, I had principally received the higher of my addictions, though I struggled generally with spending an excessive amount of time on Twitter, which had a foul impact on my psychological states. I’m joyful to say that as I continued to observe the strategies you’ll study right here, I managed to disengage from Twitter as effectively.

What Is Social Media Dependancy?

First, although, what do I imply by social media dependancy? I don’t imply merely having fun with utilizing social media. I imply dependancy within the sense of the compulsive use of social media regardless of it having dangerous penalties for ourselves and others. Compulsion signifies that we really feel uncontrolled: have nice issue stopping ourselves. Compulsion signifies that the considered quitting might result in powerfully disagreeable emotions. Often compulsion results in disgrace, and we grow to be dishonest about simply how addicted we’re.

I’m going to make use of the time period “social media” in a reasonably broad approach. I don’t simply imply social media websites like Fb or Twitter. What I say might effectively have relevance for individuals who discover themselves hooked on on-line video games, and even who discover themselves compulsively checking the information.

In regards to the Social Media Sutra

The Buddha after all didn’t say something in regards to the web or social media. However he did have quite a bit to say about coping with and overcoming compelling patterns of thought and habits. There’s one discourse, or sutta, specifically that I feel provides a superb overview of the richness of the instruments that he supplied us. It’s the Vitakkasanthana Sutta, which I’d translate because the “Discourse on Quieting Pondering.”

Vitakka means “considering” and santhana actually means a resting place, and by extension means “finish, stopping, cessation.”

“Pondering” right here doesn’t imply simply the interior sound of us speaking to ourselves, and even imagined imagery. Pondering consists of the urges which might be entangled with these ideas. The truth is, generally you’ll act on an urge with out having any verbal thought in any respect. You simply end up choosing up your cellphone and opening a social media app. There isn’t essentially any interior speak accompanying these actions. However the urge that makes you choose up your cellphone is, in Buddhist phrases, a “thought.”

So, basically, this discourse is about letting go of unhelpful urges, or unhelpful habits.

Most individuals perceive the Vitakkasanthana to be speaking about quieting unhelpful urges within the context of meditation, however the discourse itself doesn’t point out meditation, and the rules it outlines can be utilized in any context in our lives, together with after we’re on social media. In a approach you could possibly consider the Vitakkasanthana Sutta because the Social Media Sutra.

5 Instruments

The discourse presents 5 instruments. The sutta itself suggests that you simply begin with the primary one. If that doesn’t work you give the subsequent one a attempt, and so forth.

To provide you an summary of the 5 instruments:

  1. We swap our consideration from unskillful or unhelpful patterns or exercise to extra skillful or useful patterns.
  2. We look at the drawbacks of your unhealthy urges, particularly as contrasted with more healthy ones.
  3. We merely ignore or turning away from our unskillful urges. We don’t make any effort to do away with them, but additionally we don’t act on them or permit our consideration to be drawn into them. I’ve framed this principally by way of holding the triggers for our addictions out of web site and out of thoughts.
  4. We grow to be conscious of the causes and situations which might be bringing our unhelpful urges into being, in order that we will forestall them arising within the first place.
  5. We use sheer willpower to beat our addictive urges. This may really be far more delicate than it sounds! The perfect use of willpower is when it doesn’t really feel like we’re utilizing willpower.

For every software there’s an illustration. A few of these are participating and instructive, though some others aren’t so instantly useful.


The 5 approaches above present us with a powerful assortment of instruments for overcoming addictive behaviors, in addition to the anger, anxiousness, and so forth that accompany them. I’ll be going by means of every in flip, telling you what the Buddha stated (together with the illustrations he gave), and making the instruments sensible.

That’s it for right this moment. I hope you’ll take pleasure in this sequence of weblog posts.

Click on right here to learn in regards to the first software, Pivoting Towards the Skillful.


Discover any addictive patterns of habits round your social media use. What struggling does it result in? In what methods does your compulsion manifest?  Is giving up social media one thing you may experiment with, even for a day or two? For those who can’t do this, discover what’s stopping you. What’s your expertise like in the event you do quit social media for a brief interval? Do you expertise pleasure? Aid? Craving? Anxiousness?


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