Facebook IconSo. I must admit. I WAS on Facebook. It seemed to be the happening thing, so I wanted to know what was happening about it. Before I knew how it worked, I posted all sorts of things, some funny, some ridiculous, some serious, some, I must admit, embarrassing. As this was happening I was noticing that some people wanted to “friend” me. Also, some people decided to “unfriend” me. I decided I would start being more careful about what I posted: I hated it when people “unfriended” me. It made me feel bad.

On the other side of the coin, I loved it when someone “liked” one of my posts. And if they left a comment, wow! In two weeks I became addicted. I added the Facebook app to my phone so I could be apprised, in real time, of posts that others made, and comments or likes they made of mine.

After a couple of months, I discovered that if I “liked” other people’s posts, they would be more likely to “like” mine! So cool! I became a “like” master!

I soon found that some of my, so called “friends” really weren’t in line with my way of thinking about things, so I pressed the button to disconnect them with my Facebook life. Then, when I reviewed my “Friends” list, I discovered that some had left me. That made me feel bad. Why? I again decided I would be more careful about what I posted on my “timeline.” Really careful. I finally discovered that if I posted only things that weren’t about myself, there was no problem. No problem at all. Some people would “like” it. That’s it. I really WANTED people to like my posts though, so I spent a lot of time searching out cool things to put on my page. Over the next while I found people were less and less responding to my posts.

That made me feel bad. Why?

What I haven’t told you is that I am a Zen Buddhist. Well, at least I thought I was. When, after several months of social media, I started to look at what I was doing I was, well, disgusted with myself. I had become an emotional servant of Facebook. Instead of spending time on the cushion I found myself at the computer looking through my list of “friends’” posts and giving my opinions on them then waiting so see what they would think of my opinion. My phone became a useful tool for that too. Wherever I was I could check in, and even get instant notifications. Going to the toilet even became more interesting. While sitting there I could sometimes even chat with people on messenger and they would have no idea where I was or what I was doing. It was a little secret that made me laugh surreptitiously.

Then one day something happened. My mind fell back to a hua-tou I had been working with before I got going with Facebook – “what is this?” I started looking at my interaction with Facebook and inquiring into not just what I was doing, but why I was doing it. I wanted to feel liked. I wanted to feel connected to people. I wanted people to know how smart and clever I was. This was all about me. My ego. It was the farthest thing from Zen I could possibly spend my time doing. So I deleted my Facebook account. Just went in, found the button for that, and click. It was SO easy!

Now when people ask me if I’m on Facebook I tell them, “no” and let them figure out for themselves why that might be.