We talk so much about discernment when it comes to information coming to you, and probably nowhere near enough about when that information comes from you.
Your discernment work isn’t done the instant you’ve processed information.
Maybe it’s a generational, or cultural, or whatever kind of thing. Maybe it’s one of those “dammit, human,” things. But there’s so much information that you just do not have to share when it comes to your personal practice. And there is a definite difference in the mentality regarding how information is shared, what sense of authority it’s shared with, etc. when I compare online communities to real-life communities.
But I’m ragging on the internet Heathens, here. Because the internet is where you claim to ferociously guard your privacy while spewing deeply personal thoughts. We all do it. My blog is pseudonymous and I share weird stuff here. I’m extremely guilty of Doing The Thing.
But I post very few of the more ~*woo*~ things that happen in my practice to this blog. The Bird Harassment Saga and the There is More To Be Done anecdotes only made it onto the blog because there was a broader, relevant point that I thought was important to share. And it wouldn’t have made any sense to post these things without the–frankly, silly and very weird–backstories.
Also, to a certain extent, word count. So I’m not blameless. But vanity’s a dumb excuse.
And that’s my main concern. It was part of where “Prestige and Puppy Love” was headed, but the idea behind it hadn’t been fully developed when that one went live.
Even if you are absolutely certain of what you’ve experienced, and you’ve done the work to confirm what you’ve experienced, you don’t have to share things. In all honesty, you usually shouldn’t. I’ve already said my piece about how UPG is unverified and personal.
At the very least, there should be some kind of cost-benefit analysis going on before you blast your ideas in front of the gods and everyone.
Who’s benefiting from your disclosure? You, or your listener? Are you looking for feedback or help? Are you providing help? Is this about a mutual effort to foster spiritual growth?
Or is the only thing flourishing your own ego?
So much of what I see thrown into the internet void is bizarre at the absolute best, whether that be because it’s an entirely foreign combination of concepts, runs in direct opposition to established beliefs, or is all over the place. Viewers and readers, naturally, find themselves doubtful or annoyed. But that doubt or annoyance is greeted with hostility.
What did you expect to happen?
No, really. What were you trying to get out of the interaction? What script were you hoping people would follow when you blurted something out? The anger at not getting a reaction you were hoping for is because of an expectation, however unconscious and hard to spot, that you were going to get a certain kind of response. You probably wanted validation or attention, and you didn’t get it.
And it is okay to want these things. (There you go! Validation!) But these are not things that other people are required to give you just because they’re present.
Expecting someone to pay attention to you, and validate you by default, when you don’t take the time to pick the appropriate person to give you these things, is squarely in the realm of A You Problem.
And possibly a control problem, to boot.
Why did you feel the need to share something in a setting as wide open and uncontrollable as the internet, if you were only hoping for a specific outcome? Why did everyone likely to stumble upon it have to know about it?
And why is validation necessary, anyway?
This isn’t even necessarily a “don’t do the thing” post. I’m not the boss of you, and I’m sure there’s plenty of people who will be more than happy to remind me of that fact. (And, well, in posting this I sign up for that kind of response.)
Rather, the call to action here is to think carefully before you share a belief, a fleeting thought, a snippet of UPG and so on. When I lament the way a conversation went to my therapist, he often asks me “what was the goal of that interaction?”
That’s the main thing I’m hoping to pass on. What is your goal when sharing ~*woo*~ online? Who benefits from the interaction? Are you open to the possible outcomes? Why or why not?
There’s a handful of people I speak to very frankly about weird, unverifiable ~*woo*~ things. I choose them for their experience, their openness, and for the fact that the setting is private and they’re trustworthy.
The things you share on the internet about your practice can and will cross the paths of people who are unreceptive at best, and eager to mock you or harm you at worst. Know who you’re talking to.
But more importantly, know why.
Prestige and Puppy Love, to which this post is probably the disappointing sequel. (And has some ~*woo*~ in it, to boot.)
On the Responsibility of Harsh Truths, which touches on other forms of disclosure.
The Merit of Teachable Moments, on when disclosure benefits everybody.