George Pagan

Protecting Our Inner Experience (Social Media edition)

Greetings family.

Long time no correspondence. Per usual,  I’ve been in deep reflection and taking time to renew my connection to peace and inspiration. It’s been a challenging, productive, and insightful few weeks because of that. I feel good; hope you all are too.

As I’m coming out of my healing process, I’m entering what I call the “clarity” chapter of my life. I won’t go into details about what that entails, but it has to do with building my inner temple (psyche, soul expression, and creative pursuits) and finally starting to fully express my life purpose – both physically and spiritually.

With that said, I want to talk a bit about my relationship with social media. It’s been a bit of a challenge, but it’s really not that serious. What I’m merely doing is trying to understand how our global culture and human experience is changing as technology and connection balloon throughout Mother Earth.

There’s a fine balance between curating our lives for the outside world (to effectively communicate the parts of us that we want to show) and completely identifying with our digital avatars through social media (or any other medium). Often times our digital representations become more important than our IRL (in real life) experiences, when really our social media avatars are just one of our sub-identities, or the different parts of our identity that we created to interact with different parts of our outside world.

Our sub-identities include our jobs, relational roles, the way we dress, social media profiles, etc. Our sub-identities are ultimately external reflections of a single desire within all of us: to connect.

All other desires stem from this primal need for intimacy (not strictly in the romantic or emotional sense, but in a much more fundamental way). We all need to feel this connection – to our community, to our self, to our Source of life. Much like a plant cannot sustain itself once uprooted, we too must remain connected on all levels to be deeply nourished.

All other needs, including the need to procure resources (money), the need to self-actualize (attention, self-worth, personal expression), and the need for security (beliefs, purpose, freedom from danger, consistency, social acceptance), are all external to this One Need deeply embedded us.

Now, back to the topic at hand.

Social media is an incredible platform that has the power to reach numerous people with little to no resources (though the days of needing such minimal requirements may be numbered due to evolving algorithms and growing incentives for monetization).

But It seems our entire human experience is shifting as we give more importance to our external experience, as we use our gadgets to collect, capture, or “possess” the moment, rather than being fully present to the FELT experience.

What I mean by this is that we’re limiting our moment to moment experience by being inside our heads versus being in the moment. We’re more worried about what we seem to be doing than what we are actually doing. How mind boggling and ironic.

I have struggled with this issue myself. And though I know that the increase in augmented reality is a natural progression of our times, as a highly sensitive empath, I feel a great need to protect my inner experience.

I often delight in immersing myself within all the sensory, emotional, spiritual, and mental connections that form at a million miles a second while I interact with and co-create my outside world through the complex narrative of my inner world. It is almost impossible to do that if I am constantly on my phone trying to document or curate my life.

With that said, there are people that welcome this new way of experiencing life. I, on some level, do as well. I love taking and curating photos and experiences, and I understand the need to do so if one is to properly utilize social media as a business or creative platform.

I concede that this tool is essential for my business. But some know me as a notorious iconoclast, and my impulse is to rebel against the current systems of life that I deem oppressive and contrived. Because of this, sometimes I see too far into alternative perspectives, realities, pasts and futures, and find myself rejecting a lot of the set paths in search of creating a more integrative way of living. Being like this is seldom easy, and sometimes not even fun. But I no longer feel the need to fight this part of myself. I am slowly and surely learning the art of balance. Or something like that.

For me, on a general level, this struggle to find balance between what “already is” with “what could be” has to do with how I have fragmented my mind through a complex relationship with my defense mechanisms,  which stem from the difficult experiences that forced me to find different creative solutions to one problem. 

My process goes something like this:

  • Try to survive and understand this mad, beautiful world. 
  • Overcome personal and vicarious traumas (which I’ve largely ignored or forgotten about until recently).
  • Become addicted to that specific feeling or experience: a new intellectual or sensory stimulus.
  • Learn from the addiction, and filter only what’s necessary for continued growth.
  • Undo the addiction.
  • Feel pain.
  • Accept the pain, and overcome suffering.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Of course, it’s never this simple or linear.

Anyway, before this turns into an even longer rant, the point is, we have to be very keen about protecting our inner experience. We are beings with highly complex minds and very simple desires. Thus, if we constantly give in to all our immediate impulses by incessantly feeding our addiction to social media, it will be difficult to maintain our joy and equilibrium in the long run. Like, really difficult.

It’s also helpful to remember that we cannot truly “own” anything. All that we experience is a gift. We enjoy, appreciate, and learn from it. And ultimately, we must give back. This is Universal Law.

So instead of completely eschewing or becoming inextricably attached to our social platforms, may we understand it for what it is: a surface extension of our authentic self, a sub-identity, a tool to help us share experiences, spread compassion and awareness, and create human value.

Let us be careful not to identify with our digital avatars; instead, may we focus on maintaining our relationship with our world in an intimate and authentic manner.

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j.k. =)

…….

Sending love to all.

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