Meeting someone on the internet - whether through social media, online dating sites, gaming sites or other forums - and developing an online relationship has become very common, and it’s a perfectly valid type of relationship. But just like any other kind of relationship, online relationships can be healthy, unhealthy or abusive.
Even if you’ve never met your online partner in person, they can still be abusive toward you. Online or digital abuse is just as serious as any other type of abuse.
Some signs of abuse in an online relationship might include your online partner:
Threatening or attempting to hurt themselves in order to get you to do what they want
Calling you names, minimizing your feelings or verbally abusing you via chat/text
Demanding your passwords to your social media accounts
Threatening to post, or actually posting, humiliating or private information about you online
Withholding communication until you do what they want you to do
Checking up on you constantly, and/or demanding that you communicate or Skype with them for long periods of time so they can keep tabs on you
Getting angry when you want to spend time with friends or family
Blaming you for their abusive or harmful behavior
Using distance or the fact that you’re in an online relationship as an excuse to manipulate or control you
You deserve to be treated with respect in you relationship, online or off. If you’re noticing some unhealthy or abusive behaviors in your relationship, or if something just doesn’t feel right to you, call, chat or text with one of our peer advocates. Our services are free and completely confidential!
Transforming Painful Habits Through Open Awareness
‘When ego is the result of disconnection, awareness itself is true connection. Awareness that is direct and naked is described as the sun, and the warmth of awareness dissolves the solidified pain identity the way the sun melts ice. So whenever you feel the pain of being disconnected from yourself, be open to it and be with it. Host your pain well with presence that is completely open, and most important, nonjudgmental.
Can you be open with your pain - still, silent, spacious? There is nothing better than open awareness for transforming pain, and that tool is within you at this very moment. The method of transforming pain into the path of liberation has no conceptual aspect, it is simply being open. In open awareness, everything is processed. There is no unfinished business.
Another beautiful thing about open awareness is that it is like light. And light does not recognize the history of darkness - how long, how intense, or how complex the darkness is. Light simply illuminates darkness. Like the sun, it is not selective, and the moment it shines, darkness is dispelled. The moment you are aware, your negative patterns are dispelled.’
- Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Reconnecting with Ourselves from the Summer 2011 issue of Budhhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.
Renunciation: The Willingness To Experience Things As They Are
‘The mechanism of desire is based on a belief. I am incomplete as I am now. Desire is misdirected yearning that tries to correct the imbalance created by that belief. The belief, in turn, is based on a misperception: I am separate from what I experience. We reach out to the world of experience, identify objects that sing the siren of completion, and strive to get them.
Renunciation begins with the recognition that these ventures cannot succeed: we are going to die, our emotional needs will never be met, and being “somebody” separates us from the world. Such recognition may be painful initially, yet it contains three concepts that open the doors to freedom.
The first key is to stop seeking security. Time and again I have seen students relax and open to the fullness of life when they understand and accept that there is no security and that they are going to die. They stop being obsessed with the look and feel of their bodies, the size of their bank accounts, or how they are going to survive. They let go of accepted criteria for success and failure and do what really interests them.
Everything in life comes and goes like apparitions in a dream. Right now, take any object you “own”: a flower, a book, a jacket, or a car. Look at it and know that you will experience this object for only a limited time, for a few hours, days, months, or years. Either it or you will fade, crumble, or die. When you forget this and take the object as something that is yours, you can’t enjoy it for what it is. When you remember that you don’t really own it, you are free to enjoy it while it is part of your life.
The second key is to let go of expectations for emotional fulfillment. personal relationships are always a challenge, and I have consistently found that when I stop wanting other people - friends, family members, or colleagues - to be who I want them to be for me, and accept them for who they are, things just go more easily, and relationships are clearer and richer.
For most of us, emotional needs are laid down early in life. They are solidified reactions to the disappointments encountered in growing up. And as adults, we spend our lives trying to get what we never got as children. But the past is past. You cannot go back. When you accept the resonance of these disappointments moment by moment and don’t try to avoid them, you discover a freedom to enjoy love, affection and relationships, even though it doesn’t correspond precisely to what you (mistakenly) feel you need.
The third key is to know the groundlessness of experience itself: no one to be, nowhere to go. One student, who manages the legal department in a company, was concerned with how his employees perceived him and whether they are loyal to him. When he let go of those concerns and directed his energy into providing them with the resources they needed to work effectively, his department became a happier place to work, for everyone. Instead of trying to be someone, whether in your own eyes or in the eyes of another, recognize that you are not a thing, not an entity. What you are is a field of open, empty awareness and experience, like the sky and rainbows that appear in it. Without the burden of identity, you are free to respond naturally and appropriately to any situation you encounter.
“Well, that’s all fine,” you may say, “but how do I actually move from desire to renunciation?” You practice internal renunciation by moving into the experience of desire, instead of trying to fulfill or suppress it.
Pick up something you want: a physical object, a relationship, or some form of recognition. Let the feeling of desire arise. Experience how it arises in your body, feel all the emotions it triggers, and let all the stories it tells just be there. Don’t be distracted. Don’t try to control the experience. Don’t work at anything. If you discover another level of yearning, move into that. When you move into desire completely, a shift takes place and you know it just as an arising in experience. Now look at the object of your desire again. What has changed?
By going into the experience of desire itself, rather than acting upon it, you let go of the belief that you are incomplete. The energy of desire ceases to dictate behavior and, instead, fuels presence: being completely in the experience of what is, internally and externally.
The chains of desire pull us into a life of frustration and suffering, while renunciation cuts those chains. Renunciation, though often understood to mean “giving up,” is more accurately, the willingness to experience things as they are, not as we want them to be. Here you discover true freedom, the deep, quiet joy that has always been present in you.’
- Ken McLeod, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, from the Summer 2004 issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.
What is a thought? What is it made out of? Where is it beginning and ending? Can you rethink the thought you just thought? Can the mind be found? Or is it just a thought? Can a thought, in truth, be found? Has a thought ever came into existence? Or is it just another word for infinite empty space? If something truly existed separately, would it require naming? What is unaffected by names? How did the sky make you feel as a child? What does the heart know that the mind doesn’t? What requires absolutely no effort, no sustaining, no time, no cognition, no process, no location or basis? What isn’t orientated in any direction? Why is something beautiful? What is the mind always too late for? What in you assumes nothing? Onto what does the mind superimpose spatial dimensions? What is pure and untouched within you? What is infinitely unfathomably transparent? What is beyond all possible obscuration? What in you is completely free and open to life? …….
let me tell you a thing about media representation
I am a lesbian. Around age 7 I realised I prefered women. I didn’t give true meaning to it then. Why? Because I didn’t even know it was a choice. Some time later I found out that you could be gay. The thing is, I thought it was only an option for men, since all the same-sex relationship I saw were between a man and a man. When I was 9, I discovered bisexuality existed for women. But don’t get too excited. I thought it existed merely for a man’s pleasure. I WAS NINE AND I THOUGHT THE ONLY WAY A WOMAN COULD KISS OTHER WOMAN WAS IF A MAN TOLD HER IT WAS HOT. It wasn’t until around age eleven that I discovered lesbianisim, and it wasn’t due to media representation, it was due a friend’s friend lesbian relationship.
This is why I need media representation. So kids don’t have to worry about what they are. So they can see people just like them and know they are not alone.
To you, television people, I said: please don’t keep fucking it all up.
Wheelchair bound in Gaza: Wheelchair-bound Palestinian student teacher Ahmed al-Sawaferi, 25, gives a class at an elementary school in Gaza City, March 18, 2015. Al-Sawaferi, said that he lost both legs and his left arm in an Israeli air strike in 2008. Al-Sawaferi, a father of two children, is due to hold a B.A in Islamic studies after finishing his last university semester in June this year.
“Everything is an expression of Eternal Consciousness, experienced in temporal form; wherever you go you will encounter more of yourself (from a particular point of view). Whatever you do to another, you are literally doing to God.
You are defined by your relationships with ‘others’. Everyone is a reflection of yourself (like a hall of mirrors); each person is another version of you ‘appearing’ to be different.”
!!spread awareness!! over the summer I volunteered at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and learned a lot about these intelligent and amazing animals… (riding them may be fun for you, but it’s torture for the elephants. although they are big, they can’t support much weight on their backs. they can hold up to 330 lbs (150 kg) on their back however, some saddles (aka howdahs) alone can weigh up to 220 lbs (100 kg) on top of that there are usually 2-3 people on them. too much weight can lead to spinal problems and it’s obviously tiring for them… Elephants can eat for 12-16 hours PER DAY and drink 50 gallons of water PER DAY. Elephants that are used for elephant trekking are most likely not getting 12-16 hours a day to eat because they can spend HOURS working. again, you may enjoy it however it’s torture for elephants )
What does it mean to be Alert? When the notion of Alertness is mentioned at a conversation, people often tend to confuse it with being awake. Alertness is, however, not identical with being awake, since being awake is only one dimension of Alertness. It is the outermost dimension of Alertness, its surface only. In total, three dimensions of Alertness may be identified.
The Dimensions of Alertness
The surface, that is, the outermost dimension of Alertness is when the focus of attention is open the widest. Being Alert then means that now, in this very moment, with our eyes closed (or open) you pay attention to the processes of your inner world (bodily sensations, the stream of your thoughts, the shifting of your emotions), and the external world surrounding you (noises, scents etc. from the direct world around you). In such an instant you only focus your attention on what takes place in that very moment.
From the aspect of another, deeper dimension of Alertness it is a quality of your consciousness when you cease to evaluate, qualify and control the experience affecting you at that particular moment (disregard the functions of the mind) and, at the same time, you give up all your desires to control events. You have no expectations in connection with the given moment, you accept what is taking place, without making judgments, what is wrong and what is right for you.
The deepest dimension of Alertness is a state of Consciousness, the most important characteristic feature of which is the presence of the observing Consciousness, the capability of Sight. In this state of the Consciousness we, as an external spectator, view what is happening inside and around us, and we do not allow these events to take us with them, to affect us deeper. There is a virtual space between you as the contemplating Consciousness and the experiences affecting you. This space enables you to avoid identification with your experience and to look at that experience as an external spectator. Alertness is, at the same time, Presence, which means that your are not only aware of your current actions, but you are also aware of yourself. It is only possible to talk about real Alertness when all three dimensions are present at the same time.
The Notion of the Illusionary Self
In your present, individual state of consciousness you identify with the thoughts and emotions that appear in your mind, so you believe that you are a separate, illusionary person, an Ego. Living as an Ego in this world, you attempt to stabilize your illusionary sense of self. You believe that the more (knowledge, material wealth) you add to your Ego, the stronger and more permanent it will be.
Passing time will, however, prove you wrong, since the illusionary self is just a shape and as such is subordinate to the eternal law of the world of shapes and forms. The law is that of the law of change which stipulates that in that world, the world of shapes and forms, it is not possible to stabilize anything, as everything is in the process of constant changes. Your thoughts and emotions keep changing, and so does their centre, the Ego, with them.
Your sufferings are cause by the fact that you attempt to stabilize something that cannot be stabilized by nature. But you fail to recognize that, since you fully identified with the Ego, and forgot that you are in fact pure Consciousness, free of identifications.
An Unchanging Factor
There is, however, one factor that remains unchanged in your life through the years, and that is the sense that ”I am.” As a result of the identification with your mind and its functions, the emphasis shifts from ”I am” to ”I am this and that” (I am a man, I am American, I am a doctor, I am a father etc.).
The concept of ”I am this and that” is in constant change, as they are all bound to the objects of the forms and shapes. The only thing not subject to change, what is beyond ”I am”, is the formless Consciousness.
You must wake up from the deep stupor of identification, you need to become alert, because that is the only way for you to abandon your identification with the thoughts, the works of the mind, and that is how you are able to shake off your illusionary existence.
If you are alert, only the here and now exist for you, and you may discover the quiet Presence behind the illusionary and constantly changing small Ego, the ”I am” which in turn you may recognize as your real and unchanging Self.
This state of consciousness is characterized by deep silence and tranquility. When you submerge into this quietness, the duality between you and the world ceases to exist, and in that Presence you are amalgamated into one unity with the universe. That is how the emphasis is shifted from ”I am this and that”, that is, from the forms and shapes to ”I am”, that is, to the existence free of forms and shapes. Alertness thus becomes a form of existence for you.
If you identify with your thoughts and continue to live as an Ego, dreaming that you are already awake, then you will be content with the outermost dimension of Alertness. In this way, you will feel no urge to become fully awake, to be introduced into the deeper dimensions of Alertness. Consequently, you will find the fact that I see you sleeping utterly absurd, since you think that you are awake.
In that case, only a completely radical event that shakes your life all the way down to the foundations may alarm you from the dream of your identifications.
The Signs of Awakening
In these days it seems that identification with the forms and shapes becomes more and more superficial at an increasing number of people. In these people something from the deeper dimensions of Alertness appears to emerge.
If you are still reading this it means that these dimensions make themselves felt in your life too, so Consciousness is slowly awakening from the dream of isolation.
With the appearance of the deeper dimensions of Alertness, a gap is generated in you between the world of forms and shapes and the world without these, that is between ”I am this and that” and ”I am.” One of the signs that you are on the way towards awakening is when you begin to feel your current, limited existence, bound to your Ego is of very poor quality, and you begin to suspect that there are deeper, more profound mysteries behind your life.
Another sign of your awakening is the permanent restlessness, rooted in an unconscious desire. This desire comes from an ancient, long forgotten centre of your soul, from the deeper dimensions of Alertness.
The Ego lends a form to that unconscious desire by directing it towards an external objective in the world of forms and shapes. The objective is to become as perfect as possible within the limits of your external circumstances. You wish to include the stabilized, allegedly permanent Ego in that perfection as well. Naturally, you intend to achieve that goal some time in the future.
The mind, with which you currently identify, is full of currents and streams: thoughts and emotions come and go all the time. This is your present state of existence. The first signs of the deeper dimensions of Alertness loosen the glue of your identification with the mind, so you will be able to gain more and more experience of the free spaces of the Consciousness, and you recognize that you are not an isolated, small self, but the Consciousness itself.
Recognizing yourself as Consciousness is independent of all the activities of the mind. This recognition will only come if you have had some experience of the deeper dimensions of Alertness.