Why I blog

What is blogging to me?

Most people who were around when it began know blog is short for web-log. 
  • Web — the world wide web, defined by the HTTP protocol, a medium for computerized transport of semi-structured information, related to weave, from Old German
  • Log — a piece of a tree, then the act of writing onto one as ships used wooden logs as a medium of tracking progress, onomatopoeically from Greek logos for “word, speech, discourse, reason”

Etymologies adapted & paraphrased from http://www.etymonline.com.

While having a meditative conversation today with my best friend, I realized that I blogged long before I got on the Internet. The essence of blogging is sharing words in a thoughtful social medium, initially as monologue, but potentially as conversation.  I shared this kind of space in my friendships with certain people over the years; sometimes it was in person, on the phone, in email, on group listservs, and on websites.  Or, through books.

It is always a special space when a friend could give me a prompt like, “So, what’s been up with you?” and indulge me a thoughtful, perhaps long-winded answer, without judgment or interjection.  And then ease into conversation with me about it. 

This is the essence of blogging to me — the holding and usage of this monologue-initiated and subsequently conversational space.  It may happen on a blog website, or in any medium in which such mode of communication is possible, which includes everything from books to tweets. To me Facebook and Twitter status updates are a form of blogging,   and not actually very good because you don’t actually know for sure that anyone is really listening…

So I think blogging is actually a very good term for a whole range of discursive spaces as it reflects their simultaneously socially interconnected and verbal nature.  

Why do I blog?

I blog to:
– meditatively begin to understand my world, to experience it and extend it through the lens of what it becomes when verbalized and shared
– share and extend my meditation through its verbal product with an audience, whether it is one person on the other end of the phone, or hundreds or thousands of people on the web
– experience the engagement of that audience, to open myself to the impact of that attention on my own appreciation of my experience
– evolve myself, and allow my evolution to occur in part in a shared space in the faith that will accelerate my own process and enrich others in some way

It’s a virtuous feedback cycle wherein experience and meditation give rise to the initial communication, which is received as an experiential meditation by an audience, and then a greater meaning evolves as the message is returned, deepened through the prism of others’ experience.  

How can I blog better?

It’s claimed by some communication experts that human communication is 93% non-verbal; only 7% of the total message you convey in in the words you actually say.  The rest is voice tone, body language, and context, including the emotional, intellectual, and social state of those participating.  So, approximately, words are essentially none of the real message communicated.  If this is so, how can there be any hope of blogging really working for the aims I articulated above?  

I realize now that having a real audience, even if only one person, truly matters.  As a medium of social meditation, the integrity of the experience breaks down if no one is really listening, with their whole self.  A million people mostly listening isn’t the same as, or to my mind, as useful as, one person who knows me or is willing to open themselves to knowing me more deeply, who is really, fully listening with their whole self.  

Now sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, that one person can simply be me, at a later time.  I’ll post a tweet or status update as a way of making a note for myself.  But, for this to work, I regularly need to cycle back through my posts and be really present with them from the vantage point of a ‘different self’, to be in a perspective-taking and meditative-listening mode, not simply re-reading prior posts without this deeper intent.   

Better still is to have someone tuned-in, real-time.  Although the window of what constitutes “real-time” is different for a full-length book (years to decades), long-form article for publication (months to years), blog post (two-three days), an FB status update (a day and a half) a tweet (a few hours). This immediacy is enormously important to the efficacy of blogging as a medium of collaborative co-evolution, which is what I aim for it to be.

I invite all who read this to meet me here, at this depth of real engagement, sharing and listening with one another  We have the opportunity to more fully realize our full selves here and truly need each other to seize it.

One thought on “Why I blog

  1. The friend I mentioned in this piece called me to let me know he had read this, and that he was very interested in the expansive notion of meditation I seemed to be hinting at. Could I say more about that?It was clear to him I wasn’t just talking about the version of meditation that is simply going within, into silence and stillness, to the ‘breath’, ‘ground of being’ or ‘awakened heart’ or ‘true self’. I mentioned how my notion of meditation is based in its Latin/Greek roots. Again from http://www.etymonline.com:<b>meditation</b&gt; <i>early 13c., "discourse on a subject," from L. meditationem (nom. meditatio), from meditatus, pp. of meditari "to meditate, to think over, consider," frequentative form from PIE base *med- "to measure, limit, consider, advise" (cf. Gk. medesthai "think about," medon "ruler," L. modus "measure, manner," modestus "moderate," modernus "modern," mederi "to heal," medicus "physician," Skt. midiur "I judge, estimate," Welsh meddwl "mind, thinking," Goth. miton, O.E. metan "to measure;" also see medical). Meaning "act of meditating, continuous calm thought upon some subject" is from late 14c.</i>Closely related is the notion of mid, middle, medium and medial — <b>medial</b><i> 1560s, "pertaining to a mathematical mean," from L.L. medialis "of the middle," from L. medius "middle," from PIE *medhjo-, from base *me- "between" (cf. Skt. madhyah, Avestan madiya- "middle," Gk. mesos, Goth. midjis, O.E. midd "middle," O.C.S. medzu "between," Arm. mej "middle"). Meaning "occupying a middle position" is attested from 1721.</i>And here’s where I learned something new — the connection between med- in the Latin/Greek is cognate to the Sanskrit madhya — for middle — and this term goes back at least 3000 years, according to this 1886 Sanskrit dictionary in the Princeton Library which Google Books recently digitized (p 215)http://books.google.com/books?id=eCxFAAAAYAAJUtterly amazing what’s at one’s fingertips these days. (Thank you Google.)So my notion of meditation is best understood as madhya-tation. It is any process of moving to the center of oneself, of one’s own truth, or perhaps even of universal Truth.Yes, I blog as a form of meditation. But I also run, play music, read books, sit silently alone, walk & talk gregariously, practice hatha asanas, sleep, and wake up and so many other things as conscious acts to center myself. Meditation to me is the act of re-balancing my energies, correcting internal course, by carefully listening, acting on what I hear, and adjusting course — iteratively. Lather, rinse, repeat. Blogging for many can become just lather…. A well-intentioned mess of words and ideas. In this post, I was saying that the key for me in meditation is the rinse — which comes from the truly listening and engaging and seeing the step forward into the heart of the matter, experiencing that discovery of my truth and shared truth. Self-expression is the lather and loving-attention is the rinse of the meditation process.Lest my metaphor meander — let me introduce another.I think these two aspects are are the indispensable units of meditation:- plumbing the depths — altering state of your Self, ideally in a way that is mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically moving you away from the dispersive, dissociative, entropic energy and toward gathering, connecting, centering intention that underpins all Being, Life, and Love- soaring to new heights — observing this change, this active, conscious evolution toward Love, as a means through which to learn, heal, and strengthen the Self- re-centering on the newly emergent self — having altered one’s karmic weight in this process, re-centering oneself, experiencing a modest increase in one’s lightness of beingI don’t believe long months and years of reclusive traditional meditation are required, or even very helpful in some cases, and can even be a blockage. The keys to meditation for me are genuineness, loving-attention, and repetition. Outwardly, it can be a blog, a jog or a venerably silent sit.

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