Do you enjoy browsing facebook, instagram and such?
However, a recent study suggests that people can develop depression after browsing these media. This is because inadvertently they compare their life with others and become discouraged by their ‘have nots’.
A covetous mind brings suffering to ourselves. If we spend our days focusing on what we don’t have, then our feeling of discontent leads to envy. That envy can lead to aversion and depression.
Many things can trigger a covetous mind. It is not limited to material things. For example, if your country is in the midst of a lockdown and a neighboring country seems to be doing well and everyone is enjoying themselves outside; that could trigger envy in our mind too. Then we become depressed by our situations.
How should a Buddhist deal with such?
Again, it depends on how we train our mind. If we understand that envy is poisonous and creates suffering in our mind, then we should simply avoid envy.
Unfortunately, such negative emotions are triggered by the 3 basic factors of rebirth, namely, Craving, Hatred and Ignorance.
In another word, we are born with craving, hatred and ignorance in our mind. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be reborn.
That means, none of us is better. Everyone has negative emotions to manage. There is no point avoiding it or pretending that it doesn’t exist.
It takes practice for us to overcome negative emotions that kinda just “pop” up from ‘nowhere’?
In summary, training our mind to be happy while browsing mass media is an important mental health management skill.
How do we practice?
We need to be mindful of our emotions and the stuffs that trigger them. The next time we open facebook or instagram, we can remind ourselves that our mind training starts now! That way, our browsing is not just mindless entertainment but a kind of mind training.
If we see a joyful thing, we should rejoice for others. In the above example, we learn to feel happy for those people living in that country that is doing well with the pandemic. Catch that thought that says ‘huh! We’ll see about that. The delta variant is going to hit you hard. You won’t be happy for long…’
If we see our friend or relatives having a great time, enjoying luxurious vacations or shopping, we rejoice at their good karma. Catch the thought that goes, ‘show off! Do you need to tell everyone that you are having a good time?’
In practice, this can be done by generating a congratulating mind and mentally reciting Sadhu. We rejoice at other people’s fortune because we believe fortunate circumstance is a result of good karma. Therefore, we are really rejoicing their good karma and celebrating the good deeds they had performed in their past. That is the spirit and motivation.
By practicing in this manner, we train our mind to instinctively be happy when seeing other’s happiness. We build up an unshakeable faith in karma. When we believe in cause and result, we will be inspired to do the right things to earn our future happiness.
More importantly, we should learn to rejoice at other people’s good deed. If we see them doing charity work or performing kind deeds, then it is also good for us to rejoice their good actions. Like before, we generate a congratulating mind and be happy for them. We can recite “Sadhu” mentally while clicking the LIKE emoticon.
By browsing the mass media in this manner, we train our mind to respond positively to fortunate circumstances around us. This prevent the development of negative emotions such as depression.
After prolonged practices, we condition our mind to react positively to our environment. That is a happy mind.
Happy practising. May all be well and happy.