Hey You, Stop Faking!!!
I received my first negative message today, from a random internet troll. It read: ‘Hey you, stop faking!!!’ It was nonsensical, of course, and after some digging around I surmised the author is some kind of conspiracy theorist with a UFO obsession. The internet is a strange place.
I know I’m going to have to become immune to such unpleasantries (and probably far worse) pretty quickly considering I’m about to publish a memoir and plan on maintaining this blog.
It matters not how polite, positive or well intentioned you are, these days someone will come along and spray some venomous accusations your way regardless. I attended a talk by a fellow author recently; he told us he’d received hate mail for quoting Mother Theresa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama!
Here’s the thing, though—even though ‘Hey you, stop faking’ was hardly rude enough to budge the needle on my hate mail barometer, my first instinct was to take it a little to heart.
My thoughts jumped straight to ‘Do people think I’m a fake? And a fake what?’ and then onto justifications, ‘I’ve never pretended to be anywhere near to spiritual enlightenment, or to be a perfect meditator. How could I possibly be faking?’ and then to doubt myself: ‘Does my work give the wrong impression, like I think I’m some guru-in-the-making?’ I was conjuring so many follow-on thoughts, and I didn’t even know what this person intended to imply by telling me to ‘stop faking’!
You’d think I’d know better by now than to get wrapped up in the unfounded projections of other people. But mindfulness and meditation are practices for this exact reason—we fall into the same old patterns over and over again, and need to gently and skillfully work with ourselves to cultivate meaningful change.
So I came back to my mindfulness practice. I let go of the thoughts and doubts that had been stirred up in my mind. I became aware of the present moment and my breath flowing in and out. I saw that the perfection of the present moment is beyond his judgement or mine.
Once my mind had settled, I thought about how that individual must be living in a state of unhappiness and confusion to send out negative, unconstructive words to people he doesn’t even know. I wished him greater happiness and clarity, then deleted his message and got on with my day.
The Buddha cautioned against using harsh speech, and I do my best to consider what sort of karma I am creating with my words.
In this instance, I could have replied in kind to an unpleasant message, but chose not to fuel a cycle of negativity. The message telling me to stop faking was an opportunity for me to practise inner stability. However, in the Buddhist teachings we are encouraged to develop this stability amid both praise and blame. That means that if the message had read, ‘Hey you, you’re so incredibly amazing!!!’ I should do my best not to run away with thoughts and emotions about it either.
My book’s publication date is less than a month away, and if one thing feels certain to me, it’s this: sharing my work is going to be a wonderful chance to cultivate my inner stability. People will react to me how they will, but my practice is to keep bringing my mind home to the present moment, to learn to see the truth of things beyond any of our judgements.
With love, Narissa
Narissa Doumani, author of A Spacious Life: Memoir of a Meditator
live mindfully ~ love openly
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