October 3, 2015

Hashtag Dharma? [Weekly Editor’s Letter]

waylon hashtag mindful

Hashtag Dharma?

Connect with @elephantjournal, @waylonlewis, @walkthetalkshow on Instagram or twitter.

There are countless old beloved Buddhist stories of a teacher learning how to communicate the truth of meditation, compassion, humor and loving-kindness through the medium of that time.

Buddhadharma isn’t about being Tibetan, or Japanese, or Indian, or of any one culture. It’s about walking a path of service, and practicing meditation so that we can learn to be more fully present instead of caught up in self-concern and confusion.

And that brings me to something that’s befuddled me for years. And maybe you can help.

In modernday life, we use hashtags in social media communication. We might make fun of them, but many of them simply help to connect communities interested in something.

#yogaeverydamnday has united millions—literally—of casual and serious yogis in practicing yoga, and sharing a pose with their friends. It might be silly, but it’s also fun, and motivational, and community-building. I’d like to do the same thing with meditation, or any mindful moment or act for the elephant community—which has reached nearly 25 million readers a month.

So what’s a good hashtag for us? #mindfulmoment, #dailymindful, #mindfuldeed, #30daysofmindful, #ofbenefit, #mindfullife, #beofbenefit and #mayitbeofbenefit are a few that we’ve thought about, or tried. A good hashtag has to be simple to remember and spell, fun, meaningful and community-building through inspiring folks to share something visual.

In searching for a hashtag that could serve to unite and inspire millions, if only for a moment, I’ve thought about who we are and what we care about. We don’t want meditation itself in the hashtag, since meditation is not something we want to encourage folks to selfie. But at its root, we do want folks to share their mindfulness moments, their environmental deeds no matter how small, their moments of kindness toward self and others, and inspire others to do the same.

Elephant is interested in being of benefit. In meditation. In being friendly to ourselves, and our environment. In retaining a sense of humor. In independence, and integrity from caplitalistic greed and corruption, while still behaving as a successful and fun mindful business.

For years—12 years—my slogan for elephant has been “the mindful life,” or, “it’s about the mindful life.” Our mission has been to bring awareness to anything that’s good for us, that also happens to be good for others and our planet. Twice or more a day, when I meditate or after I eat, I recite the Buddhist dedication of merit: “By this merit may all…” …basically, dedicating whatever I’ve done, even my mess-ups, to the benefit of all. My food isn’t merely about me. My work isn’t for me, merely. Our editorial mission has been to bring the good word about the mindful life beyond the core or choir and to all those who might give a care.

So I’ve thought about these threads of mission, and here’s my favorites:

1. #mindfulmomentoftheday
2. #mindfulmoment
3. #mayitbeofbenefit
4. #beofbenefit
5. #bythismerit
6. #giveacare
7. #mindful365
8. #dailymindfulmoment
9. #other!

Which would you use? Tell me in comments below, if so inspired. Let’s launch mindfulness to all those swimming in the busy seas of social media!

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis
Editor-in-Chief: elephant journal; host: Walk the Talk Show

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