For almost a year, I chose to be a bystander to our lovely community. I wrote a little and commented some, but mostly watched. I wanted to see how our community would shape up with no intervention. After all, our basic premise was and continues to be that this community is made up of kind and truthful members. I wanted to see what kindness and truth would bring in if left by themselves.
Interestingly, this journey as a “bystander” taught me a few things. This post is an attempt to share my learnings.
Undesirable Kindness – Wait, what?
Can kindness ever be undesirable? Probably not. Often I am overwhelmed by the display of kindness by our community. I feel immensely proud to be a part of this beautiful community whenever such kindness is exhibited.
Despite all the goodness that kindness generates, there are aspects of kindness that are undesirable. This came to light recently during a Samurai discussion. While I cannot share the discussion, the samurai council spent about 4 hours of collective Samurai time debating a piece of writing that probably took 1 hour to write. And that brings me to undesirable kindness – our “kindness to the author,” at times, is undesirable.
At os.me, we deal with time. Authors take time to write, but when 100s of readers browse or read, they are taking their precious time out as well. To ensure that we are using community time effectively, one question that begs to be answered is if a writer is making the best use of the reader’s time.
How do we decide that?
What is os.me?
Are we a writer community? Are we a Swami Ji devotee group? Are we a non-profit? As a bystander, I have heard all of the above & other variations. The only bit that was entirely off was an assumption that we are a “non-profit” because we are not.
It also brings me to an important question “what exactly are we”? We are that shade everyone looks for when the sun of life becomes too harsh. We are that companion that you can talk to & discuss your life journey sans any judgment. We are a community where love and compassion flow freely and unreasonably.
But to be all of that requires an environment where all of this can thrive, an environment where people from all walks of life feel welcomed, an environment where one can comfortably bare their soul and get healed, an environment where we can see the divine in everyone, an environment that appeals to the swami in you.
So how do we build such an environment?
Instruments of Joy
In my previous post, I talked about our words being “beneficial” to the community. I still very strongly feel about it. But there is something stronger that ties us together. It’s “joy.” Christophe André, a leading specialist in the psychology of emotions and feelings, says, “recycling love is a beautiful way to transmit.” We want to be the recycler of that love. We want to bring joy to every visitor, reader, and member of os.me.
The joy can be a laugh, a question that makes you think, or an insight that changes your perspective; it can even be simply listening to someone’s pain. Isn’t it joyful when you can hold someone’s hand and just let them know that you care?
Without that joy, writing loses its soul. Step back for a minute and think about everything you read on this website.
Does it bring joy to you?
Our foundation of Truth & Swami Ji
We have been big fans of “Truth” & it is one of our foundational pillars. With Swami Ji being synonymous with Truth, I thought this would be our strength. Little did I realize that due to Swami Ji being there, the truth would become a challenge :).
What I was not prepared for were “versions” of truth. As a simpleton, I had assumed one version of the Truth, and I was wrong. It would appear that to receive the sun’s warmth, all one needs to do is step out of the shade. Is it necessary to claim a special relationship with the sun to be a part of its glory and soak in its warmth?
I have seen instances where members have knowingly or unknowingly used direct references to Swami Ji. These are “conversations,” “dreams,” “initiations,” and other instances where a special relationship with Swami Ji is implied. Somehow the sun is made to appear closer to one member than another.
Does it fit the welcoming environment that we want to build here?
Many questions. How about answers?
As you can see, I have many questions that need to be answered. I am confident that the answers can be found if we put our heads together. Samurai Council is established to lead this journey of finding the answers. In parallel, efforts are underway to improve the reader’s experience on the website. We are adopting industry standards of showing relevant content at different places instead of an unconditional feed of the latest posts. Gradually, this would be rolled out to all parts of the website.
“What about one member’s feelings or perspective?” – you may ask. And you need to trust the Samurai Council on this one. This council would go the extra mile to ensure kindness & truth. But most importantly, they would build an environment where everyone feels welcome irrespective of their walk of life, whether they are new to the community or old, whether they are on a spiritual path or trying to face curveballs thrown by life at them.
Just like a banyan tree starts with one trunk, we are starting with Samurai Council. For the tree of truth and kindness to grow, we need the community to be the vines of this banyan tree. We need community collaboration and discussions with Samurais to help them find the answers to various questions we face together as a community.
Can you help? I am glad that you asked. Here are some pointers:
- If you see any writing that makes you uncomfortable, please report it to Samurais. If an existing member is uncomfortable, it’s almost impossible for new members to feel welcomed. There is a report link available at most places on the website; that link sends a message to Samurais.
- Sometime back, we realized that some guidelines were needed for community content. The purpose behind these guidelines was not shared then, but hopefully, you understand the purpose now. Engage in the discussion on these guidelines and how we can improve them.
- I am sharing an internal standard we follow while referring to Swami Ji. If you like, you can follow this standard as well.
We either quote Swami Ji verbatim or provide an appropriate link guiding the reader to the source. This serves readers well as they enrich themselves by going to the original source and understanding the context.
Without you, os.me would not exist. And without you, the divine environment we want to build would not happen. Your participation in these discussions and collaboration with Samurai Council will make a significant difference.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and whatever you do, don’t become a bystander :).