OM MANI PADME HUM.
This ancient mantra is said to contain the whole of the Buddha's teachings. She who fully engages OM MANI PADME HUM abandons the engagement of the seed-mantra of the samsaric deity and its mandala of Ignorance and Bewilderment. Using the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM is therefore said by some to be a perfect spiritual practice.
But I Don't Have the Time!
But seriously, on 21st century Earth, who has time to recite mantras? For the most part, we're way too busy for stuff like that.
Plus, even if we did have the time, we can't concentrate. Our minds are much too scattered and distracted to penetrate the power hidden within a mantra.
Aside from that, we tend not to believe in things like that.
Even if we did believe in things like that, the honest truth is that most of us probably wouldn't care.
So, if we're at all interested in awakening from the dream of human drama and suffering, there are a number of factors working against us.
The truth is, just surviving on 21st century Earth normally requires all the energy we've got, and then some. So if we're serious about spiritual practice, we'd better start integrating it into our busy daily life.
Spiritual Practice Integrated into Busy Daily Life
I recently decided to attempt a new spiritual exercise, inspired by a new book by Barbara Haynes called Every Day a Holy Day: Exercises, Experiments, and Practices for Mindful Living. This book offers amazing spiritual practices you can do any time during your day, while engaged in everyday activities like cleaning the kitchen or even a phone call with your boss. (If you like that, you'll love the Facebook page for Every Day a Holy Day where you can get several exercises from the book in video format.)
My experiment: Facebook advertising as a spiritual practice.
The idea is to send out images imbued with blessings and prayers. Just seeing one of these images automatically conveys the blessing. For some, a chance encounter with one of these images can be a trigger for a moment of insight, enlightenment, or even a gateway into a completely different reality.
If you'd like to learn more about how this works, another article in this blog, Alternative Healing for Everyone, contains an introduction to the basic technology involved in the transmission of blessings and prayers through imbued images.
Why Facebook Advertising?
Facebook advertising using these images has several functional characteristics that make it an interesting space for spiritual practice.
You can use any normal Facebook page post as an advertisement, and you can target the people to whom the ad will be shown by behavior and interest. You can set a small daily budget, which ensures the post will be shown as a "promoted post" to a certain number of people who meet your targeting criteria. Each person who sees the post then has the choice to engage with the post via click or mouse-hover.
A Simple Experimental Method
For this experiment, I used the following imbued images:
The experimental method is simple. I post the product or image to the 5th Avenue Gallery Facebook page along with a comment. Then I use the Facebook Audience Creation Tool to define the audience to whom I wish to have the image shown. Then I use the Facebook Power Editor to set up an advertisement using the post along with the defined audience and a small daily budget.
10 Cents for a Ping
As I write these words, the experiment has been running for 10 days. During this time, a grand total of $10.85 has been spent on Facebook advertisements.
With that budget, 552 people have been exposed to these images. Of that total, 108 actually engaged actively with the magic by taking some action relative to the post (i.e., a click or a mouse-hover for more info).
$10.85 for 108 pings. That comes to about $0.10 per ping.
"Ping" is how your computer checks to see whether or not it's properly connected to whatever website you're viewing when you're on the internet. Your computer sends a ping to the website. If the website sends a ping back in reply, your computer knows the connection was made, and proceeds to download information.
So for us, a ping happens when we throw an imbued image out into the void ... and Facebook's "post engagement" statistic tell us that the answering click or mouse-hover has been completed. Contact. Blessing delivered and willingly received.
Don't get me wrong. I do like mantras. But if you've gotta do Facebook advertising anyway, isn't this an interesting way to look at it?
And every time you receive the ping, you know you've made a real connection with another being who chose to receive your blessing that day.
OM MANI PADME HUM.