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You may be one of those lucky couples I saw on that charming e Harmony commercial, flirtatiously chasing one another on a beach on some island somewhere. A sickening meditation about what it meant to be an attractive gay man in today’s…I’ll say it…superficial society. So what did I desire from the world of online dating? What did I not already have inside of me that online dating could give me? Armed with standards, I was ready to sort through these eligible bachelors and find the one. How many times have I shared something on Facebook only to be disappointed when the like count wasn’t as replete as I would have hoped? became a means for me to aggressively sort out the men that I wanted to love me and those that I did not. And don’t even get me started on my own desire for “likes”. For three whole days I was an online-dating cyber zombie, endlessly attacking the re-fresh button on my computer, waiting for another message from an interesting man to come my way or for another “like” to appear on my profile. When a man viewed my profile and didn’t “like” I was devastated.

And at several points I will refer to Sakyong Mipham’s book Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life, because in the midst of my craziness his book was sort-of a lifeline for me. Buddha: reflections on Internet dating, the dharma and one Shambhala warrior’s failed attempt to find love online. Why do I choose the romantic partners that I choose? And what do the answers to these questions reveal about myself on this path towards spiritual awakening?

[I remember a dear friend asked me to close my eyes and imagine the “ideal” Brandon. Cupid account, I was now honing in on that perfect profile picture. The website asked me to present myself to other users by answering questions like “what am I doing with my life? And beyond romantic love, I wonder what else I consciously and subconsciously sort through in an attempt to get what I like and to avoid those things I dislike.

The scene of a calm man wearing Birkenstocks and orange yoga pants, giving nature tours on meditation retreats immediately came to mind. “Brandon, that man you just explained, sounds nothing like you! Even more importantly, how does this sorting lead to my own suffering?

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