Lion's Roar

Right Swiping The Dharma of Online Dating, Part 2

THE BEATLES SANG “All You Need is Love.” But we who swim in circles in the wacky waters of online dating beg to differ. Besides love, we also need some wisdom to help us navigate the truths and false stories (about ourselves and others) that come to the surface as we search for authentic connection in this extremely artificial environment.

To help Alicia get ready to meet “Mark” for their first face-to-face date following their initial online courtship, I asked our two Buddhist relationship experts for advice. Yael Shy, author of What Now? Meditation for Your Twenties and Beyond, offers her this advice on the four noble truths of dating.

“First, there is suffering—a sense of life being unsatisfactory,” Shy says. “Second is the cause of that suffering, which is grasping at outcomes we can’t control, including other people’s affections, and forgetting our interconnection to all of life.

“Fortunately, there’s the third noble truth: that suffering can come to an end when we remember our own true nature, which is love and connection. Finally, there is a path to rediscovering that love and connection, which is the fourth noble truth.”

Buddhist teacher Melvin Escobar reminds Alicia that dating offers many opportunities to practice Buddhism’s eightfold path.

“We start with wise speech,” he says. “Are you being truthful in your profile, clear about your intentions for dating, communicative when it’s not working out (as opposed to just ghosting), and considerate of the impact of your words? Next is wise intention—what are your intentions for dating? For wise action, ask yourself if your actions are causing harm to yourself or others.

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