What Tinder has to do with Gandhi
The new art of dating.
Tinder is a strangely compelling (and slightly disturbing) app that allows you to connect with potential dating (or friends?) in your vicinity. It’s like Angry Birds meets Plenty of Fish. How it works: you set some parameters, view the profile pic of potential candidates, then swipe right if you’re interested, swipe left if you’re not. If you both have swiped right, then – BAM- you’re a match and can IM with each other. Whoo hooo!
Friends, I have been astonished by most of the guys’ profiles that I see. Here’s the breakdown (you can see I’ve given this some – uh, too much? – thought):
- 35%: pictures with girlfriends or wives that have been sloppily cut out (or even sometimes not),
- 20%: clearly drunk with the homies (or en route),
- 20%: with a fish,
- 10%: it’s a pic of Homer Simpson. Or a dog with sunglasses on,
- 10%: jaundiced bathroom selfie, brooding gaze, naked abs optional,
- 5%: awesome.
Given that a picture and a brief description is all you’ve got to go on, you’d think that the fellas would take a little more care with their selected images. After all, this is the face they’re putting forth to woo a mate.
Tinder as a spiritual practice
Okay, so before I go too far afield with well-intentioned suggestions for profile improvement, here’s what Tinder has to do with living a spiritual life:
Humans have a rare quality on the planet: consciousness.
We get to choose, moment by moment, who we want to be. On Tinder (and most social media), our capacity to consciously choose how we arrive in front of people is obvious. (If it’s not obvious, you may want to consider how you’re tweeting/fbing/ instagramming yourself.) But outside of social media, we are arriving in our relationships every day, in every interaction that we have.
How we choose to present ourselves in our relationships – with our family, at our jobs, with strange – is a direct expression of who we are and who we want to be.
On Tinder, we default when we let the app post our Facebook pics with no curatorial input. In life, we default when we show up mindlessly, unconsciously, and without choice. When that occurs, we are letting the habit of who we have been dictate who we are becoming.
Rather than defaulting to the easiest path, we can take a little care and make a choice in the moment to be better. We can step up our game and consciously embody our best vision for ourselves. And when we make these conscious choices, day after day, who we aspire to be becomes who we actually are.
As Gandhi said: BE the change you want to see in the world.
How do you currently arrive in the world? How do you want to arrive in the world?
Return, moment by moment, to the extraordinary power of your own ability to choose who you wan to be. Through his courageous act, others will be inspired. Change will ripple. We will all become brighter.
So gentleman, cut the selfies and the drunken pub crawl pics. Pull out that photo of you in the tux, or with your kids, or on the mountain.
In the process, we’ll raise the bar for everyone by arriving in the world as our best selves.
But most importantly, we’ll remind ourselves of how amazing we really can be.