7 Things I Gained by Leaving Facebook

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I recently decided to take a hiatus from Facebook. I realized I was addicted, and the information overload started to overwhelm me. When my friends ask me why I deactivated my Facebook account, I smile and say that I needed a break from being continuously inundated with status updates.

A few months earlier when the idea first cropped up to deactivate my account, I resisted it for fear of being left out. I thought I’d miss out on important information; now I realize I could do without it completely. I decided to take more control of what I see or read.

Instead of being flooded with unwanted information, I now filter what I read. I only read columns in the newspaper on topics which I need for my teaching, like economics and finance.

Here are the seven things I gained from breaking free from the grips of Facebook:

  1. I spend more meaningful time with my family and friends instead of constantly checking updates.
  2. I get to do the things I’ve always put off because I “didn’t have time.” The time I used scrolling through Facebook is now better used for things I enjoy doing like writing, meditation and yoga.
  3. I feel calmer, more centered and peaceful. The information overload was affecting me at a subconscious level.
  4. I have control over my time now. As a result, I feel more empowered, energized and responsible. Every moment counts.
  5. When I find myself with nothing to do, I sit in silence and take a moment for contemplative reflection. This gives me a fresh perspective.
  6. I’m more mindful. Breaking free from a digital addiction made me more aware of my mindless actions that don’t serve any real purpose. Every time the urge of checking Facebook arises, I simply watch the thought and let it go. On a few occasions, I’ve given in to that urge and the feeling isn’t great. I know the power is within me to make a lasting change that will aid me in living the life I want to live.
  7. I experienced a sense of liberation. It’s as if the dark clouds lifted and the mental noise went silent. I dance and laugh more now. I get to stop and marvel at nature’s work. I started noticing the beauty around me instead of looking down at my phone. Inspiration comes to me in ways I’ve never imagined.


Amma: The Loving, Hugging, Humanitarian Saint

amma hugging saint

As of the date of this article, Amma has hugged attendees to her programs over 40 million times. Her free events attract thousands upon thousands of people, often taking place in football stadiums. In the early days, when 50 or 60 people were in attendance, Amma was known as “Ammaji” or “Ammachi.”

It was 1990 when I first met Amma. She was seated on a tattered, cushioned chair in the center of a small, basement room in The African-Methodist Episcopal Church in Central Square, Cambridge, MA.

The moment I walked into the room, I was so profoundly struck by Amma’s light and presence that I fell to my knees and bowed to her. I spent the rest of the day sobbing in absolute bliss, happily crouched in a corner. In addition to a few Swamis and helpers, there were less than ten other people in the room.

While indulging my tears, Amma caught my eye and invited me to her chair. I was so nervous, I could barely speak. I walked toward her, awkward and self-conscious, as if it were my first time walking. I bowed and she immediately took my hand, then gently bent me across her lap.

Amma then gently rubbed my body from head to toe while I cried. She massaged my scalp and forehead and patted my spine. Amma even squeezed my ears and tussled my hair. It felt as though I were embraced by the most loving bundle of light.

After 20 minutes of her healing touch, Amma lifted my head with her soft hands and pressed her cheek and lips against my ear. She lovingly whispered Sanskrit mantras to me as I absorbed every morsel of her love.

“Pure love transcends the body. It is between hearts. It has nothing to do with bodies.”

— Amma

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