By Ruth Tsuria
Community Meditation Senior Teacher
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have sent their citizens to partial or full quarantine. In the USA, people have been referring to this practice as “social distancing” – basically, staying away from other people. But as many of us know, human beings are inherently social animals. Regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert, we all need some amount of social connection to stay alive and happy.
So how do we keep relationships going in the age of social distancing?
Luckily, we have the internet. For more than 30 years now, digital media has been connecting people from all around the world, first though chat rooms and forums in the early 90s, and then later in the 2000s and 2010s through online video games, social media, and Second Life, and now that many of us are home-bound, virtual communities are really destined to bloom.
But what makes a virtual community a community? Believe it or not, many pixels have been spilled in academic writing over this question. I won’t go into the details of these theoretical debates (email me if you want to hear more!) but the bottom line is that a virtual community is a “space” where people of similar interests congregate and create meaningful relationships. For me, Mind Oasis is that: a place where I can meet with like-minded people, and through courses and shared meditation experiences, make friendships that support each other even (or especially) in times of crisis.