Have you ever thought about finding love on a Buddhist dating site? This crazy idea came up as a joke between me and my editor at Tricycle, and now I want to share my experiences with you.
The Intrigue of Online Dating
Shopping for a partner like you’d shop for a book on Amazon.com? It sounds absurd! But lately, I’ve been hearing success stories from friends who’ve met partners online and had a great time going out for dinners, movies, and hikes with people they’d never have met otherwise. It got me thinking: why not give it a try?
I’ve spent most of my life in long-term relationships, so dating is a completely foreign concept to me. But after my marriage went down in flames, I realized that a romantic partner isn’t a guaranteed ticket to a dukkha-free life. Love, I’ve come to understand, is a combination of serendipity and hard work. So why not use my time and energy to root out the cause of suffering—craving—at its source?
Diving into the World of Online Dating
With trepidation and curiosity, I decided to sign up for a couple of “dharma dating” sites. I skipped the mainstream ones and went for the ones explicitly aimed at spiritual singles, dharmaMatch.com and DharmaDate.com. The sign-up process was interesting, with in-depth questions about practice and beliefs designed to screen out non-Buddhists.
Choosing a screen name was a challenge. The obvious ones were already taken, so I settled for Tahini, which also happens to be the name of my cat. And while photos weren’t required, they were encouraged as the bait on the hook in the online sea. So I searched for a recent picture that didn’t make me look like a headless parent.
The Whirlwind of Online Connections
Once my profile was up, the response was overwhelming. Emails flooded my inbox, and I began exchanging messages with interested individuals. The variety of people I encountered was fascinating. An Argentinean jazz musician in New York City who studies Tibetan Buddhism and yoga. A burly poet in Ohio who shares custody of his daughter. A Zen priest in California with a shaved head and black robes.
As the emails poured in, I realized that human beings are hardwired for connection. Yes, our spiritual practice teaches us that we are supported by the whole universe, but it’s also nice to feel supported by a real person who cares about our daily struggles and triumphs.
The Challenge of Online Dating
Despite the initial excitement, online dating soon became overwhelming. Balancing the emails with the demands of my real-world life wasn’t easy. The candidates for my affection started fading away like balloons on a windy day. I found myself forgetting who I was talking to and struggling to keep up with the flood of messages.
Amidst the chaos, I received my first flame from someone I unintentionally ignored. It made me question whether online dating was the right path for me.
The Search for Real Connection
Feeling overwhelmed, I took a break from the dating assignment. I reflected on the strange nature of online dating, where the mind creates an entire image based on a tiny photo and a few lines of text. The reality seldom matches our imagination, leading to disappointment. I pondered whether the activity of dating itself was too trivial compared to the weight of my daily life.
After some time, I decided to give online dating another shot. I went on a few more dates, trying to keep an open mind. But the spark of chemistry was missing. I realized that connections unfold slowly for me, through repeated encounters in natural settings. There’s something about observing someone in their daily life that deepens the bond.
The End of the Online Dating Era
Eventually, I concluded that online dating wasn’t for me. It seemed like an absurd activity riddled with consumerism and the delusion that love is somewhere out there, waiting to be found. I longed for deeper connections with friends, family, and community, which were already enriching my life.
Just when I thought I was done with online dating, something unexpected happened. I crossed paths with an old friend, a wise, loving, and funny companion I had known for years. Our connection deepened, and we started seeing each other again. It made me realize that sometimes, the best connections are right in front of us, waiting to be discovered.
Online dating can be an exciting and overwhelming adventure. It’s a way to practice keeping our hearts open to intimacy without attachment to results. In the process, we can become aware of the habits that keep us feeling separate from others. But for some of us, the real magic happens in the rhythm of shared experiences and deepening connections.
So, if you decide to embark on the adventure of online dating, be prepared for a rollercoaster ride. Keep an open mind, be authentic, and remember that love is both serendipitous and hard work. And who knows? You might just find that special connection that makes the whole journey worthwhile.
Check out Six Minute Dates to find your perfect match!