“Fright never injures anyone. What injures the spirit is having someone always on your back, beating you, telling you what to do and what not to do.”
Carlos Castaneda

Journey to Ixtlan

The #OMCru System


Personal Disclaimer: I am not a fan of communities. It may be my understanding of “community” that is unclear – but it is what it is. I’ve been rejected by many communities most of my life. Most of the communities I have experienced were aggressive towards and threatened by my personal sense of freedom. For many years this led me into a false belief that I am not a people person, it has taken me a long time to realize that community does not equal people. People I like and I can do, communities I don’t.

What is OMCru?

Over recent months I encountered on Twitter an inspiring phenomenon called the Online Meditation Crew which can be found on Twitter using the hashtag #OMCru. People affiliated with this stream announce when they are going to sit down for a short meditation so that others may join them – thus fostering group meditations. I really liked the concept though until recently I never got a chance to participate because it seems to be happening way out of my time zone. Then a couple of months ago I lucked out and ran into a meditation checkin by @shuliji (who indirectly introduced me to OMCru). I came out of the meditation with a flood of thoughts for a web-service based inspired by OMCru. I have since reached out to the founder of OMCru to share my thoughts and yesterday when I tweeted about it – I was ambushed. Coming from meditators made it soft – but it was an ambush.


Yesterday’s swift flood made it clear to me that there is no point in talking to or about an OMCru “community” – there are too many diverse voices, personalities, qualities and motivations participating in it for me to relate to it as a whole. Yet there is an OMCru System in place and my thoughts pertain to it rather then to it’s members. As a precursor to my thoughts I am calling on another precious resource also introduced to me by @shuliji. Following is a video by Dominic Barter of Restorative Circles that wonderfully explains and demonstrates an understanding of “system” that I embrace:

I suffer from an opposite symptom to Dominic’s “System Blindness” – I am prone to “System Brightness” – systems shout out to me and many times the underlying is so powerful that I cannot benefit from the system itself. So I am going to apply my “System Brightness” to OMCru. There are numerous underlying assumptions of order that drive the OMCru system – such as:

  1. To use it you must use Twitter. It is also useful to be an advanced Twitter user – you need to know what hashtags are and how to use them if you want to stay intune with the OMCru stream.
  2. To join a meditation you must either connect to a daily scheduled meditation or be with Twitter on you at all times (or at least around the time you want to meditate) – to see who’s meditating now.
  3. You are awake and active in or near a USA/Canada time-zone which is where the core and most of OMCru meditation originate.
  4. You can meditate on your own.
  5. You can time your meditations.

… and the list probably goes on and on with gross and subtle assumptions that defineĀ  the system. Some of the assumptions are inherited from people/ group dynamics and others are inherited from technological dynamics. It is the technological dynamics of it that I don’t like and, in the spirit of Dominic Barter, “are not serving me well”.

For Me the OMCru System Sucks

  1. I don’t live with Twitter – I review it only occassionaly. Twitter can easily generate too much noise for my liking. I don’t have mobile internet at all.
  2. I live in Europe – which means that most of the (current) OMCru meditation activity takes place when I sleep.
  3. My scheduled meditations take place within a wider practice – which does not include sending updates to Twitter.
  4. My spontaneous meditations usually meet a thin or silent OMCru stream.
  5. I like my Twitter stream concise and clean. The OMCru dynamics make an awful mess. Yesterday I encountered a person from the OMCru stream that appealed to me and I wanted to follow. I hesitated to do so because that would bring more useless OMCru noise into my stream.
  6. I had some thoughts to share with the community – but there was no where to share them (and finally put them up in this post).

For Me the OMCru Idea Rocks

It was just a few days ago that I managed to see beyond the obstacles of the OMCru system and to reconnect with it’s core inspiration. Even though I don’t participate in OMCru meditations it is present with me. I love knowing that many others are engaged in meditation. “System Brightness” tells me that is a system that can bring clarity to the world. I realized that I partake in it even if I don’t meditate with others at the same time. I realized that I partake in it even without meditating, by just witnessing it. Then I realized that my Shakuhachi meditations are a part of it – and I even indulged in sending shoutouts on Twitter. Then I remembered the flood of thoughts that came to me after my first and only OMCru group meditation. They are NOT meant to do anything to an OMCru Community – they ARE intended to improve the OMCru System.

Imagine a web-site where you can join or create meditations:

  • You could see a list of upcoming meditations and the people who will be participating in them.
  • You could be reminded (by Twitter, Email or a nifty mobile application) of upcoming meditations.
  • That nifty mobile application could also signal you gently when a meditation begins and ends.
  • You could create a spontaneous or planned meditation, you could invite others to it – you could even give it a theme (a word, a thought, a color, an image, a sound …).
  • You could offer or partake in a voice guided meditation.
  • You could make a note of reflection after a meditation and/or share with others – in a unique form of dialoge which lends itself to peaceful attention.
  • Eventually you could review your meditation history – your reflections, the people you’ve spent time with, etc.

All of this, I believe, would make it easier for the OMCru idea to spread, to reach more people (including me), to create more opportunities for connection, to facilitate a cleaner means of communicating and coming together. In addition it would make it possibl to experience a “bigger picture” of what is happening:

  • You could see a map of the world with indications of meditations taking place all over.
  • You could see how much meditation has happened & how many people have meditated in the last 24 hours, week, year … or since the inception of the system.
  • You could see where in the world meditation is established and where new seeds are growing.
  • You could effortlessly organize and coordinate large meditation events.

Anyways … these are just some of my thoughts and my intention was (and remains) to share them in the hope of collaborating with others to transform them into a good working system, to support and nurture the OMCru idea.

Unhealthy Systems

Systems (and communities!) tend to become self propagating – which can cause them to lose sight of the values and ideas they are intended to serve. They can become so self-serving that they can even work against their purposes – this is a state of illness. I was surprised by the mass of defensive reactions in the spirit of “We like our community, don’t change it” I received yesterday. I was disappointed by the absence of curiosity.

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