“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein
Time to Kill Your TV?
Even though I don’t watch the news, I can’t help but see and hear some of the horror that filters through to me. It’s impossible not to. Train derailments. Explosions. Chemical spills. A child who is brain dead, but whose parents can’t accept that fact.
Life washes up on the shores of my consciousness, nagging me, needling me with strife and sadness and heartbreak.
Truth is, I avoid saddling myself with coverage of these things (via local or national news) because if I watch them, it’s hard to even get out of bed each morning. Energetically, I have to work really hard to protect myself from overload, from being flooded with the experiences of others, experiences that are not mine, and that I cannot change.
We all have to be conscious of the energy that we pour into the world and do our best to make sure that it is filled with light, not darkness. God knows, there are plenty of people contributing to the negativity shit storm. Their ranks are already too big. What we need now are some folks who are completely unplugged from that version of reality, so we can counter it with a version where things will turn out better. A collaborative, cooperative, sustainable world. An economy that works for everyone, not just a few.
What you focus on, increases.
I wrote an essay years ago about the importance of staying away from negative news, particularly right before bed time. I believed then, as I do now, that whatever we focus on, increases. The universe isn’t particular about judging what we focus on (as good or bad). It simply give us more of whatever we think about, talk about, or do on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, a huge number of us have grown used to kvetching about what’s wrong with the world, our lives, our families, our jobs, our lovers, our neighbors…You get the idea. And in doing so, we ensure that whatever it is that we claim to want less of actually becomes even more entrenched. We also watch a big dose of carnage/murder/violence, and then head off to bed, expecting to have sweet dreams.
It’s like drinking gasoline and then wondering why you find yourself consumed in a fireball during the night.
Ironically, I submitted that essay to a magazine just days before 9/11 (which, no surprise, never published it). When I woke up and saw the news on September 11, 2001 (because I was still watching it in those days) I felt my heart leap into my throat. The trauma of seeing planes crash and buildings crumble and fall, of seeing the ashen faces of New Yorkers running for their lives and firemen and police running toward danger — all of it is seared into my memory. I knew people who escaped with their lives that day. I knew people who died.
Point is, in one way or another, we all knew those people that day.
However, watching their deaths over and over and over and over, cut us off at the knees. I wanted to hear about the bravery and the self-sacrifice and the embattled willingness to lift each other up after loss.
The news then — as well as now — told us only one thing though: be afraid. Be very afraid.
And all these years later, that fear is woven directly into the fabric of our lives.
Fear will kill the world
Now, we’re deeply and profoundly afraid of each other. We’re afraid if we don’t have an arsenal in our homes, someone will come and steal our stuff (which we cannot take with us when we die, by the way). There are more guns in the U.S. than there are citizens. This (according to the logic of the gun lobby) should be the safest place on earth. Instead, we have a murder and accidental death rate that is comparable to a thug nation where armed militants roam the streets, killing at will. We have school shootings every month. (28 since Sandy Hook.) We have armed vigilantes running around shopping malls taking the law into their own hands. We have children shot in the face by their siblings because their parents ‘forgot’ to lock up the family hand gun.
We have hunger and unemployment and mental illness and disease. Our infrastructure is crumbling. In short, things around here are a mess.
And yes, I realize, turning off the nightly news won’t cure what ails us. It will take much more than a moratorium from bullshit to do that.
But it would do us a world of good to remember that we have the power — in terms of time and attention — to shift the focus to something that is more productive and positive.
I find that most folks have good hearts. They want to take care of their families and live without regrets. The purposeful nurturing of fear (as opposed to its counterpoint, love) is putting this planet into a death spiral. We cannot allow it to continue.
So, the first step is to stop engaging with anything that entrenches our fears: Negative television/news/video games. Trolling. Name calling. Trash talking. Demeaning the ‘other.’ Drawing invisible boundaries between ourselves and others.
The fact of the matter is, we are all connected. There is no separation between any of us, unless we nurture it and build it.
Bowing to the Buddha Within
Instead, let’s imagine that we can see the beating heart – fragile and luminous and real – inside each person we meet. Let’s bow to the Buddha within them, and acknowledge that we want to see the world flourish again. Let’s acknowledge that we want to leave a glistening, living future for our children. Let’s remember that we are powerful creators and the world reflects that creativity (or lack thereof). Let’s never forget that we must appreciate the wonder, beauty and goodness we’ve been gifted by this planet.
Let’s pray to become responsible, enlightened stewards of her plenty.
© 2014 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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