On Using Discernment…

weapons of mass distraction

I changed my computer’s home page today. I could no longer subject myself to the images I was seeing daily when it opened up to the BBC. Back when I set it to BBC my logic was that I would get a bit of world events from a “somewhat” non partisan source as I no longer subscribe to cable or watch network television. But now it seems the BBC has also resorted to using the most graphic images of any global event.

Maybe I am just more sensitive but I don’t see the point in viewing these images.

My enormous black “vintage” tv sits in my living room looking like a boxy, robotic intruder. I keep it around to watch dvd’s on. I half expect it some nights when I am up late tapping away on my computer to turn itself on like in the “Poltergeist” films. Angry that I no longer pay attention to it, it tries to suck me in with snowy distortion like the little girl in the movie. But the snowy distortion is what made me turn it off in the first place. I grew up having television as a default. You flopped down in front of it whenever you had a free moment to “veg out”. I found myself as an adult watching programming I didn’t set out to watch and then feeling like I needed a shower to clean up after. I felt guilty about wasting time on something that made me feel bad. So, some years ago, I went cold turkey and disconnected my cable. When I called to cancel the rep I spoke to did her job trying to convince me with discounts to stay. When she finally asked why I was canceling I replied “Because tv rots your brain”. She finished the transaction in silence.

You don’t miss what you don’t have. I don’t feel any less connected not being up on the latest installment of “Game of Thrones”. But I do watch programming of my choosing. I love PBS and can usually access anything I would like to see online. But I find my choices are all much more deliberate. That isn’t to say I don’t love some mindless fun programming from time to time. Downton Abbey anyone?

I have found myself of late being faced with the same dilemma when it comes to online “News”. One of my spiritual teachers years back would call the “news” the “olds”. HIs feeling was that nothing you see on the news is actually news. That it is all a illusion meant to keep you swept up in a cycle of fear and anger and not in your highest good. The hope being the next piece of advertising you are subjected to in your weakened state of mind that promises instant happiness you will run out and consume.

What you put your attention on will show up, gain strength and proliferate in your surroundings. So use discernment in what you put your attention on. Is it ultimately positive or negative? Its not that I don’t care about individuals on the other side of the globe who are suffering. I offer prayers, mediation, healing treatment, money and assistance in any way I can for specific causes and situations I feel a personal connection to. I try to focus on a positive outcome and what I can do with the resources I have here to help. Constant worry, opinion, complaints and anger expressed about world events consistently can leave you feeling like you yourself are living it when you actually aren’t. Ultimately this is a symptom of feeling powerless and a self fulfilling prophecy that can cause the most self aware person to end up on the couch eating chips and watching the “Real Housewives”.

Your mind is a powerful computer with a very large memory chip. Even the violent image from a movie gets stored somewhere so it can show up in a dream or fear. Although I have been active in helping animals in need for over twenty years I strictly limit the visuals I allow myself to take in. I already know about the unspeakable cruelty that takes place. For me, I find it aggressive and an intrusion when these images are then displayed in a way I cannot avoid seeing them. Although a group like Peta does excellent work I personally have never felt any alignment with them. The tactics they use and the guilt they illicit in attempt to achieve their goals has made me check out. Ultimately killing the messenger, even if the message is a good one.

Often much of what we do is habitual. We do things because its what we have always done. One of the most powerful things anyone can do is break a habit. Taking a self inventory and using discernment ask yourself what are you still doing that no longer serves your highest and best good. You don’t have to go cold turkey and cancel your cable, but if you catch your arm reaching mechanically for the remote the moment you arrive home make a different choice. One that is powered by free will and not habit.

And once you start doing this your life changes. That’s because what your are putting your attention on has shifted. It will carry over and show up in other parts of your routine. Then you realize you have dominion over your habits and anything is possible because you are strong enough to change.

Namaste & Love

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