Television, Know Thyself, and…Peace!

You know there is something wrong with American culture when talking about Peace upsets people.  Last night I asked my parents if they wanted inner-peace.  My mom replied, “Of course.  We all want inner-peace.”  I asked them if they had it.  My dad replied, “I’m working on it every day.”  They proceeded to watch baseball for the rest of the night.

Is watching baseball a path to inner-peace? The way I see it, watching any sports game on television is accepting one’s inferiority to a false icon on a screen, just as with any program on television.  When we watch television, we reaffirm a belief that we are not good enough, so we have to look elsewhere for a sense of contentedness.  We might even get a sense of peace from television, but it’s not an inner-peace so much as it is an external-peace, which inherently is not lasting and will pass along like dust in the wind as soon as the tube is switched off.

If television is our source of peace, then we should probably just watch it for the rest of our lives and rot away on the couch.  That wouldn’t be such a bad way to go out, right?  That actually might be the only way to not suffer a negative impact to your state of wellbeing from television.  Otherwise, if you watch television and later leave your virtual world, your vicarious life through the false idols on the screen will vanish, and you are bound to return to your very human self, which you are likely dissatisfied with you if you ever subjected it to watching other people live in the first place.

We are not here to be watchers.  We are here to be active participants – we are here to live!  And live we shall.  Living is not wasting away on a couch, plugging into a virtual reality that tells you what to do, what to think, and what to want.  Living is thinking for yourself.  Living is being yourself!

I came across some words of wisdom from Lao Tzu the other day.  He said,

“To know others it to be learned; to know oneself is to be enlightened.”

Shakespeare said something similar as well.

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

We live in a world where we do not even know ourselves.  We are of a very mysterious nature, and there is much more to us than mere flesh.   I like to think that we are all on a quest for Truth, yet sometimes I wonder when I hear about Americans on average watching upwards of two hours of television a day.  Is television really a means of self-discovery?  Even if it is, I don’t think it’s nearly as effective as spending time walking, thinking, meditating, or being in nature.  Of course, that is my personal opinion – but really, how are we supposed to learn about our True Nature when we glue ourselves to an electronic medium piping in all kinds of advertisements and distractions trying to sell us products because we supposedly are not good enough right now?  The television industry is driven by money – are you?  If you want to look to money for your means of happiness and fulfillment in life, go ahead.  Just giving you a heads up though, your search will probably not be very fruitful.

Sometimes I think television is also there to deter us from using our most valuable, free gifts given to us at birth.  It is mind-numbing!  Yet, our mind is one of the most fantastic objects in the Universe as we know it.  As Earl Nightingale said,

The mind is the last unexplored continent on the earth.  It holds riches beyond our wildest imagination.”

Go ahead and explore the continent of your mind yourself! No one else can do it for you.  Let us not waste our gifts.  Instead, let’s put them to good use the way we all know we are capable.

This morning, while juggling, I thought about what Peace in the World would look like, and I imagined that everyone is a student-teacher of sorts.  We all have our own areas of interest, yet we all find Creation equally fascinating, so we spend our days learning and teaching – growing in understanding of the Beauty of Creation.  I also figure that the primary education we would all learn is about ourselves, thereby cultivating the amazing gifts free at birth.  Activities like drawing, singing, improvisational comedy, dance, yoga, juggling, meditation, writing – all of these would be prevalent in such a state of Peace. As far as I understand, inner-peace is all about enjoying the free things in life, so World Peace might just be everyone doing that.  Hooray for sustainable practices!

The more we come to enjoy the free treasures available to us at every moment, the more we will grow in our sense of Peace in the World.

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