Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lesson# 10: Rethinking the News (Part 1)

Last week I noticed that a lot of people around me were expressing feelings of overwhelm and despair. Perhaps the crisis in Japan was pushing them over the edge---I don't know---but what occurred to me was that now is a critical time for us to learn how to monitor the information that's coming into our fields of awareness, as well as the information and energy we're putting out into the world.

For instance, when we watch the news on TV we are willingly entering a dark realm, a crazy, distorted world where mostly only bad things happen. Why do we do this to ourselves? I always hear people say, "I watch the news because I want to know what's going on," but I wonder if it might be more accurate to say, "...I want to know what's going wrong."

Here are a couple thoughts for you to consider regarding your involvement with the media. First of all, the objective reality is that we live in a world of contrast---lots of positive and lots of negative (and in between there is plenty of neutral). If you want to find an abundance of good news in the world it's not at all difficult to find. Many, many good individuals and groups are doing amazing, even heroic things all over the world as we speak, and I'm not referring to the cute, tongue-in-cheek human interest stories occasionally found in the news.

The problem is that good news doesn't sell the same way that nightmarish headlines do. We can blame the media for their role in this, but ultimately it all comes down to supply and demand. Many of us actually crave the gory details of the darker side of life.

Secondly, I don't believe we humans were biologically or psychologically designed to process all of the horrors of the world in a single sitting, much less have visual images of that suffering brought into our living rooms.

Grave difficulties have occurred globally throughout history. Brutal violence, devastating natural disasters, climate changes, constant wars, massive plagues and other epidemics, famines, religious persecution, witch hunts, rampant infant mortality, you name it---it's been going on for thousands of years.The main difference I see today is not the magnitude of crisis on the planet, but the inability for most of us to filter out what we don't need to know, and what can actually harm us.

Up until a few decades ago, human beings only had to process what was going on in their own geographical areas. Occasionally they were touched by rumors or newspaper stories from far-off lands, but these distant places probably felt as far removed from them as the moon feels to us. If your nervous system feels overwhelmed by life, it probably is! Too much information and drama. Not enough individual censoring and discretion.

Next week we will continue this discussion, but for now I'd like to ask you to consider how you might be able strike a healthy balance between staying as informed as you see fit, and protecting your space. Remember, the world needs your light. You can't work your magic when you're feeling hopeless and depleted. So, hang in there, Sweetheart, and we'll see you next week.