Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blow Up Your TV & Turn Off Your Computer

If you are reading this, then your spending too much time on-line. This may seem like an oxymoronic statement, since I am writing on-line and obviously as guilty as you of too much internet. Well, for one thing I have an internet based business. What’s your excuse?

Before you get angry, please hear me out. I grew up as a TV addict like everyone else I knew and believe me there would have a violent reaction if anybody tried to convince me otherwise,... but that was in the 60’s and we didn’t have computers.

I loved watching Star Trek or the movie of the week, but that was after I would be out in the school yard or down at the creek during the daylight hours. I got lots of of exercise hiking in the hills around our house and great socialization with ball games in the vacant lots and be-be gun wars. It was a normal part of growing up for our generation.

Awhile back I was dating a woman with a ten year old boy. He was an average kid and seemed to be good natured. There was only one problem. He didn’t like going outside. His world was videos or internet games. He stubbornly refused to do anything else as I probably would have at his age over my favorite activities.

Now, I have a new baby and I know soon or later he will be stubbornly arguing for his favorite activities. The difference is we don’t have TV and hopefully we can limit the internet exposure too.

Why you say don’t you have a TV? There are so many great shows and besides isn’t it every American’s duty to watch 6+ hours a day (two months of non-stop watching). My answer is simple. I don’t have the time. I need that two months for my evening walks, my made from scratch meals, my sitting on the porch, my home improvement, my talking to the neighbors, my time with our kid, etc.

I’m sure you get the point. I actually still do netflixs on a home theater once a week, but it’s hard to find time for that even.

As I get older, time moves faster. And I’m here to tell you that at 50+ I know life is short. I want to make the most of it and as much as I love TV shows, they just don’t cut it compared to real life. As much as I love those social network on the internet and talking to nice people in Timbuktu,.... well needless to say, I like my local friend and neighbors more. I can’t borrow a latter from the guy in Timbuktu or sit down for dinner and share real emotion about life’s ups and downs.

Now back to Samsara or Habits of Mind. It’s simple. Your more similar to your computer then you realize. You can be programed or de-programed. Advertising and television in general is programing you day and night. However, you can choose to program yourself for the conscious choices that make your life better.

How? It’s easier then you think. You could start by canceling your cable. I know it’s going to be painful until you make the transition, but I swear you’ll never go back.

If not for you, then how about for you kids? My sister has been a Special Education school teacher for 30 years. She tells me that ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) has more then doubled in the schools. Childhood obesity has been rising for two decades and autism is dramatically increasing. Some article claim that nobody knows why.

Hey, I’m not a doctor, but it’s easy to guess the cause in my opinion. Over stimulation and lack of exercise i.e. television & internet.

If we change our own Samsaras or habits to life enhancing and enriching activities, then we in effect change our children and society in general. It’s take a little discipline and some commitment, but you only live once (each time) and the clock is ticking.

There’s a saying in the ancient Sanskrit text about this. It states that Satvic activities (things that are life giving) are difficult in the beginning, but easy in the long run. Alternately, Tomasic activities (life damaging) are easy in the beginning and difficult in the long run.

I guess the question we have to ask is: Are we good long term planners? Do we really give a crap or do we want to make a difference?

From the Buddhist prospective this quote sums it up: “Pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain is the real source of Suffering” Gautuma Buddha, 500 BCE.

Think about it.

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