Do you feel that life has gotten out of control? Do you believe that you have little influence over the reality by which you and everyone around you is living their lives? Have you lost hope that you will be able to lead a life that is creative, useful and spiritually fulfilling?
If this is the case, you are both paying too much attention and not enough.
You are paying too much attention to the media.
You are lending your energy to the blow-by-blow coverage of adrenaline-raising events and situations that do not touch your daily life and that you cannot change.
When you fix your attention on something over which you have no control, you forget to look at what’s important. You forget to look at what’s around you and how your life interacts with others. Yes, this is another plea to stop watching the media – not only the news shows but also the entertainment shows and the accompanying advertisements. They are deliberately painting a restrictive and stunted picture of humanity. While you may be perceptive to what’s going on and believe you can rise above it, if you are exposed to the same message hundreds and thousands of times, even you will subconsciously begin to believe that you are viewing reality.
You are probably tired of hearing this message and we are tired of delivering it, but you are not paying attention! You are letting someone else define your reality – someone who does not have your best interests at heart.
There are people who would argue that it’s important to keep up with world events; we think that’s a fine sentiment. However, after you have been informed of the most recent disaster and have made your contribution to a charity to help alleviate the situation, turn the television off!
Feelings of compassion and empathy do NOT give you a pass to watch a tragedy unfold in mind numbing detail. Gawking at the misfortunes of others is invasive, rude and a form of rubbernecking tourism at it’s worst. You have no right.
(We give a pass to aid, medical and emergency personnel, and to city planners who might better learn how to mitigate harm by observing what has gone wrong.)
So what can you do?
First of all, help yourself first. Many of you have become invested in the idea of personal sacrifice as a praiseworthy end goal, putting off work on yourself to serve others. While service to others can be both uplifting and life changing, by ignoring your own development you are shortchanging not only yourself but everyone around you. And let’s be honest – there are those of you who engage in service to others as a means to justify why you can’t work on yourselves. This gives you the chance to be praised and feel noble, all without doing the hard work of your own inner development.
You need to find out who you are. Many of you define yourselves in terms of other people. You are a mother, a breadwinner, part of a team, or a member of a family, etc. But that’s not who you are – that’s only a brief reflection of your interactions with other people. Who would you be if you were entirely alone with no one else around? (And with no media!) Imagine you spent a month in a cave where you were entirely alone and your needs were magically taken care of. Would you still be you, or would your identity break apart without people or things to confirm it?
Yes, you are tired of hearing this – and we are tired of saying it. But this is critically important and you are not paying attention!
Meditating is not an option, it is a requirement for evolving yourself and changing your reality.
Once you have made headway on meditation (this could take several months) you will be ready to go on to the next step: look around you and see where you are.
Not just physically, but socially and spiritually. Do you take pride in your what you do for a living? Are your relationships a positive factor in your life? Do you have a community? Have you made room in your life for creativity?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, you have the ability to make changes. Work reduced hours or change your job entirely (you may need to stop buying crap to do this – if you stop watching the media you will be able to do this a lot more easily). Start engaging in meaningful conversations with your friends and loved ones, and continue to search out new friendships of like-minded individuals. Join groups dedicated to physical activities or charitable causes. Create something with your hands – cookies, bookends, or a productive garden.
The vibrations of the life you create – inner development, meditation, and a productive life that is grounded in your local environment – will rise around you like a protective bubble. This life will resonate with others, and your community will grow as your personal and collective realities change. In time, you will barely be able hear the constant stream of mindless quacking that currently invades every part of your life.
The fact is, far from being helpless, you are a powerful and valuable part of humanity; you have both the right and the responsibility to choose your own path. Changing your reality starts with you, not with people in powerful positions. You will be surprised to find out how irrelevant these “powerful” people are when you consciously turn your attention inward and focus on what’s important.
Turn off your television, cancel your cable subscriptions, meditate and decide how to live your own live rather than letting others impose a life that benefits them rather than you. The great majority of humanity is selling itself short.
You are better than that. You are stronger.
You are not helpless.