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Feed your head. February 12, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
—The Buddha

And what we think is typically based on what we see, read, hear, and otherwise take in through our senses.

A dear friend recently suggested a novel nightmare cure: Stop watching movies and television and reading fiction for six months. Why? Because “entertainment” as defined by our culture is all about violence and cruelty.

Sri Eknath Easwaran, in Words to Live By, puts it this way:

“Take popular films, many of which glamorize violence. We can pretend this is only entertainment, bearing no relationship to real life, yet every year violent crimes enact with terrible precision episodes from television or movies. In our violent society, how can anyone argue convincingly that witnessing casual cruelty on television does not affect us? We all have a personal stake in not supporting any of the mass media when they give us poisonous food for our eyes, our ears, and our minds.”

I know many people who read murder mysteries as “harmless entertainment;” some even read them to relax before bed. (Or how about sadism? Thanks, Fifty Shades of Grey!) But I don’t think that this bizarre numbness to what people are seeing or watching is the worst of it.

As I see it, the worst of this is that the constant barrage of violence-as-entertainment, the murder/forensics shows, “The Sopranos,” “Breaking Bad,” the video games, the movies, numb us to real-time violence. The news? All that blood? The suicide bombers? The African boy-armies and boy-pirates? Snore. Let’s change the channel and watch something equally violent, but with a better plot and lots of big stars.

I don’t plan to stop watching movies, or reading novels, or even watching television, if I’m at a hotel and can actually access cooking shows like “Chopped” and “Iron Chef,” not an option at home. But for many years now, I have been very careful to screen what passed the gates of my eyes and ears, what fed my thoughts. I cannot tell you how many times people have rebuked me for refusing to see critically acclaimed movies just because of their plot and content. I’m certainly out of step with modern TV programming.

Yes, of course I do succumb to shows and movies on topics that interest me: “Sherlock,” “The Hobbit,” “The Tudors,” “Game of Thrones.” I’ve watched the Hunger Games movies, violent as they are, because author Suzanne Collins wrote the series to highlight how violence-as-entertainment numbed people to real-life injustice and horror. But I try to balance this fare with more wholesome input, be it spiritual books, CDs, and DVDs, or vegetarian cookbooks from around the globe, or travel and history books, or art books, or natural history books, or gardening books, or you name it.

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Reiki people, think about that the next time you make an entertainment choice. Entertainment is never mindless.

Just for today, don’t let violent entertainment in.


We are our thoughts. January 10, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

—Swami Vivekananda

This thought-provoking quote reminds me of my favorite bumper sticker:

Thoughts Become Actions * Actions Become Habits


Habits Become Character * Character Becomes Destiny

Reiki people, just for today, think good thoughts. Our lives, and our world, depend on it.