This past week, I peeked at some of the made-for-TV premium cable series, and was amazed at the graphic violence, hatred, greed, and blatant sexuality in these programs. I understand, the cable companies want an audience and this sort of stuff attracts viewers, like a street fight attracts a crowd, and yet, "is this what I want to fill my mind with?" I asked myself.
Over the years, I've heard my meditation teacher, Swami Veda Bharati, speak of paying attention to what you fill your mind with. Just as the type of food we take into our physical body affects our physical health, so also what we mentally consume affects our mental and emotional health.
If everything we take into our minds affects our emotions and leaves a subtle trace in our memory, could seeing people act out intense greed, hatred, and violence cause us to believe that such behavior is acceptable? Could this be part of the reason there is so much random violence in our country? I don't know, although it wouldn't surprise me if this was so. What I do know is that when my mind is filled with the hyper-kinetic, super-emotional images of a violent movie, I'm not able to experience the simple joy of a calm and happy mind.
These violent, savagely emotional, movies are like spicy food. There's an attraction to them, they are thrilling, exciting, and afterward there is a price to pay.
So we have a choice. When we turn on the television, or go to the cinema, we can consume thoughts that help us live healthier, happier lives, or we can fill our minds with violent thoughts that agitate our mind and emotions that may even leak out into our relationships and society in the form of increased aggression.