Meditation and Mental Hygiene

My first blog was on meditation. I’ve been at it for five years now and the interesting thing is, it just gets better. I can’t imagine ever quitting. But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is a side effect of meditation. You learn to mind what you feed your mind. You pay attention to what you’re letting in there.

The ‘News’

I don’t follow the news. I don’t watch it, read it or listen to it. Or believe that much of it. I think it’s designed to give us a rush. A rush of aggravation, of anger, of outrage, of fear or a big wave of emotion (cue feel good story here). Regardless, it provides that little adrenaline jolt that keeps us coming back. Or the cliffhanger: ‘Experts say this may happen sooner than we think…’ So you keep checking for an update because–Oh, goodness gracious–it just might happen. The experts said so. And while we’re on that, who are these experts? I come from a career where everything had to be verified and corroborated. Who is this expert I’m being shown? What are his or her credentials?

Despite the blackout, it seeps in. It’s that powerful. I’m not completely, blissfully unaware. But I will admit, though, for a short period of time, I thought Ashley Madison was a real person. I just didn’t know what she’d done…

Social Media

For the same reasons, I’m ambivalent about social media. I ingest it in small doses. It’s a great tool and I’m on there (my IG in case you’re curious). I’m using social media. But it’s using me, and you, harder and better. I don’t like its aggressiveness or it’s ‘suggestions’ (as if it’s my friend) popping up. I don’t like that it feeds you more and more of what you look at, creating a skewed view of the world. If I want, I’ll ask. Or to quote a Sinéad O’Conner song ‘I do not want what I haven’t got‘. I don’t like being coerced in a direction by not being allowed to do one thing and offered another. No, I don’t want to see your friend suggestions (there’s those words again) and please don’t cut my feed until I do.

The image in my mind is that of a long corridor with some doors shut, some open, where you are subtly herded in their “right” direction. I don’t like the simple, grade school level, reward system. The like is the gold star, that tool used with children to get them to perform. Or worse, conform.

Friends and Family

I have the same attitude with people who complain, be it in a work environment, family or friends. Who speak only in negatives and pass harsh judgements, who are always in the same problematic situation. I used to come away tired and annoyed. Now, I avoid.

This might get me a bad rap, which makes it a good time to tell you I don’t watch TV, either. I’ll be told I’m not a realist, I’m hiding, I need to face facts. No, I don’t live in la-de-da land. I’ve simply chosen to filter what comes in. Because if you don’t, it takes longer to clean it out. If you meditate, you know what I mean. It takes longer to calm down, to focus, to stop the replays in your head.

I know I’m not the only one who has realized this, or who has set parameters. The funny thing is, I haven’t met many others. Perhaps, we’re discreet because it sounds like criticism, or ostrich-asism? Are you out there?

PS: I practice Kriya Yoga and owe my progress to listening to and reading Ryan Kurczak.

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash