For as long as I can remember, I have always watched a lot of TV. It was something I could do with my dad, usually watching sport, and because Dad wasn’t able to give us much attention – simply because he didn’t know how to at the time, – it was one of the few activities we were able to do together.
So began my life of watching TV – a lot of sport, movies, sitcoms – anything! It worked beautifully with my pattern of checking out from the world … and as I got older, TV, along with alcohol and various other drugs were used. Looking back I can feel how TV watching increased my anxiety, which then led to procrastination and a life of stress and rushing, doing just enough to get by.
This pattern of numbing myself and numbing my awareness lasted a long time. I was 40 years old before I finally gave up drugs; I gave up alcohol about 5 years after that, but TV endured until just recently. Although I have felt the effects of scanning through the channels, looking for anything to watch, hours spent watching sport and re-runs of comedies from 20 years ago, it took a weekend of way too much TV to make the firm decision to give it away and find out what I might achieve without it.
When I allowed myself to really become aware of the effects TV watching was having on me, I could feel that it was numbing my awareness and much more.
I called these effects the T.V.‘D’s; I wrote them on a ‘post it’ note, which eventually got stuck to the TV.
The T.V.‘D’s are as follows:
Drains my energy – we function on energy, and time spent in front of the TV is stimulating to the mind, which then makes getting to sleep difficult. The consequence of this for me was that I was still tired when I got out of bed the next morning. If I stayed up late, it was usually because I was watching TV, so that also meant I would be tired the next day.
De-motivates me – this one is self-explanatory: when watching TV, not much else gets done. I would do a bit of work, tell myself I’m tired and need a break, sit/lay down and watch TV, then whatever I had planned to do after that was ‘forgotten’ and left for another day. On occasions I would have a trip planned for work but get caught up watching TV, resulting in me cancelling the trip. This was followed with lies and untruths about why my trip was cancelled and my services were to be delayed. This procrastination sometimes caused a whole series of events where I put myself under pressure and stress, which then increased my level of anxiety.
Dulls awareness & understanding – while watching TV, it was easy to override the awareness of how tired I really was. Usually I start to get physically tired around 7.30 pm, but if I was watching TV I couldn’t feel that and therefore I would stay up way past my bedtime, a very naughty boy! It is also a very effective way to numb something I don’t want to feel. Eating while watching TV was the most effective form of numbing and distracting myself since I no longer used alcohol and drugs.
Develops anti-social behaviors – on far too many occasions I made the decision to watch TV rather than going out into the world to interact with others. Go to a party or watch a good movie on TV I might have already seen? – TV wins. An opportunity to learn more about love at a presentation by Serge Benhayon or AFL grand final day… tough decision – but TV and the live telecast of the footy wins. Go out tonight, tired from watching TV, so ‘too tired to go out’. You get the picture.
Disastrous for eyes – this one just occurred to me now. When I would watch hours of TV and then go to bed, I could feel the effect on my eyes – they hurt. From what I can tell, all of this TV has diminished my eyesight as I can feel the difference when I watch less or no TV.
It is clear that becoming aware of the T.V.‘D’s a year or so before giving up TV shows the difficulty I have had in deepening the love for myself – that is true. I also know that if I had made myself give up TV before now, then that would have been for some reason other than it being a truth for me. Although that’s not great, it is better for me to make changes that are true for me, rather than to change a behaviour because someone else does.
Since giving up TV I have found I have so much more time to devote to reading and writing. I am getting things done before I need to, getting to bed earlier, getting up earlier and my eyes feel better. I have also noticed how other distractions put their hand up to replace TV… so far I have been able to not take up any new ‘pastimes’. As with other things I have let go of in the past, I know it takes a little time for those thoughts of ‘maybe just one episode of Seinfeld’ or ‘just a half hour, then turn it off’, to diminish, so choices must be made and resolve must be consistent.
Over time, it has become clear to me how letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am. When I am choosing to be all that I am, the desire to numb or distract myself falls away without effort, and I get on with what needs to be done.
In appreciation of Serge Benhayon, for showing there is another way, not only by what he presents, but also how he lives.
By Mark Payne, NSW, Australia
Coming to the Truth about how I was Living…
Biting my Nails – Old Habits die gently
Brilliant blog Mark, i love your T.V.D’s list… makes complete sense, and is very true
Me too Johanne – it is awesome and can be applied to so many other check-out things.
This is gorgeous Mark, I love your powers of self observation and your total willingness to be so open and honest. Your ending line, “Over time, it has become clear to me how letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am.” This is the greatest ending there ever could be. You just so simply and clearly outlined why no New Years Resolution works, if it is about thinking you have to give up something instead of claiming what it is you are getting it is a constant vicious cycle of will power, one difficult choice after the next. Truly brilliant Mark, thank you 🙂
Great topic Mark as it is common in our society to be absorbed in TV especially at night usually wanting to check out after the days work. I discovered a little while ago that when I muted the adds in between the show I was watching that my whole body would let go of the tension/anxiety it was holding which had built up through watching a show. This was only a matter of 1/2hr in front of the TV. This proved to me that while watching TV there is a definite stimulation to the body causing it to tighten up and become quite racy. I felt the body was thanking me when muting the adds as it could return to a more relaxed state. You can imagine what state the mind and body are in when watching a whole night of tv without sapping the adds. No wonder it is difficult to go to sleep or even feel revitalised in the morning on waking.
There has been different periods of my life where watching TV felt different to me. I used to rely on watching TV to deeply numb and even to fall asleep every night when I was younger. Around 8 years ago, I still watched the occasional movie to find that I still fell asleep everytime and ended up not finishing watching anything. Now even if I sit for 10 mins in front of the TV, I know it is already far too much and I get restless and would have to stop. I needed TV to numb before, and choosing to not numb anymore, watching TV then clearly feels harming.
Mark I can relate to every T.V.’D’ point you make. I’d already started admitting these ‘D’s to myself so one night I thought I’ll just have one last TV binge before I gave it up (yeah, for a day or so!) so watched the remaining episodes of a series.
In the morning I knew I didn’t feel right, like I had a hangover – I’d let in the energy of what I’d been watching. All day I couldn’t shake this and knew my work with people was suffering. Then someone pulled out in front of me when I was driving and I couldn’t stop in time so we crashed. Such a clear sign that I was letting in energy from watching TV that was smashing me.
Despite this I still haven’t given TV up but it’s on the cards. Now it’s difficult to find anything I actually want to watch. I use TV to numb feelings of emptiness so am building a relationship with myself so I no longer need to numb out.
Thank you for your honesty Karin because it is very needed that we are more honest with each other. It is so ironic that we are using TV to fill emptiness while watching TV is actually creating the emptiness.
Yes, anything but reconnecting with oneself, will only bring greater emptiness. If what we’re doing comes from a need then we’re asking the world to fill us up and the world isn’t who we are so we get filled up with what we’re not and lose ourselves further.
I have so much respect for you Mark for making changes that feel true to you rather than to change it because others are doing it also. The truth is following or copying what we are told is true does not allow us to reach truth, it only gives us a picture which is never reachable by skipping the steps in between, so what we think we have reached is never true, when in fact, there is no one destinative picture to work towards in love or truth.
I love what you say Adele – I know I have copied what others have done all my life and I am now realising that as you say it ‘only gives us a picture which is never reachable by skipping the steps in between’. When we begin to take these steps for ourselves we can truly feel the difference and begin to unfold and explore who we truly are.
I agree Adele, this is huge. Mark’s honesty allows me to feel that I still choose many things because I want to ‘fit in’. In the long run this never works and I lose sight of who I am. I love the fact that Mark allowed himself to feel what affect TV was having on his body and life, his observations have allowed me to see the full picture when it comes to TV.
Very important reminder Adele that copying what we are told is not the way to love or truth.
The way to love or truth can only ever be coming from within, to truly connect deeply and ascertain what is there and how does it feel.
I found this blog super informative and appreciate the deeper understanding offered of the deep and entwined short and long term effects of unhealthy TV watching patterns.
I watched very little TV growing up or in adulthood however i can see how relatable this is to us all – it may not be TV but what other means, tools or avenues to we turn to to take the edge off life, not be aware, escape or withdraw from life.? There is a smorgasbord on offer every moment. The question is one of responsibility and commitment to life which you have demonstrated in your blog Mark and whether we are saying and living a true yes to this and to what degree.
I like this line Mark … ‘it has become clear to me how letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am’. The only way I’ve found to truly make changes is to choose loving myself more.
I like this approach Anne. In this way there is nothing forbidden and no will power needed. It’s just about saying yes to more loving choices.
And we are far more likely to sustain the choice.
Indeed – as it is impulsed from within and not from the head. So much more powerful and sustainable. And easy in the process too.
That’s it Anne and Mark, letting go of things that don’t support us is the way to make changes in our life. Years ago, I stopped smoking. I was 28 and I remember distinctly saying to myself, I’m not quitting smoking, I’m choosing to no longer be a smoker. That was it for me…I wobbled a few times in the early days, but never returned to smoking because I knew it wasn’t supporting me in anyway, and so I chose more love for myself.
True Anne, when I follow an idea or rule to change my behaviour it has never ever has been a true change. It could take a while or longer but I would come back to my former not supportive behaviour. When it comes from feeling me inside and support the love that I am, it can come back too but when I stay true to myself eventually it will change and last. Even to a point that I cannot even imagine that it was such a big deal to give it up in the first place.
I can relate to your ‘plight’ Mark. I still watch movies and sometimes get hooked into a TV series as well, but every time I do I get a niggling sense that something is not right for me to do this yet … I persist. After reading your blog I am feeling more resolved to honour my knowing at times when it whispers – ‘that movie is not a loving idea right now’ or ‘what are you checking out from now Jeannette” ‘How about doing some gentle exercise to support the pain in your back instead?’ Love it, thanks for sharing it is very inspiring.
Mark, I would love to not look at this issue at all. TV is a seductive and entertaining, body numbing, time sucking, allowing issue that I quite enjoy at times. I also know I love it when I don’t have a TV at all. There is more space and more conversation. I go to bed when I feel to without the pull of just watching something else, I don’t feel I’m missing out on something if I am not watching it and there is no temptation to turn it on instead of doing something else or just being with others. I find that TV can take me away from feeling what is true for me and so I miss an opportunity to grow and express and that feels sad.
I love movies and some great tv programs, and I feel that I can occasionally watch things that I might enjoy but not at the expense of the way I want to live my life and not at the expense of my relationships with others. It is easy for the television to be on whenever there is an awkward moment or to fill up an emptiness, when it could be used more wisely. Now having ways we can watch things when we choose to rather than when a tv station programs it means we can watch that well chosen program when we want to and turn it off when we have finished, and some days we don’t need to turn it on at all.
Mark, this is a really super post, love the honesty too, you nail some really fantastic aspects of TV, and love the TVD’s (!!) . Whatever it is, when we become aware, and act on the awareness, there is such freedom.
Thanks very much for this honest blog about the way we can use TV to numb out and distract. It is a big one! I was brought up in the days where there was no TV and I can remember immensely enjoying life without it. But I got very hooked on some programs once Tv entered our town, stage right, in about 1962. Then for many more years in student digs we never had TV, or when it was there we were too interested in expounding our philosophies of life at night to get into it. Some years later very at the age of 26 when I began a new and long relationship with my husband-to-be, we would watch TV and I found it compelling! There is still something in me that likes to watch an hour of it a night if there are no people to engage with. It is interesting to observe what I pick and why I pick it. What exactly am I using TV for? For example now that I have got to the bottom of my issue of betrayal I no longer need to watch movies about betrayal! I have seen that there are definitely occasions when I am going for comfort, and there are times I am using it for research and to keep on the pulse of what is being reflected back to society about how we are living.
I so agree Mark – it can be such a drain on life if we give our power away to it.
I can relate to what you have shared here Lyndy…especially how TV can be good research to get a snapshot of where humanity is at and the kinds of conversations that are going on. If I look at the trend of programs on TV over the last 10 years, Reality TV is a reflection of where we are at with our relationships…the fact that we are so enthralled at watching others live shows the choices that we have made to pull back from our own lives and real connections with people, because if we were truly living in full there would be no need or desire for this.
I think that is an important distinction you make Lyndy. TV is not the big baddy, it is our relationship with it that makes the difference.
Your comment that “it is better for me to make changes that are true for me, rather than to change a behaviour because someone else does” – is pure gold. There is nothing like truly feeling how things really affect us, taking responsibility for our state of being and then making different choices. These choices then last forever and have nothing to do with willpower or motivation, they are organically and intrinsically our very own choices.
Absolutely Gabriele if we makes changes for someone else or because of someone else rather than based on how we are feeling then it has no substance, conviction or true foundation.
… and to carry this on Andrew – it will not last and often bitterness may set in as we didn’t feel it for ourselves but did it to please, impress, belong or whatever the reason may have been.
Well said Gabriele. When we make a change because we can feel how it is affecting us, there is no willpower or control needed. It’s not even about saying no to whatever it is, it’s about saying yes to more love for ourselves, and in turn, for others.
I love this Sandra – “…saying yes to more love for ourselves” – and this in turn can not do anything else but emanate and expand out as love is forever expanding.
Thanks for a great blog Mark. One of the things that I have also found is that it’s easy to slip into feeling resentful or hard done by when facing up to the need to change a behaviour. It can seem as if I am somehow being penalised. Of course I realise that this doesn’t make a lot of sense and that there is more to look at, but it none the less shows how much we can fight ourselves about leaving the familiar behind, such as using the TV to numb and distract ourselves, even when we know the rewards are so huge.
I don’t have much time for watching TV on a daily basis any more but there was certainly a time in my life when I would have found it quite distressing if I hadn’t had my TV time, Like I had missed out on something important happening. I then discovered what I call TV bingeing grabbing a series and watching it for three days in a row, you quickly discover the writers formula for episodes and how unoriginal each episode is. I also felt drained, a fuzzy head and it took me a few days to come out of the haze. It was a great big checkout form life and everything, which I know soemtimes we feel we want to do but at what cost, the question I had to ask was how am I living that I feel I need to check out?
Nicole, I remember this. In the UK when I was at school we adopted Home & Away and Neighbours from Australia and there was nothing stopping almost the entire year watching it at lunch time in the common room. We would not have missed an episode for the world. It was religious, sacrosanct and completely obsessive. We were most definitely addicted.
Yep I have felt that too, even when I watched something that was rubbish I still would not get up and turn the tv off but would sit and watch it thinking ‘this is rubbish’ it was like a really horrible energy I could feel keeping my eyes and mind transfixed to the tv. I would have to really consciously snap out of it, turn it off and walk away.
Totally know that TV fix Nicole, immerse in a complete checkout – feel completely drained and exhausted from sitting on the couch through all the mental exertion, drama and suspense no doubt and then still want more. What do we knowingly choose when we sign up for a TV series?
As you say Mark it is not about giving something up but of “saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am”. It now nearly 10 years since I have had a television and it has felt so liberating as I can relate so well to your TV’d’s.
Yes I agree, one of the best decisions we ever made (aside from attending the Universal Medicine events!) was to give up the T.V. Apart from the quality of programmes, the sheer amount of time that one can waste is extraordinary and these days there are far more interesting things to be doing and enjoying. Awesome to break out of the addiction and discover that there are so many more things to do that truly support us to evolve.
This is brilliant Mark. Imagine counting up all the hours spent watching TV even for a week, and then looking at what you could be doing instead….. My TV watching has significantly reduce over the years and like you this choice then opens up so much more space for other things.
I agree Sally, i know for myself it brings about more purpose and commitment to life.
Yes Marcia, and not just that – it just feels so different in the body, when there is no need to fully check out. It is an awesome feeling that the energy is there to be and interact and do what needs or wants doing. Love it.
True Sally the average person could probably take on another full time job if they calculated how much time they wasted watching tv
Your probably right Joe, it’s amazing how much time goes on watching tv when we could be spending time with ourselves and some gentle exercise.
The things we do to distract and reduce not only what we feel, but what we are capable to achieving, all for the much coveted ‘reward’ for not achieving all that we could…classic.
A classic indeed – and one that Mark has so beautifully unravelled and debunked. Its validity reaches far beyond TV, it covers everything we do that takes us away from who we truly are.
Hear hear Gabriele and Joel – so true. Time to really reflect on what does still take us away from our true self and feel within why that may be so, so that we then can make more different choices again.
And so the cycle continues on until we put a stop to it by sayijg Yes to the all of us and begin to live our true potential.
I love this Deborah – “…saying Yes to the all of us and begin to live our true potential.”
Mark your blog here is very relatable for me. Tv for me is a great marker as to how I am in my rhythms. If I feel the need to watch tv lately, I usually catch myself and can feel I have made that choice without presence and my mind is saying, I’ll just watch a few minutes of this show, totally sabotaging staying connected to me and it is usually when there is something that needs my attention and I am not yet wanting to address it. And what you share here about choosing to be all that I am, the desire to numb or distract myself falls away without effort, and I get on with what needs to be done,
this is so true, as my love needs no fillers, it is absolutely enough.
Julie I can relate to this …’ I usually catch myself and can feel I have made that choice without presence and my mind is saying, I’ll just watch a few minutes of this show, totally sabotaging staying connected to me and it is usually when there is something that needs my attention and I am not yet wanting to address it.’ Thanks for reminding me of this pattern of avoidance that I have slipped into lately.
Brilliant Mark. Looking back I can see how much of living I missed out on by being ensnared by the lure of the television or, worse for me, getting lost in books and then walking around in my day still thinking about the book or the program. I also used to have a book and TV together, reading during the ads! Not really present with my family. I was not being fully present and committed in other areas of my life either as I was always escaping into my mind and into the scenarios the books and TV had planted in me. I suspect this happens to many.
Having time and space for so many other things now that you rarely watch TV or for me, ever read novels means more true connection with others and also, importantly, with ourselves, no longer avoiding life and people, but embracing them and it.
Jeanette I used to watch TV to late and then I would go to bed and read a book until my eyes could no longer focus. Of course I’d wake up tired (but that was my normal), kick start the day with a few coffees, and check out with a book at any available moment. And I called that living! It is great to reflect on this now, and see where and when shades of this behaviour still re-emerge at times.
Gosh Jeanette reading your comment reminded me that I would do that too. Read a novel in the adds…..what a desperate measure to not have a minute to connect with yourself. It also reminded me that I would take a novel with me everywhere and if I had any time between what I was doing I would read it, even at school I would have it under the desk and escape into my latest fantasy story. I would use it to avoid my self and people. How different my life is now thanks to Serge Benhayon who supported me to see that every-thing I need is already with in and no TV show or novel can ever be as good as connecting with my-self and then others.
Oh yes Mary-Louise the hours I lost to reading to avoid myself and other people…
This is lovely Fiona – … “I have learnt to develop a much truer connection with myself that I can now take to everyone whom I meet; ” What a freeing way to be and live with no more bind to external stimulation that do not support us but hinder us from true connection to our self and others.
Gosh Jeanette, I can relate to what you are saying, I would go to bed and first would read a novel and couldn’t stop until it was finished. I tried to stop and go to sleep by saying to myself ‘when this chapter is finished I will go to sleep’. Sometimes I managed to do so and couldn’t sleep because I needed to know how the plot would go further. Often I would say the same thing after every chapter but couldn’t stop and would finish the book. This could be at 5 am while I had to get up at 7 am and my days were full of anxiousness because of this reward in escaping, truly horrible because of the complete absence of a connection with myself, other people and life in general.
Thank you Mark for exposing, through sharing your own person experience, of how addictive and debilitating television can be. Because it is now so part of the present day culture its addictive quality is not generally discussed yet its impact is huge, as you so clearly share. This is a topic of how damaging and invasive the influence of television is deserves to be far more publically addressed.
This is powerful Jeanette, so many of us now have phones to reach for in the ad breaks or anytime we don’t really want to watch what we are looking at anyway – that bored of what we are doing but keeping that going while we do something else – a check out within a check out?
Great observation – and well named – a checkout within a checkout – so true. And I observe that a lot, even in conversations with people often there seems to be a momentary checkout by some people when in the middle of conversations the phone gets picked up to be looked at, fleetingly so but still a check-out.
I completely agree Jeanette, as one who used to day dream my life away, head always somewhere else and never in the present moment with my body I know all about how to escape reality. Having ditched the T.V and binned the books, life is so much more enjoyable these days, being present and connected with myself and with others is so much more fun and fulfilling, there is nothing on this earth that can entice me back to my old ways.
In the past I would come home from work and one of the first things I would do is put the television on. I would then be glued to the television often with a glass of wine in my hand to numb out all that I didn’t want to feel from my day.
Yes Fiona, I remember turning on the TV would be the first thing I did when I came into the house. It would remain on even if no one was in the room. It was like having company or some background noise. In a way I think I was trying to avoid the silence and what that might bring up. I definitely used the TV to distract myself.
That kind of behaviour is very common, as when most people have been tired out by a day at work they automatically go to the TV for some relief, and it for me is to rewire my brain to instead go for a walk or talk to someone if my day has been tough.
I relate too Rebecca, to talk to someone and share, or go for a walk is a connecting way to round the day off, still being present to self and what is going on within.
Thanks Mark for this frank and honest account of your “addiction”.Many people in the world would not consider TV an addiction, but I agree with you, it truly is. And thankyou Serge and Universal Medecine for reminding us all that there are many other wonderful things to be doing with our spare time like walking in and admiring the beauty of nature, lovingly preparing nourishing meals, reading amazing books, connecting with people and expressing ourselves in blogs and articles..!
This is a great point, Tim, when I face an addiction, to honestly feel into the possible choices. When I honestly feel the alternative choices I get much more real about what I choose for myself and for the people I live with.
Sounds awesome Felix – it is back to truly feeling into it and honestly so; that will allow us to see what is truly going on and perhaps allowing then for a different choice, supportive of self and all.
I agree Tim. Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine have woken me up to the fact that it is so rewarding and enjoyable to live with conscious presence. I have become aware of different levels of presence in everything I do. The truth is even when I am seemingly there with my attention I can be miles away.
Marc when you say that you don’t need to give up but just can choose to be all that you are i notice that I pondered on it for a moment. Being all that I am…. I can feel that means for me that there is in every moment a way that I feel to express if I connect with my heart. That expression can be that I feel to move my body to do a wash. Ot it can mean to call a certain person. It can be anything. It is to respond to my inner feeling of what I want to express. If I go out of that connection by hanging behind the TV without any purpose it will be hard to feel the true impulse of the body but still it is there. And it is so loving to claim that back. It gives such a great feeling to follow the rhythm of your own body. We are all energy first ad from there we made bodies. When we express our naturally rhythm we start to expand and that means for me to be all that I am again.
Sylvia I feel you have highlighted a really important point here, when we loose connection and no longer choose purpose as our intention we dull and lose our true impulse … For me it feels to choose purpose supports our natural rhythm and expression. So TV is the perfect example, if we watch a program for true purpose we don’t get numbed out but if we decide to just fill some hours and ‘vege out’ it saps our energy.
‘If I go out of that connection by hanging behind the TV without any purpose it will be hard to feel the true impulse of the body but still it is there. And it is so loving to claim that back.’ Wonderful expression Sylvia. Besides watching television I can check out doing all sorts of things. Great reminder to stay connected with the true impulse of my body whenever and whatever.
Mark I love your honesty in stating how harming excessive TV can be- a big distraction which stops us from connecting to our body to really feel what is needed in that moment e.g. perhaps a walk, social gathering with friends, cook a nurturing meal , some gentle exercise. TV is something so accessible and acceptable these days but do we stop and allow ourself to really feel what it is doing to our body as you have done? And what about the detrimental effects it can have on children,? This is worth pondering upon.
Yes, the quick, easy and accessible fix and solution is not necessarily the answer nor what is truly needed by us and being called for.
It is definitely worth pondering on Loretta I agree. Observing not only the physical effects but the mental, emotional and sociological effects too. So much of what is broadcast creates a very false perception of the world, a perception that many then compare themselves and their lives to and create false expectations they cannot live up to.
We use distraction (in its many forms) to delay living the truth that we already know inside. If we didn’t already know it, we wouldn’t try to numb it.
Yes Carmin I certainly know I’m delaying ‘living the truth we already are’ when I numb out to TV. I’ve always had this notion that without all that distraction they’d be an emptiness I can’t handle but actually this isn’t true.
It’s a great realisation isn’t it Karin – that it is not true that there will be an emptiness if we stop checking out… I find that too – no emptiness, just so much more space and connection to my self as well as others.
Carmin, I love this, we do know the truth and we also know precisely how to dull our awareness and numb what we are feeling. I know far more than I care to admit even to myself. I play it dumb or less in order to not stand up and take responsibility because if I don’t know then someone else will have to do it for me. How conventiently comfortable is that?
Exactly Carmin well said.
Mark Payne you are stupendous. Stupendous for making the changes you have, stupendous for sharing it with the World and stupendous for being YOU. This is a blog that so many people will be able to relate to. THANK YOU!
This article is so very relatable and a gift to all who come across it.
I agree, Shevon, and not only many people with TV-addiction can relate to this article. Whatever addiction I might have chosen is lovingly handled in the way Mark lived, studied and mastered his choices around TV-watching and self-loving.
Love this Felix – watching and self-loving – is the key, to be truly watching and observing and then bring self loving choices in to see how what we have observed, is affecting us and then make these loving choices.
What a beautiful acknowledgment of Mark, Shevon and I wholeheartedly agree! The humility, honesty and straightforwardness in the blog about a subject that many can identify with is stupendous!
tv is highly damaging if we choose to check out in front of it. Absolutely 100% agree with you and your blog and have also felt the crazy damaging effects from it all.. I do not watch much at all these days but will watch something if I do have the feeling to but am very aware of how I am when watching it
Being aware while watching TV would be an unusual concept for many and perhaps not the intention behind why TV watching is often chosen.
That’s true, Deborah.
Yes exactly, I’d say most likely not the intention – quite the opposite I’d say.., numbing people into not thinking for themselves and instead allowing to be bombarded with stuff so not conducive to awareness or well-being… it appears to be just a huge distraction and delay device.
I understand what you are saying here Natasha.
I watch very little TV now, but choose to be aware when I do. I am noticing though, that in being aware that I do feel dulled as opposed to how I felt before watching TV. A bigger understanding is unfolding here for me. As all of life has moments that affect us, even when we are fully present. It is opening up for greater honesty in how I am feeling and for gentle ponder as to what exactly affects me and why.
Watching TV right before bed affects my sleep and how I wake up – the severity of this will depend on the kind of show. A couple of years ago I was watching shows like ‘Dexter’ and ‘Breaking Bad’, right before bed. This was terrible for my anxiety as I would end up dreaming about it after being so highly stimulated on all the drama and then wake up exhausted.
Another thing TV is awesome for, is, like you said Mark de-motivating you and effectively keeping you depressed. More than 2 hours of TV and I feel so sluggish that I can’t think of anything better to do, so I keep going…And despite how horrible I feel, I feel like I’m stuck in a vortex and there’s no way out.
I noticed a similar thing with TV and sleep. Whenever I watched TV in the evening, especially if it was something dramatic (which includes the news these days!) my sleep would not be anywhere as good as when I did not watch TV. As a result how I wake up the next day and how tired I feel the next day, how much work I can get done in the next day all gets affected by one TV program!
Yeah, it just shows the damaging effect doesn’t it? And to imagine then the damage inflicted when TV is used for babysitting purposes…..
Exactly Andrew – what of the cumulative affect of TV day in day out, imagine the productivity if we all switched the TV off for a day.
Elodie, I no longer watch the TV, but when I started to cut down on the hours I spent in front of it, I did notice I could not watch scary movies just before bed, because they would play on my mind and disturb my sleep. The other thing that would seem to jangle my nerves was music videos. I used to find it hard to be in the room when my children had music channels on. I think we are much more sensitive to what comes out of our TVs than we care to notice.
Yes good point Debra, what are we allowing into our lounge rooms? If we think about it, would we welcome or invite in what comes through the TV or media if it came knocking at the front door?
I know exactly what you mean Elodie! A few weeks ago I got quite into a book, and was reading it a lot throughout the day. It was a fantasy book with some violence in it, and it was certainly hooking. Reading it before bed had the same effect as you shared – caused strange dreams, anxiety and a ‘glazed over feeling’ being the main ones!
Thanks for your honest telling of how TV has affected you Mark.
I can relate to a lot of what you’ve said. I have massively reduced my TV watching in the last year when I realised that it was actually depressing me.
Whilst I don’t feel like I have time for it anymore, I notice that the times I do miraculously have time for it, is when I’ve had a difficult week or day and need to ‘unwind’, in other words, ‘check out’, and numb my exhaustion or anxiety.
Interesting how we self medicate with TV.
Yes Elodie, I can fall into that pattern after an exhausting day at work. My mind tells me I just want some time to unwind but it’s really an excuse to not be with myself and feel into why the day felt so big for me.
Elodie, I love how you state “Interesting how we self medicate with TV.”. This is a term that is not yet fully understood, we all can relate to medicine that is dispensed by our doctors and pharmacists, but it is not a commonality just yet to see life choices as either good or bad medicine. Each choice we make either feeds us or depletes us. As Mark so beautifully outlined TV completely depleted him and caused anxiousness in his life, by ceasing his TV watching his sleeping patterns improved he felt less drained and more committed to life, if that is not great medicine I don’t know what is. Thank you again Mark, you show how simple medicine truly can be.
Yes Caroline, this is great medicine. It wasn’t prescribed by a doctor, it came from Mark himself, when he was willing to take the care to understand and look deeper into something he knew was draining him.
I love it Caroline, to look at lifestyle choices as medicine. If you could bottle a pill that eases anxiousness and improves sleep that would be good medicine, why would we not call a prescription of “no TV” good medicine?
Yes Bernard , I also love what Caroline shares too: “if that’s not good medicine then I don’t know what is” with the truth behind the word ‘medicine’ not solely being assigned to ingestion of a tablet/liquid etc. Medicine is an ingestion of life itself and its quality. Imagine going to the Doctors and the written prescription given was “no TV”… instead of, or in addition to pills or supplements (!)
Absolutely the crazy thing is its not medicine anyway .. just another form of checking out and not wanting to feel.
Your comment about it depressing you is really interesting, because that would make a lot of sense – TV can make us feel like we have company – voices, the lives and dramas of the people on scree, and yet because its not real, it would be rather depressing when the tv is turned off and reality does settle back in
This is a great point Rebecca, I have heard several people at work say I only have the TV for company, and at break time everyone talks about what’s going on in the latest soap as if its part of their own lives.
Yeah wow, like the characters have replaced true relationships. All the reality programs are playing into this.
Wow Elodie to watch TV as a self medication is an interesting way to look at it and I have to admit that it was for me like that in the past. It is so freeing to have now other possibilities to deal with my anxiety and they are definitely not adding to it as did the TV watching.
Mark, I can relate to numbing myself with various drugs including television although for me my relationship with television came to a fairly abrupt end when I could not longer handle the sensationalism and repetition of television. I decided to pack my television away into a box and pop it up in the attic and haven’t got it down since. What I did notice though was as soon as I got rid of the television, I replaced it with listening to the radio. I would listen to BBC Radio 4, which if you do not know it is a radio channel free from any advertisements and with the least sensationalist new broadcasts of all the different radio channels. I would listen to the news primarily but I noticed that I could not be with myself and I would feel more tired at the end of the day so eventually that went too.
Fiona, very interesting and insightful to be so super-honest about the ‘replacement factor’ of the radio over TV, they have the same effect, ultimately that of numbing from feeling how we are in life with ourselves, and how connected we are. The lack of connection generates an opening for there to be ‘stuff’ that can enter. When it’s closed, nothing can get in, and the connection is untainted. This is the way of life.
Love this simple explanation of the way it works Zofia.
Beautifully expressed Zofia, thank you.
Fiona, I too gave up TV and started listening to our advertisement free National broadcaster, which I found intelligent, informative, and balanced with excellent reporting and interviewing. I am beginning to realize that there is an atmosphere with the radio station that I have aligned to and it drives how I see the world. In this information age people are choosing their media aligned to what they want to hear, there is the ‘left wing news’, and the ‘right wing’ news are obvious ones but there are many more. The separation from balance is becoming more extreme. I found it interesting to notice what I truly feel as distinct to what I have taken on from elsewhere.
This is great Mark. In my experience copying something someone that else is doing (eating, letting go of things that do not serve etc), does not bring any lasting change, only a sense of ‘trying to get it right’.
“it is better for me to make changes that are true for me, rather than to change a behaviour because someone else does”.
This makes absolutely sense, Stephanie. In our society we are used to copy another person for example role models we have chosen instead of listening inside what is true for us.
Whilst role models can provide a living example of how we may want to live ourselves, the process is individual and needs to be what is right for us, at a particular time.
Totally Kerstin, pure copy-cat or replica behaviour does not work and is a dishonour, even negation to oneself and the uniqueness we hold within our own bodies and expressions.
Yes it never works really as the impulse did not come truly from within.
Well said Stephanie. Whenever we copy what someone else does – like I used to copy hairstyles and fashion from movie stars or do what my friends were doing or even do what magazines told me to do – we completely lose ourselves and our connection with our bodies. Learning and practicing to live more from the flow and rhythm of our body rather than from our mind is key to feeling what actually works for us.
I have so fallen for this in my past and recent past, wanting to be the good student is the one that I have fallen for time and time again. Crazy that this negates the truth of what I know in my own body for the thought of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.
Thanks for an awesome blog Mark – I love how you kicking your habit was a gradual process, that allowed you to really connect to all the ways it wasn’t working for you and then let go in your own time, rather than making the change to “fall in line” with someone else. We all have slightly different reasons and ways of using things (be it tv, food, drugs, even work) to “get through life” so when we allow ourselves the space to understand why we use something, it is much easier to let it go for good. I know for me if I do something just because someone tells me I should, there’s a pretty good chance of rebelling against it and not making a true change 😉
Yes Hannah you’ve hit the nail on the head when you talk about understanding. It’s the self-understanding that brings so much space to observe, look and see at whatever it is that we are dealing with or escaping from etc. I found that when I rushed around, working, exercising, living with a level of emotion, drama, stories, I deliberately created a vortex of busyness to not only not feel, but to not understand either. In slowing down, I got the feel the benefit of both – feeling and understanding… and continue to deepen this through focusing on being self-connected, and honest about what can take me out.. and when it does, to get back to myself and the clarity asap (!!)
Honesty is the key.
Always, honesty is at the forefront to allow for true change to occur and awareness to develop.
So true Hannah basing our choices on the fact that someone else has done it ultimately leads to the habit returning. Yet if we observe, feel and see the consequences of a choice for ourselves there is a much greater chance of that change sticking and not falling back into our old ways.
Indeed Jade, I think maybe thats why following the rules or best practice such as in diets or exercising dont work after a time. It is totally a different process to engage and have a relationship with our addictions by observing feeling and seeing the consequences of our choices.
It only every has to do with our self, hasn’t it. We can watch and observe others and may be inspired (or not, as the case may be), however ultimately it is up to us to get on with letting go and allowing for change to occur.
Yes, it is our choice, as with everything, do we want to bring in understanding and be responsible, or not?
Yes Hannah I agree to say a committed ‘no’ to something we have to know it and understand it in full.
…and feel it in full too to be able to have that commitment in the first place.
Spot on Hannah, it’s in understanding why we do what we do that allows us to make a change. Like Mark, I realised that when I watched TV in the evenings, I’d feel stimulated and my sleep was affected and I’d wake feeling tired in the morning. And so it was by feeling how watching TV made me feel that I stopped watching it. I will watch a DVD or something else now and then, but it’s not to fill a void, and is a conscious choice not just a filler.
Yes me too Hannah, that rebellious streak gets well and truly fired up when I am told what to do, so finding one’s own way through these issues is so much more real and empowering. It is very uplifting to read about how Mark weaned himself off the T.V, observing the effects of and constantly reminding himself how it affects him (love the notes stuck to the T.V) and deciding to change his behaviour in favour of his true well being. It is this awareness of the everyday things that we automatically do that is so essential. Just because a behaviour is common does not mean it is beneficial and taking a moment to stop, feel and observe the true effects of our everyday lives can support us to make simple but powerful shifts in our health and well being.
When we make a change because we truly understand what it does to our body, there is often very little, if any, reverting. I knew for a long time that I “should” give up coffee but I played with it and observed myself over time. I then came to a point where I didn’t make a decision to give it up, less and less did I want to do that to my body and one day I realised that it had been a long while since I drank coffee and that I had absolutely no desire for it.
Awesome comment Hannah. It is so true what you say here – ‘when we allow ourselves the space to understand why we use something, it is much easier to let it go for good’. I have found for myself that when I choose to want to understand why I am doing something that hurts me or I sense doesn’t feel right, that this in itself is a self-loving act and one the builds a foundation of love that can continue to grow. And so letting go of what is not of this love then becomes natural and everlasting as you have beautifully pointed out.
That’s such a great point Hannah. I’ve experienced the same. When I make a choice that I ‘think’ I should make rather than making it because it feels right for me, then I usually end up feeling quite resentful of the choice made and the person whom I based the decision on. It simply doesn’t work. If we don’t own our choices, then we will never benefit from them.
Well said Hanna, without the understanding of why we are choosing our particular tailor-made habits we only ever replace one habit with a ‘better’ if we enforce change without getting to the bottom of what it is we are avoiding facing or feeling by adopting the habit in the first place.
I agree Hannah, it doesn’t make sense to do something, just because another person has told us. It must be an impulse coming out of our body, otherwise it is a mental decision and the probability is high, that we can’t sustain the new choice anyway, because our body doesn’t support it. It makes sense, that everybody grows in his own speed.
A wise comment Hannah, it has to be a personal choice to change, that has started with an honesty that Mark has presented by being willing to see the impacts, and as they unfold, the choice is then that persons alone, and nobody else’s say so.
Mark, I can relate to numbing myself with various drugs including television although for me my relationship with television came to a fairly abrupt end when I could not longer handle the sensationalism and repetition of television. I decided to pack my television away into a box and pop it up in the attic and haven’t got it down since. What I did notice though was as soon as I got rid of the television, I replaced it with listening to the radio. I would listen to BBC Radio 4, which if you do not know it is a radio channel free from any advertisements and with the leadt sensationalist new broadcasts of all the different radio channels. I would listen to the news primarily but I noticed that I could not be with myself and I would feel more tired at the end of the day so eventually that went too.
Thank you Mark, I like how you simply addressed what was going on for you when watching TV and using ‘post it’ notes to confirm what you where noticing, observing, feeling.
Yes the idea of the post-it notes is an awesome one. I used to use them all over the house and in the car for an exercise I was doing to gain greater awareness of the thoughts that were coming – my post-it notes said ‘ catch your thinking’ – and I was amazed at the amount of utter rubbish and negativity that I became aware of with the help of these little notes. This was a long time ago and shifted an enormous amount of negative self-talk for me, and nowadays – if I catch an unsupportive thought, I am onto it straight away.
I love that idea of post-it notes and actually used them myself as well in the past. To remind me that I am amazing for instance! I am inspired to start using them again.
Oh I love this too Lieke – post it notes to be reminded how amazing I am – just lovely and will do that too, thanks for that little loving titbit!!
TV is a huge distraction, I could so relate to what you say Mark about sitting down to watch TV and not doing the things that needed to be done. Since I have stopped watching TV my life has become so full with other activities< i now wonder how I ever found the time to spend 4 or 5 hours watching TV i each night.
Exactly, Alison. Where does that time come from? We may be already feeling overwhelmed by life as is, but gladly give time for distraction even though that may mean less sleep in hours and quality.
That’s it isn’t it – the price for that indulgence is high, less sleep, less awareness, less time as one drags ones feet through tiredness and the quality brought to the day and all interactions then leaves a lot to be desired.
I have had a similar experience Alison. I would happily watch at least 4 hours of TV per day, and eating in-front of the TV was one of my favourite ways to check out. Now I dont know how I used to fit it in. My life feels much fuller without it.
I love this – and it’s so true Debra, life is so much fuller without it and boy – all the things that open up for us, time and space equally, just awesome.
Eating and television is the ultimate numbing combination. The thought, once a meal is prepared, to switch on the television while eating is an alarm bell that I am avoiding feeling something or wanting to fill emptiness with the comfort of numbness. The moment the thought enters is a moment to stop and pay attention to my body.
Me too Alison, ‘i now wonder how I ever found the time to spend 4 or 5 hours watching TV i each night.’ I used to watch t.v every evening growing up and so would not have time for anything else, now i don’t have a t.v to sit in front of, I love to be with my family, catch up on emails, prepare meals for the next day, I love all of these things and do not miss t.v at all.
Thank you Mark. We all have areas in our lives that we have resisted deepening our love in. It may be numbing or distracting ourselves with TV, eating, social media, alcohol, shopping and the list goes on. ‘Over time, it has become clear to me how letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am.’ SO TRUE. Giving up is never the answer because we simply replace. We come from a sense of LACK. Saying yes to who we truly are is one of our first choices to self-love because we come from a FULLNESS. From there our choices change.
Saying yes to who we truly are is where many of us get stuck because the numbing habits are precisely what stops us from feeling all of who we truly are. Willpower doesn’t work, as you say, we only replace what we’ve stopped with something else. For me there has to be an experiment, like what happens when I do this, rather like the TC ‘D’s identified by Mark in this article. First there has to be a willingness to explore what’s going on, to accept that what we are doing has a ‘benefit’ and to explore what that might be. In my case, it is usually when some deep feelings are coming up that I don’t want to feel, so I’m avoiding the discomfort. What I haven’t yet fully realised or accepted is that there is more discomfort in ‘not being me’ than there is in the feeling I’m avoiding!
Beautiful Kathryn, I found that when I would give something up then I would just move on to something else for that distraction then give myself a pat on the back for giving one thing up but not seeing what else I had taken on. From self love and appreciation we can make choices that come from our fullness
Yes Chris, it becomes a game of substitution, played with our body. We can get very clever at it; so clever we don’t realise we are substituting all of these things for the beauty of our own fullness.
It is a choice to say you value yourself more than the addiction.
Love this Mark, another of your honest blogs. I can remember when the TV arrived in our home when I was about 5, what a novelty it was. I probably watched a couple of hours every night, until I hit my teens and found better things to do. For long periods of my life I didn’t watch any, but then there were times when I did watch mostly movies or serials and even found myself looking forward to the prospect of my favourite programme at night – the high point of the day (can you believe it?). For the last few years it was very selective, only a serial here and there but then that stopped, I simply lost interest and found I could just not be bothered to go through the motions. Like you I found it affected my awareness and would feel dull when I woke up and I have certainly noticed how it affected me going to sleep, my brain was more stimulated and I would feel more anxious. I love not needing to have TV or movies in my life.
Yes I can believe it Josephine,watching a TV series was the high point of my day for years I would always be looking forward to when I could turn on my latest favorite series and sit down with my latest favorite snack, numb out and watch it…..obvious to me now that my days were devoid of me being with me as now I have said yes to a deeper connection with my self each day I do not need the distraction of TV and spend my evenings very differently.
I never have the urge to turn the ‘telly’ on any more and yes, it is through having a deeper connection with myself – good way of putting it Mary-Louise. Now I don’t know when I had the time for TV really, as the evenings whizz by without thinking about it.
Agree Josephine, and back in the day i remember racing home to catch the latest episode and eating with a plate of food on my lap – ‘tv-dinner’, again, a way to zone out and not feel how the day’s gone, or how the food i’m eating is sitting/digesting inside my stomach. These days to enjoy dinner sans tv feels so much more connected, because i feel connected, and enjoy feeling this way, with the dinner being a confirmation or celebration of the day.
Zofia, interesting you mention ‘tv-dinner’ – and something that I had forgotten until your comment. I re-call that it was a habit in the early days of black and white t.v. when it first came to the suburbs that the folk on their way home from work would all gather around the one local shop that had a functioning t.v. in their shop window. Not long after that it was quite seen to be ‘keeping-up’ with the latest by purchasing fine china cup and plate sets that allowed everyone to sit with their cup of tea and a sandwhich on their lap while friends and family sat in the dark to watch the latest offering of entertainment. Some may say it was a new way to distract the masses from their dull or gruelling lives, and when colour television arrived it seemed everyone revelled in what appeared to be the pinnacle of entertainment with the bi-product of keeping the kids off the streets. Interesting to now have the awareness of an addictive and hidden agenda, just another avenue of preventing connection with the love that we are naturally and dulling the opportunity of expressing that.
For me too, my evenings are so full now and I love spending them on doing some work done, reading something and getting ready for bed. I don’t miss tv at all. My nights are more about what feels supporting so I can be vital the next day.
Me too Mariette – and the times I do engage in watching a movie (on ly laptop these days) I find I get bored so quickly that I don’t even finish it and by the next day I have forgotten what it was called, what it was about – all this showing me what a waste of my energy this is; it feels so much more loving and supporting to read instead or engage with others and also preparing for a deep rest as well.
Great point Josephine the TV was literally a time machine sucking up all manner of days and weeks and years.
Josephine I can relate to that, i never rely have the urge to watch TV anymore, my evenings just fly by unwinding and preparing for bed. It is very rare that I will sit with my husband and watch something, if I do it’s mainly to spend some time together watching something very light.
Yes its those TV series that were hard to switch off from as they were always leaving you with wanting to know what happened next – always a drama involved. If there wasn’t a drama in my own life, TV was guaranteed to give me one to get involved with.
Yes Marika, i found that the looking outside of my life into the lives on the characters on the screen was a way to not have to deal with what was going on with me. but instead getting that outside stimulation gave me a story to attach to and play out the drama over and over even after the show had finnished.
Amazing how we can get hooked in to not so much whats on the screen but the idea of watching a 24 part show. It is like the mapping out of a period of our lives that suits us, the knowledge that we won’t be doing anything else perhaps, the false comfort and security that TV brings allows us to slump evermore into the dullness that these check out tools bring.
It is lovely to read this process of watching TV drop away Josephine, what I notice is there is large gaps for me to feel myself and also really meet my partner rather than getting lost in the tv screen. It is not always comfortable but a gradual learning process around intimacy with self and others.
I agree it is not always comfortable to commit more deeply to life. I feel it like a spark within that I can choose to stay connected with and build the flame or put my feet up and dampen it down – TV confirming the second option.
Josephine, my TV died of neglect last year. After quite enjoying TV, and it being the “high” point of my day for a few years of my life , I went through an interesting period last year when I forgot about it completely. When I did go to switch it on…it didn’t. So no more TV. It is going to electronic goods Heaven…along with a collection of DVDs and their players.
Its easy to forget that in many households in Australia there will be not only one TV, but many in every room. There is no neglect of the TV, but there is a neglect of the family.
Good point Heather. The TV can be a hungry beast that takes all of the attention, stealing it away from other people and the things that need doing.
I found that when I was invested in wanting to watch a TV programme it would affect how I was in the moment. It would create tension in my body and resentment so that I would’t be fully present with what I was doing – not great as this would then impact on how I spoke to others and how I would feel about myself – the self perpetuation of self loathing and lack of self worth. These symptoms sound totally like a drug to me – so yes I can relate to TV being like a drug addiction.
Oh my goodness, I remember that feeling so well Michelle. If I was out with friends I would become edgy, frustrated and resentful, because I wanted to be home watching …..whatever show it was that hilariously I cannot remember now. My goodness, what is going on when the siren song of a TV show is stronger than the pull to be with friends!
I remember it too, in fact I still struggle with it. Its interesting how real it seems, but it shows us much about how we are with ourselves each day where a TV show is the companion we seek.
Do you know the funny part I recall so clearly Heather is the feeling that this upcoming episode is the one to watch….all will be resolved, unrequited love will finally be requited, the crime solved…whatever.
It never was of course. It just keeps us on the edge of our collective seats, yearning for the satisfaction we don’t get from our lives.
But you have made me wonder at something else. What does this say about our relationships that we feel more intimate with a TV character? There are TV characters I felt more at ease with than real people. Well perhaps that is easy when they live on a screen, are flawless (or flawed in a way we all love) and will never press my buttons. And if they do I can press the “off” button. Aha! the ideal friend many would say, and from the intense popularity of TV I would say that I am far from alone in having put more into my electronic relationships than my real ones.
Surely this reveals the deep-seated lack of trust with each other in our society…a lack that we try to compensate with these strange, quasi-relationships with what can only be called mystical beings in the “box”.
Absolutely Michelle the need to be in the right position on the sofa really caused tension if things were not quite going to work out, this added drama further would support the relief of sitting in front of a box of moving images – falsely giving the impression that TV relaxes you, further supporting the habit.
Great point Michelle, i too can relate to tv watching being like the energy of looking for that next ‘hit’ and how it can take us away from being present with ourselves and whats really going on. i can also see how the after effects being like a come down or hangover where the next day there was a feeling of groggyness and disconnection
There was a point in my life where getting to watch my bit of tv at the end of the day was my inspiration to keep going at work. I was looking for the satisfaction of tv to make my life ok, worth it etc.
There definitely are strong hooks with tv obviously as every home has one and I know is some cases the family get together is all watching the big game together or movie. That is the family get together or the reality of a family not getting together.
Mark, many thanks for this blog: This stood out for me “Eating while watching TV was the most effective form of numbing and distracting myself” Such an easy way to go into ‘nothing land’ A packet of crisps in front of the TV, removes all connection with the outside world and any other person. Reminds me of that song that had the lyrics “Television – drug of the nation, breeding ignorance and feeding radiation” Great article thanks for raising this Dulling influence that still affects me to ‘zone out’
I noticed that even reading while eating was disturbing my body more than I imagined possible and it made a big difference when I stopped for a long time.
Yes, I can still find myself looking to distract myself with the radio, or laptop or phone when I am eating, yet I know my body is strongly telling me this is disturbing it greatly as you say Christoph. I feel it is time to take more responsibility for creating a quiet space to eat in and accept being with and in my body is more than enough. There is something about food being much more digestible and filling when the time is taken to just eat without the distraction of a television. I also find it interesting that this is not the same as when are eating in company, we are able to be amongst people and eat and talk and remain present and still in our bodies. The company of others while we eat is very natural, TV is clearly not.
I love the detail we can go to with an ever-increasing awareness. What we were once numb to, now plays in stereo through our bodies. Such is the amazing blessing that our bodies are.
Yes so fully true Andrew – it stood out for me too, and the numbing effect in that scenario is a double whammy!
Starting a discussion about the effects of choices made, such as watching TV and eating crisps, is so important because whilst seemingly innocuous they have consequences that are more far reaching and damaging than we realise. When we want to have time out and withdraw, what are we actually wanting to withdraw from? What is actually happening to our bodies? What is happening to our relationship with self? What is happening to our relationships with others? What happens when we want to get up off the sofa and to re-engage again? How do we feel about ourselves then and what have we just set into motion?
It seems indicative of how we do things to numb oursleves like this – eating while surfing the net would be another prevalent example.
Hmm, so why do we need popcorn and all the other sweet stuff when going into cinema? Checking out together?
Exactly- numbing ourselves physically while automatically putting one handful of popcorn after the other in the mouth while watching something on a huge screen. It is quite alarming to see when visiting the cinema, that the majority of people are engaged in just that. And it starts when taking kids to the movies too – we buy them stuff to eat while watching, and carry that over into our adult life… very crikey!
Well said Andrew, it’s easy to see how the tv has become the ‘drug of the nation’ and to what extent this drug is so widely accepted as being normal. I wonder if someone has ever totted up the hours wasted of people watching tv, I am sure someone would have the numbers, as they always know how many millions of viewers watch a particular show.
So true Andrew (and Mark) it is the ultimate legal drug isn’t it – combining eating and tv. Even knowing it myself it is very powerful to read about others experience and confirming that knowing in a very real way. I recall a time when shutting everything out seemed absolutely rational and reasonable, yet it also shut out what it was doing to my body.
I agree – and an emotional or stimulating film or program gives us the feeling that we are feeling something but really we are just getting caught up in what we see on the screen
This is a great line Mark…”.. letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am.” So often we feel we are being deprived of something when we ‘give it up’ but in fact the only thing we have lost is the distraction itself, and in the process we gain so much more. By letting go of distraction we allow space to connect more to who we naturally are…a love, grace and beauty far more worthwhile than the distraction ever was or ever could be.
True , we think we are missing out when we already are – on the real and true us. Confirming and nourishig our authentic quality and natural way is key.
I love this Deborah – “… nourishig our authentic quality and natural way …” – this sounds beautiful and feels awesome just allowing for this.
Beautifully said Deborah and very true. Lets continue confirming this.
‘We think we are missing out when we already are – on the real and true us’. This is such a sneaky trap that we so easily fall into.
Well said Deborah. We have it all mixed up, being led to believe we will miss out life, but the distractions and addictions are all to avoid feeling how much we are truly missing out on.
I agree Paula I also love the line ” letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am.” I used to watch a TV show every night before I went to bed, it was like I needed a treat or a reward after a day of work. I have not watched any TV for a couple of years and do not miss it. I do not feel I have had to “give up’ watching the TV. I have gained a deeper connection with myself and loads more space to get things done.
Yes, Mary-Louise, it is wonderful how much more space there is in my life now, since I gave up TV completely. I listen to the ABC radio news in the morning, to let me know what might be going on in the world, but that is all I now need of any of that sort of media. Now that we are in summer, I revel in the extra time that I have towards the end of the day, to do things at a steady pace, maybe even have a walk at the cool of the day, or out with nature in my garden. A great chance for that deeper connection with myself before I go to bed.
Beautiful Beverley, TV and “news’ are things that I have too reduced enormously and not until doing so have I realised the addiction that they are – subtle hooks for relief and distraction. Love your reflection here!
I relate to the space created when the TV no longer dominates the evening. I watch far far less than I used to, and tend to do so on catch-up TV so I can watch anything at a time that suits me. I find this becomes far less of a distraction than it used to and my evenings can be about completing the day, feeling where my body is at, and getting ready for the next day. All of this offers me a great support which no TV show can do
I can feel how my TV has been replaced by Facebook and rolling through and spending time just looking at what’s going on but it never having a purpose and a heavy, listless feeling afterwards.
Aha this is a good point – we may not be watching TV anymore but has another distraction taken its place?
Yes Julie, it seems we are good at replacing one distraction with another but not always catching that very fact. I have noticed with myself that when I do this, there is a distinct feeling of wanting to avoid being with myself and feeling something.
I too used to watch TV every single night, it was just part of my day and most definitely a reward for basically ‘getting through the day’. I noticed how tired I always was in the mornings and when I finally understood that it wasn’t normal to be tired and that TV was impacting my sleep, I started to experiment here and there.
I still watch TV but these days is very occasionally, and very very little and also I avoid watching it just before I go to sleep.
I still see it as a reward however, and still use it in this way, but the difference is that now, when I make the choice to watch it, I know that I’m effectively wanted to numb out because of a difficult day. It’s a constant learning.
I was in the same routine, TV was the back end of my day and I believed that I deserved it. Now it is so occasionally and I don’t know how I fit it in before. When I do watch a bit I am very particular with what I watch but I still really enjoy it. Whats interesting is I never watch it alone, if someone doesn’t join me, then I won’t do it, that reveals a lot, its like drinking alcohol, I never liked drinking it alone and eating sweets are the same for me, I don’t eat cake by myself very often either.
I still have a great appreciation for a well done movie with a good message, don’t know if Ill ever let it go entirely but I am open it.
I love this honesty Sarah, as I will at times watch something, I can observe now when I watch to completely check out or because I am finding what I watch fascinating and actually learn something during the process. I recently watched Spotlight, the movie and found it fascinating that the level of corruption and abuse can run so deep and that many, many people get hooked into supporting something that should never, never happen. Then there are always those who will fight for truth.
Yes that line stood out for me too. It is a great thing to realise it is not a sacrifice to give up something that is actually harming you and not letting yourself be you. A great reminder.
Lieke I actually don’t watch TV any more as I found it can be so frustrating , and can take me on an emotional roller coaster which is not so evolving. Definately not a sacrifice to give up as I have experienced the down side and it does actually harm me, it’s great to be so clear in my choice.
So true and so beautifully expressed. Thank you Paula Steffenson.
This is a great observation Paula. We are not really missing out when we let go of choices that don’t support us. Its only the distraction we have given up, and as you say we gain so much more in the process.
Yes Paula, we can trick ourselves into thinking that we will be losing something that is a huge part of us or that we are giving up a freedom to be able to do whatever we want without consequence. This way of looking at things certainly explains the tight grip I have around distractions. But to let go of these distractions, gently and with understanding, is to nourish more of who we truly are and to get more of the beauty and grace that we are. That’s very cool!
In the giving up, we are gaining so much more.
This was my experience with giving up smoking for example, and applies to anything that we are addicted to.
Yep, great comment Rosie. Understanding that giving addictions up is actually the part that allows life to be easier is the bit we miss. We’ve got such a tight grip on everything that keeps us separated from ourselves that it’s hard to see the forest from the trees at the time.
I agree Rosie, ‘In the giving up, we are gaining so much more.’ I have found this with so many things that I have given up, I found this with chocolate and cakes, I used to not be able to resist them and end up feeling awful afterwards, I now am not tempted at all and love the freedom that comes with this – no temptation, no guilt, no feeling rotten afterwards.
So true – and the ‘giving something up ‘ never really works as it comes from the belief of ‘ missing something’ that one really thinks one enjoys. It is the true clearing that is the healing, when it is fully natural when we claim who we truly are and we feel this in truth, things that don’t support us just fall by the wayside.
Great point shared here Karina about “giving up”. What are we giving up and how wonderful was it in the first place that we had to give it up? There is still this ideal and belief that giving up is making a change rather than getting to the root cause on why the pattern of behaviour began in the first place.
So well said Paula, this is exposing the game of creation we play in human form burying us with this layers of entertainment, activities, identities, etc. and living in a way that makes us feel deprived when we have to “give up” of those distractions. How can we feel deprived when giving up something that prevents us from being in our grandness and living the absoluteness of who we are?
Oh boy Rachel that’s not a choice …. when I have felt the connection to myself. . It’s the part that I have been missing for so long and all the entertainment and distraction didn’t provide the answers or fill the void.
‘ By letting go of distraction we allow space to connect more to who we naturally are…a love, grace and beauty far more worthwhile than the distraction ever was or ever could be.’ Love this Paula and so beautifully claimed in your expression.
Agreed Jade, thank you for highlighting this wonderful line.
Beautifully brought to the point, thank you Paula. Something that should be pointed out in any self help and psychology book, it is never about giving up something in the sense of sacrifice, it is making different choices to come back to the true being that we are. If we approach an addiction in the manner of dealing with it, fighting it, beating it, getting rid of it, we will always stay in the cycle of missing something as we haven’t understood and appreciated the fullness that is there already.
So true Esther, if we are constantly focusing on ‘letting go’ as a place where we will have nothing once we let go then there’s no space to even consider or feel what we are ‘left’ with which is far more amazing than the holding onto the layers of stuff we think we need to be full or have a full life.
That is indeed a great line. Often when we are trying to quit something the focus is on the giving up, not on what is being gained by stopping a certain behaviour or in fact what we are saying yes to.
This is very true Nikki. We have conditioned ourselves to see the ‘what-is-not’, at the expense of seeing the ‘what-is’ that is right before (within) our eyes.
Great point Nikki. Our minds tell us we are losing something by giving it up, yet our bodies are delighted by the choices we make to drop our addictions.
Agree Paula, love this line too ”.. letting go of choices that don’t support me are not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am.” – such a powerful and wonderful way of looking at something that agree does not leave one feeling deprived, but more in-gain.
Great explanation Paula. How many times have I felt like I was missing out on something when I gave it up. But you’re absolutely right, the actual act that I gave up, never ever served me to begin with, hence why I chose to give it up. It’s that big game – distraction – that tricks me into feeling like I’m missing out on something. But the truth is, I’ve been so used to missing out on connecting to myself, that it’s uncomfortable when I give myself the opportunity to do so. It feels unnatural, even though it’s the most natural thing in the world.
This was the line that grabbed me too Paula, that the times we say goodbye to an old “friend” are “not so much about giving up something, they are about saying ‘yes’ to who I truly am”.
We equate letting go of a habit with a huge battle, filled with willpower and hard resolve. Well it is when you don’t acknowledge just how damn gorgeous you are! When we start to get the slightest sense of who we are and how worthy of care it is, the habits just don’t stack up. The battle is no longer so huge, because the truth is we were never fighting the habit, we were only fighting our own magnificence.
Absolutely Rachel. Well if this is the case well then it completely throws out “giving up things”, which will require will power. If we accept our own ‘magnificence’ (love the sound of that) than the things that don’t belong to that are known instantly and there is no hesitation to ‘give them up’, so I have found.
I love that Harrison. Discarding is much simpler when we acknowledge that we are in fact a palace and not a shack. When we get this…even a little bit…the “shackish” decorations (like too much TV and junk food) don’t sit so well. Much easier to put them out for the rubbish collection!
Its surprising to me how easily I can give up an addiction once I decide to, but until that point, it seems insurmountable. Once the decision is made, the attraction to whatever it was that seemed so very important simply slips away.
The thought that says the battle is about the habit is the same as the thought that thinks the struggle to be ‘free’ of the habit is normal and that is the same thought is owned by what ever we are quitting.
I was a chain smoker, an everyday drinker and used recreational drugs consistently, I did not manage to stop all of that and become completely clean for over a decade by will power of belief that I had a problem. I didn’t even try to quit, as you say Rachel, it was just natural, as I discovered that we are truly stunning, things that hurt me had no place anymore, as I had opened my eyes to how amazing I was and how much I wanted to share that with the world.
Absolutely Paula – in those moments it is an opportunity to understand our bodies more and face the tension we might feel that we don’t want to deal with or can numb out very easily simply by doing things like watching TV – but to accept who we are first is to say yes to looking at all the things that are not us. Hard at first, but wow when we face these, when we let go of these, then watch out world.
Yes, stellar line, that exposes the illusion in ‘giving up’ those things that were destroying us anyway. No loss at all, not going without and no deprivation. Saying yes to your body and honouring what it truly needs through loving choices is a win win
So true Paula, with every choice to relinquish something we feel we cannot live without we discover more of who we naturally are and what an awesome joy it is. We have no idea how much we are bound and gagged by so many of our ‘normal’ choices in life. Learning to truly feel the effects of ‘normal’ and make different choices is so liberating. There is so much more to us than T.V and all the other numerous ways we have created to keep us away from the glorious beings we truly are.
Beautiful Paula. Saying goodbye to a distraction is saying ‘yes’ to me; my developing glorious relationship with the real me.
Mark I love your open and honest description of your choices and ‘addiction’ to TV and how you made different choices only when you felt the effects for yourself, not because of what others do. This true responsibility! Thank you – a great reflection.
Yes it is very inspiring to read such an honest account of an addiction – because in this case it is TV but you can insert anything really into this as we all have our own. Thank you Mark for sharing this.
I totally agree Sarah, we each have our own addictions and it they all come down to one thing, numbing what we do not want to feel.
Exactly. And so good to name them and renounce them.
Yes, Fiona, for me the addiction was reading. When I was immersed in a book, I did not feel all the things that I was trying to escape from, especially extreme loneliness. I felt that I just did not fit into the world, I always felt different to others. Over the past 9 years, my life has changed so much, having met Serge Benhayon, and taken part in Universal Medicine events and workshops etc., I now know so many other people who actually are just like me. I no longer feel a misfit. Yes, Sarah, we all have our own ‘go to’ addictions that we use to not feel things.
Yes, reading as an addiction, I know it well Beverly. I spent most of my childhood in a book which I got recognition for in my family but ended up being horribly disconnected from myself. From all those stories I had so many false ideas about life and was very disappointed when life did not fit those story book pictures.
As an addition, allowing myself to be taken by the fantasy world contained in the pages of a book made coming back to everyday real life, mundane. I remember not wanting the book to end, when all my choices and feelings would have to be faced again . . . So yes reading is not just a harmless pastime but can be a strong addiction which the whole intellectual world is pleased to ignore.
WOW I never considered reading could be an addiction!!!!!!
We all have and had our addictions, I am no exception Beverly. For me it was also reading, especially comics, and building Lego things and model making. All addictions to not feel how abusive our family life was, and inadequate I felt as child to deal with that.
Yes Beverley, as a child reading was my way of escaping but of course it was seen as a good thing to do by my family. It was a very easy way to be away and withdrawn from life but at the same time be filled with ideals and pictures of how life should be. As an adult I further indulged when I was on holiday as I would spend the whole day just reading – this was how I ‘recharged my batteries’. Since meeting Serge Benhayon though I have had no need to read as I did as there is nothing to be escaping from!
To question reading and that it can be done to excess may be sacrilege to some. Very few people would argue excessive T.V. is good for us so to put reading in the same category could hit a nerve. As you say Josephine we give positive recognition for it – children for being ‘a good reader’ and adults for being ‘well read’ but could reading be a way to fly under the radar and escape from life because it is upheld as ‘better’ than television? A fair argument for both T.V. and reading is the quality of the material except we tend to be far more honest about the poor quality of television than the poor quality of what we read.
Beverley I’m glad that you brought up reading. I used to love reading about people’s experiences with drugs. What I found was that the books that I chose to read got more and more extreme as the ‘hit’ that I was after myself got harder to get from the books and so I had to keep upping the intensity of what I was reading in order to ‘get off’.
Beverley – how interesting that you nominate that your addiction was reading! I was the same. I was an avid reader but because it was presented as a “good” thing educationally to be doing I did not clock that I was checking out with it. I remember as a child being so immersed in a book that I would have to take it to the loo with me, as I literally could not put it down! I certainly used reading as a substitute to connecting with myself and with others and would withdraw, escaping into a world of fictional characters and settings.
Books were my refuge too Beverley – I would utterly immerse myself in them. Everything from highbrow literature to trashy novellas were my go-to place when life felt too hard or when my loneliness got to be too much. All of the characters emotions were soaked up by me, like a willing sponge. I would cry at their sorrows, take on their anger….What a salve it was to my own hurts that I did not at the time know how to deal with and preferred not to deal with! There are many socially condoned drugs we use to alleviate the angst of life…
I have just read all of the comments about reading and the way we regard it as somehow better than TV. This is such an important point, for we have all described how effective it is at taking us away from life..such a profound distraction creating a second world that we retreat into when the real one is too much. We are rewarded for being “good readers”, celebrated by parents and teachers, although as children our peers were not so impressed.
Deanne’s points are excellent though. Most people still hold reading as superior to television. What it comes down to for me now is the effect. If I feel disengaged from life and disconnected from myself, then what I am doing is a distraction. It then becomes less about what I am doing and the how and why I am doing it.
I spent hours with my head in a book as a child, creating a fantasy and an easy escape from the world around me.
As a young teen I escaped into the world of books, loving fantasy, romance, sci-fi or the safety of crime fiction – anything where I could escape the feelings of emptiness I carried. In reading I felt I wasn’t alone. I craved connection but couldn’t talk with my family so found knowing the fictional character’s thoughts helped me feel less lonely. I’ve followed this same pattern with TV – liking series for the characters alone.
Now it’s about me being honest with myself when I want to reach for a TV series for the company rather than be with myself or phone a real friend.
Reading was for me a way to never stop, from always having to turn a page to scanning through pages of words to get the detail, to find the end, it was never a leisurely read merely a goal to get to the end and then move on to something new. Not relaxing at all and interestingly as a young boy I would force myself to finish books or chapters before going to sleep such was the power of the momentum.
Oh yes I know this – the book could not be thick enough and a TV-series could not have enough episodes. I liked to know the characters more and more as they become a part of my life. In fact I liked them more then real people. A real relationship I have to care for, I get reflected and called to account. Challenging. All of this I can hide by choosing ‘relationships’ with fictional persons.
Funny that we are so longing for connection that we -even by trying to avoid the responsible part of a relationship- choosing to be with people, be it though TV or books. In fact we want to be with each other, want true relationships – just that we do often not take the responsibility to bring the change that is needed to have true intimacy.
Gorgeous Beverley. It is incredible how many of us who retreated from life, using whatever our drug of choice was, are now connecting with so many people and enjoying life by living in it.
Hey Beverley, my addiction was taking drugs and totally withdrawing from life. I did not realize how addicted I became just because there was so many others doing it. It was such a life-style on the Gold Coast with women, extravagant homes and people in the hood who seemed so laid back and cool. The locations were open and glamorous from high rises, locations on the beach to the country hinterland. All your dream-full illusions were met.
It was only when coming down became more toxic on the body that it started to really hit me, and the hole I was digging started to show and fall back in on me. I was loosing my mind, breaking-up with girlfriends, sacked from jobs, trying to stop but that was all there was to do and I could see no way out. The integrity I knew was not matching what was happening to me. Not until I was introduced to Universal Medicine was I able to completely stop drugs, alcohol and nicotine, everything at once too. AND have not gone back, AND WILL NEVER go back.
The power of healing was miraculous. I understood why I was doing it and began the journey to meet myself and responsibly appreciate my natural qualities. I was using this environment and lifestyle to fill my emptiness. I gave up on life and let my hurt own me. It took a lot of effort to be cool, and this was just a ‘look’ based on recognition instead of feeling and going deeper within my own body where recognition is not needed, but my own worth and confirmation is the natural way to live.
I just love how your comment about reading has opened up such a huge and informative discussion. It has given me the opportunity to broaden my understanding.
Great to read all the comments here, I have certainly immersed myself in books growing up and it is interesting to note how it is seen as superior intellectually to watching TV, yet it has the same effect of transporting us away from reality and so in fact is rarely any different. Books can be entertaining for sure but i remember well that empty feeling when the book ended and I had to face the empty feelings that I had numbed by being in the book.
Absolutely, and a great point Stephen: “it is interesting to note how it is seen as superior intellectually to watching TV”. I have read a lot in the past too and can attest that it took me so much out of the world. I would totally disappear into the story of the book. In a way this feels more insidious than the TV as there you are looking at a story, but with reading a book you are imagining the picture yourself and I felt more immersed in it than I did when watching TV as then there would still be a distance between the TV and me on the couch which kept me aware of the reality a bit more than with a book.
I was another who used books as a means of numbing and escaping. Now, I am choosing to be connected with my body and to out any numbing patterns that may remain.
I was fascinated by Alexis’s comment that she used to ‘get off’ on reading books about people’s experiences with drug addictions – sounds like a vicarious drug addiction and a book addiction wrapped up in one! It’s amazing just how creative and specific the human spirit can be when it comes to propping us up with numbing and escapist activities.
It’s possibly that for many children today the addiction is less to TV or reading than computer screens be they for social media, downloading movies and gaming. Another ‘screen’, more for adults, I can think of are gambling machines. I have heard that people can become so addicted they can’t leave them even to urinate so relieve themselves in their chairs. And at least one teenager has died as a result of non-stop gaming. That is extreme vice with a level of check-out and given-up-ness that is hard to contemplate. As a human race we are very, very self-destructive – if not to the death, then certainly in the ways we live.
I agree with others here on the ‘well-read’ syndrome having suffered from it myself. There is a definite arrogance in it, a superiority. On the other hand, I know someone with a great vocabulary and who writes beautifully (usually the hallmark of a well-read person) who barely read as a child and certainly not ‘the classics’ and is not particularly attuned to popular or high-brow culture. So where did this eloquence come from? I can only conclude it was a carry-over from a previous life. Perhaps we all bring different flavours though from those incarnations our souls have previously expressed through. Another option is given this person is naturally aligned with their soul, perhaps there is a natural eloquence that springs from this connection.
It’s official – reading can be an addiction too, but like any of the things being described it is not the thing that is addictive but rather how we engage with it, TV is not addictive nor is reading but when we sit down to ‘use’ them or to engage with them for purpose, two very different imprints.
It’s true, it is possible to immerse oneself in a book and completely forget ones own reality. This is an escape like any other.
I too immersed myself in books when young all the time thinking that this was better then watching TV but years later I realized that this was no different maybe worse because of the illusion of thinking it was better and how immersed in the fantasy story I would get. Because of this I could not put the book down till I had finished it so things I needed to do would fall by the way side and I would not participate in life.
I also used reading as a way of not feeling what was going on around me and escaping into another world. It was the same with TV and I would immerse myself into any program for ages often staying up past the point when my body was calling out to go to bed. By being more connected to life and more connected to myself I find that I have no impulse to read a novel or watch TV. It’s interesting that when I do feel that rare urge to want to put on the TV I am aware it’s because something has come up that I don’t want to feel.
I was an addicted reader too as a child and loved the escape it offered. Yes it seems we champion reading as a great thing over and above watching TV. Yet the behaviour of escape is the same, wanting to loose ourselves in a good story simply to dull, or forget about life and our own emotions.
Yes Fiona, awesome to break down what addictions are all about so simply – “numbing what we do not want to feel”.
Yes Hannah and when we know that to be true we can ask ourselves as we reach for whatever our addiction is . . . “What exactly is it that I do not want to feel at this moment?” . . . This gives us an opportunity to address the issue we are attempting to avoid.
Even though I know this to be true it is still something I found very difficult to do, mainly because I am very keen on avoiding responsibility. So in the moment I can fool myself into not going deeper and not really stopping to feel as I am already in the throws of not wanting to feel. If that makes sense.
Yes Kathleen and the more we let ourselves feel what we are running from the more obvious and simple it becomes.
Totally agree Fiona and well summed up here… I’ve found the more connected I am with my body, the more I am aware of when I am not connected, and these are usually the moments where I become aware that there is something I don’t want to feel…
Yes true, looking for out moments so we can escape from feeling the intensity of the world for me. As a child I use to love being immersed in books with stories that took me somewhere else more exciting with lots of adventures. It was like a safety cocoon where life was rosier as I imagined it could be. It was always a shock to come back to reality. So easy to loose oneself in distraction and disconnection and loose touch with the natural loveliness we are.
The crazy thing is before Universal Medicine I didn’t see these things as distractions from what I was feeling/life or numbing devices, rather I saw them as entertainment, pure and simple. Now I know this is not the case because after hearing some of the presentations by Universal Medicine, I felt if it was true for me, and it was.
Yes Toni I totally agree, there was no way in the world that I would have thought that this form of entertainment was a way of checking out and numbing myself. What has been so supportive since really feeling the impact of this has been inspired by what Universal Medicine has shared and the impact that this has on our bodies. These forms of entertainment for a way of relaxing and having fun has been at the expense of my own health and wellbeing.
The key word here is numbing. You just have to walk into any household these days to see how houses are designed to bring more comfort with a selection of numbing appliances available in every corner of the house. The TV is just one of many that I know I have used to no allow me to feel what is truly going on at the time.
Exactly replace tv with anything else that is used to bring the D’s into play all in an avoidance of being who we are! It is utter madness.
The ‘D’s are really such a great tool to assess where we are at , very helpful indeed.
Yes Karina and often we mask a person who reads a lot as being “bright” and learning more… often masking what is really going on- another D!
As a teacher of English I have experienced witnessing an arrogance coming from a number who believe that because they have access to the classic novels and know them intimately they possess something many don’t have – an arrogance that uses knowledge as power over another who is not so ‘well read’. As a teenager this affected me and I thought I was less because I didn’t possess this knowledge, and so wanted to read as much as I could to catch up. However what is not clocked is that those who do this are deeply hurt and are using this as a way to keep the world at bay and to avoid feeling their hurts.
What we are avoiding must be pretty big if we are all going to such extremes to avoid it! I guess this can fall into two categories – avoiding what we don’t want to feel, and avoiding the might that we truly are.
Yes Victoria, this awareness brings in a ‘whole’ other consideration, our choice to be and live all that we are in truth, and to be part of and responsible for creating a world we want to live in.
So true Sarah, we can use any substance or activity to stimulate or numb ourselves. What was interesting to read was that Mark had not substituted his Tv with another activity or distraction. It would suggest that he is also addressing the reason why he needed to dull or numb himself in the first place. Quite often people can give up one addiction and switch to another because the underlying issues of the need to dull our awareness are not faced.
Yes, Jennifer, it is unusual not to replace an addiction with another activity or distraction when one gives up another addiction. It would seem that Mark has successfully dealt with the underlying issues that he used the addiction to mask him from feeling. That is so key to truly ridding ourselves of addictions. It is wonderful for Mark to now be free of the issue that was underlying his addiction.
Yes that one rings a bell and sometimes you end up going back then stopping the same addiction because as you say you really haven’t dealt with the core issue as to why you are doing it in the first place. Sometime the hardest thing is actually admitting that you have an addiction. We are used to living with extremities that if you are not in this place then all is well…. but actually even if you have it at a small level it is still a step away from who we truly are and enjoying being who we are.
This is the arrogance and ignorance of humanity Jennifer, we change our addictions, husbands, wife’s, and or work Etc. because we are not happy, but end up in the same situation as we have not been willing to look at the underlying root problem, or why we were choosing what we choose in the first place.
Yes, addiction is short hand for running away from ourselves. Thomas I love how you’ve mentioned some of the very varied ways in which we run from the emptiness of not being with ourselves.
It’s helped me identify some of the less obvious ways I do this – looking for a ‘better’ area to live, place to work, type of work – anything that I put the onus on the situation to deliver me to me, that I also use as a ploy to divert my attention away from feeling the self-chosen hurt of choosing to not be with me. Coming back to the simplicity (and sanity) of choosing to be with me.
The outside distractions, aspirations may be deeply rooted in cultural belief systems that tell us these are the ways to fulfillment/contentment/enlightenment/meaning etc but they miss the crucial element: being with ourselves first and bringing this quality to whatever it is we do.
I like that you bring relationships into the mix Thomas. It’s pretty awful that we can pick up and discard people like we do the books we can also be addicted to. I’m willing to bet in some instances we can be more invested in the TV shows we follow than the people we live with. What a grave imbalance this is.
So true Jennifer, how many move to another location, break up with girlfriends, change careers, buy a new car, even save to go on that ultimate holiday all to numb out for so long where it wears off and something else new needs to be focused on. I had a friend who would try doing almost everything and even moved countries to satisfy the empty crave. Drugs did not help either and he eventually gave up on life completely. I know he did ask for help but no one was meeting him for who he was.
I am so blessed to know Serge Benhayon and all he has done to support me to come back and show me how to meet myself in all the love I deserve. This process does not stop and I will not stop until I let go of every thought that is not love for myself and others.
This is beautiful Rik, ‘I am so blessed to know Serge Benhayon and all he has done to support me to come back and show me how to meet myself in all the love I deserve. This process does not stop and I will not stop until I let go of every thought that is not love for myself and others’, and I agree being love with self and other people in every way possible is key.
Wow, great Rik and I pledge to do the same. I too am equally grateful to have met Serge Benhayon and would have stayed as lost as your friend if it had not been for Universal Medicine and its very healing modalities.
True Jennifer – usually the addiction is stemmed from a deeper hurt of not wanting to feel something, so we switch from one to another – fixing the ‘addiction’ but always moving onto something else because the reason behind the behaviour is not looked at. To be aware that our behaviours come from somewhere, is to start to see the bigger picture and take more responsibility for how we are living. Then our addictions will naturally fall away because we have faced what is behind them.
Yes Sarah great comment. Anything can be an addiction and we all have our own addiction of choice. What I love about Mark’s sharing is that through his honesty and how his body felt while watching tv, it allows us to see that any addiction we hold is just a way for us to be distracted and checked out from ourselves and how we really feel. Listening to what our bodies feel allows us to make a choice to change what isn’t working and make a new choice to live with honesty and care.
It is true Kelly, there is so much to feel when we really make a stop and consider what we might be overriding. It is a very responsible way to live life.
Taking time to feel what we do not want to feel is a very responsible way to live. I agree entirely Amina.
We can make an addiction of the very ‘best’ of pursuits. It is the body that says “hello…what are you doing? Can you feel me?”
I have caught myself reading the news online…clicking on reports that I know are silly from the headlines…but I am in that weird state where I feel detached from myself. It almost like I am feasting on junk food, my head cranes forward as though drawn to the screen, and my body may as well not be there at all.
It’s true Rachel, I can even say when I actually feel good and I know it I will choose something to bring me down – the ultimate sabotage. I get hooked on “I feel great”, and instead of appreciating and valuing this feeling that I created, I go into taking down what space I actually have to acknowledge and feel how I got to where I am.
Great point Rachel, anything we do where we leave the connection to our bodies behind will be taking its toll in some way.
Rachel it’s a great point you make about how some choices can be similar to feasting on junk food. Junk food is anything we ‘consume’ that has no real purpose. The body knows instantly and the mind plays its little game of thinking it can get away with it.
This is so true Sarah. For some people they may have more than one addiction. Our addictions are a way to disconnect from ourselves, from others and is a way to avoid taking responsibility for our choices.
Addictions can be a perfect ‘fill me up’ when we feel there is nothing to do and wanting to feel as though we are connecting to someone or something.
This is so true Mary, this forum feels such a safe place to discuss everything and anything without having to put up with people being abusive or being hateful towards people who write about their experiences. Unfortunately the majority of sites on the internet have become a free for all when it comes to people writing their opinions with the use of fowl language and hateful comments – thankfully there is none of that on this site.
I so agree Mary and Julie, this is an awesome site and every day when I read blogs on this site, it sets me up for the day – the quality of the energy is truly palpable and I love starting my days with reading the comments and feeling people’s awareness and insights – so beautiful.
This is a great observation, Mary and I agree this is a supportive site to be opening up on about life. It is good to be invited to look at ourselves and consider other ways of living that could be more supportive thus helping us grow.
Absolutely Sarah the control that an addiction can have over you is all encompassing but the one thing that never leaves us, we just choose to disconnect from it is our insanely amazing Love that is inside us. Love doesn’t need anything, Love is Everything and when we allow ourselves to feel this then we get to see what is not Love. From here any addiction stands out like sore thumb, rightly so and we get to arrest the temporal sensation and satisfaction that comes with the emptiness of the addiction.
I agree Mary – it is brilliant. In understanding the myriad of ways we can numb and check out supports me to understand that we are either connected in each moment or we are not – that simple! Choosing to connect in each moment builds a strength and an inner appreciation that translates outwards to everyone we encounter.
So true Mary, these are the conversations I wanted to have growing up but no-one wanted to have them it seemed to me back then. Like everyone around me I took up all sorts of addictions to quell the emptiness inside and quash my very healthy impulse to discuss what was really going on in life.
The more I tried to numb my awareness the greater my addictions became.
I thought I was slightly loopy but looking back I can see the great effort people put into conforming to the norms and staying unaware – just like I was trying to do. But I knew I was killing my health denying my awareness. I am incredibly appreciative of everyone who is writing so openly and honesty and for a forum in which to do so.
I agree Mary. What I love is how much the discussion opens out to so much more. I never ever considered reading books could be an addiction. Not being very academic or not liking reading a lot, I saw people who read as being clever (depending on what they were reading!) but wow reading too can be an addiction! Which brings it back to how an addiction can be ANYTHING we do in order not to truly connect with ourselves or feel what is there to be felt.
Well said Mary. Watching TV was once a large part of my life and it was just what I did. It took time for me to realise the extent I was using it to distract myself. It is these conversations that can bring us so much more awareness and honesty with what we are choosing.
TV is just what I did. This is so true Vicky, I never questioned watching TV or why I was because it is a normal part of live to do so. Not only normal actually considered abnormal not to. So I guess we could say distraction has become a normal part of live, so much so it is not something we question.
Absolutely. Anything that takes us away from being with our bodies or passes time for is to avoid the fact that we are not present with our bodies is numbing to all our senses – especially to our ability to feel energy.
Yes, a frank honest and informative account. Experienceing the effects for ourselves provides a powerful basis for true change.
It most certainly does Deborah. It is only when I have felt the harming impact of certain behaviours in my body and in my life, that have I been willing to make the changes necessary. Doing it because someone else says so, just does not have the same effect and in truth is very disempowering.
With our awareness for our self- abusive behaviour we are also saying no to the old choices and we have the opportunity to make new choices. So powerful.
Yes Monika, so powerful indeed, just as we are….
I love the honesty here too Bernadette – I’ve found for myself that it’s only when we are truly willing to be honest about our behaviours and take responsibility for them, that true change is possible. And this honesty for me can only come from within, and from our bodies.
Angela, a friend said to me recently, ‘be honest, and then ‘it’s over’. What she meant was, once we are honest with ourselves and others, there is nothing we are holding anymore. I felt the power of this truth. Honesty is truly empowering and releases the tension and energy it takes to not be honest!
Well said Bernadette. To hang on to something that is not true and then to keep living it day to day whether we are conscious of it or not, does take a lot of energy because it is so unnatural. Our body is a radar for truth so this is where we are headed no matter which direction we decide to go in. Resistance is exhausting!
So true Sara, and the body lets us know all the time – it should make us deeply question why so many of us do not wish to listen…
Yes I would call this process renunciation Bernadette. Honestly calling out what is we are doing. And then making another choice and it is gone! Honesty is so powerful.
I have even seen this with disease, like a headache: you renunciate what you have done and the headache is gone in a second. Not totally honest? It stays.
Great comment Bernadette. And Mark has shown here how we can let go of long standing addictions when we are honest with ourselves and listen to our body’s constant messages.
I love this Angela and Bernadette, when we are imprisoned by living a lie it is our own honesty we need for the truth really does set us free and we feel liberated and energized.
Thanks for sharing your friend’s powerful truth Bernadette ‘be honest, and then it’s over’. It was clearly felt.
Honesty is key, and as said, releases the tension and energy it takes in not being honest. I have also found the quicker I am honest, both to myself and others the less complication gets in the way.
Honesty works for me too Angela. Sometimes the truth of how I’m living is reflected back to me, but until I feel the lovelessness deeply in my body, I stay stuck in the same cycle.
I have felt the same Angela and interestingly enough it still amazes me how supportive the body is when we say yes to the changes and no to returning to patterns of behaviour that harmed.
So true. It’s ok for us to say we are doing this and that and admit that it us not supportive and even come to why we may be doing it. If we don’t get honest then we can’t take the next step to self healing.
Yes I enjoyed Mark’s honesty too Bernadette, to know that he made this choice for himself based on the effects he felt and how they were directly impacting on his quality of life. Absolute responsibility and true basis for making change.
Yes, I agree with Bernadette. I love the fact that you are not a follower Mark. You made a choice and made changes when you were ready, when you felt it all, and not because anyone else was doing such and such.
Yes Rosie I loved this line – “that would have been for some reason other than it being a truth for me”. True change can only happen when it is true to you to make that change – and then a loving consistent commitment to making it.
This is so important Sarah and supports the truth that when we know something it is felt in our bodies, not our mind. When my mind leads the way, I can be sure there is a need for recognition or anxiety leading me.
When our mind leads the way it is simply overriding our truth-o-meter, the body.
When I read this comment Sara I felt a lovely warmth in my body, in other words my truth-o-meter went all the way around to Profound.
Truth-o-meter – just love it Sara!
Yes this is a great truth. The mind does not feel only the body. So really it is less of a true intelligence when we are running our lives and movement only from our minds excluding our bodies. When we are present with our bodies, our mind aligns and we have access to great wisdom, knowledge and divine intelligence.
I agree wholeheartedly, Rosie. However there are times when the body tells the truth and I do not listen and do not listen and do not listen. In the end it becomes almost a habit to not listen. So I started to make the choice to listen not only in the very end, when I am already ill but when the first signs of the body are apearing, like Mark has so beautifully shared here. The sensitivity can sometimes be a challenge, but it is also fascinating to feel how powerful it is.
True Rosie, only then it can be a lasting change when its really made from a full understanding of the impact that its having on you.
Exactly. By allowing ourselves to feel all of it we can begin to work on truly healing.
That will always be the key – to feel it in ones own body first and then take appropriate action for change to occur. Nothing truly ever works when done from the head, or worse still, because someone else said so…
This too stood out for me Rosie, the fact that we can get caught up on ‘following the herd’ rather than feeling what is true for us to be with, let go of and evolve to.
This is true healing as it comes from oneself and from within.
I really like this too! I know from experience when I stop behaviours that no longer serve it has much more resonance and significance if it comes from me and what I am feeling from my body. If it comes from believing it to be no good for me and stopping, I am leaving a hole wide open for the behaviour to still manifest at any time.
Agreed Bernadette. Awesome reflection of true responsibility. Thanks for sharing Mark
Great comments here Bernadette and everyone else, I am certainly very aware of using devices such as TV for checking out from the world and what is really happening in everyday life. The most amazing thing that I have experienced since not longer having a TV and how you have an opportunity to really enjoy yourself and be with yourself. Something that I now really appreciate.
Yes Amina – I have experienced the same. Now I really enjoy myself being with me and to feel my tenderness. This is pure joy – no need to check out in front of the TV.
I agree Bernadette, no matter what we choose it is importiant that it comes from us otherwise it is knowledge and not a living way.
Great point Bernadette about feeling things for ourselves and giving things up because we want to and not because someone has told us to.
Yes – I loved your honesty too and the way you worked at your own pace. This is true and solid change, not peer or knowledge-based change and is set to last. This approach can be taken to all that we know needs to go but in the right time and way – particularly with respect to the habits that are deeply embedded. For me right now this includes misuse of food and a long term association with going into push and drive to get things done. She says about to push the done button to post this comment!
I find that true change happens and can be sustained when it is actioned because one wants to do it for themselves and not because of what others may be doing or wanting.
‘Letting go of choices is about saying yes to ourselves’. Great blog Mark. My addictions was reading. From a young age this was my way of escaping the world. I always felt sad when a book came to an end so I accumulated a stash of books for a rainy day. I never thought I could one day not read. But it happened. I gave boxes of books away and I am no longer buying them compulsively. Because I am learning to reconnect with people and life I no longer need a fortress of books to protect me.