My relationship with TV started long ago when I was a child and it was only when I stopped watching TV that I realised how all consuming this relationship had been in my life.
I remember the development from viewing childhood and educational learning programs to cartoons, music video shows every Saturday morning, Australian and American sitcoms each evening, movies (that I would watch religiously over and over and over again!) and the gradual progression into reality TV shows, renovation, gardening and cooking programs or documentaries and news on current world events.
TV was my religion; it was a big part of my life as I rarely went a day without watching something. It formed a ritual and a way of living that was religious to me.
In my 20’s, technology made it easier to ensure I never missed an episode of my favourite show and I would record my programs if I was working late or if I went on holidays and needed to catch up as soon as I returned.
Television was my ‘down-time’, my ‘relax-time’ at the end of a busy or emotional day and it was my best friend when something stressful was going on that I certainly did not want to feel. I would arrive straight home from work and turn on the TV, keeping it switched on to help me switch off until that last minute before sleep. Many times I would even stay up longer than I really felt to just to see the climax of the program and how the story would end. I was living my life through the characters on the screen and used the drama and distraction to get me through the day.
The truth is I was religious with a lot of things, not only TV. There were sweets and fast food and the current top hits in music too. I was living in a way that was completely committed and dedicated to these things. I could hold a conversation with another about an episode or repeat all the words from Grease, Mary Poppins or The Simpsons when I was young, but I certainly couldn’t have an intimate or truthful conversation about what was really going on or what I truly felt. Because of this I always felt an emptiness and a lack of self-love within that I worked tirelessly to fill – with TV, stimulation or entertainment and food; most commonly using all at the same time.
I was missing the deeply loving and religious relationship with myself that I knew was possible.
When we consider that the true meaning of Religion is about being in relationship and returning to the love we truly are, these days I live religiously in a very different way. From my choices to bring more self-love into my life, I began to spend more time truly living and not just checking-out from life – I began to live religiously with love and with me.
My life is not about what’s happening on the screen anymore; it’s not about watching fictitious characters live their emotional drama as I watch in suspense and from my own withdrawal, but instead a way of living where I am now living from my own heart’s centre and not through others.
My commitment and purpose is now about living a loving and healthy relationship with me, so that I can bring this quality to others too. This means viewing and bringing an understanding to what is going on for and around me, and choosing to allow my natural awareness to be felt and honoured, instead of trying to shut it out or override it with any form of distraction.
The self-loving way I choose to live now is about cherishing who I am and bringing all of me to everything that I do, where I go, how I am in my relationships with other people and taking care of myself and my body by eating well and making truly nurturing choices. It’s definitely not about checking-out on the couch anymore, with the remote in one hand, TV guide in the other, an unhealthy meal choice in front of me and a rather sluggish approach to life!
TV once dictated how I spent my time – how I spent my evenings with my family, how I planned my day and at what time of night I would eventually go to bed. I based my life around TV rather than true love.
It is now great to be choosing a religious way of life that is not about entertainment value but the true value I feel from appreciating how sensitive and acutely aware I am in my day and thus giving myself the chance to actually feel this and read a situation for what it is. In 2010 I moved home and gave my TV away. It has actually felt natural to let go of a religious way of living that was not truly supporting me or my relationships, making way for an ever-deepening religious way of life that I now have, rich in connection to my knowing, embracing of life and with an openness and love for myself and others.
By Cherise Holt, 33, Brisbane
Socially Accepted Addictions: What’s Really Going On?
Life is religion. What does that mean?
What is true religion?
A TV remote controller puts you under the control of the illusion of what is on the screen.
I’ve not had a TV for years now. However, I work in peoples homes and most of the time they have a TV. It’s been fascinating to see how attractive and attention-grabbing the programs are. Much like a bug zapper they lure you in but don’t kill you, simply drain your energy. But it’s attractive strength is actually an indication of how much I am connected to myself, not that the TV is more powerful than me.
Addicted or addiction was the way I feel about TV. / movies and I am so glad I have moved on and no longer check out in-front of a screen.
It saddens me to see how many young people are addicted to gaming. Seriously this needs to stop, it must be very detrimental for development.
TV has always been a go to distraction for me and with that I’d have my particular flavour which is sci-fi series or detective drama. But what I realised recently is finding myself thinking about the series in my everyday life. It’s like it’s not just a distraction for the time I watch it but, if I’ve gone into watching a series with the intent to not feel what’s going on in my life I’ve let the doors open for whatever it is I watch to percolate inside of me. I do not want to be with the characters in the series for days, even years later!
People are quite surprised when I say I have never owned a television, I know without doubt my life is much richer and loving because I do not have one.
To have never owned a TV is quite unusual considering how addicted we are to it in the modern world. I have stopped watching TV for many years though, however recently I was recovering from a surgical procedure and wasn’t up to doing very much for the first couple of days post operation, so I chose to watch some TV. What I felt in my body afterwards was quite surprising as I had never felt this before… the only way I can describe it was like a feeling of pollution in my body… it was like a thickness that was on a surface layer.
A great choice that I too have made, I love living in this way, ‘The self-loving way I choose to live now is about cherishing who I am and bringing all of me to everything that I do, where I go, how I am in my relationships with other people and taking care of myself and my body by eating well and making truly nurturing choices.’
I’ve realised how I’ve used TV as a substitute for connection with actual people and myself. It’s such a distraction from being alone with me. I’m learning to be with myself and be aware of all that is around me and the more I do this, the less I watch TV.
It’s really interesting to read this article about TV. I grew up with TV being an everyday part of my life, it was on every evening, all evening. As a young adult I started to feel that it was in fact a waste of my precious time to sit and watch TV all evening and that there were other things I would rather be doing. Now I don’t have a TV and don’t miss it, instead I enjoy catching up on work, playing games with my family or getting ready for bed. I love going to bed easily and not with the TV programme going around in my head and I enjoy not staying up late to find out what happens in a film.
I haven’t watched TV for some time and then did and found that I could not sleep. I kept waking up and then felt drained in the morning – it’s just not worth it. The trouble is it’s so addictive because I kept thinking about the show and when the next episode was on.