Autumn, no doubt, is my most favorite time of year. As the leaves change color, the weather gets cooler and the wind kicks up, bringing with it the Vata (Air & Space) season of coolness, creativity, enthusiasm, dryness, and unpredictability. It is a time of transition and also a time of the harvest; to reap what we have sown and enjoy the fruits of our labor throughout the year. It is also a time to eat warm & heavier foods, to snuggle, to rest more, and begin to go within, or to hibernate, pulling back our attention from outside distractions and bringing it to the fertile soil of our essential nature within.
With the exception of 1 or 2 programs, I haven't watched TV in about 3 years. And now that I am getting reacquainted with it due to changes that have happened in my own life, I see that I really haven't missed much!! Besides being bombarded by drug commercials, toxic yet seemingly tempting food advertisements meant to keep us fat, sick and dying, and unessential chatter that adds to the already over-stimulated society that we have become, I find it really does not fascinate me too much. As a matter of fact, I almost find it intolerable and to be simply, information overload!
In Ayurveda, we digest everything, literally everything; not only the foods we eat, but also our experiences provided to us by our five senses and extra senses. The eyes, for example are a Pitta, or fire organ. We take in that toxic television screen and what's on it, through our eyes, and we have to do something with that information. When it's violence, we are inviting that experience into our physiology and our physiology must respond to it. When it's heart-warming and beautiful, we invite that experience into our physiology and our physiology is nourished by it. I just heard recently, probably on the one show I do watch which is Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, that people spend about 5 hours in front of the TV a day,..... A DAY!! First I wonder, who has that kind of time, and more importantly, at what cost? And HOW?? It seems to me we have become so hypnotically scripted in how we live our lives. We're so stressed out at our jobs, relationships, and by subsequently unhealthy food choices and no exercise, all we really feel like doing is crashing in front of the TV when we get home. This is unfortunate for many reasons, but mostly because of what we miss of life; the moments of love and relationship that are forever lost and unretrievable. It's also unfortunate because many of us live in front of a computer screen at work, only to come home and plant ourselves in front of another screen we see from our sofas. Why would we do that? No wonder our eyes are tired! Unless you haven't noticed, (and by the way, there are many who haven't), we're living in a world that just doesn't work. Fear and hate (like we hear about on the news) are the primary foods we are fed from the TV. Isn't it time we chose to nourish our souls instead of being distracted by mindless chatter that creates mental and emotional turbulence that leads to illness and dis-ease of all types?
So instead of turning on the TV just out of habit, I invite you to choose some other, not-so-popular options: get quiet, meditate, do some yoga, sit and just have a cup of tea, take a walk, eat slowly, read, watch a sunset deliberately, breathe, put your devices down (they're just as bad sometimes), and talk to your spouse or a loved one while actually looking into their eyes with compassion and thoughtfulness, and see for yourself the transformative nature of those practices and how life will become sweeter and more purposeful.
I told you only about the eyes,... think about your other senses and how you feed them sattvic (nurturing and pure) experiences or experiences that require significant energy to digest. What are you "feeding" yourself? I'm certain of this; you're worth feeding with love, compassion, mindfulness, joy, good food and rest. I don't think the TV delivers those things on a consistent enough basis to spend so much time with it.
Ayurvedically speaking, everything we put in our body, on our body, do to and with our body, is for our enlightenment. The same applies to the mind, heart, and soul.
We must choose very carefully, especially now....
Dr. Joanna Carmichael is an RN, Dr. of Metaphysics, Divinity, Interfaith Minister, Ayurveda Practitioner, Spiritual Teacher and Founder & CEO of the Kalyana Centre in Narberth, PA