You cannot become a true beauty seeker while purposely inviting unnecessary ugliness into your life. Think about how important it is to eat quality food. As an organism there is nothing more relevant or sacred than what you put into your body. There is nothing more metaphysical, in a literal sense, than food. Food is the ultimate sacrament. Food is a part of our contract with life. As creatures with a body, we should all be especially concerned about the quality of air, water and food we allow into our bodily vehicle. But we consume more than food. Life is a constant consumption of our environment through our senses. We consume sights, food, conversations, products, touches, sounds, air and time. Should we not feed our consciousness well? Ugliness comes in many forms, from materialism to the things we eat, and many of the things we consume with our senses. Many psychological and spiritual problems are really just forms of consumption illness. Through unwholesome consumption, the beauty within begins to diminish as we are consumed by what we feed on. When we feed on knowledge without conscience, intelligence can become arrogance, which leads to apathy and a loss of compassion. One such example of this is how our unwholesome meditations on violent entertainment can slowly erode our sensitivity and warp our spiritual palate as we acquire a taste for the perverse. All of these appetites can become vices, which create tragic imbalances in our lives that are not easily detected or quantifiable.
“If you permit your thoughts to dwell on evil you yourself will become ugly. Look only for the good in everything so you absorb the quality of beauty” – Paramahansa Yogananda
One of the most powerful ways to expand in beauty and abundance is to voluntarily turn away from, or minimize your exposure to violent entertainment in all of its forms. Violent entertainment, while it seems innocuous, is an assault against the sensitivity with which we are all born. Violent video games, television, movies and entertainment can erode our sensitivity and diminish our empathy. We are all too comfortably adjusted to a diet of violence. Depending on how selective you are with choosing programming, television can turn your family living room into meditative den of death and violence worship. Much of TV is a pornographic cacophony of violence, death obsession, screams, gunfire and drama; if you think it’s fine, it’s because you are damaged. While your children play, in the background the TV blares with screams, gunfire and rape-murder scenes – it seeps in. You don’t have to be an extremist, but could it hurt to be more mindful about what you allow in?
I do not believe violent games and entertainment directly “turn us” into violent people. I do however, believe violent entertainment adds something to the ambient cultural and personal psychological narrative – it taints its inherent innocence. Violent entertainment is absorbed, and while we may disagree about what happens after, it is assimilated by the consciousness. Even if violent entertainment does not shape us at all, it is still an expression of who we are through our interests. I was once a gamer and addicted to violent entertainment. I decided along the way that I wanted to feed my body and consciousness more carefully. The time we have in life to observe and feel the magnificent experience of living – is limited. Realizing there was enough real horror in life, I decided to distance myself from unnecessarily created madness. Instead of immersing myself in fictional dramas, I found real dramas and suffering in the world that needed my attention – starting with me. I quit watching television for twenty years. I began avoiding negative themes in people, food, entertainment and life. The more I avoided violent and manipulative entertainment the more things changed for me for the better. Rather than spending my time immersed in negative entertainment, I spent my time positively by learning and developing myself. It is not just violent entertainment either. The media is a weapon pointed at your consciousness. I began applying a biological cellular-membrane model to my consciousness by becoming a gatekeeper and only allowing in what was good for me.
There is already so much actual violence in the world. Do we need so much of this type of entertainment in our lives? When we consume violent games (murder simulators), we take that energy, training, conditioning and experience within, and it becomes a part of our experiential identity. When you play these games, you make the statement that you love to spend your pleasure time immersed in obscene imagery, sounds and experiential meditations of violent bloodsport. This is your choice of pleasure and where you choose to place your thoughts and attention. Everything we consume affects us. In how all environmental factors shape us, you are being shaped to one degree or another by violent entertainment. If you are a gamer or lover of violent entertainment, maybe you have been changed by your diet in ways you are not even aware of. Perhaps you would be a different person without those negative influences in your life. Who do you think you might be without focussing on so much violence and negativity?
And violence is not the only concern to be had over entertainment. Also be mindful about what you are being sold. The coveted perfect life is a created standard, which is purposely unattainable. Deceptive media images of faces, bodies, and lifestyles, make us hate ourselves so we will buy a solution to love ourselves once again. Advertisements make us ashamed of our blemishes, imperfections, and flaws, but these so-called flaws are really our strengths and gifts. These images, idols and fixations on conformity and unattainable perfection make us illusion-prisoners. The very brands that promise us relief and personal freedom deliver the opposite of freedom; instead turning us into material junkies. They are using us, and in the process convince us to trade our originality and personal freedom for lives of economic slavery and psychological dependency.
Another reason to not watch so much television and entertainment is that you could use that time to experience some of the adventures you are just watching! You don’t need to be entertained; life is your entertainment. We must quit living vicariously through the fictional lives of TV and movie characters and become the stars of our own real-life stories of adventure and creativity. The natural calling you were born with, to be your creative genius, has been subverted to some degree by escapism and entertainment. Most of us are someone else’s creation, playing the role of the watcher in their story – as entertainers. When you become the author of your own life, you get to direct your thrilling tale!
Consuming what is natural, good and untainted frees you, protects you, and realigns you with natural, peaceful and safe. By consuming what is good and pure and rejecting what is artificial, you open your consciousness to the space needed to heal your sensitivity. We must all strive to self-reflect and reject violence in all forms, from the subtle to the overt. We must all seek to unravel the deeply-rooted conditioning which has perverted us and attempt to heal ourselves and set our inner-truth free. To end violence, we must only look within ourselves, understand ourselves and evolve ourselves. Innocence still lives within our hearts, and the child within us still knows right from wrong. Instead of connecting with ugliness, connect with beauty. Take great care with what you put into both your mind and body – your health and well-being are at a tremendous risk!