You get home from work, you throw some food in the oven and turn on the TV. This scenario has become a standard feature of many homes across the world. Television has become part of our daily routine, a numb, unthinking part of our lives that we can’t live without. 49% of people in the United States admit to believing they watch too much, but every year the number of hours we spend in front of ‘the box’ increases.
Not all television is bad for you, but the over-consumption of aimless mind-numbing images and commercials is severely damaging to your spiritual journey. Being ‘plugged in’ shuts you off from the rest of the world. The finite time you have on the planet is wasted and your understanding of life becomes warped. However, you’ve taken the time away from the TV to read this article, so there is still hope…
How TV damages your spirituality
Death of concentration
Televisions and smartphones have led to a dangerous drop in our ability to concentrate for even short periods of time. Dr. Manfred Spitzer, a highly regarded neuroscientist, coined the term ‘digital dementia’ to describe the lack of focus that the general population now has. Our ‘normal’ concentration levels are now at such a low level that they are in line with what was once considered the standard for people who had suffered a head injury.
Our quest to understand our spirituality takes a great deal of concentration. Whether you are meditating or even trying to take in a greater awareness of ‘the moment,’ both these acts are impossible to do when you struggle to concentrate on one thing for longer than 30 seconds.
Even while we watch TV, we don’t often take the time to focus on what is in front of us. We eat or play on our phones. Even the act of disconnecting from reality can’t hold our attention. Take stock next time you sit in front of the TV and at the very least focus solely on that one task.
The ultimate aim of spirituality should always be to wake us up to the reality of the world and universe we live in. Understanding our place within that framework is critical if we aim to live a fulfilled existence. However, our over-indulgence in TV screens shifts us further away from reality.
Rather than face the world we live in, we are viewing it at a distance. We create stronger bonds with fictional characters than we ever attempt to create with real people. Television was designed to show us the lives of other people but in the modern age, it removes us from them.
Television is a fake and scripted version of life, an unattainable goal where people smile beautifully and even the most drastic problem can be fixed in 60 minutes. Our consciousness goes ignored and appears unglamorous in comparison. We are told to shun the monotony of daily life and escape into a false world to find joy, which is why we go back night after night to find it. However, true happiness and fulfillment can only be found in reality.
Brain functionality slows
Closely linked with television’s ability to give us a reality complex, is its power to lower the speed at which our brains function and put us into a trance-like state. Research has found that our minds stagnate as the action on the screen cuts, pans and zooms about. Our fixation on the images we see causes our brain waves to slow down.
Additionally, while we watch on our brain ceases to use the areas of higher function such as the neocortex and instead begins to use the primitive reptilian region. This area of our brain is associated with negative and aggressive emotions, meaning we are not functioning in a way that challenges our intellect or spirituality.
The lowering of our brain power turns us into passive creatures rather than active participants in life who explore the realms of who we are. This exploration takes higher levels of thinking that simply aren’t possible when you are camped out in front of the TV. To begin understanding the reality of the universe, you must step out of the trance and engage with the world.
Stunted emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is critical to our relationships with others and our ability to appreciate the world around us. Stunting it reduces our ability to develop as an individual and alters our perception of spirituality.
Throughout our lives our emotional intelligence is in a state of flux, ensuring that we can continue to learn more about ourselves and others. Watching multiple hours of TV everyday stunts this development. Although this behaviour is damaging for adults, the impact it has on children is enormous.
By allowing children to linger in front of the TV at a young age, there is a proven link towards them becoming adults who lack empathy with others and have an inability pick up on social cues. Children that consistently watch more than four hours of television a day are likely to struggle to ever fully comprehend the depths of their spirituality.
One underappreciated path to fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment is our dreams. Sleeping each night allows our brain to transcend the body and explore our memory in greater depth than we can during the day.
The experiences we have every day become embedded in our subconscious and can invade our dreams. This is why we dream about our jobs and our homes; they are familiar settings that your brain repeats back to you. However, by watching hours and hours of television, the images begin to infect your dreams, which prevents your brain from analyzing reality as you sleep.
The spiritual guidance that can occur in dreams becomes impossible as the transcendent quality of your imagination is lost in a blur of repetitive stills put together on the TV screen. Not all television shows produce the same results but shows that focus on trivial, uninspiring subjects are negative to your subconscious mind.
The journey towards spiritual enlightenment is a road that takes a lifetime to travel. It requires us to connect with true reality, rather than the distorted version we see on television. The world is full of people and experiences that have the potential to enhance your existence. Take a stand against your monotonous routine by steering clear of the television and discover the beauty of life.
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