I often think of what’s on TV as symbolic for what we long for, relationship and connection. It seems a fundamental aspect of being human. We are created to relate to each other and find connection in recognizing shared experiences, not live in constant anxiety.
Have you ever stopped and noticed how much TV is about murder and killing others? It’s a lot. As well, there are constant Dateline-type shows that highlight premeditated murders and how the trials played out. I can assure you, there was little to no meditation in these pre-meditated killings.
What is this insatiable draw to seeing so much death? And how does it affect you emotionally?
These are good questions to take into meditation. Even if you clearly realize that watching reality TV about a manipulating husband or wife who plotted to kill their spouse so they could have an affair or cash in on inheritance is not good for you, it can be hard to resist. It’s not because it is human nature to kill. In fact, I am a strong believer that it is not at all in our nature to kill others, but a learned behavior.
All this ‘entertainment’ about death and killing leads to a gradual shift in consciousness and desensitization. After a while, one kind of just accepts that people kill each other and then lie profusely to try and get away with it. And in those shows like Law and Order where there is a trial, often the climax is when the attorney triggers the defendant to spill their guts. They get all emotional and reveal an intense anger and hurt that led to their decision to kill.
In fact, I am quite certain that the anger which leads to decisions to be selfish, mean, vengeful, greedy etc is so rampant in our society that most everyone is affected. Some of us take it all the way and plot to kill someone who we can no longer stand. But most of us relate to the anger. We wouldn’t kill but we can identify with either the killer in their passion or the victim in their helplessness.
These shows thrive because we relate on some level to the struggle and we get an emotional charge from seeing just how far someone else could take things. This phenomenon is an indication of the consciousness of our modern day society. Not very high.
The human soul is incredibly sensitive. We are created to care about each other as though part of one global family. But take a look at an everyday family. When the kids hit adolescence, they can be super-touchy, vicious in their language and highly reactive with each other. Our society seems to be in an adolescent stage of evolution. Anger is prominent and when you know there are people about who, when angry may go so far as to really injure and even kill, this will leave you on edge. Hence the root of much anxiety.
In teaching meditation for over ten years, I have counseled many, many people who declare themselves anxious, as if anxiety is there true nature. I feel our true nature is love and relaxation but living amidst rampant anger in a culture where taking revenge is encouraged, anxiety breeds.
Try not labeling yourself as an anxious person. You may experience strong anxious feelings at times but this doesn’t make you a naturally anxious person. Also monitor your intake of entertainment. Notice your day to day relationships and note how much anger, be it demonstrative or passive aggressive you experience around you.
It is normal to feel anxiety if constantly around a lot of angry, volatile people. And TV would have us believe that these people are all around us. Yes, angry people are all around us. Imagine living in prison where your most basic rights of freedom are denied. People are caged up and they grow furious in time. This is where a lot of weird stuff goes down. Most if us would be chronically angry and highly anxious if locked up in prison.
Anxiety is a response to the lack of love in our world. It points to the fact that we as humans need love. It is a basic survival element which allows us to relax and feel ok. Day to day, it can be hard to find. The goal is to give more of it and trust in the law of karma. The more you give, the more you will find flowing to you. Have faith in this law.
But also don’t be naive or like a person who tries to force positivity. I am very optimistic but I try not to be foolish. People can harbor anger and concoct mean revenge plans. Or even just hurt others because they were hurt. In order to counter that anger, use meditation to see the truth. Recognize how you are coping with the difficulties in the world. This is the first step to reducing that anxiety. Stop seeing yourself as an anxious person and begin doing all you can to give more love.