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By Chris Sovey, RN,BSN
As of this writing, the New Year is quickly approaching. Earth wasn’t blown to smithereens by an asteroid on 12/21/12. The U.S. is still coping with sensitive issues such as the recent tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary. The national debt ceiling is an ugly reality. But is is all bad? That is what most media sources would have us believe. Every time we turn on the news… It is cluttered with increasingly elevated crimes, hate, and tasteless messages of greed.
If we choose to look beyond television programming, (notice the deliberate use of the word programming) there is an abundance of beauty in the world. Technology and connections with others enables us to discover a wealth of information, skills, and relationships we may have never thought possible.
So we’re standing at a crossroads. Each of us have two options. We can come home every night, plop down on the couch, and mindlessly devour (mostly) irrelevant acts of hatred portrayed by the evening news, or we can make something of ourselves. We can give back to others. We can learn a skill or sport we’ve been putting off for a long time. We can start a business. Or … raise money for our own humanitarian aide. We can start much smaller and extend small gestures of gratitude to our friends and neighbors. Every moment is another chance to start again.
I can’t think of a single better time when a heightened state of consciousness is of utmost importance. We need compassion and love for our fellow human beings. It’s time to stop inundating ourselves with television propaganda, and instead intentionally brainwashing ourselves with activities that heighten our consciousness. By doing so, we can connect with ourselves, God, love, our passions, and our dreams. We can literally and figuratively breathe life into our tired minds.
Here are options to begin your journey into a higher state of consciousness. I hope strategies such as these will ultimately reduce violence, build communities, and re-establish faith in ourselves.
HOW TO BRAINWASH YOURSELF FOR THE GOOD OF MAN-KIND
- Turn off ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and all the other major news conglomerates. Stop feeding into their messages. Next time you are at a public place where multiple TVs are on side-by-side (such as a gym), notice how many news stations are reporting a story of violence, abuse, legal disputes, fear, or disparity. Instead, use this time to do things that actually matter. Bond your family or pets. Tell your spouse or significant other how much you appreciate them and what they do for you.
- Develop daily affirmations (spiritual or not) centered around love, kindness, and forgiveness. Learn to forgive. Grudges that stick will eat away at you like a cancer. I particularly like messages from albums such as this.
- Take up “active” hobbies that involve movement. Yoga is an excellent example, as it connects the mind with the breath and body.
- Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while. Keep social connections alive.
- Reach out and do at least one small thing for someone per day. You don’t even have to know the person. It can be as simple as holding the door for them, and wishing them a good day. (It should be genuine, of course.)
- If you practice spiritual activities, re-connect and grow.
- Seek to learn CONSTANTLY. Approach learning with a curious nature, not as a burden. Learn about things YOU want to learn about. Don’t waste your limited time learning about things others want you to know. In terms of personal growth, stagnation is death. The moment we decide to stop learning is the instant we die. We may not be able to reach perfection, but it is our duty to perform at our highest level and reach out to others with loving-kindness.
- ALWAYS ask questions. Never accept anything at face value. As it is said in Christian scripture, “Test all things. Hold on to what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:21.
- Take up some form of meditation. Mindfulness meditation enables us to transcend beyond a reactionary approach to events in our lives. Mindfulness meditation also helps reduce stress (1), which nearly everyone needs a little less stress in their lives!
- Instead of immersing ourselves in perpetual violent video games and horror-movies, find alternatives. I wouldn’t go as far as others that blame violent video games as the sole purpose of violent acts, but it certainly doesn’t help to unite man-kind in any useful way except bloodshed.
- Eat live foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, and nuts that have not been heated or irradiated.
- Learn more about systems and how they work. Ask about what is going on with our food supply. Inquire about policies related to other topics you may be uncertain about, such as childhood vaccination.
- Re-connect with nature. Go outside. If it is warm enough, take off your shoes and socks. Feel the gentle breeze and blades of grass caress your feet.
- Listen more, and talk less.