I had this great horoscope recently, which had the following line in it: “Meditation is giving a bullhorn to all the thoughts I’d quieted with television.” Of course, I immediately substituted “television” for “books.” But then something occurred to me. I’ve known many people over the years who have to have the television on constantly. I don’t just mean that they watch a lot of television; I mean that they walk into a house or a room and immediately put the television on. Then they’ll play on their computer/tablet, or listen to music, or attempt to have a conversation. Jay was like that – he’d call me on the phone, and he would have the television on in the background, or he’d want to play some different songs for me but he’d leave the television blaring so I couldn’t really hear anything. J was like that too – as soon as she came home, her television was on, and stayed on until she went to bed, regardless of what else she was doing. Those are just two examples of a much larger group.
So, since I am not at all like that, I started wondering about these people in my life who display this characteristic, and wondering what they all had in common. Guess what? Each and every one of them has no self-awareness whatsoever. It’s like they can’t hear their own conscience, or soul, or inner voice. And I wonder about that – do they have the television on to drown out their thoughts? Why do they not like quiet time? What is it that they are scared of confronting?
Each of the (very few) times Jay came over to my place, he would remark on how peaceful it was. First of all, yes it is incredibly peaceful. But second of all, whenever he said that, the television was turned off. Could he not grasp the connection? Television off, quiet surroundings = peaceful. Let me throw out a disclaimer here – there is a difference between having the television on all the time and playing music when you’re cleaning/cooking/getting ready in the morning. I have wonderful meditation walks while listening to my music. I feel like music is a bit more comforting and repetitive. Unless you’re watching The West Wing or Studio 60 through for the twentieth time (guilty), television just doesn’t see like it could equal white noise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up to get some water, been able to hear everything on a show, and still had to rewind by two minutes because I’d missed some action that was important.
I’m really not good at traditional meditation. I like to meditate through walking – I find that this is a simple enough task, and I know my route well enough, that I can sift through my thoughts and clear out my mind fairly easily. And I completely get that meditating or having quiet time can be kind of scary if you’re not ready to face your own issues. Sometime you need to drown out everything just to have a break. But when ALL of your available time is spent drowning out every other sound, whether external or internal, that’s probably not healthy. So give my thoughts their bullhorn – they deserve to be heard.