I am a fan of Hollywood movies. I don’t remember how many of them have I watched till date.
In many Hollywood movies I noticed a pattern – the moment the actor enters the house, he turns the TV on, as if it was the most important thing to do. Why would someone turn the TV on the moment he enters his house? And the TV stays turned on during that entire shot, running in the background.
Are you watching too much TV? Why?
Usually the dialogue was, “Let see what’s new on TV?” There’s nothing new dude. It’s the same old bullshit – corrupt politicians, below average performance by bureaucrats, and channels selling idiotic stuff, “This new revolutionary product can help you lose belly fat in just 30 days. No diet, no medicine, no exercise. Just drink 1 cup of this miracle drink everyday and the fat will melt away like butter (yeah, right). It’s so brilliant that most of the people don’t even believe us. If you want to lose fat while watching TV and munching on popcorn and sipping sodas, you have to have this product. Call XXXXXXXXXX right now. Hurry! this offer is for limited period only.”
I used to think only westerners watch too much TV. But then I noticed that Indian homes are becoming just like the western homes. They too, are busy watching TV most of the times they are in their living rooms. I noticed many of my friends keep the TV on for hours and hours.
It happens quite often that one of my friends, or relatives invite me for dinner, and he keeps talking with me with his eyes fixed on the screen. It really pisses me off. Looking at a screen while talking (or pretending) to somebody is insulting. And I am like, “if you weren’t interested in talking to me, why did you invite me in the first place?” Most of the times I had to ask, “Excuse me, do you think we can turn the TV off?” And the look on their faces is usually of utter confusion, as if I said something abnormal.
Most of the people I meet, complain that life has become stressful and chaotic and they need some peace. But how can one expect peace to enter his life if there’s an intruder in his living room the moment he steps in? Where would you ask “peace” to sit? Where’s the space? The TV brings “crowd” in your living room – lots of people chattering, shouting and yelling at each other 10 – 12 hours a day. Even the peace might get depressed in such an atmosphere.
And that intruder is your doing, it never asks you to let it intrude your privacy, it’s you only that keeps inviting it.
The headmistress of my children’s school once said in an orientation program, “we strongly advise the parents to spend some quality time with their children on a daily basis. Hearing this, one parent said, of course ma’am, I do spend quality time with my children every evening. I watch TV with them while we eat dinner.”
If you want peace, you need to take control of your life. You can’t just press a button on the remote, turn the TV on, and expect to have peace amidst all that noise. That’s naïve.
TV has its place, but it’s one thing to entertain yourself and quite another to let the TV dictate your schedule.
One of my cousins was crazy about watching cricket world cup. She used to set alarm so she could woke up on time and watch the matches. She used to watch matches all day and all nightlong. She needed food, water, tea, and snacks, everything on bed. Nothing could interrupt her.
Am I crazy to suggest that TV is not your friend but rather an intruder? May be. But the truth is it is an intruder. If you’re wondering why you seem to lose focus so easily, why there’s no peace in your life, why your mind seems preoccupied, then you need to contemplate if you’re watching too much TV. Watching too much TV might be a sign of “Escapism.” I know because I’ve been there. There was a time when I was in between jobs. I could hardly manage my monthly expenses. Since I wasn’t clear about what to do next, I found an escape route – I started watching too much TV. The idea was not acknowledge the mess I was in.
What are you hiding?
Are you also hiding something from yourself? Are you escaping from the reality of your life? May be you’re not doing good in your studies or your job, and you aren’t willing to do something about it. You might be trying to solve the problems by ignoring them, but has ignoring the wound instead of curing it ever worked?
Also, have you ever wondered what actually you’re doing when you watch too much TV? You are being passive. Somewhere deep down in your mind, you have this desire to achieve your goals, but you’re too lazy to get yourself up and start taking action. So you find an alternative. Instead of becoming a wonderful chef yourself, you start watching “Master Chef.” It feels good, doesn’t it? To watch people realizing their dreams while you sit and watch them. In reality you’re born to be a participant in the game of life, and not an observer.
If you want to invite peace in your life, you need to be a participant, not just an onlooker. Onlookers never get anywhere. And it’s not someone’s life; it’s your life baby. Do you really want to let the life pass you by? Watching others on TV doing what you could also have done, and then complain that life has not been fair to you? Is that how you had visualized your life?
No! You weren’t meant to live such a lousy life. You need to take charge. Turn the TV off. Get your ass up, and start doing something. Can’t think of anything at the moment? I have some suggestions.
Go for a walk.
Tend your plants.
Try drawing some pictures
Try creating a song no matter how weird it may sound.
Try cooking a new dish, just out of your imagination.
Watch children playing.
Do something that can take you back into the flow of creativity. Life is not life unless you start creating. When you sit in front of a screen, you’re being a consumer – consuming stuff created by someone else. You also have the power to create whatever you want in life. But for that to happen, that intruder in your living room has to go.
What would happen if you don’t watch TV for one full day (Or if you kick it out permanently?)
Do you think something bad will happen if you don’t watch TV? I can assure you nothing would happen. I am a living proof. I decided to get radical with that intruder in my living room. About 3 years back, I started noticing that my children, my parents, and myself were watching TV till late night – the same old stupid stuff, repeated and done to death time and again.
The moment we used to sit for dinner, someone or the other would turn the TV on. I suggested not turning the TV on while we ate dinner. And that made a hell of a difference in our lives. We started appreciating the food. Before that, we were just stuffing ourselves, with eyes fixed on a screen. That’s insulting to the person who prepared dinner for you. That’s insulting to the person who grew the vegetables you’re eating. That’s insulting to the people who made it possible to reach those vegetables to you while they were still fresh.
Noticing the improvement in the quality of our lives, I thought of getting real after 1 month. I decided to turn the TV off permanently.
Yes, permanently. And it’s been 3 years now since that intruder is sitting there in my living room – dead.
Do you think I miss it or my family misses it? No.
Don’t we feel the need to entertain sometimes? We do. We go to a park or we watch a nice movie on computer or in a theater. That way, we keep us entertained without letting the idiot box intimidate us with a hell lot of unwanted information.
Watching too much TV could also be a sign of “escapism.” The tendency to not acknowledge there’s something wrong with your life. When we don’t have the courage to address the problem that could make significant improvements to our lives, we either start sleeping more than required or we start watching too much TV.
There is not much difference between an alcoholic and a TVholic. Both don’t want to address the real issues in their lives, and TV becomes a medium to forget the issues for a while. By and by the habit of running away from the real issues gets stronger and stronger. And we don’t even realize that it’s not that comedy serial we’re fond of, but rather we’re trying not to face the facts squarely.
I remember one of my relatives addicted to TV. She used to watch TV like crazy. Often, when whole of family used to sleep, she was busy watching TV till 2 am in the morning. And it wasn’t just a one-day affair. It’ was her daily routine. She started getting stressed, started eating a lot and started watching too much TV. Within months she was overweight
Running away from real issues is not the solution.
Where does the road of TV watching lead you? Nowhere. It’s a dead end.
The question is – are you willing to let the TV intrude your whole life?
You have two options:
Don’t address your need to be creative and keep suppressing your creative energy, thinking that you’re not that talented.
Turn the TV off for one full day. Notice how you feel. Sit alone for 15 minutes, watch your thoughts, and see if you could find a pattern there. Reflect on where you life is going, and is it the direction you wanted your life to move in? If not, what are you planning to do about it?
If you want to take control of your life, just close your eyes and ask yourself, “what can I create?” Keep your eyes closed and wait for the answer.
When you receive your answer, start acting on it. And kick that intruder out of your living room right away.