I have been thinking a lot about the Buddhist Five Mindfulness Trainings that I learned when I was sitting regularly with the Rock Blossom Sangha. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the fifth one, which is stated as such:
The Fifth Training: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body and my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and the transformation of society.
When I don’t read the news or websites that focus on gossip, I feel better – happier and lighter. There are a lot of publications out there that are less than helpful – that seem to only exist to feed into fear or greed or envy.
We don’t need to live with these kinds of emotions, feeding them on a daily basis. You will get a sense of calm and peace when you start to abstain from media that poison your thinking and distort your views.
Since much of it is driven by advertising anyway, it’s not pure reporting – there’s always an angle to make the story more intriguing and really sell it so you’ll buy more. I know some people who do not tune into any media – if they really need to know something, they hear about it from neighbors, friends, and family. And most of them seem pretty content.