With the growing interest and social buzz about consciousness, it is remarkable that we don’t see more people turning away from the seductive tides of the entertainment industry. Whether it is television, radio, Internet, online games, Facebook, Twitter, movies, magazines, advertisements, etc., entertainment has become one of, if not “the,” greatest distraction of our lives. I write “of our lives” because this is exactly what we are sacrificing when we become entangled in its alluring web.
It may not seem dire or toxic. Yet, if it is something that consistently takes away a good measure of our time, energy, relations, motivation, creativity and lives, it may warrant a close observance of our lifestyle.
None of us are immune to the “want” of being entertained. It began at an early age, and sometimes as a way to be preoccupied so that our parents or guardians could be afforded an earned break. As we grew older, it began to be distorted from a want to a need to even an entitlement. We find it much easier and desirable to turn on the TV, radio, and Internet as a type of “white noise” to make us feel more comfortable, connected, related or fulfilled. It can even be such a daily routine that it becomes a minute-to-minute endeavor. When we find ourselves without the false security of entertainment, it may impact our behavior, perception and mood. It becomes something much more than amusement. It becomes addiction. We are entertained to sleep.
When we turn on the television to watch sit-coms, we are greeted with forced laughter, elementary-level jokes and unrealistic life situations. It is cotton candy for the mind. There is a quick flash of fleeting sweet pleasure that dissipates as quickly as it arrived. When we turn on dramas, we are drawn into states of anxiety and stress. News broadcasts can put us into a perpetual state of fear and apathy. And reality shows. Need I say more? When the program is over, we are left only with emptiness and a longing with which entertainment is all too successful providing.
The Internet is an amazing invention of information, discovery, education and expression. Yet, without moderation, we may find ourselves spending hours upon hours of our time glued to the screen and the mouse, forever searching for a relatedness and fulfillment never to be found on a computer. We may become more connected with the World Wide Web than we are with our family and friends. We may even begin to believe that social media is the future of relatedness.
Most entertainment has one thing in common. Escape. It offers an avenue that many of us are more than willing to take. It seems evident that a great number of people would choose to evade the constant onslaught of reality by which we are continuously impacted. Some may even believe that reality is manipulated in such a way to drive people toward things like entertainment, poor diets, drugs, sports, shopping, social media and a number of other distractions. It would seem that society is rife with many diversions manufactured for the sole purpose of keeping us distanced from the one person with whom we are born to be related, ourselves.
It is amazing the amount of our energy, time and money we willingly surrender to our entertainment. Being distracted by entertainment is one of the primary things that enable an undesirable “reality” to persist. It is our entitlement to being entertained that is keeping us from living the lives that we love and by which we are truly inspired.
Over the last two weeks, my wife and I chose not to go on Internet, turn on the TV, scroll through Facebook, view videos on YouTube, read articles online, etc. We turned off the laptop and our Kindle Fires to bask in the glow of how life was before the explosion of technology. Where we once turned on the TV, we now talk with each other. Where we once surfed the Internet, we both picked up a book. Where we once turned without to be entertained, connected and informed, we now choose to turn within and to each other.
For me, this practice has opened up a great deal of time and a wellspring of creativity. It has taught me to honor the silence, my relations with others, my artistic expressions, my goals, my purpose and my life.
Instead of being entertained by other people, imagine the possibility that our life itself could be fulfilling enough. For if our lives aren’t that entertaining, what does that say about how we are living them?
The life we are given is such a brilliant gift and blessing. Now is always the time to honor and reclaim it, not by entertaining it, by living it.