** Morning Intention: To cut down on my intake of media without purging
We often seek change through purging. Someone tells us something is bad — certain foods, TV, Internet, social media, whatever — and we immediately make a vow to cut that thing out of our lives completely. We’re like someone who eats too much and thinks he has to make himself throw up, when what he really needs to do is lie down, drink some tea, and not eat so much next time. It’s a good metaphor for our relationship to media, which is also a type of food, albeit an often unhealthy one. And yet, our attempts to purge media from our lives usually backfire, because we are trying to do with willpower what can only be done with wisdom.
Meditation is a good place to see and change your habits of purging. As you sit and focus on your breath, you will see the residue of what you have thought or taken in through your sense-doors recently. This gets a lot of people depressed, but the right attitude to have is, “Interesting! There really is a connection between my habits of consumption and peace of mind.” You will also notice that the meditation gives you an opportunity to clear out some of this media-residue, but it’s a lot like cleaning your house: it works best if you don’t make a huge mess in the first place. You don’t need to hold yourself to military standards; just maybe don’t leave overturned cartons of milk everywhere. Maybe cut back just a little on how much time you spend at the computer or on your phone.
So here’s the practice: Today, sit and focus on your breath. At some point, you will notice the residue of what you have taken in through your sense-doors lately. Notice, don’t judge! Treat these mental impressions like dust on the floor, sweep them to the side, and return to the goodness of your breath.