Recently, while watching TV in the evenings, my husband would hit the mute button whenever commercials rolled around. He said he had been feeling bombarded in listening and watching them; almost like an assault on the senses. Commercials seem to have become a larger part of any given TV program, sometimes more so than the TV program itself and unless you’re watching the Superbowl specifically for the commercials and looking to be purposely entertained, the amount of ads on TV have increased.
We are being bombarded with not so subtle messages of “Buy this now,” which ultimately translates into “You’re not one of us and won’t be happy until you buy/wear/smell like/look like/eat like this”. The latest trend is actually products selling experiences, so adding on to “You’re not one of us until…”, is the message “You won’t experience this adventure/joy/family closeness/intimacy…” until you buy this.
Commercials never really bothered me and so I went along with my husband, gently reminding him to unmute when the program came back on because we would usually end up in conversation during the break.
Now, let’s roll forward to a few days later when I was watching TV by myself. I left the commercials on and I found myself really paying attention to the volume, the colors, and the messages, and I began to understand where my husband was coming from. Out of curiosity and as a personal experiment, I voluntarily started to mute the volume during commercials.
What surprised me the most, was how much I recognized the constant chatter of the commercials as being very much like that constant chatter in my head. My monkey mind was on TV! With the volume off, I felt my body relax and my shoulders drop. With the volume on again, even if for a favorite show, I became acutely aware of how “tight” my body felt and how my energy shifted into a higher gear.
In no time, I became more aware and conscious of my personal energy and the energy in a room when the TV was on and when it was off. The difference was palpable enough for me to start thinking about the connection on muting the TV volume and muting the chatter of my monkey mind. If only it were so easy to still that voice in our heads and put the busy mind on mute. Of course, it can be done but it’s a constant effort and conscious work in meditation, going inward, and being fully present within ourselves. A lifetime’s work for sure.
Muting the chatter on TV has led to an awareness of my own inner chatter. I have become much more present to the energies and sounds of silence.
So if you’re a TV watcher, I’d like to offer you this experiment. The next time you find yourself in front of the TV, hit the mute button during the commercials and see if you notice any difference in how you feel, physically and emotionally. It may take a few days, but note any energetic changes to your body and the difference in input with the volume on and off, and eventually with the TV on or off.
I know many people who say that they can’t meditate—mainly because they can’t sit still, but I believe a large part is also because of how difficult it can be to turn down our own inner volume, to the point of muting the chatter. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to feel you might not know what to look for, so I think by doing this exercise with the TV is a great way to start to become aware of the subtle energies around us and inside us and get us on our way to putting that monkey mind chatter into cancellation with no new series premier this fall.
Taking it deeper….
Have a great weekend!
Great post Renata! I absolutely hate commercials (except during Superbowl, like you mentioned). I hate commercials so much (and that’s odd considering that for the majority of my career I was selling space and time to air those commercials!) that I can’t even watch live TV anymore. I always record my favorite shows and watch them after they’re over so I can fast forward through all the chatter. It also saves on the amount of time you actually sit in front of the TV because instead of sitting for an hour, you’re really only sitting for 40+ minutes. That’s a significant amount of time taken up by commercials!
Turning the inner chatter off is also tough to do. But I like your idea of simply muting. I’m going to try that…
Thank you! I’ve been doing that too. The commercials are just too too much. I never thought about it as reducing the amount of time spent in front of the TV. I love that! Let me know how your practice goes!