We Are What We Feel And Perceive: Why Cope When You Can Thrive
BY TRINA WYATT
Toxins Of The Mind —
Today there are more people, fewer resources, more technology, and greater stress and anxiety. There are more chemicals and toxins in our food and water and the extent of the impact on our health and brains is still uncertain.
At the same time, we have greater access to tools like meditation, healing modalities, research, scientific data and inspirational stories.
Though I tried adopting a daily meditation practice over twenty years ago, it wasn’t until four years ago, in the process of earning my teaching certificate in Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan), that I discovered the healing power of a daily practice. Before that time, I over-drank and over-shopped to somehow cope and get-by.
Daily Practice To Combat Toxins
Just as we are careful with what food we put into our bodies, we need to give ourselves every advantage in combatting the toxins of the mind. I’ve adopted several daily practices that are essential for me to not just cope, but thrive.
- Start the day with an inspirational reading to set a positive intention for the day.
- Maintain a daily practice to connect to your inner voice and a higher power.
- Every evening write a list of ten things you are grateful for.
- Choose daily media carefully and with awareness.
Media As Remedy
Ever since I first pitched the idea of a Tribeca Film Festival to Robert DeNiro and his partner Jane, I’ve been interested in topical short film festivals.
So last year Conscious Good partnered with the United Nations, who was overseeing World Humanitarian Day, for the Humanitarian Film Festival. Our Festival was a huge success, reaching over 11 million people.
But the big success for me was when the woman I hired to help run the Festival said, “Watching these films has changed my life. I went to yoga this morning and there was a homeless man in a wheelchair blocking the doorway. Others impatiently moved around him. I thought, ‘If I don’t help this man, who will?’ I spent the next hour helping him get to where he need to go.”
In fact, researchers have drawn this link. From a recent article in Psychology Today, “Watching video clips with pro-social themes (like people helping others, cooperating and being generous) can lead to more cooperation, more positive attitudes, less aggression, and more altruism.”
Many have embraced yoga and meditation as practices for a healthy mind-body-spirit. But what happens to that centeredness and positivity when we step off the mat? Why would we watch entertainment that feeds fear and anxiety and “undoes” our positive mind-body-spirit work? We need media choices that support our practice.
Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Watching a bad TV program, we become the TV program. We are what we feel and perceive. We must be aware of which programs do harm to our nervous systems, minds, and hearts, and which programs benefit us.”
. . .
Several months after the Humanitarian Film Festival, I met with a media company which does a lot of work for Alzheimer’s research. When asked, “What can we do together?”, the idea of a Film Festival about the mind was my immediate suggestion.
And so Conscious Good’s Mindscape Film Festival was born…
There are many ways watching these films help oneself, and therefore help the world. There are stories that help destigmatize mental illness, explain brain diseases and trauma and possible cures, and promote compassion, including letting depressed/suicidal people know they are not alone. This is just to name a few of the excellent films.
The on-line Mindscape Film Festival ran through July 31st, but you can catch a tour of the juried films across the U.S. for the months of August and September.
Attend an event or host your own! Find out more here.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.