or how to interact with the news more consciously.
We all know the news cycle is designed to pull us in. Knowing that doesn’t stop it from happening.
Something shocking invades our feed.
We stop mid-stride passing the TV.
A headline jumps out at us and sends us scurrying off for more information.
Resisting the pull of the news cycle requires consciousness. It requires us to see to the heart of the matter and why things are the way they are.
And that leads us to the big pile of unwashed dishes floating like a giant crust in the sky consuming everything.
No, I haven’t lost it, let me explain.
You have some friends over. You have beautiful food, some wine, you laugh, you have great conversations. Maybe you all watch a movie together. Then maybe you have a few more drinks.
It is a lovely evening.
The night comes to an end, everyone leaves, you begin to turn off the lights getting ready for bed. You get to the kitchen and realize you haven’t done the dishes.
You have that moment where you weigh up if you will switch gears back to “work mode” and wash the dishes or . . .
leave it until the morning.
You choose the morning, even though you know you will probably regret it in the morning.
Looked at clinically you could say you have deferred dealing with the consequences to a later date.
The heart of the matter
and why things are the way they are is that collectively we have been doing this for hundreds of years. We have been deferring dealing with the consequences to a later date.
It is like we wake up each morning after the dinner party, go into the kitchen and then promptly move house so we don’t have to do the dishes.
Now all the dirty dishes have joined together into a huge crust around the planet. Except it is not dirty dishes it is unconsciousness.
“I want my dividends now, I will deal with the consequences later.”
“I want to travel now, I will deal with the consequences later.”
“I want fast fashion, I will deal with the consequences later.”
“I want to eat beef, I will deal with the consequences later.”
“I want plastic . . . everything! I will deal with the consequences later.”
Now this big conglomeration of unconsciousness is consuming everything and we don’t know how to stop it.
For example, no one wants climate crisis.
That includes all the people actively engaged in activities that are making climate crisis worse.
Dig into any issue and you will arrive at the same thing.
What is behind this issue?
What is behind that?
The need for growth.
What is behind that?
Ehh . . . . . .
Why do we have to keep growing?
We just have to!
The good news is that unconsciousness is transformed into consciousness all the time. It can’t be done globally, it has to be done individually. That means you and me.
That is why engaging with the news cycle consciously is significant.
Next, I register the effect the news story is having on me.
I feel the gut punches.
I feel it all.
When it passes I don’t let it begin again. It is not called the news cycle by accident. It mirrors the cycle of worry. I don’t let that happen. I use action to stop the cycle.
I look to see what I am moved to do.
If it is an earthquake am I moved to go to where the earthquake has happened and volunteer?
Am I moved to send food, water, warm blankets, clothes, organise a fundraiser, send money to charities on the ground?
It is very important not to let judgment creep in.
Everyone’s path is different.
Everyone is configured differently.
So with no judgment, I look at what I am moved to do and take the action accordingly.
Then, once I have done that I shift my focus to my inner state.
If I am compulsively, looking at the news, I look at why I am doing that.
I remind myself that I don’t have to watch to care.
I don’t have to demonstrate that I care to anyone else, whether on social media or by telling other people how upset I am about what is happening in such and such a place.
These may feel like taking action but they are actually energy leaks.
Feeling like our suffering is in some way honoring the suffering of others is a version of survivor guilt.
How can I enjoy my life when so many are suffering?
If I suffer a little it will in some way help them?
It is similar to grieving for a loved one who has died.
If you had a loved one who died do you think they would want you to be heartbroken for years?
If you know they really loved you do you think that they would spare you from the pain of their passing if they could?
Your loved one wouldn’t want you to suffer at all.
Being happy doesn’t mean you no longer care.
When I am suffering I don’t want anyone to suffer with me.
I never think that. I suspect you don’t either.
If anything it is the opposite.
I wouldn’t wish my suffering on anyone else.
I trust that the people I see in the news story feel the same way about me.
I come back to my direct experience.
I look around.
I look at all the good things in my life.
I consciously focus on how wonderful my life is.
This gets to the heart of the matter and dissolves a little part of the crust of unconsciousness because I am facing my direct experience right now and it is good.