Is there really a better way to watch TV?
It’d be good if there were. Television is one of the great distractions of our age; its downside is that it makes it even easier to become distracted unto death.
It’s psychologically addicting. It helps at least a little to enable us to escape incessant thinking. This is why it can be surprisingly difficult to stop watching and turn off.
You may understand that you’d have more time for more important things if you didn’t watch it at all, but my point in this post is not to get you to unplug it.
If you are going to watch it anyway, why not at least watch it as well as possible?
It’s best either to be alone or to be with another who is also watching the same program the same way you are.
It requires being physically very still. If you have a favorite recliner, push it all the way back. If you don’t, lie flat on your back; you may prop your head up a bit with a pillow and, to ease the pressure on your lower back, you may rest the backs of your heels on something or put a couple of pillows under your calves. You do not have to remain motionless, but do minimize movement. For example, if you want to adjust your head or move it around, that’s not a problem, but moving your arms or legs might be.
Make relaxed fists with your hands and put them on the tops of your hips or thighs, or rest them on the arms of the recliner, or simply position them close to your torso wherever they are most comfortable. Your feet should be fairly close together — perhaps a foot apart.
Turn on the TV and select the show that you are going to watch. (This is a terrific way to watch a movie.)
Assuming that you watch TV with a remote control, put the remote so that its mute button is under the tip of one forefinger or, alternatively, if you like to switch channels back and forth, put its last channel button under the tip of one forefinger. This enables you, during commercials, either to mute them or to watch another channel during them. Of course, you may be able either to fast forward through them or watch a program that doesn’t have any. Pressing your forefinger down on the button occasionally will not disturb the feeling in your hand.
Sometimes when a television is on it not necessary even to watch TV to enjoy it. If you are “watching” a program such as a classical concert, you may close your eyes and just listen to the music.
Sometimes when you watch TV is it not necessary to hear anything. If you are watching, for example, a sporting event that you understand very well, you may be able to do without hearing any commentary. If so, turn off the sound.
Even if you don’t turn off the sound, keep it as low as possible.
Detach yourself from any unnecessary sounds or other interruptions that might disturb you such as ringing telephones or cell phones, vibrating pagers, computers that beep when receiving emails, and so on. If you live with others who won’t be watching with you, ask them not to disturb you.
Alright, you are ready to watch TV as well as possible.
Here’s the critical difference: Begin life energy or aliveness awareness and simply do it for the duration of the show.
If you don’t practice it daily, this will be difficult for you. However, if you practice it daily, it will be very easy to do.
If you don’t already practice it daily and want to begin, simply go to http://dennis-bradford.com/621/life-energy/ (or go to the Spiritual Well-Being category and scroll down to the “Life Energy” post) for instructions on how to do it. It’s quite simple and natural.
It takes no physical effort at all. Just relax resting on your back, feel your life energy, and enjoy the program. That’s all it takes to watch TV well.
You’ll be feeling the aliveness of your body while you are paying attention to the program.
This is quite different from, for example, reading or grading papers while simultaneously trying to pay attention to a television program. All that does is to pull your attention in two different directions, which creates stress.
There are, of course, other good ways to watch TV such as when using a treadmill or stationary bicycle. Notice that you don’t have to think about walking or pedaling, which is why these ways also do not create psychological stress.
If you feel the aliveness in your body for 30 or 60 or 90 minutes, you may be amazed at how good you feel during the program!
If you fall asleep, so what? Obviously you needed to sleep, and getting sufficient sleep is more important than watching television.
There’s nothing else to do. There’s no counting your breaths or focusing on a mantra or anything like that. Just pay attention to your program while enjoying the feeling of being alive.
Skeptical? Good. As long as you are not stuck on negative, try it and find out for yourself.