Your Television May Be the Culprit

November 17, 2009

I recently came upon Jane Hammerslough’s book dematerializing, Taming the Power of Possessions. Even though she never mentions the word clutter, her ideas are directly related to it. I chose the passage below because television can be viewed as an accomplice to our accumulating clutter, and almost everyone I know owns a television. She writes the following:

“It’s worth considering how screen time contributes to material desire. It’s worth becoming more mindful of background noise and how it may affect what we believe. And it’s worth considering that a conscious effort to cut, say, a half hour a week from screen time may provide a way to devote both time and attention to something more important.”

Material Desire

A few months ago I thought I needed a juicer. Funny how just around that time one Sunday afternoon I stumbled on a Jack LeLanne infomercial for his power juicer. I had never bought anything from a TV advertisement before. But this time I thought, “This is providential.” I ordered it. It took awahile for it to arrive. Now after much angsting and deliberation, I am sending it back.

Whether you are a QVC shopaholic or someone like me, who normally doesn’t buy stuff off the TV, television influences us to buy, buy, buy. Brands are advertised so deliciously on the television that by the time the commercial ends, we want to buy them. Their repetition reinforces that desire. On top of that, we Americans have enough disposable income to buy, buy, buy, and so we do. This leads to clutter.

Our Beliefs

How many of us turn on the TV for news, entertainment, or just for keeping us company? Think about the stuff that comes pouring out of the screen–news that is often violent and negative; dramas that enact deceit and hatred; reality shows that spotlight man’s basest behavior; and soap operas that flip between double-crossing and instant love.

Words have a powerful vibration. Whether we give television programming our fullest attention or not, its voice penetrates our environment and our psyche.   Jane Hammerslough suggests we need to be more mindful of the programming we allow into our space because it may influence our beliefs. This profound idea may cause some to shake their heads and say “Hogwash!” I suggest not watching TV for a day or even a weekend to see if it makes a difference in your peace of mind.

Too much television leads to clutter of the body, mind and spirit. Too many shoes, clothes, linens, towels and kitchen gadgets can bog you down. Too many extraneous ideas, like casualties in Iran, wrangling over the estate of Michael Jackson, or deliberations about the new health care plan, create brain fog. The result prevents you from tapping into who you really are–a creative, divinely inspired soul.

I encourage you to raise your awareness. Be mindful of what you are doing. Ask yourself, “Why do I need to watch television now?” Some will say, “I’ve had a hard day at work, and I need to veg.” Others will petulantly reply, “Because I want to!” If you can, try something different–read a book, play music, engage in conversation with your spouse or partner, or meditate.

Once weaned from the television, you might see your clutter more clearly and begin to address it. Start slowly. You’ll find, in time, you’ll have more energy, clearer thinking, and a joyful heart. Don’t let your television be your clutter culprit.

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