We are taking up a weekly mindfulness practice, with a new exercise introduced each week during our regular Thursday evening or Friday morning Zoom meetings, and a discussion of the previous week’s exercise. These exercises are taken from Jan Chozen Bays’s book How to Train a Wild Elephant. Here’s this week’s. Gassho.
A Media Fast
The Exercise: For one week, do not take in any media. This includes news media, social media, and entertainment. Do not listen to the radio, iPod, or CDs; don’t watch TV, films, or videos; don’t read newspapers, books, or magazines (whether online or in print form); don’t surf the Internet; and don’t check on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
You don’t have to plug your ears if someone tells you about a news event, but do avoid being drawn into a conversation about the news. If people insist, tell them about your unusual fast. You may, of course, do reading that is necessary for work or school.
What to do instead? Part of this mindfulness practice is discovering alternatives to consuming media. Hint: do something with your own hands and your own body.
Cover the TV with a sheet, or put a sign on your car radio and computer screen reminding you “No News or Entertainment This Week.” Let magazines accumulate and consider putting any newspapers you subscribe to straight into the recycling bin. You would do this if you went on vacation—why not now?”