Hey Everyone –
With total mind/body/spirit living being our overriding theme here, I’ve been wanting to expand the blog a bit to include some cool stuff from the peak performance/artistic realm. This might include things like whole-brain thinking, increasing creativity, or anything that stimulates the muse or expands the mind.
To set the tone for what’s to come, I wanted to share another A Season in the Warrior Utopia excerpt that really brings under scrutiny one of the largely unchallenged perils of modern American living; Using our minds like a garbage can! Yes, we know there’s junk food for our bodies and we have a pretty good idea what overindulging can do. But what about “junk food” for our minds? Is there such a thing and, if so, what price do we pay for overindulging in that department?
Excerpt from; A Season in the Warrior Utopia by Bobby Rock
Day 41 – 11:55 PM (Guest Quarters)
Sat in on a fascinating social studies lecture today at the university with Dr. Su Malitia Lee. She made an interesting parallel between the junk food many modern societies take into their bodies and the junk food they take into their minds. It was a logical premise, but I guess I never quite made the connection this way. Here’s the overview:
Eating tons of empty calorie junk food weakens the body on two levels: it’s devoid of the critical nutrients you need to thrive, and its toxic properties have a negative impact on many aspects of your physical well-being. Likewise, taking in a bunch of “junk food” for your mind – like stupid-ass TV shows, mindless water cooler gossip, celebrity chatter and paparazzi nonsense, brain-melting video games, prolonged exposure to shitty music, annoying commercials and bad films, etc. – weakens your mind in similar ways. It’s devoid of the critical stimulation that your brain requires to function anywhere near capacity, and its toxic properties have a negative impact on many aspects of your mental well-being.
This point could not have been driven home any harder than by spending a little time in a place like Zentauria. I mean, think about it: we have 200 trillion connectors firing within the molecular network of our brain, and yet, we seldom bother to memorize the seven digits of a phone number. We have access to a bottomless reservoir of top quality music, literature, poetry, movies, documentaries, and art, and yet we’re all at home watching “Extreme Makeovers.” In fact, objectively speaking, some of what we see and hear in pop culture these days is so devoid of anything substantive, that if I were to challenge you to think of anything more brainless, I doubt you could do it.
Now, I’m not suggesting that we completely abandon all of our pop culture goodies, because there can certainly be value in the relaxation/diversion/escapism aspect of mindless entertainment. [Even the Zentaurians have their version of this, although it’s explored far less often and is far more benign than our version.]
It’s analogous to occasionally enjoying one of the many vegan desserts out there, such as soy ice cream, vegan chocolate mousse, or peanut butter cookies. We would not, however, want to do it all the time or in place of real food that provides us with proper nourishment. Likewise, we want to keep a handle on how often we fall into zombie mode in front of the tube, flipping through the 900-channel abyss of mind-softening schlock that is so rampant there. It would be like a world-class athlete being relegated to only 15 minutes a day of minimal physical movement. What’s going to happen to that finely-tuned body with all of that inactivity? It will atrophy, just as our minds will.
There is real truth to the old cliché “use it or lose it.” But this applies to both the mind and body. And I must admit that I have been prone to my version of junk food distraction in both areas at times, especially when I’ve felt frustrated, directionless, or uncertain about things. This kind of sensory escapism can be a welcomed friend, let me tell you. But now that I’ve been free from it (largely because it simply isn’t available here!), I must admit that I’ve felt new levels of clarity and mental fitness. There is more richness to my life. I feel sharper, clearer. And I feel as if much of what I’m taking in here is a sort of “soul food.” That is, things that truly feed the soul and strengthen the mind, instead of things that medicate you into a fucking couch potato stupor.
One other interesting parallel that Dr. Lee pointed out was the timeless Zentaurian principle of cultivation and how our junk food choices in one area of the mind/body realm can affect the other. For example, as someone reaches for that bag of chips for a little binge action, they are cultivating a sense of excessive sensation or escapism through the physical body (via their sense of taste, smell, etc.) This will often lead to a similar cultivation in the mind, as you sit down to watch some shitty television. Notice how the two often tie in together? Fun, mindless, food; fun, mindless TV (or similar distraction). The overall theme is usually about escaping or medicating, and the cultivation of this theme in one area will often domino its way into another.
This is why many on the higher path are exceedingly careful about going down the “sensory overload” road on any level. Because once you open the door in one area, you are cultivating an idea that could seek expression in other areas. Interesting stuff.
How much of all this will I retain and/or practice when and if I return home? I’m not sure. A little mindless TV and a bowl of Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag Soy Ice Cream still sounds enticing to me on a certain level. So I don’t want to make a hard-nosed case against it. But to what extent such indulgences will still hold value to me… I’m not sure.
© 2009 Bobby Rock