"I will pray for whomever the media tells me to pray for."
(A quote seen on Facebook several days ago)
I've been thinking a lot over the past week about how much we tend to be influenced by what the media reports feed us each day. I mean - it is good that we stay on top of world events, for sure. Especially ones as tragic as the recent terrorist attacks in France, Beirut, Kenya, etc. But I also think it is important to keep our own center in the midst of it all. Personally, I don't listen to the radio or watch TV because I want to have the chance to think my own thoughts rather than those of someone else. At least with newspaper and internet news sources, I have time to take in each news item, reflect on it, weigh its relative importance, and then do further research - if needed - to try to understand the larger context of each item.
What especially pains me is the animosity that occurs between the various groups in our country (and around the world) in the aftermath of each traumatic news event. Here in America, conservatives and liberals take the news events and intensify their sparring regarding immigration policy, Islam, military issues, etc. People who otherwise don't even know each other begin hurling abusive comments at those who hold a different opinion, all based on media reports. Is this a sane way to live? I really don't have any desire to relate to other people through a third party - whether it be Washington, ISIL (or is it ISIS?), a particular view espoused by a religious founder who lived one or two or five thousand years ago, or by various media sources. I desire instead to deal with people directly, to understand their life-story, the events in their personal history that have influenced their present positions, and the like.
Most of all, I hope that all of us can remain centered - like the quartzite rock depicted in this photo - rather than simply react to news reports and the mud-slinging that inevitably occurs between the various political factions residing in our own country and across the world in the aftermath of each event. May each of us take some time this week to find that Center. For it is truly a Center that connects us ALL at our deepest core.
Photo: Quartzite boulder on Mirror Lake, Snowy Range, WY., November 9, 2015
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.