Television and Meditation


While there are many things that distract and disrupt my meditations such as:
[/li][li]Attachments and desires
[/li][li]Anxiety - worry
[/li][li]Emotional disturbances
[/li][li]Mental wandering
[/li][li]Mental tossing
[/li][li]Subtle desires
[/li][li]Sickness and pain
[/li][li]Turbidity ? lack of clarity ? fuzziness
[/li][li]Excessive sensory overload
[/li][li]Bodily needs
[/li][li]Lack of motivation
[/li][li]Unwholesome Curiosity

Television is the one really messing with me these days. At first I did not notice a problem. My meditations were as fuzzy as always, but then things started to clear away and that is when I noticed how television was affecting/effecting me. Initially it was simple images, sounds, and thoughts popping in and out of mind for the first thirty minutes or so of my practice. These are easy to deal with. The hard part is the static, that agitated energy that just seems to keep me from really resting on my focal point and entering into a deeper concentration. If I push through, and if I do not get tired (which is rare), I flicker in-between Pratyahara and Dharana. An hour or two in I experience Dhyana, or at least, a form of it where the object of my meditation and I begin to exchange energy ? opening me to new insights, etc?

[B]Has anyone else had these experiences? If so, what do you do to help clear the mind? [/B]

While giving up television is the obvious solution, I am not quite ready to do so. Partly because I like it and partly because I feel it is important to live in the world and find the way rather than run to the hills and hide in a cave ? though it sounds nice ? not many people can relate with it.

Blessings Be?

Just do your practice. If you want to watch television do it. But do not close your tv and then sit for meditation let it be some time in between. The more you practice the easier it gets. See it as a fight when you sit for meditation whom will win ,the mind or you? Even when it feels impossible and you endure it , it might happen when you least expect it or thought it was impossible to still the mind. Just be patient.

Well don’t watch TV during meditation if that is what is happening

As for the rest don’t worry about it, don’t fight it, just let the thoughts and feeling come and go… don’t focus on them and don’t deny them…and eventually thehy will stop


Let us understand some technology; and by that I mean both of TV and our brain!

TVs are either front or back projection displays. In back projection, we see a complete series of frames (just like watching a play or a movie). While the most other TVs (of CRT-type) do not give us a full image at any time, but a light-beam keeps re-painting it. As a result, while watching a TV our brain is far more involved in creating images itself. Add to this, that TV sits in our home at a much more intimate distance. Hence, TV’s sub-conscious impact is too intense.

Our brain is essentially an image processor. Anytime we think, the brain orders from the memory bank all similar looking images and thus thinking generates knowledge by building new images from the old. Brain too does not see or carry complete images, but any time you want to recall something the brain takes out the relevant images and makes a collage only temporarily. The relevance of images comes from the strings with emotions.

Now, if you put the two together, you will see how TV involves brain more, involves emotions and piecing together of components is common to both.

A few suggestions can be made: 1/ one should create at least 2 hours TV-free time zone before meditation; 2/ projection TVs or video projectors will be less intense to watch; 3/ cut down on “favorite” programs, especially with serious themes; 4/ process the images by letting them pop up and telling yourself that they were worthless; 5/ avoid channel-surfing.


Fakeyogis, I am with ya. Just doing the practice, working through the stuff, letting go of the images, feelings, sounds, and other distractions as WalterJ points out, is the work to be done. I agree with you that the more we practice, the easier it gets. That is what I have found in general. I have also found it to be true that the more we practice the harder it gets as well. As I refine and clear my mind of the coarser objects of awareness, the more subtle and powerful the distractions become. Just as when eating certain foods before did not disrupt my yogic practice, as I became more familiar with energy, the more these foods became disruptive. Of course, with time, patience, effort, will, and all that jazz, we can overcome anything. But then, why make things harder on ourselves than we have to? In the same way, as I become more familiar with the mind and work with the finer qualities of Buddhi I realize just how much television and other such stimulus affects/effects my practice. Things I did not notice before because my mind was so filled with junk, now is as clear as day – it is a wonder that I was not aware of them before. It is strange how looking closely at the world can turn an ants shadow into something deeper and larger than the Grand Canyon’s shadow.

I love your suggestions Suhas Tambe. I do all but number two. I haven’t a projection television. I do agree with you though that projection televisions and movie theater images affect us less than those on a traditional television or computer screen. One other thing I do is allow myself only one hour of watching a day. I feel that is good enough. Even with all that, I am still amazed at how much it affects me.

I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

Blessings Be…

I got the same with the newspapers.

The newspaper today is like a paper of depression.

IMHO mixing television and meditation is a cool idea. It's all about getting the best of both worlds—chilling with your favorite shows and also making time to quiet the mind. If you're on the hunt for shows that help you relax or maybe even guide you through meditation, frndly tv has got a bunch of channels that might fit the bill. It’s a neat way to find content that complements your meditation routine.