Apparently the new season of “Eastbound and Down” premiered on HBO a few weeks ago (March, 2012). I love that show…Kenny Burns makes me laugh. I did not find out the show was coming back most likely because we have steadily decreased the amount of television watching in the home. This would not have happened a year ago, and two years ago I would have been actively searching to make sure I knew ahead of time, and three years ago? Hell, three years ago I probably would have been the one to tell everyone else when something was returning.
So when I heard about the episodes this morning, I suddenly felt an emptiness or a lack. It went something like this:
“Dang! How could I have missed the show. For shame.”
Well I have practiced a lot of mindfulness of thought lately, so I immediately began to question the self-talk and the feelings I experienced. The first thing that struck me was that prior to knowing I had missed the shows, I was absolutely fine. It wasn’t until I was made aware that I did not have something that existed did I start to feel out of contentment.
Notice that. I was content until someone told me about something I didn’t have.
What a beautiful example of how we are allowing this world to feed us instead of developing our own standards of accomplishment. This is the key ingredient to advertising: “tell them what they don’t have, make them feel less than complete without it, then they’ll come to us.” Interestingly, you can use that phrase for religion. And politics. And most social societies. Basically everyone.
The fact of the matter is for the last three weeks I have been completely at ease with everything I have allowed into my life. I have not lacked for entertainment, not wanted for one more meal, one more expression of affection from friends or family. I am having one of the greatest runs of contentment in my life. Yet in that moment this morning, I was disturbed because I hadn’t caught a television show.
What madness exists in our heads!
How often does a friend recount some good times he had the night before and ends the story with “You missed out man.” And you agree, despite the fact that your evening was perfectly in line with the way you set up your life.
Prior to beginning this process of detachment I would go to the movies every week…religiously. I HAD to see all of the movies…or else I was afraid I’d miss out on something special. Now that I go less often, I realize how sickening of a mindset it was for me to believe I was missing something, anything, by not being in a theater seat once every seven days.
Not to get grim, but the idea of “missing out” on things first dawned on me when I realized that one day I’m going to die; and when that happens they’re not going to stop making movies. They’re not going to stop producing hilarious television shows, making rocking music, or telling raunchy jokes. I’m going to miss out on each and every one of those things after my time here is over. Add that to the fact that no matter how hard I try or how much effort I put into the cause, I’ll never see every movie or watch every show or hear every song that currently exists that is pleasing to me.
So what’s the use then? What’s the deal with anxiously wanting to be involved in what the world is making, allowing all other pursuits to be overlooked in the meantime. The only thing that lasts, the only thing that we will take with us when its over is the effort we exert getting closer to God..or MonkeyDrop..whatever you call It.
Sitting in Meditation. What am I missing out on?
Studying the inspired words of prophets, philosophers and poets. What am I missing out on?
Skillfully detaching from worldly concerns: what am I missing?
Practicing the work of Light in the world: what is there to miss?
I asked myself these questions this morning and determined the answer to simply be:
Not a damn thing.