The other day I was researching a professor who had been pointed out as a conservative and transphobe. I was watching his videos to make my own judgment as to his character because I had seen some of his lecture videos that were really smart and impactful. More on this subject in another blog, but for the purposes of this one lets just say, I watched enough of them that my youtube feed began to change its flavor. It went from mostly populated with videos on spiritual matters, liberal topics and politics to slightly conservative characters and even began to toe into inflammatory right wing characters. What we choose to watch triggers the youtube (and facebook) algorithms to send us more like it. I am pretty dang far left leaning so having my feed begin to be overrun with things that I don't agree with and are emotionally triggering, wasn't exactly welcome. Before, if I wanted something to watch, it was easy to scroll down and pick something on the "menu" that was tailored to my tastes. Now, because I had explored a world that wasn't really to my liking, I had to do extra work to seek out the kind of content that DID feel good and healthy for my heart and soul.
Now we come to the point. I think that the contents of our minds work in exactly the same way as our social media feeds. Whatever we focus or "click" on the most is what gets fed back to us in ever increasing quantities. With no judgment. Just like the internet will not scold you if you want to watch the most heinous of content all day, or praise you for watching the most altruistic and high minded things you can find. Neither will the powers that be, try to stop you from filling your mind with either the most offensive, or the most gracious of mental content. What will give you feedback, however, is the way that you FEEL. It is no mystery that if all you watch all day are videos of violent things, you are going to be running some majorly stressful chemicals through your body and feel pretty crappy in general. The same holds true of what you allow to occupy your thoughts the majority of your day. The good news is WE are the ones that CHOOSE what to click on. We are also the ones who CHOOSE which thoughts to follow. It's just that sometimes we forget that we are in charge of curating the "feed" of thoughts in our heads. Just because something pops into our heads, doesn't mean we have to give it our focus. Don't freakin click on the stuff you KNOW will lead you down a destructive rabbit hole!
Earlier I mentioned that after my feed got populated with undesirable content, I had to put a lot more effort into getting the good stuff to pop back in there. It's the same with the content of our minds. The more we allow the dark stuff to hang out in there, the more we will have to work to get our balance back shifted in the other direction. Thoughts have a certain momentum. If we can catch things early, before we go down a rabbit hole, the easier it is to turn the tide of momentum towards the direction we want. When we are consistently practicing curating the flavor and content of our mental feeds, the easier it is to have and keep the mental atmosphere that feels healthy, light and bright, with far less effort on our part.
One caveat of course, is not one of us...ever, can be 100% successful in controlling our minds. Nor are we really meant to. Otherwise life might take on the sterility of perfection. BORING. So, yeah.. once in a while you will click on something that makes you shut your computer abruptly in horror. And so too, we will find ourselves following a thread of thought, only to realize that we have wandered deep into the dark and now have to shake ourselves loose again. It's part of the practice of life and part of what makes us strong. Contrast keeps things interesting, our minds sharp and our hearts soft. All that to say, NOTICE what your mind is feeding you and attempt to CHOOSE, but be easy about it.
As always, my dear friends, we are all in this together!