All I was doing was listening to the radio in my car, ridiculously early. The ice had taken a long while to be watered down and scraped off the windows, the morning sky was dotted with stars, my heat holder gloves were warm and snug, and then that damned song came on.
A Chris Brown song, ‘Loyal’…an annoyingly catchy, commercial, poppy R’n’B song. I automatically switched the channel over and I brought an acute focus to my mental and emotional awareness, to notice what I’d just done and why.
My thought process went something like this: ‘These girls ain’t loyal huh? So you’re adding to the media’s (world’s) idea of women being lowly ‘ho’s’ and ‘bitches’ that sleep around or act in some disloyal way towards men?’ He’s a young man with a slightly aggressive demeanour about him, known in the news as well as the music industry for beating a woman. How purposefully ironic, how carefully planned. Is Chris Brown himself even aware of how manufactured he is? Is anybody else that’s listening aware of the amount of subliminal messages being played and replayed and replayed, over and over again until they become inbuilt affirmations, daily quotes and mentalities deeply ingrained into our psyches, until we are a firm, stuck fixture in the structured web that is society, acting out as we are often subliminally instructed to do so.
Yes, my mind really is that deep and complex; a web in itself, and so are many of yours aren’t they? When you stop and become aware of things, when you face up to things. Or perhaps the word is mindful…we are mind-full of awareness, thoughts, analysis and angles.
It is the mindlessness that allows us to be swayed and manipulated without realising it. Yes it’s only a song, and aren’t there so many other songs that are just songs. Sure, it could be all very innocent, but that doesn’t change the fact that what we put into our minds repeatedly, and what we choose to focus on, on a regular basis, eventually becomes our reality unless we open our senses and become aware and mindful.
I have been doing that a lot now with the radio, social media and the TV; just switching over when I hear or see things that don’t resonate and that I don’t want to get dragged into. I questioned whether it was a form of denial or pulling the wool over my eyes, but it’s not when I can be aware of what’s happening and still choose not to attach myself to it, to a constant and therefore detrimental degree. I honestly believe in surrounding oneself with what you want more of to create your chosen reality, but you have to be aware of what you’re doing.
We do the mindless denial on so many levels now. We are shoving certain foodstuffs into our bodies that are manufactured and nutrient deficient, inhaling nicotine and all manner of chemicals, popping pills, in destructive relationships and environments, and then there’s the minefield of the media. Many of us are now aware to some extent of what we’ve been doing but there is still a degree of mindlessness and denial involved regardless, because we don’t want to let go of the comfort of what we’re used to. We can ignore the picture of the blackened lungs and tumours on the cigarette packet and carry on smoking because our aunt or uncle smoke at 80 and are still alive, we can ignore the news about the latest drug related death and tell ourselves that person was probably unwell or took too much, while we carry on smugly believing we know better, and we can listen to hate lyrics and say it’s only a song, it’s artistic expression, no ones actually getting hurt, while we sing along and download the albums. Better the devil you know, so we like to say.
Mightn’t it make a difference and help us reclaim our own power if we stop and become aware? Look at the picture on the cigarette pack and admit it’s a possibilty those cigarettes are damaging the quality of life, and then decide after informing ourselves if we still consciously want to smoke, at least admitting that we’re choosing to engage in a bad habit and we will take the consequences. The same goes for all other poisons we take in.
What if we look at other angles, what if we think about about the fact that yes, it is only a song and yes it’s artistic expression, but what exactly is that person expressing and do you believe in it? What is ‘expressing’ anyway, isn’t it putting something out there? Creating and sharing a message we want to express. What expressions are you partaking in and accepting into your reality?
When you start to become more mindful and aware, you can filter out certain poisons a little easier, and best of all you can start breaking down the layers of sleep in order to reclaim yourself.
Next time I fall back into comforts, I will at the very least have the self-respect that comes with being mindful, to look at why I am doing it and to understand the exact process that led to it right from the root. That way I can make a different choice, or I can understand I am just being a temporary fool that can easily come out of it, as opposed to still being deeply asleep and enslaved.
Bit by bit, you can start with one change and then another. It takes time and sometimes you take steps back…but you’re waking up inside none-the-less.