In his highly thought-provoking book The 4-hour Work Week, professional young vagabond Timothy Ferris recommends taking a complete media fast (see my review of Ferriss' book here). That is, he suggests stopping watching, listening to and surfing the news media in all its forms - indefinitely. Ferriss recommends a total fast, but that is probably more than many people would prefer. I would include myself in that category. I prefer to be selective in what I read and watch in the media. Nonetheless, I believe that it is highly beneficial to detach for periods of time from the mass media.
It is Ferriss' idea of the media fast that inspired me to include a media fast day in my Urban Enlightenment booklet and workshop. Again, this is an easy-to-do process that anyone can apply - if they are prepared for a little discomfort as their daily routine changes. For greater effect, try turning off the media for longer periods, say 1-3 days, or even a week.
The Media Fast is meant to be part of a 30-day programme, and will work best as it builds upon the attention-shifting processes outlined in Urban Enlightenment. (A one-off day is is less likely to be as deeply transformational).
Here's the process in it's entirety. Give it a try!
The Media Fast
Newsflash: the media world isn’t real. That’s right. By ‘real’, I mean it does not project an impartial view of the world. Remember the first law of consciousness: what you focus upon expands, and the media focuses upon that which sells newspapers, airspace and that which gets viewers glued to the TV screen. By definition, the media brings to attention that which is loudest and that which captivates the attention. The problem is that your senses are a vestige of more ‘primitive’ human urges and needs. Your brain is ‘designed’ to be alert to the dangerous and the threatening; and to scan for possible procreation prospects! This is the way our minds and bodies have developed through millions of years of evolution.
The popular media exploits your primitive biological impulses, and locks you into a world of fright, flight, and another unmentionable ‘f’! Everything is distorted through the lens of the Darwinian mind. A plane may have crashed in Africa today, but another 100 000 planes took off and landed without a hitch – but that didn’t make the news. Nor did my stopping on the way to work on Tuesday to check if an old guy sleeping on the stairs downtown in Hong Kong was OK (he was just drunk).
The other issue is that the media presents a consensus reality that effectively brainwashes us. As just one small example, ideas related to Integrated Intelligence, which I have written about extensively, almost never appear in the mass media, and when they do it is often done so in a derisive manner. Clearly, such cognitive constraints can prevent us from activating our full mental potential.
Today your task is to completely detach from the media, no matter what! Do not read any newspapers, media-based magazines, web media, nor view any TV news media and so on Instead, place your attention elsewhere. Make sure that while you are out and about that you note the REAL world around you. You will probably notice that you are not about to die, and that not everyone wants to have sex with you! Relax and enjoy your safe life in the security of the present moment, the only most real world you can ever experience.