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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Media Impact

Television, the Internet, magazines, and newspapers are powerful forces in programming our thinking. From these sources we learn that people look happy when they take drug X for headaches or drug Y for impotency. We actually get to see acid indigestion eating away at the stomach lining, then watch as drug Z coats it all rosy again. We are shown hundreds of images of ultra-skinny women who look sultry but unhappy, yet still have fabulous jewelry, beautiful clothes, and lots of adoring men. The inference is that skinny is good, and that things" will ultimately satisfy us. Even though we may laugh at the simplistic nature of the inferences, we are still affected by them. In a relaxed or highly susceptible state - the near-hypnotic trance that TV or computer-screen watching creates - we can be easily persuaded that we need these remedies or these goods. When we enter a supermarket, the repetitious lines of color and shapes produce a similar trancelike state. One study indicated that grocery shoppers blink only six or eight times per minute, whereas in an alert state they blink about twenty times a minute. So, when you find yourself reaching for the product that you saw advertised, you may be carrying out a hypnotic suggestion.

Surrounding ourselves with a negative climate of worry, constant complaints, and continual expectations of the worst possible outcome drains us of energy and fills our biocomputer/brain with garbage that will come out in some way as illness, accident, depression, whatever. Think about your own energy levels and how they vary with your moods. After a day filled with emotional tension or negative impressions, do you sometimes feel exhausted or like you are "coming down with something"?

What is called for is conscious selectivity in choosing the data - the forms of impressions - that we feed into the mind. If we feed it with impressions that inspire compassion in the face of suffering, with encouragement in the face of difficulty, with beauty and humor, we will help to balance the many forms of energy and pain that cannot be controlled, and we will orient ourselves to realize high-level wellness.

Perhaps the fundamental freedom that anyone possesses is the choice of where to put their attention. —Albert Einstein

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