Cut back, Michael J. Simply cut back like the sandlot football running back you played as a kid while scampering on a field in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.
You can’t go “cold turkey” on a lifestyle you’ve been living for more than 30 years. But you can choose to limit the amount of news you take in on a daily, or even an hourly basis.
You tried to halt all information about the tragedies occurring in the world, particularly after reading of the 50 people shot and killed in Orlando. You vowed to stop the input because it was causing you so much pain. You, who have been practicing Buddhism for several years, know where your suffering comes from.
It’s all in the mind. And you suffer each and every time you attach to the sorrows and perceived injustices in the world. You believed you could simply stop all of your contacts with the news, with Facebook and with all of those political stories you get from moveon.org, Americans Against the Tea Party Facebook and other liberal sites.
You tried it for one day, but your “need to know” got the better of you. You couldn’t help but read more about Florida, about Donald Trump and about the climate-change deniers. You were weak. You couldn’t quite pull the plug on what has been sustaining your interest day in and day out since you worked as a daily newspaper reporter in the mid 1970s.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. Today, you did trim your Facebook account by “Unfriending” some of the sources of news; you also “unsubscribed” to some political venues you get in your e-mail box. And you stopped a television news program dead in its tracks to write about your new found strength to overcome some of the demons clinging to your mind.
You can get rid of the “grasping” for what you call a “fool’s knowledge.” It’s all junk food information that feeds into the conception of your world view. You feel more contented with this added fodder, believing you are so righteous with the truth and the other side so wrong.
But, wisdom can only develop when you become honest with yourself and admit to your shortcomings. Realize that small steps are needed to eventually make big changes in your life. And that you will need to be present every moment of the day while making the right choices to avoid as much suffering in the future.
Just cut back a little at a time.