Gigo copyI really like inner peace, joy and happiness. I really do. But, there is a price to pay and I’m not always willing to pay it. So, I thought I’d throw this out as something for you to mull over, consider and test out for yourself.

The energy state with which we find ourselves is a direct result of what we feed our souls. When I was a programmer right out of college, we had a term for it – ‘Garbage in. Garbage out.” GIGO, its acronym, is a computer science idiom that implies bad input will result in bad output. The longer I’m around, I realize the energy or input I expose myself to directly affects my thoughts, my mood, my decisions, my actions  — basically my life outcome. There’s always an energy exchange, always. We can’t help absorb what we are exposed to.

For instance, sometimes I like to listen to hard-driving, high-testosterone hard rock. Not always – but from time to time, especially when working out, I like it. And, I know better. I know that there is no way one can listen to Linkin Park, Saliva, Nickelback and the like and not feel a bit more angst-y, a bit more distrustful of the other.  Test it out for yourself next time you listen to head-banger music. It may feel like a subtle shift. It may feel like a big shift. But, I can pretty much guarantee that after five minutes with that kind of music, you will feel distinctly separate from others, a bit more on guard, a bit more distrustful of those “out to get you.” There’s virtually no way to listen to it and not absorb some of the angst and pain that the lyrics describe. We can relate. We’ve been there. Do we really need to remind ourselves of those dark energies, those dark experiences?

So, that is one of my (dare I say) guilty pleasures of which I know I need to leave behind if my actions are to align with my intentions of staying in the light – love, joy, gratitude, peace energies. On other fronts, I’m better and have lost my taste for the dark and can easily say no.

So, to test if you really want to live in the light – inner peace, authentic happiness, gratitude and union with your fellow man, etc., let’s look at what your actions say. Shall we? Of the following, how many of these ‘guilty pleasures,’ do you still partake?

  • Soap Operas (lots of backstabbing, lying, cheating, etc.)
  • Dramas & Reality T.V. (usually pit ego against ego and although the ‘bad guy’ usually loses, don’t they reinforce separation rather than our oneness? Don’t the confrontations take you to the dark side, bad memories?)
  • Negative friends (those that haven’t begun to retrain their pessimistic minds; they like to talk badly of others or of what is going wrong in the world)
  • Radio programming that features celebrity gossip, hard rap or hard rock

How much news do you watch? Have you ever noticed it is almost exclusively focused on the negatives in the world – violence, crimes, and atrocities? Jim Morrison once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” And, these are only the mainstream, seemingly innocent media temptations. There are also all kinds of Internet nastiness and violent blow ‘em up movies of which their dark influence, one would think, needs to go without saying.

If we really, really, really want to live  peaceful and contented lives, there is a price to pay — namely giving up our little guilty pleasures. We must be cautious about the media and people to which we expose ourselves – our input. Garbage in, garbage out, right! Our minds can’t help but notice what comes into our reality. Even if we are vigilant, consciously and constantly reminding ourselves “Oh, that media outlet or that friend is still wrapped in the delusion that we are all separate” or “They seem to only perceive the dark in the world at this moment,” we can’t avoid subconsciously absorbing these influences ourselves. I’m reminded of a Joyce Meyer quote – “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

So as we make our choices as to what we will expose ourselves, keep in mind some wise words from the Buddha, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” We will have more posts coming on the feeding and watering of our spirit. But, in the meantime feed your soul the good stuff and I’ll try to do the same.


Sandra M Bell
Author of “Lunchtime Joy Magnet” & personal coach