14 June 2013
Somewhere in the afternoon
From the Land of a Thousand Televisions: all playing at once
View from outside my room looking South
Resident's rooms are on the left. Old art is on the wall,
due to long term exposure from the fluorescent light the colors have faded
Here at the reservation, each room has two televisions. One per resident. When I roll down the hallway I am treated to a cacophony of vying speakers trying to compete for my attention, as if what they had to offer, I cared anything about. Announcers and gameshow hosts, various advertisers and car salesmen raising their voices in an effort to make sure that their special message is distinctive over the din. No one realizes how ridiculous this all seems when taken as a whole. Shouting, commanding attention, in an effort to be distinctive from everyone else, when there is no distinction to be made.
Who cares which doohickie is whiter, or if the latest model EMX4000 can get 59 miles on a teaspoon of gas? Its all about stuff and things. Superlative comparisons only invite separation. People are lead away from being able to connect with one another. Hardly anyone is aware of the self behind the facade. That which has no name and so is therefore not well examined as we have no words for what we find there. In fact most people have no idea that there is something behind the facade. They take the facade to be the thing itself.
It is the same with self and the relationships we all know and take for granted. Most people identify themselves as that which they know as their name, or their history, or by the possessions they own. These are all markers, convenient tags that are conventionally known and understood. They are tags or popularly understood “bookmarks” that direct our attention to that awareness that resides behind the facade. What is interesting is that this awareness is always noticing, without judgement it constantly takes notice of it's surroundings. Then very subtly and quickly the left hemisphere comes on board to interpret everything, and put everything into order.
View from outside my room looking west.
Just think, you too could live here as well.
This left brain is very dependent on linear sequencing, loves rules, finds a reason for everything and loves to makes sense of all of it. It is closely allied with another part we mistakenly believe to be ourselves, the personality. We are not our personality. This statement is somewhat inflammatory to a lot of people as they identify strongly with their personality. To paraphrase a statement from Charles Tart, we are not our personality. Rather it is a construction of our own design, built up over a long time, that we use as a vehicle for making our way through life. This is as if people confused themselves for their car. You may own a Buick and it may take you to the store or across country on vacation, but do not confuse your Self to be your conveyance device.
This discussion brings me back around to the land of a thousand televisions. Not only is the onslaught continuous 24 hours a day, and most residents here have theirs on at many volume levels (mostly loud), but it is so sad to hear so many televisions being used as electronic babysitters, pacifiers and best friend substitutes for the families and acquaintances that just never seem to come by to see their relations. As I roll off the elevator and down the hall to the sanctuary that is my own room, I feel the pain, the loneliness, the wishing for distraction from this endless, highly limiting situation that many have found themselves in, here at the reservation. No one listens to radio. In fact unless you were to bring your own, they are not provided here. Its a shame, a medium that could soothe and expand one's soul is not utilized, but one that is so ubiquitous as to be as obvious as wallpaper and equally as bland, is rampant. Oh well, so much for nursing homes being a place of bodily, emotional and essence healing. For the evidence I see the material, that which can be easily seen and touched receives the most attention. Sometimes when I see other residents at first glance their faces appear so blank, without expression, so joyless.
At some deep level, behind the facade, I can see why.
We are all starving for something.