(The Dreaming Media . . .)
What happens when millions of people disown or disavow their own sexuality or their angry feelings from their conscious life? That energy has to go somewhere. Therapists know some of it ends up causing chronic physical problems and various forms of addictions. Much of it becomes part of the “collective information float” (or in Jungian terms, the collective shadow). It circulates in the global field, energetically seeking the path of least resistance, much like what happens to the water from an intense thunder storm that quickly becomes a flash flood.
The media has tremendous influence over our lives. Prominent individuals (even folksy Keillor) as well as popular music, feature films and best selling books are unwitting channels for disavowed and shadow energy from the collective. Like the Borg collective in the Star Trek mythos, the media for most of us is the vehicle through which we experience vicarious connection to the universal, with others like us yearning to heal our fundamental existential sense of aloneness. Like the Borg drone, it is via the media that we can experience the “sounds of the billions of voices of the collective.” Global satellite wireless communication and the “world wide web” bring this reality ever closer to each of us. The media is fast becoming the vehicle through which we unconsciously attempt to heal our core soul wound of feeling alone in universe. Therein lies the seduction and the power of its seductive grip on each of us. This is how we remain vulnerable to what is being funneled through the media. It is essentially like a dark spirit that we have some relationship to. Since it contains parts of ourselves in it (that we disavow), we look to it to inform us about ourselves in ways we cannot access directly through our own personal experience, for these are the ways we have not been sufficiently supported ourselves.
It is very dangerous to be unaware of and unprotected from this ever-increasing influence of the media in its various forms. This dreaming media can stimulate triggers for old trauma and it can generate new trauma by burning horrific images or persistent internal auditory worry loops into our consciousness.
So what is one to do about all of this? How can we protect ourselves from this intrusive phenomenon?
First, become sensitive to how offended you are when the local newspaper continues to overemphasize violence in the headlines and feature stories. As this awareness evolves, notice how you may feel less safe in the world, or in your community or your schools. Pay attention to the media you invite into your life—the movies and videos you watch, the newspapers and magazines you read. Actively reflect upon and identify any links between your feeling states (especially anxiety or depression) and the media you experience. Pay attention to your teenagers when they express hopelessness about the future and proclaim that, from what they “gather,” suicide is a viable alternative to the horrific reports of declining rainforests and diversity of species.
As you become more sensitive to how you are affected by the media, you will begin to wake up and take action. When Garrison Keillor’s monologue gets into assassination and my child is listening, I decide to turn off the radio! When movies are rated PG or PG13, make the time to determine if the information is going to be informing your child about things you immediately know to be inappropriate. Stay connected to and aware of what thoughts and feelings persist within you after seeing a movie or getting the daily newspaper.
My hope is that, as we become more aware of the collective shadow both seducing and assaulting us through the media, we will begin to do our own shadow work.
Just what does it mean to “do our own shadow work?” It means to get clear about your personal values, not allowing media intrusions to violate these values. Get proactive. Write letters to the editor. Demand news that is encouraging and inspiring rather than depressing and fear inducing. If you are uncomfortable with aspects of yourself, do whatever you can to heal the wounds and reclaim all of your inner parts. Do your own spiritual work so your connection to Source is solid and does not depend upon an illusory sense of interconnectedness via the media. Take more personal responsibility and stop feeding this monster that the dreaming media continues to channel. After all, what’s “out there” is really just inside, waiting to be acknowledged and healed.
Howard Brockman is a therapist with a private practice, Integrative Healing Technologies, in Salem, Oregon. Having been trained in Kundalini yoga and meditation, Process-Oriented Psychology, Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP, shamanic journey work, and more recently, Healing From the Body Up, Howard continues to work deeply in the mystery of mind, body, spirit healing. He can be reached at (503) 370-4546, or by email.