The marketing machine knows The Big Game is a place where they can inject an insatiable need for more, better, faster, sexier.
Ahhh… the Super Bowl. A gladiator sport, the spectacle of Americana complete with glitz, flashing lights and fireworks to feed our hungry imaginations.
Inside the lines, there is of course an honest game. Enemy combatants fight tooth and nail for the inches they need to win the day. The impact of collision, the ebb and flow of momentum, the seizure of victory, the defeat of loss…no shot is missed. 3D, Hi Def, Super Slow Mo catches every emotion.
They flow like runaway roller coasters on a billion screens, flickering through our collective consciousness.
In just three little hours, a great football game gives us a glimpse into our own lives. But for us, the drama takes eons to unfold. Our joy and sorrow, accomplishment and setback, victory and defeat happen over months, sometimes years. We want more.
We want to experience the thrills right now.
And the marketing machine knows this too well. They know that The Big Game is a place where they can inject desires, passions. Feelings of want we forgot we actually wanted, but now we just have to have. Make no mistake—aren’t just selling us something; it’s much more than that. They seek to create a consciousness of desire in all of us.
An insatiable need for more, better, faster, sexier.
Rationally, we understand that buying that new Mercedes in the ad won’t actually get us a date with Kate Upton. But the joke plants a seed of fantasy and plays with our subconscious minds. It gives us sweet little lies to sleep on… slowly incubating and growing into something more, something we can no longer control.
We give ourselves away to the irrational mind. The mind that wants dream over reality. In that ageless Indian language, Sanskrit, this state of illusion is known as “Maya.” Everything we see is just a projection of a movie that we create.
It’s all just a Hollywood production on a scale that would make James Cameron and Steven Spielberg shudder.
Our perception of reality as we want it to be distorts and destroys reality as it is. The easiest example to help us newbies understand Maya is The Matrix. Remember? Red and Blue?
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. ~ Morpheus to Neo, from the movie “The Matrix”
The problem with taking the blue pill is that (as enticing as it is) it comes with consequences. We develop stress and don’t understand why. Everyone else seems to be stressed, so too must I. A sort of mass stress that’s so pervasive, it seems like it’s just part of living that we must passively accept.
But these hunger pangs come from voices we tell ourselves, where we’re convinced of our need to have more. More stuff will make us whole, satisfied, happy.
Everyone reading this post wants to reduce stress and fall asleep with a feeling of contentment (real contentment), not fleeting pleasures followed by inevitable disappointments. A good documentary on the subject of commercial culture is a BBC series called Century of the Self. It breaks down the nature behind mass marketing strategy and its attempts to utilize Freud’s psychoanalytical genius to entrance and manipulate the helpless consumer—us.
Freud’s philosophies and profound insight into the depths of human psyche is both haunting and complex. It’s too much to take on in one blog. We introduce the subject so that we’re made more aware of origins (previously unknown), which have been working to cause us unnecessary stress and anxiety. The kind that keeps us up late night.
We think that there’s a cure. It may come as a disappointment to Morpheus and Neo, but the cure does not come in pill form. It comes from perhaps the simplest thing one can imagine. Something that’s so basic that our selfish minds tell us, “Never try.” Yes, I’m speaking of what will be a recurring theme here: meditation, yoga and mindful living.
Stress, anxiety, desire—these are figments of our wild imaginations…nothing more.
Yoga is growing here in the West like a weed. Why? Our feeling is that the practice of yoga has been sold to us, the consumer as harmless exercise—a calm, invigorating workout that beats hitting the weights or sweating through another crazy spin class.
What we didn’t know is that it comes with fine print. These side effects are very scary for our friends in the business of Mass Marketing.
That harmless little yoga workout (done right), slowly but surely feeds us the red pill. Yoga is a virus on the hard drive of our entire consumer driven, desires-based life-style. It lets us feel happiness as a state of being, not as something that needs to be gotten.
We read stories on how to be happy, that happiness comes from the simple things in life: love, family, giving, receiving, friendship and simplicity. Intellectually we get it. The problem is that our guts, our feelings have been manipulated to want more, need more, gotta have more!
Slow down. Breathe. Get back in touch with your authentic self.
Yoga is moving meditation. It gets us back to the basics and teaches us at the experiential level (not the intellectual level), that we can make ourselves happy from the inside. This concept is so simple, yet so powerful. We have the tools inside (not outside) to affect our ability to be happy, stress-free and sleeping well. The answer lies within.
Give it a try…what do you have to lose (except more sleep)?
Kushal Malhotra was born in India, but left when he was one. He grew up in Rhode Island where he had a pretty great suburban upbringing north of Providence. Of course he noticed that he was different as an Indian born American. He enjoyed American culture but at home, life was very Indian. He has since always kept a close appreciation for his dual background. As such, the spread of holistic health and mindful living in the West is fascinating for him. He is a business professional working at a company in Long Island. He is a Brown grad 1999, where he was a varsity tennis player. He enjoys yoga meditation and sports today. He can be reached at www.asmoothlanding.com.
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Ed: Apprentice Townsend/ Lynn Hasselberger