If you really think about it, you are never upset for the reasons you really think. Consider the last chapter to demonstrate as proof that it is the “thinking” that is the source of your suffering. When you get tired, sleepy, or drunk, your thoughts slow down, and thus your suffering ceases. Recall when you awake from a nap. Initially, your mind is at ease and your superhighway of thoughts has not yet begun. At that time, your suffering is at its lowest. The nap did not only give your body a rest, but more importantly it gave your spinning mind a rest.
The nap is like the break between the notes of a symphony, a pause between your endless stream of thoughts. it allows the music to continue. In many circumstances, thinking is directly proportional to suffering. Even though I mentioned alcohol of one way people use to slow down their thinking, it is not a good choice. Instead of rising above thought like the example of the bird soaring above, you fall below your thoughts (not to mention the permanent damage you do to your body). Other ways to slow down your thoughts is to divert them by watching television passively. But that too is not an effective solution to end suffering. By the time the average America is 60 years old today, he or she would have spent nearly 15 years in front of the television. Not only are you wasting your time, but you are being filled with more of what society wants you to think, and thus making your ego more sick.
The reason that meditation and relaxation are so important to your happiness is that as you slowly notice your thoughts slowing down, you will notice less thoughts generated by your own mind. Not only will you not recall your own problems, but you will become free from yourself and what can be more relaxing than that?
The massive hours Americans spend watching the television is further proof that the average person needs their minds to slow down. While you are watching television or surfing the Internet, your mind just stops generating thoughts of their own, which feels so relaxing and nice. Your mind is now absorbing thoughts coming from the television. But the problem with that is the general content on television. Since modern society is obsessed with “form” and outside appearances, wealth, comparison, power, and the like, your brain is silently collecting and processing the information with garbage.
I personally think if you are watching a good proper television program devoid of poisonous advertisements on cable and network television, then public television can be of good use. In order words, television watching of the network and cable can be a productive pastime because your mind needs “brakes” with its racing thoughts going nowhere.