Warning: Viewer Discretion is Advised
Oct 11, 2020
Warning: The following film contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
Do you ever pay attention to the warnings that play before movies? If you’re a parent you probably do. If you’re a “Tim,” you might consider the warnings if you want to protect your mind or you don’t want to give yourself dreams of things you’d rather not dream about.
The warnings that appear before films are for our protection. They “warn” us of things we may not want to be exposed to. After the warning, we choose what we let into our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts. Sometimes we choose wisely. Sometimes we choose foolishly. No matter what we choose, there is always a consequence of some type.
We are well advised to head warnings before films. They give us the opportunity to decide what we let into our hearts. Sadly, the news and social media does not typically come with such warnings...although when it does, you are usually better off not watching the violence and the hurt. Sometimes it’s better to hear it than to have the image stuck in your head.
It’s good that movies in theaters and on TVs come with warnings. It gives us a chance to choose. Unfortunately, the most important films that we watch have no warnings and we rarely think about choosing whether or not to watch them. I’m talking about the films we play in our mind with our imagination.
Every day, for most of us, most of the day, we play films, or stories, in our heads. We imagine horrible things, dreadful things, worrisome things, fearful things, and anger inducing things. We create stories of things that haven’t happened or we twist stories of things that have happened and we binge watch them all day, day after day. No warnings, full send, we are all in to the stories we see in our head. And as a result, it makes us miserable, it causes suffering, and it puts us in hell.
Now, to be sure, there are some of us who play positive movies in their heads. They dream of lovely things, successful things, beautiful things, and courageous things. These people, whether they know it or not, are geniuses. They are typically happy and the navigate the world quite well, even in the midst of chaos.
You know this. I know this. But sometimes, sometimes I play bad stories in my head. I don’t mean to, but I run with it once they start playing. And, unfortunately I get what I play. You likely do too. Yet, when I play good stories, when I imagine beautiful, successful, loving scenarios, I reap that reward as well. I have learned I can manifest what I focus on or “dream up.” The mind is that powerful. What I have not learned is that I need to heed what I focus on or dream up. I need to choose what I watch, and what I focus on.
You do, too.
The stories we play in our heads are the ones we keep in our hearts. These are the stories that are far more consequential than the ones we watch at the theaters or even the ones we see on the news. Our stories, the ones inside of us, are the ones that come out of us. We create what we hold onto in our hearts.
If we hold fear and worry, we will certainly have it. If we hold love and kindness, we can certainly give it. If we hold anger and hatred, we can’t help but express it, notice it, feed off it, and be consumed by it. If we hold anything, ANYTHING that is not a story of love, success, beauty or kindness in our hearts, we will put ourselves in the hell we have created.
This is a lesson I’ve learned and one I hope to flip upside down so that I can put myself in “the Kingdom of Heaven.” That’s where I belong. That’s where you belong.
Set your mind and story mode on positive things like love and kindness. If you catch yourself dwelling on worry, or fear, or anger, stop playing that imaginary, change the movie.
Yes, guard your eyes and ears from what you see and hear, but most importantly guard your heart and your life from what you dwell on and rehearse. You can create and have anything you dwell on. So to be happy and to enjoy your life, dwell on positive, lovely things. The consequences for how we think and what we hold in our heart are too powerful to ignore.
What we meditate on affects everything: How we feel. How we move. How we think. How we live.
Wisely choose the stories and films you play in your head.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Another inverse way of saying this is, “Warning, viewer discretion is advised.”