A World Obsessed with the Physical

Yesterday Krishnan and I watched the first episode of the newly launched series on Amazon Prime “Citadel”. Just because the lead female actor is Priyanka Chopra. We wanted to see how she had fit in with the role of an American spy. We were happy that she has done a great job of it !! What struck me though was how the whole world is obsessed with the physical aspect of life with nary a thought of what’s “inside” – our inner world.

Priyanka’s outfit showed just enough cleavage to keep many “men” interested below her neck rather than her acting skills. Couldn’t she be a spy without a plunging neckline ? Watch every red carpet event like the Oscars or Grammy … every leading lady comes wearing a costume that gets attention to her body. Some of them spout inanities and sound totally idiotic but they “look” glamorous and pretty.

Every single web series that comes out of Hollywood has some intimate scenes whether it’s required in the storyline or not. There is an over-the-top focus on looking a certain way and all over the world it’s leading to men and women getting plastic surgery or taking drugs or becoming bulimic etc. Now Indian soaps and movies also are trying to ape the Hollywood formula. Several web series and movies are soft porn… which sells but is that all there is to story telling ? Movies and web series are stories. Tell a good story without resorting to bedroom scenes.

Whenever we watch a web series or a Hollywood movie, I have the remote in hand and just keep skipping the soft porn portions because many times my mother is sitting in the living room writing “Sri Rama Jayam” – her way of meditating on Bhagwan Rama’s name. Call me old fashioned but it’s uncomfortable to watch a bedroom scene with my mother sitting next to me.

Am also wondering about this obsession with the physical world… we rarely pause to think of what’s inside us, who we really are. We are so “busy” accumulating wealth or possessions that we never remember that there is something beyond all this. All our material possessions will be left behind, our beautiful butter smooth skin will shrivel up and be eaten by ants or microbes, nothing except our soul travels with us….. but we spend no time thinking about the real “me”.

The Inner World

Osho says this beautifully. The following is an excerpt from Osho’s series of discourses on The Dhammapada. This excerpt is from Volume 5 – The world is on fire.

“….Buddha says: THE WORLD IS ON FIRE! Fortunate are those who can understand it, not only intellectually but existentially. Can’t you see your life is nothing but anguish? Now there are two ways to get rid of this anguish, this fire; one is to become so involved in meaningless things that you can forget your anguish, so that the anguish cannot raise its head because you are so occupied: the whole day occupied with money, power, prestige, running after shadows, and when you come back home you are so utterly tired that you fall asleep. And then too you remain engaged in your dreams. Dreams are nothing but reflections of your day; the same game continues in your sleep.

People pass their whole lives in this way. People cannot sit silently even for a few minutes. And the whole Buddhist approach is that unless you are capable of sitting silently for hours together, doing nothing, just being, you will never know who you are and you will never go beyond your anguish. So the first way is to become occupied, involved in anything, whatsoever it is, the only purpose being that you can keep the ultimate question of your life repressed. There is no time.

People come to me, I tell them to meditate. They say, “But we don’t have any time.” And these are the same people who are sitting for hours in the movies and they have time.

And these are the same people who go to the Rotary Club and just go on doing stupid things. These are the same people whom you will find in the hotels, at football matches; these are the same people who will be playing cards and chess, and if you ask them they will say, “We are playing just to kill time.” Time is killing you and you think you are killing time. Nobody has ever been able to kill time: time kills everybody.

And when you tell them to meditate the immediate response is, “But where is the time to meditate?” And it is not that they are consciously saying it; it is a very unconscious reaction. It is not that they are deceiving, they are deceived. It is not that they are just trying to deceive you by saying, “I don’t have any time,” they really feel, they think, that they don’t have any time…..”

Make time to meditate and go on the inner journey… the physical world is wonderful and useful to facilitate that inner journey, but that’s not all of existence. There is an inner world that has to be discovered. Your physical possessions don’t matter, who you are, matters.

Focus on what matters !!!

2 thoughts on “A World Obsessed with the Physical”

  1. So aptly put ! I recently attempted to watch one called Rana Naidu and was done with it within 10 mins.! Soft porn indeed. So many of these Indian web series are about child abuse, sexual escapades of pampered movie stars/politicians or urban couples with non-issues trying to divorce and act smart! Hollywood culture has done more damage than the world deserves. I wish things would change.

  2. B & K,
    I focus on the Now, but I’m distractible. Rather, outside now, I’m attending to all the sounds around me, birds twittering, Gun Clubbers blasting, and listening for any potential threats to my two chickens. It’s a beautiful day, with a slight breeze. I just published a short blog about the parakeet in my novel, “A Matter of Time” that deals with the limitations of time in a 4-D universe.

    Your post speaks to me, as you always do. My eclectic philosopy covers forays into many different ones. About meditation, one guru in one book I read advised his student to meditate three hours a day. She protested that she didn’t have time, and he replied that the meditation would free her to make better use of her other time.

    The preoccupation with appearance and sexuality today, that seems to span cultures worldwide, embarrasses me, too. I have never enjoyed public displays of sexuality in any form, including the “soft porn” you describe. Yet, in the US, and maybe other places too, masses of people seem drawn to the passive entertainment provided by sexual displays or provocation, as well as violence, as in television sports, like US football.

    You like to write about Osho, which I appreciate, but I also rely on bits of wisdom gleaned from many sources. I remember Seth claimed that you don’t stop war by hating war. You stop it by loving peace.

    I take that to mean that hating anything feeds it. Loving what you love is more powerful than hating what you hate, which only rebounds back on you.

    Jiddu Krisnamurti also emphasized awareness as a crucial first step to changing a habit.

    This post, “A World Obsessed with the Physical”, does point to a world focused on appearance, yet Osho’s quote, which asks “Who am I?” asks us to look within, at all times, and to question ourselves in every thought, word, and deed, does it not? That’s living meditation, I believe. It’s the best way to come to know oneself.


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