Keeping a balance in turbulent times

Eric Le Reste

In these days of information overload, with news and other stories constantly coming at us from all directions, it can be hard to find the equilibrium between keeping yourself informed and feeling overwhelmed.

As a media professional, I have also experienced a sense of overload, unable to leave behind the tough images I saw coming into the newsroom. But there is a way to maintain a balance, founded on the practice of meditation.

Many years ago, Dadi Janki gave me some invaluable advice: “Your conscience at work should be the same as it is in the meditation centre”.

Her insight had great impact. I saw that by maintaining consistency of principles between our spiritual and professional lives, we stay true to our values in the face of whatever difficulties may arise. So, we should bring an attitude of respect, love, service and care to every sphere we move in.

Focusing on the positive angle in human stories, with messages of hope, resilience and kindness between people, can be highly effective.

Yes, on occasion, this has meant swimming against the editorial current; but I believe this is the most powerful, and the most effective, way to reach and touch an audience.

Consumers of media, faced with the sheer complexity of sources in today’s information universe, need to take responsibility and use discernment when deciding where to turn for news.

In times of crisis, mainstream media such as public broadcasting services are generally considered most reliable. So, during COVID-19, the ratings of publicly funded and editorially independent bodies like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for whom I work, have risen exponentially.

It is wise to limit how often you access news and how many outlets you tap into. Constantly switching between channels or surfing the Internet for updates from here, there and everywhere, is a sign of inner neediness. It is a form of addiction.

It is also a distraction. After many years’ experience of meditation, I have come to understand the primary screen of our life is the mind within, and the primary voice, our conscience. This, in truth, is the most amazing media experience of all!

In silent meditation you discover a wonderful medium within that not only brings a new clarity and vision, but also sheer enjoyment. You are the producer and the main actor in your own “show”, engaged in bringing together all the strands, and creating a world of inner peace.

Meditation changes the narrative, and guides us to leave behind the emptiness underlying our search for distraction and entertainment outside ourselves. The world needs a new story, and we need to change the stories we tell, choosing those of hope and inspiration that reveal who we are – at our best.