Waking Up: The Zen teachings of TV commercials, Part I

Through advertising, companies try to link higher values to their products. [Courtesy]

By Cary Bayer | Contributing Columnist

Multinational advertisers have been giving profound teachings on happiness and peace of mind for so many years. Watch consciously; the message is coming to you less from the marketer and more from the Universe. Advertisers pump hundreds of millions of dollars into commercials to make you buy their wares, but because the Universe has more profound purposes, “Its” creative intelligence often encodes a deeper meaning into ad messages. These become electronic wisdom, 30-second mantras, inspiring a life of peace.

Commercial Yoga

Verse 1. You Deserve a Break Today: Stress Management (McDonald’s)

Since 1971, McDonald’s has flooded our consciousness with the message: you deserve a break today. Not for a Big Mac with cheese, as the copywriter intended; but for stress management, as the Universe intended.

Verse 2. The Pause that Refreshes: Transcendence (Coca-Cola)

The principle of rest and activity that McDonald’s introduced in verse 1, is expanded upon by Coca-Cola in this verse, suggesting that, not only do you deserve a break today, but that the break also refreshes you. After years of twice-daily breaks of Transcendental Meditation that I’ve taught to hundreds of people, since the 1970s, as well, I can speak from experience when I say that the pause refreshes physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yoga, Tai-chi, and breath work can also recharge your batteries. The method isn’t important; what’s important is to give yourself a daily break for multi-level refreshment. You deserve it. So where does this rejuvenation come from? Coca-Cola clarifies that point in the next verse.

Verse 3. In the Back of Your Mind, what you’re Hoping to Find . . . It’s the Real Thing: Where to go for Transcendence (Coca-Cola)

Human beings continually search for greater happiness. But what if you could find a place where a concentrated, virtually unlimited reservoir of happiness was available? There’s one that exists, and throughout history great teachers pointed us inwards to find it. The Bhagavad-Gita, where Yoga was first taught, locates this joy at the source of thought, at the basis of or back of your mind; it’s transcendental. Since happiness is what you always seek, and since it exists in abundance at the back of your mind, what you’re always hoping to find can be found there. And, Coca-Cola is right; it is the real thing.

Verse 4. You can be the Happiest Place on Earth: Tap the Joy Deep Within, Says Disney

Disney has depicted its Magic Kingdom amusement park as “the happiest place on Earth.” But they’re wrong, and Coke is right: the happiest place on Earth isn’t there; it’s at the quietest level of your own being at the back of your mind. But in this verse, Disney recognizes that this “real thing” is pure happiness.

Naturally, none of the commercials can give the peace you seek; but they do tell you that you deserve to experience it (Verse 1); that it’s refreshing (Verse 2); that it’s within you (Verse 3); and contact with it can turn you into the happiest place or person on earth (Verse 4). And that’s quite a bit for 30-second excuses to open the fridge.

Cary Bayer is a life coach who conducts a national private practice in the mountains of New York (845-679-5526) and by the ocean in South Florida (954-788-338). You can visit him on his website at carybayer.com or successaerobics@aol.com to contact him via email.

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