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Archive for October 21st, 2009

Addiction comes in many forms: Alcohol, cigarette / nicotine, work, drugs, gambling, painkillers and now in this 21st century there is internet addiction disorder (IAD).

Addiction comes in many forms: Alcohol, cigarette / nicotine, work, drugs, gambling, painkillers and now in this 21st century there is internet addiction disorder (IAD).

From: “Daniel Bromberg”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Internet Addiction
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 12:58:43 +0000

Baba

“Toma’r saunge mor paricay, ek-a’dha yuger katha’ nay…” (PS 2303)

Purport:

Baba, my closeness with You is not only since the last few hundred or
even thousands of years. Nor is it only since the last one or two epochs or
ages. Baba, from before the beginning of time You have been along with me;
by Your grace I have always been in Your shelter. Baba, I have been singing
Your divine glory since eternity. It is Your grace.

Baba, by being ensconced in Your divine love, my heart became satiated
and fulfilled. All my needs and longings got completely quenched and
satisfied. Baba, by constantly ideating on You– day and night, all the
time– by Your grace my mind may become one with You.

Baba, please be gracious and do not keep me distant. Always keep me
close to Your lotus feet– under Your shelter. Baba, please remain along
with me constantly– all the 24 hrs. And please grace me and saturate my
mind with Your divine nectar. Baba, make my life full by utilising me all
the time in various deeds, in whatever way You like.

Baba, by Your grace our intimacy and relation has been since eternity.
And, by Your divine krpa’, it will go on up to infinity…

== INTERNET ADDICTION ==

Namaskar,
Addiction comes in many forms: Alcohol, cigarette / nicotine, work,
drugs, gambling, painkillers and now in this 21st century there is
internet addiction disorder (IAD).

As margiis and as parents this is something for us to be critically
aware of, because this stands as yet one more material indulgence that
may distract us from spiritual life and even disturb or ruin our
personal and family life.

In particular, we should be vigilant that our margii children not fall
into this trap.

In general, teenagers seem to be particularly susceptible IAD; the
internet has become yet another temptation for teens. So we should be
aware of the telltale signs of IAD and not allow any of our young ones
slip into this gigabyte abyss.

While there are innumerable benefits to using the Internet, we should
not let ourselves (family, community etc) get bit by the “animal” of
internet addiction disorder either.

SIGNS OF ADDICTION

There are numerous articles – yes(!) on the internet – about internet
addiction disorder. Further information then is easily accessible.

Here for your convenience is a list of some of the signature
characteristics of this addiction:

1) Always in a rush to get on line;
2) Overlook life responsibilities (homework, house duties, appointments
etc) in order to go on line;
3) Feel irritated if disturbed when using the internet;
4) Ignore relations with those around you in favour of “on-line friends”;
5) Always thinking of going back on line;
6) Secretive about what on line activities and pursuits;
7) Lose sight of reality, i.e. confusing fictional aspects of on-line
experiences such as gaming etc with the reality of living in this world.
(Note: Teenagers are particularly prone in this regard.)
8) Sad or depressed when not online, only to “recover” when back on line;
9) Say you will be off in 15 minutes, but stay on line for hours and
hours longer;
10) Skip meals and lose sleep because of excessive time on line;
11) Verbally accost or even physically attack those who object to their
internet habits;
12) Cannot survive without it – “gotta have it”; do everything and
anything to be on line;
13) Leads to other negative behaviours including crime and unlawful
activities etc;
14) And there are a plethora of other signs to watch for. So if you
suspect one of your near and dear ones is suffering from IAD, please
investigate the matter thoroughly.

So these are some of the more common lifestyle presentations of IAD. It
is important to note that one need not have all the above
characteristics in order to be suffering from IAD. Needless to say,
there are degrees of addiction.

Also of note is that nowadays more and more doctors, psychologists, and
therapists are involved in studying and researching IAD. It is a recent
problem, yet already it has gained the attention of top professionals in
the field.

MOST ADDICTIVE SITES

There are certain genres of sites that are more prone to addictive
behaviours.

Here are sites that most lead to addiction, though not necessarily in
this order:
1) Porn sites;
2) Gambling sites;
3) Social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter etc;
4) Gaming.

All of the above can be highly addictive to users. So we should all be
alert about this.

WHY TEENAGERS ARE ESPECIALLY PRONE &

HOW KIDS GET CONFUSED

One of the main reasons why teenagers are especially prone to being
hooked or addicted to the internet is because this is all they know.
That’s to say, they have grown up with the internet and do not know life
without it.

From the very beginning, many of their life activities and pathways
have been routed through the internet.

Thus, they may have fewer off-line interests than older generations.
This is one reason why they are prone to IAD.

Another critical point is that kids and teenagers are highly
impressionable. They have a tendency to confuse what is on their screen
with the physical reality of life.

For instance, when the Ramayana was first shown on TV in India, then
there were a rash if injuries with youth. Why? Because just as Hanuman
made the great leap from India to Sri Lanka, kids also thought they
could also leap. And in their childlike ways, dozens of kids jumped from
the roof of their houses etc in order to be like Hanuman. Kids are that
impressionable.

In contrast, not one single adult attempted such a leap.

Here the point is that kids often confuse what they see on the screen
with the stark reality of this world.

The same problem can happen with their gaming ventures on line. Young
kids and early teenagers can easily start to think that what adventures
and fantasies they are doing on line is an accurate depiction of real
life events. And the next thing you know, such kids are doing very
dangerous things, like jumping off the roof of their house.

So responsible parents and adults should be highly aware about IAD and
how it can affect their kids.

The best remedy is prevention – to control the situation ahead of time –
and set up guidelines and rules for use of the internet. Otherwise, the
situation can become quite messy.

As margiis, as mothers and fathers, as acaryas, and as sadhakas, it is our
combined and collective responsibility to bring each and every child of our
Marga into a spiritually inspired and devotionally way of living. All
should come into our AM society and become the pillars of the future
humanity, averting the dark aspects of life like IAD.

Baba says, “Children will become assets of society in the future to the
extent that their parents or guardians discharge their duties properly.”
(HS-1)

BABA’S WARNING

In His Ekendriya chapter, Baba issues a critical warning of what will
happen if one focuses on a single materialistic pursuit. If one points
all their psychic energy toward one direction – and if that direction is
not a spiritual one – then often that creates destruction in life.

That is Baba’s distinct warning.

For instance, if a person dedicates all their time and energy to making
money, or dating the opposite sex, or doing business, or gambling, or
whatever worldly desire they have, that will lead to their degeneration.
Their mind will get crudified and they will become imbalanced and
ultimately fall.

Baba says, “You may know some people whose minds always run after money.
You might have asked them to sit down for a while and have a chat, and
been surprised by their excusing themselves, saying they were so busy
and had to rush off to the stock exchange. If their pursuit of money is
hampered in any way, if it eludes their grasp, if they are totally
severed from it, their minds will lose their base and they will die.”

“All crude objects on which people base their hopes and aspirations will
certainly disappear one day, for the nature of this relative world is
“Yah a’gacchati sah gacchati” – “Whatever comes, goes.” When people are
deserted by their crude objects of desire they are eaten away by
frustration and disappointment, and die a miserable death.”

“I heard that once, when the currency was devalued, a wealthy jute
merchant suddenly died because all the aspiration of his life were based
on money. He could not face the prospect of having to part with his
cherished object of desire.”

“This is ekendriya. One should concentrate one’s mind on the Supreme One
to the exclusion of all mundane objects; for they can give no lasting
support.” (APH-6)

If one fails to chase after the true spirit of ekendriya and instead
gets derailed toward mundane desires, their future is not bright.

That same ominous outcome will swallow them if they uniquely pursue any
crude habit including the internet. So IAD is indeed a scary matter for
anyone involved. The addict will become a victim, in one way or another.

They may lose their marriage or their job or their house or whatever.
There are so many horror stories in this regard. I am sure we all have
heard numerous stories how an addict ends up destroying their own life.
This does not just happen in Hollywood and Bollywood, tragically common
people also get bound in negative pursuits and degrading habits.
Ultimately that addiction makes them totally blind to whatever
responsibilities and obligations they have.

HOW TO CURE THE PROBLEM

In this following teaching from the discourse ‘Vya’tireka-1’, Baba is
guiding us that the best way to cure addicts from their negative
behaviors like IAD is not to remind them directly of their addiction but
to engage their mind in healthier and higher pursuits.

Baba says, “The best psychological cure for addicts is to put them in an
environment where they will be unable to think of their object of
addiction for any length of time. To proclaim, “Don’t do this, it’s
bad,” is futile, for it is a negative approach. If you say, “Don’t drink
wine”, you are still injecting the concept of wine into the alcoholic’s
mind, thus making it impossible for him to forget it and kick (quit) his
bad habits. You are giving alcohol negative publicity, and it again
becomes his mental object. Thus whenever he gets the opportunity he will
certainly drink it again. And it may be that this negative approach
encourages the alcoholic to become even more addicted. It is a defective
approach.”

“These days the sign “No smoking please” is placed in many public
places, but it will not reduce the amount of smoking. If society wants
people to stop smoking, its approach should be to divert the smoker’s
mind to other objects. A chain smoker should be encouraged to get
involved in various pursuits such as music, dance, songs, culture of
fine arts, etc., for if the mind remains engaged in these things it will
forget its object of addiction. But the person who thinks, “I’ll stop
drinking wine the day after tomorrow-no, let me see, why not tomorrow”
can never kick the habit,for wine remains the mental object. The mind
will try to materialise whatever it thinks about in the external world –
this is its nature.” (APH-6, p. 373-74)

So if a child has a computer in their room or if an adult spends all
their time in their office where they have internet access, the best
remedy and cure is for the addict to go places where they do not have
on-line access and instead involve in other pursuits like music, sports,
art etc. If they surf the web using an i-Phone or palm top etc, then
they should intentionally stay away from that device for hours at a
stretch.

The mind needs to be free and ultimately goaded toward a more benevolent
pursuit. One great way to overcome addiction and depression is to engage
in service. One should volunteer to help others. That has a real healing
effect on the person doing service. And of course other are benefited as
well.

Sadhana, kiirtan, and svadhyaya are also, of course, get practices for
cleaning and clearing the mind of an addiction. Instead the mind will
get pointed toward a spiritual ideal.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He has given us all the teachings and warnings in life
to overcome all the negative trends and habits in society, like internet
addiction disorder. We should all be vigilant and watch and care for
others, especially teenagers.

Baba says, “There are certain common and natural tendencies in human
life. Those tendencies are of either a degenerating or an exalting
nature, that is, they are either of a depraving or an elevating nature.
We should encourage the elevating tendencies and discourage the
depraving tendencies. In certain portions of this world, depraving
tendencies such as pornography exist. Protesting will not stop or check
it unless we also do something positive to check it. If we do something
positive, it will create a new stir in the human mind. Pornography and
other depraving tendencies will be completely discouraged and checked.
That will be our course of action. We have to create new literature, new
books, new music, new songs…we have to create a cultural stir. These
are our immediate duties. We have to chalk out a programme and act
accordingly.” (‘Rule of Rationality’, PNS-12)

Namaskar,
Dharma

Note 1: WHY THE EYES ARE IN THE FRONT

One other important point to be aware of is that Baba tells us not to
think about past misdeeds. We should forget about them. That is why HE
has designed human beings to have both eyes in the front– so that we
may look forward and march towards the Goal.

Thinking about past negative events will cause those things to come
again and again; this is the concept of AM.

So to think over and over that “I am sinner — I am sinner”, this
psychology is not good. If any negative habit is there then one should
try to avoid that and engage in higher pursuits. That is why we have
seen in Dharma Samiiksa that if anyone committed something negative then
always Baba first gave atonement. And then guided their mind toward
different social service activities. Only if HE found that after this
still people also went on thinking and engaging in those same negative
things, then He became very furious.

Because according to AM philosophy the human mind has tremendous
quality: What way the mind thinks, the whole personality can
metamorphose in that direction. So if an honest person thinks about his
past misdeeds like stealing then that negative habit will again appear.
That is why Baba has given the system of pratyaha’r, ‘offering of one’s
mental colors’. And this is exactly what we do in Guru Puja, so this
also one of the important practices.

All along His teaching in countless places BABA has guided the entire
society on this very point because in certain religions like
Christianity they give a lot of preference to remind about their past
sins. And most of the time that sin is unknown– what they did they do
not know. This thing is present in small or big form in most of the
religions. Because of this also AM has given completely new ideas.

So our way in AM is not to condemn people for their sins or wrong
actions. Baba says, “In ancient times people were made outcastes on
trivial charges of social crimes. We do not subscribe to such beliefs.”
(AV-5)

Rather our viewpoint is to rectify people and free them of their old
habits so they may progress.

***************************************
WT Conduct Rule: 360 Degrees

Baba says, “Always remain united and organised. Solve all problems big and
small in a united way. Advise every Ananda Margii to remain united at all
times.” (Point #31 of ’32 Rules for Avadhu’tas’)

Note: Alas where are those workers whose mind is saturated with this Baba’s
golden teaching. They exist, but are in a minority. Because of such margiis
and Wts the earth is saved.

***************************************

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