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Archive for March 5th, 2011

From: “Dharma Deva”

To: am-global@earthlink.net

Subject: Internet Addiction

Date: Sat, 05 Mar 2011 13:11:19 +0000

Baba

== 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 of 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.

PRABHAT SAMGIITA

“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…

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

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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