Dealing with addiction
By Dina Krishna Das
We all have attachments in this material world. The secret of success is to dovetail these attachments to Krishna. This is easy said, than done. However, if you have access to a mature devotee, then the doors of detachment will start to open into the garden of Bhakti.
We have five senses which are controlled by the mind, anyone of these senses can be captured by the illusory nature we live in. When one goes through a phase of addiction, it is a way to escape from the realities of life. We can see in the UK that binge drinking is a major problem for the local councils to handle. Thousands upon thousands of young men and women are heavily intoxicating their bodies during the evening within the pubs.
Why? Because it is a source of pleasure, it is a way to relax; it is a way to forget the problems of life. This material world is full of miseries as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita. Even if you are rich, famous, intelligent, etc, there will always be suffering.
Many people have these addictions to try to temporarily alleviate their torment from the cruel reality of this distressful world. However, this is not the solution as we all know. But, even though we know the solution, why is it that many of us still go through the phase of addiction. Sometimes the phase is a week, a few months, it may even be for many years. Why can’t we stop our addictions?
The answer is simple, we are simply too attached. It feels so good when we go through our addiction, nothing else matters during this phase. However just like drinking there is a hangover phase. For devotees, it is a phase of guilt. But, the real pleasure is not to pursue our habitual desires. The real pleasure is to regulate our senses and take to a higher form of activity which gives ever lasting pleasure.
When the acaryas explain that Krishna consciousness gives one a higher taste which cannot be measured within the material realm, they are in fact experiencing this inner joy. This is a fact, otherwise why do we even bother to perform Krishna conscious activities, we do it to please Krishna. In return we get an inner joy.
The problem lies with our attachments, which stop us from experiencing the inner joy. Krishna is waiting for us to give up those attachments and surrender to his plan of giving us eternal joy.
TEN Tips to help with addiction:
1. Chant 16 rounds attentively everyday. Krishna cannot protect you fully unless you practice the process authorized by Srila Prabhupada
2. Associate with serious devotees who are strictly following the four regulative principles and are chanting their 16 rounds everyday.
3. Try to curb the amount of hours you watch TV. TV has a huge impact upon our desires.
4. Everytime you go through a falldown, remember that you lost a battle with the mind, but you have not lost the war. Krishna is always there to pick you up and help you prepare for the next battle. Be sincere, then the guidance will come.
5. Follow Vaisnava Etiquette, it is so perfect in everyway, it will protect you.
6. Always engage your mind in thinking, how can I help Srila Prabhupada spread this mission. What can I do in this lifetime to help contribute to the success of this movement.
7. Avoid offending the devotees and the holy name at all costs.
8. Reveal your mind to close sincere devotee friends.
9. Avoid Karmi association as much as possible. This means one should not reveal his/her mind to a person who does not love Krishna.
10. Remember we are fallible; therefore always remain humble and sincere. Prays are ever so important. JUST PRAY EVERYDAY, it works!
Jnanivas prabhu from Mayapur said to me that if you call out your Guru’s name. He will protect you and maya will run away. But, you need to have the sincere desire to call out his name loudly. I really appreciated his words of advice. Therefore cry out to Srila Prabhupada, he will protect you. Srila Prabhupada is our spiritual master, please call out his name. Maya and the mind will definitely leave you alone.
Remember that your mind is your worst enemy and can also be your best friend. When the mind is pushing for you to deviate, then it is prudent to always ignore the mind and engage the mind and senses in partaking a spiritual activity.
Ultimately any addiction can only be given up by the mercy of the Vaisnavas and the holy name. We must learn to surrender to them at all times.
The tips that have been mentioned are generic for all addictions; however there are other more specific tips for specific addictions. These specific tips are best discussed in private.
Dina Krishna Das