Motivational Speaker Howard Beckman
The Drug Epidemic:
Why is it happening and what can we do to stop it?
Drug use has risen to epidemic proportions in the US today. Roughly 23.5 million Americans abuse drugs or alcohol to self medicate themselves simply (as they see it) to get through life, and the numbers are rising. But the actual fact is that drug or alcohol addiction destroys lives. It destroys all our relationships, eating away at the very fiber of society and our communities.
Why is this happening and what is at the root cause of this epidemic? Why is everyone is so stressed that they can’t cope with life, without being high? For some of us it starts innocently enough, maybe with drugs prescribed by a doctor, normal social drinking or occasional recreational drug use. But eventually it spiraled out of control, as it became the very focus of our lives.
Using drugs is the perfect feel good trap. The high deludes us into thinking we’ve escaped all that stress…for a while anyway. When I started down this dark and lonely road I didn’t really know why I had the urge to escape or even what I needed to escape from. I just knew when I was high I felt safe, free from fear.
That devastating period of my life ended over 30 years ago; I guess now psychologists would say I had some kind of anxiety disorder. Over 40 million people in the US today admit to experiencing some sort of chronic and excessive anxious state of mind. One third of those seeking help will receive treatment with Paxil or Zoloft, ranked 7th and 8th of the top ten most prescribed medications in the US (these two medications totaled almost $5 Billion in sales in 2002). Both with many damaging side effects, and neither seems to help in the long term. Patients simply became dependent on another drug! And those statistics are over 13 years old! So why ARE we all so anxious?
I’ve spent many years following the early memoirs depicted in my book “Tempting the Devil in the Name of God” pondering this question. Though I became an avid philosopher and studied most world religions to some degree, including tribal and pagan philosophies, it was finally in the ancient Eastern spiritual doctrines of India that I found clear nondogmatic, yet spiritually rational answers to my questions.
Facing Social Disharmony and Disillusionment:
Taking Charge of our own Destinies
India’s timeless medical science of Ayurveda teaches that we are a part of Nature, and within Nature there must be balance. The mind, nervous system and organs of the body are affected by what we see, eat, hear, feel and smell. In other words through our senses our body and minds are shaped, negatively or positively. These impressions, be they physical, or mental imprints upon the mind, become the building blocks that shape the growth and direction of our lives. Through extensive travels and time spent in India and Asia I was extremely fortunate to have met some very wise teachers who taught me these ancient sciences of life, and the art of living with grace and inner peace.
It became painfully clear to me that our modern Western society is designed perfectly to bring disharmony within our minds and bodies. We are taught to become selfish, ungrateful, and fearful, giving up control of our own thoughts and desires. The media hypnotizes us through television and so many other means, all designed to make us think that the economy is what our happiness depends on. “He who dies with the most toys wins!”
Money becomes the new drug. If we are not beautiful, if we don’t possess excessive financial wealth then how could anyone ever love us or want us for who we are?
Another factor causing a lack of mental equilibrium are the diets of most Americans, which contain highly processed, sugar filled, and nutritionally dead ingredients. Much of our food has been genetically engineered to withstand the poisons of herbicides and fertilizers while growing, but that does not stop our bodies from absorbing those poisons when we eat it. Anyone with eyes in their heads can see that something is very wrong with Americans’ diets. America leads the world in obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Something must be wrong somewhere, wouldn’t you agree?
Our Spiritual Calling
India’s yoga philosophy teaches that the mind is at our disposal. In other words we can control our minds and thoughts, instead of the other way around. It may sound like a Herculean, even an impossible, task, but it’s not. You simply have to learn how. The tools I have found in different forms of meditation and breathing techniques have been phenomenal, not only in my own transformation, but that of many others. The breathing techniques are the first step, then the meditation exercises. Once learning how to reprogram our breathing, it feels like you never even knew how to breathe properly before. Really and truly! Notice how you breathe. Most people breathe quite shallowly and this causes a lack of sufficient oxygen, which alone will start to cause emotional and mental dysfunction.
We can learn to “listen” to our thoughts…and then learn how to change them. In time we realize that we have become blinded to all the majesty, beauty and grace that surrounds us. When we learn to truly see, listen, and feel with our hearts, we begin to ponder what is actually in our own best interests in life. We will naturally feel compassion for others, as well as ourselves, and in such a state of mind anxiety becomes conspicuous by its absence.
When we are in touch with our feelings, our emotions, that also means feeling sad sometimes. Emotions must be dealt with in a healthy manner by deep contemplation, not trying to forget them, or cover them up. This is the way the mind heals the heart. Normal people feel emotions, sometimes feeling anger, sadness, elation, feelings of pleasure or pain, etc.
Suppression of fear or pain compounds this emotional dysfunction, causing our mental equilibrium to dwindle until just getting up every day and simply existing in the world seems like a monumental undertaking. Ask any addict. Eventually the pain grows so intense, that they just can’t take it any longer. But, in a way this suffering enables us to grow and handle the worlds’ ups and downs. Ultimately it can give us lessons that force us to build inner strength to carry externally, and to understand our spiritual connection to the world within our hearts. I have never met a human being that possessed an obvious inner peace, and satisfaction with life, that wasn’t also at peace with their own spiritual heart.
Life is filled with trials and tribulations, but with the right tools and knowledge we can learn to navigate a path that takes us to balance, harmony, compassion and unconditional love. My own life experiences allowed me to learn these lessons and to find answers that so many of us are looking for. As my teachers always impressed upon me: “When you gain knowledge it must be shared or you become a miser”. My desire is to share this knowledge, and to share my personal experiences in climbing the mountain of recovery with anyone who has come to the realization that The Time for a Permanent Inner Transformation has Come.
Howard Beckman is not only a motivational speaker, but he shares the healing tools that will help to change your awareness, releasing your fear and experiencing the joy of your outer and inner life.
A Few Topics for Events
- The Time for a Permanent Inner Transformation has Come
- The Drug Epidemic: Why is it happening and what can we do to stop it?
- Facing Social Disharmony and Disillusionment: Taking Charge of our own Destinies
- Our Spiritual Calling: Yoga of Recovery
- Conversations with the Universe
- Finding Peace Within: It is Time to Return to Balance
- Sobriety and Compassion
- You are Born a Chooser
- Addicted to Life
- Embracing Fear: Stop Pretending how you Feel
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