Wherever you go, your mind goes with you. What you think about becomes who you are.
For thousands of years Ayurvedic doctors have used the science of yoga psychology to heal diseases of the mind. Any trauma to the emotional mind will result in long term stress, depression and addiction issues. The ancient Vedas describe thoughts imprinting the mind as similar to our physical body’s digestion and elimination system. The stomach can easily digest some foods, while others will cause indigestion. Indigestible food creates toxicity in the body and causes disease. Imprints to the mind are like food for the mind. Indigestible mental input such as trauma, abuse or seeing horrific events unfolding before one’s eyes is beyond the capacity of most of our minds to digest satisfactorily. Therefore they cause emotional illnesses.
Just as when we eat a healthy diet, get sufficient exercise and live in a nurturing environment, we feel strong and healthy; when the impressions entering the mind are healthy, and we engage ourselves in positive activities, we feel happy, satisfied and just glad to be alive.
Emotional stress is a major cause of physical illness, from cancer to autoimmune conditions and many other chronic diseases. The brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal system, nervous system, and the immune system.
All addiction stems from pain. Whether it is a drug addiction, alcohol addiction, food addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction, etc the person is trying to get away from their pain. To quiet their mind… just for a while.
The same is true with those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The emotional stress from their horrific experiences has left them exhausted, fearful and unable to deal with the memories and resultant emotional pain. Too often they then become depressed, or abuse their families. Suicide has been the end for too many lost souls suffering from this disorder.
The most difficult cases of adult addiction, whatever the substance, began due to trauma in childhood. So many children have been, and are still being, abused every day of their lives. These children grow up dysfunctionally and their brains do not develop the pathways that most do in a normal childhood. Their brains do not produce the same chemicals, especially dopamine, as easily as most of us.
Yet the addictions do make their brains produce dopamine. This is why some people are, it seems, naturally inclined towards addiction. No substance is addictive on its own. Most people that try drugs do not become drug addicts. Most people do not become food addicts, sex addicts, etc. This inclination is due to trauma, especially in our childhood years.
Many addicts get married and have children, so they pass their dysfunction on to their children, thus their children are more prone to addiction. And so it goes down the line.
We feel empty, constantly trying to fill ourselves up with our substance of choice. But is not society itself addicted to so many things? Politicians and leaders are so addicted to power that they struggle to stay in office until only death removes them.
In today’s society many people are as addicted to social media, or just surfing the internet itself, even neglecting their families as they work all day, then spend all evening on the computer. (What to speak of the inordinate numbers of drug addicts, alcoholics, obese food addicts, etc.) How many folks work hard all day, returning home to simply eat, and then mindlessly sit in front of their televisions until it is time to go to bed? How can this kind of lifestyle foster peace and satisfaction within our hearts and minds? What kind of example are we setting for our children?
Society itself needs a makeover. It has become little more than a spiritual wasteland. The excessive greed, avarice and selfish desires that drive us to distraction are causing society to lose its heart. It is a dangerous age when children grow up with few restraints, exposed to so much madness all around us. What do we think the next generation of Americans is going to be like?
The seers, or yogis, of ancient India found that the breath and the mind are connected. If we can control our breath, we can calm and control the mind. Once the mind has been calmed we can remove mental “toxins” with lifestyle changes, like diet, exercise, sound and color therapies, etc.
In the great philosophical book of India the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna says that the mind can be controlled by constant “practice and detachment.” He says that wherever the mind wanders, due to its flickering and unsteady nature, we must bring it back under the control of the Self.
For many years I have been practicing mindfulness and detachment using yogic techniques that have helped me in my day-to-day life. It has allowed me to stay mindful of my decision-making processes. It has helped me develop my thought processes so that I can analyze every situation with greater clarity than was ever possible before. Our minds are attracted to so many external things. Everywhere we look, someone is telling us that if we just have one more material “thing”, or another, then we will be happy…but it always proves to be false. No matter how many “things” we get, we’re still dissatisfied.
Let me share with you these ancient techniques to once and for all take control of your own mind. Learn to live life without fear, and in the knowledge that you are always the architect of your own destiny.
For further information on talks and workshops by Howard Beckman on “Yoga and Overcoming the Mind in Recovery: Use the form on this page.