American Institute of Vedic Studies

Addiction and the Digital Age – The Need for Higher Consciousness


Our information technology culture today is becoming progressively trapped in addictions, as we are becoming overwhelmed by external stimulation through the media. These derive from three areas:


First is the growing dependency on pharmaceutical drugs. Many children today are taking medications for behavioral problems, including attention deficit and hyperactivity, as well as other behavioral problems. Adults are taking larger amounts of new pain-relieving opiates and anti-depression drugs, as well as the usual medicines for chronic physical diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes or even simple sleeping pills, stimulants and sedatives. The average senior in America is taking 10-15 medications every day.


Second is the increased usage of recreational drugs. These extend from ordinary alcohol and cannabis to cocaine, complex narcotics, and powerful synthetic opiates. Psychedelics and mind-altering drugs are part of this but under new formulations. The use of recreational drugs and alcohol with parties, music events, and celebrations remains common. Yet taking drugs, either recreational or medicinal, also occurs as part of living alone to relieve the emptiness involved, including during this pandemic era of lock downs and reduced social contact.


Yet third, new and more time consuming, is what I would call “digital drugs”. This includes addictions to cell phones, social media, the Internet, and our wide range of computer games, audio-visual entertainment, movies, and cable TV, even pornography. This is not to say that our new media is not without considerable benefits and improved communication and sharing of knowledge,  but that it has major side effects that must be guarded against.


Our nervous systems are becoming constantly wired by an increasing electronic stimulation designed to sell us what we do not need or to promote political outrage and agitation. Such media stimulation affects our nervous system like a drug and programs it for dependency and addiction. We are moving into a virtual reality in which our connection with the world of nature is becoming compromised, if not lost. Our direct human contacts are also being reduced.


Such electronic stimulation reprograms the brain and nervous system in an artificial manner, much like any drug. As a result of this, children today cannot appreciate nature because they are used to more rapid stimulation and immediate gratification. The ability of electronic stimulation to alter the human nervous system may be more powerful than drugs. Our minds reflect environmental influences and their main source of sensory impulse and human attention. Now, this is all artificial and digital.


Some technocrats are looking to artificial intelligence and robots to run society in the future, with we human beings calmed and sedated by supplements, drugs and media control. This Brave New World idea may become a reality if such trends uncritically continue. Or there may come a point where human beings, or the human body, begins to reject such media impulses and yearns for something natural, to restore our inner equilibrium.


The Way Forward – How to Counter the Digital Assault with Consciousness


Certainly, we must learn how to live and work with high tech energies. We will not be going back to the pre-high tech era and do not want to. Yet we must be careful not to be overwhelmed by the new technology, which is challenging if not overwhelming. How can we do this?


We should not resort to the media first thing in the morning. We should first attune our minds to nature, exercise, yoga  and meditation to gain a fresh start for the day. Only a clear and open mind can deal with the complex challenges of the high tech era, not one already burdened with opinions and information.


We should resort to nature’s healing herbs before we decide to take any type of medicinal drug. Ayurveda has many of these and in a number of special formations like ashwagandha, brahmi, manduka parni, shankha pushpi, tulsi and jatamamsi, or preparations like Chyavan Prash and Brahma Rasayaan. We should search for contentment within before resorting to any recreational drug to make us happy. We should learn to control our own brain chemistry through Yoga, pranayama, mantra and meditation, creating inner peace and detachment.


Similarly, we should let go of media involvement an hour or two before we sleep at night, creating space, quiet and calm for the mind through meditation in order to release its media induced stress. We must learn to forget the world, which will calm the mind. We need not worry. The world will still be there in the morning when we wake up.


We must learn to examine our own thoughts and state of mind and not just mirror the external world. We should not just repeat or cut and paste what others say. We must recognize that our own thoughts are more important than media messages. We must learn what our own thoughts are telling us; even if it is something we don’t want to hear. Our thoughts  reflect our addictions, attachments, fears, fantasies, and compulsions, which have consequences for  physical and psychological imbalances. Yet if we give our thoughts attention and carefully observe then, we can eventually discover a deeper intelligence behind our conditioned impulses to take us beyond them to a place of calm and peace.


Recognizing the Greater Universe of Consciousness


We must maintain a broader perspective on life than what any media influence can present. Our human world is just a small bubble in the infinite universe of consciousness. Our human society as it stands is spiritually unenlightened, sidetracked into the superficial and artificial, not accessing the true wellsprings of creativity and awareness that dwell within us.


To sustain a higher awareness we should learn to live according to the natural healing principles of Ayurveda, and the spiritual practices of Yoga and Vedanta. Your own mind is an instrument of a deeper cosmic intelligence at the core of your being. Any technological wonder is but an instrument of your mind, a surface display, at best a communication device, but not the true reality. The wonders of your inner awareness can put any outer media displays to shame.


There is no artificial intelligence. True intelligence is always organic, aware and cosmic, not the result of any machine or instrument. It is expansive like light, space, and silence, not limited to any instruments, computers, and machines. We must remember this. We must learn to connect internally to the network of cosmic intelligence that unites us with the universe as a whole.


The highest prana or energy of life can never be experienced through mere media stimulation of our senses, drugs or anything else artificial or external. No media production can ever equal the beauty and wonder of the world of nature, great and small. We must first remember our greater cosmic connections beyond time and space, then we can never be overwhelmed by any media device, statement or stimulation. This is the key to self-mastery and uplifting the world in the digital age. We should be a source of Creative Intelligence in the world, not just a media reflection.


Note our online courses and articles for more information on these topics.


Dr. David Frawley



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