Last week, we announced a new set of online meditation programs as part of our efforts to reinvigorate our spiritual growth. This week, we commence our first weekend workshop focused on using meditation effectively to overcome undesirable habits and addictions.
In this workshop, we look at how the world has shifted in its definition of addiction and, more importantly, how we may already be addicted to many things without being aware of it.
Definition of addiction
Addiction is longer just about problems like opioid or drug addiction and doesn’t necessarily have to be severe. In today’s definition, it can be anything that “we cannot live or do without.”
But as meditators, we want our lives to be held to a higher standard of behavior than most, so, in reality, our definition is “anything that controls us” instead of being able to exercise control over it.
Many of us have normal and balanced lives. We’re even happy for the most part. But there’s a slow succumbing to habits and things that harm our health or spiritual journey. We may suddenly realize that these things are a bigger problem than we thought, requiring undue attention. They may also cause us a great deal of stress eventually. For example, think about spending habits that cause our finances to be in disarray, sugar addiction, and getting so used to comforts that we cannot adjust our lives without them anymore.
Then we carry behaviors and traits from when we were not meditating regularly. Those temptations and habits linger, and even though we’ve made a good amount of progress spiritually, they’re just pesky and hard to eliminate. So we seek freedom from such bindings.
Why and how this is happening
The primary reason for catching on to something undesirable is that we never estimate it to enslave us or cause serious problems. But our world is filled with tricks that attract and enslave us in any way possible so that they can take our money. Or it might be on account of societal pressures or stay relevant or modern.
The other reason might just be a temptation that we cannot overcome. Whatever the reason, the problem gets bigger when we start indulging. The neurochemical dopamine is responsible for seeking out reward and pleasure; when we indulge, we get dopamine increases. This is followed by an equal and opposite reaction of dopamine depletion in our brain that makes us want more of what we indulge in.
The problem is that, over time, this decreases our dopamine balance and makes it so low that we need bigger and stronger indulgences to get the same dopamine rush we originally enjoyed. Addiction has arrived and established within us at this point.
From a spiritual standpoint, our attention is drawn by these temptations, and we lose control of it. We cease witnessing external stimuli or temptation and fail to introspect whether it harms us. We merely begin to give in. Soon our attention is taken over and filled with thoughts and images that are all related to this thing or habit, and it gets firmly entrenched in our attention. This can make us spiritually weaker and unable to break through and rise higher.
In our workshop, we will discuss several methods that are lifestyle related, as well as spirituality and meditation related, for identifying these traps that can be addictive, avoiding them, and also being able to get rid of undesirable habits. In addition, we will discuss how to develop a superior spiritual state of awareness that helps us become stronger than the attracting force.
We also discuss parallels in neuroscience and the techniques commonly recommended by neuroscientists.
However, what’s unique and special about having meditation as a tool for fighting addiction is that it acts as a great filler and soother for the vacuum created in us as we start withdrawing from the addiction. So much so that compared to the ordinary person trying to fight a habit or addiction, meditators may even get through this much more easily without the stress, level of challenge, or willpower necessary.
That is because we have many powerful spiritual aspects that can be activated.
We look forward to seeing you in this weekend’s workshop. You can see the list of our programs on our calendar.