Living in the routine, sometimes we get so busy that we don’t even realize when and how our morning went and we’re already dressed for work and leaving home. Until we board the lift and (unconsciously pause to) take a deep breath of sigh (provided you’re not looking into your phone). I’m sure, staying at home in quarantine, this season, must be giving you a glimpse of slow-living. However, we still have access to everything at the tip of a button and our phones are glued to our faces.
Recently I was sketching a quote on my vision board and in the act of doing it with full attention, I lost track of time. This happens every time I’m cooking too, hence I seldom bake- Or I’d be burning a lot of things. When you are in love, or passionate about a project, the undivided focus makes you unaware of everything else. Why does this feel so satisfying? Some people call it ‘the flow’ (‘living in the Present’). Being possessed by something like that, leaves you feeling happy-high. You are constantly aware of everything happening moment to moment and forget about the world. This sharp awareness, gives you an illusion of having everything around you in control, almost powerful!
The problem arises when you have nothing to be constantly diving into and there isn’t something you’d be engrossed in 24/7. The mind needs to be busy; it’s the way we are used to living. There is no pause, (unless you are on an elevator). We have got our power-hungry-minds, addicted to nibbling on something or the other. Idle minds are not necessarily bad, but if you don’t know how to handle the idle state of being, you’re sure to fall in trouble. Before you know it, you will be deriving power from controlling things that give you instant gratification.
Instant gratification is when the reward for doing something is received instantly, just like how our world works- Instant Noodles in 2 minutes, Microwave heating in 1 minute, Fat reduction in 1 week with detox diets, and the list goes on. There is no time for delayed gratification. We no longer have the patience to work towards our weaknesses to gain the reward over a period of time. Rather we indulge in easier activities which provide similar sense of fleeting power. This is exactly how our minds get led to being addicted.
Anything with instant gratification sneaks up and lies to you that ‘you are in the ‘Now’’, ‘you are in control’, and leaves you with an infatuated sense of security. It’s very hard to find individuals who are not addicted to something or the other, in current scenarios. Be it Social Media attention, PubG or other video games, Pornography, Sex, Alchohol, Poker, Drugs, Chalk powder, Smells, and other sense abuses, even Attention; humans have evolved and are still evolving in addiction. We have some ground shattering statistics as a country.
People want to have control over something; to fill the void of lack of control in other areas of their lives. So, if a person working in a company isn’t feeling gratified enough, and if they cannot get to change their work, he/she will look to other sources of gratification in whatever time is left. At one point, from the constant use of this source, we are no longer in control of its use. The substance now is in control of interacting with our brains dopamine levels. We go on to increase the use of the substance because that’s how instant gratification works. Your mind gets accustomed to it and needs a bigger dose. We are in the sense of a ‘high’, because the void of control is filled up. Its almost like a symbiotic relationship. The substance has the real power over our brains and we are feeding on fake power gratification.
How do we break up with this toxic relationship? Firstly, check if you’re addicted to something, by denying yourself access to it for sometime. If you feel you can’t live without it, you’re addicted. Get help! Speak to someone trust worthy and share that you need help. If you’re shy about it, approach a professional. It’s never too late to start all over again and its always okay to take help.
It’s human to want power, but you just have to access the right kind of it. What’s truly powerful is, when you can control yourself. To know yourself so well, that you can maneuver instantly in response to any external changes. If you cannot control yourself, you give the leash to the the external environment to control you. If you don’t understand your own nature and learn how to manage it—waves will be formed as per the winds outside. Anger is the best example of one such wave—A compulsive reaction that occurs to the situation outside of you.
In my earlier post of introducing Power (Power is always Free), I started off with a confession of being addicted to the internet. I feel powerful when I learn new information or have deep informative conversations with people. It gives me a sense of control. I have cut it down to balance it with my other priorities of health, family and work. I know I cannot live without the basic use of internet but I realize that I don’t need it all the time. People who have made a dent in the universe did it without any technology. Not going to be naïve but consciously use it to the limit of my goals and requirements.
The objective, of using anything, should be to have the ultimate access to control of oneself, as a result. When the use of the the substance in itself becomes rewarding is when Addiction sneaks up! Keep him out!
More Power to You OVER YOURSELF!