WHY should we develop our Heart Space? – Part-7

It is true that a captivating dance number on a mobile screen can temporarily elevate our dopamine levels, but engaging in the chanting and dancing of the Holy Names of Krishna during kirtans can offer us a more fulfilling experience. While our taste buds may be aroused by the sight or smell of crunchy, spicy Indian snacks topped with tamarind chutney, true satisfaction of the palate is discovered when we mindfully savor our daily meals consisting of chapatis, vegetables, rice, and dal. Nature offers experiences that surpass the fleeting relief of our pleasure pursuits, but to access them, we must make healthy choices in our diet, associations, and lifestyle.

Our pursuit of pleasure often acts as a painkiller, providing temporary relief from the struggles of our daily lives. It is natural to seek such respite, but the problem arises when we substitute the painkiller for genuine healing. Let’s imagine a scenario where a friend develops chest pain and consults a doctor. The doctor prescribes a healthy regimen of exercise and a balanced diet. However, instead of following the prescribed lifestyle, our friend discovers a cheap painkiller that instantly relieves the chest pain. It becomes convenient for him to simply pop a painkiller whenever the pain arises, avoiding the disciplined lifestyle recommended by the doctor.

What do you think would be his fate? After some time, the painkiller will no longer provide relief, and he may need to take two pills. Eventually, even half a dozen painkillers will fail to alleviate the pain. Similarly, seeking sensory gratification may initially offer some respite from our suffering, but if we neglect the nourishment of our Heart Space, these temporary pleasures will prove ineffective. Despite indulging in a multitude of sensory pursuits, we will continue to feel an inner hollowness.

Modern painkillers – Smartphones and the Social media

My friend used to proudly claim that he wasn’t addicted to his smartphone and knew how to use his gadgets wisely. However, he recently came to the realization that whenever he faced challenges at work or experienced failed relationships, he would spend an excessive amount of time on social media. It dawned on him that apps like WhatsApp and Facebook served as his personal “painkiller.” The act of endlessly scrolling through these apps and getting lost in Instagram video reels provided him with temporary relief. It became a means for him to escape from his miserable reality. Engaging in mindless chats and watching meaningless videos on his phone seemed to be the modern equivalent of drowning one’s sorrows with alcohol. Instead of going to a bar, people now had the option to grab their tablets and further indulge in a life of denial.

In today’s age, the internet is filled with literature and research studies that expose how social media apps employ algorithms specifically designed to keep users glued to their smartphone screens. It delivers a similar rush to that of a slot machine, as users eagerly anticipate a virtual “jackpot.” Thus, we now find both gambling and alcohol-like effects bundled together in one place. However, the instant surge of dopamine and pleasure derived from our phones isn’t as harmless as it appears. It rewires our brains and robs us of the genuine happiness that can be found in simple, real-world experiences. For example, watching a beautiful rain shower on an electronic screen may evoke some excitement, but it pales in comparison to the fulfillment one could derive from witnessing the actual rain outside their window. Similarly, steamy sex scenes in a web series are designed to titillate our senses, but can they ever replace the depth and intimacy of a meaningful relationship with a loved one? As we grapple with challenges in the real world and seek gratification in the virtual realm, we gradually transform into zombies. Slowly but surely, we disconnect from genuine real-life experiences and get hooked on the illusory world of flashing images.

To be continued…