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Addictions take many forms.

'Smartphone Addiction' or 'Cell Phone Addiction' and 'Social Media Addiction' are oft-mentioned ones now. Think on it. How many days can you go without this non-vital to life connection?

Are all addictions self-harming? According to Miriam Webster Dictionary online, Yes, Yes they are.

Definition of addiction

1: a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted

2: a strong inclination to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly

But those who know him well say he isn't driven by politics as much as his addiction to breaking news.— Amanda Ripley

If we do not find the courage to kick our fossil fuel addiction and transition to clean energy, we will warm the atmosphere to the extent that areas typically covered in white all winter long could see only sporadic snow.— Steven Nyman

From the above definition, we see where to draw the proverbial line in the sand. Where harm is caused, and I would add, 'to self or others'. Because isn't that where you are? In a mindset of service. Perhaps that is what brings you through your fears and addictions to a beneficial mindset- habit of uplifting and practice of pratipaksha-bhavana.

Pratipaksha-bhavana or thought replacement is a Yogic practice first known to be described around 400 CE in Patanjali's classic text The Yoga Sutras, which contains 196 aphorisms on the philosophy and lifestyle of yoga.

Much of the information drawn below is wisdom sourced from one of the world's leading Yoga historians and a personal favorite of mine (from whom I have been studying since 2010 through his teaching course and books- not in person- at that time he had already given up public teaching/workshops for some time prior for environmental reasons. He passed in 2012.) Georg Feurstein.

What does yoga say we do with emotional triggers and negative thoughts? Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Replace that which harms with that which benefits, until that which benefits is effortless and all-pervasive- it is simply how we are. Liberated, Loving, Peaceful and Serving.

Pratipaksha-bhavana is a yoga technique that I have personally practiced and taught for more than 30 years. Like many yoga practices it sounds, and is, quite simple. Simple, however not so easy. It takes sincerely devoted and non-stop repeated practice, total mindfulness and clarity, to achieve the benefits.

When a negative thought arises; to not follow it, cycle with it, court it in any way, to not fall down the well over it or even get the least bit shaky or unnerved or angry by it. To Simply Let it Go. And, to keep it gone, replace it with a beneficial thought. To come up with that thought. To hold to that thought. That is the discipline.

Interestingly, Feuerstein seems to encourage psychological techniques in tandem with yoga practice, as he notes that emotional stabilization is primary and yogic practices such as pratipaksha bavana are secondary.

I would say that emotional stabilization is found in the breath, and after taking control of yourself through your breath, you consciously (until the day when the conscious has become the unconscious) reframe and rephrase whatever it was that you were saying to yourself that was not kind or helpful. And you can use that same practice to change your interactions with others.

Feurstein says that thought replacement in the yogic tradition has similarities with the field of positive psychology and cognitive behavior therapy. It’s about expression rather than repression.

So, today, move consciously off the cell phone or away from FB and out into the woods or some other spot to Nature and Nurture and Play. Breathe in the Trees. Send your Gratitude to the Wind and Sky. Do yourself a Kindness, that will reflect through you as Kindnesses to all that lives in this beautiful, magnificent world we share.

Love and Light,

Jodi Jai!

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