In our last couple of talks we explored how we are all seeking “permanence” in an impermanent world (LINK) and that we are encouraged to cultivate and pursue what are often unrealistic expectations (LINK) . This leads to great unhappiness. And then if we are unhappy, this may be categorized as a mental illness or a mental health issue.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal “Need Help for Stress and Anxiety? Maybe You Shouldn’t Talk to a Therapist – A psychiatrist explains why therapy isn’t always the answer.”
Written by Dr. Samantha Boardman, a clinical instructor in psychiatry and assistant attending psychiatrist at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City she even stated that “there might be times when therapy actually does more harm than good?” The full article is available here – https://www.wsj.com/articles/stress-anxiety-help-therapy-f4f6537b
A significant underlying problem is the philosophy of materialism, which ignores or denies the existence of the spirit soul or “self” as being who you really are and instead insists on the material body as being who you really are.
Social media is drowning in such ideas and is producing so much unhappiness because of this. One new “toy” is TikTok’s new “Bold Glamour” filter which radically transforms how your body/face looks and is having a disturbing effect on young women and girls. https://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/celebs/a43203022/tiktok-bold-glamour-filter/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email&utm_placement=newsletter
A 2021 study in the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery found that “the use of face-altering software on social media has a significant association with the subsequent desire to undergo facial cosmetic procedures.” This becomes a doorway to unhappiness because the body does not last, it naturally declines and dies.
But our SM feeds are filled with False Prophets offering False Promises that, in reality, lead to unhappiness. Just like the “religious extremists” these materialists often decry, they preach salvation (from pain, suffering and insecurities), attainment of heaven (unimaginable happiness, bliss/euphoria), and a promise-land of material perfection (heaven) – all through “followers”, consumerism, varieties of intoxication, porn, beauty, and the hyper-stimulation of your taste buds.
This is a massive problem, founded on the denial or blind ignorance of the reality of my actual spiritual existence.
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So, the, apart from last week, the couple of weeks before that, I been speaking on a couple of subjects that are related, and tonight will be a continuation of that. And it’s pretty much, the overarching thing has to do with the great search for happiness. And one of the things that we’ve mentioned recently and in the past, is the great unhappiness epidemic that is clearly manifest, at least in the Western world. Quite shocking sort of statistics.
And the talks that I did previously, the first one was, the focus was seeking permanence in that which is impermanent, and this is a massive problem. This is kind of, you set yourself up for failure here, by, you know, you want the fairy tale, “and they lived happily ever after.” No, they didn’t. And there is no “happily ever after,” or even “ever after,” not in the sense of this particular lifetime in this body and the nature of the material world.
And then the other thing dealt with how we are being actively encouraged to cultivate, and to have, unrealistic expectations. And it’s primarily driven by money, where people that want your money seek to promise you that which is actually unattainable and unrealistic, not at least through their products and services. And so this is really massively problematic. And then everybody gets so incredibly depressed about life and what they’re confronted with.
And so it’s like people’s unhappiness then becomes categorized as a mental health issue. And it’s just like—well, let me state, yes, there are genuine and real mental health issues. There are genuine and real things that need to be addressed and dealt with, but a lot of what’s going on is just broad categorization of unhappiness and disappointment as being to do—as being a mental health issue, when it’s clearly not.
A big part of the problem is people are giving up on what used to be common: it’s called consequential thinking. It’s like okay, if I choose this pathway, I don’t just look at the first thing that’s handed to me or that I get to get. It’s kind of like, and then, where does that go? and where does that go? and where does that lead to? And I look down the road, and see what’s the destination. And it’s kind of like, well, this may look so shiny and attractive, and I’m going like, “Yeah, give me some of that,” and the promise along with it, just do this and your life’s going to be amazing, and it’s just like all this exaggeration. And it’s like people are losing sight of the idea of a deeper purpose of life and definitely of the reality that we are eternal spiritual beings.
And all of these, or at least many of the problems that are manifesting, are fundamentally spiritual problems. They’re not actually material problems.
So on that theme I read an article just a couple of days ago in the Wall Street Journal, and the title of the article was:
“Need help for stress and anxiety? Maybe you shouldn’t talk to a therapist.” Then a subtitle: “A psychiatrist explains why therapy isn’t always the answer.”
And it’s just like, oh my God, revelation! So the article was written by a practicing clinical psychologist, who is actually an instructor of clinical psychology at Cornell University in New York, so a highly qualified individual who’s been practicing for 40 years. This is not some new age or new idea that’s being introduced. And she stated:
“The demand for mental health services is skyrocketing, and the wait lists for therapists are long. Employers, schools, and even the Biden administration are taking various steps to increase access to mental health services.
But what if I told you that talking to a professional about one’s psychological woes might not be the answer to every problem? Or that there might be times when therapy actually does more harm than good?”
Just like whoa! dose of reality. And of course, a lot of people are going to say, “Oh well, that’s that person’s opinion,” but we have to look at the evidence of what’s really going on.
“To be clear, I am a fan of therapy, and as a practicing psychiatrist for almost 20 years [sorry] I have witnessed many patients improve in treatment, however, the therapy-is-the-answer model is problematic for several reasons…underlying the blanket recommendations for therapy is the belief that stress of any kind is harmful. This line of thinking fails to recognize the growth that often accompanies challenging experiences.”
So she says it’s really bad, that just because somebody’s going through a rough patch in their life that one should presume that fragility is the underlying problem, and that the tendency to pathologize “normal experiences of human life. Sadness, worry, discomfort, and anxiety are part of life and not necessarily a sign of dysfunction.”
So she’s really—I’ll post a link to the article in when I post the talk online. It’s definitely worth looking at and helping to reinforce these deeper understandings of things.
But you can clearly see that, in relation to the previous things that I talk about, hardly anybody talks about this, that we’re seeking something unrealistic, quite often, in our life, and it’s manifest in so many different ways.
So I came across this thing. Somebody sent me from America an article, and it was absolutely mind-boggling to me. It’s a new TikTok filter. And it’s kind of like, “Yeah, well, what’s the big deal about that? It’s just like something that you play with.” And the answer is, “No, it’s not.” People need to really embrace and understand that these different—
You know, we’re receiving promises all the time, promises of fulfillment and perfection and happiness, and we’re—these promises are associated, quite often, with different experiences, products, services. And what we seem to have lost is the ability to recognize that many of these promises are false promises. They’re false promises. And we’re failing to recognize how deeply, how much energy is being put into manipulating us.
It’s like I mentioned, when you look at the phone, what you’re not seeing. You just look at the phone, and it’s just like, what? It’s just a phone. And in this case, it’s just a filter. And what you’re not seeing is the massive array of mega computing power on the other side of the screen that’s aimed at you, aimed at trying to take control of your habits, your life, your values, what you’re thinking.
So this new filter, it’s called Bold Glamor. (Laughs) Bold Glamor. And:
“What makes Bald Glamor stand out [from an article], it isn’t the beauty look that it projects on users’ faces [because that’s there] but just how well it projects it.”
So like some of these filters that people use on social media, wanting to put out this actually false image, but an attractive image of themself, as soon as you move or something moves in front of your face it’s like the filter goes, bjjjjjjwww, and then it’s back again, whereas this one is so advanced. There was one woman, and she’s moving her face, like distorting it and pushing it around, and you could not see any unnatural distortions. Everything was like followed incredibly perfectly. So:
“…it blends flawlessly into the user’s face in a way most of us honestly have never seen before…”
The hashtag Bold Glamor’s got like 355 million views. So it’s kind of like, well, do you think this is probably touching a lot of people and influencing a lot of people? And what I noticed was the biggest outcry about this Bold Glamor filter actually comes from people “who are really worried about how it will affect the self-esteem and self-image, both of those who use it, and those who just see it in their feeds.” So I mean they had these really glamorous women, like really beautiful, and they just go like, “Oh my God, this is scary, what this thing—this is scary.”
We’ve already seen the massive epidemic of eating disorders caused by Instagram with young women, and how Instagram was feeding young women who showed some concern about body image, things on eating disorders, and actually promoting the adoption of eating disorders in order to make your body image better. But nothing’s happened about that. It caused so much harm and so much damage.
Now this one is just taking things to a little—one woman, a really beautiful influencer, she goes, “This is a little too far.” Another woman who was a big influencer, after seeing it, said she’s never going to use any filter ever again because she found it so scary, because it has such a profound influence on people’s consciousness and their thinking. Another woman (and when I post this I’ll post her picture side by side with the filter and without) and she says that, “I’ve done a lot to unlearn that I owe prettiness to anyone. I don’t think my brain knows how to deal with looking like this one moment and then…” and then she turns it off, “…this the next.” And the difference is startling. It’s like absolutely mind-blowing.
And again it plays into the reinforcement of the idea that the body is who I am, the body is the self, and that I will find love, I will find acceptance, I will be worthy, I will be happy, all based upon how my body is looking. This is such a destructive idea, and it’s so untrue. And yet with all of these really powerful tools it’s just like we’re going down this path where spirituality, genuine spirituality, is being just scrubbed out, and the idea of materialism, the idea that the body, the material energy is the self, is becoming so deeply ingrained.
So there was a big research done by Dove. We know Dove, yeah? The soap that promises the most beautiful skin?
“Research shows that young girls are especially vulnerable to the negative effect of filters and photo retouching. A Dove study found that 85 percent of girls had used retouching apps by the time they were 13, and the negative impact on their mental health can be significant.”
Further in the study, it said one in two of these young girls that were affected this way say that toxic beauty content on social media causes low self-esteem, and that they thought that body modification, plastic surgery and fillers, was absolutely needed to make your life better. So you had a whole bunch of women, including influencers, then speaking out about the extreme harm that these things can have on people.
So I guess what we’re faced with—recently I listened to a talk by my spiritual master, one of my teachers, and he used the term “false prophets,” speaking about false prophets of materialism. And in reality, just like many of people that promote materialism, they have a dim view of what they consider “religious extremism,” but they don’t see that they are often in that same category. They are preaching actively about salvation, meaning, “We can provide you protection from suffering and pain. Just do this, accept this, buy into this.” That is, on its face, offering salvation from unhappiness and insecurities, pain, suffering and insecurities. They are promoting the attainment of some heavenly paradise, offering some unimaginable happiness or bliss, if you just do this or experience that. It’s like they’re promoting a promised land.
And they’re doing it through the idea of followers. This is a toxic idea, that my value is going to be measured in how many followers I have, and so you’ve got all these products and services and things to help you get more followers. They want to—they make these promises through the idea of followers, through consumerism, different varieties of intoxication, porn, beauty, and hyper-stimulation of your sense buds. You know, just like, “Oh, that’s heaven! Oh, that’s amazing!” You’ve got all these shows that are just focused on all this experience, as if it is going to be the be-all and end-all.
So it’s a bummer having to really sometimes mention and talk about some of these realities, but I think it’s important that people consider and contemplate and develop some tools to be of support to actually our own self, to family members and friends and those that we encounter, and for those that are a little bit more bold, seeking to have a more positive contribution towards society.
The biggest single problem that exists for people in the world is the adoption of the idea that the body is me, this is who I am. And the greatest opportunity for happiness and freedom will come from the cultivation and the actual experience of the truth that I am an eternal, spiritual being. This body is just a temporary thing that I am using.
And so we really encourage people to become consequential thinkers. Think stuff through, your goals, your hopes, your aspirations in life. I’m not saying abandon everything but think it through and decide what weight should be given to it, how important that should be or not be.
Okay? Is this all right, or is this a bit too serious? It overwhelms me the amount of unnecessary pain and suffering that people are experiencing that’s got—and it’s just like so unnecessary. We are willfully being ignorant.
On that happy note (laughs while picking up guitar) Of course, the solution is the process of meditation, that through these spiritual sounds one will actually come to experience actual self-realization and God-realization, and a world of limitless happiness will be open to us. It doesn’t mean this world will go away. No. The nature of the world is, yeah, there’s going to be ups and downs and difficulties and all kinds of stuff, but when you have a clear perspective and you have a wonderful foundation, a great lens through which you view everything—we may become the odd person out, the person described as marching to the beat of a different drummer, a little bit out of sync with everybody else. Boy, how—that’s okay. But we need to start the process so it can grow into a movement and actually have a wonderful effect on this world. So I will chant the Mahamantra.