A Spiritual Remedy For Pornography?

By Rudra Shivananda


Rudra Shivananda 

Every now and then, a spiritual practitioner will contact me and reveal that he is struggling with an addiction to on-line pornography and ask about remedies. After a little research, it appears that this kind of condition is not uncommon with the proliferation of on-line sites in recent years. In a short article, I can only briefly touch on some ideas that I feel are the most important to share.

There is no easy answer to the cause for the rise of such obsessive behavior because there can be a variety of karmic factors involved with the human sex drive. Every one of us is now inundated with sexually vibrant advertising on a daily basis and this can trigger many samskaras (karmic patterns) from past lives of unfulfilled sexual desires.

Most of us will try to suppress them but without a firm spiritual practice to remove the samskaras, they still lie dormant waiting for the right environment to manifest.

There are those who may think that obsession with pornography is a harmless issue. Even if it does not result in directly harming someone else, it can be harmful for the one obsessed. A lot of energy is wasted in pursuit of their compulsion and this can be detrimental to their work, their relationships and even spiritual practice.

It is generally not a good idea to try to sort out the complex causal chains that have led to the current problematic behavior pattern. The least useful advice generally is to use your willpower to stop because if that were possible, it would already be done – ask the smoker, the drinker etc. to stop and we know what happens.

The best remedy is to devote one-self to a powerful spiritual practice such as Kriya Yoga which can remove the fundamental causes of all negative behavior. However, normal spiritual practice takes a long time to counteract such compulsions in those without a very strong will.

Another remedy, possibly swifter, is to embrace the tantric philosophy of inclusion. However, be warned that this is a sword-edged path fraught with great dangers. On this path, all aspects of one’s self are accepted without condemnation. Accordingly, guilt is actually the greatest detriment. However, this is not a license for negative or hurtful behavior as some have tried to put into practice. The more enlightened Tantric utilizes meditation to fulfill their desires and will incorporate the pornographic material. The essential difference between the meditation and indulging in sexual fantasy is the stated purpose – one is to extricate oneself from delusion by going through it while the other is to enjoy it. Eventually, the practitioner would be able to view the pornography without be effected by it, physically, emotionally or mentally.

The first step to deal with a compulsive behavior is to recognize that it is a problem. Then one should seek help – from a support group or program if such exists for the negative issue. Keep in mind though, that, such 12 step programs etc. are not a cure, but an effective means of coping with the problem.Only a spiritual remedy can eliminate
the root cause.

In the case of the on-line pornography, most of those over 40 years old seems to be suffering from guilt while those in their 20s not so much. The older ones seem to understand that the activities shown in pornography are not reflective of the loving relationship with a partner while those younger have difficulty in discriminating between cultural norms and pornographic hyperbole. This can be very dangerous in the case of violent pornography which seems to be on the rise.

Whether a spiritual person with the pornographic obsession chooses to continue with what may be a harmless pursuit or seek a remedy through some form of spiritual practice, the key to decrease any possible future harmful karma is to commit to moral restraint.

It is important to behave in accordance to the spiritual guidance of the Masters – positive conduct with respect for all living beings. This is the guiding light of truth that can help the sincere seeker overcome such obstacles as compulsive behavior.

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