Three Brushes With Death: Reset Your Mind
Three Brushes With Death: Reset Your Mind
“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism,” wrote Carl Jung.
This is the story of an Irishman who was addicted to smoking and his
transformation in life to become useful to society. His name was Robert Bacon, a catholic priest by training and profession.
Today he is wedded to His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation through devotion and gratefulness. As a member of the faculty of the Art of Living Foundation, he has been organizing online courses during Covid-19 times.
Prior to the onset of the novel coronavirus, he was regularly conducting courses for individuals addicted to smoking, substance abuse, and alcohol in India and overseas.
Invariably, Robert would engage his audience about his past and also touch on the subject of addiction. Robert a catholic priest was to say that addiction is, “a physical or psychological need of a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction, the body adapts to the substance being used and over a period of time requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally produced by smaller doses, without which the addict has withdrawal symptoms.”
Robert had an incredible past before landing at the Art of Living International Ashram in Bangalore for treatment. A catholic priest spread the word of God, but on the flip side was addicted to smoking. In fact, he would smoke up to 5 to 6 packets of cigarettes every day and irritated everyone around him with his perennial and persistent coughing bouts.
Once Robert was traveling from London to Dublin and the plane crashed. Fortuitously for him, he was the only survivor and survived certain death. Instantly he eschewed the dangerous habit of smoking, thanked his stars and the God almighty, and became absolutely clean. He felt much better with higher energy levels. However, Robert did crave an occasional drag though he managed to control his monkey mind from straying from the habit of smoking.
A few years later he was aboard another flight and chanced upon an article smoking and tobacco.
The import of the article was as per the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention tobacco usage was “the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide."
It dawned on Robert’s mind that without any doubt consumption of tobacco was one of the single greatest causes of preventable deaths globally. He appreciated the fact that the excessive usage afflicts the heart, liver, and lungs of human bodies. Smoking is a major contributor to heart attacks; COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Astonishingly Robert was to survive another plane crash that day while reading on the article and curiously enough was the sole survivor and survived a yet another death, for a second time. This made him ponder about various aspects of life and the purpose of life. In a moment of mental aggression, he began to smoke once again,
The reality was that Robert’s human brain had become became wired to this addiction and nicotine. And the withdrawal symptoms had played havoc on the physical and psychological self. Though he gave up smoking he was mandated to consult a counselor, take medication or join self-help groups like smokers -anonymous to be absolutely free from this addiction.
On this occasion, smoking had become a quotidian, and Robert was to suffer serious health hazards like a stroke and myocardial infarction. This was his third brush with death. For several months he lay on the hospital bed looking aimlessly at the ceiling of this room to recover and had to simultaneously undergo a series of counseling sessions. One of his counselors was a doctor from India.
The Indian doctor was one Raja Venkatesan from Bangalore. Dr. Venkatesan became addicted to alcohol, and the consumption had become a quotidian leading to hospitalization.
He was to join Alcoholics Anonymous for his treatment and also a rehabilitation center.
But there arrived a tipping point in his life when he was advised to join to undergo the Living Well- De-Addiction program of the Art of Living.
Dr. Rajan went through a leaflet which extolled the virtues of the program which included -
1 - Stop Smoking Start Living and
2 - Devine for Alcohol De-addiction.
These programs aimed at empowering an individual to live an addiction-free life. They mainly focus on creating awareness of addictions and their long term ill effects.
It also included stress-handling techniques like the unique rhythmic breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya, Pranayama, and Yoga to overcome cravings for smoking or alcohol, as stress plays an important role in developing an addiction. The program included medical detoxification, clinical and psychological therapies, managing abstinence, and relapse prevention strategy.
Dr. Venkatesan advised his patient to undertake the Living Well- De-Addiction for a holistic treatment.
Robert Bacon whose life was curiously sandwiched between two survivors of air crashes and astonishingly the only person to emerge alive packed his bags to Bangalore after being discharged from the hospital to undergo the de-addiction program at the Art of Living Centre Bangalore. Through the grace of the Master H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, he completely eschewed smoking and also transfigured his mind to become an Art of Living Teacher to provide succor to addicts.
Truly an inspirational life ……which brushed death on three occasions.