Our society is finding ever more ways to experience the 12th house and spending ever more time doing so. Meditation finds more practitioners in each generation as interest in esoteric spiritual practices blossoms.
New forms of 12th house experiences are also rapidly and dramatically emerging. Video games and other forms of electronic escape are exploding in popularity and are attracting millions and even billions of users. Many in the younger generations find regular and extended periods of entertainment from playing video games. And addiction to electronic entertainment is even becoming commonplace. Like drugs and alcohol, video games offer an easy way of escaping from life’s challenges. People turn to video games to compensate for social anxiety, for lack of friends, for anxiety or depression, and for general dissatisfaction with life. While videogame use may be less stigmatized than drug and alcohol use it is still dangerous to human growth and happiness.
For many people, the 12th house is a difficult place to be but, nevertheless, a place that we all have to travel through at times in our lives. It is a place where we have the difficult opportunity (but still an opportunity) to finish our karmic debts to people and situations that we are connected to. It is here that we can experience loneliness, debt, sorrow, and loss.
However, in our society there are an increasing number of ways to avoid having to suffer in the 12th house altogether. Intoxicants and videogames are both ways to numb ourselves to the suffering that our karma dictates that we should experience. They are both means of escaping from our reality and are lower manifestations of the 12th house.
Drunkenness and drug-induced states of consciousness are a way for many people to escape the world they live in and its problems and concerns. In just the last generation, however, videogames have emerged as another way that we can escape from our daily life. And videogame addiction has become a serious problem for our society.
Misuse of drugs, alcohol, and videogames carry obvious consequences. Performance at school and work is damaged; relationships with partners and family members often deteriorate as a result of the use of these escape mechanisms.
However, perhaps just as serious is the general numbing effect that drugs, alcohol, and video games have on psychological and emotional states.
The problem with numbing our sorrows with anything—videogames, alcohol, drugs, overeating, TV—is that we also numb ourselves to the possibility of beauty in life. If we numb ourselves to pain we also numb ourselves to pleasure, including the higher pleasures and joys that can be found in life.
Numbing ourselves to heartbreak and loneliness diminishes our capacity to enjoy love and friendship.
If we are unable to enjoy social gatherings because we lack social skills or if we lack the courage to face our sorrows, running away from these shortcomings only makes it more difficult to improve them.
There are higher ways to find relief from life’s sorrows. Meditation can be the highest way. Meditators can escape from life’s difficulties into a world of peace for fifteen minutes or even an hour at a time. And this comes without the disastrous side effects of video games, drugs, and alcohol use (lower 12th house manifestations).
The more one practices meditation the more one will be able to find the natural God-given door to peace.
Meeting life head on and finding peace through meditation is the higher way of dealing with life’s difficulties. This path, unlike the lower paths of escape, cultivates a peace that only grows stronger over time. The lower paths seem to give peace but, in the long run, this ephemeral peace rots into worry and emptiness.
Moreover, devoting ourselves to meditation and purposeful work ensures that we actually learn from sorrow and trial. Sorrow and trial don’t simply come to us because the world is cruel (even though it often is) but they come to us to reinforce our strength and to show us our weaknesses that we might fix them.