I would like to know something a bit more personal if that’s OK? I’d like to know about addiction and how we stop it in ourselves?
That is a very important question and to be honest it’s more important for you and everyone who hopes to progress in themselves than things like what happens in the higher realms of spirit life. Why I say this is that often we will be wanting to know a lot if things as a way to distract ourselves from our day to day personal difficulties, but if we really wanted to know about metaphysical things, we wouldn’t actually be asking about them, we’d rather be facing our day to day difficulties because honestly that’s the fastest way to begin to really know everything else. Knowing in truth can’t occur because a person tells you something you don’t know, real knowing isn’t detached from experience. That’s another topic we can talk about later but briefly a better way to look at this is that all things come through our growing relationship with God and that means anything we wish to know, we can experience, but first our relationship is going to grow by taking away the fences we’ve built between us and God. Those fences are what the difficult day to day things are all about. So it’s the most important type of knowledge we can seek to know, a true knowledge of ourselves, which in other words is coming to see ourselves as God sees us. You can understand then to do that, to see how God sees us, we have to start getting to know God too. And what’s perfect about this is that both those things happen together, simultaneously and actually if you want to get to know yourself fully in the fastest way possible, building and growing a relationship with God is the way to do it.
Of course you can also get to know yourself without having a relationship with God. God doesn’t push this relationship on us, She always desires it, but She doesn’t force it, and that’s a quality of love. It’s just that having this relationship is the fastest way because we’re not doing it alone but with God as part of the process. So God there we have with us the being that knows us best.
The alternative is just a longer process because when you want to know yourself and in fact be yourself to your full natural potential, you can only do that through a process of experimentation and observation, with God you still experiment and observe but you’re connecting with Him and asking about everything while you’re in the process and the experience becomes one that you walk with God all the way. That’s a very powerful way to learn, it is actually the most powerful way.
So given this relationship is about allowing love from God to be felt by us, what it is we start doing is opening ourselves up for this and that then exposes us to all the things we hold on to. All of those things are basically what’s not allowing us to open up in the first place and these things are the fences we have between us and God.
So why do we make these fences that separates us from God?
There’s a reason we have these fences in place, but these aren’t about God placing barriers between us, rather its the other way around. When we begin this process one of the first things we start to notice is how we mange everything. This is what we do in self reliance, rather than relying on what God’s already provided for us, such as all God’s laws of love acting on us and around us all the time, like the law of attraction for example, we manage things our own way. What occurs with this law is we start attracting things into our life that mirrors our true condition and essentially this happens to help us grow and learn about ourselves. Mind you this is not just a law that God has forced upon us either, as if its placed on us to endure the effects of this law unwillingly, it’s actually a part if our own soul’s desires that are at work with the law of attraction, because our soul, which is who we are, yearns to grow in a true sense. Growth is basically one of our most basic of desires and its one that actually goes hand in hand with love.
But to go back a little. What we do instead of growing through the process of our own attractions, is we convince ourselves that all these things happening to us in our lives aren’t what we really want, we want it to happen differently, so we begin to manage our lives around whatever that concept is that we have for ourselves. This is where addiction comes into play because addiction is a tool we use to manage all this.
For example, we might be feeling somewhat down or depressed, and often we feel we don’t know the reason why, and then instead of feeling what that reason is, instead of doing things to increase our sensitivity so we can start to find out why we feel bad, we begin to manage instead. The way we manage is to either distract ourselves from the pain or soothe it away.
So we don’t really want to deal with the problem causing us to feel bad?
No, we’d rather fous on effects. Imagine a guy with a stone in his shoe, he’s walking on it and feels some pain, but he would rather not feel that pain so instead of taking steps to remove the stone, he leaves it there and does all manner of things to avoid the pain he feels when he walks in these shoes he’s wearing all the time.
This is just an analogy of course, an analogy of what we do in our lives and how we manage the underlying pain we feel, but it’s not an actual situation people have, most people would remove a stone in their shoe, it just serves to demonstrate a similar process to help us picture what’s happening.
So with this hypothetical man, what he’d go and do is distract himself. He might do this by listening to loud music, so he walks with headphones on all the time and he’s not noticing the pain so much. He might start eating something sweet, like an ice cream, so he’s more involved in the pleasurable sensation he gets and that makes him focus less on the stone in his shoe as well. He might even put some type of padding on the soles of his shoes, so the impact of each step is not as strong when he walks. The thing is as you might imagine, the longer he’s not dealing with the cause and that’s simply the stone in his shoe, the more he becomes reliant on all these props he’s using to assist him avoiding the pain and when it gets to a certain point, when say there’s a number of props he’s using to manage things, the injury this stone in his foot creates will be quite severe. And so he’s either going to have to start removing the props and start becoming sensitive to what’s really happening and finally see that he’s got to get his shoe off and remove this stone, or he’s going to have to become even more insensitive and inventive with his props so he can further detune himself from dealing with the real cause.
To be honest, it is a marvel at how inventive we can get in this direction, but it’s not a positive type of inventiveness given its all about managing effects rather than dealing with causes, which when you think about it, it’s not the wisest approach, but we do invest a lot of time and energy in this direction. Imagine if that level of investment was rather put into creative endeavours or real gift giving type of creations, can you imagine what a different world we’d have?
I can imagine the world would be less self involved?
Not only that, you’d be seeing everybody focus on expressing what is truly unique about ourselves, all our gifts and talents, our passions and pure types of desires, these would be all expressed. When that happens people naturally want to give of themselves because there’s so much joy found living in our complete desires all the time and people too start becoming more drawn us, and everything starts moving into place. You’d actually be surprised at how very quickly everything can fall into harmony with what essentially God intended us to be.
So what stops this are the props that we use to manage our pain? Are these also what our addictions are?
Yes, that’s what they are – our addictions are the props we create for ourselves. So this guy in the hypothetical situation, if he just continues to ignore the stone in his shoe, he eventually will have all these props hanging off him, and he’d be carrying this around wherever he went, and you can see with this load he has, essentially that’s what it is – a weight he’s dragging about with him, it’s going to cause him a multitude of other problems, ones he’s going to also need to deal with. In the end if he continues down this path, he’ll feel like he has no real freedom and he’ll begin to forget who he really is. Because under all this baggage is the real man, but because he’s got all this other stuff with him, he increasingly finds it more and more difficult to recognise himself, the real him. So after a while he actually begins to associate himself more with the props he’s carrying around rather than the real man underneath it all. And what’s caused all this, all this management of effects, all these things he’s become addicted to, is in the beginning only a small stone.
What should he do to break free from it? Like would he just stop giving in to his addictions one by one?
Yes if he starts that soon he’ll have an opportunity to feel the pain that’s causing this and eventually get to an emotional understanding of what that is. It’s an emotional understanding that has to happen because he has to start becoming sensitive to himself, and that’s by feeling, because only by feeling is he going experience the emotions that he’s avoiding. Nothing else will make us sensitive to ourselves, others or in fact the environment around us other than feeling.
So it’s really an emotion that’s at the cause not a physical thing?
Yes, we’ve all become quite desensitised to ourselves that many of us don’t see ourselves anymore as emotional beings, but irrespective of that, we are just that – emotional beings and it’s the emotions we don’t let ourselves feel that’s at the root of our pain. In the end it’s never issues to do with physical or mental things, there’s always first an emotional cause, the other things are in fact secondary.
There’s actually a whole layer of other issues arising from the belief that our pain is purely physical or mentally related, because our pain starts and actually endures by us avoiding and denying emotions. What we end up often doing with this belief system, is we only address physical or mental effects. Our friend with the stone in his shoe might be attending to his wound on his foot by putting antibiotic cream on it for example but then he’s still leaving the stone in his shoe after that and he’s still walking on it. It’s good that he’s attending to his wound, but unless he’s also dealing with the cause, it’s not in the end going to help that much.
So, this is what we do often when we start seeing that we have a particular addiction. We might notice that we’ve become addicted to cigarettes for example. We start seeing how it’s affecting our health, so we stop smoking and then when we take away the cigarettes, the underlying pain that we were managing before with cigarettes begins to surface and unless we allow ourselves to feel that, we’ll end up finding something else to soothe or distract us. We could start eating more fast food for instance, or we could even start trying to adjust how we’re thinking, because we believe its a problem with our thoughts.
So we go and see a therapist for example and they might be telling us we have to think differently when we feel like there’s a painful feeling arising, so we do that and because that’s often mentally draining to be constantly trying to adjust our thinking patterns, we might also add something else like a meditation practice to help us develop our ability to manage our thoughts. And actually what happens is we’ll feel like we’re getting a handle on things, we’ve stopped smoking, we’ve managed to reduce our negative thoughts and feelings but because we’re still denying our emotions at the root of all this, and our soul is basically yearning for us to see these frozen parts of ourselves, we start attracting more events into our lives that begin to trigger these emotions we’re denying and because we’ve made measures to desensitise ourselves from feeling those arising pains coming up beforehand, the events we attract just become stronger and stronger in nature as a way to break through this shell we’ve constructed.
So all these things can be addictions too?
Yes an addiction can be anything. On the surface we have our physical addictions, like cigarettes, food, sex or even the clothes we wear. We’ve got then our mental addictions such as our ways of thinking, our beliefs, our concepts of reality etc, all these things can become mental addictions. We have emotional addictions as well, so we become addicted to certain feelings, these might be the feelings of reassurance we get from others or feelings of being important for instance. But underneath, its the emotional addictions actually driving all the others.
For example, if a man’s feeling undesirable as a man at his core, rather than feel that, rather than feel what’s behind what he’s been attracting in his life, like he might have a series of relationships where women don’t really desire him wholeheartedly, he might have instead developed a whole series of beliefs about women as a result, that women can’t really love men, that women only want a man’s money etc. So those belief systems become a mental picture of reality he holds on to as an addiction to avoid how he truly feels. He might supplement this with gaining feelings of acceptance and reassurance by being around other men who have similar beliefs and these men would be sharing anecdotes about women that fit these mental concepts they all have. He might also further supplement this with physical addictions, like ones of a sexual nature for instance, things like pornography that’s often designed for men to feel in themselves sexual desired by other women, and this can become a physical addiction too.
So if this man was to really begin addressing his addictions, which was your initial question, what he’d need to do is allow himself to become sensitive to the emotions surrounding his addictions, while making tangible steps not to gratify them. So rather than go with his physical and mental addictions all the time, or rather than seeking alternative one’s, he could instead experiment with what happens when he doesn’t do any of these things or when he refrains slowly over time. So bit by bit he could let himself become aware of the feelings that arise when he does this. He could ask God to help him come to know what it’s all about, even if he doesn’t believe in God, he could do that and just observe what happens, what events come up as a result of including God and what he feels different as a result. He could start documenting all this too just as we’d do with any experiment. When we experiment too, we’ve got to trial things, we’ve got to do things differently and adjust according to what we find or don’t find, so it’s a process that will take some time and there’s a lot of feelings that can come up as a result, such as uncertainty, disbelief in the process and ourselves or feelings of failure and inadequacy for example and we can also choose to let ourselves feel and process these too as part of this experiment of learning and actually re-learning too – to become more sensitive to ourselves. When we include God within that process as well as I talked about earlier, we’re no longer doing this whole thing alone and so the learning becomes much richer, more informative and much more rapid for us too.
Thank you, this has been truly helpful.
You’re always welcome my friend!