The ultimate addiction is the mind believing itself.
– Byron Katie
This is perhaps the only addiction, at least from the mind side of the mind-energy equation. The mind is addicted to believing its own stories. And from there, the other addictions are created.
The mind is addicted to believing its own stories. It uses a lot of energy and resources maintaining, supporting, and propping up its stories so they seem true to itself.
It does so because it’s familiar, other minds do the same, and it seems scary to do anything else. Who would we be without those stories? How would we function? What would we find?
Also, most minds don’t know how to release its addiction to beliefs. We are unable to, so it often doesn’t even bother trying. Until, perhaps, the pain of believing stories is so strong and obvious that we wish to find another way.
And a few words about addiction.
In a conventional sense, we can say that most addictions come from trying to deal with pain, wounds, and a sense of lack. We try to fill a hole. We try to avoid the pain. We try to find some temporary relief and comfort. And we do so through a wide range of addictions – whether it’s entertainment, relationships, nature, work, music, books, food, spirituality, drugs, alcohol, or something else.
Addiction is the mind’s safety valve. It’s natural. And yet, it can create a lot of additional problems in our lives. And it does prevent deeper healing, awakening, and embodiment.
Addiction is also how we often get on the path to healing and awakening. Eventually, the pain inherent in it is too much. We see it doesn’t work. It’s a dead end. We wish for something else.
The original addiction is believing painful thoughts. That’s how the pain is created that leads to and fuels the other addictions.
So what’s the solution? Of the many out there, here are some I am familiar with.
Rest with and allow sensations, including the uncomfortable ones. Rest with and allow any experience, including the uncomfortable ones. Make this a new habit.
Inquire into the painful thoughts. Find what’s more true (The Work). Allow the charge to go out of them (Living Inquiries).
Release the tension fueling the pain and addiction from the body. (Therapeutic tremoring, TRE).
Change your relationship to the painful stories and what they are about, and the pain itself. Befriend it. (Ho’o, tonglen.)
Release and clear the emotional issues fueling the addiction(s). (Vortex Healing.)
Train a more stable and pliable attention. This is a useful tool for any endavour.
Addiction is a universal human experience. We are all addicted to something in a conventional sense. And we are all addicted to believing thoughts as well. It’s natural. It has a function. And yet, it’s painful and unsatisfactory in the long run. So it’s also a gift that can set us on the path of healing and awakening. And there are ways to heal addictions, especially if we have the right tools and guidance, and motivation and persistence.