February 7, 2015
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Listening to the very wise and brilliant Gabor Maté has gotten me thinking a lot lately about addiction and mental illness. As he states in one of his videos that was so insightful it almost caused me to fall off my chair:
At the root of addiction is pain.
When we try to escape pain we just create more of it.
We need to learn to sit with our pain. Then we can figure out what it’s all about.
As Maté wisely points out we live in a society that wants instant relief and isn’t comfortable facing itself. He defines addiction quite broadly, as being anything with negative consequences that we keep on doing despite those negative consequences. This could include compulsive exercise, becoming a workaholic, food, sex, along with the more commonly considered addictions such as alcohol and drugs.
To me the pain that’s at the root of addiction comes from trauma. That trauma is a blend of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. I think that blend helps determine what we’re vulnerable to in terms of addiction. As someone whose trauma has been relatively minor to this point I can only work with what I know and try to imagine what that might be like on a larger scale.
With this in mind I decided last night to try sitting with my pain. At first it was extremely uncomfortable. Quickly though, as I shone the light of consciousness (Osho) on my pain it began to dissolve. In a remarkably short period of time I was at peace which is quite unusual for me on a Friday night.
The best solutions are often the simply ones.