Contemplating the development of addiction, it occurs to me that all levels of being are in varying degrees affected by the pattern of forming a dependency. In order to understand addiction however, we have to look in particular at the energetic aspects, as they seem to contribute considerably to the development of the disorder.
At the core of addiction is a desire to avoid uncomfortable feelings. In reality there is not such a thing as pleasant and unpleasant feelings – it is just that we have learned to label them as such, and we have also learned, that pleasant feelings are desirable, and unpleasant feelings are to be avoided. The desire to go after pleasure, if in itself not harmful, but it always conditions the unpleasant. So what we are trying to do habitually is to go after pleasure and value it higher than things we label to be tedious or even painful. It is the wanting for the enjoyable facets of life, that drives the imbalance.
But below this pretty humane mechanism, lies what is true for all of us. There is a deeply ingrained grief of having lost the connection to what is true and the sense of lack, having to live a life based on lies. This is the “original sin” – this sense of having lost the connection to what is true. You can feel it, when you go deeply within yourself.
Losing the sense of inherent safety is the momentum of egoic conditioning to set in. Ego is a process that builds reactions around a desire – a want, or a fixation, and it is closely related to learning, Just take the example of having experienced being left alone as a child. There are the emotions of anger and fear associated with the experience of helplessness, frustration and terror. It is the realisation that we are not enough, that we cannot keep ourselves safe and sound but need another that proves to be unreliable. For a little child it is incomprehensible to think that the caretaker is anything else than omnipotent. It simply would destroy their faith in their own survival. From the perspective of a child it seems obvious that they themselves must be somehow at fault, and not the person who is supposed to take care of them. This is how some of the core beliefs in terms of “ I am not enough” are coming into being. It does not take much to trigger such a belief and it seems to be a pretty common event in the development of a human child.
So the child left alone is learning two things. First of all it is getting the impression of nor being “fit for survival”, secondly it is confronted with strong energies of fear and anger, that it does not know how deal with. This is the beginning of learning how to avoid or suppress strong feelings and turn them in other emotions – like frustration or jealousy.
At the core of conditioning is the desire of the ego to keep us physically safe and out of trouble. To make us stay away from everything that might be damaging and hurtful – and that also includes intense feelings and emotions. The egoic desire will always seek pleasure and avoid the uncomfortable, as we have seen above. This is the ur-conditioning and it is at the core of the imbalance that we create in our lives by putting too much emphasis on what we perceive as pleasurable, as opposed to what we think is not comfortable.
So there are two prerequisites now. First of all the process of ego formation is using the mechanism of learning and conditioning to create a reaction. Secondly, the preference for pleasure over what is perceived as unpleasant drives the choice. So what is it then that we want to avoid?
Feelings are sensations in the body more specifically they are the experience of emotions. Emotions can be perceived as positive or negative and they are closely associated how we experience the world. They too have evolved from the purpose of keeping us safe, but later on they too have developed to serve the need of the ego to integrate the learning about conflicts rooted in our expectations.
Feelings and emotions are basically energies and their location points to the identification or belief that may be involved in creating them. Basically there are three clusters of emotional energies that contribute to the origin of addiction.
These are the issues of the first chakra – or everything that has to do with family, cultural and social differences, religious beliefs and matters of security. Then there are the emotions related to the issues of the second chakra, which has to do with the expression of personal power in relation with others and creativity, or well I am able to express who I am. And lastly, there are the issues of the third chakra, which is the seat of the “ego”, or the sense of my personal identity. This is just a gross differentiation to help allocate different types of identity- and belief issues that contribute to the formation of “negative” – or unpleasant emotions, which we seek to avoid.
Emotions build up over the years. We all start out with the formation of a basic “identity”, influenced by our care-takers and the situation and location we are born in. We form certain beliefs about our environment and assume and build expectations that originate in these identifications. Then we go on to form relationships with others and we come to understand our own preferences, strength and weaknesses, when dealing with others. Lastly, we form a belief of ourselves, based on the other two major influences. Feelings of guilt and shame, for example may be felt in the area of the stomach – the seat of the ego, but they may have their roots in earlier experiences that were in conflict with the beliefs and identifications.
So this is what we have to understand. There may be unpleasant feelings associated with frustrations, anger or fear and emotions built upon earlier experiences. To avoid them they have to be suppressed and an activity that may lead to forgetting the nagging feeling may be a welcome distraction. This activity could really be anything, like work, shopping, sport, food or drugs, just to name a few. The important element is that it overrides the signal of the “unpleasant” emotion and this is how the “ego” is learning that it has a choice.
The choice is to either feel and acknowledge what is true, or to run away from it by following the impulse of the addiction. Energetically addiction is located in the area of the 5th charka, or the throat. We can feel if we are in resistance, or contracted – a tightness in the throat is an indicator if we are surrendered and in the flow of life, or if we are holding on to the illusion of separation.
This is how addiction is coming into being. It is the built in egoic desire to keep safe AND seek out pleasure over what is perceived as unpleasant. That what feels uncomfortable are the energies of our identifications. Our ideas about the expectations of our families, our surrounding and what we acknowledge as the beacons of society. Our own sense of strength and personal power, and last not least, how well we have been able to build self-esteem by growing up and maturing.
To transcend an addiction means to surrender to it. It means to let go of the desire to seek out the pleasurable over the uncomfortable and henceforth see things at what they are. That requires to fully see and understand beliefs and identities – and let go of them too, so that the unpleasant emotions, that are basically associated with living a lie, may cease to hurt me.
To find my real strength underneath all the emotions of fear, anger and grief means to find the fire of transformation.
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