Everybody is an addict

15 mei 2016
Everybody is an addict

A while ago my Nepali friend Santosh suggested to write my view on addiction after we had an interesting conversation. He and his companions of Khushi work with street children in Kathmandu. Many of those children are struggling with an addiction. Driven by my own curiosity, experience, (formerly) addicted friends and recent inspiration by a video of Jeff Foster on addiction…here it is. My current view on the topic.

Everybody is an addict. In a way to himself. To the story of who we think we are. By repeating that day after day. I am a boy, girl, man, woman, rich, poor, (un)healthy, powerful, victim, abused, taken good care of, nervous, optimistic, allergic, stable, etcetera. And beneath those stories, there’s a tread that connects us all. A crazy desire for perfection. Whatever your preferred form of perfection may be. It makes us search for it in all imaginable ways. “If I do this, then I will be happy. If I take this, try this, eat this, experience this…then…” But nothing outside of us can fulfill that expectation.

Even if we feel better for a moment, another desire develops. Having the one thing ‘makes us’ after a little while wanting an other, or more, or deeper. So it wasn’t thát thing after all. What could it be then? Addiction seems to spring off ánd enlarges the feeling that something is wrong, not good enough or incomplete. Mainly ourselves or our lifes. Which might be actually the same, but that aside.

So it seems to be some search for completeness. A complete life. But it is never to be reached. Simply because from certain perspective, it’s already the case. You are already complete. You are everything you are and can be. Most people just don’t have a clear view of that. Or not all the time. To take a different look on life can make a change. Even if nothing in the actual circumstances changes. A good starting point for that is the realization that no amount of anything outside you can fulfill you. And that’s exactly where an addiction or a series of addictions is of perfect use for.

So you can choose anything to help you remember the truth of who we really are. What makes us humans alive? Chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling. It all can give us that taste of unconditional love. Temporary. Then that uncomfortable feeling arises again. Can you stay with all of your attention with that feeling? Without taking action. Just observing. What is that feeling about? I say it’s about love. Whether its depending on conditions to be in a certain way, that’s influencing how you feel.
 
We are all born from and held in a love without a name. The love and life that we call existence. We can recognize that conscious or uncounscious. If we recognize that more and more, we can choose better feeling addictions. Or patterns of behaviour. All addictions are equally valid expressions of human life. Of the human search for life, aliveness. But they differ in how we feel about them. Or about ourselves when using them. A beautiful trick is to care about how you feel. Who else would or could do that better? Everybody is responsable for it’s own life. But we’re also kind of ‘in this together’ as one mankind. So if we can help another rise to a better feeling state, we also help ourselves as a whole.

Responsable is response-able. Able to respond. So let us teach each other new ways to respond to our circumstances, our thoughts, our emotions. Ways that feel better. Ways that root in love and wisdom. How to teach someone to love? How to inspire an other person to use the inner strength? To start with yourself. That may be obviously. But to know is not the same as to knów and act on it. So care for how you feel and to take action in the direction of how you feel best. Or at least a tiny bit better. That’s love. We are all looking for love. Life. Help someone remember that’s he/she is love itself. Beautiful expression of life in a unique form. Complete of it’s own.

The most direct way to my knowledge right now is to generate and show love myself. To take an random act of kindness. Smile to somebody, help some one, say hi, listen to a person, take care of an animal, watering a plant, give a hand or a hug. Anything that makes you feel good of at least a little better. And learn to receive or experience other peoples loving gestures also. Because you will notice it amplifies itself quickly. By living a life guided by love, it shows that it´s the essence of us living beings and uses it´s capacity to grow. As our whole universe is expanding. You’re just a mini-universe in a way.

A few practical steps for the curious and ´helpers´ among us:

Small first step is to be thankful for what you dó have (instead of focus on what’s missing). A good health. A source of fresh water daily. Your creativity. A roof over your head to sleep under or find shelter if necessary. A person you trust and with whom you can share your joys or stress. What is it you are thankful for? And your neighbour? Investigate together if you like.
 
Second step is to appreciate the things that are in your life right now. What can you appreciate even in the seemingly bad or wrong things? Like a leaking roof. It’s still a roof to appreciate. Or someone talking to you once a week. Even if you would like to talk to someone every day. To appreciate that opportunity you have once a week. To focus on how it feels to be heard at that moment, to be seen, to be able to express yourself, your own voice. To know you’re alive by exchanging words with another human being. Ans what can yoú be appreciative of? And what can a friend of yours extract from his challenging situation to appreciate? Endurance, resilience,..?

Third step is to act on what makes you feel good and strengthen that. If you like to feel that aliveness in talking to someone, you can find another person and take initiative to talk to him/her yourself. Don’t think too much about how or when or what to say. Just make happen what makes you feel good and alive. Within your limited circumstances, there are unlimited possibilities. Use your imagination from that feeling of gratitude and appreciation and you will be shown your own strength. In that natural strength you knów everything is okay. And you can be with the uncomfortable feeling, the place inside you that never felt okay before and stay with that. And from your strength you know even that place is okay. With that inner power, you can change your outer world. You know you are loveable, no matter what.

And that can be hard work, because we humans tend to forget over and over again. Or it can be like a game, depending on which perspective you take on. But the good news is, that who we really are is always present. So you can remember in any moment. You can remember by seeing something beautiful, by a certain person, a gesture, a sentence or even a word … anything. And if you know what reminds you, surround yourself with that as often as you can. Practice gratitude and appreciation for what is each day, especially the things and feelings you feel uncomfortable with. Practice it with some one together or alone. It will be easier and easier.

Every urge to some addicting subject is an invitation to meet that urge, that uncomfortabel feeling for what it is. The craving for love. Stay with it and meet it fully. Be present and accepting it to be part of you, this formerly unloved element of you. Feel it totally. It’s not about stopping or replacing the addictive habit. It’s about loving yourself to the naked core of your being. You will find your life transforming with more love and light to it. You are alive. With any addiction you choose. Or none. You are existence. Amazing.

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