By Scott Kiloby
Someone read my blog post called “Dissolving the Self Contraction: Taking Natural Rest to its Greatest Depths” and said, “I don’t agree that as long as there is contraction, there is addiction, unless you are defining addiction very broadly to include the addiction to self.” My answer is “yes,” I define addiction that broadly. For me, addiction is not really about the particular substance or activity. It’s not really about the beer, cell phone, porn, caffeine or even thinking about ourselves. Those substances and activities are merely part of a large array of substances and activities that result from the felt sense of separation. In the blog post above, I’m speaking to the sense of a separate self and its corresponding body contraction(s).
To understand how broadly I’m defining addiction, you can just look at the busy-ness of human life. We are constantly living in the need to do something, ingest something, think about something. I’m not even saying that our primary addiction is to thinking. That’s just merely one activity. If you notice when you feeling addicted to watching TV or playing a video game, there isn’t a lot of thinking involved. Your attention is immersed in the activity of watching and even drowning out uncomfortable thoughts, emotions and sensations while watching. In defining addiction broadly, I’m saying that as long as there is this self contraction, there is addictive activity in one form or another. If you think of it in terms of busy-ness, you can start to see how we can be busy seeking anything – alcohol, drugs, coffee, spiritual seeking, love, praise, watching porn, cleaning, thinking about ourselves, watching TV, working, etc. If your experience is that you are not addicted to substances or activities, look again. Do you feel that constant need to think about yourself and your story? That’s addictive activity, defined broadly.
This isn’t a brand new idea. Science is telling us this in its latest studies and findings. According to science, addiction is the will to survive that has become hijacked. For example, staying busy is not really necessary for our physical survival. Many of us have to work to make a living. But we don’t have to treat work as an addictive activity. To the brain, all addictive substances and activities seem necessary for survival. Virtually all addictive compulsions carry with them a sense of “I have to do it.” In other words, “I have to do it in order to survive.” This is often how addiction is experienced in our interior awareness (thoughts, emotions and sensations). So our experience is matching what Science is telling us.
In the blog post about the self contraction, I’m merely saying that as long as there is this sense of separation, with its corresponding contraction (which lies at the core of that sense of separation), there will be this addictive busy-ness in our lives. In order to verify this for yourself, try and sit alone, quietly, for 4 hours today, without any distractions, without any thoughts about yourself, without any of your usual addictive substances and activities. If you notice, it is quite difficult, impossible for most. This is because there is a self contraction at the core of our being that has a constant desire for more – more of something, anything. We don’t have to vilify this aspect of experience. We don’t have to make ourselves wrong or bad, which would just be another aspect of our addiction to self-thinking. But we can notice it. And we can notice that it is connected to this felt sense of separation and contraction. Once we notice it, we then have the direct experience that as long as there is contraction, there is addiction. This puts us closer to being ready for Tier 1 contraction work, as described in that blog post mentioned above.