Sunday, October 18, 2009

A place for addictive substances in the scheme of things

For Kaushik

Anonymous deliveries of flower petals are making it difficult for a gal to resist lolling about on this fragrant carpet all day! But as all things change, it seems that the season for fresh flowers draws to a close and questions about addictive substances remain. The apparent contrast between roses and such substances are only in the realm of thought; it is simply the naming of difference that creates difference. All that can be thought has no substance in Reality whatsoever. Yet, mind can present a ‘but’ and surely an ‘I’ story to follow….so talking of addictive substances has a place in the appearance of all that is borne of concepts.

If it makes sense to you to place attention outside of the realm of thought; leading mind to the door of prior to thought, then do so and do not be concerned about such things as substance abuse. Cut to the chase (abide in/as Absolute) at every opportunity and subsequently it is revealed that no “personal I” or “impersonal I” story is running and suffering has no currency.

However, if the “personal I’ story is pulling your attention and it is felt that more experiences are to be had by a personal ‘I’, then read on.

It seems that a believed thought (most often unconscious) underpinning addictions goes like this: ‘something outside of me can make me feel complete/happy or whole’.

Experiencing external phenomena continues as one tries to find what will resolve this incomplete feeling. There may even be a conscious noticing of that natural pull towards internal rest, peace, harmony, yet mind can simultaneously run the idea that the outside world is the source of ‘solutions’. When the search for happiness continues in the outside world - substance abuse has its place.

The best that substances can do is shift your attention away from persistent thoughts into some level of oblivion for a while; promising a temporary a holiday from the habit of believing thoughts. Even having a cigarette can have the association and the resulting effect of shifting mental focus.
Mind works to seek its own resolution; energetically being pulled back to Source - whether desired or not. Thus mind is drawn to that break in believing the same thoughts again and again and the capacity for addiction is created.

What mind is doing is finding a way to break the electromagnetic circuit created by repetitive thought in the brain. Using a mantra proves much more effective but it’s not as interesting to the personal ‘I’. It is not social, it’s not a ‘story’ for the ‘I’ thought. Managing thoughts internally instead of through external means (substances) can break a self image and ….well, that’s not too attractive to the ‘I’ who still believes that the outside world is where solutions lie.

It is rare that a substance itself is addictive; generally the body does what mind instructs. Mind imagines that the body needs a cigarette but mind has told the body that this is the case. Mind uses the body for its own purposes and the body is no more than an exquisitely functioning bag of flesh and bones. Body does not get addicted but mind does. Almost all substances are not addictive in and of themselves. It is the alignment of a substance with the pain of identified thoughts coupled with the promise of a mini distraction for mind that are the ingredients of substance addiction.

All sources of pleasure have the capacity to be sources of pain and sooner or later it is seen that there is a very thin line between pleasure and pain. Both are no more than concepts believed to be true, believed into your experience. Let it be seen that the effort of running a concept reveals itself as exhausting and somewhat unnatural. At this point the attraction to pleasure and the avoidance of pain are two sides of the same coin and exercising either is seen as a futile endeavor.

Believing you are a separate individual will give rise to the belief that you have habits, tendencies and a personality. This can cause great suffering. Building upon this illusion, mind can shift from one intense connection to another; from cigarettes to food, alcohol to AA meetings. Let the personality be addictive – you are not your personality. What you are can not own anything, so there is no you that can have a personality either. So who is it that could have an addiction?

What’s the problem with an addictive personality? You are not your personality, you are not addicted to anything. You are not involved in any of this, but as long as you run the thought that you are your personality then the ‘I’ has something to fix and something else to do. This will keep the ‘I’ story going. Analysis around addiction can be explored…only to be rejected when seen as more intellectual garbage about an ‘I’ who never existed outside of imagination anyway.

So, what to do? Go back to the second paragraph and know that whatever ‘I’ story is running can never bring you anywhere, you are not an ‘I’ story. You are nothing that can be named. There is no ‘I can’ or ‘I can not’; there is no ‘I’. You drink alcohol, you don’t drink alcohol – this is lifestyle and nothing to do with what you really are. Observe the thoughts that erroneously present as your experience. There is nothing to fix - just observe them and stop placing so much effort into the thoughts that are ‘all about me’. Rest in the knowing that you are beyond all of this. Let it all soften. Substances are needed to simply change an idea in mind; this is an apparent happening in consciousness. Do not be concerned with any of this; it takes an ‘I’ to participate in such a grand illusion and you are not an ‘I’.


  1. "Anonymous deliveries of flower petals are making difficult for a gal to resist lolling about on this fragrant carpet all day!"

    And this one was difficult for a bwoy to resist tenderly lol-ing about on his chair! ;)

    Thanks very much for this post, dearest jac. Love.

  2. Hello Jac! Delightful to hear from you again! Yes, "we" do not "have" a personality. But, in form, variations in style occur. Regardless of the consciousness of the form. Others call this a "persona."

  3. Namaste Jac, and thank you.

    It makes sense, absolutely, to place attention in the gentle unoccupied spaciousness prior to thought. This journey from here to here, for many of us, is not easy until it is, and the practice of awareness and release helps.

    The question springs up: can the problems which pain us, such as addictions and anxiety and depression and ill-health and obesity and confusion, be turned upon themselves, to transform into awakening?

    "Rest in the knowing that you are beyond all this. Let it all soften."

    That is most resonant. Thank you.


  4. But what if the addiction is not to any substance but to thoughts and I-stories themselves?

  5. Thank you so much, dearest Jac, I love the look of your new website!!
    Think you are in India now, hey?
    So enjoying the satsang materials from your tour, have a beautiful samadhi, beloved Jackie,
    your, as you so lovingly said," sister, friend, beyond all that you are just what I AM."
    Your presence is always with us and we thank you again from all our heart for your lovely visit and I betcha those cherry blossoms will only bloom when you are next in town!
    Infinite Love from your Maren and Joe xxx