Meditation Column: We are all addicts in our own way

Patrick Kelly

“Addicted” is a dependency either physically or mentally to behavior or substances, with an inability, without effort, to stop said dependency. The addict is defined as a being who is repeating obsessive, often negative habits that interfere with the quality of their life as well as the lives of those around them. Addiction is the actual condition of being addicted to something, some activity or substance. For many humans, some addictions have devastating results, lack of function, illness, depression, criminal activities, loss of health and vitality, etc. and, of course, death of the flesh and the mind.

Negative addictions are obvious; the results bear witness to their deformation of the individual as well as society as a whole. There is much discussion on whether to classify it as a disease. Many people struggle with definition of disease, while others consider the origin or “fault” of the behaviors that lead to the results of the addiction. Regardless, addiction is part of our world.

It appears to most the addict chooses, that we all choose, regardless the behavior. The individual never chooses negativity. You do not choose negativity.

Though most define addiction as negative, some believe there are what some may call healthy or better choices for the focus of the addict. You have heard it said, “I’m addicted to this” or “I’m addicted to that.” It appears there are different levels as well as focuses of addiction including gambling, drugs, food, sex, alcohol, repetitive behaviors, etc. By definition addiction appears to be something we all have in common; it is the degree and object of the behavior that becomes the observation of the teacher and the student of meditation.

The student sat with the teacher proclaiming, “My current studies have me bringing awareness to addiction. Repetitive or obsessive behaviors that repeat over and over again. As I meditate on myself and others around me, I am aware that the majority of us fall into the classification of addict. Though my own behaviors as well as others may not be as detrimental to our well-being as some addictions may be, for instance, drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, the need or desire to hurt others or creatures to satisfy some need in ourselves…I still am acting out on less obvious or more subtle habits and compulsions like nutritional, outside stimuli, repetitive behaviors as well as the emotional state caused by repetitive, compulsive thinking. These thoughts led me to question the existence of addictive behaviors in all of us.” The teacher said, “Yes, it appears we are all addicts to an extent, or we are not. It is the choice or disease we choose as the focus of our dependence that varies.”

A meditation, try it here and there, or not. Focus your attention on behaviors you possess that may be defined as an addiction. Be aware if self-judgment or what you may call negative observation comes into play. In the meditative state, you focus on observation, aware when thought comes in and distracts you. As you observe, bring your thoughts to the similarities of your addictive personality and that of the others around you, taking into account that the severity may be different but the behaviors are ones we all share. Then observe how you view addiction from that understanding.

It’s a new day. ••