By Romina Vintila
What is addiction? It is a very tough topic, although quite widespread through our society. I think the more important question would be, why it is so widespread? What is the underlying issue that causes so many people to turn to alcohol, food, drugs, computer games, cell phones, even sex? Addiction can come in many shapes and forms, and it can even be the addiction to thoughts, to worrying, to being the victim. A mentality that we cannot escape from describes addiction to me. It is a mind prison that keeps us looped in a vicious cycle.
The symptoms of our issues are a good indicator of where to start, although they are not the root cause of the problem, just the signs, the red flags. In struggling with any addiction, especially the mind and the thoughts, I have personally grappled with its very issues that stem from disconnection, the feeling of being lost, trying to find the answers. I believe addiction is the sign of seeking. What are we seeking so desperately? Is it love? Security? Despite the myriad of answers, most of us seem to be seeking the kind of love that is most elusive: self-love. Self-acceptance of our past and present is the most difficult to reach, and yet we all need it. On this journey, the addiction is simply a way to medicate the pain away, to escape it for a second, to deal and cope with daily activities.
The song by Mumford and Sons, “Awake My Soul”, comes to mind, and the line: “My weakness I feel I must finally show.” And so why are so afraid to be ourselves? Afraid to be raw, exposed, and even open ourselves up to all the judgments of the world? Hiding away from our self is one of the ways the soul begins to feel suffocated, afraid and lost. In this disconnection, from its very source of unconditional love, we begin to seek comfort in the unnecessary things that offer us temporary relief, and strangely, so often harm us.
So how do we tackle this healing journey we all require in order to grow? Whether it’s a divorce, any kind of loss, job stress, we all go through it. Eckhart Tolle brings up the cause of pain and suffering in a very eloquent way: “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. All forms of fear are caused by too much future and not enough present.” And so we see that all of our perceived issues are part of this continuity that the mind creates between past present and future, although we do know time is not linear and is also illusory in the way we think of it. It sounds easier said than done, especially when dealing with life’s traumas. However, when we truly sit and think of this, we can begin to practice stillness and a way to be mindful of the present more and more. This will tear us apart from the memories of our past, and more importantly, our judgments of it. We dwell too much in judgment and not enough in compassion it seems. Self-compassion is extremely important and yet so difficult. So why can it be easier to forgive another and not ourselves? Well, as they say, we are our own worst critic. Why do we constantly bully ourselves through the use of our minds? The mind is a powerful tool. However, in psychological aspects, there are many components to the mind. If the ego runs our lives, then you can be sure the bully has taken over. The bully is the one that talks you into doing harmful things to yourself and possibly others, the one that keeps you in the addiction and waves the prize in front of you but never relinquishes it. The ego has always been a huge obstacle for humanity. It runs us in ways that we do not even consciously realize. To be present and conscious is the number one challenge on the path to our healing, our spirit emerging from the waters of confusion.
An addiction promises many things: escape, some sort of medicine to the pain, the numbing of our troubles, etc. However, it delivers very little, if anything, and so the true path is our deep healing, our deep self-acceptance. If desire sent us on the path of addiction, and constant seeking, whether it’s a better job, to become rich, to change our appearance, or even just to feel better for a second, then we are trapped in a cycle of seeking. When will we learn that it will actually never end? Is that a rewarding enough answer for our spirit? Or is that rewarding to the ego? The ego loves the merry-go-round because that reinforces its existence, but true spiritual wisdom can be attained in the knowing that we are more than our bodies, than our addictions and our past. We are beyond all of it, and if we can feel that for one moment in our day, our load would become a bit lighter, and we would breathe a bit softer.
Romina Vintila is a Chicagoland writer, activist, and spiritual mentor. For over a decade, she’s been researching metaphysics, esoteric philosophy and has been published in OM Times and other publications. She loves fairytales and crystal healing.