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Addiction and Desire

prostrations
Episode No. 47

Addiction and spiritual longing share the desire to discover something that will relieve us of the burden of small self. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.


FIRST WORDS FROM THE PODCAST

The first thing I want to do is talk about some of the elements of addiction and kind of break down some of the different components of what it feels like, what it looks like. And this is also not just from being in, you know, a culture and family where I’ve had a lot of contact with addicts, but I’ve got my own things going on.  It doesn’t have to be something socially unacceptable. Any of my students will tell you that I’ve quit drinking chai about a hundred thousand times. I can’t seem to stop drinking it!

So here are some of the components of addiction as I see them, have experienced them, and have experienced them in other people: Devotion to that substance, devotion to that state, one-pointedness, and, most importantly, the longing for something, some experience that will relieve you of the burden of self-hood, the burden of that small self, right. All of these things, longing, ritual, one-pointedness, devotion, suffering, and that desire to be relieved of selfhood, to be relieved of boundaries, to be relieved of the burden of being you, those are all components of a spiritual practice. So, from the perspective of my spiritual tradition, addiction is an aspect of spiritual practice, except that it has forgotten its proper object. It expresses all of the, or many of the wisdom virtues and wisdoms that we use and learn on a spiritual path, but the object has been mistaken. There has been a detour to a different object.