It is useful to be aware of addictive possibilities in such everyday activities, for awareness will allow a closer examination of taken-for-granted-as-wonderful activities. Often we react so quickly that we don't even recognize we are getting a bit tense or upset. We just reach for our pacifiers, prayer or meditation, for example, often telling ourselves that this is exactly what we need. We thus give ourselves praise and reinforcement for such addictive behaviors.|
As with alcoholics or drug addicts, it often seems to take "hitting bottom" before the addict can acknowledge the truth of the addiction. Few who are addicted to God's love, prayer, meditation, yoga, rituals, spiritual groups, sacred objects, or ceremonies are even aware of the possibility of addiction. I'll be making suggestions throughout this book to help you determine if addiction seems to be creeping into your spiritual practices. I am not suggesting that you avoid such things as God's love, prayer, or meditation, but rather that you become aware of the possibility of abuse.
The truth is that most everyone has an extensive set of addictive-like behaviors, all interrelated. If our favorite addiction is not available, then we reach for food, or meditation, or a chat with a friend, or feeling God's love, or expressing road rage, orů orů orů Some addictions like cigarettes and alcohol are obviously addictive, though we are often self-deceiving about whether or how much we are addicted: "perhaps, just a little, I could give it up anytime." The truth is that most everyone is in denial about the strength and the extent of addictive behaviors, because such denial helps us hide. The purpose of addiction is to hide and cover over our problems, our psychological pain and our past un-felt traumas because currently we do not have the means, readiness or willingness to resolve them.
While I shall talk more about God's love in Chapter 5, suffice it now to say that I see millions of New Age people tapping into that love and trapping themselves in it. They are saying to themselves that feeling God's love is the most spiritual thing around and therefore is always better than anything else they might be feeling. All the bad feelings of rage, upset, grief and shame are lesser or non-spiritual feelings and therefore had best be dropped in favor of feeling God's love. Yet, what are these "bad" feelings there for but to try to teach us some Earth School lessons, lessons we avoid when we reach for the God's love addiction?
I believe there are hundreds of spiritual choices that can lead you rapidly along your path to God-Tao. But if you focus too long or attach too much to your choices, they will probably become addictive. I consider spirituality to be like food. Many of us have food addictions, but it is not in our best interests to give up all food. These spiritual choices in moderation, like food, help us greatly.
|The ages roll |
Forward; and forward with them draw my soul
Into Time's infinite sea.
And to be glad or sad I care no more;
But to have done and to have been before
I cease to do and be!
The Wanderer, Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1831-1891
In later chapters (please see the index for specific pages), I shall discuss most of the above addictions in more detail, with suggestions for evaluating how much is too much? I'll also be making many suggestions about a variety of spiritual paths. For the most popular paths, I'll provide my own opinions about their usefulness, their efficacy, their possibilities for addiction and how they might trap the unwary.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "The useful molehills of psychological knowledge are often obscured by the mountains of psychological claptrap now available."|