Tuesday, February 12, 2019
I happened to come across a video on YouTube entitled "Overcoming Addiction - The Root Cause of Every Addiction". It was about 40 minutes long, and the presenter is a skilled speaker who is coming from a self-improvement type background.
The main points in the video were that addictions can manifest in a variety of ways, but in fact all addictions really are the same thing and come from a root cause. That root cause (in the author's view) was the fear or desire to escape feelings of emptiness and the fear of 'doing nothing'. One of his main tests was whether someone could sit in an empty room for a period of time and do nothing, as it were, but sit in emptiness, quietly doing nothing.
There is some merit to this argument, and the fear of a perceived emptiness on the part of the individual is very common and probably universal. One of the seeming causes for incessant seeking, on behalf of the individual self, does seem to be a fear of emptiness, void, etc. which is remedied by action, external objects, etc.
However, there is more to seeking and the root cause of all addictions.
That "more" that the author of the video failed to identify is none other than the individual or sense of self. The root cause of any addiction must be the individual or person for whom the addiction appears. Craving arises for an individual. If craving and addictive feelings arise for nobody, then they also pass away as per any other arising phenomena.
This the real root cause of any addiction must be the individual or self for whom it appears. "Me" in other words. I have no addictions or cravings when in deep sleep. I had no addictions prior to birth, or the appearance of this waking state.
Many people can sit in a room and do nothing for a length of time. All periods of peace last for some time, and then a period of turmoil, craving, etc. may also appear and last for some time. Learning to sit and do nothing is certainly useful and may calm the body and mind, enabling one to carry on with life's activities in a more efficient, calmer way. However, these changing mind states are temporary and not permanent.
To gain a permanent solution, the root cause, being the sense of being an individual self, must be looked at. For whom do these cravings, happening right now, arise? To me. And who am I? What is this 'me' feeling?
I am 'here', and this 'me' feeling is there. I am here, and these craving feelings are there. The 'me', individual self-ing, and feelings all arise in this space of empty knowing spontaneously. But am I these feelings, and am I this sense of being?
By investigating directly into this sense of being, sense of being a 'self' that has cravings and addictions that are appearing now (or not), we may come to understand directly whether or not we are affected or attached to these feelings directly. We come to understand who or what we are, by directly looking at who or what is now experiencing feelings, cravings, lack of cravings etc.
"No self, no problems" the saying goes. Solve the riddle of the self that has the addictions, and the addictions no longer have anywhere to stand. This may not be a "quick fix" and may take time for the understanding to settle, but the solution will be of a lasting nature, unlike quick fixes that the sense of 'self' takes on, and which are of a temporary nature.