As Gabor Mate says, addiction is not a choice anyone makes, not a failure of will, nor is it an inherited brain disease, it is a response to human suffering and trauma. An attempt to escape suffering.
How do you thrive in a world of distractions?
Awash in a sea of empty rhetoric, we return this week to share our own home-spun wisdom in our Sunday open space.
Are you feeling buffeted, battered and bruised by seemingly untameable flows of thought, emotion, sensation, and visions rather than easefully and gracefully moving on their eddies and currents?
Or perhaps it feels to you as if our entire society is having an out-of-body experience.
Many of us, rather than learning to navigate our flows, have needed to find ways to live out of our bodies, far away from our dreams, in spite of our thoughts, having locked our emotions in a large metal cabinet and thrown away the key.
Avoidance, distraction and addiction are absolutely commonplace in our culture because imbalance is commonplace in our psyches. This imbalance is, in turn, creating an imbalance in the world. This is not something to be ashamed of nor indeed for us to shame others. It is very much part of being the unique form of human we each are. We all distract and numb to a greater or lesser extent, whether that is something that (on the face of it) is relatively benign, like reading, sports, relationships, spiritual practices. Distractions are everywhere. We distract ourselves daily, hourly. There is a dislike for boredom and a need to keep busy. In our busy-ness, we’re wired and distracted for most of our waking hours. So how do we moderate our behaviours and find a balance that works for us? This distractedness seems to be increasingly, in this digital age, a common way of coping; managing our work life, our relationships, our thoughts and especially our emotions.
These avoidance, distraction and addictive tactics and tendencies have become survival skills for many. We often have very good reasons for these habits and we need to understand why (and when) we need them. As Gabor Mate says, addiction is not a choice anyone makes, not a failure of will, nor is it an inherited brain disease, it is a response to human suffering and trauma. An attempt to escape suffering. We can choose to bring greater awareness and empathy to our own addictions and distractions and those of other people and get curious about what drives these behaviours. Here is a wonderful interview between Gabor Mate and Russell Brand where these challenges are explored.
What is this really all about? Is our society addicted, as Anne Wilson Schaef claimed in her book "When society is addicted" written in 1987?
What do we need to do to create the conditions to support ourselves and others? What is your habit of choice? What messages does it give you about your own needs? What practices help you to keep grounded, present, still?
You are welcome to come and join our Campfire Sunday session on 21 March 2021. We'd love to hear from you.
Our Zoom meeting is every Sunday 10:30 UK. 12.30 Greek time. Here is the link to register.