We think of dependency in terms of substances or relationships. But let's look deeper. What happens when we can't watch our favorite television program? When the morning paper isn't delivered? How agitated do we become during a power failure, when the lights and computers and phones stop working? Think of everything that would cause you severe trauma to be without. Hot running water? We might think this is all harmless, but what would our condition be without the conveniences and conventions of our life? Would we be free from trauma? Is anyone free from addiction? Is anyone complete and whole, without fear and craving?
We love routine, habit, predictability. We don't view our normal expectations as addictions. If the test of addiction is the trauma of deprivation, can we face the enormity of our addictions? What about our very life? When we contemplate our death, do we do so serenely, with understanding and openness? If one is sincerely trying to live freely, creatively, we must wonder about all of this, and try to find out if we can live without the trauma of deprivation stalking us from the shadow of our craving. Is our dependency on entertainment any less harrowing than the dispirited figure lurking in the crack house?
Our whole life is an addiction. We are propped up in a hundred ways that we don't notice. We might think that these things are a natural part of living, that we are entitled to them, that they sustain life in a reasonable way. Is this true?
We are also addicted to our view of reality. We are addicted to our religious beliefs, without which we would be lost. Our identities and roles and beliefs are all addictions, aren't they? Can we give everything up and be free? Are we not addicted to having our own way, to imposing our will on events. Are we not addicted to our past? Please find out exactly what you can give up without trauma. Is there anything?
If we look at addiction in this larger view, not just our dependency on drugs and alcohol, who is not an addict? Is a politician not addicted to power? Is an evangelist not addicted to rhetoric? Is a scientist not addicted to proof? Is a business person not addicted to profit?
When are we not leaning on something?
It is a shock to see our own addictions. If everything we depend on were to be taken away, who would we be. Are we not addicted to our own self-centeredness? Are we not dependent on the events of our lives to give us a sense of coherence and meaning. Don't we look to our accomplishments for a sense of pride. Can we live without this? Let's be honest, and look precisely at the whole issue of addiction, the whole process by which we depend on something to keep us intact.
What does this realization of our addictive nature tell us about ourselves and the patterns of our behavior.
An addict will do anything to preserve access to that which he is addicted to. Will we? How much hostility, violence, greed do we rationalize in the name of our unexamined addictions. What happens when someone threatens to deprive us of our addiction? The addict will do anything. Isn't so much of our compulsive, chaotic existence manufactured by our addictions.
Sitting silently, without movement in the mind, can we see the first impulse of craving? Does this urge come first, or does something else come first? Find out. It takes courage and honesty to see our whole predicament; otherwise, we will be enslaved without knowing it. We fight so hard for freedom from external oppression, should we not want to be equally free from internal oppression, from the slavery of compulsion and craving?