How to Release our External Addictions to Find Real Love and Happiness
A friend who works for a major dieting company confided in me that 90% of their clients, who seek dieting solutions, are really over eating to feed their emotional problems, so a dieting program alone is a misguided path to losing weight. I was able to relate right away as I have used food in the past and, still do sometimes, to temporarily relieve depression and anxiety (a confession I am not proud of but willing to share in the spirit of honesty and self improvement). Unfortunately, this secret is bad PR for the diet company, as they are not the real solution to weight lose, but my friend was just speaking the truth, which is often difficult to accept for many of us, including me.
We like to judge and label others as addicts, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol, but I believe that we are all addicts in some way or another. As mine is food, many of us have our own addictions, whether it’s food, shopping, relationships, exercise, any type of obsessive behavior we engage in. The list of addictions are many and diverse. Deepak Chopra, in his clinical research, concluded that addiction is the number one disease in our civilization, in which we have polluted ourselves with toxic behavior, toxic substances, toxic relationships, toxic environment. He continues to say that we use these toxic replacements for what we truly crave: spiritual ecstasy.
In the few times that I have looked into the eyes of a drug abuser or alcoholic, I always saw a cry for help in their soul, which was desperately seeking love and meaningful connection. Chopra says that addicts are actually looking for a deeper form of ecstasy. I know my sister Sun was looking for love within herself, but, not knowing any better, she looked outside of herself by shopping, among other things. When she died young of cancer, I knew the real love she craved within but never found was the reason for her demise. I’ve witnessed others use relationships as their external force for love, hoping to find love in another person, so they jump from person to person because they never truly find it in anyone. Then, I’ve seen others use material gain — money, house, car, etc. — to find love and fulfillment, but when that house or car gets old, then what happens? They buy another house or car and it becomes a vicious cycle. All these behaviors are self destructive addictions, but they are just packaged in different ways.
I have found that the only real and enduring solution to our addictions is spirituality because it is rooted in love — the love of something higher than ourselves, which creates love within ourselves, which turns into love for our fellow humans — and that is when we are able to serve others and our Universe. Mother Teresa said that we can not give what we do not have, so if we do not have love for something higher, then we can not have love for ourselves, and, therefore, we can not give love to others. Addiction behavior is always seeking external love outside of ourselves, which is not authentic. When something is not genuine, then it can never be enduring and lasting. That is why when that drug wears off, the addict must get another high. Or when that relationship gets old, we seek someone else.
Instead of looking outside, we need to look inside, into our own spiritual home. We can only look inward by opening our hearts to something higher than ourselves through meditation or prayer. When we have touched on that, then we can start to feel love within ourselves that is perfect and divine. When the Buddha left all worldly possessions as a prince to seek out the answer to suffering, he realized through Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree that the answer was already within him all along and that there was no need to look outside of himself. The answer was so simple, right in front of him — or rather within him — but it took him years to find the truth by putting his body through torture and suffering, depriving himself of food, home, etc. (his own kind of addition you might say). As the Buddha realized his own Enlightenment could have been achieved without torture, we also can realize that our own love and happiness can be attained without our own torture, i.e. external addictions.
Like a fruit, we just need to peel away the skin in order to reach the core of ourselves, which is true love — the only force that will ever provide enduring and lasting happiness. How misguided and ignorant can we be not to tap into love that is free and unlimited? Like the free air we breathe, isn’t love our greatest resource? Is it smart to spend thousands of dollars on drugs, alcohol, and material stuff when we do not have to even spend a penny on love that is already within us? When we realize that true love is a natural high, how wonderful and magical is that?
As the grass is never greener on the other side, there is no where else to look for love and happiness but in your own home, which is already in your heart and soul. So look inside because I guarantee a 1,000% that you will find all your answers there.
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living