The Thought Addiction That Stops You in Your Tracks

It has taken me nearly 25 years of continuous recovery, study of yoga, meditation, and various forms of spirituality to understand that there is a deep and subtle form of addiction that perhaps underlies every other addiction and is experienced by practically everyone.

While in active addiction, it is practically impossible to notice it. Now that I see it, I realize it has been here all along. It was here before I ever picked up drugs and alcohol. I have no idea what caused it.

I am speaking about addiction to a thought form that sounds like this inside most people’s heads: “Something in the external world needs to happen in order for me to be whole, happy, and successful at life.”

Our minds have been conditioned to believe that if we get this or that, do this or that, be with this or that person, then happiness will come and we will be fulfilled. This very thought process is addictive in nature, turning our attention outward to look for something in the world that can never be fully satisfying.

Contentment can only be experienced in the present moment. The problem is we are so busy doing and having that we miss our own presence. This is how many of us live.

If you still carry around the idea that something is going to happen in the outside world to cure you of your inner problem (whatever that might be at this time), then I want to encourage you to slow down, become still, and begin to observe your thinking and direct personal experience.

My point is this: If you are going to go to the considerable effort of getting clean and sober, then you might as well go the full distance. Work to increase your awareness, your presence, your consciousness in all that you do, one day at a time. Once you connect with your true self, you will want to do it again and again, for it is the very thing we have all been searching for in the wrong places.

This is not some elusive, esoteric concept. YOU are accessible to you. All that is required is to shine the light of your awareness on the false thought that what you are looking for is outside of your own being. And right then … there YOU are.

From that space, you suddenly realize that the circumstances of the world cannot stand in the way of your contentment.

Find out about upcoming programs with Tommy Rosen at Kripalu.

This essay was originally published on Tommy’s website.

Tommy Rosen, a vinyasa flow and Kundalini Yoga teacher, is a leading authority on addiction and recovery, with 30 years of experience helping people overcome addictions of every kind.

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