Friday, April 11, 2014

Every addiction ... is a result of self-rejection

Lies vs. The Truth
A Toltec Perspective on Addiction and Recovery
A roundtable discussion with Don Miguel Ruiz

What is addiction?

Lee: The addictions, to me, are symptoms of our discomfort with life.

Don Miguel: Every addiction ... is a result of self-rejection. Self-rejection creates all the addictions.
Gary: Would you therefore call addiction a “human” disease?

Don Miguel: I would call lies a human disease. Lies are the virus that puts the human mind in that condition. Addictions would be symptoms.

Gary: An element of the addictions community believes that alcohol, for example, is a poison for some individuals. From the very first time that you imbibe that poison, there’s a physiological addiction that develops. How do you view that? Do you think it is possible that it is a genetic disease in part? A physiological disease in part?

Don Miguel: Everything is involved in the addiction, it is not just one thing, and it is everything together. At the core is that we believe in lies. By believing in lies, we reject ourselves. Let’s see the anatomy of any addiction. At any time in life, you believe the lie that you are not the way that you should be. That creates a self-judgment and that, of course, creates self-rejection.

There are a lot of reactions from that self-rejection. Over time, these reactions become automatic. It is just action-reaction, action-reaction, hundreds of different reactions that hit you at the same time and make you behave in a certain way. It doesn’t matter where you go, or who you are with, you will always be with yourself. That is something that people cannot avoid. But, they try to escape from themselves. Maybe some drugs (Don Miguel imitates smoking) will help. Maybe some food will help. We try to avoid all those automatic reactions and we try to escape. The more that we try to escape, the more guilt, and the more shame comes up in us. We hate ourselves even more than before, sometimes so much that we attempt to kill ourselves, to just get over all of it. We fail and we don’t die. Maybe we try to kill ourselves again or maybe it is time to look for help.

When you look for help, you are looking for the truth. Then there are people who tell you, “Well, you cannot do it by yourself, you need divine help.” “You need to trust in someone and that someone will rescue you, will save you.” “You need a savior.” You ask, “God, please help me!” That is a big step. God is here (Don Miguel points to his chest.) Or maybe God is here (Don Miguel points to Barbara.) “God, I am so sick.”

I don’t know if you remember back to the very beginning of Dreaming (the Dreaming classes Don Miguel started in 2000) when I let all of you know that you are predators, that you are the parasite. I asked each one of you to stand up and say, “I am a parasite and I am addicted to suffering.” I asked you to describe all the ways that you make yourself suffer — “I suffer because I drink too much.” “I
suffer because I smoke too much.” “I suffer because I eat too much.” “I suffer ....” That was a big step in awareness. Now, you know.

Then it becomes will versus all those lies.

The role of will

Don Miguel: Will is not something that you can measure by quantity or intensity. Will is the result of the application of the truth.

 Lee: So when someone says, “I don’t have the willpower to not drink.” What you’re actually saying ...

Don Miguel: Then you are lying. I respond by saying, “You are lying.” But if you want to believe that lie, then drink for the rest of your life.

Lee: Where does will fit appproximately in that relationship?

Don Miguel: First, you want to hear yourself. It is your desire, you are tired of the addiction, and you don’t want it any more — all the automatic reactions that become millions of reactions that control you, that keep you in that direction. You experience all the excuses and all that becomes automatic in your body, but you believe that you cannot control the addiction, which is another lie, of course.

First you have a desire to be saved, but real desire. I am not talking about saying, “Oh, I want to stop smoking,” as you pick up a cigarette and continue to smoke. That is lying. Compare that to the person who picks up a cigarette, looks at the cigarette and says, “It’s over. I don’t smoke anymore.” That is will. The will is not controlled by your intellect. It is not a desire in your head to try to stop doing something. That is not will. That is stupidity. Do you understand?

Read the full interview here.

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