A LOVING WAY THROUGH ADDICTION
“Craving for alcohol is the equivalent... of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness..."
- Carl Jung
I was talking to a man who was struggling with his lifelong addiction to alcohol. Every approach he had tried - spiritual, psychological - had worked for a while, and then failed. I offered him a slightly different perspective, which seemed to resonate with him.
We were talking about how, in essence, addiction is a search for love. Addiction is spiritual seeking - the seeking I have always spoken about - in a very concentrated form. We are all addicts, in the sense that we all look for love (God, acceptance, the taste of life itself) in all the places we'll never find it - through success, through fame, through wealth, through power, even through enlightenment. We seek love outside of ourselves, and ignore the love we already are. We seek our completeness in the future, through objects, substances, people. We look for love at the bottom of a wine glass, on a bank statement, in the eyes of our guru. But the kind of love we really long for cannot be found in time or space.
We either see addiction as a disease, OR as a giant invitation to discover who we really are, to discover the love we were always seeking. I was exploring with the man how addiction manifested in his life. What did an "urge to drink" feel like? When the urge arose in him, what did he do with it? He told me how several times during the day, he'd get a strange feeling in his chest, very hard to talk about - like an empty, incomplete kind of feeling, like the absence of something. It would come out of the blue sometimes. It felt like something was missing. And he'd find himself automatically reaching out to a bottle of vodka, which seemed to remove the discomfort, if only temporarily. Was vodka really 'missing' from present experience?
I invited him - as an experiment - to STAY with the empty feeling in his chest, to really feel it, to drop all labels and judgements about it, to see it as a valid expression of life itself in the moment. Maybe it didn't mean what he'd thought it meant. As he stayed with that energy, feeling exactly what was there, he suddenly remembered being a child, feeling lonely and isolated and uncared for, and that energy in his chest felt like... yes, a longing for something he couldn't name. A longing for ... love. Well, of course it was. It wasn't a longing for vodka at all, it was a misinterpreted and misunderstood longing for attention, acceptance, love. This was the same energy he'd felt as a child, and he'd spent his life trying to escape, deny, ignore, crush, annihilate it in so many ways. He'd just wanted to numb himself to it. First through work, then through spirituality, and now through alcohol, as a last resort. The mind had been infinitely creative. This energy had never been truly met. It had become a taboo. It had been cast into the darkness. It was a lost child of consciousness.
He had forgotten who he really was - not a separate 'person', not an 'addict', but a vast and unlimited ocean of Being, in which even this little wave was allowed. This energy was not the lack of vodka, it was the longing for love made manifest. And it had never been acknowledged fully. He had been so busy seeking love (money, enlightenment, vodka) outside of himself, that he had ignored the very longing itself! The lonely child had never really been held, validated, loved. Who would truly meet this lonely child? Would he wait his whole life for a love he'd never find? Would he wait forever for the cosmic parent? For the second womb? Could the vodka ever love the child? Of course not. The vodka had no power of its own. It was an emperor with no clothes. It was the Wizard of Oz, unmasked. The love he sought was the deep embrace of this lonely child exactly as it was, not its annihilation. He longed for embrace, not genocide. In other words, he had really been waiting for the deep acceptance of this strange and uncomfortable energy in his chest. Now was a good time to begin giving himself what he had always longed for.
I invited him to stay and stay and stay with the energy, and I stayed with him there. We sat together with this unloved child, bringing stillness, warmth and attention to a previously neglected aspect of experience. This was giving something the vodka could never give, and had never given. Running away from this energy, running towards the vodka, had never really solved the problem. He had simply never been shown by anyone how to stay. How to be with himself. How to meet life, fearlessly. We started again.
In meeting the unmet energy with attention and presence, light flooded the darkness, so to speak. And we saw that there was never any darkness in the first place. This energy was not the lack of love. It was not evil energy, not the devil, not a 'bad' aspect of experience, not the absence of life. It was an invitation to love that which had never been loved before now. It was a call to remember who he really was - the vast, unlimited ocean of consciousness itself, already complete, never needing anything to complete it. Even a sense of 'lack' was swallowed up in love here. Then, it wasn't lack at all.
In just meeting this man exactly where he was, and holding his hand as he met his deepest sense of lack, that primal incompleteness that goes to the root of all human suffering, I was communicating something beyond words to him - that he was deeply okay exactly as he was. Okay in a place he had never felt okay before. Okay in an unspoken and private and even shameful place. He was loveable even without the vodka. What a revelation! His present experience could be exactly as it was. The raw sensation of life. The thought bubbles coming up, telling him, asking him, urging him to drink his way towards love (the primal lie). The technicolor image of the happy drinker, drowning his sorrows in vodka. Go on, just one drink! So tempting! Just a sip, and then you're in heaven! Those thoughts were allowed to be there too. They were all just images. Images, and sensations. And who he really was was vast enough to hold all of it. The vodka dream was just a small ripple in his vastness. Vodka couldn't improve one iota on his present experience. It couldn't give him more LIFE. It contained no magic, no mana. What a disappointment. And what freedom too.
We come to distrust the seeking mechanism, for it cannot deliver what it promises - love. We come to remember that the love we seek is always already here.
Addiction. It was only ever about love. Not very scientific, I know. But experientially, it makes perfect sense.
Of course this man may drink again (he hasn't yet, by the way). The seeking mechanism won't be disabled overnight. It's an ongoing investigation. It's a constant invitation to meet that energy as it arises. To stay present with it. To love that unloved child, so to speak - to meet it as yourself. The aim is not "to stop drinking" - that would set up a new seeking game, a new war. The aim is to discover the truth of this moment. And this moment.
Surely, unless we get right to the root of all our addictions, and begin to shine the love of awareness itself into those unloved places, our addictions will just shift from one object, substance or person, to the next. We stop drinking, we start eating. We stop eating, we start shopping. We stop shopping, we start gambling. We stop gambling, we start checking our text messages fifty times a day. It's all a search for love, as the great mystics and teachers throughout the ages have been reminding us. This is an ancient and timeless message.
Addiction is not there to be 'cured'. It is not a disease, but a misguided search for love. The 'addict' in us is not there to be fixed or manipulated, or even punished. It's there to be loved to death. Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.
~ Jeff Foster (www.lifewithoutacentre.com)
A Year ago I wrote in my journal:
Day 40 Eileen's epic JOY JOURNEY of TRUST....I pulled into the car park of the local shopping centre today to get my last minute Easter shopping done. I opened my boot to get my recycle shopping bag out when I noticed a lady pushing her trolley up the slight hill towards me. In my mind came the thought to look in her trolley as she walked past and ask if she had any Easter eggs! LOL! I did! She answered 'No, but I can't find my car'. I asked her what kind of car and what colour and stood looking around with her. She says she was sure she came in through the entrance that was nearby. I don't miss much and I was pretty sure I could see a few tiny tears in her eyes and she seemed flustered. I asked her how long she'd been looking for and was shocked to hear that she had been pushing her trolley around this carpark for half an hour. I put my arm on her shoulder and said why don't you get into my car and I'll drive you around to look for it, it will be a lot easier. She resisted as she repeated her statement about how stupid she felt. I told her I had done a similar thing myself and she wasn't stupid, just human and gently persuaded her to put the shopping in my boot and let me drive her around. We drove all around the car park where she thought she'd parked as a process to eliminate the possibility that her car may have been stolen. She started praying out aloud to St Anthony and then I got excited. Someone had told me that prayer years ago and I prayed it out aloud: "Dear St Anthony come around, somethings lost and can't be found". It always worked for me! She said she'd been praying all along to St Anthony. After we finished driving around this particular car park and NO CAR...I had to ask her where the other car parks were because I am completely new to the area. So we drove to the next car park and after driving around a couple of rows - voila...there was her car. Marie was so happy and leaned across and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. I felt a big well of tears of gratitude and grace arise in me and told her I wanted to cry. My own Heart was so moved. She was so grateful and said she wished me a wonderful Easter where I would get a big blessing. I already had my blessing.......so much LOVE extended to me and so much JOY to be able to ease the distress of a family member of the Heart. She said St Anthony has answered her prayer and indeed he had! I had intended to stop at another shopping centre on my way back from another errand and had completely missed seeing it! Marie showed me her car sticker and said it was her motto...check out the picture of it above. This encounter reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: "We are all angels and we can fly only by embracing each other" ~Luciano De Crescenzo
~Eileen Dielesen (27.03.2017)
I stood in front of the freezer cabinet at the local supermarket deciding which vegetarian patties to take out, when I noticed a trolley coming right at me and realised that the woman had not seen me! I moved back quickly to avoid being hit! The elderly woman was very surprised to see me standing there! I said to her 'Angels are invisible' and laughed. It happens a lot...this being invisible and people often get a shock when they almost fall over me! She stood next to me peering into the cabinet and I asked her what she was looking for. I told her the meals were all vegetarian. She said she didn't want vegetarian and was looking for gluten free meals because her dietitian had advised her to eat this way. I pointed out that all the meals were gluten free. She moved further on looking for gluten free meals with meat, when I was overcome with an urge to go up to her. I honestly didn't even know what would come out of my mouth and I found myself standing next to her with my arm on her shoulder and asking her why she had been advised to eat gluten free/lactose free food. Before she could answer I asked her if she was having stomach pain. 'Yes' she responded and before I could even think, out came a little line of the Beatles song 'All you need is LOVE' and with that she smiled and said 'You are probably right and my husband died recently'. By this point I had my hand on her hand and whispered into her ear...'Well I am your husband speaking through me to you now. He wants to say to you just be happy and that he is with you all the time'. To my surprise she responded by saying 'Yes I know, he is with me all the time'. I told her to go back to her dietitian and tell her that an Angel had appeared to her in the supermarket and told her all she needed was Love! I know that when significant people have died in my life I certainly felt a lot of pain in my stomach! It is painful to lose a loved one. We don't really know how to deal with grief very well in our Western culture and then it becomes a medical problem to be fixed! An Earth Angel is a human being who walks the world listening to their inner voice and is willing to do what that voice asks, no matter how ridiculous or silly it may seem. When I began following my inner voice's directions, my life started to change in incredible ways and miracles occur every day. The miracle is the change inside my mind and seeing the world through a different lens....the lens of LOVE, PEACE and JOY. I hope you will join me...it's not hard...you can have miracles in the supermarket!
~Eileen Dielesen (25.03.2017 copyright)
Once I totally surrendered and became willing to listen to the voice of my Higher Power/LOVE, then messages appeared in all kinds of miraculous ways. It required me to become very present to everything in the magic of the present moment. If I am living in my mind listening to stories created by the ego, then I miss what my Higher Power/LOVE is trying to tell me. The world is always calling me in so many mysterious ways, back 'Home' to LOVE and Heaven. The only requirement is a WILLINGNESS to listen and be vigilantly alert to what is going in my mind. A couple of days ago I was walking through my local town centre when I noticed the surf shop sign had some writing on it. I stopped and read it. I was completely amazed to read the most spiritually profound message (see above image) on a surf shop poster! Yesterday I met with a group of beautiful people who are devoted to the path of A Course in Miracles, which has been my way of living for a long time. A path devoted to seeing the Truth of LOVE only and letting go of all darkness in the mind. It was such a wonderful blessing to connect with those devoted to awakening to the miraculous power of LOVE. Just before going home I made my way to the Ladies room. I noticed a lot of graffiti on the back of the toilet door but one tiny piece of writing seemed to jump out at me and I leant forward. To my utter JOY I read these words: "Let LOVE be your guide, not fear!" WOW, what a perfect message for me, a great reminder as I had been struggling with fearful thoughts for several days. I had expressed this fear in the group and there came the answer written on the back of a toilet door! Who would have thought! I have received beautiful messages in so many ways, but never before on the back of a toilet door! Ha ha ha ha ha! LOVE has a sense of humour too!
~Eileen Dielesen (copyright 20.03.2017)
A few days ago I went into town and entered the $2 discount shop to be greeted very joyfully by the shop assistant at the front counter. We chatted for a little while and then I asked her where I could find the product I wanted to purchase. I took the product up to the counter and opened my purse and then realised I did not have enough cash to pay for it. The assistant told me I needed to spend at least $10 if I wanted to use my eftpos card and then asked me how much I did have. I carefully counted out lots of small change which came to a total of $1.80. That will do she said and my Heart was so touched as I thanked her. She then said to me: "Pay it forward, not enough people do that." I laughed and told her I had already paid it backward! (Read the blog below which I wrote about 4 years ago!) My journey over the past several years has involved letting go of my attachment to so many material things. What has been happening recently is that I am receiving back things I gave away in the past and some of these were items that I held with great sentimental value. I let them go when my inner guidance directed me to do so. I trusted that all I needed will be provided for. I have been given things back that I gave away and not necessarily from the same source. The miracle is the realisation that giving and receiving are the same and there is no order of difficulty in miracles. The Miracle in the material world is the reflection of a growing LOVE and trust in my mind that all my needs will be provided for if I surrender to the Higher mind. This part of my mind guides me to awakening to Truth and finding that Heaven is a state of mind. Here is the blog I wrote four years ago:
The 20c Miracle Pay it Forward:
Yesterday I went to the hardware store and while I was waiting at the checkout I noticed the couple in front of me couldn't find the extra 20c they needed for their purchase and so I opened my purse and placed 20c on the counter. WOW, you would think that 20c was made of gold from the reactions I got! They were so surprised and thankful and I tried to brush it off by saying "it's nothing, it's only 20c"! However I realised it wasn't the 20c they were ecstatic about, but the gesture of LOVE from a complete stranger treating them like valuable family members. The miracle is the Love in my mind and Heart that inspired me to give the 20c. We started up a conversation about Paying it Forward and I asked them if they'd seen the movie of the same name. Yes they had and I told them that I'd had some hard times in my life and complete strangers had given to me and I never even met them, so I was just paying it forward. The checkout lady joined in the conversation and we began talking about how small acts of paying it forward can change the whole world. We talked about how much goodness there is and how the news gives us feelings of despair when the Truth is there is much hope out in the world. She was so excited about my giving the 20c she was telling all the other staff at the other checkouts and I was really humbled and touched.
The energy around me was just pure JOY and I danced out of the store my Heart bursting with happiness. Now that was the best 20c I ever spent and what did it buy me? It bought me the joy and happiness that giving from the Heart brings. It brought me a sense of joining with others in the spirit of community and took away all feelings of isolation and despair. It burnt away all shreds of self pity, self hatred and self loathing. It felt so deliciously joyful. Words are inadequate in explaining how I felt. Blissful with a sense of this huge bubble of joy energy bursting out of my heart are the closest words I can find to explaining what is an experience of Love in action. It did not come from the little 'I', it came from that place where we are all ONE, it came from that place I know where LOVE springs forth. It had nothing to do with the 20c, but from the intention of my chosen journey to follow my Heart in every single moment of my life. To trust my inner voice and not to let fear come in when I am guided to do something that seems challenging. Nothing that I have ever purchased of the material variety has ever given me that much joy!
~Eileen Dielesen (copyright 19.03.2017)
Everywhere I go I see ‘myself’ or rather my own story created from the thoughts that flow through my mind. As I let go of large parts of identification with the story of ‘myself’ and allow my life to be directed by the voice of LOVE inside of me…the more I simply want to extend love and caring to others, instead of wallowing in the thoughts of self-pity. The more I extend Love, the more my self-pity falls away and in its place comes an inner JOY that doesn’t need anything from outside of me! The JOY comes from the extending/giving.
I found myself taking a lovely walk in the beautiful warm winter sunshine yesterday, with no particular goal in mind other than to enjoy the journey! As I reached the end of the pathway and was about to walk on the sand towards the beach, I noticed a woman sitting alone on a bench overlooking the water. My inner voice gently directed me to sit next to her. I resisted! I headed up the beach and found the inner voice would not let up and so I agreed to sit with the woman if she was still there on my way back. She was! I walked up and started up a conversation with her on a light note about ‘toasting’ herself in the sun. I asked her if it would be okay if I sat next to her on the bench. She seemed quite happy for me to sit with her. She told me her name and I asked her some questions about herself. She told me she lived nearby and some more about what had brought her to the beach. Then out of seemingly nowhere she said that sometimes she just wished she wasn’t here. I asked her what had made her not want to be here. She didn’t answer…no problem I started to tell her that we all had those thoughts. I said that sometimes I just wanted to shout: “Stop the planet, I want to get off!” She talked about people who took drugs killing themselves. I talked some more about having suicidal thoughts myself and how I had come to just watch them. I told her than even when I had found a place of Love inside myself and offered that to others, my presence was not always welcomed and I had to deal with the feelings of rejection. Finally I said to her: “You just have to really love and accept yourself even if the whole world rejects you”. With that final statement I stood up and shook her hand and told her it was a delight to meet her. Her face looked completely transformed, she looked really peaceful and happy. How beautiful to not be rejected in that moment by this woman. This was my deep fear…fear of extending LOVE and being rejected. The words I offered to her were for myself! The words that came out of her mouth were my own thoughts. It is true…. I really want to kill ‘myself’….the little ego self, not this body! I really want to kill the ‘fear’ and keep the LOVE. Because if I just keep giving LOVE to others, I am in Truth giving it to myself! No one can really reject LOVE….only the story that they are not worthy of it. As I walked away I felt nothing but JOY inside and I was so glad I had listened to that inner prompt to sit next to ‘myself’ and extend LOVE to ‘myself’!
I woke up several times during the stormy night to hear the metal door of the gas meter box banging as the wind would get underneath and lift it from its catch. I had some choices...
1. I could get up and go out into the rain and try and put something underneath it to cushion the door.
2. Ignore it.
3. Get frustrated and run a story in my mind that would keep me awake!
I realised that the banging door was a metaphor for the noisy, judgemental, ego mind! It had a very strong pull because it was so loud! I chose to ignore it and as I did I realised that in my life my only choice is to choose to accept what is, let it play its loud noise in the background and remain at peace in my mind OR let my mind run stories of pain, suffering and misery about the issues that I don't want to accept. I went back to sleep to the sound of the banging door! My ego mind is the banging door! To be at peace in my mind is the accept the world and others as they are and to stop arguing with it. As the Beatles song goes..."Let it be, let it be......"
~Eileen Dielesen (copyright 13.03.2017)
A totally beautiful video meditation.....reminding us what Love is. Sit back, relax, breath deeply and enjoy the experience of coming HOME to your Heart......
In my younger days I always found it so hard to stop and do nothing. The guilt song would start singing in my mind. It did not have a sweet melody! That word SHOULD would be the main word in the chorus..YOU SHOULD be doing.....instead of just BEING. I learned to exchange should for could and then tell myself that I was going to enjoy just Being instead. To awaken to the absolute deep and pure LOVE that I AM in my essence I surrendered my life over to my Higher Self/Love/God or whatever you want to call it. That is the only free will choice one can make I discovered. My life became an amazing adventure, not all of it seemed to be wonderful I can tell you. However, as I look back and reflect, I see clearly that it was all so very necessary in order for me to really LIVE LOVE. There is a very big difference between thinking you are LOVE and really LIVING LOVE. Every single day is so beautiful in this garden of surrender. Each moment brings miracles when I wear my LOVE glasses. Everyone and everything looks so beautiful. The ordinary becomes extraordinary. It always was extraordinary but when my judgemental mind was the master of the show I could not see it. As I surrendered and let my Higher/Love/God mind become the master, well my life became so different. Is is not perfect by any means, but it is perfectly imperfect. Each day brings challenges and when I allow life to unfold in the way that it wants to and I stop resisting it, then peace and joy are the rewards. I used to get so upset when 'my' plans would be turned upside down by unavoidable changes and would make everyone around me miserable by insisting they were 'wrong'! Now I mostly just let go and give everyone the freedom to do as they feel to and surrender to the idea that 'I am in control'! Control has only brought me suffering, it was always an illusion of my judgemental mind. I hope a beautiful butterfly lands on you today and kisses you with its gentle wings.
~Eileen Dielesen (copyright 11.03.2017)
People think that because I am an extrovert and engage easily with others, I never feel lonely. I honestly think it is a part of the human condition and it stems from a disconnect with our inner lives. If you look at the indigenous people they spend a great deal of time doing inner work in community gatherings! Do we do that in our western culture? Most of us spend a lot of time in our suburban boxes closed off from each other, which is a reflection of our lack of a rich inner life and relationship with ourselves. I remember several years ago the surprised reaction of one woman when I shared with her about my childhood and how lonely I had felt. She has assumed that because I'd grown up in a family with five siblings I would never have felt that way. She thought that loneliness had something to do with numbers of people around you. I grew up in that era where 'children were seen and not heard'. I was constantly being told to 'get outside and play' when I tried to connect to my parents and other adults. I felt very 'invisible' and so I just shut down and lost all confidence. I appeared to be very shy, but in truth I had just turned inwards away from the world because it offered me nothing. It has been a long journey reclaiming my right to be 'visible' and to build my confidence and self love. I had to learn to 'parent' myself and then the feelings of loneliness began to diminish. They have not disappeared completely and come to visit from time to time as an old story that likes to play in my mind and keep me miserable! There really is nothing in the world that can offer me a solution to the so called 'problem' of loneliness. It is an illusion to think the solution is 'out there'. It must be an entirely inner journey and as I constantly and vigilantly watch my mind and connect to my Higher Power/Source/God of my understanding, then the world seems to change 'out there'. All along I was simply lonely for my very own Spirit and I am grateful for the lessons that my parents and other adults brought, that forced me inwards to develop the only real relationship that will ever satisfy my yearning. Everything we seek for exists inside of us. Reconnect to who you are inside and you will discover the greatest peace, freedom and joy that you sought for outside of yourself.
~Eileen Dielesen (copyright 10.3.2017)
Eileen is always inspired by the voice of Love within her. May our hearts always be joined as ONE in Love and through the words that appear on these pages may you feel the light and Love she has for you.