Positive addiction



One thing people think about is habits. Supposedly there are good ones and bad ones. This would definitely involve cause and effect.

One reason I got involved in meditation and the dharma was addiction. I was in college, and drinking and generally having “too much fun.” This kind of fun actually is really miserable. Maybe you understand. Some kinds of fun are really miserable.

Encountering the dharma, I found something that addressed the turmoil I was feeling. At the time, I was trying to get clean. As it goes, this can take some time. I don’t think that’s unusual. I have been clean for about five years now (aside from coffee and the occasional drink).

When I started practicing and studying, I had this thought: “you replace some addictions with other ones.” You start out with five minutes of meditation in the morning, and within a few years, you’re doing half an hour, taking a class here or there, or listening to CDs. It can spread to all areas of your life.

So, for people who are addicted to something, which could be a lot of people, the teachings provide a positive addiction. Whether addiction itself is problematic is the next question, I think.

me: “I keep trying to find the breath, in my nose, my throat, out there, in here, I can’t really find it. I can’t find it. It’s like this obsessive process of-”

teacher: “Obsessive, huh?”


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

Posted on March 17, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Jake, I love your honesty! We talk about this at my Sangha–in terms of befriending one’s habits being the way to become free of them. My teacher puts it that there’s unproductive clinging and productive clinging-the urge to meditate being productive. At the same time, addictions,, as Pema Chodron says, come from that place in us where we meet our edge and can’t stand it. If you meet an edge in meditation, that’s (as you know) a great opportunity. Better to feel the painful edge than to deceive yourself that obsessive breath-searching is liberating!

    • Thanks!

      I love Pema! One interesting thing is (watch me demonstrate my amazing knowledge of theory) while Pema seems so down to earth, and contemporary, this idea of meeting the edge, is also just traditional Buddhism. It’s the cycle of birth and death, birth old age sickness death, the 12 nidanas.

      • She’s pretty amazing. My teacher feels that although her training was traditional (as traditional as Trungpa Rinpoche was, that is!) she and others of her generation have a unique ability to convey the dharma to Westerners, whereas some of the earlier Asian teachers didn’t really understand what we were about. Actually, I read some of Trungpa’s stuff recently (quoted by Jack kornfield) and his voice sounded a lot like Pema’s.

      • Agreed about Western teachers generally, although I do think that, once you’re “in the door,” and you get somewhat comfortable with the teachings, you get more comfortable with more traditional/Asian styles of teaching. There are a lot of skillful means in the traditions, but they tend to strike a lot of Westerners as not just weird, but unneccessary. In any case, we’re going to be developing our own traditions, with Western dharma, if I may say so.

      • Absolutely! Peace to you.

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