Overcoming Addiction

By Leo Gura - April 18, 2016 | 81 Comments

The root cause of every addiction.

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Jeremy says:

Nice options. Just enough knowledge to be dangerous.

Johann Hari actually did ‘science’ on this…. The opposite of addition is NOT sobriety, but connection.
the method’s you offer may hurt some people.

Dennis says:

Life seems as though it’s a constant stream of addictions and I’ve overcome some of the worst of them. Now my philosophy is: “Row, row, row your boat, GENTLY DOWN the stream – merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream”. Thanks you for your videos, I find them to be compelling.

Adrian says:

Well, now it’s confirmed. I’m absolutely addicted to your videos Leo. I’ve Been following for over two years and this is definitely a MUST video. Thanks again

rod says:

Thanks for the really interesting video, had not thought of that, but I suppose nothingness forms the opposing terminal of all somethingness and therefore in a sense we always have a power flow unless we can encompass both terminals.
Some training I once did involved sitting still, silent and unblinking for 2 hours, really hard, took weeks to be able to do it. In that case though, the purpose was to develop the ability to just be there, and I think it did relieve an addiction to various forms of not being there, eg. compulsive actions and mechanisms.

cia says:

Thanks for the most profound video thus far. You are truly gifted and I am extremely grateful I discovered you! I can’t wait to apply the silent method today. I have been following you for over a year and feel that each one of your videos builds on the next. As you grow, I grow! Thanks again Leo!

Debra Castrinos says:

I practice stretching while I lay in a room with nothing. I am feeling myself get rid of chronic pain.

Sophie OShea says:

Thanks Leo, thanks as always! Can you please point me in the direction of a video you may have done which can help with understanding the concept of being at peace with yourself (minus addictions) yet healthily engaged with your life purpose? Or is that just awareness?

Thanks so much x

RAJESH PULLAT says:

Hi Leo,
This is the best video i have watched till now and you have really striked at the root cause of my problem. After a near death experience (something like what ramanamaharshi went through) i experienced a lot less ego. But didnt realise that was just a beginning. Life is now taking me through exactly the situation you are describing now. Its not something i wanted, but this is exactly what i am going through now and your video has made me realize what i was made to go through by nature or god or i dont know what it is. I am facing all my inner demons now. Anyway, thanks to you for making me understand what exactly i am going through now. You are really a great teacher.
Rajesh

Meghan says:

Awesome information as always Leo. Loving your work.

Steve says:

All addiction stem from fear of the void inside. Beautifully said. Meditate and face the demons.

Stay away as much as possible to face the craving and temptation, at least it makes a high possiblility not falling back to it.

It is a torture, emotionally stressful coming to terms with the emptiness and void and the loneliness.

Lynda says:

I want to hug you Leo!! Thank you.

Greg says:

Brilliant!
I wish I only wish I knew this year’s ago!

I have used avoiding and shaming to serve me really well, but I didn’t know the root cause. I love your brilliant wisedom!!!

I felt happiness when I am not kept in dark about this! Thank you sooooo much, Leo.

Lauren says:

Ultimate mature solution. Avoiding emotional labor is the problem. Thank you bro

Zsolt says:

That should be the starting of all self actualization! Why cant I post if I write pink for the color?

Life says:

Listened 3 times in a row before I do anything else!!!!
Five stars!
Simply the very BEST.

Cristina says:

Man, you don’t know what’s beyond death, you just don’t. You talk about death with such certainty but you just have no idea what’s beyond. I have a different perspective on it, but still I could never be so sure.

Gavin says:

Hey Leo! Really appreciate you pumping out video after video of such high quality advice.

I’ve become very interested recently in trying to rid myself of my need for approval and acceptance, especially in the case of gorgeous women (approval from them personally and others for being able to attract such women). I genuinely want to enjoy the company of beautiful women from an authentic place inside myself, but there are definitely some negative motivations also, which are likely undermining my ability to meet & attract such women.

Do you think the techniques mentioned in the video are as applicable to ridding oneself of a “softer” addiction such as this, as compared to something like breaking an alcohol habit?

David says:

Absolutely enjoyed this one as well as ALL other videos. It helps me get a little of understanding why some rich people still feel unhappy with their fabulous wealth — we are obsessed over material wealth, guilty as anyone.

I appreciate meditation much more!

Bob says:

I generally like these videos and do glean something from many of them although I do have some issues with your semantics at times. In this particular one I have a real problem with your personal discussion of death or being dead. This, from the way you present it is a bleak view and one that I wish you would rework it’s presentation somehow. Just because we can’t remember pre-death experiences at our conscious level does not (for some of us) mean that this information might not be accessible at some subconscious or higher state of mind. I’m not sure how you came to this view but I, for one, am glad I don’t share such a dark, unfounded perspective. For anyone believing this, why bother with any of this if this is what we can expect?

Gary M says:

More busy distractions may mask the pain a little bit, but it may not last long. This video is simply great. No questions. Leo, I am a loyal fan. I listen and relisten your stuff almost daily. I am also your book club member as soon as it is available. How can I thank you?

Hanna says:

I have a ton of determination and willpower in general. But one weakness is the sweet and dessert. I am in very good shape and run 10 miles 3-4 times a week. Good job and family. When I feel bored from writing and reading at work, I would reach to the sweet snacks and although I don’t eat a lot, I start to develop into a habit. I am now determined to rid of this thanks to this new awareness of filling the void inside from this video. Deep down I totally agree with Leo. I will use the technique to do it.

neil byrne says:

I have stopped smoking drinking video games and porn but I cannot stop over thinking day dreaming and fantasizing, I will keep trying until I succeed. GREAT VIDEO

Steven says:

I wish my best friend who are high-achieving and hugely successful know from this video that turning off that competitiveness at times and simply not “accomplishing” all that never ending achievement is a necessity and will do much good for him. Giving up high power is so scary yet it is necessary and it is going to be emotionally stressful. It is easy said than done, for some cases. Addiction to success may be destructive if not done well–sometimes it does not serve the best interest of people well.

Steph says:

Hi Leo,

I was wondering how far you are with getting rid of (all/most of) your addictions, which is in your definition being self-actualized. Do you still sometimes give in to cravings of any kind?

I don’t need to know which addictions those are, but I am wondering if meditation or doing nothing is really the one activity that makes you most happy in life. I have been practicing meditation for over a year now, but I still don’t see it as more enjoyable than many of the things I do in daily life (although it definitely calms me down and I am happy that I did it afterwards).

Mayur Ghule says:

Ooohh..! Now I see the importance of doing nothing – profound quote #001

Samanta says:

Great video. A good thing in the morning to start the day right

Fabrice says:

Life is a bit like a yo yo. I really dig what you are saying there. I sit alone a lot, most days, practice art contemplate my own death (not in a bad or depresseded way) and so on. mediate. live in peace with myself.
The real challenge is life. everyday life. WITH other people, society, work, children. I can sit alone and look at myself. but being married with 3 kids…. THERE’s a challenge!
everyday brings new challenges. Why is it that all “gurus” I find seem to have retreated from society in some way? seem to live alone, no children or marriage. Are the 2 somewhat incompatible? there’s an interesting subject I would like to discuss.

rod says:

Agree with this, I find that a big problem too. Just gitting some undisturbed time can be difficult for me.

adam says:

1 Cor 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself (strictly actualized minded). But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord (pusue Enlightenment): 33 but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.
The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord (meditation) without distraction. 36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin (daughter), if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require (wants to get hitched), let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.

40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.

Hope that helps, AD

Bobbi says:

This is awesome, Leo. Wow. I soooooooo needed to hear this.

You are so right. I am trying to fill this void with so many things right now.

THANK YOU!!! You are a great help to many people!

Ramona says:

My own experience showed me that, before facing the void, one should totally face the suffering inside, the inner wounded child that we forgot, dismissed neglected. Behind any addiction, there is a lot of suffering that needs to be acknowledged and integrated in order to be released with love. Just my opinion.
Your intro “hey” is shorter and shorter every week. Keep it up!

Suds says:

Beautiful. Thank you so much

Ana says:

Thank you for this, Leo. This is THE MOST powerful video so far. I have watched a majority of your other videos, and this one ties them all together. However I am a bit skeptical of your seemingly ‘dogmatic’ explanation of death. Isn’t this the type of thinking exactly what you advise against (‘you don’t know what you don’t know’)?

Scott says:

Hi Leo,

I was watching the video because I have had some addictions in the past (drugs and work). I was laughing whilst watching your video when you said ‘are you able to just sit and be’ because I am getting to the stage where I can sit and be for the whole day and be satisfied.

I have made a couple of posts before. I have used the attachment and aversions exercises of the Release Technique to become enlightened. I actually found it one of the easiest things I have ever done to become enlightened. I think I had some sort of spiritual intuition. The hardest thing was having to function in day to day life when some heavy ego was coming up. I feel so lucky. This time last year I was totally schizophrenic.

Thanks for all your great videos Leo. I am looking forward to the videos on the stages of enlightenment.

Scott

Urgen says:

Hi Leo, I have started mediation for few weeks now and I come across this book “Art of Living” which talks about vipasana meditation, mostly the principles of the Buddha and his practice of meditation. I can relate some of the thing in this videos with that book like feeling or accepting the the void with feeing of sensation. I didn’t know that meditation can help overcome addiction, thank you for the sharing your thoughts about this.
As always your videos keeps me motivated. Thank you.

Barrie Featherstone says:

I disagree with your premise that “a feeling of emptiness” is the root cause of all addictions. This ignores the progress made in studying addiction by making brain comparisons and gene research. it also ignores a myriad of other root causes of addiction, childhood abuse as one glaring example. not everybody in addiction reacts the way you stated when alone.

It’s a simplistic analogy of a much more complex problem. Thought addiction only occurs when thoughts are destructive or obsessive, not rabbit hole there.

adam says:

@Barrie Featherstone

Yes of course you are right, an inability to sit for a stretch with stillness of body and mind is technically not the CAUSE of addiction or depression or anxiety or compulsive behaviour, surely the man knows that, but like any good tipster he’s got an eye toward the future and resolution, rather than the past.

I agree with you about early life trauma and neglect, and I summarize it all by simply saying (believing) that in one form or another, by one means or another, for some reason or another, the vast majority of adult human psychic problems come down to simply this: inadequacy of LOVE. Often just the result of ignorance combined with good intentions.

I guess the Beatles were right.
AD

Tom says:

Ever heard of Arthur Young?

Dora says:

Hi Leo,

Very powerful stuff!!!!! Thanks again!!!!

Dora

Joe e says:

Thank you Leo

Joe e says:

4/21 national surprise drug test day! haha

Joe e says:

Im that one religious guy whos always going to disagree with some of what you have to say. At the same time have respect for all of it because its so well thought out n your not just talking out of your ass like some of these youtubers. The way i see it is your stuck in the middle of the ocean and Buddha teaches you how to swim whereas Jesus throws you a life vest. But where i think alot of Christians have it wrong is Jesus never said to be a pussy haha no you gotta do your fair share of swimming!

Barrie says:

You can’t understand religion unless you have studied Philosophy first, period.

Joe e says:

yes my friend but understanding “religion” is not at the forefront of my priorities. You know that feeling you get when your with someone else and without saying anything you both just “get it” its like that on a universal level

Joe e says:

n im not claiming to be better than anyone i prolly have more problems than most ppl but in some strange way its the problems that bring the clearest insights.

me says:

Leo I love this video! Great topic it answers so many questions for me in a way no one has explained before. One of the best ones so far. Big thank you

Hengame says:

Thank you Leo the video is great, I do sitting and nothing to do as meditation based on your video and I enjoy it gives me relax and calm feel relax. It helped me to sleep without distrusting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and all your experiences with us.

Tierra says:

Hey Leo,

Any suggestions on how to incorporate becoming actualized and finding your life purpose? I have your finding your life purpose course which I love by the way but I’m also realizing I have a lot of internal things to work on. And when I think about it, it seems overwhelming. Like I have to work on finding my life purpose, overcoming my addictions, managing my emotions, and lots of other things. What do you suggest? Should I just focus on one thing? Such as finding my life purpose and then move on to addictions and then emotions?

Thank you!

yodi says:

Leo, aren’t some addictions caused by other things like some people drink and smoke to relieve their anxiety? what does that have to do with emptiness? it could be some chemical imbalance that they are trying adjust

Good King Elliot says:

Great video. Flashes of Alan Watts where he tells you “Emptiness is really the root of the whole thing.”

Totally agree with commenter who says inner child work and reparenting are crucial and can be an important precursor to facing the void.

And Jeremy, who said these tools could be dangerous, I see the point. I know the very good video he refers to which says the opposite of addiction is connection. But here’s the thing: there are people out there who are addicted to the “hit” of “connection” (e.g.sex and love addicts). Saying that connection is the answer can be dangerous to them!

We need a little more nuance because we’ve got to go with what practically works.

For me, before I practiced reparenting and love and approval, trying for “emptiness” and “letting go” was somehow dangerous to me. I had a habit of self abandonment! And I was pressing that button.

Sitting with yourself is more like waking up. It IS coming OUT of the trance.

Then, well, facing death is about getting real. So that you can be liberated from being controlled by fear. You don’t have to be afraid of fear.

And this allows intimacy with reality. Internally and externally. And THAT allows real, healthy, respectful connection…

And real, healthy, respectful connection does involve the generosity of restraint.

! Good King Elliot !

Rick says:

Leo Please make a video about marijuana before you make any other video, its important to know whats your stand on the subject. Keep up the good insights.

Leo Gura says:

I just released a video about Overcoming Addictions. Hint: it’s an addiction!

Tanvi says:

True Leo, anything out of balance is addiction and knowledge of, that delicate line where imbalance arises is self actualization and this super precious knowledge comes with mindfulness…this is the take away message that i have received from this video! The use of the words ‘void’ ’emptiness’ ‘being’ ‘darkness’ ‘nothing’ are so sooo much contextual to The Bible, Genesis, where the creation of the world is described.Wonderful!

nekas says:

Leo, how on earth do I stop thinking while sitting and doing nothing?

Leo Gura says:

You cannot stop thinking. Just sit and observe the thinking. Thinking isn’t bad or evil. Don’t create an adversarial relationship to it.

nekas says:

Hi Leo, many thanks for getting back to me. Thinking is one of my addictions but after hearing your addiction video for the third time I think the best it’s to hear the other 3 videos you mention and then get back to the addiction one. Do you agree or should I subscribe and follow the videos that are sent to me? Would really appreciate your input, many thanks!

Kayla says:

I’m struggling with the idea that I have no free will – I have so many addictions I’m trying to overcome at once. Heroin, marijuana, food, negative thinking, etc. Your videos are so powerful and helpful but I can’t find the motivation to break the cycles.

Leo Gura says:

Right, which should be a strong clue that you don’t have free will. Not only do you not have it, “you” yourself are a fiction. There is no “you” inside “you”.

Don’t take this as a negative. It’s actually a powerful realization, because it helps you to stop beating yourself up and self-sabotaging.

Commit to the self-actualization journey and then just let things unfold as they do. Within a few years you should be able to kick your biggest addictions.

Patricia says:

Leo, this is great. I love the idea of setting a goal to a positive rather then a negative; i.e. “I want to be the best self I can be; self actualized” vs. “I want to quit over eating and being overweight”. And ‘sitting’ doing nothing is a great way to ride through the mind games and waves of those cravings. Now, the above comment of “you” being you as a fiction, that’s even deeper stuff. Which goes to the larger picture of course during this doing nothing meditation and why we don’t need any of these addictions.

I also want to say I think its great you are open in your sharing to 12 steps (which end opinion I agree with) as some people can only do things with these programs and therefore its good.

Thank you.
Patricia

Savannah says:

Leo, why is it that the longer i sit by myself, and do nothing, i feel more anxious and depressed by the minute? untill i am overwhelmed with emotion?
I developed depression from sitting in my room for 10 years doing nothing. i eventually get so overwhelmed i passout??

Daniel says:

Hi Leo,

Thank you for this video, which seems to have been a key one for me. The concept of ‘soft addictions’, to a great variety of commonplace habits and things rang a bell and I suspected that I had a soft addiction to thinking, so I tried to sit still for two-and-a-half hours and do nothing. The time went by quickly and comfortably, as I have trying a few different kinds of meditation, on and off, for some years, though my mind was awash with thoughts that I couldn’t silence properly. What I really noticed in light of this video though (and several others of yours) was that the thoughts that were hardest to silence on that particular day were THE ONES IN WHICH I WAS PLANNING HOW TO IMPRESS SOMEONE, where ‘someone’ is about three or four separate people in my life at the moment. Thinking about this observation afterwards set off a whole cathedral of bells ringing and dots starting to join:

– I frequently think about how to impress people.

– The most poisonous, destructive negative thoughts I have about myself tend to arise from what seem like my past failed or backfired attempts to impress someone.

– I am most judgemental about people who I think are trying to be impressive in a shallow or incompetent way. When I see someone do this the annoyance I feel has an especially galling character.

– At a school parents’ evening when I was 17 one of my teachers apparently told my parents that she thought I liked “… to impress people.” I remember feeling very hurt by this, even though I knew that, in some sense, the teacher was right.

– Achievements I make don’t tend to feel good unless they are acknowledged by others and impress others. Perhaps for this reason, I have found it difficult to identify my life purpose. I am 32 and have three university degrees, including two from Cambridge, and feel that I have less idea of what I want to do with my life than when I was 18.

– When I fail to impress someone I tend to ascribe this to a shortcoming in the QUALITY or DEGREE of my ‘performance’, or to ‘performing’ in the wrong area/field to impress that person. On the other hand, I am used to, and sensitive to, veiled hints from people that I come across as someone who wants to be complimented, and it’s perfectly plausible that any addiction to approval is something that people would ‘smell’ and dislike.

So, basically, I now think I have an almost lifelong ‘soft’ addiction to impressing people. It’s early days yet, but your video on addictions has started to give me a perspective on this, not as a symptom of a weak and rotten character (something I AM), but rather as something I DO and can change. Can you point me toward anything else to read or watch to help me explore this further? Perhaps it is the same thing as ‘people pleasing’. Not sure.

Anyway, thank you.

Daniel (London, UK)

Leo Gura says:

Your addiction to thinking isn’t soft, it’s as hard as addictions get, hehe

Mike says:

Daniel,

I deal with the exact same situation in my life. The same need to impress others and the whole can of worms that goes along with it. I’ve recently started using this method. It’s been a couple months since your comment. How has your progress been?

Elizabeth Davis says:

This video is something I have never considered before. Sitting doing nothing nothing seems more torturous. My main addiction is visual stimulation whether it be video games, tv, social media, talking to my dad whether on the phone or in person. It just seems like people cannot just sit. How can we sit when we are supposed to find our passions and life purpose? How long weeks at a time? This isn’t possible we would die from lack of food or water.

Peter says:

This is the first video where I feel Leo has acted irresponsibly. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he has good intentions. But until he can back up his claim with proof, that becoming self actualized leads to people freeing themselves from addiction … it is just a thought … his thought. Millions of people have gotten sober and stayed sober till death through the original 12 Step program, AA. That’s a fact, not a thought. While he doesn’t dismiss 12 step programs outright, his claim that his approach is the right path, without proof, is where the irresponsibility comes in. One only needs to consider the desperate addict that buys into the self actualized approach to breaking free of his addiction but can’t get there … only to feel that much more as a failure.

Elizabeth says:

I don’t think there is anyone that is an expert. It’s all just ideas. I personally couldn’t just sir still longer than a couple minutes. I don’t think he’s acting irresponsible he’s all about trying to help. My addiction is with keeping my mind moving not stopping. So just sitting I gotta stay plugged to my tv, games, social media. I just gotta stay active. If I’m not I’m sleeping.

Leo Gura says:

Try it and prove it for yourself.

This is not philosophy-class. Everything I say, you do it and verify it with ACTION!

What you’re doing is mental-masturbation.

bardia says:

hey leo . thanks alot for this video , but please put the video’s script in this page , there is someone like me with not good english listening . thanks alot

Jas says:

While most of your content actually is quite relatable, this one isn’t. There are a 1000 ways something can be understood simply because there are 1000 secondary reasons behind situations/habits. And death of self/emptiness might be one of these reasons but that might not be relatable to everyone, barring people who have had near death experiences. Now when people don’t actually relate to it(in the inside), the risk isn’t baldness(as in scratching their heads), the risk is in trying to relate to and believe in and eradicate something which the not at all the reason behind their problem.

Charles Emmons says:

I’m a veteran of 12-step recovery as well as a substance abuse/mental health counselor. This talk has confirmed my long held suspicions that 12-step recovery was only going to take me so for. I’ve had that feeling of emptiness even after years of step work and “living the principles.” Twelve step recovery, as commonly practiced does well with changing the behavior but I note that many pick up “positive addictions” as have I. The steps however do point towards self actualization. For instance step 10 suggests continuing to take personal inventory. In common practice most do this in terms of how they are responding to others. The deeper level would be to examine beliefs, how they got there, and whether they have any basis in reality. With that (10th step) one can dig very deep into themselves.

Leo Gura says:

Research psychedelics. They’re super helpful for addicts and alcoholics. One of the steps in AA was originally LSD

You don’t know what it’s like to be one with emptiness until you’ve been on a high dose of the right psychedelic.

Lauren says:

Wow, thank you sooooo much Leo!
I re-listened to this episode this morning. I must stop my work to write my heartfelt thanks!!!!!

Addiction include food and shopping.
They can be mild and severe.
Soft addition!!!! Such as addiction to love!! Addition to achievement!!!! To money making.

Addiction is caused by emotional void and avoidance of emotional labor!!!!!

Meditation, being and stop doing, facing one’s demon, is curative at root!!!!
Your fear is what drive you to distract your mind by resorting to the crutch and addiction.
Meditation, hello!!! I must practice it!!!!!

Lauren says:

niw I understand, not blame wildly (I am a woman myself), about men watching porn–it makes them feel young and good, short term. It may become addiction and leads to vulnerable to sex (and women), which is not sanctioned / supported by society, and emotionally hurting other people’s spouse and children when the sex is inappropriate.

Lauren says:

Life, in one way, can be to push away laziness, physical or mental or emotionally, especially emotionally.

No one else can “give” / “make” you happy! Happiness is a skill, a decision, a talent, a way of life. You must endure emotional pain to obtain the true tranquil happiness!!!

Path says:

After sitting and doing nothing, I became aware for the first time of a deep fear of ‘just being’.

What is this existential emptiness feeling you talk about? Is it the realisation that there is no inherent significance in life? Or that there is nothing more than the pure experience of ‘just being’.

Perhaps it can be only explained though direct experience but any clarification of this idea would be very helpful.

I am extremely grateful for the work you have done!

kyle says:

leo not such thing is addiction k i do drugs meany times i realized that what u were saying but i am aware i do them i let my self what do them as u said for years i quit reason why u are sick is because people listen to doctors here the withdrawals they do not do my type of drugs u listen to people that reason u get sick i think just because your body is getting rid of it saying somethings addictive i thin it just stupid u think anythings bad u do really i do not i do not care if i do anything just know who cares wake up then u will stop last time i do any types was 2 months ago stop listen to word addiction bs i also do mediation on them to i watch my self what u call mediation just call it watching my self stop looking at the people on the street to that wont help u think oh i am going there soon good ida to u are right to leo i experimented with the hard core bad addicting ones why make video of doing nothing good ida but how ever if u going to do something just watch your self if u are in the bad zone cant stop keep watching your self then one day u will get it that should not be a word lol sorry

gravityon says:

Hello Leo,

I have two remarks :

– Could sitting and doing nothing also be seen as an addiction ?
– I personaly consider I have a drug addiction. But it happens that I am away from my place a few weeks in brand different environments where I have absolutely no cravings for the drug. Then back at home it gets more complicated to handle with the bad habits rushing back… So I don’t really agree with your definition of addiction (not being able to cope with a behaviour for more than a week)

Anyway, your video is very valuable and helpful in many ways. Thank you !

Coco says:

12 step programs are about looking at yourself. It helps you grow as a person by looking at yourself. I have concluded there is a definitive cap on the growth but non the less helps. What I’m wondering is, are the 12 step programs a dogma?

Rosa says:

Hi Leo
how to go about when is your boyfriend who has an addiction? He smokes and this bothers me a lot. I am on a spiritual path of awakening and I am coming to terms with my addictions – love, actually – and I would like him to listen to your video and take this experiment. I already experience that state of calm and bliss when I am alone and do nothing, this has come from 2 years of regular meditation and kundalini yoga and other spiritual practices. We do meditate together sometimes for 15 minutes. But the problem is, he does not want to quit for me. He says he will do it when he feels ready, for himself. Yes that sounds perfect, but how do I live with that in the meantime? With his immaturity and his fear of looking into the emptiness? I try to take him by hand and show him some practices, some ideas, but he feels like he is inadequate, he is never good enough for me, and I don’t want to give this impression. On the other hand, it boils down to just one simple question: am I ok with someone who is not on the awakening path and although curious and respectful about it, he is not compelled to take this path? Do I stay with him for the “potential” of his awakening? I should love a person as they are now, not for what they may become. And I do, love him. He is wonderful in many many ways. But I can’t bear that he is not a fellow seeker. How, how can it be. There is nothing more important that that! Find out who you really are, find out what this reality really is, stop living in the world of illusions! Be aware and be conscious of everything! Experience oneness, be blown away by that! At least I try, I practice, I read, I recite mantras to reach that no mind space, I use the body as in tantra to transcend the illusion, I dance like a sufi, I connect to people deeply, and all this, he watches, he is amazed, he loves me…but he does not step into the light. I cannot push him. I wish he could at least watch your video. Realise what his addiction is about. Face the void. I did persualde him to do a breathwork session with me once and he said he found a terrible pain, in the middle of the chest, and he wanted to face it, he said this pain had been with him since ever. So I will encourage him to do some more. But it is difficult. Every time he comes to bed and smells of smoke, and the breath is so important to me for union, and I am pushed away by that. Toxins I don’t want, and manly an addiction that prevents him to start the journey – together with other habits like that of always playing with his phone, playing chess online, being on facebook, he is never ever doing nothing with his mind, always occupied, except when we walk in the mountains.

Kestas says:

Hi Leo, where can I find a video on existential investigation? Thank you.

David says:

Hi Leo,

Good video. Thank you for all the time and effort you have put in to release all this material for free. Definitely a great example of giving forward with great generosity !

Having mastered multiple addictions over the last 3 years, both hard and soft ones, that had been with me for 20+ years (I’m 41 years old), there is definitely truth to what you are saying and both meditation and psychedelics have played an important role in coming to terms with them and having them dissolve through greater presence in the moment and awareness, but, in my experience, there are other mechanisms at play, other than a simple human aversion to the void inside. In fact, it is my belief that addictions are actually an ally and a gift. A gift in that they contain important emotional messages that can be delivered to you if you simply intend and open up to receiving them. I have seen a couple people comment about the inner child and emotional trauma surfacing once you begin the healing process, and that is at least one additional dimension. Like most things, I believe it is never a single dimension answer.

Gonna play devil’s advocate here, just for the fun of it… what about addiction to self-actualization and reaching enlightenment ?

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