What are the hallmarks of addiction? How can you tell if you are addicted to something, be it drugs, work or some other compulsion?
Essentially, addiction happens when you rely so much on an external substance or process to fulfill an inner need, that the removal of the substance or process leaves you agitated, uncomfortable and distressed.
In the case of drugs, we have made the choice to be harsh and crass with our internal chemistry. Instead of allowing the body to be the infinitely wise and subtle conductor of an orchestra of neuropeptides, we aggressively stimulate and trigger massive cascades of short-term pleasure-feelings. The more we do this, the more we lose the power to respond with sensitivity to the challenges of our life. We become powerless and ineffective, sometimes quite insane?we become toxic, "dirty" creatures (interestingly, the root meaning of sanity is "clean.")
Many of us become addicted to our work, finding it increasingly hard to relax, release and enjoy the simple pleasures of life beyond the rollercoaster of our jobs' demands. And, of course, as a culture, we have become addicted to stress, addicted to thinking, addicted to the high and lows of the "fight or flight" response.
Addiction to anything reduces us spiritually, cripples us emotionally and poisons us physically.
Recovery from addiction requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses every problematic issue simultaneously?the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
So how can qigong help?
Lets take addiction to drugs (including nicotine and alcohol) as the model:
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