Yesterday at yoga the instructor started by asking us to “Go inside to that inner space and openness that is always available to you.” I understood what she meant, but fifteen years ago I would not have done so, because I then had no concept of an inner spaciousness where I could go to find peace and comfort.
Wholeness vs Filling The Inner Hole
To heal and to be healthy is to become whole, but for many of us the feeling of inner wholeness is replaced by an inner gaping hole that needs to be constantly filled if we are to feel good about ourselves. The hole often comes from a childhood where we were not seen or nurtured, and so were left with an inability to see and nurture ourselves. This is where addictions start – the urge to feel better by filling our hole with alcohol. cigarettes, sex, drugs, fast driving, shopping, or whatever our choice of addiction is.
I think that an addiction is so difficult to break because once we stop doing whatever it was we were doing to allay the inner pain and emptiness, our angst comes roaring back. We are not addicted to the substance or habit per se but to the dopamine rush we get when we indulge in the addiction. Gabor Mate, in his book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction tells how those who have received morphine or heroin for physical pain, even for long periods, can easily withdraw from the drugs without any withdrawal symptoms once the pain has gone. It is taking drugs for psychic pain that leads to addiction.
Not all addictions are physically harmful. I used to be addicted to reading, to the extent that if there was no book, magazine or newspaper available I would take things out of the kitchen cupboards and read the lables. I think that the most boring thing I ever read was a butter wrapper and the next was my address book. I knew it was stupid to be reading these things, but I could not stop myself. At least it was cheap and not harmful to my health.
The Path to Wholeness
The path to wholeness is a path back to the self, and so is a spiritual path. It is not necessary to have a religion or even to believe in God.
The spiritual path is not about religions or dogma. It is not about finding the one true way. Rather it is simply the wonder of one’s own beauty revealed to oneself, or discovering inner sources of power and guidance, and following the path your heart shows you. It is about opening ourselves up to the amazing possibilities that life affords us. For there is more here than we can possibly imagine, and all will be greatly rewarded who venture within. John Kehoe – A Vision of Power and Glory
So it is becoming clear to me that this blog will be as much about the inner game, the spiritual path, that leads to health, as about the outer actions of nutrition, exercise, medication and the like.