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A long-standing compulsive behavior pattern may be called an addiction, and an addiction lives inside you as a quasi-entity or subpersonality, an energy field that periodically takes you over completely. It even takes over your mind, the voice in your head, which then becomes the voice of the addiction.
It may be saying, ‘You’ve had a rough day. You deserve a treat. Why deny yourself the only pleasure that is left in your life?” And so, if you are identified with the internal voice due to lack of awareness, you find yourself walking to the fridge and reaching for that rich chocolate cake. At other times, the addiction may bypass the thinking mind completely and you suddenly find yourself puffing on a cigarette or holding a drink. “How did that get into my hand?” Taking the cigarette out of the packet and lighting it, or pouring yourself a drink were actions performed in complete unconsciousness.
If you have a compulsive behavior patter such as smoking, overeating, drinking, TV watching, Internet addiction, or whatever it may be, this is what you can do: When you notice the compulsive need arising in you, stop and take three conscious breaths. This generates awareness. Then for a few minutes be aware of the compulsive urge itself as an energy field inside you. Consciously feel that need to physically or mentally ingest or consume a certain substance or the desire to act out some form of compulsive behavior. Then take a few more conscious breaths. After that you may find that the compulsive urge has disappeared—for the time being. Or you may find that it still overpowers you, and you cannot help but indulge or act it out again. Don’t make it into a problem. Make the addiction part of your awareness practice in the way described above. As awareness grows, addictive patterns will weaken and eventually dissolve. Remember, however, to catch any thoughts that justify the addictive behavior, sometimes with clever arguments, as they arise in your mind. Ask yourself, Who is talking here?
And you will realize the addiction is talking. As long as you know that, as long as you are present as the observer of your mind, it is less likely to trick you into doing what it wants. www.eckharttolle.com
Excerpted from A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Copyright
2005 by Eckhart Tolle. Excerpted by permission of Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.