Spiritual addiction is an addiction that is not well recognized and yet it is quite prevalent in our society.
A person will become addicted to spirituality, and from the outside, appear to be leading an exemplary life. However, the addiction here is chasing the high of spiritual connection in order to avoid the pain of life. Spiritual addiction is one of the hardest addictions to accept and recover from, because the condition is largely unrecognized and outwardly, these people are looked up to for living a spiritual life. Also, the high is very addictive, free, and blissful.
For some people, they find this high on a weekend retreat and it is so unlike anything that they have felt before in their life that they spend a large amount of time and money trying to recreate the experience again. In the real world, outside the courses and group work, it can be difficult to recreate the feeling.
You can often tell if someone is addicted to spirituality because it has become who they are. A truly spiritual person has no need for praise, acceptance, approval or possessions- they are truly at peace with themselves and the world. They live in a peaceful way and allow others to be as they are, magnificent. Spiritual addiction (and its closely linked sister, religion addiction) are both fairly easy to spot if the person you are with cannot talk of anything other than spirituality or religion, and often, they try to convert you to their way of thinking. Being spiritual is a part of the way you choose to live your life but for addicts, it takes over.
Anyone who says that they are spiritual and then indulges in judgement, criticism, hatred, bigotry, gossip, self-hatred, materialism, or comes from a stance of better than or less than someone else is not living their truth. We use the word enlightenment so flippantly and yet ironically it happens so very rarely and usually to people who have really surrendered everything and are at peace with life. We put others on a pedestal so readily, and yet true spirituality is a relatively private affair, between you and your inner truth. Spiritual addiction is very much about showing others how spiritual you are, and gaining glory from your spirituality, instead of just leading by example.
For some people, the place they call enlightenment is a place that feels like it, but is not it. As with the heroin addict who thinks the high from heroin is the answer, spiritual addiction takes you to a place that will prevent you from learning to accept yourself completely, shadow side and all, and learn to find peace here on earth.
Many people who find it easy to leave the planet in meditation have learnt to do so as a method of escaping the pain that life causes them. For these people, learning to deal with life on lifes terms and facing their pain and working through it is the way to find peace- the rest is escapism.
Spiritual addiction is, like all the other addictions, cunning, baffling and powerful. If this article has caused a reaction in you, then perhaps you might try to find out a bit more about addictions. It is not the author's intention to label anyone as an addict- this is something you need to discover for yourself, or in counselling. However, we are experiencing great changes on the planet at this time, and I believe that it is a wonderful opportunity to look deep into ourselves and find out what is holding us back from peace and harmony with ourselves, and the planet.
If you struggle with an addiction to anything at all, be it a substance, a behaviour, or a thought process, then spiritual growth is very difficult as the addiction will work very hard to keep you small and suffering- that is what it does, restrict you and keep you in pain. Spiritual growth is about growing, expanding, learning...the two do not go together.
Written by Caroline Nettle.
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