What is addiction and how do we overcome it?
Emanuel Swedenborg believed that a state of addiction is a natural consequence of humanity’s tendency to be self-centered. Addiction goes beyond substance abuse disorders as it can apply to almost anything. We can yearn for many things in life, although some things are more socially acceptable than others. Swedenborg believed that we are generally all addicted to gratifying our egos and identifying with our bodies in various ways, which is why we put others down or live in fear of death, which draws us away from a present engagement with love and unity. Addictions are all harmful to us–even if some are more obviously harmful than others–because they actively remove us from our awareness of God’s life and love within and around us.
Thankfully, Swedenborg pointed to a root cause of addictions beyond the physical/mental. He said that our addictions stem from our false belief that we are separate from God and from the universe. This may seem to be all-too-simple, but to change this false belief we must give up our separate and limited ideas of ourselves. Our identification with our mind’s yearnings, impulses, imagination, and inner ramblings keeps us away from realizing our true, loving nature and sense of peace. While this may sound intimidating, it actually means uncovering and accepting our true angelic self in unity with God.
Addictions can be a terrible burden, especially when they are substance abuse addictions or addictions to things that harm ourselves or others. Often, we need additional help supporting us through these burdens such as counseling, support groups, and rehabilitation. We should leverage these helpers as much as possible! Further, Swedenborg believed that spiritual practice and deepening our understanding of ourselves and God can also help transform our minds from delusions and addictions to truly free states. One practice that I employ to transform my mind is watching my sense of self throughout the day, whether it is a limited sense of self or something deeper. Checking in with my thoughts and actions regularly helps me notice changes in my sense of “I am”–whether it is a more constricted, imaginary, and personal (false) idea of myself, or a more universal, natural, and expansive (truer) awareness. This helps to further reveal the indescribable light and warmth of consciousness itself, naturally dispelling delusions.
To get help with addiction please find resources at www.help.org or through a local addiction hotline.
Meet Rev. Cory Bradford-Watts
Rev. Cory works with the our online community, Spiritual Sunshine, and the Church of the Good Shepherd in Canada. He loves playing music, exploring spiritual topics, being spontaneous, and connecting with others.
More information: https://swedenborgiancommunity.org/blog