Thursday, July 17, 2008
In an article I just read about the now infamous New Yorker cover, the writer was going on and on about how addicted Americans are to anger.
OK. There's yet another addiction to add to the already long list of suspected American addictions. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are up at the top of the list of course, followed by less intense substance abuse: coffee, chocolate, sugar, Coke, junk food of all kinds.
Some people are addicted to sex, they say. Some of us can't get through a day without tranquilizers, cold medications, nasal sprays, pain killers, cough syrup, sleep enhancers.
We're addicted to TV, our cellphones, Blackberries, ipods, computer games, the Internet. Gambling, jogging, getting tattoos, even compulsive cleaning, even meditation, for God's sake, has been listed as potentially addictive behavior.
What I want to know is if there's anything fun and pleasing that's NOT addictive. Well? Is my photography an addiction? Because if a day goes by when I can't walk and take pics, I'm very disappointed. Is my habit of prayer addictive? I do it every day and it does bring me pleasure as well as a sense of connection, so ... do I need to go to prayer rehab?
Here ye, here ye: I'm letting go of the storyline that says everything is addictive, because it doesn't help me to think that way. The idea that we're all addicts only increases a tendency towards species-wide self loathing. Instead, from now on I'm going to regard human compulsive behavior as a quest for pleasure that's gotten out of balance. The human being is a curious animal who always has a number of itches that need scratching; it's not our fault. Framing it this way is just as "true" as the theory of addiction, but so much more humanized, at least it seems that way to me.
And yes I do think that a person can pray too much. The way I've been going at it lately, trancing with my spirit guides and power animals, sketching the ritual schematics for soul retrieval on huge pieces of butcher paper taped up all over my room - well, as fun, pleasing and possibly creative as it has been, I admit the behavior had gotten a bit out of hand. Oh well.
Luckily for me, I have the Sufi acupuncturist on my team. Every week he teaches me a little bit more about balance and harmony, helps me temper the seductions of psychism and spirituality as well as corporeal imbalances like allergies or indigestion. Oh yeah. The metaphysical impact of these treatments is a sense of connection to divine mystery minus the energy of obsession.
I am so grateful for the Sufi acupuncturist. Wow.