And while many of us may believe that addiction does not play a part in their lives, I want to explain that the realms of addiction can extend to any behavior we continue to do despite the fact that it creates negative consequences in our life.
When I look out into the world, I see the pandemic that addiction has become. It is all around us, all the time. The Big Five – drugs, alcohol, food, sex and money – are the most obvious places where human beings get mired in addiction.
This addiction is often aggravated by negative thinking, self-doubt, resentment and procrastination – and every human being suffers from these addictions at some point in their life. While these less obvious addictions take place more on the thought and emotional plane – they still sap us of our life energy.
In my early recovery from drug abuse, I thought drugs were my only addiction. I had been living a life centered around my intake of substances. Upon going to rehab and adopting a path of recovery, those substances were removed from me, and for a while I teetered between gratitude for the promise of the new life ahead, and a desire to return to the familiar misery of drug addiction.
Eventually, and mercifully, the desire to use drugs lifted.
But unwittingly, I had also been seeking out other ways to remove myself from the present moment. This meant I was still living in the energy of addiction. I was engaging in gambling, cigarette smoking, acting out sexually and generally looking for the Divine in all the wrong places. This prevented me from true recovery, health and contentment.
It’s the strangest thing, really. All healing, all life, all progress can only take place when we lean into our life, flowing with it moment to moment as it arises and unfolds.
Yet, almost every human being does everything in his or her power to avoid the present moment. For me, there came a day where I looked in the mirror and said to myself: “Tommy, are you so frightened to get to know yourself that you are unwilling to develop the capacity to be quiet, still and present with all that is, with your highest self and with your higher power?”
But, something more was needed – and I found that in the path of Kundalini Yoga.
While The 12 Steps lifted me up out of the darkness of drug addiction, the path of Kundalini Yoga – which I found 12 years into my recovery – gave me the real tools to break through the force field of addiction and to live in the present moment.
If there were only one thing I could choose to pass on from my 45-years of life, I would share how to use the breath to become present – as I truly believe this is where keys to the kingdom are waiting for us. Of course, it takes discipline and know-how to get into the habit of returning there as often as possible, what once you do, it’s transformational.
To help you get into the practice of being present, try the following simple and powerful meditation, which was passed down by Yogi Bhajan, as it relieves stress simply by delivering us into the present moment.
1) Sit up tall in an easy position with your legs crossed. If this is not possible, then sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Bring your two hands together a few inches in front of your heart, so that only your fingertips are touching.
2) With your eyes slightly open while gazing down past the tip of your nose, inhale calmly for five seconds, suspend your breath for five seconds, then exhale for a further five seconds. Repeat this breath for 3-11 minutes, or until you find yourself feeling calm, centered, clear-headed and relaxed.
You can practice this meditation anywhere and anytime. It is a simple antidote to addiction – and will always bring you back home to the present moment, and to your heart.
If you’d like to learn more about moving beyond the energy of addiction, or even just past the main aggregators, then check out the Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction conference between March 17-21. This free, transformational, online conference offers the perspectives of 35 experts on addiction and recovery, including those of my own, Sir Richard Branson’s, Gabrielle Bernstein’s and Jennifer McLean’s.