Question: Are addictions purely mental and physical or is there another dimension to them? Is it karmic?
Sadhguru: “Are there some other forces in the existence which are making you drink alcohol?” That’s the question. When you are ruled by your compulsions, it can feel like there is a force beyond you acting within you. One who is addicted and one who is possessed by some other kind of force do not look very different – it is the same level of enslavement. So is there another dimension? Let’s understand this – addiction means a certain process of repetitiveness. Repetitiveness means you are going in circles. Being entrapped in any repetitiveness is a horrible crime against your own life. Being a limited human being itself is a crime. In that, being addicted to this or that is the worst crime.
All repetitiveness in the existence is limited only to the physical and the mental. The physical forms and the mental-scape are the only two things which are repetitive in nature. In the body, the genetic process means repetitiveness. This is the reason why the moment someone seriously wants to walk the spiritual path, the first thing is they are asked to forsake their own parents, not because we do not care for them or because they have committed a crime. It is just that if you remind yourself of your genetic origins, you will naturally become repetitive. You will not have a new possibility of life, you will just do what your parents did, maybe a little differently – the clothing and the color will change but the essential scenery will just be the same nonsense.
Look back and see. You think it is different but in the scheme of the life process, nothing is different. There may be some difference socially, but generation after generation, if you look at their life after that generation is gone, all of them have done the same damn things – nothing new. So the body can be repetitive. This is the reason for distancing yourself from your genetic origins.
Mind is also a repetition. It only functions from its archival material. If you take away the archive, it will function as it should – as a plain mirror, just reflecting life for you. But right now, the way the mind functions, it is naturally repetitive because it constantly dwells in the archive. Addictions are essentially of the body and mind. The question that was asked is, “Is there another dimension? Is it karmic?” All karma pertains only to body and mind. You can perform and store karma in your body or mind, nowhere else. They do not belong to any other dimension of life. It maybe physical body, chemical body or energy body, but karma is only in your body. Karma’s domain is limited to physical and mental states – body and mind. In yoga, there is no mind. There is just body – physical body, mental body, energy body – all bodies.
I would say most of humanity is in deep states of addiction of one kind or the other. Don’t look at addiction in a limited sense. Addiction is not just about alcohol, cigarettes, coffee or some other indulgence, it is on much deeper levels. Addiction is not necessarily to pleasurable things. People are even addicted to painful things. Because there is no awareness, it does not matter what it is, you want to cling to something. Many times by chance and sometimes by design, you end up clinging to something or someone, which becomes an addictive process of life.
You are an addiction – addicted to birth and death and all the nonsense that comes with them in-between. Only when you have a de-addiction from the process of birth and death, then you are going straight towards the goal.
The Goal is 360°
Fortunately, the goal is not this way or that way, it is 360° – you go whichever damn way you want, but straight, and it will get you there. If you want, take your addiction as a vehicle. Just do that, nothing else but that. Do not just drink coffee, swim in coffee, drown in coffee – it will work. If you are addicted to compulsive behaviors of anger or jealousy, live in that 24 hours a day – it will get you there. The destination is 360°, so you do not have to go in any particular direction. Nishchala tattvam, jeevan mukti – as long as you stick to a straight path, if you have an unwavering path, you will get there. Some are closer, some are a little further, but it cannot be denied. When the destination is all over, 360°, you cannot miss the target. But if you change goals and priorities every day, it will get you into an addictive process of cycles.
All bondage is born out of your physical and mental states. Is body and mind a curse? No, it is a tremendous possibility. It is just that if I give you a large wheel, you can put it flat on the ground and walk around it. Or you can spin it and make pots. Or you learn to ride it and take it to your destination. Your body and mind is a wheel. You have chosen to spin it, walk around it, love it, hate it – but that is not what it is for. It is supposed to be used to its fullest capability. It can definitely take you there because that is the only vehicle you have. That is why yoga – learning to make this into a phenomenal vehicle, not a hurdle or barrier in your life.
Ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author. Sadhguru has been conferred the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India in 2017, one of the highest annual civilian awards, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.