Addicted to Ease and Comfort

On Sunday night, I attended Marin Sangha. The teacher was Lisa Dale Miller and her topic was addiction. She said that we live in a society addicted to ease and comfort. I couldn’t agree more. She also explained that what we commonly thing of addictions are usually the result of some childhood trauma. This also gives rise to violence, hatred, and crime. It is often the poor, traumatized children in bad neighborhoods that wind up in the armed services because there is no where else for them to go. Think of it, we have an army of hoodlums!

angry_mindWhere does all this addicted behavior come from? Lisa taught that it all comes from the three poisons, greed, aggression and delusion. Or another way to put them is attachment, aversion and ignorance. Lisa added another way to look at them as hope and fear. When we are stuck in a difficult situation, you fear that it will last forever. When you are experiencing a pleasant sensation, feeling happy, or just having a good time, you hope that it will last forever. But we know that all things are impermanent, so both hope and fear are an expression of self-deception. Neither of them will last nor do they have any substance.

We have all experienced the fight-or-flight response, but there is a third way to cope: freeze. Just think about how a defenseless rabbit responds to an attack – they freeze. They go into a state of tonic immobility until their attacker gives up and wanders off.

This happens in humans too, but to a much lesser extent than in rabbits. I know this from personal experience. When I was put in a room with three dozen other kindergarteners, I froze. I just retreated into my mind with an aching heart to be accepted and loved by the other kids. I did not know that they were feeling the same as me.

When I was put in a class in Hebrew school, I again froze and retreated into myself. This became an ingrained habit pattern. In high school, when I finally got a date with a girl I thought was very attractive, I froze there too. When I had to take my Ph. D. orals over course work at the University of Chicago, I froze. I couldn’t remember a single physics equation. Not even E=mc2! A few weeks later, I fled. Luckily, I had two masters’ degrees and was able to get a good job anyway.

I am still working with the trauma of freezing in my life. It is a good meditation object I can now recognize it for what it is.

Are you addicted to ease and comfort? Please explain.

Books by Lisa Dale Miller

Lisa is a wonderful psychotherapist and dharma teacher. You may love to read this book.

Effortless Mindfulness: Genuine Mental Health Through Awakened Presence

Lisa Dale Miller

Effortless Mindfulness promotes genuine mental health through the direct experience of awakened presence—an effortlessly embodied, fearless understanding of and interaction with the way things truly are. The book offers a uniquely modern Buddhist psychological understanding of mental h… [Read More…]

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