In part one, we mentioned that addictions are a problem of object referral versus self-referral in an exaggerated manner. Most of us suffer from a mild form of object referral and waver between object and self-referral. But in addictions, object referral is king. The object of addiction is almost seen as a god, taking precedence over any other thing, including a spiritual connection.
Object referral is an association of oneself with something outside of us. For example, you will hear people say, I’m a doctor, a lawyer, a plumber, a student. Or you might hear one say, I have three children, I am Italian, or I have a bachelor’s degree. Yet again, you might hear about someone’s possessions or net worth. I have a four-bedroom house in the country, I have $20,000 in a retirement fund or even, I’m poor and broke. While all of these statements may be true, according to Vedanta or Vedic thought, this doesn’t represent YOU as a whole. It’s a part of who you are, but it isn’t you.
Here is the problem with object referral. If the object of my association to myself is no longer present, then I lose the sense of who I am. For example, if you say you are a bank teller and you’ve been a bank teller for 20 years, what happens if you suddenly lose your job? Most people who associate themselves with their job title or position and then lose it, find they are lost. But if you do, in fact, lose your job and have associated your sense of self and self-worth by that job, after time you will probably come to realize that you are not so bad after all, even jobless.
However, the object referral in addictions is even stronger. There is a concept in Vedanta called pragnyaparadha, which means “mistake of the intellect”. The disconnect with your true self or higher self is so far removed that in order to feel whole, we crave the object of addiction as if it were a true need. The intellect has been tricked to believe that it needs the object of addiction to be whole.
In object referral, we are disconnected from who we truly are.
Self-referral is the first step away from addictions. Self-referral is the knowledge that I am perfect the way that I am. You are perfect the way you are, because the creative source that orchestrates the dance of the entire universe, including you, is pure perfection. Self-referral needs no input from the outside to feel whole. The connection to your divine essence makes you this way. Without knowledge of self-referral, we cannot begin to peel away the stickiness of addictions.
In your uniqueness, you are connected to others. You are connected to your spirit, the collective spirit and the universal spirit. You are divinity itself. That is self-referral. You are an individuated expression of the divine who needs to remember your divinity.
Self-referral is truth. Object referral is a lie. Self-referral leaves you whole. Object referral leaves you empty and craving more. Self-referral is healing. Object referral precipitates death. Object referral is slavery. Self-referral is the ultimate freedom.
Remembering who you are is the essence of reconnecting to your true self. In Addictions: An Ayurvedic Perspective (Part 3) we will explore how to overcome your addictions forever.
Wishing your perfect health always,
Founder of The Ayurvedic Path