This is NOT going to be a piece on how to/we/I treat addictions… I was fortunate in my early years to be exposed to the wisdom that treating pathology feeds pathology. What’s left to do then? A flexible mind inquires into “how else?”, “what’s another way?”.

This kind of questioning brought me to Stillness Work whose beauty is in orientation to Health. While we can walk an endless path of picking apart, analyzing and resolving what is “wrong”, it’s the inherent Health within us that is the ultimate healer.

Why not work directly with Health then? Here is what happens when we do.

I recently had a wave of addicted clients. No, not to me... Although the feeling of the Tide to which we connect in Stillness work is frequently reported as addictive. In my practice I cultivate the love of Health. But these clients were just in the beginning of that path – they came with destructive addictions: binging on junk food, emotional addiction to an unavailable partner, and dependency on a light drug. Each of these had a different quality and intensity, but they were built on one common foundation that resembled prison. No one was crackling jailer’s keys, but something was obvious: these people experienced little freedom of choice. I’ll start from the end, and a happy one at that. Food binging disappeared and continued to be in absence from the very first session, or the first contact with the Tide. Addiction to the married man lost its grip from the first tuned-in, Tide-inclusive phone conversation. And the drug addiction turned into a free, conscious and controlled choice after about a half-hour session.

Let’s look through the microscope at each of these. In one case, the woman depended on food to make her feel cozy and inside her body. Another lady was addicted to her relationship with a married man, and found her thoughts and energy constantly flowing towards him. In his relationship with the light drug, the man couldn’t quite feel as his creative self without the “hit”. The object of the addition became the master, and the person in question lost the neutrality of choice which is: “Ok with it (him/her, object of addiction), and ok without”.

This loss of freedom is at the heart of any addiction, even a mild one. In its seed form, addiction is an exaggerated attachment. If we feel through the layers of attachment, they contain leaves and branches of the infamous Tree of Ego: neediness, emptiness, pride, affirmation of oneself as a woman/man, etc. It’s a quick ride to calm the brain waves, relax the body, or get a creative kick.

By Ego, I mean here not the usual sense we put into it, like pride or arrogance. I’m referring to anything that is not our essence. For example, guilt or shame are siblings of arrogance and pride. We can be addicted not just to a substance or a person, but often to a feeling. In fact, it’s a particular feeling the addicted person is after the object of the addiction is just a delivery man.

Sometimes, addiction itself could be an addiction. My root teacher in India always said that pleasure in life does not equal happiness. Addiction loans us short-term pleasure that in the end never yields happiness, but gets paid off with destruction, or weakness at best.

When we interact with subtle energies, such as in Stillness Work, making a conscious connection between what happens on the table during sessions and the improvements in health afterwards is very supportive of the therapeutic process.

The Tide links us with our essence, that which is beyond conditioning, that which doesn’t change in the ever-changing flow of life. This essence is revealed through Stillness Work, where the Tide takes you beyond ego waves, to the place that is free by design. It is pure Health.

From this place that is vibrant and full, we don’t need to draw from outside, like in an addiction-attachment, we instead radiate and give without any conscious effort. And like any fire that is no fed by fuel, the flames of addiction fade on their own.

Once she got in touch with that place of Health, the woman with the food addiction saw food as a neutral substance that was there to nourish her body instead of filling her sense of emptiness. Binging on junk food lost its charge. “He came up to my table at a restaurant and greeted me. Not a muscle twitched on my face, not a single skip of a heartbeat. He was a man like any other”, said the woman previously addicted to a married guy. And the light drug addict was served an opportunity for a long gap without the drug, which he sustained without even thinking about it. After that, it became a conscious infrequent choice, just like his intention for our work stated: “ok with it, and equally ok without it”.

Stillness work can be a form of spiritual practice. In the process of letting go of addiction and attachment, or anything else that doesn’t serve us in life, we touch that place in us that is freedom… moksha… liberation. Life shapes that pull us away from our center remain as just that – shapes, but the energetic charge behind them dissipated.

This is an invitation to explore this beautiful place in yourself – on the table or energetically on distance...