If my spiritual calling was masked by addiction once upon time, how many other people could also be masking their calling with such escapism?
As a recovering alcoholic, addictive behavior is something I know all too well – together with the co-dependency behavior that inevitably surrounds the addict. I actually credit my experience with alcohol, and the realization that there is no escape that way, as leading up to me heeding my calling. My life purpose was to work for spirit, and any time not being in touch with that calling left a huge void, or ‘hole in my soul’ type of feeling within me.
My initial training into the mystical was in the African tradition, whereby one is selected by the ancestors and called to the task of healer, priest, counselor and diviner. Channeling and the ancient art of throwing and interpreting the bones are used as forms of divination in this tradition. Muti (medicine) is used in the form of herbs, tree barks and certain animal derivatives. The esteemed Sangoma is seen as having been chosen by the ancestors as the connection between the living, the Ancestors and Ngunkulu (the Creator). This is in keeping with the African concept of all of creation forming one harmonious unity.
There are all kinds of addicts, I guess. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away ~ Sherman Alexie
In my initial search for just a glimpse of inner peace some 30 years ago, I sought guidance from another Sangoma, and this revealed to me how I was masking my true calling in favor of addiction. I ignored this initial advice, as I sought escape in all kinds of jobs, in travel and in oblivion.
Many days and nights passed in a blur. There were times that I was led into dangerous situations or risky behavior, but it seemed as if some guiding spirit or angel was protecting me as I survived to drink another day.
At last, one day it was clear that there was nowhere else to run; the stark choice was between answering the call… and death.
One does not choose a life as an addict. Addiction chooses the individual. Similarly, you do not wake up one day and decide to be a worker for spirit, or follow any other spiritual path. No, ‘the calling’ chooses you.
Without an understanding of myth or religion, without an understanding of the relationship between destruction and creation, death and rebirth, the individual suffers the mysteries of life as meaningless mayhem alone ~ Marion Woodma
When the word addiction comes up, it is generally seen as relating to hard drugs, sex or alcohol when, in fact there are myriad other forms of addiction just as sneaky and pernicious. Some are of a more ‘subtle’ nature, as I have discovered over the years in my practice.
Addiction involves many other kinds of destructive, obsessive, and repetitive behaviors, generally accompanied by absolute denial of the problem. There are those people who plunge into insane work routines to avoid having to deal with their feelings. Others take refuge in so much shopping that they run up gigantic debts. Some people are so terrified of offending others that they hide any anger even from themselves. Some over eat, or binge eat and vomit in secret. Some addictions are masked as obsessive tidiness, cleanliness, and controlling behavior. This is very destructive to the addict and to those around them.
However diverse the lives of different addicts may be, we all have this one thing in common: we are powerless over the object of our obsession. Another pattern common to all addicts is the absolute necessity of deception, and therefore usually of telling lies.
My mentor would refer to those in their obsessive states as “the ones that have run away”. She felt that they were suppressing their very life force and emotions. She would explain to me how their emotions had been generally suppressed from childhood years, as the child strove to conform in a desperate search for love and approval from peers and family.
Addiction is just a way of trying to get at something else. Something bigger. Call it transcendence if you want… We all want the same thing. We all have this hole. The thing you want offers relief, but it’s a trap ~ Tess Callahan
Substance abuse does appear to be gaining power people in many countries all over the world. Many people who have until recently lived within a structured society and a familiar order, increasingly feel as if they are losing their sense of identity and their valued traditions, as confusion sets with regards their true calling. A feeling of disillusionment and alienation from our ancestral roots leaves many individuals all over the world drifting without any sense of purpose.
Deep thinkers examining the current human condition have stressed that when we are doing what we were born to do, there is no void in our soul. People who have survived addiction and are now living some kind of spiritual program, often refer to that ‘hole in the soul’ which bedevils the existence of the active addict.
From my life experience, and my work with many different kinds of people from a variety of ethnic and cultural groups, I have come to believe that all kinds of addictive behavior fit into Carl Jung’s conviction that an addict needs a spiritual awakening.
Jung could have been talking about any obsessive behavior or addiction when he wrote: “His craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: The union with God.”
I think of my calling and rescue from addiction as being what Jung called: “A higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism”. I am not sure that I completely understand where it came from or where it will lead me, but I know that it saved my life – both the physical and the spiritual parts of me. I have been set on Jung’s “path which leads to higher understanding”.
There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred ~ Mark Epstein
Sometimes I see my calling and my addiction as being two opposing sides of the same coin: Addiction is the dragging down and emptying of the soul and appears to originate from darker influences. In contrast to this, the calling came to me as a call to rise; it came from the ancestors who were guarding and guiding me and summoning me to the light.
One other feature of addiction is that the addict faces a complete breakdown in communications with any being, especially with Spirit. The calling is the exact opposite of this because the ancestors are determined that the person being called should break out of this prison of silence and set up lines of communication (and this would mean setting up lines of communication with spirit).
It was as if a great struggle took place between these two forces, each one pulling at me, trying to compel me to do its bidding. The forces of good won when I finally accepted that I needed to heed the call and take the higher path…to surrender the struggle.
However, I never lose sight of the fact that addiction is a permanent condition, always waiting to pounce and reclaim possession of the soul. I continually ask the ancestors for protection, and every day I once again commit myself to walking and working in the light.
| PsychicAccess.com.Shani is a qualified practitioner in Reiki, aromatherapy, reflexology, body spin, and animal telepathy who received psychic development training at the Arthur Findlay College of Psychic Research in England. A published writer, her articles and predictions have appeared in several respected magazines and on psychic websites, and she has read for many celebrities and even heads of state in Africa. Though she was born in London, Shani has traveled the globe and has studied the art of African Mysticism, bringing her unique flavor to those seeking her incredible talents. Get a reading with Shani at |
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