Every chain has its weakest link. When the psychology is stressed, aspects of the physiology are stressed, and vice versa. During those times, the psyche crumbles into the weakest link of its chain, which we call the Psychophysiological Addiction.
“Addiction” is the right word. It is a habit. For some people, it’s fear. For others, it may be anger, depression, sadness, feeling hurt, not wanted, not appreciated, not liked, rejected, and so on. You would do well to know your Psychophysiological Addiction. If you’re not sure, in all likelihood, your friends and loved ones can tell you.
The power of its grip is not to be underestimated. During those times, it is your world view. Everything that happens is perceived in a manner that justifies it, that proves it, that confirms its perspective is truth. It is very difficult for a person to see past it. It is an addiction as powerful as an addiction to a drug or any bad habit. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to break a bad habit. It is even more difficult to do so when it is self-justifying.
You have an idea what it takes to break a bad habit. Use those resources to move past your Psychophysiological Addiction. At the same time, don’t judge yourself along the way. Breaking a bad habit is a process. Awareness of your Psychophysiological Addiction is a huge first step well begun, half done. The other half requires tenacity and courage, self-honesty, and humility. In a sense, this is not so much about getting rid of it, as much as it is cultivating a healthy relationship with it which entails first seeing it and then working with it constructively.
Be gentle with yourself, but be tenacious.
I tried immediately to figure out what my weak link was when I read this. I was looking for one thing like fear or anger. Then I considered that it may be a jumble of emotions/perceptions/behaviors that I do under stress. This approach lead to a lot more insight and I think I’ll be able to better recognize the patterns as they inevitably come up when the pressure is high. Thanks for providing this tool for self-exploration.
This is the most clear and gentle explanation I’ve encountered concerning what happens as the psyche crumbles under stress and how to meet it where it is. Thank you for the clarity of your mind and words. With best wishes, Gloria
I like the addiction analogy. We say “oh, that’s just a habit” as if we could change if we only decided to. But they are mental, emotional, physiological. When a psychophisiological addiction/habit gets engaged, it feels like a hamster wheel starts spinning inside. All the senses insist that everything is spinning… but it might not really be the world spinning–it might be me. Even once I start to recognize this pattern, it can feel harder to stop or jump off the wheel than to keep running.
Some of your teachings help me avoid fueling the spinning wheel faster: waiting for my first response to pass, or waiting for the next step to be clear. Meanwhile, I’m still spinning inside, but I’m giving it time and space to slow down and trying not to act out too much from that place.
Telling myself “just quit” or “mind over matter” and thinking the job done is unrealistic, and I only get frustrated. I have to remind myself it takes patience and self-forgiveness… as well as humility and persistence to build new habits, habits of health.
I love this quote, and feel it relates to progress in building new personal patterns:
“There’s this idea that intensity is the only thing that drives progress. That’s crap. It’s not true. Intensity doesn’t drive progress… Focus, form, and intent drive progress…. You have to repeat really good patterns…. And then, as you increase your form and your focus, your intensity gradually and naturally increases in a safe, effective… sustainable way.”
– Dr. Eric Goodman (started Foundation Training, re-training posture and movement patterns)
This reminds me to be easy with myself (can’t force immediate change) and also to keep my focus on healthy practices (the meditation and your teachings). The change might not come out of “Fixing Bad Habits,” but rather from building new muscles that will eventually take the lead.
What a relief! The hamster wheels aren’t the only option. That makes it a little easier to laugh at how ridiculous they are.
Thanks Joy Anna… your thoughtful comment really added depth to Brahmarshi’s blog. I love how your mind turns over these issues and illuminates from various directions.
Sometimes I’m so blind to my own addictions/habits. The other day, while driving with others in the car, I was pushing a point. One of the passengers said, “Just let him win. It’ll be easier.” Whoa- is that really how I am? It was a good ‘aha’ moment. Little by little we progress, till the soil, and let the self-correcting mechanism do its thing.
Thank you Maharshi for this posting. I have never realized, perhaps never even considered what a huge block my psychophysiological addiction is. It has kept me at a distance, isolated and alone. It has even kept me from Mt. Soma and slowed my evolution. It is lack of trust, fear, isolation and depression; all in the name of safety!
Great blog and great comments!
I remember in the early classes you used to call it “Psychophysiological Base Note”, but I really like the word “Addiction” in that context because it gives it a whole new level of exploration. Not only are we falling back to that mode of functioning (the weakest link of the chain) in times of stress, but we are literally addicted to it. Everything in those moments just reinforces that state it seems: what I think, what I feel, how I feel about what happens around me and, and, and…
It really helps to work with this concept over and over again. It seems that whenever I can recognize my pattern, it immediately takes away some of the severity of the situation. I may still not be feeling great in the moment, but at least there is a little bit of space between me and what is happening. Enough to be able to almost “observe” myself rather than being 100% sucked into the dynamic.
Very helpful, thank you!…and another great example of the timelessness of your teachings. That’s what I find most fascinating. I can apply them over and over and over again on deeper and deeper levels.
Great photo…a picture is sometimes truly worth a thousand words.