Addicted people can't meditate

Tania's picture

Average: 4.4 (15 votes)

I find it hard to meditate, I get bored and then agitated and restless as soon as I begin meditating. This stress compels me to stop.

This is natural, it is great that you admit it. There are many people, even "experienced spiritualists" that overlook this and thus get only more agitated during meditation.

Ironically as it may sound, it means that you meditate correctly, you hit the rock bottom of your psyche, you do not use meditation as some yet another entertainment.

What should I do then to be able to meditate?

First, do not fight this anxiety, just observe it as part of your meditation and in this way your identification with this anxiety will break. Try it now.

It is hard, The anxiety is so overwhelming.

This anxiety you experience is the reason why most people are terrified from the very idea of meditation. Addicted people cannot meditate.

But I'm not addicted.

In the "official drugs" sense you are not. But these overrated official drugs are only a tiny speck of the whole collection of drugs people are addicted to. The most dangerous drugs are those which are hidden, those who you do not perceive as drugs while you are addicted to them. And everyone is severely addicted in this enlarged sense, and I am not speaking metaphorically.

Addicted to what?

Addicted to the excitement itself derived from whatever object, you can call it 'addicted to the addiction'. The precise object of addiction is insignificant. What important is that there will be some sense or mental object there, some entertaining content.

Addiction means 'I must have content'. Content of some sort, entertainment, amusement, catastrophe, eating, sex, love, work, buying, whatever, something that my mind will classify as exciting (good as well as bad) based on its conditionings and therefore instruct my body to discharge the corresponding chemicals to my blood stream that will fill the vacuum, the natural emptiness of being that the mind happens to fight so hard.

This is true for "official drug" addicts and is also true for all of us, as all of us are seriously addicted to content to fill the voidness within us. Again, this is not metaphorically speaking, we are all severely addicted, physically as well as mentally, we show the exact same symptoms of addictions, as for example the severe anxiety you experience when you try to meditate.

Yes, I can see it now.

Merely all your doings, being and identities are driven by your mind's addiction to content or more precisely, your mind's terrible fear of emptiness which is the direct cause of this addiction.

Why does the mind fear emptiness?

Emptiness mean emptiness from something, otherwise the mind would not have bothered with this concept. What is this something? As you are currently the mind, it means emptiness from mind content, which is mental activity: thoughts and feelings.

For the mind, emptiness means non existence. The mind does not exist as a separate independent entity of its own. It is just the collection of mental activities, of thoughts and emotions. And if there is emptiness of them, i.e. they are not, the mind also is not.

This fear of emptiness is the mind's fear from its death (and it does relate to the somewhat different fear from physical death).

This fear manifests as boredom, restlessness or the anxiety you experience when trying to meditate.

Why this addictive aspect of the mind prevents me from meditating?

Meditation is merely voidness of content. This is what meditation truly is. There are many spiritual-related activities that are referred to as meditations, some of them are very beneficial practices but they are not meditations in the pure distinctive sense of no object. Meditation means disconnecting to some degree from content, from objects and abiding in the subject, in the "I AM". Even if you do meditate on some single object, you are still almost completely emptied from objects which bring amusement and excitement to the mind.

This means a danger of emptiness of content which in turn triggers the mind's fear of emptiness, as described before, and thus you immediately start feeling restless when trying to meditate and show anxiety symptoms typical to those who are addicted and are withdrawn from the drug.

Accepting totally what you said, I still feel that I can't meditate.

In order to be able to meditate, you must first handle your mind's addictive nature, its fear of emptiness. You do it by observing your addictive patterns and responses, softly and compassionately without condemning it, accepting that this is currently the situation you have to face. You observe it in formal meditation as well as during your day when you perform your normal daily activities.

This practice may be a bit hard in the beginning and may bring symptoms typical to a withdrawal process of any official drug addiction. Don't push it. Don't deny from yourself the objects of addictions, just observe the process and face the fear of emptiness when it appears.

This actually is one of the top spiritual tasks you can take on yourself. It is far more valuable than formal meditation itself. When you finally trespass this thick mental wall of the fear of emptiness, a fear that you carry for countless lives, this awful emptiness will turn into serenity. Viewed from the new perspective devoid of the fear, it will be experienced as the tranquil quietness of the nothing, the abode of the self, the space beyond the mind.

This also will enable you, for the first time, to act out of true will and love and not to react unconsciously out of fear and distress of addiction.

(From "A Spiritual User-Manual for the Skeptic Human Mind" by Riktam Kantu)

eknutson's picture

Very well said

Thank you for sharing this insight. I have found, in my own experiences, that what you are talking about is very true for me.

Also, it is through this extra difficulty (addiction) that relief from my suffering was more easily seen. At least, once I got 'outside of myself' and was able to see where I was and where I wanted to be.



eknutson | Fri, 05/23/2008 - 13:46
santthosh kumaar's picture




santthosh kumaar | Mon, 06/30/2008 - 11:26
Wahido Theriaca's picture

I know someone who is not addicted...

Dear Santthosh,

For me it is clear that there is a bit of a limited tone in your words since you speak from a space of non-experience, or am i wrong? its not easy to deeply understand your words because its not clear if you speak from an experienced space or if you speak from what you read on books or saw somewhere. i do not know you but i know a few things specially around spiritual egos (i have one too dont worry). do you know what reality is? do you really know what an addition is? Please read again what you wrote since it doesn't make much sence, to me of course. you say: "THE PERMANENT PEACE IS POSSIBLE ONLY WHEN SEEKER DISCOVERS THE FACT THAT THE INVISIBLE SUBSTANCE WITNESS OF THE MIND OR HUMAN EXPERIENCE WHICH IS THE SPIRIT AS TRUE SELF." this doesn't make sence, grammaticaly speaking, but i think i know what you mean, which leads me to the question: do you know what permanent peace is? if not, how can you speak about it? hence its a belif system that you have. then you continue: "THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SELF FREES THE SELF FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF DUALITY AS REALITY." do you know what the self is? do you know what duality is? what about reality? if you do then you walk your talk, if you dont then its just a belief system that you have. and you continue: "ONE CAN ENTER THE STATE OF NON DUAL TRUE NATURE OF THE MIND ONLY THROUGH WISDOM NOT THROUGH MEDITATION OR DRUGS. THIS IS POSSIBLE ONLY THROUGH FORMLESS SPIRITUALITY." what books are you reading? if you walk your talk you know me, you know what i am talking about, otherwise its just a belief. how can you speak about true nature? or wisdom since you are limiting enlightenment to a experinece that cannot pass trought drugs or meditation?

Dear Santthosh, don't get me wrong and i can tell you that many times i say things that i don´t apply directly in my life or that i "truly" believe to be "true", but its good to be honest. Its time to stop saying "dont do what i do, do what i say" and be honest and maybe keep things to oneself rather than creating more dogmas and belief systems. But anyway, i think you wrote beautiful words and i truly wish that you follow you speech, because you speak like you know the truth, and if you do, its great, we are all here to learn from each other.

Thank you.

Love, Theriaca

Wahido Theriaca | Sat, 07/05/2008 - 23:28
santthosh kumaar's picture


Hi, whahido,
Thank you for genius observation. I admire your intellectual capacities.
Nisrgadutt Maharaj said, until one thinks the world is first, and he is born in it later, he will not able to grasp the knowledge of the self.

Since everyone thinks they are born in this world, and world exists prior to them, they become the slave of the belief system, and indulge in intellectual and logical arguments.Until one believes the 'I' as self, he is bound to believe himself as an individual separate from the world and remain experiencing duality as reality. Thus he finds duality between himself as a subject and whatever remains is an object. This is because they give physical meaning to it, but the spiritual meaning entirely based on deeper understanding after deeper inquiry and reasoning.
The truth will not be reveled until one searches truth as a person apart from the world. If he seeks truth as individual apart from the world he will remain the slave of belief system imagining this and that as truth. The truth lies between the dual and non dual state of the mind. The duality exist within the mind or 'I'.

First one has to know what mind is? Mind is not limited to the physical body. It is the belief system which makes one think that mind is within the physical body. One who has inquired reasoned and analyzed will realize the fact that, mind is the whole human experince. And he has the firm conviction that mind is an experince. And mind is present as whole Waking experience or dream. The Waking is parallel dream. Dream is parallel Waking experince. The 'I', is present only when the mind is present.Therefore 'I' is mind. When the mind is absent, it is deep sleep state. Therefore one has to grasp the truth beyond the mind, which is present as formless witness[knower] of the appearance and disappearance of the three states. Only one who knows the self is not 'I', is free from belief system, which is limited to the Waking or dream experince.

The dream is experienced without the physical apparatus, similarly, the Waking experince also is experienced, without the physical apparatus. The individual experince such as birth life and death has nothing to do with the truth. When one who has the full conviction of the witness then the wisdom dawns. When the wisdom dawns one becomes aware of the fact that the whole experince of three states is created out of one single material which is spirit. Therefore there is no second thing other then the spirit. Since, there is no second thing other than the spirit, hence, it is non dual. The self is the spirit, which is creator,sustainer and dissolver of the mind which is illusion.
I only know the spiritual meaning. And I view and judge the worldview on the base the true self[FORMLESS]. It is natural for you to find it meaningless,since you view and judge the duality as reality.You are free to form any opinion because our base of understanding is different.

When Buddha declared emptiness he means empty of duality or mind or 'I' . Whatever prevails is the self, on which, the duality appears and disappears. But people give many meanings to this.

When Sri, Sankara declared; World is myth. It means the world which including you, I and others and the world, thus it become empty. Whatever prevails without the world, is ultimate truth that is Brahman. One has to know what has this experince[waking or dream] and experince-less[deep sleep]states.

Since all the teachings have been mixed and messed up in time, one has to do his own home work. Bookish knowledge will not help to unfold the mystery of the mind.

As Advith master, Nirkara said the truth cannot be found within the mind[world]. One has to grasp it beyond the mind. Therefore whatever one practices within the mind or Waking experince, as a person he will remain in the clutches of duality. Therefore deeper understanding is very much necessary. Thus, your understanding of duality and self , differs from mine.

The self is known only through wisdom.Without grasping what is true self, how can one know what is not truth. It is only for communication purpose I take physical authorship otherwise , I have a firm conviction that Waking experince is illusory, in which 'I' and you and others and the world exist. and Waking experince or mind is created out of the one single material that is spirit. And that spirit is the true self.It is the self, when it knows, it is not man but spirit, then the mind[WAKING AND DREAM] becomes mere object to the self.
So far the grammatical mistakes; I say I am as illiterate as Nisargdutta Maharaaj. The truth cannot not found in dictionary meanings, because in non dual truth, the words and its meaning becomes meaningless.

Everyone is been addicted to logical and intellectual understanding , but one who has the firm conviction, that the 'I' mind, and mind is whole experince of duality, and he is able to view and judge the mind as an object, will be able to grasp the non dual truth.

By constant reflecting on the formless witness of the mind, will be able to establish in the true nature[substence] of the illusory duality.

The substence is the non dual spirit. The spirit is the true self. Therefore it is necessary to view and judge the worldview on the standpoint of the formless base to realize the fact that how the world is myth[Sri Sankara] and what is emptiness[BUDDHA]? it NEEDS MENTAL EFFORT THROUGH INQUIRY AND REASONING AND ANALYZES ON THE TRUE BASE.

People who view and judge the worldview on the physical base, will not be able to go beyond the mind or duality. Therefore your understanding holds good only on the physical base of understanding.

It takes time for one to learn to view and judge the worldview on the formless base. But once he gets a hang of it, it becomes easy for him to discriminate, between dual and non dual state of the mind. When the self is unaware of itself, it is called mind. When the mind is aware of its formless non dual true nature, it is self, which is non dual spirit.

Since people want branded and taged spirituality, they remain struggling by using all types of methods paths and drugs to know what is truth or self to free themselves from clutches of duality.Since truth is bitter pill and tasteless and hard to digest for beginners, it becomes difficult for everyone to accept it. Therefore F.S is not for the mass, but for those who have intense urge, to unfold the mystery of mind or duality.

F.S is not teaching. It is only guidance for those who have the intense urge of knowing the truth. Only for communication purpose I call it teaching. Since it is vast subject it not possible to convey everything in the blogs.
Any way I thank you for expressing your opinion. I respect your understanding, it has value on your own point of view and understanding.
Discussing on the different base of understanding will not yield any fruits. Everyone has to follow his own chosen path. Only when he finds it inadequate and useless then only think of something else.
With love respect and regards
Take care.

santthosh kumaar | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 05:26
Omkaradatta's picture

What is within what? ;-).

> It is the belief system which makes one think
> that mind is within the physical body.

You want the truth of it? You are seeing only one side. Here it is:

(A) The mind is within the brain.

(B) The brain is within the mind.

Both are true.

Isn't that One-ness? No subject, no object.

Omkaradatta | Fri, 09/19/2008 - 05:40
Omkaradatta's picture

Nisargadatta's take...

Nisargadatta: "It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all. The world is made of rings. The hooks are all yours. Make straight your hooks and nothing can hold you. Give up your addictions. There is nothing else to give up." (from 'I Am That')

Omkaradatta | Thu, 08/14/2008 - 02:59
barbara's picture

Beautiful as all Maharaj's words

Beautiful and precise as all Maharaj's words (under the divine translation of Maurice Fridman)... Bringing exactly the appropriate quote adds you, Omkaradatta, to this blessed list.

It is so hard to let go the addictions (in the broader sense of the blog). Yet, I clearly feel that they are indeed what holds me back... After reading this, I discovered the pond of emptiness in me which is actually equal to these addictions...

So hard to cope with this emptiness...

The "disinterestedness" reminds me of the IDGF state that was discussed here...

barbara | Thu, 08/14/2008 - 06:17
santthosh kumaar's picture

First come out of the addction of duality

Hi Tania,
Everyone one of us is addicted to the drug called duality. The duality is present as mind. When the mind is there the feeling,experince, emotions,fear and all sorts of human attributes are present. When the mind is absent everything disappears and becomes empty. When the mind is empty of duality, it prevails as non dual spirit,which is the true self.

Discovering and realizing the fact that, the true self is not the 'I' or mind, but the substence of the mind, will lead one to enter the non dual true state of the mind consciously. Therefore practicing meditation or samadhi or taking drugs without knowing the true self, is like emptying the ocean drop by drop.

Therefore it is necessary to know what is mind? and what is substence of the mind, and realize the fact that 'I' is not the self, but the non dual spirit is the true self, to overcome the experince of duality or mind.

I admire and appreciate your findings, but if you base it on the true self, the truth will reveal itself, and you will become aware of the fact that I, you and others and the world is mere mirage on the standpoint of the true self, which is the non dual spirit. The spirit is the eternal identity.


santthosh kumaar | Wed, 09/17/2008 - 04:46
johnd's picture

formless from less restlessness

I think it is all the way around: first come out of the addiction to excitements, be less restless and be able to meditate and from this new place you may be able to come out of the addiction to duality.

Addiction is not intellectual and not in the surface. It is a deep rooted condition. I have never met someone who came out just like that by will of power of his/her "addiction to duality" (You can tell people that duality and form are an illusion and some may agree but deep inside their belief in duality still exists and control their conscious and unconscious conduct). On the other hand, I have met dozens who came out of their addiction to addictions, overcame their fear of emptiness, became less restless, became less fearful of meditation, started exploiting this incredible tool and got ahead. I am one humble example. Many Zen people are a good example too.

johnd | Mon, 01/12/2009 - 18:53
Phroggy's picture


Hi Johnd
Could you try to connect the dots for me? How did you get from 'this new place of meditation' to "overcomming fear of emptiness"?

Mind does what the mind does, out of fear or desire. It can be 'controlled' momentarilly, relaxed for a time, positioned in various states for a time, all of which are, themselves, the fulfillment of desire for elevated states or to escape turmoil and experience peace. IOW, mind is still doing what it does, even in meditation, but more than anything it wants control because without it it's helpless, and so the states end, the peace ends and mind goes back to it's usual agenda of worldly attachments and 'addictions'. This has been my experience with meditation, and when folks here say "It works!", I think 'Yeah, it worked for my mind too but what works for mind usually has little to do with Truth.

What I find is that, since mind is functioning spontaneously and we're only imagining that we're controlling something, mind must come to new realizations before it's functioning will change. If the meditation is bringing about new awareness for mind, this is excellent and to me this is the proper function of meditation: intuition, clarity, awareness, which gets translated into understanding for mind, mostly the understanding of the ignorance and futility of it's persuits.

Phroggy | Mon, 01/12/2009 - 21:35
dhorai's picture

dear tania become my student for heaven to mature!

i have seen heaven in u the inspiration.
u go with ajna power of arjuna a good student
thus u can guide many as arjuna's bhagavad gita is...

i have a tradition of finishing 195 slokas of rishis pathanjali in one stroke are u ready like arjuna who got enlightment in with 18 chapters of yoga in one stroke...

i belong to a tradition of men who prostrate to god after every sloka of bhagavad gita read...

i read bhagavad gita too in one single stretch many times...

in total peace,,,,

700 to 699 slokas for prosperity
and no wonder bhakti vedanta swami srila prabhupada entered me which they call saroopya moksha...

merging with the lord...
with love

dhorai | Wed, 04/22/2009 - 14:25
RandomStu's picture

Addiction and Desire

"Addiction" is another name for "Desire" or "I want." Regardless of what the object of "I want" is, it's the root of suffering, so it's worth-while to take a clear look whenever "I want" appears in the mind.

"I want" may be directed towards money or sex or holiness or enlightenment or bliss or understanding or a good situation etc etc. Changing the object of "I want" from one thing to another may temporarily help a bit. But to get to the root of suffering, "I want" itself can be examined clearly. What is it? "I want" is just thinking, an idea that appears and disappears, like clouds in the sky.


RandomStu | Fri, 08/28/2009 - 19:09
Quantum's picture

It's a distraction. Just meditate.

My meditation teacher would simpy say, "That's all a distraction."

Either just meditate.

Or don't.

Quantum | Fri, 10/09/2009 - 16:49
Toltec Logic's picture


Results may not be as important as actions, perhaps we
should ask ourselves what is the purpose or method of
medition itself. And realize that until we find an
opening within our own awareness no matter the method
the results are pretty much going to be the same. It is
said in certain traditions that hidden practice can not
begin until one has had this experience of oneness.

"When the spirit is illumined and the vitality is purified,
as true water and true fire they balance each other; the
earthly and the celestial join, and the primordial energy
comes forth from nothingness."

"Illumination is the energy of open awareness in the palace
of the heart; it is the spirit of humans the master of

The Taoist I Ching

Great perfect mirror
awakening is
not an idea
but a time when
the knowing essence
becomes manifest

Toltec Logic | Wed, 01/06/2010 - 18:45
Surya Kumar Mishra's picture

addition and meditation

Meditation is nothing but an addiction
Do you need to meditate.
Pl think through.

Surya Kumar Mishra | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 09:36
nitinplus314's picture


this is something which is resides within us.A strong will power only will replace ADDICTION from it's memory location...this all about attitude as well..:)


nitinplus314 | Wed, 05/05/2010 - 10:15
Surya Kumar Mishra's picture

when you find hard to meditate

Just watch your mind action
practise this for a minute and then increase this time period
You just work as a witness, thats all
silently observe what your mind is doing
Tell me what has happened then

Surya Kumar Mishra | Thu, 05/06/2010 - 05:38