“It feels so unbelievably great to be liberated from the consciousness-dominating barrage of desires, demands, expectations, inflexible patterns, models of how the world should treat you—addictions of every kind.”—Ken Keyes Jr.
Ken Keyes’ Handbook To Higher Consciousness tells you everything you need to know about how to be happy. It’s not a secret. The book has been around since the 1960s. So why aren’t more people happy?
Ken uses the terms “addictions” and “suffering” in very specific ways. In his view, addictions are the only cause of suffering. An “addiction” is anything we must have to be happy. We can call them addictions, attachments, or emotional needs. They are our demands that things be a particular way that’s different from the way they are.“Suffering” is emotional pain—anger, resentment, frustration, irritation, annoyance, guilt, worry, rage, embarrassment, humiliation, fear, terror and despair. There are plenty more, but you get the idea. It’s all suffering.
Addictions disturb our happiness, distort our perception, and block our Love.
Some people are addicted to substances. All of us are addicted to certain ways we want our world to be, and each addiction triggers its own degree of suffering. For example, if I’m addicted to getting my own way, I automatically suffer when I don’t. My addiction triggers anger and frustration.
If I’m addicted to having you open the door for me, I automatically suffer when you don’t do it. Besides anger and resentment, I might feel hurt or neglected. I could start to think you don’t love me anymore and feel bad about myself because you don’t “care” about me. I might even become possessive or jealous and drive you away.
I could hit the roof when I see you stick your finger in the pickle jar if I’m addicted using a fork. I could also spend half a day rationalizing my reaction and seek agreement from everyone around me about how right I am. No matter how many others I can get to agree, I’m the one suffering.
I overhear a conversation in my workplace and I suspect they’re talking about me in unflattering terms. I immediately feel hurt, exasperation and anger. My mind starts to churn and I stew about it all day. I tell myself they should respect me! An addiction to respect has been triggered, and I don’t even know if they’re talking about me.
Suppose I’m in heavy traffic and a car blocks two lanes, and I can’t get around it. I’m frustrated, angry and rage kicks in. I cuss, I shake my fist, and honk my horn. I call the driver a thousand names. Before I was just stuck in traffic. Now I’m suffering. What is my addiction? Am I addicted to not being boxed in? Or to getting somewhere on time? Or just maybe on a much larger level, I’m addicted to always being in control.
Most people spend their entire lives on an emotional roller coaster, reacting and acting up when things don’t go the way they want them to go.
These emotional reactions destroy relationships, cause us to lose jobs, feel insecure, and turn molehills into mountains. They cause arguments, mishaps, accidents, physical abuse, and even homicide.
Small incidents can trigger big addictions. I always know when an addiction is running the show because I’m suffering. It’s easy to recognize—but often hard to admit, and that’s the answer to the question I asked at the start. Why isn’t everyone happy?
The truth is that admitting any frailty such as those I mentioned above can be embarrassing. Who wants to admit they are addicted to someone NOT sticking their finger in the pickle jar? It’s difficult to acknowledge that the very foundation of my self-esteem can be shaken so easily when you fail to open the door for me.
These are just some simple examples of the addictive demands we have, some bigger than others. Little addictions make us suffer. Big addictions make us suffer A LOT. Next month I’ll explain how we get addictions and what we can do about them in the quest to increase our peace, happiness and Love.
Marla Sanderson has been a student of spiritual practice for more than 35 years. She began as Assistant Director of The Next Step, a psychic and spiritual community in a New Mexico ghost town. As workshop leader, teacher, practitioner, and minister, she has led relationship and personal growth workshops, taught psychic development and meditation, Living Love, and the Science of Mind. Marla is available for workshops and speaking engagements. She recently founded the New Thought Center for Creative Living. www.newthoughtctr.org