...or a Way of Dealing With The Existential Anxiety?
I present this case of smoking addiction to show that smoking is not
necessarily just about smoking, just as drinking may not be just about
drinking or overeating about overeating.
I present it to show that people frequently - and quite unconsciously - engage in what looks like addictions, just to anesthetize themselves against some form of their psychological discomfort.
He came to my Toronto Hypnosis Clinic to quit smoking.
Our initial interview session revealed that his smoking compulsion was his way of dealing with the existential anxiety which commonly arises out of the realization that one cannot control the flow of REALITY.
His father was a smoker and died from the lung cancer. Before he died he told my client to quit smoking.
What baffled my client was the fact that his witnessing of his father’s agony was not enough to make him quit the apparently deadly habit.
He experienced first-hand what smoking did to someone who had his own genetic makeup, and yet, in spite of the obvious danger of following his own father’s demise, his father’s tragic end was obviously not able to serve my client as a motivation to quit.
When someone seems to be forced into doing something that has a high chance of killing him in spite of his conscious awareness of that possibility - the question arises: What is the psychological force that creates such an insane behavior?
My client would say that his smoking was helping him with various stresses of his life, but when pressed to be very specific, he finally told me that what stressed him the most was “NOT KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON”.
He had a tremendous need for logic and structure in life.
He wanted to be able to handle the flow of his life with logic and common sense, but in spite of his attempts to box the flow of REALITY into a set of neatly arranged, predictable drawers - upon a deeper reflection - he would see that he didn’t really know what God was doing.
It became obvious to me that his smoking addiction was a form of a powerful distraction, which served the purpose of taking his mind off the UNBEARABLE MYSTERY of LIFE.
I pointed out to him that he was not the only one who didn’t know what God was doing.
Knowing that my client believed in God, I quoted to him a biblical verse from the book of Ecclesiastes: “Whenever I tried to become wise and learn what goes in the world, I realized that you could stay awake night and day and never be able to understand what God is doing. However hard you try, you will never find out. Wise man may claim to know, but they don’t”.
As I was reading this biblical verse to him, I was basically setting the foundation for our further work which was not going to be what he originally thought it would be.
He thought that his smoking addiction was going to be cleared via hypnosis.
However - as I’ve already mentioned it above - even such an incredibly powerful piece of the psychological knowledge, as knowing that his father died of smoking-induced lung cancer, was not able to make a dent in his smoking addiction.
I pointed out to him that it would be impossible for me to offer to him a hypnotic suggestion more powerful than this toward-death-pointing piece of knowledge which he already possessed in his mind.
As our session kept on unfolding it become more and more obvious to both of us that his smoking addiction could not be “touched” on the psychological grounds.
It was becoming more and more obvious that we had to turn away from the hypnotic / psychological solution and pursue a solution that transcends the constraints of his obviously, psychologically-unresponsive mind.
He wasn’t responding to the very obvious, and very real death-threat from smoking, because there was something else in his mind that was more threatening to him than what happened to his father.
That something was his unbearable psychological discomfort of “not knowing what’s going on”, which was synonymous with fear of being totally out of control.
The case of smoking addiction which I’m describing on this page of my Toronto Hypnosis Clinic website can only be solved via some form of the spiritual healing methodology.
There are many other cases of addiction - especially the cases of alcoholism - which refuse to respond to the various forms of the psychological / hypnotic mind manipulation.
These cases must be approached on the level that matches the level of a particular form of addiction.
In other words, they must be approached on the same level on which the - addictive-behavior-driving - psychological discomfort arises.
What is true about these cases is that, even though a person suffering from the smoking addiction - or any other addiction - suffers seemingly on the psychological level, the actual root of his suffering is a profound disconnection with the Divine Flow of Reality.
In Christian terms, such a person would be seen as one who suffers form lack of the union with Christ.
Taoists would see such a person as one who is out of harmony with the Tao.
Buddhists would see him as one who attempts to cling to the illusions of the sensory world or Maya.
It is not generally appreciated that some forms of smoking addiction - just as many other forms of addiction - can be resolved ONLY via the TRANS-PSYCHIC, spiritual healing approaches, which can reconnect the spiritually-disconnected-ones with the very source of their existence.
Over the years, as I’ve been working at my Toronto Hypnosis Clinic, helping the people to overcome their various forms of addiction, the SPIRITUAL NECESSITY of intervention has become progressively more and more obvious to me.
Today I know that there are human problems which cannot be “touched” via the psychological / hypnotic interventions.
I know that these problems point out to the dimension of the human existence which transcends the psychological level of our functioning.
In a way these problems show us that we are much more than a lot of us think we are.
The above described case of smoking addiction is essentially a case of
the existential anxiety induced by the realization that one can not
control the events of one’s life.
Our human lack of control over what happens in our lives does create anxiety in the minds of those who are unable to live by faith alone.
It creates anxiety in all those who insist on controlling the flow of the Divine Reality in spite of the fact that it can never be controlled.
Just thing about it: You may decide to get into your car and drive from point A to point B, but could you ever be in control of your actual, safe arrival?
The obvious answer is NO!
So, essentially each time you decide to drive, you are doing it - just as everybody else - purely on FAITH that you will arrive to the point of your destination.
We usually don’t see that we always act on faith, and by the power of faith whenever we set out to accomplish something.
And yet, no matter what we decide to accomplish, the outcomes of the actions which we decide to take in order to attain our goals are totally out of our control.
The fact that we cannot control the outcomes of our actions is the greatest source of anxiety in the world - it is actually the only source of anxiety, because if we could control the flow of the Divine Reality, there would be nothing out there that could ever oppose our intentions.