You may find you spend hours each day, or lie awake at night, worrying about your situation. You may torture yourself worrying where a certain person is and with whom.
You may go over and over the past, reminding yourself of the pain, or recounting every detail in an episode or project you have on-going, projecting a problem before it appears. Living this way is addictive for many – it’s called OBSESSION. There are all kinds of obsessive fixations, using WORK as the only way to feel good about oneself is one example, needing peoples approval is another or continuously thinking you are right is not an obvious fixation, but we all know someone who refuses to be wrong. In fact they are obsessively RIGHT.
An athlete can be obsessed about winning but this may not be an unhealthy fixation because the obsession holds a positive destination. Worrying about a friends health holds no purpose at all except to show them that you care at the cost of losing your own marbles. ” I was worried sick “, what’s the point of that? A total time waster. Showing you care holds many a stance, and can often be a subconscious game of manipulation and control. Caring for a sick friend healthily can mean just being available, or telling it like it is, tough love if required. I was told in my early days of recovery by a woman who genuinely cared for me, enough to say ” stop whining looking for sympathy “. It wont work. If that’s what you want look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, that’s where you will find sympathy, and she was not wrong.
But Obsession does serve a purpose, even if it gives an illusion of power and control over life. Some people even see worry as an essential task and a visible sign of consideration. Scheming revenge, planning punishment and holding onto pain and resentment is a full time career for some people we know. The purpose of obsession is to be worn out by it, in final surrender of this futile practice. Letting go is not natural to the serial wounded. Fear of loss of control and the rise of omnipotence delivers compulsive behaviour, because the ego insists you ” do something ” rather than feel helpless, yet helplessness is the path to forgiveness and peace. Victimhood of the past or present moment stops you from solving the past or present moment simply because we have been trained to fight and struggle. Even the first sentence of Scott Peck’s THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED says ” Life is difficult”. It goes on to further : This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths ( The first of the “Four Noble Truths” which Buddha taught was ” Life is suffering “. ) Peck goes on to say : It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact of life is difficult no longer matters. And worrying about it – even less.
So the purpose of obsession is to transcend it.
Rehab will tell you that you can’t get well until you realise how sick you are. To paraphrase Peck : Once you let go of the problem, you find solution, which is why we need to let go of obsessional time-wasting demands that serve no purpose at all – like worry. Pecks conclusion to life as a series of problems is DISCIPLINE. Not the cold shower treatment or a scarcity diet but simply the simple adage that ” discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems “. Discipline simply means “to focus”.
In order to run the race of our life many think we need to be tarnished with an obsession, the obsession to get in the driving seat to tackle the Life Road head on, driving like a lunatic until we crash. It may be a minor scrape or a complete turnaround of the vehicle, no matter, the fact is that you have survived the journey to eventually become a back seat driver. Never to get in the front seat again.This is the magnificent obsession, the one to hold and cherish as a spiritual athlete, no longer needing to be in charge of the steering wheel. Yes we need to do footwork, which includes trust, but the destination is irrelevant.
Marianne Williamson wrote in her book A RETURN TO LOVE : ” Gods plan works, yours doesn’t “. This is why it’s wise to focus on the moment and not a goal in 5 years time. It doesn’t stop me creating goals, it’s good to focus on a project, but it does stop me worrying about the destination. When I look back over the mind blowing moments of my life they were never of MY creation – a phone call, a social connection, an opportunity all ” came my way ” while I was doing something else. On one level I created it, but only because I was willing to receive without demand.
My favourite lesson in A Course In Miracles is “I will stand back and let Him lead the way”.
“Him” can be any spiritual energy you choose, I choose Haidakhan Babaji as my Master influence, my business manager, my mentor. He drives, I sit and witness the journey free of worry, free of timespan and free of anxiety. But it does require discipline to banish the ego and its mischief to avoid spiritual demand. This is the real work.