Natural Rest (for Addiction) by Scott Kiloby
IMO we are ALL addicted to something whether we know it or not!
Many are writing about the topic of addiction or recovery and openly sharing their experiences as of late. Among these are Paul Hedderman, Gary Nixon, Fred Davis, Wayne Liquorman, Joan Tollifson and Scott Kiloby (sorry if we forgot anyone).
We’ve also received a lot of material for review this year and plan on featuring several others in the near future.
First up, is Scott Kiloby as we received an advance copy of Scott’s book over two and a half years ago. We hope you enjoy this Q and A with Scott Kiloby on his book “Natural Rest for Addiction.”
Perhaps this sharing will loosen the grip on your addiction and or help to end it once and for all.
Please do check out the resources/link mentioned in this post and at the end of the article, Scott is doing excellent work in this field and has helped many.
Scott, tell me where the idea and inspiration for this book came from.
Like most of what I share, it came from my own suffering. Years of being in addiction to just about every substance and activity I could find. I sometimes joke, when people ask me what I was addicted to, that I was addicted to “more.” But on a more serious note, this book is just bringing the wisdom of nonduality into the recovery discussion already happening throughout the world, with a special emptiness twist to it.
What do you mean by emptiness twist?
I was highly influenced by Greg Goode’s work with Madhyamika Buddhism. More specifically “unfindability.” I have developed, along with some great facilitators, several inquiries that target addictive compulsions, the mental deficiency stories that drive them, as well as the anxiety that arises when one withdraws from a substance or experiences fear around living life without an addiction. These inquiries are an adaptation of the unfindability that one finds in Madhyamika. I’ve changed them, and simplified them into a basic presence approach.
I’ve heard about the Compulsion Inquiry. Seems like a really effective thing you are doing with people. Can you tell me more?
Yes, the Compulsion Inquiry is one of the unfindability inquiries in the book. One looks into his direct experience to find the actual command to use a substance or activity. He looks at words, mental pictures, and bodily energies. And in not finding the command, the compulsion is released. We’ve tried this on just about every substance and activity that you can think of. So far, excellent results, with long term effects.
What other kinds of [unfindability] inquiries are in the book?
The book shows people how to see through the sense of a separate, deficient self, which could show up in any number of ways. For example, what might lead a person to be addicted to food is a sense of “I’m unlovable.” So we weave the Compulsion Inquiry with the Unfindable Inquiry. It’s seen that no unlovable person or a person at all can be directly found in one’s experience and that the command to eat chocolate cannot be found. This double-edged approach goes pretty deep.
How are you working with anxiety?
By using an unfindability approach called the “Anxiety Inquiry.” For some, the very idea of going without their particular substance or activity is scary. But when they can’t find the threat anywhere, the anxiety releases, allowing them to relax and let life unfold without the substance or activity. It also helps with withdrawal because, as strong bodily sensations arise when one is coming off a substance, seeing no threat makes withdrawal much more manageable.
So is the book mainly about the inquiries?
No, most of the book contains plain English ways of talking about how the natural rest of presence is the key to ending the addiction cycle, about being with bodily energy (emotions, sensations, cravings) without putting words and mental pictures on them, and about seeing through all sorts of relationship triggers that tend to make people reach out for addictive substances and activities to medicate emotional pain. There are sections of the book devoted to things like shadow work, illness, relationships, and even death. The thrust of the book is about seeing the self as empty, seeing its transparency, and not identifying with ANYTHING that says you are this or that, that you are an addict, that you are any of the thoughts that arise and fall or the emotions that come and go.
“Addiction tends to keep us seeking, even if we are seeking recovery.” ~ SK
Will you be incorporating this addiction work into your site at www.kiloby.com ? If I recall you used to have a special Recovery page there.
There is a new website coming for the addiction work. It will be located at www.naturalrestforaddiction.com. It may not be up at the time this interview is published. But it will be launched at the same time as the book. This summer, 2013. Kiloby.com will continue to contain all the resources it has. It will also become a portal to all my sites, including the Natural Rest site. The Natural Rest site will be for members only. It will be a confidential, private community with lots of resources about addiction as well as a chat room and a forum for connecting with people in your area who want to begin looking at addiction through the Natural Rest way. Many people become worried about spouses, employers, and friends finding out about their addiction. This is why we are making the site a confidential, members-only site.
So is your main focus turning more towards addiction these days?
Not really. The facilitators and I still work with people on just about anything you can imagine. The nondual approach is still there completely, the way it’s always been for me. It’s just that it is starting to branch out to areas of life that are more relevant to people. The majority of the world aren’t traditional spiritual seekers. They are people like your mother, your friend who can’t stop drinking, your brother who worries a lot, or your neighbor who just feels like life is not fulfilling enough. The nondual message can branch out into all these other areas. It’s beneficial for everyone, not just those seeking enlightenment. This branching out is what we are doing with the inquiries, as well as the addiction and anxiety work.
You must be excited to finally bring this work to people. It seems you have developed it for a long time and it seems right up your alley!
Yes, this work is very close to my heart. I love it. And I think it will help many people, just as it has helped me. We are now doing Freedom from Compulsion Intensives across the U.S. where we work with people on addiction during two or three-day events, targeting their compulsions and stories directly.
You know that I have to ask, does your work help those who are actually addicted to spiritual seeking?
Yes, the Compulsion Inquiry alone can do that, when one finds no command anywhere in the universe to seek anything. We treat spiritual seeking like any other addiction. There is no difference when it comes to this work.
So that is the basic benefit one gets from this work?
No more addiction or, at the very least, a great reduction in addictive tendencies. More generally, this work provides a deep relaxation into life, however it appears.
The following excerpt from Natural Rest for Addiction is taken from Chapter Four, “Self-Centeredness.” This chapter sets up the reasons why looking for the self, and not finding it, is an important key to recovery. The subsequent chapters show the reader how to use the various Living Inquiries to see through the self and release the compulsion towards addictive substances and activities.
An Important Question
Ask yourself this question (it’s the most important one you can ask in recovery):
What am I seeking?
You may respond that you’re seeking to feel better, have fun, or escape boredom, or to find happiness, freedom, love, peace, good health, material success, or something else—even recovery.
But what are you really seeking? Look more closely. If you felt better, you’d actually be experiencing the end of seeking to feel better. If you found peace, you’d be experiencing the end of seeking peace. If you made lots of money, you’d be experiencing the end of seeking money. If you found recovery, you’d actually be experiencing the end of seeking recovery.
What you’re really seeking is the end of seeking itself.
The Problem with Temporary Fixes
You may be operating under the assumption that a temporary, pleasurable fix can give you the relief you’re really seeking. The fix could be anything from a drug to buying new clothes to seeking praise and attention from others to spiritual experiences.
You can certainly satisfy the sense of deficiency within you temporarily in this way. But temporary pleasures cannot provide deep, lasting relief from seeking. In fact, they perpetuate more seeking.
Each time you temporarily satisfy an urge to feel better, you falsely believe your contentment comes from the addictive substance or activity itself. The mind associates relief from seeking with the substance or activity.
What you are really experiencing in those temporary moments is a brief rest from the seeking toward that addictive substance or activity.
Through resting repeatedly in presence, seeing that the self that is seeking is unfindable and that there is no command anywhere to seek anything, the movement of addictive seeking naturally relaxes. Contentment is realized to be already contained in the present experience rather than in the substance or activity.
“There is nothing sweeter than seeing the emptiness of all things.” This is what Scott Kiloby’s work is all about.
Scott Kiloby is the author of “Love’s Quiet Revolution: The End of the Spiritual Search,” “Reflections of the One Life: Daily Pointers to Enlightenment,” Living Realization: Your Present Experience As It Is,” and Living Relationship: Finding Harmony with Others.
He is also the author of an addiction/recovery book called Natural Rest for Addiction which has an effective tool for dissolving addiction and compulsion called the Compulsion Inquiry.
Sessions with Scott or with other trained facilitators of his work are available at www.livingrelationship.org (home of the Living Inquiries).