The second part of the healing arrangement, or “vyuha” is hetu, cause. Last time I wrote about the first part of walking towards health and healing: heyam, or identifying the symptoms. Using this model and the first step step of recovery we have named and claimed what the suffering is. Has it been overspending, drinking, drug use, unhealthy relationship? Once the cause of our pain and harm is defined we can move into the second part of the yoga therapy model: finding the cause; hetu.
We can use a group of the next four steps from 12 Step recovery; steps four through seven. These are some of what we may refer to as the “working steps”; all tolled steps four through nine. These next four can help discover and understand the causes. The first time though the steps we are just finding out how they work. The NEXT TIME through we can begin to uncover the major presenting causes of the illness of addiction. Part of the discovery will reveal that life sustaining or just plain pleasurable activities have grown out of proportion, out of balance, out of “control” and the result is injury. No matter what we may have originally thought we have hurt others. Steps eight and nine will help heal that. We have also hurt ourselves. We need to address that first before we can move on with our whole hearts.
We have experienced injury at the levels of mind, body and spirit; and mostly all three together. Our use and behaviors have had an impact on our physical well being. It has damaged the way we feel and if we are indeed in touch with our feelings. Addiction in any form has a negative impact on how we connect with each other and whether or not we have a positive connection with our higher power. Using the steps and looking for the signs of the underlying reasons can give us a roadmap for healing.
There may be direct physical outcomes from active addiction. Various addictions have specific associated illnesses; such as cancer from smoking, liver disease from drinking, chronic anxiety and the secondary disorders that come from that such as immune disorders and so on.
There are social outcomes as well such as the loss of home and family from many problems including debt from gambling to overspending to losing one’s job. Ultimately there can be death from any of the addictions, a slow or abrupt end of life.
In recovery we have step four, a documentation of the outward manifestation or “wrongs” the resulted from our addiction. In the process of discover what we did to ourselves and others while “under the influence” can begin to open the door to seeing what the symptoms are. We can peel back layers to see what the source of the pain was that did (what Robert Birnberg states so eloquently) were “tools turned into crutches turned into shackles.”
The sutras of yoga refer to the tapas, or discipline, of right alignment over and over. Some of the verses refer to the difficulties, some refer to the right action. Using the verses referring to afflictions can help tweeze out how we had harmed ourselves as well as others.
The kleshas, obstacles, can give rise to mental inertia, lethargy and idleness, indecision, negligence, apathy or laziness. We can become compulsive or overindulgent listening to our cravings. Denial can lead us to false perceptions,stunted growth and finally fall into full vyadhi; sickness, illness and susceptibility to disease.
How did we get here? Underneath the manifestations of these obstacles lie fundamental dis-ease: lack of self worth, fear, insecurity, lack of belonging, lack of emotional resources and so on. This stage of recovery work requires that we look beyond the outward expression of indecision or or craving or any of the other symptoms. With support and community we can look more deeply in the “why” rather than the “what”. In the words of the twelve steps we look into the “nature of our wrongs” and not just into that the wrongs themselves.
Once we have that body of work, that difficult undertaking of writing down the whats and the “whys”, we can begin to focus on the goal for healing. Hanam, the goal or path to wellbeing in life comes next.