Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 272 - Addiction, Abusive Conduct, Tough Love and Yoga (Audio)
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"
I am a woman in love and involved for several years with a man who, while intelligent, attractive, vital, and interested in self/soul work can be explosive and emotionally abusive in our relationship.
Sadly, he is also heavily addicted to marijuana (smoking pot is a 20 year daily habit and he becomes very agitated if he runs out), cigarettes (a pack a day), sugar, and most damaging to our connection, hard core pornography that is very degrading to women.
The pornography addiction has brought with it a stream of deception, and broken promises, emotional abuse and sexual abandonment. It has been very wounding. While I have been blessed with a physically attractive outside, and am sexually vital, my self-esteem has been damaged and my joy has been difficult to hold onto. Still, my constant comfort is that I have always been most interested in developing my spiritual awareness and a deep and empathic understanding for my fellow students of life and the path toward higher love. But lately ... I have found myself in despair of many kinds.
I have read nearly 40 of your posted lessons over the last 3 months (interestingly enough, I was made aware of this site through my boyfriend who has been enthralled with these types of practices and lessons for many years and, is recently practicing meditation, and now urine therapy and devours your lessons). I have found the information interesting, healing and for the most part easy to dovetail into my love for Christ. I am praying that is brings a healing and evolution not just for me, but for him as well and for our couplehood.
I have tried through prayer, serenity exercises, meditation and patience to create a safe place for love and forgiveness. For growth and healing. It has helped me through the more difficult times. Yet lately, I feel weighed down with overwhelming sadness and apathy when doing my prayer, meditation and yoga practice.
My concern is that pornography, addiction and deception continue to be such a strong undercurrent in this relationship that I fear this may never change. Fear. A difficult obstacle when one has been subject to on-going emotional torment in a love relationship.
Thank you for hearing my heart. I was wondering if you might offer some words of wisdom on this topic for women like me who are in love and are seekers of truth and light and healing, but find ourselves weighted down, wounded and afraid?
With warm appreciation...
A: Thank you for your kind note and sharing. I am happy you are finding the AYP lessons to be helpful. I also have a Christian background going way back. In fact, the new novel, "The Secrets of Wilder," presents the same practices (minus the Sanskrit terminology) in a Christian-oriented American story.
The things you have going on there with your boyfriend are a complex situation to say the least. Addictive behavior and abusive conduct are usually based on insecurities rooted in the past, and it can overflow onto others, especially loved ones. The web of dysfunctional relationships and behaviors tends to perpetuate itself. But the cycle can be broken. It takes mutual understanding and commitment to do it. For this to happen there must be communication, followed by action.
Have you and he discussed these matters? If so, it should be clear enough that something is out of sorts which can be addressed. If your boyfriend is into AYP, he has self-improvement in his awareness. This is very good. However, substance abuse and addictions are not in support of self-improvement and spiritual transformation. They will retard it to an extent that yoga practices will not be able to overcome. If we are cleaning the window of our nervous system with yoga practices it is highly unproductive to be throwing dirt on the window faster than yoga can clean it off. So, some basic attention in the area of personal conduct is essential to make a go of it.
If there are addictions, 12-step programs are highly recommended to deal with them. There is information in the AYP links section under "Twelve Step Programs." Applications of the 12-step program are listed there for every kind of obsessive/addictive behavior imaginable. Of course, there has to be a recognition of the situation and a level of commitment by the individual before any of this can be productively pursued.
Regarding your role in this, if you love your boyfriend, the best thing you can do is make your feelings known with firmness, and be willing to walk away at some point if there cannot be a commitment to deal with it. Some of us are inclined to be victims in abusive relationships, and this can be as destructive as the abusive conduct itself. Giving in to fear is a direct cause of abuse. If someone knows that their abusive conduct will not be tolerated, it can have a big effect on breaking the cycle. It isn't easy, but it is a fact that the best love can sometimes be very tough love. So, this is a test and an opportunity for you to become more in charge of your own destiny, and be a primary source of betterment for the one you love. You do have the power. Everything happens for a reason.
Once you find a balance in external relationships, then deep yoga can flourish. It is no doubt working already in many hidden ways. Rising inner silence is the great purifier and equalizer. If there is deep meditation going on, then many other things will get addressed in one way or another.
I wish you all success on your chosen spiritual path. Enjoy!
The guru is in you.
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