You are not who you think you are. Most of us identify with our ego, the self that is attached to everything around us. The self that takes offense to others negative comments about us and identifies when we have been harmed in word or deed. The self that experiences the world on a personal level. This self-attaches to everything in relation to your ego, positive or negative. The world at this level is ego based and never neutral. Things are either good or bad.
But there is another self who is on a higher plane than the small I. This other ego is called the observing self. Have you ever had the experience of watching yourself, being outside of an experience you are having? This often happens when you are either having a wonderful experience in which you experience happiness or a horrible experience which is causing you pain. In the first case, this observing self-moves above the joy but validates it and in the second case, watches the pain, but helps you to remove yourself from it. When people have out of body experiences, it is the observing self that is traveling outside the body. This observing self is attached to everything and nothing in particular. It has a quality of connection and universality. It is the core of spiritual experience, the point of meditation and prayer- the connection to all that exists.
Anyone who has had this experience is aware of seeing themselves in body while experiencing themselves in spirit. According to many religious traditions, it is believed that after death, this is the part of ourselves that moves on.
Often people abuse drugs as an attempt to reach this higher spiritual plane and seek to have egoless experiences, but instead, get trapped in the lower small I ego because instead of removing oneself from self, drugs increase the sense of ego experience and the small I in the experience is even more intensified. Drugs trap the spirit, they do not liberate. In my experience after thirty years in the drug treatment field, the current approach to treatment only intensifies the sense of the small I while ignoring the person’s real reason for using drugs to remove them from the prison of ego. This is especially true for people who abuse drugs. Drugs like opiates, alcohol and cocaine all intensify the sense of ego. We call this ego on a personal level as the small I.
The impulse to use drugs is often positive but misguided. As we say, drug users are looking for God in all the wrong places. While AA is a spiritual program that I can attest for after 41 years sober in AA, treatment has an overwhelming psychological focus on the mental state of the client which traps the therapist and client in the ego, which is not the answer the client is seeking.
The therapist is trying to alleviate mental distress by helping the patient become more logical and rational in their life and to help them become more effective in their decision making. They try to create an intellectual answer for a spiritual problem. In order for real treatment to take place, everything about treatment must change.
We have created Spiritual Growth Therapy to answer the real issues for drug addicts. Most therapists try for mental change- we try for spiritual change. They look for education for the mind while Spiritual Growth Therapy looks for the evolution of the soul and a greater connection to the observing self.
When drug addicts experience the connection to the source, the need for drugs dissipates and will stay dormant as long as the addict stays spiritually fit. By meditation, self-examination and dedication to service of others, the addict will stay connected to his higher self and evolve. As he evolves and comes closer to the source, the small ego becomes less important and drugs become irrelevant.
Treatment for drugs and mental health issues is evolving. Spiritual Growth Therapy is the beginning of that evolution. At Evolve Mental Health and Lifescape Solutions we teach the soul, not just the mind, using meditation, acupuncture, transpersonal teachers, hypnosis, gestalt therapy, vibrational healing and many other ancient tools to cross over to a new way of healing that connects us to the source of all that is. We are starting a new change process at the level of soul- healing that has as its goal, transformation to a whole new level of experience reminding us of the spiritual beings we are and have always been.
Phil Diaz has over thirty years’ experience in the field of addiction and mental health. He is an internationally known trainer and co- author of six books on trauma, addiction and spirituality. Phil has formerly worked in the White House Drug Czar’s office in charge of drug prevention policy in the United States. He is also a partner at Lifescape Solutions and Evolve Mental Health.