On Religion and Addiction
I’ve been thinking about the similarity between addiction and fake religion (as opposed to true religion) lately.
The difference between being an addict and living Life normally is very much like the difference between fake religion and real religion.
In both addiction and fake religion the underlying problem is the inability to recognize the beauty in Life and feel reverent awe for the holiness of Life and all existence. And so, in order to feel something intensely, we begin to make a facsimile and do a parody, a ceremonial representation, an exaggeration to the point of grotesque reenactment of the elements of Life. Eventually the caricature of Life becomes a mockery of Life.
It is painful for me to admit, but nonetheless true, that Judaism is the most guilty of having created an elaborate ceremonial travesty. This farce is based on not understanding what Torah is really saying and, as a result, Jews perform ceremonies when we should be living Life in the full awareness of the indwelling sanctity. Then, not being satisfied by these artificial enactments of Life, just as those who are addicted to refined sugar instead of eating fruit and those addicted to opioids instead of living Life in such a way that the normal levels of dopamine will be produced in the brain, and like those who are addicted to sex because they do not know how to make love; so the Jew finds only emptiness in the ceremonial re-enactment of what he has not understood. Instead of rethinking his understanding, he compounds the ceremonies with additional strictures and customs. Finding himself even more separated from his Soul and feeling ever more starved for what he really needs and desperate, he becomes rigid and adamant and intolerant.
The Catholics learned to perform ceremonies instead of living Life from the Jews. They are doing re-enactments of the re-enactments of the Jews compounded by their complete removal from the Source.
It is good that the Protestants rejected the many ceremonies of Catholicism. At least, they are not burdened with re-enacting re-enactments on top of further misunderstanding the misunderstandings of the Jews.
Both addiction and fake religion derive from some occlusion in the Soul that does not allow the natural appreciation of the greatness of Life and they are hyperbolic experiences of what should be normal Life experiences for those who are occluded and numbed to the point of not seeing the obvious, ambient sanctity of Life and wonder in all that is.
The torments of addiction eventually lead the occluded Soul to force himself or herself to look at the Universe and ask what is wrong. Eventually, the addict is brought to his or her knees and surrenders.
Dare we be as hopeful for the Rabbis?
Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel