“Alcohol and Drugs!” Responds the disciple wondering why the master was asking such a simple question.
“Yes it is true that it is not easy to break an addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs but think of something that is even more addictive.”
The disciple seems confused. He tentatively responds, “Gambling? It is not a substance but a habit. Is this the answer you are looking for?”
The master shakes her head, “You are right that the answer I am looking for is an habit. However the correct answer is a much deeper habit, much deeper than gambling.”
The disciple now knows that he has to go deeper. He frowns his head in deep thought and then speaks slowly, “Love. We are all addicted to love. We spend our lives chasing love. Isn’t it true that love is our strongest addiction?”
“Love? You think love as an addiction?” Responds the master. “Yes it is a form of addiction only when we try to cling to it, but otherwise the blessing of love makes our life meaningful. Love, my child, rather than being an addiction, is the very substance of our lives!”
Feeling defeated the disciple is unable to think of anything. Then suddenly an answer comes to him. “Ego! Isn’t the ego our deepest and biggest addiction?” He says with a sense of triumph.
The master has a huge smile on her face, “Yes! You nailed it! The ego is nothing but a habit. It is a habit of how we think about ourselves. It is a shortcut of the thinking process. But somehow this habit becomes a deep rooted addiction and we mistakenly think that we are our egos and we become addicted and attached to this idea.”
“All our other addictions are simply the result of the deeper addiction to our ego,” she continued. “When the ego blocks the deeper joy and love coming from the Universe to wash into our lives, we then tend to resort to our other addictions. That is why the ego is the biggest addiction of them all!”
Related: The Elephant And The Rope