Enjoying the peace of walking at the beach, I stood for a time watching the waves. Deeply relaxed, I was startled by a dog that came up from behind me barking and snarling. I’ve had PTSD and can have a high startle reflex. I politely asked the owner to get the dog under control, explaining it scared me, and that was not well received. As I walked away, the residue of the scare and our words in my mind, I had the idea to order pizza that evening.
I had been working regularly with Colette Kelso on the Compulsion Inquiry she co-developed with Scott Kiloby as part of his Living Inquiries. This is a powerful nondual inquiry into looking at and unraveling our compulsions and addictions. A key component is learning to recognize the ghost image that flashes through the mind just before we have the compulsion to act. I’ve been watching my mind and saw that just before I had the idea of getting pizza, I had a flash of me opening the door to the delivery person, the rich, cheesy aroma of the pizza and the feeling of comfort and safety that flooded over me.
I had to laugh when I noticed the ghost image was promptly followed by the idea to order pizza. What I really wanted was to feel safe, to settle after being scared. I have an inappropriate pairing equating pizza with safety and comfort. Being facilitated in the Compulsion Inquiry, I’ve begun to unravel the velcroed ball of emotions, thoughts, memories and sensations that has led to compulsive behavior. As they peel away, I’m able to be present with what is coming up without feeling I need pizza to help me cope. It’s not a willpower issue. When the inappropriate pairing is seen through, it drops. There is still momentum in the mind and these thoughts will come up. Looking directly at them, they lose their compulsive power. I enjoyed the rest of my walk and went home to a healthy, home-cooked meal.
Lynn Fraser is a Certified Senior Facilitator & Trainer of Scott Kiloby’s Living Inquiries.
Contact Lynn at email@example.com or 902-817-3257. Prices per session are $75 or $325 for a group of 5 sessions ($65 per session). Sliding scale is available on request.