“I am whole and perfect in every way.” From a spiritual perspective, life’s journey can be seen as an attempt to reclaim this truth. In fact, even our addictions can be a result of our attempts at restoration. Even our addictions can come out of the attempt to restore the connection to our true nature. Addictive behavior is categorically a response to the felt sense that something is out of balance, that we have forgotten our essential self, forgotten the truth of who and what we are. In our addictive behavior, we are usually looking for something outside of ourselves to help us manage something that feels disturbed or broken within. It’s a solution to the problem of the fragmented self. In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz introduces us to the concept of “the domestication of the human”—the process whereby we receive messages about, in his words, “who we should be, what we shouldn’t be, who we (are), and who we (are) not.” That’s what I’m talking about here as spiritual disconnection. It’s the separation from our essential nature.

We come into this world as spiritual beings intuitively experiencing our oneness with Source. If you look at a very small child, you recognize this connection with the pristine self. My first book Conscious Being opens with the following story that illustrates this: A young couple had a toddler, and then they had a second baby. When they brought the baby home, they realized the toddler was tiptoeing and sneaking into the infant’s room at night. Because they were curious about this, they put up a baby cam to record what the toddler was doing in the room. To their surprise they discovered that the toddler was leaning over the crib and saying to the infant, “Please tell me about God. I’m beginning to forget.”

This is a powerful demonstration of the domestication of the human. We come into this world seeking the love that we know we are. We are designed to receive love, to see our love reflected back to us. But many of us don’t experience that as small children. Or we do, but it’s not enough. It’s mixed up with other conflicting messages. From a very early age, life begins to teach us the opposite of what we come here intuitively knowing. We come into this world knowing our essential nature and our oneness with Source, but very quickly “the tall people” begin to teach us otherwise. These adults, often very loving and well-meaning, begin (quite often unconsciously) teaching us about “the world.” They teach us attitudes and approaches to life like competition, fear, scarcity, and separation. I love the phrase “domestication of the human” because it calls to mind the domestication of wild animals. When we domesticate animals, we call it “breaking them,” or “breaking their spirit.” That’s what happens to human beings as we enter this realm of existence. Most of us get taught all sorts of things that are a fundamental lie about who and what we genuinely are.

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TJ Woodward is a revolutionary recovery specialist, bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and awakening coach who has helped countless people through his simple, yet powerful teachings.

He is the author of the books Conscious Being: Awakening to your True Nature and Conscious Recovery: A Fresh Perspective on Addiction. TJ is also the creator of The Conscious Recovery Method, which is a ground breaking and effective approach to viewing and treating addiction.

He was given the honor of being ordained as an Agape minister by Dr. Michael Beckwith and is also the founding minister of Agape Bay Area in Oakland, which is the first satellite community of The Agape International Spiritual Center in LA.


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