Set aside time for retreat practice. It could be a short block of time like four hours or for multiple days. It could be solitary or with a group. Whatever your meditation practice is, it is important to retreat from your everyday busy world and take some time to look at your mind. Receive whatever arises…and don’t evaluate. Whatever you can do, schedule it ahead of time and just do it.
You can’t really think your way out of addictions. Rather than talking about recovering from addictions by controlling behavior, Sokuzan teaches addiction awareness meditation. Through sitting meditation practice, by training the mind to observe what is happening in all of the sense fields, mind and body not separate, we are training awareness to see situations as they arise so what to do becomes clear without evaluating or trying to get rid of anything. You need to spend a lot of time training your mind. Dedicate at least an hour a day to your practice.
A teacher may help a student access deeper levels of consciousness by facilitating regression to another time and place. Exploring in this way, without believing, disbelieving, or shutting down on whatever arises in mind can be a way to work with intense difficulty and ease suffering. Here Sokuzan gives an example of working with deeper consciousness during a meditation interview.
On the day after the 2016 US presidential election of Donald Trump, Sokuzan was inspired to give this Dharma talk. He teaches:
“The very nature of things that arise is that they are hooked into everything else. There are not seperate things occurring. It is not something to believe or disbelieve. Meditate. See for yourself if it can be anything other than what it is. In any Buddhist tradition that is a true spiritual path it is called Buddha Dharma, or “Awakened Truth” without the credential of proof….If you have warfare inside you will take it out into the world to justify your position or fuel your despair and shut down. Train your mind, make friends with yourself on a very deep level, so what you need to do comes choicelessly out of your awareness instead of the thinking process.”