Obsession is a form of attachment or clinging. Being obsessed with particular type of food, physical appearance, body shape and composition, body weight, muscles definition, attire, brand, fitness training, diet trend, healthy option, living standard, living environment, social media, selfies, smartphone, relationship, idol, activity, social interaction, cultural practice, religious practice, superstitious belief, ritual, position, number, colour, timing, cleanliness, and anything that can become a form of obsession. It becomes a form of mental illness, when the state of the mind is being conditioned or determined or affected by the obsession towards something, where the mind would be greatly disturbed when the obsession is disrupted or inaccessible, and without awareness, one might hurt oneself or others out of the disturbed state of the mind.
There’s nothing wrong with different people having their own particular type of thinking and belief to set as a guideline to live a particular way of life, or engage in a particular activity, or consume a particular type of diet, or do things in a particular way, that the mind thinks and believes is the best and beneficial for oneself, or for other people and the world, that would make the mind feels good, meaningful, happy and pleased.
But when the mind starts to become overly obsessive towards a particular thinking and belief to live a particular way of life, or engage in a particular activity, or consume a particular type of diet, or do things in a particular way, where the mind would feel disturbed, or bad, or anxious, or worried, or guilty, or upset, or angry, or depressed, or disappointed, if for some reasons, the particular way of life, the activity, the type of diet or the way of doing things is disrupted or is not the way that the mind wants it to be.
Even if the object of obsessiveness is something that the mind or the society believes as ‘good’, ‘positive’, or ‘meaningful’, any kind of obsessiveness is still a form of mental illness.
Such like, there were/are artists, musicians, actors, entertainers, designers, scientists, writers, or sportspeople suffered from restlessness, or sleep deprivation, or depression, or mood swing, or anxiety, or self-harm, or drug/alcohol abuse, and etc, due to being obsessed with pushing their body and mind beyond its limitation to attain success or higher achievement and improvement in their respective profession.
There are yoga and meditation practitioners developed obsessiveness towards their particular type of practice, or lineage, or diet, or ritual, or accessories, or the order of things and practice, or yoga pose, or physical alignment, or energy field, or astrology, or dreams, or making connection, or self-identification, or self-image, or spiritual achievement, or psychic development, and so on.
Many people are being obsessed with personal identity, self-image, social status and professional image. Some people are being obsessed with the collection or accumulation of certain objects. Some people are being obsessed with attaining greater improvement. Some are obsessed with orderliness while some are being obsessed with disorderliness. Some people are obsessed with particular type of smell or fragrance and taste. Some people are obsessed with meat eating or non-meat eating. It can be anything that determining or conditioning the state of the mind very much, that people would be greatly disturbed or upset or depressed when their obsession towards something is disrupted or unattainable.
A little bit of obsessiveness would eventually grow into a form of mental disorder, if there’s no awareness towards what is going on in the mind, but the mind is under the influence of the egoistic desires of craving and aversion being obsessed with personal, worldly, spiritual, mental and physical achievement, development and enhancement for attaining the sense of success, goodness, meaningfulness and happiness.
Those who truly understand the practice of yoga and meditation do not push their body and mind beyond its limitation out of egoistic intention and expectation of “I want my body, my mind and my life to be like this and not like that, to achieve a particular goal or perfection.” but out of compassion, there are necessary actions being performed to take care the well-being of the body and mind, being kind to the body and mind and appreciating life existence, without hurting or straining the body and mind beyond its limitation to be the way that the ego wants it to be, to achieve what the ego wants to achieve. The mind is at peace and equanimous, being undisturbed or unaffected when it is not able to come in contact with the object that it likes, or when it is not able to do what it likes to do. There’s nothing wrong with having enjoyment or doing something that the mind likes to do, but there’s no attachment or clinging or obsessiveness, without being determined by what the mind likes to enjoy or the object of enjoyment.
The mind that is not free, depends on attaining, or possessing, or coming in contact with certain names and forms to attain the sense of meaningfulness and well-being. The ego needs affirmation from self and others to be existing and feel meaningful.
The mind that is free, doesn’t need to attain the sense of meaningfulness or well-being, at all. The mind performs necessary actions and allowing the fruit of actions to be what it is, without attachment or identification towards the actions and the fruit of actions, without clinging or craving towards pleasantness and achievement, without aversion towards unpleasantness and non-achievement.