I have used a lot of drugs in my life. Substances of all sorts and sizes have been ingested, digested, filtered, and processed through out my body. I cannot say I am proud of my lengthy laundry list of decisions, but I understand that without them I would not be who I am today. I have learned many valuable lessons of commitment, persistence, humility, and love through drugs. Some lessons come in the form of a trip, others in the recovery. Either way, the lessons to be had came at a cost. This cost is the cost of consciousness.
During the effects of any substance, awareness – in one form or another – is always heightened. Marijuana heightens primal survival senses such as the need to eat and improved intuitive behaviors . Alcohol expand social awareness and limitations. Cocaine expands the realm of fear, ecstasy the awareness of love, LSD the awareness of connectivity, and the index continues. Each substance creates a new consciousness, that in the experience is greater than “normal” life.
However, the cost of such unearned rewards is the negation of attaining that state in regular life. In other words, if you were to understand the meaning of life while high, you would be that much further from understanding it sober. Regardless of the experience, each time I gave control to a substance I lost a bit of my consciousness. The mental and physical costs of the drugs are found in the after-experience (hence the name recovery). Even though the user is able to attain a higher state of consciousness during the high, he or she is often left lower than their initial point of awareness.
Enter meditation. In searching for enlightenment, the ultimate expansion of consciousness, I have experienced two different ways of achieving awareness. The differing variable is sustainability. The power to sustain an expansion in awareness versus the inability to sustain it. Often times the latter is connected with drugs. The former, however, has been connected to an infinite number of activities, meditation being only one.
Of course my comparison comes from meditation. After experiencing all sorts of drugs and seeing the possibilities of reality and consciousness – without the ability to attain any of them – I was in search for a sustainable method. A valuable metaphor comparing the sustainability of meditation to unsustainable qualities of mind altering substances was given to me on my first day of meditative instruction:
“Taking drugs is like turning on all the lights in a house at once and burning out the circuit breaker. Everything is realized, but you are left in the dark. Meditation (among other things) is like learning to turn on one light at a time, sustaining the breaker. It takes longer and is harder, but the end result is everlasting.”
Meditation was my method to sustainably developing higher states of consciousness.
However, sustainability through meditation only works if abstaining from substances occurs. The saying the bigger they are, the harder they fall fits perfectly here. After some time of meditation, I learned the true effects drugs have on the mind. I tried going back to certain substances and found I was left more mentally drained then prior drug-induced recoveries before learning to meditate. What was happening?
When one is habitually using or using while at a lower state of consciousness, that person does not fully understand the effects of the drug – both during the high and after the high. The high operates on the gross levels of experience. The physical senses are aroused and the user is experiencing a reality of altered sensuality. As the consciousness is raised the user experiences a much more universal experience that focuses on the intricate levels of existence. These astute levels of experience often come with higher costs, as the journey back to reality is often much further. One more fully understands the exact price being paid.
This price exists for all substances. Of all the drugs I have used and not used, the one most overlooked in my book is alcohol. The reason I have chosen this subject for my next blog is because this past weekend I decided to stop drinking. Something I never anticipated giving up during my twenties, alcohol has become yet another substance in my life that has been magnified to its true destructivity.
After having only a few beers and a light buzz, my day was very social and enjoyable. The days ensuing were completely melancholic and sluggish. Even as I write this sentence, I notice a lack of ease that I had previously attained in writing the other blogs. Alcohol never affected me like this before – or at least that is what I thought. I have come to realize that I have always been affected like this from alcohol. The only difference now is I am aware of the price I am paying.
It is for this reason that people who attain higher states of consciousness choose to relinquish their vices. It is not a matter of self-absorbency or passive judgement, it is merely a recognition of the harsh reality of the true effects of controlled substances.
After struggling to write this blog, there is nothing that will suede me to sacrifice my creativity and overall consciousness. Life is just easier without the distractions.