Alcohol and Vedic Meditation Part 1

“Our experience is that when people learn Vedic Meditation, if they have a habit of enjoying alcoholic drinks, then as they continue practicing, then the interest in imbibing alcohol decreases. Though we make no prohibition against people drinking, it would be interesting for us to spend a few minutes talking about why this should be so.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

What is the Vedic worldview on alcohol and alcohol consumption?

In some ways, the ‘goal’ of consuming alcohol and the goal of Vedic Meditation are contradictory. While Vedic Meditation increases our sense of Self, drinking alcohol does the opposite.

However, a Vedic Meditation teacher will never tell a student they should stop drinking. In fact, the only thing a Vedic Meditation teacher advise is to meditate twice a day. This alone will put us in a position to make better choices for ourselves.

In some cases, that may be the choice to reduce drinking alcohol, or even to stop drinking altogether. In other cases, the desire to drink might simply just go away so there isn’t even a choice required. And in other cases still, there might be a desire to reduce alcohol and a recognition that some extra help is needed with that.

In this episode, Thom takes a broad look at alcohol from the physiological and scientific perspective and also from a spiritual perspective. Whether you are a drinker or not, it’s a discussion that goes beyond the ‘should or shouldn’t’ angle that often distorts thinking on the subject.

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Episode Highlights

01.

The Impact of Alcohol on Developing Higher Consciousness States

(00:47)

02.

Q- Can You Share More About The Vedic Worldview on Alcohol Consumption?

(01:59)

03.

Alcohol is Not a Barrier to Vedic Meditation

(02:07)

04.

Not Speaking From Experience

(03:48)

05.

Feeling Rosy

(05:23)

06.

Vedic Meditation Can Reduce the Desire for Alcohol

(06:42)

07.

Meditation Decreases Our Body’s Tolerance for Toxicity

(08:40)

08.

The Effects of Alcohol

(09:59)

09.

Irreplaceable Brain Cells

(11:12)

10.

A Natural Choice Gets Made

(12:41)

11.

Justifying the Choice to Drink Alcohol

(14:14)

12.

Fermented Grape Juice or Unfermented Grape Juice?

(15:23)

13.

A Very Graceful Intoxication

(16:12)

14.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

(17:10)

15.

Alcohol Decreases Longevity

(18:38)

16.

The Rule of Exceptions

(20:02)

17.

The Spiritual Angle

(21:19)

18.

The Chemistry of Bliss

(23:00)

19.

Meditators Live Longer With a Younger Body Function

(25:16)

20.

Meeting Challenges Adequately

(26:26)

21.

Alexander the Great Invaded India and Came Back With a Vedic Guru

(27:42)

22.

The Deities Associated with Alcohol

(29:07)

23.

A 12-Step Program

(32:37)

24.

The Home of All the Laws of Nature

(34:04)

25.

Beholden to a Gangster

(35:20)

26.

The Big Self Takes Charge

(37:05)

27.

Vedic Meditation Initiates the Awakening in You

(39:00)

28.

Less Resistance to Seeking Help

(40:06)

29.

The Process of Intoxication

(41:48)

30.

“I’m Not Intoxicated”

(42:44)

31.

Witnessing Intoxication

(43:53)

32.

I Could Start Drinking Any Day

(45:44)

Jai Guru Deva

Transcript

Alcohol and Vedic Meditation

[00:00:47] The Impact of Alcohol on Developing Higher Consciousness States

[00:00:47] Thank you for tuning into my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles, and today you’ll hear the recorded answers that I gave to questions that have rolled in about specifically the impact of alcohol and alcohol consumption on the desire of every meditator, which is to develop higher consciousness states.

[00:01:14] What specifically is that role? There are legendary accounts of, going back, even in the ancient times of people having various kinds of heightened experiences that were caused by various substances, some of them thought to be alcohol.

[00:01:31] I’ve answered about five or six questions on the subject of the impact that alcohol has, and specifically the impact that it has on meditators, and the effect of Vedic Meditation, when regularly practiced, on the consumption of alcohol. I hope you enjoy the episode. It’s packed with all kinds of new information and new knowledge. Jai Guru Deva.

[00:01:59] Q- Can You Share More About The Vedic Worldview on Alcohol Consumption?

[00:01:59] Thom, can you share a little bit more about the Vedic worldview on alcohol and alcohol consumption?

[00:02:07] Alcohol is Not a Barrier to Vedic Meditation

[00:02:07] Yes, it’s very interesting. The first thing that needs to be said is that the drinking and imbibing of alcohol in no way is a barrier to someone learning Vedic Meditation or practicing it, that people enjoy alcohol and they enjoy having drinks.

[00:02:28] We don’t want them obviously to come to their first day of instruction, having had a night of drinking prior to that. It’s not a good idea to come with a hangover to learn to meditate. And so, it is good for people to have that degree of clarity.

[00:02:46] Most of the short-term effect of alcohol is out of the system within 12 or 15 hours of imbibing it. Unlike the effect that other drugs have, alcohol has a completely different way in which it works on the body, which I’ll go into in some depth.

[00:03:07] Our experience is that, when people learn Vedic Meditation, if they have a habit of enjoying drink, alcoholic drinks, then as they continue practicing, a very interesting thing happens, and it was described to me by many people who are imbibers of alcoholic drinks.

[00:03:29] As they continue meditating, they start to refer to themselves as, more and more, “a cheap drunk,” meaning that the amount of alcohol it takes to get the effect that they desire, which is that kind of slightly rosy effect, as I’ve had it described to me.

[00:03:48] Not Speaking From Experience

[00:03:48] And I have to say, “As I’ve had it described to me,” because, just for the record, I’m yet to have even a sip of alcohol in my life. I’ve missed out on that whole experience. I came from a family of people who took great pleasure in imbibing alcoholic drinks, and in a very kind of celebratory way. And it was part of a family culture, particularly on my father’s side.

[00:04:16] So I grew up watching it, witnessing it. My father and my grandfather all enjoyed drinking alcoholic drinks from time to time. And I guess that by some standards, there was a degree of alcoholism present in the family though, I myself left home at such an early age, I didn’t really witness much of that.

[00:04:39] My father was an aviator, and it was required that they were breath tested and free of alcohol, breath tested and urine tested prior to flying publicly-owned military aircraft that cost $20 million per aircraft. They had to be breath and urine tested.

[00:05:01] And so, I didn’t see any signs of alcoholism in my father’s career time, but perhaps after he retired, which was long after I had left home, family reports tell me that the degree of enjoyment that he had in having drinks increased. Though, it never troubled me because I was mostly away at that time.

[00:05:23] Feeling Rosy

[00:05:23] But myself, even though I admired and idolized my father, didn’t have an interest in it because at a very early age, I’d gone to live with, essentially, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, my teacher, and alcohol is not part of the diet or part of the program of food and beverages that one took in the special ashram environments where you were learning to be a teacher of Vedic Meditation.

[00:05:50] So I missed out on all of that. When kids drank alcohol at school and so on and so forth, I wasn’t one of them, and having left home very early, in my late teens, I was never exposed to it. So I’m yet to have a drink.

[00:06:07] What I hear from people who enjoy drinking is that there’s a certain blush that occurs after a certain amount of alcohol has been imbibed, let’s call it, feeling rosy or feeling that blush with slight inebriation, and it takes a certain amount of alcohol to get that. With the harder liquors, and hard alcohol, perhaps a little less of sheer quantity with the lighter ones, the beers and the wines and things, perhaps a little bit more quantity.

[00:06:42] Vedic Meditation Can Reduce the Desire for Alcohol

[00:06:42] The point being that learning Vedic Meditation refines the physiology so much that even a small amount of alcohol will achieve the same rosy feeling pretty quickly.

[00:06:55] And then another thing happens. As people continue practicing their meditation, twice each day, there’s a graded and gradual tendency to not even desire it, to find it not particularly all that helpful, or anything one wants to be involved in.

[00:07:17] And even people who I know, one particular famous barrister in Australia who learned to meditate with me, who kept a wine cellar in his basement. There was a famous wine cellar with which he was able to entertain all manner of famous people who came to his home. He was famous for his wonderful collection of wines.

[00:07:43] And he claimed after about three years practicing meditation regularly, that may have ruined his palate for wine because he didn’t like the taste of it anymore. Even the very best wine brought him no particular joy.

[00:08:00] And so it would be interesting for us to spend a few minutes talking about why this should be so, that people who enjoy drinking alcohol, if they meditate on a regular basis, though we make no prohibition against people drinking, but if they meditate and continue with their habit, if their habit of meditation continues, as a regular non-negotiable twice-a-day thing, then the interest in imbibing alcohol decreases.

[00:08:31] And I’d like to examine it on several levels. One is purely physiological and scientific. The other is more spiritual.

[00:08:40] Meditation Decreases Our Body’s Tolerance for Toxicity

[00:08:40] And the first is that our body’s tolerance for toxicity decreases as we continue meditating. Something that once upon a time brought a pleasure to the mind and the brain, and alcohol does this by a very specific pathway, no longer can bring a pleasure that competes with, adequately, the pleasure brought by the bliss experiences that can occur in meditation.

[00:09:10] And very early in one’s practice, one may begin to notice that you can’t really have both, that if there is a day or an evening of particularly large imbibing, that the meditation session that one has after that would be one that is a little duller, that has less of that quality of bliss in it than has been had on other days when the imbibing of alcohol was less.

[00:09:40] And a meditator rapidly begins to add up that, “My body, my brain, my physiology, my mind, seems to enjoy the product that comes from meditation better than it enjoys the product that comes from inebriation.”

[00:09:59] The Effects of Alcohol

[00:09:59] Inebriation is a word that I’m going to use that basically speaks to the neurological dysfunction that occurs, that is the pleasant experience, if there is one, the pleasant experience that comes from drinking alcohol.

[00:10:16] Alcohol has its effect essentially by, first of all, shutting down particular areas of brain function that involve certain kinds of critical thinking, and also, by critical thinking, we might also mean the way in which one thinks in a negative fashion about issues that are troubling.

[00:10:42] And so it’s well-known to help people temporarily forget their concerns and to lose their inhibitions, and to the extent that that seems to be a valuable thing, the loss of inhibitions and the suppression of critical thinking and perhaps negative thinking about things which are still on one’s checklist, and issues that need to be dealt with that are pivotal in one’s life.

[00:11:12] Irreplaceable Brain Cells

[00:11:12] As those parts of the brain are famously directly affected by alcohol, and the mechanism basically is through, first of all, the destruction of the repertoire of the brain cells that provide that critical and pivotal thinking style, and eventually their destruction. Brain cells die literally by the hundreds of thousands every time we take a drink of alcohol.

[00:11:43] That sounds like a pretty dire thing, but when we consider that we have a hundred billion neurons, if we take the cranial neurons and the neurons that exist that make up the central nervous system altogether, about a hundred billion neurons are there, a hundred billion is a lot compared with the loss of hundreds of thousands or even a million brain cells.

[00:12:09] Brain cells that are killed off by alcohol do not get replaced. The body doesn’t know how to replace those, and so there is an accrual of negative effect on the brain. And though, in the beginning days of imbibing alcohol, one may have felt as though one has found the nectar of life. And, let’s put it this way, that alcohol has not become the popular thing that it is for no reason.

[00:12:41] A Natural Choice Gets Made

[00:12:41] People don’t drink because it feels bad. People drink because the experience that they get from it feels better than the experience they’re having when they’re not drinking, unless they practice Vedic Meditation twice a day.

[00:12:59] When they practice Vedic Meditation twice every day, it turns out that the experience that comes from drinking is less enjoyable than the affect the meditation has, and that lots of drinking starts to equate with less effective experiences in meditation than one had on days when the imbibing was less. And so then a natural choice just gets made.

[00:13:29] And I have to emphasize, this is not a choice that’s being made for the meditation student by any teacher of Vedic Meditation. We do not say to people, “Look it’d be good if you stop drinking.” No one has ever heard that come out of my mouth, and I’m supposed to be the icon of how to teach Vedic Meditation in the world, as taught to me by my master Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I’ve never asked anybody to stop drinking or even suggested that they should.

[00:13:59] What I suggest is that they practice their meditation twice every day. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about the mechanism, as a result of which many people find drinking less and less endearing to them.

[00:14:14] Justifying the Choice to Drink Alcohol

[00:14:14] And for those who can simply let go of it, who have that genetic makeup that allows them simply to let go of it, this is very often the case. They find that they just let go of it, of the idea that they can have a tiny amount still and feel rosy, or slightly inebriated right away is a very interesting indicator that the body’s sensitivity to toxicity is a much higher sensitivity when one is a regular practitioner of Vedic Meditation.

[00:14:47] And so then, even people who drink with the excuse that, “Look I’m a connoisseur and…” Particularly I find that wine drinkers have this mythos that they’ve built into the enabling of, and excusing of, their imbibing of alcohol.

[00:15:03] Wine drinkers very often will say, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine. It’s a cultured thing to do, having wine. It contains all these isoflavones and flavonoids that help with digestion and help with other areas of helping to defeat gut cancer and a few things like that,” and there have been findings like that.

[00:15:23] Fermented Grape Juice or Unfermented Grape Juice?

[00:15:23] But I’m also very quick to point out that the flavonoids and isoflavones and whatnot are also present simply in unfermented fresh grape juice, that the grape juice aspect of the wine is actually the thing that brings to the equation, the flavonoids and isoflavones and whatnot. The alcohol in the wine does not do it.

[00:15:49] And the reason why wine drinkers love wine is not because of the isoflavones and the flavonoids. Frankly, it’s because of the rosy effect produced by drinking the wine. It’s the alcohol. Because if you offer someone who is a wine connoisseur even the finest grape juice instead of wine, they’ll eschew it.

[00:16:12] A Very Graceful Intoxication

[00:16:12] They want the wine. Why? It has alcohol in it. That’s why. It’s a very simple thing to look at. And so, since we can get all those isoflavones and flavonoids from simple grape juice and from many other sources, and readily available, and in fact, even in greater concentrations than are available in wine, we need to let go of these excuses for drinking and just say, “I prefer to get slightly drunk.”

[00:16:41] And this is what wine tends to do. It’s a very graceful intoxication. You can sit around a dinner table and talk about the wonderful flavors of the wines and the grapes and where they came from and, all the caretaking and so on, all of which is true, tremendous amount of care is taken in the production of wine, and it is an entire art form in a science, which I acknowledge entirely. How certain foods go really well with certain flavors of wine and whatnot, all very true.

[00:17:10] Long-Term Effects of Alcohol on the Body

[00:17:10] However, brain cells are being lost on a regular basis, and there are other long-term effects of imbibing any kind of alcohol, including wine.

[00:17:19] And these are very famous. You don’t need to hear it from me, you can just look it up online to see what the negative effects are of regular imbibing of alcohol. Largely it has to do with organ failure. Most notably, liver failure. We can destroy our kidneys, and we have two of them, and so if we destroy one of them, then we can survive only on one, but we only have one liver.

[00:17:42] And our liver really takes a hit every time we let alcohol pass our lips. And, any medical doctor, qualified medical practitioner, would tell you if presented with the question, would it be better to not drink at all, or would it be better to drink a little bit sometimes? Any medical practitioner who’s qualified will tell you that science tells us that the very best thing is no alcohol whatsoever in the body.

[00:18:12] And this is not only for our short-term enjoyment of more subtle consciousness states, more alertness, more awareness, more wakefulness, more practical capability to deal with and interact with the demands and challenges of life in a way that’s effective, and that is successful, and that we enjoy, but also for our longevity.

[00:18:38] Alcohol Decreases Longevity

[00:18:38] Longevity is a very important thing to examine because it’s important for longevity, whatever is relevant for us and whatever is manageable for our genetic inheritance, for us to have as much longevity as possible. One other way of putting this is that the postponement of physiological death is always a good idea.

[00:19:00] If we live longer, as we grow and we develop more knowledge, we become more relevant as agents of progressive change, we become more relevant socially with longevity. Longevity means that we are able to share with others experiences that we’ve had and lessons that we’ve learned from all of those experiences, and gives us the ability to continue being a clear-headed, that means somebody who has the capacity of critical thinking, well into our old age.

[00:19:41] And one of the things we know about the regular imbibing of alcohol is that it does decrease, and I know that many people who are very fond of alcohol, and don’t like any suggestion that they should in any way decrease their consumption of it, they’ll always come up with the, what I call, the rule of exceptions.

[00:20:02] The Rule of Exceptions

[00:20:02] And the rule of exceptions is, “Yes, but I know so-and-so, and so-and-so lived to be 95 and continue drinking right till their last day, and was clear thinking and so on and so forth. 95,” they’ll say.

[00:20:14] Well, we don’t know how Mr. or Ms. 95, how far they could have lived if they’d never drank alcohol at all, maybe they’d have lived to be 130. Who knows?

[00:20:26] But we know one thing, alcohol imbibing shortens life, shortens the longevity of brain cells, more shortening than would otherwise occur if alcohol had never been imbibed.

[00:20:39] So from a purely medical point of view, alcohol is not something that is life-enhancing. From a scientific point of view, alcohol is destructive to our longevity.

[00:20:53] And so then, this may be the reason why people practicing Vedic Meditation twice a day spontaneously discover that their joy in imbibing alcohol begins to decrease and decrease as their joy in meditating and getting more bliss, sustainable bliss, into their life, grows and grows and grows with their practice.

[00:21:17] So that’s the medical side.

[00:21:19] The Spiritual Angle

[00:21:19] I want to spend a few minutes talking about the spiritual angle. And it’s very interesting to me that we use the terminology ‘spiritual’ when we talk about the spirit or essence of a person or a being. The spirit or essence of a being is its essential nature. That basic essential nature of consciousness is the pure consciousness state.

[00:21:49] The state that we experience when we close our eyes and we practice Vedic Meditation is one’s Self, you minus all the thoughts. What are you? What is your experience if all thoughts disappear and you stay conscious? And the answer to that is that, it is bliss. Because the mind retaining consciousness can only be silent to the extent that that same mind is in a bliss state, a state of supreme, inner contentedness.

[00:22:29] Blissfulness here needs to be made distinct from ecstasy. An ecstatic state is sometimes called a blissful state. But this is bliss, not blissfulness. Bliss that occurs in meditation is the cessation of thought, that its Self, that silence, is the product of having made contact with a state of absolute bliss, supreme, inner contentedness.

[00:23:00] The Chemistry of Bliss

[00:23:00] And that absolute bliss has a very specific effect on us. It causes the brain to replicate the brain chemicals, the neurochemicals that then turn into the body chemicals of bliss. Bliss, like all other consciousness experiences, has to be translated into physiological function.

[00:23:30] We have a saying in the Vedic worldview, that consciousness or our mind, but we’ll use the word consciousness, consciousness conceives the body. Consciousness constructs the body. Consciousness governs the body. Consciousness prints itself out as the body. Consciousness conceives, constructs, governs, and becomes the physiology.

[00:24:01] Do you have an unhappy thought, sad, angry, frightened? Then you’re going to produce either sad chemistry in your body, angry chemistry, or frightened chemistry. Your body basically is a printout of whatever the mind is. So the body’s prime directive is to become the adequate printout of the consciousness state.

[00:24:27] That being so, with all emotions and all mental experiences, it is also true with bliss. Each time during meditation, we touch upon that supreme, inner contentedness, and thought evaporates for a moment. This evaporation of thought is an indication of the mind having found a level of contentedness, contentedness, and happiness, that is so great that the mind cannot conceive of any experience that would be better than this.

[00:25:02] This is the basis of the silence, the lack of ability of the mind to conceive of anything better than the bliss, which is in that least-excited condition during meditation, that also has to be printed out.

[00:25:16] Meditators Live Longer With a Younger Body Function

[00:25:16] Since consciousness conceives, and constructs, and governs, and becomes the physiology, our consciousness prints out all of the physiology of bliss. The body of bliss gets printed out with all the chemicals of bliss. It is that function that gives the meditator access to greater adaptation energy, greater stability.

[00:25:42] Let’s look at this in the opposite way, less desperation, more attempt to take creative and improvisational thinking as a response to challenges and demands and deadlines and things.

[00:25:59] Now one is able to have a sense, just as that state of bliss feels like, it’s an unbounded state that is not limited by time, one starts to feel like, “I’m a time billionaire,” and indeed, studies on meditators have supported the idea that they live longer. They live longer and with a younger body function into old age than people who don’t meditate.

[00:26:26] Meeting Challenges Adequately

[00:26:26] So that sense that, “I’m not in a desperate hurry to make the world stop bugging me, I am the field of infinite creative, potential of energy, intelligence, creativity, and unbounded awareness, and baseline happiness.

[00:26:47] “And so if the world is presenting to me demands and challenges, deadlines, and whatnot, those are not stress for me. They are challenges that I can meet adequately, demands that I can meet, and interact with an abundance of everything that I am.

[00:27:05] “And I can get waves of happiness when I interact with these things successfully.”

[00:27:10] These are the implied conditions of that bliss state that occurs during meditation and which persists for hours after each practice session of Vedic Meditation.

[00:27:23] So then spirit, spirit means essence. And what is our essence? It is you minus all the thoughts, you and the bliss state. And we also use the word spirit for alcohol. It’s one of the words that we use for it.

[00:27:42] Alexander the Great Invaded India and Came Back With a Vedic Guru

[00:27:42] From the Vedic perspective, purely Vedic perspective, alcohol as is made consumable by humans, is a being. It is a being with a lowercase b, a being. And it’s interesting that this worldview, which was abundantly found in a Vedic context, was brought to the west probably by, not solely by, but saliently, by young Alexander of Macedonia.

[00:28:22] Also known as Alexander the Great, who went to India and, amongst other things, wanting to invade India and take it over, unsuccessfully as it turned out, but did bring home with him a Guru. He met a Vedic Guru.

[00:28:39] And that Guru accompanied him and stayed with him for the remainder of his relatively short life. Alexander died at quite a young age, in his early thirties, but had really brought a tremendous amount of knowledge and information from the east, from India particularly, into Greek language, into Greek philosophy, into Greek thinking, some of which was already there.

[00:29:07] The Deities Associated with Alcohol

[00:29:07] And what we find is that the being that is associated with, the deity, that’s associated with drink, known in Greek as Dionysus. Dionysus was originally thought of only as a God of Fertility, but then rapidly was given other more broad agedness including the God of the jolliness that could be had by drinking.

[00:29:39] Dionysus was celebrated under another name by the Romans, who desperately wanted to be the more modern Greeks, many, many years later. And they had reinvented Dionysus as the God Bacchus, B-A-C-C-H-U-S, Bacchus.

[00:30:01] Bacchanalian parties are parties that take on a character of Dionysus or Bacchus, who were thought of as the constantly holding goblets of wine, surrounded by wine grapes, surrounded by revelling creatures and beings, angels, demons, and lots of humans who got swept up into their partying ways.

[00:30:27] Disregard for responsibilities, disregard for things that required critical thinking, disregard for anything except what was going on right in front of you in party mode. Notably, disasters could be looming in any kind of direction, or perhaps in all directions, but one had given over oneself to the deity Dionysus, Bacchus, the Bacchanalian deity.

[00:30:55] Becoming Beholden to the Deity

[00:30:55] And there’s an idea in Vedic science that if you become devoted to a particular aspect of intelligence, a particular law of Nature, that that law of Nature is something that will provide you with a degree of benefit, but you become beholden to that deity, to that law of Nature. This is why we find that in certain genetic types, there’s no capacity to escape from Bacchus, from the deity of drink, on one’s own.

[00:31:35] So in the Vedic worldview, if one had enjoyed some of the benefits of being under the tutelage of, perhaps under the spell of, a powerful deity, Dionysus, Bacchus, that one then becomes beholden to that deity, and one cannot simply say, “Okay, I’m not going to do this anymore.”

[00:32:00] The deity’s particular angle on this, and I have to remind you that I’m now speaking in terms of mythos, I don’t expect anybody to take this literally. This is mythos and we’ll talk about that in a moment, a very important element of human legendary thinking that helps us to understand experiences that we’re having.

[00:32:20] That the deity then will say, “Well, you want to leave me now? You don’t want to take my offerings. Oh, So you think so do you? You’ll see. Go ahead and try to stop.” And then the person who has become beholden to the deity simply cannot stop on their own.

[00:32:37] A 12-Step Program

[00:32:37] Many, many years ago, a particular man who learned how to use the laws of Nature to bring about sobriety in himself, and then spread this knowledge to a fellowship of friends, Bill W, as he goes by the name of, created a 12-step program for withdrawing from these sources of addiction. Starting first with drink and it has now spread to many other kinds of addictive behaviors that we’ve seen have consumed families, consumed individuals, and so on.

[00:33:17] One of the basic principles is that you cannot do it on your own, that you have to make an appeal to a higher power. This is a very basic idea. The appeal to the higher power is to Nivar-Tatvam. In Sanskrit, Nivar-Tatvam means to go where you are not, or transcend where you are.

[00:33:40] Instead of the individual taking matters into their own hands and on the basis of their addicted individual physiology, making a decision to simply stop doing the thing, the thing that works is to go to the higher power.

[00:33:58] In the 12-step program, this is one of those steps, is to acknowledge and make an appeal to the higher power.

[00:34:04] The Home of All the Laws of Nature

[00:34:04] What is that? All the laws of Nature come from the home of the laws of Nature.

[00:34:11] What is the home of the laws of Nature? The underlying Unified Field. The one, indivisible, whole consciousness field that is the source of our thoughts.

[00:34:23] That is the “Big Self.” Capital B capital S, the Big Self. The Big Self is that consciousness, that intelligence, that Unified Field value, which is abundantly, experienceable, right at one’s own baseline, at the source of thought, in one’s own spirit. That spirit, that essence that least-excited state, is the Big Self.

[00:34:53] When we experience transcendence, we’re experiencing, we’re coming under the protection of, to use that mythos way of thinking, we’re coming under the protection of that which itself is bigger, the biggest, bigger than the biggest, that consciousness, which is the source of all other consciousnesses.

[00:35:20] Beholden to a Gangster

[00:35:20] If we have become beholden to a local gangster, because the local gangster could see maybe that we needed food, we needed a drink and we needed shelter.

[00:35:31] And the gangster was interested in garnering to himself some devotees who could get jobs done, then the gangster might provide us with some limited amount of food and some beverage and some shelter and so on, but then constantly send us on errands to carry out the agenda, the ulterior motive of the gangster.

[00:35:57] And then we find ourselves completely beholden to the gangster. And then when we say to the gangster, “Look, I’m not going to do any of these favors for you anymore, and I’m going to do my own thing now,” the gangsters’ attitude is, “Oh, you think so do you? Well, you’re going to lose home. You’re going to lose food. You’re going to lose beverage. You’re going to lose all of the things that I brought you, unless you do things my way.”

[00:36:24] But then, if you somehow befriend yourself with, what? The monarch of the country, and instead of simply being beholden to a local gangster, you’re now part of the monarchy, the absolute government of a place, then now, your individuality has a level of protection, and has a level of association and affiliation with a much, much bigger consciousness, and the local gangster no longer has that kind of control over you.

[00:37:05] The 1Big Self Takes Charge

[00:37:05] So getting back to the 12-step programs, which have been very effective in the world. One of the bases of the effect has been the encouragement of, in whatever way people know how to do, to transcend or step beyond their individuality and allow that large consciousness to take over, and not only to take over them, but the Big Self also will tell these little deities, “Hey, buzz off. This person no longer is yours.”

[00:37:41] So something that an individual can’t do on their own, the Big Self can do. And who is this Big Self? If we break down this mythos into literal thinking, we move out of the connotative and into the denotative. Who is that? What is that?

[00:37:57] This is just a way of understanding that, “My own deep inner access to the cosmic Unified Field, which I can actualize and make real through my regular experiences that occur in Vedic Meditation, will liberate me from the very relative joys that can be had while under the spell of any localized law of Nature, like the laws of Nature that govern the impact of alcohol on the human physiology.”

[00:38:32] By transcending, by stepping beyond the localized, one gets support from all the laws of Nature and the joys that can be liberated and awakened, and actualized in life, through regular practice of meditation, make the relative joys of inebriation seem completely petty by comparison.

[00:39:00] Vedic Meditation Initiates the Awakening in You

[00:39:00] And it’s that that allows our mind’s nature, which is to move toward the greater charm, the more expansive, the more powerful, the more creative, the more intelligent.

[00:39:13] Our mind’s natural tendency is to move toward that. That movement ensures that that’s the direction that we find ourselves going in. And so then our, what seems to be an impossible, impossible to break addiction to something easily can be broken.

[00:39:32] Now people often will say to me, “Oh, are you recommending Vedic Meditation on its own? That you practice this, and then everything that’s a problem just goes away.” I’ve never said that, and I do not recommend it, and I don’t train my teachers to recommend it either.

[00:39:47] Vedic Meditation may be the first and most important step you take that gives you the realization that taking a group approach, a fellowship approach, or a therapeutic approach, to life is the most intelligent thing for you to do.

[00:40:06] Less Resistance to Seeking Help

[00:40:06] And it may be that someone who is resistant to that kind of approach, will embrace it, but only embrace it once they release some stresses that have accumulated, the idea that they have to do things only their way, and they don’t need help from anybody else. This is not our experience in the commonality of humanity.

[00:40:27] No great things ever have been achieved by any one person. Our entire world and our world community, our families, all of our collective joys that we’ve had in life have been brought about by cooperative enterprise. And so, Vedic Meditation hopefully will be the initial thing that will awaken somebody to seeking help.

[00:40:49] And with regular practice of Vedic Meditation, there’ll be quicker results from the seeking of health, and less resistance to the seeking of help than would otherwise have happened if one didn’t meditate.

[00:41:05] And so I do think that both as a supporting strategy, and as what is the most important thing to do first?

[00:41:15] The most important thing to do first is to transcend where you are, and that is to have an experience of something bigger, more vast, greater, than whatever it is that you have decided you’re owned buy, to step beyond that.

[00:41:33] And then, from that point, one may have the good sense to reach out and find ways and means that are very effectively therapeutic for your particular situation and coming out of these things.

[00:41:48] The Process of Intoxication

[00:41:48] For those of you who have a different kind of genetic fortune, which is that you can make a decision to just maybe let go of drink and just let meditation do what it’s supposed to do, then that is a wonderful thing.

[00:42:04] And do I recommend it? Well, what I recommend is paying attention to what your meditation practice is telling you. If you’re noting that as you continue practicing meditation, a tiny amount of alcohol makes you feel slightly inebriated right away, that might be kind of funny the first few times you experience it, but it’s your body telling you something.

[00:42:25] We refer to the process of the effect of alcohol on the human physiology as “intoxication.” What does that mean? It means to poison oneself. Toxicity is poison and to become intoxicated.

[00:42:44] “I’m Not Intoxicated”

[00:42:44] People all the time, I know several people who work in law enforcement, and they tell me that if they pull somebody over in a traffic stop, who, from their perception is clearly inebriated, driving their car, weaving over the lane lines and missing important cues, like red lights and things.

[00:43:05] The very first thing the person says to them, the law enforcement person, is, “I’m not drunk.” And in advance of taking a breath test or a sobriety test, they’ll insist that they’re not drunk. “I’m not intoxicated. I’m not drunk. I’m in full possession of my faculties.” This is one of the illusions that’s created through the process of intoxication.

[00:43:28] “I’m not intoxicated. I’m just getting a little rosy here.” Those of you who don’t really drink or don’t drink at all, when you witness the wine coming out at a dinner party, there’s been fine food, and then suddenly the wine appears, there may have been quite good standard of intellectual acuity that occurred right up to the moment that the wine appeared.

[00:43:53] Witnessing Intoxication

[00:43:53] And then what you can witness if you’re not one of the imbibers of the wine is that those who do imbibe it start to lose the degree of clarity that they had. It doesn’t mean that they lose their own perception of how clear they are, but judged on an objective level by someone who is not imbibing the wine or the drink, they are losing their clarity.

[00:44:21] They begin to speak more slowly. They began to lose their capacity to enunciate. They find things humorous that might be humorous, but only if one’s critical functions have been laid to waste. Their ability to differentiate and discriminate begins to drop away. And you can watch the process of someone becoming intoxicated, even though they may only be having a glass of wine, or two glasses of wine.

[00:44:48] As someone who’s never drunk, I see this regularly when I’m invited to dinner parties where wine is present. Everybody was having conversations that made a lot of sense. Then the wine came out, and the next thing, people look like they’re having a good time, but largely it’s because they can’t see the extent to which they’re rapidly becoming inebriated and losing their appeal to anyone who’s not drinking.

[00:45:17] All those who are drinking are having a lot of fun. Those who are not drinking, are witnessing people descending in intelligence, creativity, and discrimination, and it’s not fun at all unless you are a participant in the intoxication processes.

[00:45:33] So, this is a very, very interesting thing to witness as someone who is yet to enjoy a glass of any alcohol.

[00:45:44] I Could Start Drinking Any Day

[00:45:44] I often joke around and say I haven’t given up on the idea. I could start drinking any day. And then people who drink go, “No, no, Thom. Don’t ever talk like that.” It’s only a joke. Please, don’t take it seriously. I highly doubt that I’m going to start becoming a drinker, well into my, what am I now in my seventh or eighth decade, something like that way, way up there anyway.

[00:46:11] So those are our thoughts about drink and the Vedic worldview regarding drink and, both from the medical and physiological standpoint, and also from the standpoint of spiritual matters.

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