Meditation and sobriety: I do not think, therefore I do not drink?

12 Sep

11:12 pm

I went to the Shambhala center tonight for a group meditation event. It was OK. Nothing mind-blowing. I mean, the “instructions” for newbies (there were four of us) were pretty funny in how basic they were (how much instruction does one need to sit down and breathe?): sit up straight; put your hands on your knees/thighs, palms facing down; and close your eyes slightly but not totally while you focus them downward. Then, sit like that for however long you want, and focus on your breathing.

I believe we all meditate at certain points during the day, so it didn’t feel all that unfamiliar to like, not be thinking. Shoot, I think I spend QUITE a few minutes these sober days with NO THOUGHTS whatsoever; now that I seem to be naturally dazed most of the time, I like to just stare out my window and well, think about nothing. For hours sometimes. Tonight was different in that I was sitting (ouch, I definitely might want to think twice about that vipassana retreat where you sit from 4 am to 9 pm every day for 10 days), was “mindfully not thinking” (whatever that means), and it was with a group. At first, I found all the little swallowing noises and slight exhalations irritating, but then when I had to do it, I realized that they sort of get drowned out by your mindlessness after a while.

The basic concept of Shambhala is that we are all good, and have inherent love and integrity within — this is our true, effortless nature. Meditation helps us to remember/realize this.

There was a talk afterward by some dude who’s been doing Shambhala for 20 years about “drala,” which is the same concept as life energy or chi. He talked about internal and external drala, and how it’s all around us if we choose to interact with it. One guy spoke up and said he felt “good energy” here, in [cold west coast city] (he just moved here from the east coast); he said that it felt alive, whereas parts of the east coast felt dead. Ironically, I feel the opposite (maybe I’m projecting, or maybe our experience of drala is interestingly quite personal). I wanted to pipe up and say that my “drala” here was in the absolute zero zone on the Kelvin scale, but I let it go. I don’t need to win ’em all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

He also mentioned a point that I took home: feelings like anger and anxiety are actually forms of aggression toward yourself. Shambhala teaches that we are good and deserve to be treated with dignity and love, and that it’s completely unnecessary — and counterproductive — to be aggressive toward ourselves. I feel like my self-judgment and aggressive behavior toward myself runs rampant, and has for as long as I can remember. Why did I drink myself into a tizzy for a decade, doing things that were the pinnacle of self-hatred? Not to mention, wallowing in anger and fear/anxiety for many years over a failed relationship, or a move to somewhere new, or even a trip to a meditation center where I’d be bound to meet, gasp, NEW PEOPLE?

I felt welcomed by the dude who instructed us on how to meditate (for some reason, I blurted out to him that I was getting sober, which I think helped us connect more quickly because I was so honest), but otherwise, the place felt stiff. I felt that the overall vibe was very [cold west coast city] — stiff, guarded, angry, and sullen. Of course, not everyone in the room was stiff, but the entire feel of the place didn’t do it for me.

BUT, I liked sitting and meditating. After about half an hour, we got up and did some walking meditation (basically just walking and watching your feet and not thinking), which was good because my right foot was falling asleep.

I felt *something* like calmer toward the end, but for the most part, my focusing on my breathing made it feel harder to breathe naturally, so that was uncomfortable. And, the sciatica pain was there, so I was continually moving around on my cushion (I’m sure I was “that annoying chic over there”). My hands were sweating and it was hot in the room, but I didn’t want to take off my sweatshirt.

All in all, no minds were blown. BUT, it piqued my curiosity — especially the group aspect. Even though there might be some angry people (shit, I’m probably one of ’em), when we’re meditating, there is a different quality to my own state of concentration that I can already tell might help me progress more into the process than if I were alone. Kind of like studying in a library instead of at home.

And the best part? You can’t drink — or think about drinkin’ — when you’re meditating! Day 26. Woot woot!

8 Responses to “Meditation and sobriety: I do not think, therefore I do not drink?”

  1. Imogen September 13, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Hey, congratulations on day 26 – it is so amazing to read all your insights as you’ve powered along the path to this point. You are so kicking this.
    Your meditation experience is so interesting. I’ve never done any so it’s a sneak peek into what what goes on. My sister does those 10 days retreats you mention where you can’t speak to anyone the entire time – the sole focus is on meditating all day – and she lives for them now and can’t wait to get back to them. What discipline!
    I agree that we all meditate in our own ways during the day. I spend a lot of time (too much, perhaps lol) staring out the window at the surrounding hills and not thinking about anything in particular. Great post xo

    • Sandeep September 13, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      Very Quality techniques are used here for meditation. I like these techniques even I tried these techniques and found lot of benefits. During my meditation experience, I felt myself in a totally different world.
      Really very effective techniques..

      • Drunky Drunk Girl September 15, 2012 at 7:07 am #

        I hope so! I think I need to practice a lot more to see any of these benefits. Thanks for your encouragement…

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 15, 2012 at 7:06 am #

      Thanks, Imogen! I’m not sure if it’ll help me, but I’m willing to give it a shot! I feel like I definitely need to “make time” to do it, though. I cannot imagine doing one of those 10-day silent retreats! Though, I couldn’t imagine not drinking for a month just a few months ago either! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Belle (Tired2012) September 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    just checking in. i have nothing profound to say. if you can meditate and not think about drinking, then you may have solved all of life’s problems. me, when i meditate, the noise in my head gets louder…

    • Drunky Drunk Girl September 15, 2012 at 7:14 am #

      Haha. SO true. I can’t get past the awkward sound of my own breathing yet, so, we’ll see. I feel pretty good these days, nights are definitely the hardest…want to drink want to drink want to drink. I feel like the only person on the planet who doesn’t “have plans” or isn’t “getting drunk.” I could totally go out and meet people, if I wanted, though…

      • Belle (Tired2012) September 15, 2012 at 9:43 am #

        i do love, though, how want to drink want to drink want to drink is NOT the same as going to drink going to drink going to drink. big difference. huge life changing difference. it’s like yeah, i’d love a glass of wine … not gonna happen ๐Ÿ™‚ Next? Oh a project. learn to make home fries from scratch. how about homemade english muffins? how about …

      • Drunky Drunk Girl September 17, 2012 at 4:15 am #

        I actually perfected my lentil soup recipe last night! Shazam!

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