09 June, 2012

Wisdom comes Quicker without Liquor

The fifth precept:
I undertake the training rule
 to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.
Wak Saket Prep for New Year's 2555
The abbot who I had so much respect for when I did I short term ordination in Thailand, said when I disrobed that the fifth precept is the most important to keep in lay life. I agreed but came home to enjoy my occasional wine with dinner, I felt I had it all under control, but this stuck with me. He also stated that it isn’t the alcohol that is so bad, but drinking makes you more apt to break other precepts about lying, false speech and maybe even sexual misconduct. One as a human becomes weaker.
I continued requesting precepts at temple with the Nuns at home, which is done after prayers and meditation, so I finally listened to myself. If I request the precepts then I must want to live by them. Don't I? I love red wine, and feel it was such an important part of who I am. I keep wanting some positive, I thought, a remainder of my life pre-brain injury. I realized that I was clinging still to my old self.
My kuti at Thai Temple Nov, 2554
But is it really who I am? Not on my wisdom seeking missile path, I am more and more leaning towards the natural compassion that lives within everyone. How can I let this shine more? Like when I went up to a participant at my weekend retreat with Bentinho, at the fire pit in the evening while rubbing his back, said to a gentleman, “Thank you for being you.” He was touched. Or when talking to another woman feeling her dis-ease with her life, kneeled next to her, with positive ideas of how to ask for what she may need from her husband instead of venturing in search of a spiritual experience. One cannot feel in these situations if you have even one half a glass of wine. You are more into the experience of the wine to care deeply about others. Although the wine will give you the illusion of being more in touch with your feelings.

I feel I can now write about why I quick drinking on 1/1/11(2554). First let me say, that I am pretty aware of the dangers of alcoholism, but in my twenties I still partied and drank socially. This lead me to wine with dinner, and as a way of opening conversation with friends. Thinking more, it actually lead me to an elitist idea of myself as my taste in wine got more and more refined.  I dawned on me, more ego …more suffering and less wisdom. I had to quit, not to prove anything but that it was just an organic leaning to greater wisdom.
You know it is actually liberating to walk past the wine in stores, knowing that is one less thing to look towards for any source of happiness. Just having a half-open bottle of nice red-wine that you can't throw out, means you are obligated to have it the following evening, and thus making it more difficult to do an evening meditation. When you are out shopping, it also becomes a focus of what next to buy. It all became very transparent that all the wine desires pushed me to wanting a new experience each time. I could not rest in awareness or taste the peace of just being. That is a huge relief not to be bothered with in thought and desire, and I now feel the peace that I was actually looking for by drinking. 
 Relaxing at the beautiful Shwedagon Paya, Jan. 2555
My partner rarely drinks, and when I last saw him I bought him some really good Russian vodka that he wanted, last year. A full liter, it remained in the fridge for his occasional use. He would have a shot or two after a hard day at work with dinner. When I took off for Myanmar, he found himself feeling lonely, and drinking more that he should, woke up feeling not very well. We talked about this, in both cases and he realized he was not really interested in drinking. He realized that a nice run, was more what he needed. I had to let his natural wisdom shine through his experience.
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khunbaobao said...

For those who can drink responsibly I say more power to them. Millions can not, and for them there is hope, if they're willing to learn a new way of living.

I'd had enough a couple of decades ago and honestly don't miss the habit.

Was Once said...

Hi, Just to make things clear, I come from a family of alcoholics, and yet never had a problem with alcohol because I have been very aware of the suffering it has caused. Seeing them running towards more misery(darkness), spurred this post. I quit drinking purely because my desire for wisdom far out shined my desire for a good glass of wine. As recently as five years ago I would have never imagined I would stop drinking wine. We just never know about life, no matter how much we think we know.

spldbch said...

A lot of my clients use alcohol to get away from anxiety. It's a slippery slope. If you use it to escape your emotions then you start wanting to drink every time you feel anxious. It can get out of hand pretty quickly.

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