It starts with me enjoying drinking, and smoking, and partying.
Some great emotional high’s. Some dastardly emotional low’s. External pleasures, if you depend on them for happiness will take as much as they give. It’s eternal law.
I partied a lot up until the end of high school. I hit a dry patch of partying, where I wasn’t entirely sure what to do since all my friends’ had left for school, when I would’ve been a freshman in college if I weren’t working to travel. And I was completely distraught. As someone who identified with partying, and having friends who partied, and showing up to places where things were happening, I felt like I’d lost myself. I was low for months. Problems with my girlfriend ensued. They weren’t her fault.
They were my emotional feelings of inadequacy expressing themselves through me creating problems in our relationship.
And then I read a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And my mind went; fuck.
The man is a modern day sage. He spoke in the book and I found myself underlining and dog-earing almost every single page. That’s not a joke. There’s a stretch of around seventy pages in that book where I’ve dog-eared every single one. There’s just a blank space in the upper right hand corner where the pages should be.
I had such a connection to the book because I’ve been meditating, writing, and reading for so long now — effectively, they’re all forms of analyzing mental-emotional state. I read Eckhart’s book, and because I was already sensitive to my inner state, I immediately saw changes in my thought patterns and emotional responses.
And as soon as I read The Power of Now, I noticed something else through little experiments. Drinking and smoking makes me feel disconnected from my inner Self. The day after, I have to remember everything I learned from reading his book. I have to re-identify with the deeper self in my body, remember how to accept negative thoughts and emotions. And I do. But not until a day or two after I’m gotten intoxicated or high.
The drinking and smoking takes just as much, maybe more, than it gives.
I was actually in the middle of reading Tolle’s The Power of Now when I tried an experiment. Got as drunk as humanly possible, and tried to watch my mind-body-self connection. And I noticed; no matter how much I drink — I’d drank so much I puked most of the night — there’s no way to sever the connection to your mind. To your problems. And it also masks the good, the quiet inner part of yourself.
I went out again the next night and stayed completely sober.
And since then I’ve been torn between drugs and sobriety.
Last night I had a bonfire with a few friends. They brought dabs, bud, and alcohol and we played poker, pool, and just dicked around. The Taco Bell at one am was particularly wonderful.
And I found myself stoned, thinking how nice it is to wake up before sunrise, read, write, meditate, and have stillness in the morning. And how nice it is to feel connected to your inner self. When I smoke the connection to my inner self is fuzzy.
And I was thinking about how the things I really, really care about, the things I want to make a daily part of my life, they don’t really involve detaching myself from my mind and body — drinking — or getting fuzzy and dumb from smoking.
Surfing in the early morning when it’s just the roar of waves. Being awake before sunrise and seeing the blueish, new light slowly take the world with quiet force. Rock-climbing and breathing hard, completely focused on a route. Staring into crackling flames of a fire while I feel inner peace and massive, all-encompassing light. They’re all about stillness. Not drinking and getting crazy.
Partying and external circumstances are fleeting and something I remind myself of often is a quote from Seneca, paraphrased: If it was going to satisfy you, it would have done so already.
As long as you find your happiness in purchasing concert tickets, drugs, and alcohol, know; external pleasures swing like a pendulum. As high as the high’s are, the low’s will be low.
So, how do you learn to identify with your inner Self rather than the outer World?
Pick up a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s first book, The Power of Now. It’s $8 on Amazon, and will change your life. I wish I was wise enough to tell how to be at peace in a book, let alone this short post. But I can’t, and Eckhart’s done it already so just buy the book.
I know. That’s not what you want to hear. You want to hear a quotation, or maybe even a free article in The Guardian that you can read on your lunch break and have it significantly alter your life. I’m sorry. That’s not the case.
But let me ask you a question; Are you suffering right now? In pain?
You could say no, and that’s fine. You could be having the time of your life right now — an apex of blissful events just occurred in your life and you’re on top of the world. That’s cool. I’ve been there when I rolled on molly twice at the Moonrise EDM Festival in August. A massive low followed that crazy high. In a few days, in a week, a couple weeks, there will be a low for you too. Even if it’s only the low from you missing what a great time you were having.
When that low comes, you’ll know something needs to change. And do yourself a favor.
Pay $8 on Amazon, and buy The Power of Now.
I’ve read books on Hindu mysticism. Stoicist philosophy. Modern day self help books, books on human psychology, book on power, books on social psychology and body language. I’ve looked a lot for the book that will bring me peace.
This book will do that. It will help you deal with suffering in your life. Will help you be still and content. $8 is a small price to pay to relinquish the suffering in your life. This book will teach you how, I promise.
Please, please, don’t let $8 stand between you and inner stillness.