Q: I enjoy having a drink when I get home from work. That doesn't seem to work so well before meditation, and it doesn't feel so good after meditation either. Are drinking and meditation incompatible?

A: Meditation is about cultivating purity deep in the nervous system. Many positive results in life come up from this. It stands to reason that taking in substances that retard purification of the nervous system will not be helpful to the meditation process. This is not a moral lesson. It is common sense. Most importantly, it is experiential. If something makes us feel bad, we will eventually stop doing it. Maybe before beginning meditation a drink or two gave us some relief from the tensions of life. It dulled our perception, or altered it in some way to give us a temporary feeling of well being. After beginning meditation, the experience changes. The peace, happiness and clarity we discover coming from within are quite different from the temporary chemical states we have previously engaged in. There is no comparison between the two, and we begin to have a different perspective.

The transitory pleasure of drinking loses it luster in comparison to the permanent joyful results of meditation. Again, this is not a moral lesson. It is not a "Thou shalt not." It is your choice, always. If your choice is to go for more in life, to take up the path of meditation and other advanced yoga practices, it will be a no-brainer. The rising experience of pure bliss consciousness will change your attitude about alcohol. Give regular practice of meditation a fair chance, and the things that are not good for you will tend to drop off naturally over time. Besides alcohol, people find the same thing happens with recreational drugs, tobacco, and even caffeine.

There are no rules – just the rise of pure bliss consciousness, our true nature. All we have to do is meditate twice a day, and listen to what our inner silence is telling us. We will know what to do. Prescription drugs are a different story. Stay with your doctor's instructions on those. If you think a prescription drug you are taking is interfering with meditation, talk to your doctor. See if there is some way to accommodate both your medical need and your meditation need. The guru is in you.

 Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation, see the AYP Deep Meditation book.
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