Monday, June 8, 2009
What is it About Getting High?
Sometimes I get a comment on my blog that just blows the whole thing wide open. Suddenly I am totally transparent, and can no longer hide from what I have seen. Dr. Jay of Yoga for Cynics wrote such a comment on my recent post, Fishing for Yoga (you can see the comment I’m talking about at the end of the post).
I started to wonder to myself: What IS IT about getting high?
Here’s my history of getting high:
When I was growing up there were adults around me who felt like all the best times were high times. Especially times already past that were really wild according to the tellers.
So when I was in high school I did some things strangely enough to impress particularly one adult that I desperately wanted to feel connected to. First I experimented with drinking. Then pot. In college I tried some things to impress friends, and by then I had convinced myself that this was what I wanted. I wanted to do well in school and experiment with drugs. I wanted friends and to party! Then after college I didn’t really know what to do and I drank a lot when I was out. Then I fell in love and the bars weren’t so interesting anymore. And by the time the love-high faded I had found yoga!
And in blog posts like Ashtanga Butterfly, I have been beating myself up for hiding in my yoga, rather than using it as a tool for liberation or deeper insight. And Dr. Jay’s comment has shown me to myself, even though he might have been talking about himself.
So yes I used alcohol and drugs to escape at a certain point. And then I hid myself in love, giving myself to that wonderful feeling of connection—so things WERE GETTING BETTER at that point. There was a time when I recognized this. And then I forgot because it became REALLY IMPORTANT to find out who I am. And in the relationship I thought I couldn’t see that. But REALLY I just wanted to bury myself in another MAN. So it’s good that the yoga practice was there to obsess on at that time. It did keep me out of trouble. SO I am blessed that the yoga has such INTOXICATING POWER for me. Otherwise I might have found a more self-destructive path, and instead I found a path to my heart.
Thank God for yoga!
So, what is it about getting high? For me it’s to hide from pain. There is a fairly common negative view of the world that I shared with people I knew at a certain time in my life. It has to do with a deep feeling of hopelessness. Eckhart Tolle’s words resonate:
“Many people never realize that there can be no “salvation” in anything they do, possess, or attain. Those who do realize it often become world-weary and depressed: If nothing can give you true fulfillment, what is there left to strive for, what is the point in anything? The Old Testament prophet must have arrived at such a realization when he wrote: “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.” When you reach this point, you are one step away from despair—and one step away from enlightenment.”
-The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
Mr. Tolle adds a note of hope at the end of this quote when he mentions that one can despair or move toward enlightened consciousness. The good news is that there is a choice. I believe this to be true. When I look at the world sometimes I feel pretty bad. The problems can seem so big and overwhelming. But if I can do something, even something small, to make the world a better place I start to feel better. We have to work together to create positive change that will resonate on a world level. Nobody can do it alone. Alone I can only make positive change at a personal level. But this can be HUGE.