Any drug worthy of the name – caffein, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and others – will insinuate itself into the space between your synapses and start telling you, "You can't live without me. Only by my good graces can you experience pleasure." This is a peculiar and very intimate relationship we have with any such substance. In order to get through the day, you have to find the substance and take it into your body in the proper amount and quality.
A significant percentage of the world's money flows in and around the production and distribution of psychoactive drugs. Most of the world's population consumes caffeine in some form every day, and in the United States, 90% of adults report using caffeine every day.
Among the other 10%, there are bound to be a few prohibitionists who are chomping on their gums trying to think of ways to get coffee and tea banned as dangerous substances, but they will have a tough road of it. New reports on the health benefits of caffeine come in regularly.
If you have ever given up your daily habit, or been without it, you know something about cravings. If you miss your cup of tea or coffee, or a cigarette, or a drink, or a joint, it is as if the substance starts to talk to you, whispering, "Hey - you need me, remember? You can't live without me."
One of the great advantages or gifts of meditation is that it gives you a way to go right in to your synapses and feed them what they want. When they call out for something, you give them grace. Let them eat Prana.
For this reason, meditation is the 11th Step of all 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or AA. "Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." There is a profound and creative overlap between the meditation communities in the United States and the 12-step programs.
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Service Material from the AA General Service Office
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Copyright © A.A. World Services, Inc.
One of my prayers is that addicts in recovery will bring their hard-won serenity and the Wisdom of Simplicity to reinventing meditation. Because meditation is so ancient and versatile, there is tremendous temptation to make it complicated.