In 2007 I had to face that I was getting drunk every evening for the past 10 years, not that I was knocking myself out, just enough to be in a state of pleasant unconsciousness from 6pm to bedtime almost every day (happy hour !) Getting drunk was nothing new I basically spent the years from 16 – 21 in a state of intoxication. My life as a teenager was void of any meaning (except looking to get laid) it seemed there was no good reason for being alive, so I hang with my good friends Beer and cigarette’s they kept me company, taking the edge of my misery. I was born 2 years after the war and my mother was 19 years old, no money, no job, a gigolo as a husband, of course I was not received with love and joy, I was a burden, a mistake. I got that very early and became invisible, didn’t want to make a fuss, who knows? But my mother was also a very responsible person and took care of me in spite of it all. When I was 5 years old I did experience unconditional Love from strangers that took me in to give my mother a break and they sweetly nourished my young soul until I was returned to my parents (now with a new father) 6 years later, which was confusing and strange to suddenly find myself physically taken care of but love was absent again, no embrace, no, we are so happy to see you. Anyway that is just a short introduction why alcohol was so easy to fall back on for me when I was lost, scared or lonely.
There was a huge change in my life at the age of 22. I was mysteriously initiated into the tantric path and had the first experience of my true self. Later I came to understand that it had to be my master that had initiated me 3 years before I actually met him, because it was synchronized with the same date and time when he gave his first Sannyas initiation, in Manali India, 26.9.1970, of course this I found out only much later.
I dropped out of my short hippy life experiment of sex, drugs and rock and roll to walk the spiritual path. In 1973 I had the strong urge to travel to India, boarding the orient express to Istanbul a small group of Sannyasins sat next to me, they had been cut of the same cloth than me, drop outs, freaks. I let them take me to my master. I had finally come home. Living closely with my beloved Master, in Bombay, Pune 1, the Ranch and some of Pune 2 until 1990, there was no need for alcohol, his presence, his unconditional love and care was enough intoxication. After he left his body I was not ready yet to walk alone, even though I did believe for a while that I was. Something was missing and keeping me stuck, I did not know what.
I put my head at the feet of another Sat-guru and asked for truth, no matter what. Consequently my relationship ( marriage), which had provided me with a sense of security and mutual love by overriding my primal conditioning for 12 years, was falling apart and my early childhood wounds of feeling rejected and a burden where bleeding again, it was painful and I chose at first to escape by reviving my old drinking habit, sitting in front of the TV with a bottle of wine getting drunk and indulging in self-pity .
Finally, after accepting and understanding that this love need I had will never be fulfilled from anyone outside, I surrendered and embraced my aloneness. I had passed consciously through all the pain and confusion again in this separation process that I had experienced when I was a child. Only later on did I realize that I was free now of my conditioning of rejection and worthlessness, an individual, my own person and did not have to compromise anymore for love and safety. I was responsible now for myself.
I kept up the drinking habit somehow maybe as a reward for my freedom, a declaration to myself that I can do now what I like and it is no one’s business. It was somehow tied up with being ME holding on to something, something I could control, that was mine, my choice. The self-imposed “fuck you all” conditioning of a rebel.
I enjoyed being me, there was a freedom that I never had felt before, I travelled, lived like a gypsy for a while out of my van, found a gorgeous young woman to love with a different flavour, without dependence and the primal need for mother love and security. I was free to dive deep into my passion without guilt or pretence, no inner mother looking over my shoulder anymore, I could love now for the joy of it, for the passion of it, the play of it and I still held on to the the bottle of Vino.
This relationship went on for some years I slowly freed myself of my sexual conditioning by not compromising who I was. When the dance was complete with my beautiful partner, I experimented some more with my new found sexual freedom but soon realized that it was repetitive and draining, it naturally faded slowly out. I was tired and done chasing woman for romantic love and sex. I was maybe 55 then and I wanted to relax with someone, have a friend, enjoy simple things like cooking, house making, fixing things, gardening, have a dog, Meditating??? When the time is right and the desire fits with the natural flow of life it will always happen, I met just the right beautiful woman to share the next stage of my life with, but still 2 bottles of wine every evening and maybe a shot or two of vodka to top it off. The old drinking habit was now becoming bigger and a problem. I felt not fully available to my beloved and to myself. I was watching the weakening of body and clarity of mind by getting intoxicated every evening, there was a subtle spiritual sarcasm arising too.
I tried to stop but could only do it for a few days, tried again, failed after a week, slowly I realized that I was addicted, this was new, I always thought, “Oh, I can stop whenever I want.” Well I could not! Finally, I had enough; I have to get out of this now! But how??
I called for help and I heard Osho whisper in my inner ear “watch”, so I watched what happens when I drink, I watched, first glass of wine a little happiness, some satisfaction, then blurriness, scrambled thoughts, unfocused and at the end of the bottle numbness, finally sleep, every day the same. I also heard my Master say, “Do not judge, do not condemn, just watch.” Why did I still get drunk? It seemed there was actually no more reason for it. It seemed the reason was already dissolved, the meaninglessness, the worthlessness, the need for love and safety and recognition already history. My body would get sick I was sure, I could feel it, my mind was anxious about my future, I would spiral down into the final “fuck it all” and loose everything, I was certain of this and the love I wanted to share was crippled. I could feel it, plus my spiritual path was almost non-existent. All these reasons stood against getting drunk and be oblivious for a few hours, I had to gather all my determination to watch, I had no other options.
Watch…and when you watch you have to remember that while watching, don’t judge. If you judge, watching is lost. While watching, don’t evaluate. If you evaluate, watching is lost. While watching, don’t comment. If you comment, you have missed the point.
You don’t say this is good, you don’t say this is bad, and you don’t say this should not have been, and you don’t say this should have been. You don’t say anything – you simply watch. You are not asked to comment. You are not a judge – just a watcher.
From My Way: The Way of the White Clouds ch.3
In the morning I would wake up around 4 am and feel my body was poisoned and I promised myself, today I am done no more, but come noon next day I had to decide between Merlot and Cabernet, I watched! I watched the dance, when the desire to get drunk was conscious the desire to stop drinking was in the unconscious, totally absent. When the desire to stop was up the desire to get drunk was down in the basement non-existent. They never met at first, like day and night, the game of the mind, hide and seek. To watch I had to accept to keep drinking, by and by it was obvious that to stop drinking, just to stop was just not possible anyway, I could control it for a while, maybe even years like some people can, but this would just keep the lid on for a while and I might be under the illusion that I had beat drinking but that would only be a deception and deep down the addiction would wait for its day to come.
After a while of watching looking deeply into my mind I became conscious of both together and the very interesting and important insight that I got was, that the addiction part was complete in itself it was 100 % and the anti -addiction part was also complete in itself just the opposite also 100% that could not be changed. So it seemed there where 2 in me, one that was 100% happy to get drunk and one that was 100% unhappy to get drunk and demanded to stop. Each wanted domination, each wanted to win this war! Impossible! They were both me and they had equal power, like my left hand and my right hand, which will win? They are both me! They are one, two halves of the whole, they were causing each other.
I had a favourite theme when I was painting or sometimes sculpting in the past, a man rooted in the earth like a tree, his arms, wings, attempting to take off into the sky. This was the exact situation I was in now. It represented my conflict my dilemma to the core.
The addict rooted, settled unmoving in the ground and the anti-addict struggling to fly away from it, equally strong, the anti-addict arising out of the addict, it was the inevitable reaction to the addict and he in turn holding back the energy, the attempt to fly away demanding to get his fix. They are both one dynamic process, they are one circle!
Like night and day, good and bad, birth and death……one cannot exist without the other and I had no idea what to do. Seeing this over and over made any choice useless. Either I had to live with both or get rid of both, but how? No matter what my choice it would eventually always include both, but that was crazy, that was not possible.
I had always felt this conflict this struggle deep inside, with everything. I am the roots, the addict, I am also the wings, wanting to get away from the addiction, It was all Me, I was at war with myself, I was tearing myself apart inside!
And I saw no way out, no solution that I could come up with! I was hopelessly stuck, that was for certain, I did see it, I was aware of it, that is all, I saw no end to the addiction.
I could not stop choosing either, because that was also a choice. I saw the goose in the bottle, but how to get her out?
Another evening, not a new one, just the old routine again. ahhh I am getting my fix now. Like it was my reward for having managed to live through another day. Caught in this endless circle of wanting to be sober and getting drunk and whichever side I chose didn’t matter, because I would always end up running the full course of the conflict.
At the moment I was on the getting high side. I had to accept that, OK, so now I drink another bottle. At least I can stop judging myself or hoping for a way out. There wasn’t one.
There was no point feeling bad and guilty about the new bottle of red I had just opened, I also sincerely wanted to be free of this addiction as much as following the urge to get drunk. Fighting and judging myself was useless. I had no answer, I felt both, saw both the options, equally strong, I could stop, control myself, it was one choice, I could for a while, maybe even months or years, but I knew the addict too well by now, that would be no healing, just postponing, he would bide his time. Better keep drinking at least I could keep my eye on him, watch!
I knew that sometime long ago there was a good reason for getting drunk.
I remember that it actually got me through some very hard, meaningless and painful times.
But now I was over that. I had spent years nourishing my spiritual side, all that time with my master I hardly ever got drunk, at least not out of need or habit, why is it back now with such vengeance?
I sat back in my chair.
I was thinking about my life, remembering my Master, his love, his compassion, his care for me, the incredible incomparable adventure living in his presence for 17 years.
And Poonjaji, being invited to his table, accepted and blessed.
All the other awakened ones I had sat briefly before, that had also blessed and enriched my life, Anandamayi Ma, Jean Klein and others.
The sweet old couple that had given me the gift of unconditional love and a real childhood as a little boy and had awakened my heart.
My beautiful wife, I loved and deeply cared about and all the other women that I had loved and that had allowed me to be part of their lives, the miracle of my initiation, the struggle to wake up.
What an incredible life!
Tears were welling up, I took some deep breaths.
What a fool I am, I am so sorry, I am such an idiot!
How can I be so stupid!
So much magic and mystery and I pissed it all away by getting drunk every evening for the last 10 years.
I had forgotten how fortunate I was.
More and more tears from nowhere rolling down my face.
I felt a pressure in my chest, I stood up and raised my arms reaching for something invisible, maybe god or the master.
I dropped on my knees like in prayer. Suddenly the dam broke and my heart burst wide open. The beautiful heart exploded, unbelievable Love flooded me! Gratitude, overwhelming gratitude filled every fibre in my body.
Thank you, thank you for everything and everyone, thank you for this Life, this amazing gift. I was loved, had always been loved by this existence unconditionally and I was blind to it, I had blinded myself by holding on to this old pattern of anxiety and addiction.
I knew with absolute certainty that the whole addiction drama was suddenly over, gone forever.
The goose was out!
I will never need to take another sip of alcohol in this or any other life, the addict and the anti-addict vanished into oblivion like a dream after waking up.
I was loved by existence I was part of this amazing existence, I had remembered and was invited back home. I was free, the habitual mind had cracked and my heart lit up. Not enlightened, the mind not gone, but the first fully conscious separation happened of mind and heart, a small satori.
I had almost lost the thread again, the love I had for my wife and the remembrance of my master, made me eventually question my addiction
Love is powerful it kept pushing me, thank You!
I am still in awe!
I understand now,
I had been holding on to this old habit of escaping from myself, it was a defence I had put into place all by myself in my youth a self-imposed rebel conditioning to cover up this deep seated anxiety that I am unloved and not safe in this world, that no one cares about me and I may not survive on my own.
I was holding on to this self-destructive identity, because it was mine, it belonged to me, it was just a reaction. I fought everything, parents, school, work and myself, I fought it by not caring and drinking made me forget myself and this anxiety, and it was also saying to the world, look what you have done to me!
Maybe I even blamed my master at some point, see! Why didn’t you save me? or maybe I just felt ashamed that I was such a looser disciple.
I resisted the transformation I somehow knew was just around the corner, just behind a veil, I didn’t know what would happen if I let this go, this was all I had left, of my conditioned child identity so I kept myself stupidly in the dark instead, until blessedly It hurt too much and I had to face it.
The first true transformation had happened in my life. It was real. It was a miracle. I was in awe and the mind still cannot comprehend it even now, because he was left out of the loop.
I mean something that was such a strong destructive habit for almost half of my life, suddenly just gone, evaporated like it never existed from one moment to the next.
In all the time I had been with my master I never had an experience that confirmed that I was on the right path, never a proof, except his acceptance of me and my love and trust for him. Of course many other things happened on the emotional and mental plane but never this final proof, this dropping into another dimension, this falling out of polarity into the heart of being.
But now this was it, the first real transformation. I was conscious of myself as part of existence and not anymore part of Society. I was free of all the politics and games society is playing. I had nothing to do with it any more, there was nothing I wanted from the outer world. Therefore, anxiety dropped away immediately, replaced by a natural trust in existence.
I was loved, accepted and embraced by life, I was ultimately worthy to be alive.
I looked at myself now, not anymore at others. I had asked my whole life, the other, the woman, the mother image to confirm me, give me worth and value, love me, or the lover, to satisfy me, give me bliss and fulfilment.
But I was asking a mirror image, there was nobody in this reflections, only my own projections, nobody really there, only the reflection echoing back, asking the same from me. Just like when I look in my bathroom mirror and ask, do you love me?
What will happen? Will the reflection say: yes! No, the reflection will say “do you love me”? There was no other!
This was not enlightenment, this was not the end of the mind, this was the end of confusion, holding on and blindly cooperating with the unconscious movement of the mind. A small Satori maybe but it had an immense impact, it turned my life outside in.
Once you know that between the opposites balance is possible, once you have a glimpse of it, then you know the art. Then everywhere in life, in every dimension of life, you can attain that balance very easily. Really, to say that you can attain is not good. Once you know the knack of it, whatsoever you do, the balance follows you like a shadow. This inner balance between the opposites is the most significant thing that can happen to a man.
My Way: The Way of the White Clouds ch.4
About 12 years have passed since that event. The impact is permanent. That day I turned around, I turned in, naturally, and a whole new journey began.
The addict and the anti-addict have never been seen again. I am still in awe of the mystery. I was given the key to transformation.
Love and gratitude
Swami Dayanand Bharati
Here is a PDF copy of How I Came to One-Mind.
There is a follow-up to this posting, Being a Light Unto Myself.