My friend Lana has what one might call, a high-affinity for alcohol. Her go to beverage is wine. And like most of humanity, when emotionally charged events transpire, core stories of abandonment and rejection start to emerge, we rush to our recreational drug, pharmaceutical pill, sexual diversion, and dozens of other trademark addictions.
In Lana’s case: vino has always been the Houdini routine.
These often subtle thought-feeling states merge into a cluster of belief and spin themselves into a narrative which we must escape from at all costs. This is happening at an unconscious level until we begin meditation.
Many people either think meditation is some kind of spiritual fix it ticket or new age Eastern quackery. The truth is authentic meditation makes the unconscious, conscious. We allow all of the mind baggage (thoughts) to flow into our awareness.
We become aware.
We must feel and see everything that was held done, suppressed, repressed and disowned, all the ways we have disconnected from ourselves. This is not easy work, nor is it fun–at least in the early years of practice-though simultaneously right from the beginning, we get glimpses of deep peace, experience periods of stress reduction and more internal calm. Later, in most cases, after intense earnestness, incredible unrelenting sincerity and surrender, meditation lays bare the ultimate fruits: lasting peace, deep compassion, contentment, kindness and real love.
Meditation and the journey, often turns into a process that is long and drawn out because most of us have such a strong addiction to the mind (which is only a bundle of thoughts, conditioned patterns of thinking).
These substances and addictions are actually buffers that delay the onset of authentic living. They are false, momentary reprieves that take the edge off of intense waves of feeling, thought and sensation.
In Lana’s case, her latest rendezvous with the bottle landed her in jail. It could soon be State Prison. You see, on this relapse and subsequent accident/arrest (her 3rd DUI), she struck a motorcyclist, seriously injuring the young man. Lana’s lawyer knows the case is indefensible, yet aims for a 1 year sentence at a rehab facility. The prosecution (DA) and the young man’s family are going for a maximum sentence, 6 years at at State Prison in Chowchilla! Lana is horrified at this possibility but realizes there is nothing she can do.
Currently, and for the previous 5 months, Lana is residing at a place known, not so affectionately, as the FARM. It sounds like a nice rural place where they grow organic vegetables, have free range chickens, horse pastures and the like.
This place is no homestead. The only animals are seagulls and scavenger birds, like ravens that dart and fly in and out of the mile square rubbish mound. It is truly a destitute shithole that butts up against the longtime, local landfill, garbage patch; the place is a real dump and smells like the century-long defecation remains of myriad critters and humans.
Inside was worst.
During my one and only visit, the walls seemed to move with a kind of corrosion meets robotics, miss-mashed with mildew, mold. Chevron no doubt has a new synthetic oil well in the making. An ongoing chemistry and physics experiment gone haywire. The officer led a group of 3 of us, to a small room that was claustrophobic. Three phones (if you can call them that) were separated by delaminating partitions. These archaic listening devices were bolted to a cement wall next to a grotesque window and flimsy chair. The phone appeared to be melting, a circa 1962 original, that I swear to God was never washed, and encoded with germs of untold thousands. And because my hearing aids do not work with a phone, I had to press my ear against this vile beast. I kept wondering if some kind of small scorpion-like mutation was going to crawl through the encrusted, voice holes into my ear.
Yet, this is a Medium facility, a so-called Rehab staging area for those awaiting final verdicts and a far cry from State Prison of violence, insanity, and corruption. (I know this is available outside of prison too but the primary cause is the same: THE MIND= THOUGHTS.
As this saga unfolds and visitation out of the question, I continue to write Lana letters. What keeps coming out through my pen is a variant around the theme:
What incredible grace!
This is an opportunity for a meditation retreat of epic proportion, to wake up out of the trance of egoic-identity- I keep urging. I include spontaneous free-writing insights about how this might come about.
The truth is, meditation in prisons has been the wave of the last few decades, with programs, like: Prison Project, all kinds of buddhists meditation and insight practices, spiritual teachers who have visited and documented cases of people making radical shifts in awareness. Meditation in prisons is not new; incredible insight is not impossible to find in prison.
We can find peace this instant. For our true nature is always residing as perfect peace, we only need remove the obstructions to this knowledge. The thoughts are the obstructions. So we give them space to move out of the system and simultaneously become disinterested in them, for then peace takes their place.
Once you taste REAL PEACE, you will become less and less interested in thought which is a boogie-man counterfeit, and restless movement at the center of all our so-called problems.
So, I keep writing to Lana, because she is a true heart friend for 35 years. I love her dearly and spirit keeps moving me to share the truth.
I know she can awaken and supplant her need for booze with an immense guiding light.