Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not Becoming Intoxicated

What does it mean to be intoxicated? This question has been on my mind since last weekend. Today, I am spending my late Sunday morning at the usual Starbucks, sharing a table with a woman named Donna (she needed a seat b/c the place was full). I see her every week, so in a funny way she seems an acquaintance. It is good to have a name to go with the person now. As I was driving here this morning I recalled it is time to be weaning off of caffeine again. Since beginning the Ph.D. my connection to caffeine has re-ignited, and last week, after reflecting on why I went off in the first place I am committed to reducing my intake, eventually to go off completely again.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of discussing intoxication with members from my meditation sangha as part of a presentation and dialogue. It is so easy to think of addiction and intoxication in concrete terms when we see the data about alcohol, nicotine, controlled substances, etc. In the reading and conversation the concept was turned up a notch as we focused on other ways we become intoxicated in life. Ways that may not be visible, although we become drunk, nonetheless. The reading we did spoke about people becoming intoxicated with religious practices. Oh my goodness, when first being introduced to spirituality and later Catholicism I recall believing that there was a formula for prayer that everyone else seemed to have that I missed (well, this was true for some of the rote prayers, not so accurate though in how I relate to God). When first exploring life with CSA I was convinced there was a right way to pray and somehow the Sisters had it. Whew, fortunately I found out differently or I would have never made it through formation. As I get older it becomes more apparent that the only way is to follow the path before us with a questioning heart that is open to conversion and love (promise not to go on a "love" tangent here). Now, to apply the learning of the past to my caffeine dependence once again will provide for some interesting opportunities this week. Sometimes what seems to be esoteric and what appears concrete can experience a crossover. My belief is that in the instance of intoxication there is not a single way to explain what happens or simple resolution. There is only a way of holding gently that which we look to in inebriation, and that which frees us from altered states. So, the coffee challenge begins today with a half-caf Americano

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