Meditation has been scientifically proven to have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. It is often considered a method of relaxation and calming.
This blog post aims to examine the impact of alcohol on meditation practice. Specifically, it will explore the effects of meditating while under the influence of alcohol.
Recently, I received a message on Facebook asking for advice on whether it is possible to meditate after drinking or even while drunk.
This raises the question: can one be drunk and still meditate effectively? Does alcohol aid or hinder the meditation practice? Can it facilitate reaching a meditative state or
are the two incompatible?
What is Drunk Meditation
Do alcohol and meditation at the same time sound like a paradox?
Well, it seems that some sort of trend has developed around meditation and drinking in recent years, especially since meditation is becoming more popular
in western countries. Drunk meditation usually refers to a practice that combines drinking with meditation to achieve a deeper level of mindfulness and relaxation.
Is Drunk Meditation Acceptable from a Religious Perspective?
Someone in a state approaching drunkenness may feel confident and enabled, artificially so. However meditation is about facing reality, looking inside oneself to find an inner truth whereas alcohol is often used as an escape from reality.
Consumption of alcohol in Buddhist meditation is totally unsuitable since the fifth precept forbids the use of intoxicants, although to the community at large this is seen as similar to the Catholic edict of eating only fish on a Friday – a practice observed more in the exception than the rule.
As an example the population of Cambodia, where I lived for a while, is technically 90% Buddhist but the use of artificial stimulants, alcohol et al, would probably be about the same percentage of population.
Can Drunken Meditation Be Justified from a Spiritual Perspective?
Whatever the question, alcohol is never the answer.
This is a complete truth when it comes to meditation. While alcohol may relax our inhibitions and engender a state of openness, it also gives the illusion of calmness and peace of mind – but nevertheless, this is an illusion.
When we drink we can lose touch with reality – we may feel physically stronger, smarter, even happier to an extent – but these feelings are rarely justified by our true being, and maybe we feel we are able to meditate and see clearly into our thoughts just like some believe they are better vehicle drivers after a few drinks.
In actuality our concentration is affected, we become unfocused, our thoughts become unsound and our judgement becomes faulty. None of this is beneficial to the clear, sharp insight we need when we want to ground ourselves in the present moment.
In fact, since meditation can effectively relieve stress and boost emotional well-being it should even be considered as an alternative to alcohol.
The health and wellness industry has a wide and varied selection of tools for people to use for personal growth. One such tool is meditation.
The meditative state in itself can bring feelings of physical and mental relaxation – combined with alcohol the subject may simply
drop off to sleep!
Alcohol has a numbing effect on the mind, which is why many people use it as a means of relaxation and to temporarily forget their problems.
However, the impact that alcohol has on one’s behavior can be quite significant and it is often seen as an escape from reality rather than a way to connect with oneself.
While having a few drinks with friends is often seen as a way to unwind and have a good time, it is unlikely to lead to better health or a deeper meditative state.