God in a Bottle? The Spirituality of Intoxication.

Why are we here? Is there anything beyond this? What started it all?

We all exist somewhat on our spiritual planes, whether consciously or not, and finding peace through a personal acceptance and understanding of individual spirituality is one of life’s more important tasks – a task less frequently attended to in the here-and-now age we live in.

But even though we do not necessarily devote time or conscious energy to our spiritual growth (as we perhaps should) we cannot fight our deepest impulses, and whether consciously or not, we do seek out answers. I’m not the first to say this, nor close to the wisest, but I believe that intoxication (and too often addiction) emerges in part out of a misdirected search for spiritual enlightenment – finding God in a bottle.

From the time we figured out eons ago that eating or smoking things changed our perceptions, human beings have been getting high, and more often than not getting high got intermingled with spirituality…and finding answers through hallucinogenic drugs was/is a pretty common source of spiritual enlightenment. We grow up as kids and young teens on a journey of subdued exploration, and then one day we get drunk, or we get high. And WOW, all of a sudden, things look pretty different – and although we probably don’t put words to it and we are probably more interested in the fun of it all, it feels as though there are answers to be had through altered consciousness.

Most people seem to be able to take it as it is, just a transient and ultimately meaningless shift of perceptions; but some of us seem to take more-or need more-from the experience. And it’s fun too, we go on merrily getting high and getting drunk, bouncing around, seeing what’s out there…and it feels important. We have deep talks about meaningful things while high, and that feels important too. Not that you’d ever say "Hey, I’m on a spiritual journey here…" but that vague sense is there, an undercurrent of meaning lending importance to the otherwise frivolous and indulgent experience.

And some of us, the foolish seekers, we just keep on at it, sort of searching, until one day it’s sort of all we know. And one day, usually more than a bit too late, we realize that it was all a sham.

Maybe there is truth and wisdom to be found through intoxication, maybe not…but any cosmic truth intertwined with intoxication probably reveals itself after the first few sessions or so, and certainly by the first few dozens of experiences, and after a hundred-a thousand-or more times getting drunk or high, well; we’re not getting much out of it – other than high. Fools that we are, we keep at it, and at it for way too long. Spiritual understanding doesn’t come served in a bottle or a pipe. It takes work and growth, and a searching for meaning through hard-fought experience. When we rely on the easy and cheap spiritually of intoxication, there is no growth – no real searching, just an endless and blind stumbling.

There are no answers at the bottom of that bottle, and so that bottle can never provide any of the spiritual peace that we crave, whether consciously or not. I see it now, in hindsight only. It took getting sober, and a long while after that, to even start figuring things out for real.

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Why are we here? Is there anything beyond this? What started it all?

We all exist somewhat on our spiritual planes, whether consciously or not, and finding peace through a personal acceptance and understanding of individual spirituality is one of life’s more important tasks – a task less frequently attended to in the here-and-now age we live in.

But even though we do not necessarily devote time or conscious energy to our spiritual growth (as we perhaps should) we cannot fight our deepest impulses, and whether consciously or not, we do seek out answers. I’m not the first to say this, nor close to the wisest, but I believe that intoxication (and too often addiction) emerges in part out of a misdirected search for spiritual enlightenment – finding God in a bottle.

From the time we figured out eons ago that eating or smoking things changed our perceptions, human beings have been getting high, and more often than not getting high got intermingled with spirituality…and finding answers through hallucinogenic drugs was/is a pretty common source of spiritual enlightenment. We grow up as kids and young teens on a journey of subdued exploration, and then one day we get drunk, or we get high. And WOW, all of a sudden, things look pretty different – and although we probably don’t put words to it and we are probably more interested in the fun of it all, it feels as though there are answers to be had through altered consciousness.

Most people seem to be able to take it as it is, just a transient and ultimately meaningless shift of perceptions; but some of us seem to take more-or need more-from the experience. And it’s fun too, we go on merrily getting high and getting drunk, bouncing around, seeing what’s out there…and it feels important. We have deep talks about meaningful things while high, and that feels important too. Not that you’d ever say "Hey, I’m on a spiritual journey here…" but that vague sense is there, an undercurrent of meaning lending importance to the otherwise frivolous and indulgent experience.

And some of us, the foolish seekers, we just keep on at it, sort of searching, until one day it’s sort of all we know. And one day, usually more than a bit too late, we realize that it was all a sham.

Maybe there is truth and wisdom to be found through intoxication, maybe not…but any cosmic truth intertwined with intoxication probably reveals itself after the first few sessions or so, and certainly by the first few dozens of experiences, and after a hundred-a thousand-or more times getting drunk or high, well; we’re not getting much out of it – other than high. Fools that we are, we keep at it, and at it for way too long. Spiritual understanding doesn’t come served in a bottle or a pipe. It takes work and growth, and a searching for meaning through hard-fought experience. When we rely on the easy and cheap spiritually of intoxication, there is no growth – no real searching, just an endless and blind stumbling.

There are no answers at the bottom of that bottle, and so that bottle can never provide any of the spiritual peace that we crave, whether consciously or not. I see it now, in hindsight only. It took getting sober, and a long while after that, to even start figuring things out for real.

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