Thursday, December 30, 2010

Consciousness is the key to change

December 30, 2010 –

I don’t want to seem self indulgent with these initial posts.  The reason I write about myself in such detail is simply to describe my current state.  This project has a beginning, middle, and an end.  This is the beginning.  And I am the guinea pig.  If I am to accurately portray the results of this experiment, then I must accurately describe my current state, and my current thoughts – even if it is embarrassing or offensive.

With that said, I have a few things to say.  As much as I have denied it over the years, today, my sister and I concluded that, although I should not be considered an alcoholic, I could be considered a problematic drinker.  I regularly drink in considerably heavy proportions.  By regularly, I mean two days per week, on average, plus the odd multiday binge when special occasions arise. By heavy proportions, I mean fifteen or more regular drinks in one sitting, sometimes continuing over the course of numerous hours or throughout subsequent days, and often mixing hard liquor, wine, and beer. During these binges, I often lack control while drinking, which leads to excessive consumption, intoxication and the inevitable problems that come with excessive intoxication, such as aggressive, arrogant behaviour, irresponsible spending, and disrespectful actions toward others.  Additionally, I am certain that alcohol is the main cause of a persistent layer of stomach fat that I work feverishly to dispose of.  This has been a regular habit since I was in my mid teens…over ten years now.  I’ve tried, periodically, to get off the sauce. But, inevitably, I find myself participating in these full on binges.  In fact, last night was the seventh consecutive night that I consumed a significant amount of alcohol.  And I wasn’t shy with it.  Now, this kind of extreme binge does not happen often…I would consider the Christmas holidays to be an extenuating circumstance.  Yet, that fact is, these binges do happen, and it’s not normal or healthy.  Maybe I am, after all, suffering from an addiction to alcohol…to some degree, at least. 

Beyond my confession of alcoholism, I’ve had some valuable insights over the past hours.  After only a few hours of sleep, I woke up on my sister’s couch, feeling extremely volatile and still intoxicated from last night.  As the sun beat through the window beside me, I was unable to sleep, and arose in somewhat of a fury. Frustrated by the outcome of the evening, and by the outflow of cash from my wallet, I aggressively changed my clothes and jumped in the car, speeding to the mall to get some breakfast.  Now, over the past few days, since my latest blog, my aunt’s opinion and what her opinion represents has been coursing through my mind.  What her opinion represents is an example of how consciousness determines action.  Her statements of “You’re just going down to the jungle to get high!” and “I think you should get your act together and get a job!” represent her worldview, her consciousness.  Now, it must be said, I have a lot of respect for my aunt.  She is a very strong and successful woman, and she’s always been good to me. All I’m saying is that her consciousness ultimately defines her actions in life.  And where my worldview or my consciousness differs from hers, so do my actions.  Hence, I am not focused on getting a job so I can simply earn money, but I am focused on following my passions, exploring the world, and deeply experiencing every nook and cranny of this ever so short life that I have been awarded.  Money is just a hurdle, a technicality.  The only valuable currency I recognize is experience. 

Adding to my point, this morning as I was sitting in the food court of the mall eating breakfast, feeling as I just now finished describing, passively watching news headlines on a distant TV screen as I chomped away on my sausage and egg breakfast wrap.  One of the news headlines disturbed me.  It read, “900 pound raging bull escapes slaughter, shot after two mile chase.”  Initially empathizing with the creature, I considered its last desperate attempt at survival.  It knew it was being sent to its death -- it must have been terrified -- and it commendably broke free of its prison.  Yet, it broke free only to discover that it escaped from one small prison into a larger, all encompassing prison – human society – from which there is no escape.  I thought “how brutal and cruel must we be, to allow the imprisonment of creatures, to allow the sheer terror and torture of creatures to continue?”  But, as it is now, humanity, as a whole, is a brutal and cruel species.  Humanity, as a whole, is a hateful, irresponsible and destructive species.  That instant, on the television, an image of a mother whale and her calf swimming in the ocean appeared.  I thought “even if these creatures are not imprisoned by a cage or bars, they are still subject to the inescapable prison of a human dominated Earth.”  It is inevitable that they will one day face a detrimental consequence of human contact -- whether it will be a harpoon, toxic sludge, oil spillage, or noise pollution from shipping traffic.  Even in the middle of the great, deep ocean, we hold them captive, and our actions affect their fate.

Therefore, we must accept responsibility for our actions.  We must acknowledge the farthest reaches and consequences of our lifestyle choices.  But, that, I believe, is not possible as long as we cling to this state of consciousness that currently dominates our society.  The future of humanity is that of responsibility, of peace, of love for all creatures.  It must be, because it is necessary of we are to survive on Earth.  The new human race will scoff at the concept of imprisoning creatures, torturing them, and leading them to a terrifying slaughter.  The new human race will not accept the chance of oil spills or the possibility of global warming, just so we can drive to the corner store or eat apples from the opposite hemisphere in the middle of winter.  The new human race will strive to prevent the vast disparity of resource availability, denying the preconception that greed and material accumulation is good.  But, if we are to transcend to this new level, to become this new responsible human race, we must embrace a new collective consciousness.  Only when we, as a whole, see the world through the lens of this new consciousness, will our actions effectively change.


  1. Dan,
    It is interesting you talk about consciousness and drunkeness in the same dialogue...have you ever examined why you choose to drink yourself into unconsciousness and black would seem maybe you are you tying to escape from something? Have you ever examined that? Examined why you make those choices over and over again? What is the purpose? Are you that bull? Is it the reality of our "societal" existance?
    With drunken mind, one is chaotic and out of control, unable to focus, has no sense of judgement...I would say that to see any new kind of consciousness, it would be through sobriety, no? Just a thought....

  2. Thank you Sam. You are precisely correct. Without question, there are deeply ingrained issues that underlie my patterns of substance abuse. And this is one reason I seek to expose my inner consciousness through in depth work with ayahuasca. This is one problematic area of my life that is based on a psychic undercurrents. That, presumably, is what ayahuasca works best to remedy. Hence, my project. Will ayahuasca help me see and discard what poisons my life?