Writer’s Note: This was recorded yesterday and is being transcribed today, obviously. I didn’t get much sleep last night either.
It’s been a really interesting, busy week. I did my reading yesterday and I transcribed the previous day’s writing, but I didn’t get to make my post. I didn’t do it. I’ve been so tired, so beat, and today is the day that I pick myself up and say today I will do better. Today I will reaffirm what I need to do. I will do better, so today I’m playing catch up with work, with my blog, I’m going to get some sleep… I’m playing catch up with my life.
Today I had an interesting conversation; I was talking to some of my coworkers about alcoholism and alcohol problems, especially in regards to Native Americans. Two of my coworkers are Navajo and they’ve seen a great deal of alcohol abuse and problems firsthand. One of my other coworkers who is white, she asked, “Isn’t it true that Native Americans don’t process alcohol the same way?” And I was confused and was about to say something, but I asked my coworkers if this was true. One of my Navajo coworkers said it was. I knew Asians had that issue, but I didn’t realize that it was a trait they had in common with Native Americans. Apparently it is.
This white girl starts talking about how she’s really “spiritual” and… she basically started talking about how spirituality leads your DNA to vibrate at higher frequencies and so your body rejects things like alcohol and drugs. I wasn’t even sure what to say to that at first. I don’t know, man. I’ve heard some pretty New-Agey stuff in my day, and I can’t imagine there’s any kind of scientific or rational backing for that. The idea of sympathetic vibrations of energy is a pretty metaphysical concept in and of itself, but to use it as a broad generalization for why Asians, who, to loosely quote her, are “a very spiritual people,” and Native Americans have a low tolerance for alcohol… like this is somehow carried down through the generations because of their intense spirituality… I don’t even know.
Every time I hear something like that, I think back to my little fictitious illustration/idea/thought experiment that is “The First Church of Five-Minutes-Ago,” and the idea that everything sprung up into existence, fully-formed, five minutes ago, and is designed on purpose to look as though it has existed for much longer than that. I was just thinking about unprovable things, and seriously how could you ever prove this idea of DNA that “vibrates” on higher spiritual frequencies? To say that all Asian culture and all Native culture is spiritual… and I get the idea, but this does not ring true to me. Honestly, it sounds ridiculous. Sympathetic vibrations make for great metaphors, but in my opinion they don’t make for good biology. It doesn’t make for good biological and sociological policy to just wave away this whole issue of alcohol intolerance as some kind of voodoo bullsh*t in your DNA.
I don’t really know what DNA has to do with it, anyway. Your liver processes alcohol. Higher states of being, I get that idea, at least the idea of “higher” levels of consciousness, but I don’t think we’re transcending our own physical form. I could see from a psychological standpoint, and this is what I said in response, is that the psychological benefits of having a healthy spirituality, can lead you away from seeking temporary pleasures in substances, from running away from your troubles and looking for escape in alcohol or drugs. A healthy sense of self and a sense of your place in the universe, those are things that when you don’t have them, you feel lost or lonely or empty, and you turn to something, be it drugs or alcohol, to numb it or escape it.
But I think that someone with a healthy sense of self can either avoid or control themselves around those substances. I don’t think it necessarily has to do with “elevated vibrations.” On one hand, this could be me getting defensive because I feel as though I’ve had some pretty enlightening experiences, and I’m doing my best to put what I’ve learned from these experiences into practice. I’m not going to use her word, “ascension,” but I do have a strong sense of my place in the world. I look around me even in this very moment and I revel in everything I see and smell and feel, and it’s great; I see God everywhere. It’s an amazing feeling, to feel God within myself. I do my best to remind myself that God is with all of us, and that there are so many different people, different vessels for this energy of consciousness that I call God, this vast Being that everybody is. It’s amazing, you know? I see that everywhere.
Maybe I’m getting defensive, because if what she says is true, then I shouldn’t be affected (or should be sickened, even) by alcohol or any drug-like substances. She says that when you’re enlightened, supposedly “toxins,” like alcohol, make you sick. So here’s my meta-reasoning, here:
- I consider myself to be living in at least a semi-enlightened state.
- Those who have “ascended” to higher “levels” cannot tolerate things like alcohol.
- I can tolerate alcohol, and it does not in reasonable quantities make me sick.
- If living in an enlightened state is Q, and being able to tolerate alcohol is P…
- My coworker’s assertion is that Q → ¬P. (If Q, then not P.)
- My case is P…
- ∴ ¬Q
- Therefore, I must not be as enlightened as I think I am. (Also I really wanted an excuse to use some logical notation.)
Maybe it’s just me being defensive, but I just don’t accept her statements. I see no proof, no evidence, no reason to believe all of that. The thing I like about “The First Church of Five-Minutes-Ago” is that it shows at once the limitations of science (because it can never be disproved) but it also shows the fallacy of accepting a lack of dis-confirmation as confirmation. Just because I can’t prove that the DNA of an enlightened person “vibrates” at some higher frequency doesn’t mean that it explains why Asians and American Indians don’t tolerate alcohol.
One of my Navajo coworkers is Christian, and she doesn’t want to take peyote because of the potential for abuse, or whatever the Christian deal is with avoiding drugs.² My partner has explained it to me, if I remember correctly, that people avoid them because of the behaviors that can result therefrom, or because when you lose control of your mind/body, then you open the door for “evil things” to come in, be that demonic forces or the devil’s influence or what have you. Admittedly, that’s kind of a scary thought…
Actually, as an aside, while I’m jumping from topic to topic, I mentioned to one of my clients (a ten-year-old boy) that I’m not scared of anybody. This one client, he’s really interesting. He’s said some weird, out-of-context religious stuff from time to time. He said something about being afraid of the devil. I said, “Why? Why should I be scared of the devil?” I trust God, why should I be afraid? I’ll see how I even feel about “The Devil” as a concept when I’m done with the Bible.
The idea of the devil as a mythological concept, that’s amazing. I love the whole conflict and the idea of a devil as far as a mythological opposition to the power of God. The idea of a devil as a strong metaphor, even, for all the ills of the world. I get that, that’s powerful.
But this kid tells me I should be afraid of the devil. But I’m not. Why would I be? I trust in God. I am strong in God, and I know I have nothing to fear. I feel like my “soul,” whatever you believe that to be, is protected. I feel like if you trust in God, you can realize this divine sort of energy within you and be protected. I understand that there is temptation in the world, and there are what I would consider “evil presences” or “dark presences.” I would use the term “dark presence” and say that there is such a thing, again based on my personal experience. I don’t know if that came from within my own mind or if it is some external supernatural evil, I can’t speak to the cause… Just like I told this woman at work, I can’t speak to the metaphysics of spirituality; I don’t f***in’ know.
I just think that my ultimate point here is that I am not afraid. There are times when this body, this vessel has fear, and that is understandable. There are moments of tension or anxiety, but overall in a big sense, I am not afraid. I have God on my side, and my spirituality is such that I see God all the time, and I feel the presence of God with me all the time. I’m not always paying attention, but every time I pause to look around, and see trees and other people, and the dirt of the ground, and grasses and bushes and I see all this color and this energy, and for me it all ties back to these things being different reflections of God.
I was talking to a very close friend of mine last night about spirituality and about my personal experiences that I’ve had… every single idea that is important to me about spirituality, about God, every single truth that I hold is based entirely on my own experience. I like that, and I don’t want to sound cocky or sound like I think I’m better than other people, but these ideas are all based on things I have felt or visions I have had or something I have read or experienced.³ To me, the details don’t really matter.
Obviously, yes, you should learn about things you can’t experience for yourself, but ultimately the whole “spiritual vibrations” thing, for example, seems like it doesn’t make sense. In this case, you can look at genetics and look at enzymes that deal with alcohol that are not present or as present in Asian or Native culture. You can look at the cause and see why this appears to be the case. I think coming up with some weird metaphysical reason… I understand that we often want to believe that there is more to this reality than we can see, and in my opinion there is, but that doesn’t mean, for example, that I think people should follow an arbitrary set of rules to get to some external Heaven.
Everything that I’m concerned about is practical, it is for here and it is for now. Everything I want to learn and teach is information that I think people can use to make their lives more enjoyable and more functional. It’s information that doesn’t have a downside, information that will lead to positive changes in your life, information that will lead you to acceptance, love, and respect. That’s the kind of thing I can promote because I can promote it with a good conscience. I know that the things I have to share with people will bring about good changes.
I have no reason to believe otherwise because I’ve seen it for myself and I’ve seen it in other people, and I’ve heard the message that rings true for me, repeated by wise, happy, healthy people. Part of why I’m reading the Bible is so I can understand it and accept it with no contradictions. I hope to spread all of what I learn, and I hope to serve other people so that they can find their own truths the way that I’ve found mine. It means a lot, and I will make it happen.
¹ The Thing, Directed by John Carpenter. 1982, Universal Pictures. Image accessed from http://www.zuguide.com/image/Keith-David-The-Thing.7.jpg
² Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” — Matthew 15:10-11, NIV
³ I do suppose, looking back, that most of what other people believe is what rings true for them. I just… I think some people stick with what they were told when they were young and refuse to learn or be open to the possibility of anything new. Hand-waving away any contrary evidence or criticism does not make one’s faith appear strong.
As has been said before, sometimes with pride/disrespect, “If your faith can move mountains, it should be able to withstand criticism.” Obviously some people don’t feel the need to rationally defend their faith, but for my faith to ring true, it had to be as rational as it is spiritual.