Woman in a denim jacket meditating with hand mudra

Alcoholics: Meditate Like Your Life Depends On It

Mike Mather

Perfection of Concentration

The mind of concentration in meditation is a powerful tool that we can use to focus on virtuous objects in meditation. Its function is to prevent distraction, and it can be developed through mental awareness.

For ordinary beings, concentration can be used to achieve mundane goals, such as avoiding alcohol. However, a more spiritual practice might attain supramundane goals that are motivated by renunciation and Bodhicitta.

Practising Alcoholic

With practise, an alcoholic can attain a level of renunciation over alcohol, a wish to help others, and the conviction of their powerlessness over alcoholism. This is a powerful accomplishment that can lead to a recovering alcoholic taking on the five Pratimoksha* vows. These vows include doing no harm to others, speaking kindly, avoiding sexual misconduct, and refraining from taking intoxicants.

It's important to note that if an alcoholic continues to drink, they will continually break the five Pratimoksha vows and continue to harm themselves and others, thereby accumulating negative karma. However, with the practice of concentration and the attainment of renunciation, we can overcome our vices and live a more virtuous life.

Grey haired man in panama hat and sunglasses smiling

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

So if you're struggling with addiction, take heart in the fact that with enough practise and determination, you too can achieve a level of concentration that will help you overcome your addiction and live a more fulfilling life.

Carry On Regardless

The practice of concentration is not a one-time fix for all problems, but rather a lifelong journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. It requires dedication, patience, and discipline. However, the benefits of a concentrated mind are numerous and can significantly improve the quality of your life.

With meditation, you will be able to increase your focus, decrease your stress and anxiety levels, and experience a greater sense of inner peace. You will be able to stay present and fully engaged in the moment, allowing you to better enjoy and appreciate the world around you.

It is important to start small and build up gradually, allowing yourself time to develop and strengthen your meditation skills. You may encounter setbacks and moments of frustration, but with perseverance and dedication, you can overcome these obstacles and continue on your path towards a more fulfilling, sober life.

Read also "Are You Behaving Yourself?"

Karma Chameleon

Through regular meditation, we can accumulate merit and attain habits of positive action. It is about cultivating positive behaviours, such as kindness, compassion, and self-awareness. As you become more skilled in concentration, you will be better equipped to make positive choices and live a more virtuous life.

So, if you are ready to commit to the practice of single-pointed meditation, take the first step today. Start with a simple meditation practice, focusing on your breath or a virtuous object. Set realistic goals for yourself, and gradually increase the length and complexity of your practice. With consistent effort and the right mindset, you can achieve the perfection of concentration and change your life for the better.

Pink lotus flower in a pond

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

Practise This

Here is a simple program to get started.

  1. Sit quietly for 10 minutes
  2. Read a Buddhist instructional book such as “Mirror of Dharma”, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche
  3. Contemplate an important paragraph whilst sitting quietly for 20 minutes
  4. Visit a dharma centre near you for inspiration and guidance
  5. Take some classes and join a sangha

love alwaz mike

*Pratimoksha Vows: Pratimoksha means `personal liberation', and so a Pratimoksha vow is a vow that is motivated mainly by the wish to attain personal liberation.

About the Author Mike Mather

Mike was born in 1963 which technically makes him one of the youngest of the Baby Boomers. An Australian with Indigenous and European heritage, he has been an avid and required student of Buddhism and alcoholism since 2008.

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