Clouding Our Vision - A Spiritual Primer

Clouding Our Vision

Drugs: false doors of perception

The aim of spiritual life is to achieve freedom from illusion. If we take mind-altering substances, whether chemical or natural, we may well experience other realities or different states of awareness, but none of them last and they are all limited to the realm of the mind. It would be very simple if we could take a pill and increase our awareness permanently, but unfortunately that is not the case. With drugs, the moment the effect is gone, one becomes again the same person one was before. Experiences with drugs are just mental states and have nothing to do with spiritual experience, and that is why the experiences of people who take drugs differ from each other.

Spiritual experiences on the other hand do not differ from each other. All spiritual experience is bound to be the same as it arises from an inner journey whose landmarks are there to be seen by all. It is not a figment of the individual imagination.

Drugs may give one a little physical concentration and may put one in a semi-trance or seemingly blissful state, but when the trip is over, so is the experience. Even if one sees something in an altered state of awareness, one has no control over it, whereas spiritual experience is something over which we have control. Through spiritual practice we can change our level of consciousness and travel the spiritual realms when we want to, and in the same way we can come back to the body level of consciousness whenever we want to.

Spiritual experience develops our awareness of the soul and makes us much finer and better people. We are no longer victims of our senses; we control our mind, and the mind starts controlling the senses. But by taking drugs, we remain slaves of both mind and senses. By creating more illusions we will not help ourselves wake up from the illusion we are already in.

Alcohol and tobacco: deadly crutches

The necessity of abstaining from alcoholic drinks does not need much logic to support it. We all know what fools we make of ourselves when drunk, and what follies and crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol. Its use so clouds our vision and distorts our sense of values that our sense of discrimination fails us and we are unable to see what actions will do harm to us or others. Even moderate amounts of alcohol can prevent clear thinking. The basic aim of a seeker for truth is to become more conscious, not less.

On a spiritual level, any habit that has a negative effect on us should be avoided. Like alcohol, smoking and tobacco products easily become habit-forming, which leaves a deep groove on our mind, causing mental and physical cravings which weaken our will. To follow a spiritual path we need a strong will to face life and stay focused on our principles.

Smoking is a dangerous habit and acts as a slow poison, causing many serious diseases. Therefore, it is advisable that we refrain from such habits. We emphatically point out, by way of guidance, that any habit that makes us dependent and is bad for our health should be strictly avoided.
G. S. Dhillon

Concentration is an essential part of meditation. Concentration demands that we be alert and present to ourselves. If we are under the influence of drugs or alcohol we might feel good for a while and drift into an ocean of oblivion, but serious spiritual practice is impossible under the influence of alcohol or drugs.