Saturday, February 02, 2008

coffee, meditation and truth (520 words)

A stolen moment, Diana is up and I'm going to take a blog break, from organizing, cleaning and parenting.

In college I used to argue about the truth existing, independent, discoverable. Now I see it as an aspect of a perspective, not outside a perspective, and I'm pragmatic about what the best perspective is. Experience is more relevant to me.

Regarding coffee and meditation, I don't presume to know what others should do. I know what my case is: I've been drinking coffee since I was 18, when I went to college, and I was able to stay awake and study, pay attention in class. So it seemed.

Now I'm 40 years old, and I think coffee causes me anxiety, tension, wangs up my autonomic system, and makes it harder for me to relax. Twenty two years of addiction. Any gains in wakefulness are lost in warding off the feelings of tiredness, are lost in the negative side effects. You can’t get something for nothing. As a therapist I know the importance of tolerating your emotions, and yet I don't tolerate mine. I use a drug to take away a feeling, and I've blinded myself to it out of addiction.

I'm using a harm reduction model to move towards recovery. Last year I tried the abstinence approach. I set the goal of quitting for 14 days and I got through 8. I wasn't waking up and meditating. And if you've read my recent essay on Wildmind, you know meditation is the last thing I want to give up. I would not have known that without children. Anywho, so I went back on coffee, and decided I couldn't quit.

Now I know about the harm reduction model that works more in the grays instead of black and white and appreciates how hard addiction really is. I'm not comparing coffee addiction to some shipwreck addiction that ruins life. As we know the addiction that can fly under the radar of functionality are acceptable in our society. But it is similar enough to give me insight into others.

So I've tried to cut down, use less, and really just notice when the craving hits me. What are the complext rush of feelings and self states that provoke me to reach for the coffee? Aside from waking up quickly, I don’t really need coffee. And I don’t need much to do that.

I actually do feel more alive not using coffee as much. It's been an easier struggle through harm reduction and I am making progress, I didn't quit quitting. I average half a cup a day, and that is some good progress. More promising is that I feel like I'm recovering my true self, I feel more me, and that's a real test for me about whether something is working.

So for me, getting off coffee is a help towards meditation. In meditation I don't move or consciously distract myself. I have to feel my emotions, and they wash over me, move on, when I don't cling to them. It's therapeutic to meditate, is very complimentary to psychotherapy. It’s all about waking up.

No comments: