The fifth precept: to abstain from intoxicants, has been a part of Vipassana I have not seen the need of to try and maintain. But thanks to many of you who commented on my last post, my understanding of the importance of this precept has shifted something deep inside, which has started whispering that maybe this is something I want to do.
As one reader commented: “I refused to abide by a rule for a rule’s sake. It has to come from within me.”
Being in love and living with someone who does drink alcohol and has not intention of stopping, and having friends whose social lives still revolve around the use of intoxicants to have a ‘good time’, means that this potential path is not an easy one.
Why make my life so difficult? Why set myself apart from everyone else? Why not just go with the flow and get wasted?
I ask myself, or at least a part of ‘me’ , a different part of me to one who sees the importance of being able to see reality as it is. A part of ‘me’ that before I discovered Vipassana was the captain of the ship who craved highs and escape without an awareness of the cost on my day to day life. To visualise my mind ‘then’ – it was like a herd of wild hungry elephants intent on causing damage if they did not get what they wanted immediately.
Next weekend to celebrate the apple harvest and my engagement, we are having a party. Most of our friends will be travelling some way to join us to pick apples, make apple juice and cider. The plan is subject to the weather, but will most probably involve music and dancing. We are going to provide local bitter and cider, as well as lovely apple juice that we will have made together.
For me what I can say with some certainty is if my relationship to Vipassana is to be lifelong and serious, I have to reach a point in my life where like learning to walk or speak, choosing to live my life without alcohol comes naturally. It has to come from within. To say I am not going to drink alcohol at my party will be like imposing a rule ‘for a rule’s sake’, but what I will be taking into this experience thanks to your words of support is the understanding that drinking alcohol is not a requisite to having a good time.