Gong, Meditation, and Alcohol
by Nechama Karp, Sound Meditation Guide, once in a blue moon drinker :)
This article was written to specifically address the quandary facing the management of a working group about wether or not to delay the serving of alcohol at an after-work event to allow the time for a short guided meditation.
I used to drink after a stressful day at work to take the edge off, unwind, and have ‘fun.’ I felt like I earned it and sometimes it felt like a reward and that I deserved to celebrate a job well done. Sometimes it was really a mindless reaction to a more stressful day than usual - just having a drink to provide me with a sense of relief and help me to decompress. I believed that having a hard drink was the most accessible way for me to de-stress. It was also integral to how I socialized with people - alcohol was my ‘liquid courage’ and a ‘social lubricant.’
Since I began discovering how the pure sonic current of the gong soothes my body and clears my mind in a matter of minutes, and in the few moments of silence that follows I have effortlessly flowed to that neutral meditative state, I have a significant awareness that afterwards I am more at ease with myself, I feel a warm glow from within, am physically relaxed, I can be more at ease, mindful, and comfortable with others, I listen more carefully, I choose my words more easily, and I have no desire for alcohol even when others around me are drinking.
With weekly practice, being in a meditative state opens up new levels of clarity and confidence in my choices about what to say - to whom, and what to do that I never experienced with alcohol.
An added bonus is that I avoid any residual undesirable effects from alcohol such as a blood-sugar spike and crash, mental fatigue, needing more sleep afterwards, etc., and worse. Prolonging that after work drink for 20 minutes could go a long way towards enjoying the full effect of the cleansing sonic gong current, releasing stress, and flowing into a meditative silence emerging in a mindful, at ease, balanced state. After which, one is able to make a more conscious choice to have a drink, if desired, for the sheer pleasure of it rather than any other reason.
The gong meditation itself becomes the shared experience for everyone and is an easy topic of conversation thereby becoming the ‘social lubricant’ of the event! Here's an informative excerpt from an article written by Australian meditation teacher Tom Cronin -
"Every time you meditate, you open up the frontal lobe of your brain, where the pineal gland exists. This is considered the "CEO of the brain," and it's also the part of the brain that is responsible for the release of oxytocin, melatonin, and serotonin.
Some people consider the pineal gland to be the third eye and the gateway to mystical experiences, even enlightenment.
Each meditation session activates this part of the brain, which results in heightened states of bliss, love, and clarity.
So what happens when we drink alcohol?
It severs the connection from the frontal lobe of the brain to the rear lobe of the brain, which directs our primal instincts of survival and procreation. In effect, it shuts down the activity of the pineal gland, impairing our ability to think clearly and intuitively. (This is why after three drinks we aren't even allowed to drive a car!) It also erodes the production of serotonin and oxytocin, which is why the day after drinking alcohol we feel so dreadful!“
I feel worthy of giving myself the pleasure of the sonic gong current transporting me to that clear and easeful mind within and being more myself and present to others. I love sharing this gift with others who want to enjoy themselves, each other, and celebrate their lives.
The benefits become more obvious after even just one experience. Over time, it comes to be such a relief to have the awareness of our innate ability to relax and unwind and be clear of stress without alcohol. And then we can more mindfully choose to have that drink, or not.
Let’s gong together! Cheers!