Are you a friend of Bill W? Learned TM yet?
Most thankfully, I’ve never been drunk, or even anything close. I assess alcoholic beverages as quite toxic to the brain and body. I never drink alcohol and never have. Taking even a couple of small sips of beer or wine, when I tried it to see what it was like, gave me an instant bad headache. I’ve never tried sipping any other, stronger forms of alcoholic drink. Even breathing the fumes in an enclosed room (barroom /pub, or dining room, etc) where lots of alcohol is being poured and consumed gives me a headache – unless the air conditioning is very good, and usually even then.
I don’t like to be around when/where lots of alcohol is being consumed. I don’t like to be around people who are drinking enough that they start to feel noticeably “different” as a result, which I assess as being obviously a mild (beginning) form of “being drunk” or intoxicated–under the adverse influence of a strong toxin. Poisoning their brains to feel “better” in some way.
Drinking alcohol, even “socially,” and taking (any other) drugs (including grass) “recreationally” or “experimentally” has just never had any appeal for me. I already feel “better” naturally.
For one thing, I’ve been sharply aware from early childhood that such substances cloud the mind, and in the case of alcohol and many other drugs, damages the subtle functioning of the brain (which is why and how the mind feels clouded, or one temporarily “forgets ones troubles” while under the first-stage influence, and feels “hungover” while under the second-stage influence). Meanwhile, ones earlier “troubles” most likely were not actually washed away by the alcohol and often may have gotten worse…
Drink enough alcohol and the brain and other organs of the body are destroyed. If you care to look comparatively at autopsied brains from non-drinkers and long-term drinkers, respectively, one brain (non-drinker) looks like a fresh grape, the other (drinker) looks like a raisin, one looks like a fresh cucumber, the other looks like a pickle, one looks like a fresh plum, the other looks like a prune. Same fruit, different (functional and structural) conditions. It’s truly amazing.
Another reason I’ve never been the least inclined to want to drink alcohol or use (other) “recreational” drugs and toxins, is that I was very lucky to start from a young age to daily practice the easy, enjoyable method of Transcendental Meditation. This ancient, simple procedure is a most effective approach for systematically unfolding, cultivating and stabilizing an experience of natural inner peace, creative energy, and expansive, comprehensive awareness. It allows one to enjoy the stabilized spontaneous experience of being both naturally “high”-and-effortlessly-grounded in a purely organic, non-toxic biological condition of optimal brain functioning, providing mental clarity and emotional fulfillment, based on an increasing unfolding quality of neuro-physiological normalization. It has always been apparent to me, that compared to this direct daily experience of the spontaneous expansion and deepening of inner bliss and clarity of consciousness, the episodic (or chronic!) experience of being temporarily intoxicated and “high” (or depressed, or angry, or groggy, or “spacey” or hungover) from ingesting alcohol or other toxic or overshadowing substances (including weed) would definitely be an acutely undesirable condition.
When I look back at a long life of knowing many people who have taken a different approach to alcohol and other such substances, I can say my outlook of total non-use as being highly preferable for health, well-being, growth of higher states of consciousness, and simply long term daily enjoyment, has been confirmed and reaffirmed many, many times. I’ve lost (to mental debility, illness &/or death) many friends and acquaintances due to drink and/or (other) damaging drugs. Especially when driving-after-imbibing was involved. But also simply through addiction—acknowledged or denied on the part of the users, &/or on the part of their partners, families, and associates. Abuse-addiction to alcohol and similarly unhealthy substances is horrible, as I have been able to closely observe time and time again in the case of strangers, acquaintances, colleagues, and friends I have known and cared about.
Fortunately, none of my close family members have ever used alcohol. But I continue to know, and to newly meet, various folks who have used-&-come-to-abuse alcohol and as a result have suffered mild or severe difficulties, injuries, needless & needlessly early mental & physical decay and/or even needlessly early, often grotesque death.
Many persons find AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and related “12-Step” approaches to dealing with alcohol abuse and addiction to be of some helpfulness—sometimes acute and amazing helpfulness, sometimes of at least significant lasting helpfulness.
AA folks have a slightly-coded catch phrase: “Are you a friend of Bill W?” Bill Wilson was a co-founder of AA. Variations: “How long have you been a friend of Bill?” “How did you first meet Bill?” etc.
I tend not to socialize much, intentionally, with “serious drinkers,” or stoners, for obvious reasons. I don’t really like to be around people who are actively under the influence of such things, or who regularly turn to such conditions in order to feel “better” than they do when they wake up in the morning and go about their day under their own familiar natural quality of consciousness.
I certainly understand and support the perfectly natural driving desire to improve the quality of ones conscious enjoyment of life by altering ones neuro-physiological, biochemical functioning! But that only really happens in any lasting and healthy way by organically cultivating and stabilizing the mind, brain, and body’s own natural optimal functioning. It can not be achieved through strain, or intoxication.
Chronic use of alcohol and other toxic substances seriously impairs the ability of the body to provide the spontaneous and ongoing experience of natural and true higher states of consciousness. Occasional, episodic conditions of being intoxicated temporarily overshadow, cloud, obscure, and derange what natural stability of higher conscious experience and corresponding optimal brain functioning may already currently have been attained.
No one who has become familiar with enjoying a sufficiently stable natural experience of genuinely higher consciousness would wish to deliberately diminish such an ongoing enjoyment of inner clarity, peace, dynamic calm, and stability for the sake of undergoing a toxic-induced temporary experience of instantly coming down into a state of comparatively murky alcoholic or pot (or other drug) -induced experience of a “buzz” or of being “stoned” or “baked” or feeling a “rush” or suffering stupifaction, or whatever the drug causes one to temporarily undergo.
Many folks who find benefit from AA and related 12-Step programs, also find tremendous additional benefit in learning and practicing Transcendental Meditation (known as TM). TM is a purely mental procedure, but the measurable immediate and long-term beneficial effects take place on the brain and entire body as well. AA aids recovery on the psychological, attitudinal, and social level through a deliberate behavioral commitment, mental determination, and constantly-renewed and socially-reinforced decision to avoid abusing drink &/or other toxic substances. TM, on the other hand, aids recovery by providing those who practice it with the fulfilling direct experience of inner peace, bliss, and clarity at the deepest level of the mind at the source of thought, while also physically directly stabilizing natural optimal brain functioning, resulting in increased restfulness, calm alertness, and alleviation of deep stress.
I have practiced TM daily for most of my life, and also have been a certified instructor of TM from an early age. I have personally taught TM to many hundreds of individuals over the years, and have assisted in conducting TM courses for many additional hundreds of other persons. A relatively small but notable number of these persons have been members of AA.
Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA, also practiced and recommended TM, having been instructed by a certified teacher. I found the following article (linked below) about Bill Wilson and TM to be interesting and informative. I hope you will too. Especially if you are a “friend of Bill W”, a current or past member of AA, or otherwise have suffered or currently suffer from substance abuse or addiction or related residual or actively cumulative conditions.
Have you learned TM yet?
If not, I invite you, and highly recommend you, to do so, as Bill Wilson did, also.
Transcendental Meditation is a most effective aid in recovery from alcohol and other substance abuse/addiction and the damages caused by such conditions. But also far more than that, regular daily practice of Transcendental Meditation is a most effective, natural, and easy procedure for systematically fully unfolding your personal innate inner human potential – in terms of physical health; mental comprehension, clarity, and freedom from anxiety and depression; and in terms of complete, permanent holistic spiritual experience and development.
Ultimately, continued regular daily practice of TM leads to the permanent condition of fully stabilized optimal neuro-physiological functioning, and the corresponding experience of ongoing inner peace and innermost expansive consciousness traditionally known as enlightenment, or Self-realization, Self-liberation, Self-actualization in the deepest sense of these terms. This blissful experience of living a condition of effortless, spontaneously self-perpetual enjoyment of your own optimal brain functioning is the natural condition which the human mind and body are designed to enjoy. Personal fulfillment in a state of natural, dynamically creative and balanced inner peacefulness, expansive conscious bliss, and stabilized optimal brain functioning is every individual’s birthright.
Bill Wilson, TM, and the 11th Step
By George Kolodner, March 6, 2015
Kolodner’s Note: I was introduced to Transcendental Meditation three years ago through Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s book Transcendence. It sounded like a simple way to help manage the stress of everyday life, so I got the training and have been practicing TM regularly ever since. For me, it has not only improved my ability to respond to stress, but has also stimulated my mind to move in more creative directions. It is so effortless that I thought that it would be ideal for my patients in early recovery, who usually find that focused-based meditation techniques are too difficult.
I discovered that research had in fact been done in the 1990s documenting the usefulness of TM in addiction treatment. More recently, I was surprised to learn that late in his life, AA Co-Founder Bill Wilson had been trained in TM and had found it to be helpful. When I learned that the person who had trained him was still doing TM training, I contacted him, and he graciously agreed to this interview.
“I’ve meditated twice a day since 1966, and I feel so great afterwards,” says Lincoln Norton, National Director of Expansion for the Maharishi Foundation and a teacher at the San Antonio Transcendental Meditation (TM) Center. Now 70 years old, he has had a successful career as an entrepreneur in addition to teaching TM. “People often say, ‘you must have great willpower.’ It’s not willpower. I also have not missed breakfast since 1966.”
Lincoln was first introduced to TM while enrolled as a student at Harvard, and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visited to give a lecture on TM in the fall of 1966. A small group of roughly 30 people attended the talk. In 1969 he traveled to India with Maharishi to begin his student teacher training. Subsequently, Lincoln became one of the first student TM teachers in New York City.
During his college years, he introduced his father (Tom Norton), an architect and a recovering alcoholic, to TM as well. Tom Norton’s AA sponsor was Helen Wynn, a close friend of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, who Lincoln taught TM on a “cold December day at Wilson’s home in Chappaqua, NY.”
Recently, Lincoln Norton talked with Modern Addiction Recovery about this experience with Bill Wilson and how TM benefits people in recovery.
Modern Addiction Recovery: How were you first introduced to TM?
Lincoln: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Founder of TM, came to Harvard in 1966, and I heard him give a talk. The idea of transcending sounded very familiar to me. This kind of meditation is so easy, and you always transcend. My grades got better, and I was happier. Those years were tough, but my life was improving through TM.
MAR: How did you first meet Bill Wilson?
Lincoln: Six to eight people, including Bill, his wife Lois, Helen Wynn, and her son Shep, attended a small meeting at Bill’s house to learn about TM from me. The personal instruction to TM takes about an hour. I taught Bill in his bedroom and left him alone to do his first meditation. When I came back to get him, he was gone. I came downstairs and asked, “Has anyone seen Bill?” Just then the door burst open and Bill came in yelling, “This thing works!”
Despite Bill’s emphysema, he had left his room through a back staircase, run up and down the stairs, and then went outside and took some deep breaths of cold winter, night air —something not always a good idea when you are suffering from emphysema.
The reason this worked for him was that when you do TM, the mind settles down to finer levels. As mind and body are completely connected, the mind takes the body with it to a very deep state of rest, often deeper than the deepest level of deep sleep. Even his first 20 minute meditation allowed his body to relax so much that the circulation in his lungs improved and opened up.
During the third night of Bill’s verification of experience meetings (three days of verifying correctness of the practice and receiving further instruction based on growing experience), he told me he had come to a deeper understanding of AA’s 11th step. What he said to me was “I didn’t fully understand the 11th step until I started TM.”
MAR: In what way do people in recovery benefit from TM?
Lincoln: When you meditate, the body gets deep rest and heals itself. Whatever is good for people, they will move in that direction-towards more normal. Everyone’s different. TM is not a rule-based practice, a religion or a belief system. It works whether you believe in it or not. People of all religions meditate. TM is about conscious contact with God as you understand it (the 11th step). People in recovery find that TM satisfies their need for a shift in consciousness. It enables them to get more out of life by going inside instead of out.
MAR: What is transcending? What do you transcend to?
Lincoln: Think of the mind like a lake. The mind is very deep and has layers. When we meditate correctly, the mind settles down to the bottom and stops swimming around on the surface. And what’s down there? Consciousness. When you meditate, it’s a fourth state of consciousness [beyond the three ordinary states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping]; the body is in a deep state of rest, and the mind is super alert. That’s what we transcend to – a pure field of consciousness that is within all of us. When you’re aware of that field, it’s unbounded and satisfies the desire for more.
MAR: What are the biggest misconceptions about TM?
Lincoln: The idea of trying or exerting effort is the biggest misconception about TM. Concentration and contemplation are not transcending. Correct meditation is not hard work. TM is effortless. The mind wants to go there, but it doesn’t know how. When you give it the right angle, it goes there, like diving off a diving board. Transcending is gravity for the mind.
The other misconception is that it’s religious. When I first started teaching, people often didn’t want anyone to know they were practicing, but it always works; belief is not required. Unlike other meditations that are hard work and keep the mind swimming on the surface, TM allows the mind to naturally dive within.
MAR: How can people get started?
Lincoln: One-on-one instruction – people need the guidance of a teacher to give them their personal “mantra,” a sound or vibration that has no meaning, which is used to guide the mind within. TM instruction also shows a person how to use it correctly. Go to a certified teacher and get instruction.