Getting high on dope(amine)
Well, well, well. Here I am again, turtle speed. Arriving to the finish line late, scrapped up and pretty much a mess. But, better late than never. That’s what the research says anyway.
Late release of dopamine, is better than none at all. According to the research.
If you can’t tell, I’m a scientist at heart. A skeptic. Critical thinking to the point of exhaustion. Always trying to isolate variables and collect data. Observe and reflect. That’s what the scientific process is all about.
Collecting empirical evidence, as Sonoma the Guru says.
Good research leads to more questions than it answers, though. So here I am. Late. Messy. And with more questions than I started with…
What is it that we are seeking when we’re craving something? My evidence suggests that we’re looking to become Intoxicated. On dopamine, that is. We look to get high on pleasant exchanges with other humans. Get a buzz off of complicated yoga poses. Get drunk off of local elixirs.
The trouble with intoxication though, is that it is addictive.
The higher we get, the more we’ll want the next time.
We start to crave it, actually.
We want bigger, better yoga poses.
We want fancier clothes, cars, houses.
We want more of whatever’s given us that initial rush of dopamine.
And we won’t stop until we get it.
And we start looking to all kinds of sources to get back to that glorious initial rush. The infatuation. The butterflies.
The effervescence of it all.
Lately, I’m doing some new experiments with different variables. Asking questions, doing research, gathering data.
How can I get this high differently? Does it have to come crashing down each time?
Do I need to have one ‘love of my life’ whose love ‘intoxicates’ me? And realistically speaking, is that sustainable? So far, each love I’ve had is fleeting.
Do I need to achieve another yoga posture to feel the pure joy of my practice? Eventually, my body gets worn out.
Do I need a more expensive car this time around to improve my driving experience? I barely even use this one.
Does intoxication have to come from excessiveness? From more?
We’re so indoctrinated into the belief that there are specific ways to lead a life well lived. And yet, all around me the data shows that living in these prescribed ways does not lead to prolonged intoxication, to long term joy, or contentment. It doesn’t seem to lead to anything ‘they’ imply it will.
Except that leftover, hangover, of desire and craving for it again.
Like those silly bud light ads that strive to convince that by drinking bud light you’ll also be surrounded by good looking people, be successful, be happy. False advertising. And IMO terrible beer, anyway.
So I’m broadening my research. Using my skeptical, critical thinking mind and a little empirical data, to write my own rules.
How can I get intoxicated by life? Surely that pure effervescent joy comes from within, not from another human. Not from pretzel shapes. And certainly not from shitty beer.
So I’m testing the waters.
What if I spread out my energy a little more.
Enjoy the joy and experiences that come from all the humans I interact with.
From doing a few cool poses and a few simple ones?
From sobriety itself?
And what if I allow that intoxication to come from sources beyond just love for humans, deep postures, and beer.
What about getting intoxicated with spirituality?
What about getting high on ritual and incense. And altars and hymns? And holy spaces. And routine. And domed ceilings and the sound of organs and the light of candles.
What about the high that we get when we feel purposeful? When we congregate with the community. When we feel flow at work. When we join together in commonality for things greater than ourselves.
Whether that’s in a spiritual church setting, contemplating the meaning of God.
Or in a bar, contemplating the nuances of different beers with our comrades.
What about getting high on pure life experiences?
And from the stupid abrupt alarm going off in the morning.
What about getting high on the chaos of ‘never enough hours in the day’?
And the pile of dishes in the sink that’s growing bigger rather than smaller.
What if we can isolate that intoxicating variable in such a way that we can get it from any and every thing?
From the boring old commute, because it offers routine.
From smiling at strangers, who don’t always smile back.
What about getting high on doing the laundry and taking pride in doing it and folding all the tiny socks and just a job well done?
Can we find our fix of dope in the mundane of everyday life?
In the chopping wood and carrying water.
Can we see clearly to the bottom of this bottomless conundrum?
That more is not more.
That eventually the dope runs its course.
The high comes down.
And that we can either go around trying to score some more of it.
Or, we can recognize that it comes from within.
That we don’t need lovers or fancy poses or beer to feel the effervescent buzz.
That a visit to church will bring it. That an annoying alarm clock will bring it. That a sunset from your favorite beach will bring it.
That it is the intoxication itself that is intoxicating.
And you can trap yourself in addiction.
To relying on external things to trigger you into temporary, dopamine induced, joy.
Or with some critical thinking, skepticism, and flat out rejection of the status quo,
We can know deeply that the joy is within.
It’s already there and has been all along.
And we just have to tap into the right channels
Of our own self