Sitting outside on the patio before I go to bed has been a frequent ritual of mine over the years, but lately, as in what I've been doing for several months now, is that instead of just sitting out there meditating, I've been reading, and not really paying much attention to my surroundings. And there is much more to your surroundings than what you can see. It's about being present, paying attention, not just looking, but listening, feeling, sensing, and of course thinking, but more so being, in harmony with your surroundings.
Of course, this post is based on an actual experience, as opposed to a theoretical possibility, something I experienced tonight, when at the last moment, after not going out on the patio for a couple of days now because it's been colder than I like, I decided it was a good night to do so. The moment I had this realization, I had only had one beer. So I decided to have my second beer outside, but instead of reading, I would simply sit in silence, watching and listening. It seems easier for me to do when under the influence of a small amount of alcohol, because when completely sober, I get bored easily, would rather be reading. In this sense, I have found that for myself, small amounts of alcohol, when used with a mindset focused on meditation, is somewhat psychoactive. It stills my mind, in a way that let's me experience things in slow motion. I wasn't drunk. Like I said, I only had one beer, and when this experiment was over I had two. Not the ingredients for being falling down drunk, but just comfortably in the zone.
What I learned from this is that I need to do this more often. Just sitting, watching, listening, and not judging. Staring at a leaf, staring at the sky, listening to the wind, listening to a bird, just totally immersed into that nonverbal experience. That has been a huge thing (a major deficit) missing from my life, the ability to relax, to ground myself in the physical reality of the moment, feeling totally alive and at peace. Yes, I've been there before, but lately, not so much. Apparently small amounts of alcohol aid me in that process. I wish I could do that without it, and sometimes I can, but it's not the same. Most importantly for this to work, you must have the proper mindset beforehand. Otherwise, without it, the alcohol on its own has the opposite effect, a dumbing down, closing your psychic channels, effect. But with the proper mindset, alcohol, and in my case beer, can help.
In small amounts, used in moderation, it's an aid to a certain type of free form nature meditation. The ability to intuitively focus on the mundane things of nature, without being in a hurry, or being bored, or stressing out about it, Listening with all of your heart in the open minded spirit of curiosity and reverence; what you would call prayer without words.
My major problem is that I'm filled with a huge amount of judgmental hatred, which makes me sick, heart sick. But when I slow down and experience nature, I don't feel that. And so it's good for me. Mellows me out.