Are You High Yet?


Having spent most of my late teens and early twenties as a highness-junkie, I can positively say that I left no cigarette brand un-puffed, no alcohol brand un-gulped, no tobacco un-chewed and no chemical un-sniffed. What made me do that? I was constantly in search…in search of, my next high.

The two things on my mind back then were looking good and getting high. I was a regular at the gym – trying to achieve a washboard stomach and a well-toned physique. I would walk out of the gym and walk straight into the nearby pub.


With every inebriated joy-ride that I took, it took something from me as well. My medications were increasing by the day and I was host to a plethora of disorders. A weak and bent spine which would not allow me to sit straight; 9-months of antibiotic medication for bacterial infection, digestive problems which made nature’s calls a daily horror, a cold and cough which owed allegiance 12 months of the year, greying hair, fatigue. Sounds like the health of an old man? I was 20 at the time…

My intention of writing this article is not to tell you whether drinking alcohol is right or wrong, here I only wish to share some of the effects of intoxication which I have personally experienced in my early years.

I have observed in deep states of dhyan that our body is a complex concoction of various layers which are constantly communicating with each other to run our system. When an intoxicant enters the body, it numbs the senses and causes interference in the inter-layer communication. As a result, there is delay in sending and receiving signals, and the control over the self is drastically reduced. This compromised state of mind and body is often mistook for a ‘high’, actually it is a low, an imbalance. Ask a drunk person to walk straight or stand on one leg – you’ll understand what I mean. The imbalance that sets in shoots up the normal breath rate, accelerates the generation of toxins and the body ages very fast. I’ve already mentioned the ‘spectacular’ health I had achieved through my drinking bouts.

The other serious effect of alcohol consumption is drying up of sukra in the body. Ok, think about it – do you feel dehydrated after a long and eventful night of drinking and mingling? Well, I always did and have finally understood why. Sukra is the force of an individual, responsible for maintaining youth, glow, strength and vitality in a being. Alcohol dries up this vital fluid, the early symptoms showing up as premature greying, loss of skin lustre, fatigue and tiredness, the long term effect being sporadic ageing of the body. Loss of sukra in other words translates as impotency and several sexual disorders in men and women alike.

Alcohol left me five years back. Today at 27 years of age, most of my friends from party days look twice my age and have not even half my strength.

So what brought about the change?

Seven years back, I came to Dhyan Ashram. I saw men thrice my age sitting still without moving while my gym-built self could not even sit for five minutes. The hangover ended there and then. I was face to face with my reality, what I was, what I could be and where I would be if I do not change. Leaving alcohol was still not on my list, but doing what made that sixty year old do what I could not, was surely on my agenda. Hence began my journey of yoga and with it, rediscovering a whole new definition of ‘high’. Imagine just sitting with your eyes closed and giving your body whatever shape you desire, imagine being charged up with so much strength and energy that you do not fear confronting even the toughest of body-builders, imagine the spine which could not take the weight of my own body withstanding an 80kilo adult jumping on it without slightest of movement…that is a high. A high which far far exceeds anything I had ever experienced in a pub, and a high in which my mind and senses are not only active, but super-active so to say. That is the high of being in the sanidhya of a Guru…and to know what it is, you need to experience it. In that high, alcohol left me, on its own. Today I have a body that regular gym-goers envy.

Shivan Chanana

Shivan Chanana

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