“I’m 19 years old and I’ve learned a lot about fulfillment, self-awareness, and happiness. I’ve learned that no material thing can give me lasting happiness or fulfillment. The good feelings that drugs, sex, and other distractions bring dissipate quickly and keep me from being fully enlightened. Now, I’m a very curious guy, and I’m craving for new experiences, like traveling, drugs, and intimacy. I’m confused, will new experiences keep me from enlightenment or help me with it?”
Looks to me like you’re confused because you have an unclear idea as to what enlightenment actually is. So, let’s clear that up right now:
Enlightenment is the state of when you’re tuned into what’s most important to you.
The reason why the traditional image of someone who’s striving to achieve enlightenment is someone dressed like a monk, sitting underneath a tree, and just meditating with their eyes closed is that the hardest part about achieving enlightenment is stopping your habit of focusing on things that you don’t actually give a shit about.
People cut out all sorts of exciting stimuli that the material world has to offer because they’re trying to minimize what they’re involved with so that what they really care for can more clearly shine and that they can more thoroughly and deeply engage themselves with that.
It’s half the reason why for all of 2018, I’ve decided to completely cut all refined sugars out of my diet. Because I know how refined sugars give my brain a chemical high, and as a result, disengage me from actually trying to pursue what I really care for in life which would, in turn, give me a sustainable and self-nurturing high.
Same goes for hanging out with people who are determined to be miserable. Like them, love them even, but love them from a distance. You need to work for caring for who and what you allow into your space. Be that your literal physical environment at home and work or your body’s internal environment in the form of your biochemistry.
You need to make the game as easy for yourself to win as possible.
That’s why the athletes who win in the Olympics shape every second of their life in a way that helps them win. They don’t just get off the couch one Sunday and decide to show up to compete. They train ceaselessly for many years. And you need to treat Enlightenment the very same way.
So, if certain drugs help you get into the state of being in-tune of what’s important to you, you need to do them. But if they don’t, and they actually are distractions from what’s actually important to you, you need to not do them. If traveling, or intimacy with select individuals are what’s important to YOU or they help you focus in on what’s important to you, you need to do them. If not, what are you doing?
There is no one external path to achieving an internal result.
Everyone’s wired differently and is in different places in their life. So, you can’t ever look to anyone, no matter how similar they might be to you— THAT INCLUDES WHO USED TO BE IN THE PAST— to judge what you should or should not do. That’s a decision that you can only make for yourself, based on what’s important to you, right here, right now.