Updated: Jan 25, 2022
In this episode, I sit down and chats with Rory Kinsella! Rory Kinsella is a writer and Vedic Meditation teacher based in Sydney, Australia. A former hard-drinking musician and journalist, he quit alcohol in 2017 and has written widely about his experiences, including in the Sydney Morning Herald. He is the creator of the highly-rated We Meditate To Quit Alcohol and Six Steps for Not-Quite Alcoholics online programs to help people change their relationship with alcohol through meditation. He is the host of the Not-Quite Alcoholics podcast, has contributed meditations to apps such as Insight Timer and Meditation Studio and has taught meditation at some of Australia’s biggest companies.
If you enjoyed this episode please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and share the podcast so it can reach more people that it will serve and benefit.
We Meditate To Quit Alcohol: https://we-meditate.co/ Rory Kinsella Meditation: https://www.rorykinsellameditation.com/
Not-Quite Alcoholics podcast: http://hyperurl.co/not-quite-alcoholics. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.
Are you a fan of Sober Yoga Girl Podcast? The podcast remains completely free, and free from advertisements, however, it has monthly production costs. If you are able to, please subscribe to become a monthly podcast member to support our show. As a member you get invited to a once a month mocktails night and hangout with Alex on Zoom (rotating times to accommodate our many timezones!) Please subscribe here to support us! www.themindfullifepractice.com/podcast.
Intro: Welcome to the "Sober Yoga Girl" podcast with Alex McRobs, international yoga teacher and sober coach. I broke up with booze for good in 2019. And now I'm here to help others do the same. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling. Let me show you how. all right hello everyone welcome back to another episode of sober yoga girl i am very excited to have rory kinsella here with me today and rory is a meditation teacher who is based in sydney australia and he specializes in helping people quit drinking using meditation as a tool and i am really looking forward to speaking to him today because we have been connected on social media for so long and i was actually a guest on rory's podcast a few months ago which is amazing so we finally got to talk for the first time and now i'm having the opportunity to hear his story as well so thank you so much for being here rory and i'm super happy to have you here great thank you alex good to be on good to reconnect yeah and now i'm closer in the world to you so what time is it now are you three hours ahead of me in sydney it's new um yes in the same kind of time zone it's so cool yeah amazing so tell me a bit about yourself so you're based in australia what was your life like before you became a meditation teacher what did you do so i have before as a meditation teacher i have had quite a few media jobs the way i normally talk about it is that in my 20s i had a lot of jobs around the music industry so i grew up in the uk um live in australia now but grew up in the uk and as a teenager my dream was to be a rock star you know a classic teenager's dream wanting to be in bands wanting to play music and when i was 15 i got a bass guitar and i would practice for hours and hours every night dreaming about being on stage and dreaming about recording albums and so i did all that practice and then when i went to university i was much more interested in getting drunk all the time so i left my guitar at home but then at the end of university i got the opportunity to join this band to assign to my favorite record label at the time and i was like oh wow this is amazing and that led into a few years of doing music principally as what i was doing not really getting paid for it but being in bands running club nights djing i had a record label with my my friends and when i finally needed to start making money i managed to start writing about music so i was a journalist um and as you can imagine as we're talking about alcohol here like all all those things that i was doing with highly alcohol related so it was very normal well growing up in the uk anyway we were going to pubs when we were like 15 having our fake ids and sneaking in and no one seemed to care really if you weren't really old enough so yeah drink drinking a lot then and then completely normalized heavy drinking university in the uk is basically like like boarding school but with cheap alcohol and drinking every night i think i went six days in in the first year where i didn't drink which was a bit of a challenge i didn't make the one week but then yeah falling into this life of music and then journalism which meant that i was just drinking a lot mostly mostly binge binge drinking but could be binge drinking four nights a week kind of thing and living that music life and then living the journalism life like media is a very drink drinking heavy industry as well so living that life in london and then moving to australia and continuing to live that that life like australia is very much like england until yeah the way i talk about is that i had this early midlife crisis when i hit 35 when i started thinking hang on a minute i i've been drinking heavily for basically 20 years and living this party lifestyle but couldn't or didn't want to see myself at 45 or 55 or 65 still being the the kind of the dj in the corner at two in the morning trying to hold on to his youth so that was the real the start of the turning point for me when i started to think hey maybe maybe the partying lifestyle isn't sustainable but it wasn't it wasn't really then that that i stopped quick i it was it was another five years before i quit drinking alcohol and it was quite a gradual process for me the things that i quit first were the thing i quit yeah number one was djing i decided that djing was that was the most problematic thing and that's why associated with the party lifestyle so quit djing and quit smoking and then started to look at hey how could i be a bit more healthy here like before i'd really made a hero of the party lifestyle it was a huge part of my identity to be like the rock and roll rory as my friends called me and being priding myself on being the last man standing or to be able to go to a music festival and not sleep for three days that was a real part of my identity so to starting to look at how i could change that and while i was still drinking i started to exercise more and i got heavily into running and one of those all or nothing type people so i went from never having run at all to running marathons in the space of a year and the the exercise was the first glimpse for me into seeing how i could change my conscious state and change the way that i felt without some external substance so i could feel good and i could feel energized and have this hit of endorphins without you know taking a pill or a drink and i was like wow hang on there's this natural pharmacy within that i can i can access so that started opening my eyes to
this other world that wasn't reliant on things you could pay money for um and that then led to things like i did a neuro-linguistic programming course which was about uncovering my limiting beliefs around various things and then that led to meditation all of which i was drinking through all of this but then it was when i started meditating i felt like this weight had lifted off me and i had much more flexibility around these previous identities that i had so one thing i had a problem with before is that i was a very i was very persuadable so if you said hey let's go out for a drink on wednesday i'd be like oh okay you know where are we going and then i would drink until no one else was drinking and straight away after i learned to meditate even like the week after i was like hey i'd rather not drink on this wednesday i don't want to be ruined for work tomorrow i'm just going to have a soft drink which is such a very simple thing to lots of people but i never would have considered doing that i would have just been like no it's a bit weird to not have a drink so i started seeing from meditation that flexibility around being able to not drink on certain occasions and it meant that yeah i started drinking less or having these occasions where i didn't drink but it still took another couple of years before i finally came round to accepting that life would be better without alcohol at all and and actually making the break and doing it so that so the real i guess there's a few turning points in this very long-winded answer the main turning point to me quitting completely was this meditation retreat that i went on in mexico in 2017 where obviously on a meditation retreat you're not going to drink so that was that week of of clarity that i had and there was this yoga teacher on that trip called claire robbie who i interviewed on for my podcast yesterday who she hadn't been drinking for a year and i was like oh wow there are people who who don't drink which within my circle are friends there there wasn't really anyone that didn't drink or with my close friends so i saw her example of you know you could just not do it and then so many things fell into place as i started to look at what my life like might be like without it thinking about all the downsides that alcohol had because i got to a point where i'd kind of was no longer getting the benefits of alcohol if you can call them benefits like i wasn't enjoying it like i used to the hangovers were getting worse and worse and the good times were getting fewer and fewer and i was like well hang on i'm avoiding going out because i don't want to get drunk so i'm just being either being a hermit or getting wasted i could just switch this to not drinking hey did you know that people go out and they don't drink and they have that sociable time and then they don't spend three days trying to recover so it was that one week meditation retreat which when i got back to sydney january 2018 i had this day of being like well i've got someone's leaving do today shall i drink or should i not and i just thought yeah well i don't want to waste this week that i've spent feeling so good decided to go and not drink and then that was enough to set me on having a dry january and then got to the end of dry january and then i was like being this marathon running type all-or-nothing person i was like right what's the next goal so i i set a hundred days as my next goal got there and through that there was like uh so australia day here which is like the fourth of july there was um a ski trip to japan where i was like including like amazing pub crawl in tokyo i was like nope not drinking through that there was a wedding in new zealand and having got through all these events i was like well hang on what more could there be you know like a wedding is a huge it's a huge hurdle that many people have to get over a sober wedding and a holiday so then i was like okay well i'm just going to extend this a bit longer and see see how we go and yeah that was that was four years ago and here i am wow that's incredible and i love how that just that experience of having that weak meditation retreat and experiencing sobriety and then not being wanting to waste it it just propelled you to keep pushing forward and i had similar experiences in terms of you know being on yoga teacher trainings being in these settings where i was away feeling so good but i don't think i made the connection that it was because i wasn't drinking i think i thought it was because i was doing yoga and eating healthy and i i never saw it as momentum to stop at that point i always was like oh i can't wait to get back and drink again so i think it's amazing the way that was like uh a kickstarter for you and it really connects to the work you do now right helping people stop the same way that you did yeah a hundred percent so what happened from then is so i'd by that point when i gave up i had been teaching meditation for a year at that point and i'd been as a novice teacher and i was trying different ways to get people interested just generally talking about the benefits of meditation and being a former journalist i was writing articles but nothing was really getting cut through and then i started writing about my experience giving up alcohol so i wrote an article about my first hundred days of not drinking and it just went off like got published on this mainstream website here and then got picked up by apple news and in like two days a hundred thousand people had read it when i was getting all this interest in my meditation business even though i hadn't talked about being you know i wasn't saying hey come and learn meditation i just said here's what it's like to quit drinking for 100 days by the way i teach meditation and had all these people being interested because it made me realize that so many people they're kind of they're not yoga people they're not meditation people which means that they don't engage with any of that at all whereas when i was talking about alcohol and and really talking about it this is the thing that i've kind of learned is that alcohol is a wellness technique it's a way that people a thing that people you tall people use to feel better and to make themselves you know survive day-to-day life it's just a really rubbish wellness tool that has all these all these um downsides to it but the reason people use it is because they want to feel calmer they want to feel more relaxed they want to be able to sleep they want to relax in social situations which they're all kind of positive things to want to have it's just that meditation sorry medicine yeah meditation is a much healthier and more sustainable way of accessing those same benefits so i realized that one i could connect with more people by talking about alcohol because it's a more common thing that people do and then two show the reason that people gravitate well many of the reasons that people go towards alcohol you can get those benefits from meditating and from my own experience i what i noticed is that the the need to drink would dissolved over time it made it so that i could because even when in the couple of years after i started meditating before i completely gave up i had much more freedom around alcohol and it just didn't occur to me to to give up so it wasn't like i was trying and failing it just didn't occur to me yeah something to do whereas when i finally did decide to do it i'd already done all that work i'd removed all the stress from my system those triggers around drinking so when i actually did it it was quite easy and then that's translated into me so i obviously now attract people who want to learn to meditate because they've resonated with me talking about alcohol and then i've developed more programs specifically around that and and what's been amazing to see is how consistent meditation really makes it so much easier to stick to to drinking goals like if you meditate twice a day um you will you will be much more likely not to drink if you if you're planning not to drink you'll be much more likely not to do it and the way that i describe it is like in the course i talk about how we have wise monkeys within us and then we have a wine monkey and we by meditating or doing yoga or whatever our wellness practice is we stock up on those wise monkeys this is a way of talking about adaptation energy so that the more of those we have stuff goes wrong in our day whether it's you know we forget our phone or a car comes past and splashes us or we're late for our meeting or whatever might happen in a normal day those things would chip away at our adaptation energy or our store of wise monkeys until that runs out and when that runs out we're like oh i'm done now i need a drink so the wine monkey comes out which is often why people can easily not drink in the day but when it comes to that which hour they've spent all that energy so what i the way i teach it is that by meditating you stock up on extra wise monkeys so that that wine monkey keeps getting pushed down and you just naturally feel that you don't need a drink so if stress is one of the reasons that many people drink you're removing that trigger and you're giving people a way to relax because people want to just go right and switching off so you give them this tool of meditation which helps them do that and they just naturally find that it's much easier for them to say hey i'm not going to reach for it for a drink now or i'm going to be out at dinner and i'm going to say no thanks i'll just have a sparkling water please yeah totally it's a i mean i don't know which and i'd be curious to ask you which meditation techniques that you use but i have found for me it's like basically intervening from those moments where i'm triggered and just using the breath to tap into the moment and kind of diffuse it and what i've learned is that like a trigger will only last you know however long 15 minutes 20 minutes and then it will pass but if you can navigate it in another way like intervening with that that habit loop it can help you break the habit and that's what i found is so so magical about it
yeah 100 so being mindful in those moments and using that the the anchor of the present moment to help you surf those uh urges so you know like you said that that difficult period often only lasts 10 minutes 15 minutes a group of mine were talking about the other day and it's often that time when you arrive at the bar or the restaurant and there's 10 minutes around people ordering their first drinks and there's this there's this natural awkwardness in that moment anyway because there's maybe new people there or you're in a new situation so we we've been conditioned to have a drink to numb that awkwardness but yeah the interesting thing is that that awkwardness goes away after 10-15 minutes anyway whether you have a drink or not you get used to it so yeah being present through that and saying oh i'm feeling awkward that's okay like accepting those feelings and not having to do anything about it but i guess what the the technique that i teach is so it's not a mindfulness technique we don't use the breath it's a self-transcending technique so like transcendental meditation or what i teach in person which is vedic meditation so you use a mantra which is a word or sound that has no meaning you repeat it silently in your mind and this brings you towards a state of stillness and can take you to a place beyond thought so we talk about transcending which is moving beyond thought into a place of inner silence and by doing that you allow your body to rest more deeply than it does when you sleep and that means that you're able to offload process out stresses that you've been carrying around so when you do you know get into these what could be awkward situations you don't have that backlog of anxiety which is making things hard for you you're naturally more relaxed and yeah so you've processed out a lot of the things which would be making it making you need a crutch of alcohol you just become generally more relaxed person but then also being able to yeah surf those urges in those moments yeah you know this sounds like a type of meditation that i have been exploring lately i'll tell you what it's it's called here it's active consciousness meditation is what it's called on the schedule where i'm doing it at the yoga barn i don't know if you've ever been to the yoga barn in ubud yeah i have so it's with each chakra we hold our hands in a mudra and then there is a repetition of a beej mantra and there's been all these other sensory experiences like a drum and a candle and incense but i have found it so i did it once and i was like i need to do this every day and so i've been exploring returning to it and it's something that i previously back when i started my yoga journey i don't think that it would appeal to me because it's just so out there and i think i needed to sort of be met where i was at in terms of something much more accessible like the breath or a guided visualization was more relatable for me and now that i've been on this yoga and meditation and pranayama journey for a while now i feel like it's meeting me where i'm at if that makes sense so it reminds me of that i don't know if that it has any similarities yeah well i mean the the bija mantra part definitely so that's yeah so bija means seed so it's a seed mantra that plants a seed in your consciousness and and uses the anchor of sound hearing to bring you towards to change your conscious state um we don't do any of the drums or the the other the other stuff it's it's very um stripped back and there's no requirements you don't need candles you don't need you don't hold your hand in mudras you don't sit in lotus pose you you sit comfortably on a on a sofa like as if you're reading a book or watching netflix or all you do is close your eyes and repeat this this word or sound which appealed to me because it's it is very simple there's no watch your thoughts and you know try and distance yourself all you're ever doing is think this if you remember to you think this word which is soothing to your mind and brings you towards stillness and why i so i did mindfulness for probably six months before i found this and i got benefit from it but i didn't it didn't click with me and i didn't love it so i would find that my back like i'm not a good yogi so my back would ache if i was sitting in lotus pose or if i even if i didn't have my back supported so when i discovered vedic meditation i was just like oh i can just sit comfortably so yeah one of the things is that we're minimizing things that will keep us at the surface so things that will keep us at the surface are physical discomfort and and mental activity so we minimize physical discomfort by sitting comfortably leaning back and not playing statues like it's not like you have to avoid scratching yourself if you've got an itch or coughing or rearranging yourself that's all okay do that and then minimizing mental activity so not judging yourself for not being able to clear your mind not analyzing what comes up and aiming to think this mantra in as effortless a way as you can and it's it's it's really funny when i start because i can explain the meditation technique in about five minutes but it's a big difference between explaining the concept of effortlessness and then actually being effortless like it's an easy concept to get but it's a friend of mine describes it like it's like learning to ride a bike where the steering wheel goes the other way so there's there's this youtube video of a guy who's who's engineered his bicycle so that if you turn left the wheel goes right and in an abstract way you think right i could do that you just switch what you're doing and i can just set off so this guy thought all right well how long will it take me to ride this backwards bike say 10 10 meters 20 yards down down the drive and he thought it would maybe take a few days it took him five months to learn how to do this because it's completely different to how you operate right his five-year-old son incidentally learned it in two weeks because it's he had a much more plastic brain and ability to learn but it's like with meditation we can we can hear the concept of okay don't try just be effortless but actually doing that involves you falling off the bike a lot so falling off the bike in this term in terms of this is trying too hard trying to control it wanting a deep experience when you're having a shallow one all of these aspects which are pretty much all under the umbrella of mental activity or trying to control they're like this you know a pair of shoes that are laced up too tightly and we're just undoing those different threads each time and it's it's a process of not trying to make anything happen but letting go and allowing it to happen and that just i just felt more connected with that when i when i learned than the mindfulness which i did get benefit from but i never looked forward to doing it and i never it was kind of like i could do it because i have a personality where i say right i'm going to do this and i just do it but we're with the vedic meditation when i learned that it was like oh i know how to do this i look i'm going to look forward to doing it so i look forward to doing it and then if i didn't do it i'd be like oh i really need to do this and someone mentioned this the other day they said can you get addicted to meditation and i was like you can and you will but don't worry about it it's a good healthy addiction like we're addicted to breathing oxygen if you like yeah and i'm totally i can totally relate to that because i'm in a point now where i've started doing a daily practice of a meditation or pranayama and i notice when i haven't done it i don't feel as well i'm craving dessert or sweets you know and as soon as i intervene and do the practice i feel completely different it's magical yeah and that's what yeah why i talk about those the wise monkeys you're stocking up on the wise monkeys the wise version of you will make good decisions all day long all week long all year long but it's when you're stressed or tired then you start making bad decisions you start making short term decisions you go for the quick fix and your you know your quality of life and your happiness will be made up of thousands if not millions of decisions that you'll make both big and small and the and the version of you that has meditated will generally make a better decision every time and it's amazing to see with the groups that i work with the the strong correlation between the days that they meditated twice which is uh which is our program and the days that they didn't so i get them to say you know how many times they meditated and whether they had a drink or not and no one says that they have the two meditations and a drink it just doesn't happen it's when they don't make time for the practice or they don't prioritize it yeah that's when things go wrong and it may also coincide with they had a busy day or a stressful lunch with an in-law or a parent or something but it's it's those days that they don't prioritize the meditation when they find that they couldn't stick to their drinking goal it's just it's very clear um and it's it's amazing to see how effective it is it just changes your conscious state so it puts that part of you that's that had the bright idea at whatever point hey i want to change my relationship with alcohol it puts that person back in the driving seat rather than the the weak world version of you like i think i compare it to so say if i have a really bad night's sleep for whatever reason i have two hours sleep that following day i'll be making bad decisions on what i eat for breakfast i'll be going yeah i'm gonna have the chocolate croissant from the the cafe and i'm not going to go for a run and i'm going to get take away burger for lunch and you know at any decision point i'll make the less healthy choice that's that's similar to what we're doing or i'll have you know five cups of coffee you know wherever i could make a yeah a decision i'll i'll make the short term decision um and that's because i'm not rested and what meditation does is puts that rested version of you in control more of the time and that just means that you're making better decisions all the time so tell me about i'm curious so you mentioned your program is the two meditations a day tell me more about it is it pre-recorded is it how long are the meditations like what is it all about what i've done is i've adapted so i learned vedic meditation which can only be taught in person and when you learn that you get an individual mantra and you go through you witness a puja ceremony a gratitude ceremony and there's a taboo against teaching that online so i've adapted that so i teach what i call not quite vedic meditation my course is called not quite alcoholic so yeah not life is my thing so um yeah not quite vedic meditation so i use a generic a universal mantra and i have 31 recorded meditations for that so that's a recording that you you would use you know every day for a month and they they're 15 minutes long and what i do there is i'll a three minute intro talking about something around effortlessness or one of those key um elements or principles of this style of meditation and then i'll get people going doing the mantra and then there's 10 minutes of silence which some people like look i just paid this money and you're just giving me silence but it's setting up that experience of if you have a fully guided meditation that's not really meditation meditation is about creating a relationship with yourself which can only really be done in silence so guys meditations are good for giving you you know showing you how to do something and giving you a structure to do it but it's good as soon as you can to graduate to silent meditation so that is that's why i provide these like you know stabilizers on a bike where it has the three minutes of letting you know starting you off in the right direction then 10 minutes of silence and then another few minutes on the end where i talk about i kind of verify and validate the experiences that you probably had based on me having taught hundreds of people how to do this so that you have the confidence to do it the following day and and to know why and how it's helping you with your drinking goal because a lot of my role in being a meditation teacher is to change people to to kind of get people away from the misconceptions they have around meditation and the misconceptions they generally have are if i'm not clearing my mind i'm not doing it properly they you know there's this idea that it's about clearing your mind and if you can't switch your mind off you're not doing it properly so it's a lot about undoing that preconception and saying look your mind will think we're not trying to stop it thinking all we're doing is giving an anchor to come back to when remember what you're doing whenever you remember that you're in this meditation experience so it could be you thinking about some annoying meeting that you had yesterday where your boss was an idiot you could be thinking about that for eight minutes and then you're like oh where's my mantra and then you come back to it and you might think that that's a failure of a meditation because you spent eight minutes thinking about this annoying meeting but instead the way to think about it is that was on your mind anyway you just didn't let it come up because you were too busy right doing work or you were you know playing a computer game or you were doing whatever you were doing so what we're doing is we're providing this silent space where your mind can unwind it can unwind those stresses that are there or to you know one way i talk about it is that we each have a web browser in our mind and we've got all these open tabs and it's giving us a chance to go through those tabs and be like right there was a video playing on like tab five taking up my um mental effort my my mental capacity without me really realizing it's just there chewing up bandwidth so when we meditate we allow our mind to go to that thing that has been there all along and go right okay let me think about that annoying meeting because i'm in my most relaxed physical state i will have a more reasoned way to to close that off and i'd be like that's fine my boss is an idiot this isn't my build and end or job i'm looking for a job in the new year clothes right so rather than it just being there pestering you by allowing it to come up in your most relaxed state you're able to resolve it in a way um that allows you to put it away and this is this is all done not consciously you'll just have you'll just come to that realization yourself and at that point you'll remember that you have a mantra and you'll come back to it and it's not to say that this is the only way you can do that you know if you went for a lovely walk through the rice paddies in ubud you would be in that relaxed state and you would do that but this is more efficient in that you can do this by closing your eyes for 10 minutes or 20 minutes and you don't have to be around the beautiful rice paddies and you don't need an hour to go and do it um so although you've thought for eight minutes of that those 10 minutes about this annoying thing afterwards that will be off your mind and you'll be better able to focus and you won't have that thing that's annoying you that's going to make you want to drink so it's saying look even though you thought through all throughout that meditation that is good that is a good result but often people when they start they'll they'll have a few deep meditations where it's like i didn't think about anything or i was kind of drifting through this beautiful visual landscape and i'll be like great that's also good yeah the deep the deep ones are good the shallow ones are good the only bad meditation is the one that you didn't do it's just your body at different times needs different things and if you've got something on your mind you need to let it run around and dissipate its energy but that's not the enjoyable meditation but that's the really good functional one that you need so yeah so i recommend that people on the course well we start at one a day to ease them in because two two's too intimidating but then i recommend that people do one of these in the morning so my schedule is get up have a shower meditate so i i try and do it before i've turned my phone on or before i've taken it off airplane mode meditate and then that will set me up for the morning so i'll have i'll be able to focus and i'll be able to prioritize the things that i want to do and then the second time that i get people to meditate and the image say is around 5 p.m 6 p.m when in the context of drinking is that witching our time where people have a habit of drinking it's the post-work drink and it's that point where but you've you've used up that adaptation energy in the day you've spent all your wise monkey credits and that's when the wine monkey could come out so that's when you meditate again and it's a great way of sealing the day and putting the day away and giving you that extra bump of of the wise version of you for the evening so yeah and when we only do one a day i say just do that evening one but it makes such a difference um to changing people's conscious state and yeah as i keep mentioning that wise version of you is gonna is is not the version that's gonna reach into the fridge for the automatic unconscious beer or glass of wine it's the much more conscious version of you which is like hey i'm feeling good maybe i'll go for that moonlit walk or maybe i'll work on my side hustle or maybe i'll call my you know um gran who i've not spoken to for ages whatever it might be and i love how you said something earlier about how people will or this is my tendency is that when i was younger and i started meditation i thought i was the only person in the room that did not know how to do it because i could not control my mind and i had so much chaos going on and i knew that i had this undiagnosed mood disorder and so it was constantly a flaw with me that i was like attacking myself for right for not being capable of meditating and so i love how you set that standard of like you know the only only bad meditation is the one you don't do and if you sit down and your mind is is taking you somewhere it's because it needs to go there and i love that because i think a lot of people who come who probably come to this strategy of quitting drinking and using meditation are probably going to be quite similar to me in that they have a lot going on in their heads and if it turns into then like a war with yourself about like i suck at this i'm bad at meditation i can't meditate get it then it's just you know kind of turning on yourself when that's not the point and so i wish when i was younger and i had explored this i really had that messaging put out to me which is that you know we have a brain and it's designed to think and so if you're thinking you're not a failure your brain is just doing its job and you just gently invite yourself to come back to the moment yeah game changer and the way that we teach in in vedic meditation is that there are two main schools of of meditation or aimed at two types of people so there's the monastic type aimed at monks and people people who want to fully live that spiritual life and then there are types which we call householder techniques so a householder technique is aimed at people like us who have businesses and are interested in relationships and success and normal normal things right you know the 99.9 of people who don't become monks and nuns um and the types of meditation that are designed for us are more they're more flexible and they're they're less about this austerity and discipline so that the idea that we have meditation tends to be more from that buddhist lineage which is you know if you go to learn buddhist meditation you'll learn it from a monk like it's that's their practice and that's then being mindful all day it's a it's a 24-hour practice and involves that discipline because that's what that's what monastic types do and you know if you go on a vipassana retreat it's strict it's you do not look at people you do not smile you do not talk whereas these transcending types of meditation are more aimed at people who are out in the world who have 20 minutes here and there to meditate and they're not going to be able to clear their mind because they've not been doing this all day long for 15 years or whatever the people in the monastery have been doing so it's setting yourself up with a technique which is designed for people like you not for monks that that was a huge turning point for me and really resonates when i teach people they're like oh no wonder i struggled with this you know you're trying to do what this monk spent 20 years doing and they can clear their mind and they can change their heart rate to the exact bpm they want to do and they can do all these crazy things which sound magical but that's that's working at this all day every day and that's not something that most people have time to do they've got to pick up their kids from school or they've got a presentation for work they've got a small window to do this so it needs to be a very targeted effective technique that isn't going to make them feel like a failure because they can't clear their mind which is not going to happen yeah and i i love that because i feel like your approach makes it so accessible and so approachable and so inclusive and welcoming for anyone who who's looking for a strategy and so i think your program is really amazing and i as i get more into meditation i can appreciate it more so i'm sure you're you're changing so many lives in in what you're doing incredible yeah so it's been such a pleasure to do that so when i originally did it set it up a couple years ago it was just the guided meditations but then what i've been doing recently is i've launched this course called the six steps for not quite alcoholics um which gives a bit more um structure around it so it's still based around that meditation thing which will 100 work and what i said to someone the other day is look you do not find a long-term meditator who is a heavy heavy drinker or a heavy smoker like those those bad habits just dissolve over time meditate but i wanted to give a bit more structure around it so with the new course we now have um weekly um seminars so it's like a 90-minute seminar and with a group check-in and then i talk about each step you know one of which is meditation one of which is accepting that life would be better without alcohol and imagining what your future self is some of the great things about the this group course are you know we do a group checking and people just spend five minutes saying how their week was and it's so useful because everyone else can be like oh that's exactly what i was struggling with this week and it's just inspiring to know that you're not you're not that different from everyone everyone else so we have that we have a chat group that people post um whether they did their meditation and any challenges they'd had and it you know at the beginning people were like i i'm not a group person i'm not going to like this but then they're so loving it because it's it's like this someone described it as a cheerleading squad in your pocket so even if you had a hard day and you didn't meditate and you ended up having a glass of wine when you didn't mean to you've got these um dozens of other people going don't you know you're not back to square one everything you've learned so far is still there what have you learned what did you learn from yesterday oh you learned that when you don't meditate it's harder to stick to your goal so that's been really good for me and good for me to witness because with the recorded guided meditation course i i would generally not hear from most people because there wasn't that interaction but having these group meetings has been great for me because it's just inspires me to do more because it's like you know this really this stuff really does work and i can see it works um so that's you know a huge part of what i'm doing now and and what i'm teaching this week is you know getting them to share their story with other people because it's hearing from someone like you a story that's similar to yours inspires you to be able to make that change yourself which is my step six and it's you know related to step 12 in 12 steps is you know you've you've benefited benefited from something and then you pay that forward by yeah teaching other people what you learn it doesn't matter if you're you've not even given up for many days in a row but if you've changed your relationship with alcohol as all the people in my course have or you have got to a week or 30 days or 100 days then you're further along the road than someone who's who's just started so and that's going to be more um able for people to relate to than someone like you or me who's like you know i'm four years without a drink now and that's i'm becoming less relevant every day because i'm going further and further away from the people that i'm speaking to who are still drinking now right so that's that's why it's so valuable to have other people telling their stories within the group but they're not also encouraging them to speak to people around them not in a kind of boring way where it's like you should do this you should do that but just saying hey i've done this and this is this is what i felt like before and this is what i feel like now that's so powerful when you're not like telling people what to do but just saying look this is what i did it makes such a big difference yeah so i have one more question for you if you had any last piece of wisdom or advice for someone who is giving up drinking what advice would you give um so this may sound a bit controversial but i've been coming around to it recently it's it's goals are good but systems are better so if you're setting yourself up for i'm going to do dry january for example which is coming up it's be be wary of what what happens at the end of january if you just want a month off then that's fine you can reach your goal but if it's your your way into doing something longer then be careful around it so the example i give around this is that i set myself a goal this year of reading 52 books so a book a week was what i wanted to do i was a bit ahead of schedule and hit 52 books in the last week of october since then which was seven weeks ago i have not read a single book not a single one what happens when you reach the finishing line is you finish so that is something for people to think about if they're starting out like it's much it's much more important to change your overall systems and your habits than to have this one you know a week or a month sprint of not not drinking that's not going to have any long-term impact if that's all you do right whereas i would much prefer people to halve the amount of alcohol they drink or quarter it forever then have 30 days off or 60 days off or even 100 days off if they then go back to how they were before it's making long-term changes and knowing that a short-term goal could trip you up if you want something to happen um if you want the changes to last for longer yeah oh that's a great that's a great nugget goals are good systems are better it's brilliant
well rory i just want to thank you so much for your time and being here and sharing your story and your journey with our community i think it's going to be so inspiring for so many people and i'm going to leave your information in the episode description so if anyone wants to um connect with rory and join one of his meditation programs and check that out i think it would be super amazing so thank you so much for your time and i'm sure i'll be seeing you again soon awesome thanks so much alex love what you do bye see ya
Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of "Sober Yoga Girl" with Alex McRobs. I am so, so grateful for every one of you. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss the next one and leave a review before you go. See you soon. Bye.