In an analogy in The Mastery of Love, don Miguel Ruiz relates an example of hanging out with drunks at a bar or party as a comparison of how most of us live life. You hang out with these people who are just like you, they are all numb and drunk, having a good time, and every once and a while someone breaks out in a vast drama, but for the most part, you and the rest of the group are smiling, laughing, enjoying yourself, the camaraderie and you’re happy hanging out with drunks.
Then, once you begin to awaken to a higher version of life and start seeing things as they really are, it’s like being the only sober person at the party. After you’ve become more aware about life in general and your own life, numbing yourself is no longer desired or necessary to help you get through this life.
You think this is all well and good, but you remember how fun it felt when you were hanging out with drunks, so you go out to spend the evening with your friends.
Only now, you’re not compelled to drink, and you are not drunk. From this vantage point, your experience of hanging out with drunks is very different. You see people numbing themselves because they are looking for ways to avoid the reality of living the life they lead. You see them all celebrating the fog they all share, and while they appear to be happy, there is no happiness in them.
After a while, they notice you are not drunk, you are not joining them in their drunken celebration of not having to deal with life, and they accuse you of having something wrong with you.
The drunks prefer you to drink and enjoy being drunk with them. When you fail to participate and turn down their offers to buy you a drink so that you can essentially be an active participant with the other drunks, they get paranoid about you, see you as an outsider.
The drunks feel your sobriety as a drain on the energy of the overall group, you’re a downer, spectator, spy, or judging them like a self-righteous goody two shoes, and while none of this is true, you don’t feel like you fit in with this group of people anymore.
You are less enthusiastic about hanging out with drunks. You don’t judge them or feel sorry for them (because that would be condescending). You realize we’re all doing the best we can with what we have, honor the time that you spent with this group as a necessary part of your journey, you love and bless them.
There comes a time when you start to look for other people to hang out with, people who are more resonate with your current frame of mind, people who do not feel the need to numb themselves and disassociate their connection to this life.
You keep your eyes open and aware enough to find people who are more like you with whom you can associate and socialize with.
Periodically, the drunks will notice your absence and seek you out to rejoin them in their drunkenness because they believe being drunk is an important part of life and they feel your lack of drunkenness is not good for you. They know how awful it would be for them to try to manage life without being drunk. Just the thought of it represents pain for them, so they want to save you by inviting you to come back.
All of this is perfectly normal and fine in all its awkwardness as you move from the day-to-day struggle for survival in everyday life, to enlightenment.