Hello, I am a graduate student at University and every week my colleagues and I go out for drinks after work. I am not at all interested in drinking but I feel obligated to join in..and so I tag along and have a drink or two just to be polite. Here people seem to take offense if you don't join in and they think that you are alienating them! pls understand that I work with ppl and cant afford to ditch them..in fact my life would be hell if they stopped helping me...So what can I do?
Your situation is not unlike many people, I imagine, who have a higher mind about something like drinking with friends but play along with the scene to please others, to maintain harmony, and so on. And that is perfectly fine, as long as one uses discrimination and does not compromise their hearts’ true values.
In your situation it is very important to first realize that when something is truly not serving you in life, you can cast it out in an instant and know that what comes next is for your highest good. However, it may very well be that it is the right thing for you to play along and go out for drinks with your colleagues. If so, choose to do it with a calm, cheerful, and positive attitude and with a mind to uplift your company and environment, wherever that may be. You may choose to accompany them but only for so long, or simply choose not to drink if it doesn’t suit you. In short, be yourself and follow through, regardless of what others may think. A fun and interesting note is that Paramhansa Yogananda, when he lived in Los Angeles would walk up and down outside a street of drinking establishments in order to be a channel for the Divine; in doing so, he would uplift the consciousness of such places merely by his presence and his attunement as an instrument for Divine blessing and grace.
Whatever your particular path may be, use the great power of discrimination to determine which is the righteous direction to act upon (with your colleagues, without them, to the moon…) and then do it, with all your heart and mind, and let nothing stand in your way! Such is the power of the human potential, the human heart: that when it is attuned with higher consciousness and love there is no greater force in all the universe! Many blessings to you.
In Divine Friendship,
Badri, or Jordan for Ananda Sangha’s Ask Ananda’s Experts