The Art of Distillation and Removing Impurities from Your Life

Distillation isn’t only for whisky making.

The purpose of distillation is to remove impurities to obtain the product of interest. It’s used not only for alcohol making but in most chemical processes. It involves heating a crude extract, condensing the vapours, and collecting the product. Industrial chemical manufacturing wouldn’t exist without distillation.

But you know what else wouldn’t exist without it?

Complex, engaging, and honourable human beings – a product of personal distillation.

You may not know it, but we engage in distilling through personal development all the time. The process is similar to chemistry. It looks something like this:

  1. Recognizing that we start off as crude extracts
  2. Employing effort and energy to purge impurities.
  3. And ultimately, refining ourselves towards an ideal.

The difference between that process and actual distillation is that oftentimes we cannot predict what the product will be.

Removing the impurities of our lives works on us in mysterious ways.

We think we’re in control, but God, the master distiller, laughs.

Humans are perpetually cycling through these stages – there is always room for more distilling as long as we’re alive. And one can be refined entirely in one area of life while still requiring work in other areas.

I am not ready to be bottled and sipped slowly by the fireplace, I probably never will be.

You won’t either.

There is always room for some sweet distillation.

We Begin Life As Crude Extracts

There’s a philosophical idea that humans start off as blank slates – a crude amalgam of cells ready to be shaped and refined by the beauty of life.

As young toddlers, we learn to walk. Our first crude extract state seeks to refine the basics of what it means to be human. To walk, talk, eat, & last but not least, go to the toilet.

Our initial blank slate turns out to be not so blank after all. We all possess the innate trait of responding appropriately to our internal and external environments. Lacking the autonomy that comes from being an adult, we heavily rely on our parents to meet those needs. However, our first crude extract is equipped with the ability to refine itself.

The first distillation is complete and it didn’t take much work and energy on our part at all. We can thank our parents for pulling that weight (And our crying to let them know what to do).

We’re going to skip the hopefully great childhood you had and move on to adulthood. This is where the crude extracts become infinitely complex and nuanced to your life’s circumstances.

Adulting – The Act of Removing the Impurities of Your Former Self

The richness of life comes from removing your impurities.

Many addicts would attest that life becomes narrow with addiction. You live for one purpose: to get your next fix. To become fixated on one, and only one thing is the definition of narrowing.

Recognizing and distilling these impurities out of you leads to expansion.

The energy and work it takes might put you through intense heat.

Sweating in pain and agony at the death of your former self.

But this is where the magic happens. Because there comes a point where you condense into the person you were meant to be.

Then the memory of the distillation process becomes your message.

It is a message in a bottle that never runs dry.

Refinement, Collection, and Consumption

A combination of work and energy to remove impurities is essential for distillation.

However, it is ultimately the collection process that amounts to a 284 billion dollar-a-year alcohol industry in the U.S.

That said, the collection is a vital component of distillation.

The collection involves gathering the wisdom gained through the distillation. Bottling is integrating it into your mind, body, and spirit. Consumption, the fun part, is giving your gift and purpose to the world.

You don’t drink whisky to feel inhibited, you drink it to go forth without hesitation. After the process, you will feel the new chemistry you have within yourself and with the world at large. Your once-narrowed world has become your expansive playground.

So accept that you are a crude extract, embrace the process, and distill yourself into greatness.


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