Now that cannabis is widely available and its consumption begins to take on a more casual attitude, we risk it becoming just another thing we consume, just another distraction rather than a tool for enriching our lives.
We can lose sight of how powerful this plant is and the places it can take us.
It’s all about our relationship to cannabis; it’s about the way we use cannabis.
Long-Revered Plant of Sages and Seers
Cannabis has a long and colorful history of ritual use to achieve exalted states of mind and heightened awareness. Even today, traces of these traditions can be seen in a few corners of the world: the rastas of Jamaica, the Sadhus of India, certain middle eastern religious cults.
Not that we all should grow dreadlocks or smear our faces with ash and shout “Boombolenaht!” before every toke, but by cultivating just a little bit of mindfulness in how we use cannabis, such as meditation with cannabis, we can develop a healthy relationship to it that enriches our life instead of clouding it.
So how do we do that?
Right Mind, Right Relationship
Borrowing a page from the Eightfold Noble Path of Buddhism, it comes down to our intentions.
“Right Mind” in this context means our reasons for using cannabis. Why are we smoking this plant?
Are we just trying to numb away our boredom with life? Are we smoking out of unconscious habit? Perhaps out of addictive compulsion? Are we aware of our motivations?
If you want to smoke marijuana because you want to experience the heightened sensory pleasure of sitting in the sun and listening to the birds after a long workday, then great! If you want to enhance your creativity or deepen your relaxation in a bath, great! Meditation with cannabis can be an intensely satisfying experience.
Being honest with ourselves about our cannabis use creates clarity.
Right Mind allows us to create Right Relationship, rooted in conscious choice and honest self-reflection. With a good relationship, you naturally use cannabis in a positive, mindful way, honoring and respecting the power of this remarkable plant, not abusing it or taking it for granted.
A Three Step Mindfulness Ritual
To bring it down to the practical level, here’s a simple 3-step protocol to transform your use of cannabis into a life-enhancing, mindful ritual:
Step 1: Pause
By taking a deliberate pause before we partake, we create a little space, just enough room to acknowledge what we are doing. This pause is the essence of mindfulness.
Step 2: Breathe
Take a deep breath. This will center and relax you and bring you more into the present moment, where the real benefits of cannabis exist instead of anxious thoughts of the past or future.
Step 3: Gratitude
There is loads of research on the benefits of gratitude. By consciously bringing feelings of gratitude to your mind, you prime your neural circuits for positive experiences. So after you pause and take a breath, just feel gratitude for a moment, feel gratitude for this genius of plant chemistry. Feel gratitude for the possibility that you can do this without the looming threat of legal consequences.
Feel gratitude for this moment of sweetness before you get to taste the goodness of green.
It only takes a second.
Step 4: Inhale and Enjoy
You are probably already rather practiced at this part!