You know that feeling you get when you take a couple hits of weed or smoke a bowl and everything shifts? Some might call it elevated. Others might call it lifted. It’s that meditative state that cannabis puts you in - that subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) modification of the mind that cannabis is famous for.
What about the capacity for marijuana to make you more mindful? It undoubtedly elevates the mind, but can it make you more conscious of each moment as it naturally unfolds?
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simple. It’s the mental state where all your attention is focused on the present moment. Mindfulness is maintaining moment to moment awareness of whatever it is you’re doing.
Jon Kabat-Zin is an internationally known author, speaker, professor, and meditation teacher who is considered the OG of modern mindfulness. In 1979, he took the central teachings of mindfulness meditation as taught by Buddha…and took the Buddhism out.
“I bent over backwards to structure it and find ways to speak about it that avoided as much as possible the risk of it being seen as Buddhist, new age, eastern mysticism, or just plain flakey,” says Kabat-Zin.
And what exactly is mindfulness according to the one famous for making mindfulness mainstream?
“Mindfulness,” says Kabat-Zin, “is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what’s on your mind.”
The benefits of mindfulness are awesome, and you don’t even need to know how to meditate or be all new-age hipped out to do it. Practicing mindfulness has shown to (dramatically) reduce stress, decrease depression, and improve overall general health. Kind of sounds a bit like weed, no?
The Reality of Stress, Anxiety, and Overwhelm in Our Everyday Lives
Let’s be real. Life in 2018 is crazy. Modern life in the 21st century can be hella overwhelming. Stress and anxiety affect pretty much everyone these days. Having panic attacks is the norm, and rushing around trying to tackle the to-do’s that never seem to get done is on practically everyone’s list.
Every day countless people wake up and immediately start to go, go, go. Many of us rush around hurriedly from one obligation to the next, whether its work, school, taking care of our families, or any of the million other things to do that demand our attention.
And let’s be real. These days we’re more distracted than ever. How can we not be? First, there’s that phone that’s become an extension of who we are. Text messages. Phone calls. Facebook notifications. Instagram pics to post. Statuses to update.
It’s no wonder more people are smoking weed than ever before. What would happen if you used that lifted state that herb elicits to be more mindful of each moment as it unfolds? Can you imagine how different your life might be if after you consumed your cannabis you intentionally focused your awareness of what you were doing in the present moment?
Using Marijuana to Become More Mindful
Take your morning wake and bake, for example. You wake up, get your coffee on, light up, and get your day going. Maybe you walk your dog. Take a shower. Get ready for work or school. Smoking weed makes doing all these morning things more enjoyable for sure. But when you’re doing them, what’s on your mind?
If you’re like the majority of most people you’re not thinking about walking the dog when you’re walking the dog. Maybe what’s on your mind is what you have to do that day. Or what you did last night. Or last week. Or ten years ago. Maybe you’re projecting thoughts into what the future holds. Like what’s going to happen with the person you met online. Or how that meeting is going to go with your boss. Or all the endless scenarios we all dream up for what the future holds…good or bad.
What if you took your elevated marijuana mind and focused your attention on exactly what was happening as you were doing it. You wake up, get your coffee on, light up, and get your day going. Instead of letting your mind do its own thing while you do your thing, try keeping your mind on what you’re doing.
When you walk the dog, just be aware that you’re walking the dog. When the mind starts to wander to something else, just bring it back to walking the dog.
The same thing goes for your morning shower, which (in my opinion) always seems to feel especially amazing after a couple hits of Durban Poison. Use that shift in awareness provoked by whatever strain you happen to be smoking to really stay present as you shower. Don’t think about the day ahead. Don’t think about what happened yesterday. Just shower while you’re showering.
For those of us who smoke weed on the reg, it has a way of making the mundane a little more exciting. Need to hit up the laundry mat? Weed helps. Sink full of dirty dishes? Def hit the pipe beforehand. Smoke that bowl and see if it doesn’t help you take a more mindful approach to doing your dishes. Focus on the dishes, the warm, sudsy water, washing, rinsing, and putting them on the rack to dry. That’s all you’re doing, so why not fully do it while you’re doing it?
Marijuana has been used to facilitate meditation for centuries. And all meditation really is, is keeping the mind focused on the breath in the present moment. Take out the meditation, stay focused on whatever you’re doing in the present moment, and you’ve got mindfulness.
Can marijuana help you reach a mindful state of mind? That’s up for you to decide. Next time you’re high, give it a try. When you reach that sweet spot, stay there. And see if you can’t keep that marijuana-infused mind of your mindfully focused on each moment that unfolds.