In his legendary flower sermon, the Buddha brought his disciples to a quiet pond. As they gathered around eager to receive their teaching, Buddha sat in silence. Slowly, he reached over and plucked a lotus flower near the pond. No words said, no lecture given. He simply presented the flower to them, twirling it between his fingers.
In confusion, they tried and failed to explain the meaning behind the flower. When it came to the last disciple Mahakasyapa, he looked at Buddha and began to chuckle. Buddha handed the lotus flower to him, as he was assigned his next successor. “What can be said I have said to you, and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakasyapa.”
I read this famous Buddhist teaching sometime during college. For almost 7 years after, I grappled with the meaning behind that flower. It was a burning question that constantly sat in the back of my head. While I worked, while I drove, while I laid in bed struggling to sleep I asked myself “What does the flower mean?”
Then with the guidance of a teacher, I finally understood. He pointed in a way that made it so ridiculously simple, I too chuckled like Mahakasyapa how simple the answer was. Who was the teacher? He wasn’t some Zen master sitting in a temple, or a Yogi meditating in the himalayas, or a sage I had to search far and wide to find. I cracked the code with the help of marijuana – one of the greatest teachers I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
Over the years, marijuana has taught me more about spirituality than any meditation retreated I’ve been to, any book I’ve read, or any physical teacher I’ve met. I’m going to explain how you can use this powerful plant to see similar benefits in your own life.
Marijuana Meditation Use Around The World
Using cannabis as a tool for spiritual growth is nothing new. It’s been used for thousands of years throughout the world as a proven tool to tap into the mystical. Here’s a breakdown of the cultures throughout history harnessing the plant for spiritual use:
- Vedic texts in India and Nepal dating back from 2000 BC document cannabis as one of five sacred plants. In modern times, people in India’s famous Holi festival consume a substance called bhang which contains cannabis flowers, said to cleanse sins and unite with god Shiva.
- In the Tara Tantra tradition of Buddhism, texts outline cannabis as a powerful tool to facilitate in meditation.
- As early as the 14th century Ethiopia, Africa has shown a tradition of smoking hemp for spiritual practice. The Bashilenge people of the Congo based their entire religion around the sacred plant.
- In ancient Japan, Shinto priests would wooden wand called Gohei with hemp fibers to create sacred spaces, and drive evil spirits away.
- The Rastafri tradition in Jamaica have deeply woven cannabis into the fabric of their religion. Members regularly use marijuana to aid in meditation and understand wisdom of sacred texts.
- For more information on other cultures using cannabis in spiritual contexts, do a quick wiki search for entheogenic use of cannabis.
From Asia, to Africa, to the Americas, marijuana has been a proven tool towards expanding one’s consciousness.
Before we get into the how’s of marijuana meditation, a warning…
John Lily, the famous neuroscientist who invented the flotation tank was famous for saying “Though shall not program” when instructing those getting into the tank for the first time. Meaning, the experience you have should be uniquely your own. You hold ultimate authority over the exploration of your own consciousness and following instructions from a priest, guru, or any other spiritual leaders leads to imitation, conformity, and generally moving away from the very experience you’re looking to have.
What I’m about to present you is what personally worked for me. It may or may not do the same for you. Try it out yourself, but take it with a grain of salt. If it helps, keep it. If it doesn’t, move on and try something else. There’s many ways you can meditate, especially with marijuana. Anyone telling you they have THE way in regards to anything spiritually, don’t go near with a ten foot pole. Be your own guru and make conclusions based off your own experience.
Also, it’s important to note not to do this regularly (i.e. daily). Regular use can lead to dependence, escapism, etc. Instead of being a trusted aid to help you along the journey, it becomes the very barrier holding you back. Like all things, balance is key. Marijuana should be used alongside traditional meditation, flotation tanks, holotropic breathwork, brainwave entrainment, and all other forms of consciousness enhancing technology.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the mechanics of MJ meditation.
How To Meditate With Marijuana
Before The Session
Like any other psychedelic session, proper set and setting is vital. Your mindset and the environment around you 100% dictate how the experience unfolds. You could use weed to get high, have laughs with friends, and munch out on food. Or you could use it have one of the most reality shattering experiences of personal growth akin to an ayahuasca or mushroom retreat. The only difference is set and setting so it’s essential you make sure they’re both managed properly for an effective session. Let’s break down these two elements:
#1.) SETTING – If you want to have fun, smoke weed with friends. If your aim is growth, do it by yourself. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
“Guard well your spare moments. They are like uncut diamonds. Discard them and their value will never be known. Improve them and they will become the brightest gems in a useful life.”
Like any other psychedelic, the experience is highly personal, taking you through a journey of introspection and discovery. Having friends around will only detract you from having this type of experience.
I typically meditate with marijuana in bed an hour or two before I go to sleep. I like lighting nag champa incense – it smells great and adds a degree of ritual to my sessions. I dim the lights, or even light a candle (flickering light has been known to put one in a state of relaxation).
Music can be another important aspect of the experience. Shamans throughout the world have relied on the power of sound to invoke mystical experiences – from tribal drumming throughout Africa, to icaros in the Amazon, to even church choirs in Catholic churches. We can do the same by playing certain types of music to enhance the experience. Here are a sample of some of the type of music I play during my sessions:
#2.) MINDSET – There’s a few key things I do before the session to get me in the right mindset. For one, I try to get a workout in a few hours before I smoke. Tiring yourself out will put both your mind and body in a perfect state to relax later that night.
I like having the session after I’ve taken care of all the day’s responsibilities. You want your mind clear. Having open-loops like laundry needing to get picked up or work emails needing to be sent will detract you from the experience.
In order to get what you want out of the session, set an intention. The clearer you are with what you want out of the session, the more likely it will come to life. Close your eyes, connect with your intention for a few seconds, then smoke. Once the session starts, let go of your intention and accept whatever direction the session heads.
During The Session
We live most our lives outward. Meditation is the one practice where we finally go inward. For a period of time, we get to explore the workings of our consciousness. Why does marijuana matter in this regard? Energy.
If you think about it, energy is the very makeup of the cosmos – from a comet flying through space, to the chords of your favorite song, to the feelings of kissing your partner. Consciousness itself is comprised of energy. Marijuana is a powerful tool that temporarily enhances the energy systems of our body. As we become more aware of our energy, we become more aware of consciousness itself.
Most of the time we are completely unaware of the network of energy flowing through us. Marijuana is able to temporarily remove the blindfolds normally wrapped around our eyes in order to discover our true selves. As Bob Marley once said..
“When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.”
Few other tools are able to achieve this as well as marijuana.
Connect With Your Body – It first starts with your body. Once you’ve smoked, close your eyes. As the marijuana begins to work its way in you, notice how your muscles will naturally begin to relax. Notice the tingles felt throughout your body.
Shift your awareness towards your arms. Feel them loosening. Feel how light they’re becoming. Feel the tingles around them. Feel the tension being released.
Slowly move to your shoulders. Do the same exercise. Feel your neck softening calming, relaxing. You may feel your shoulder joints detaching slightly as your body start to fully loosen. Take your time as you go through this exercise. There’s nowhere to rush to, no point B to move towards. Explore the energy with the same curiosity an explorer would seeing an animal on Safari. View everything inside you from a detached, non-personal, yet inquisitive vantage point.
Move to your neck, then eventually to your upper back, then lower back, down to your legs, to your feet, then move back up your legs, to your groin, to your stomach, and finally to your chest. By now the marijuana should be taking full effect, as your body should release a large degree of its tension. Your chest is where we’ll be staying during the majority of this session.
Let Go Of Tension In Your Fourth Chakra – Your chest is where your fourth chakra is located. The Sanskrit word for this chakra is Anahata, which literally means unhurt. Beneath any pain, hurt, or fears that plague your life, there’s a place in your chest that lies untouched from it all. It’s the same place where love, compassion, and joy all spring out off.
Ironically, most of us have this very source of happiness closed off. All religions throughout the world – from christianity, to hinduism, to buddhism – have all pointed towards the heart in discovering the divine. This isn’t by accident. Most my life I thought this was BS, but it was only through marijuana meditations did I realize the profound truth behind that advice. Marijuana is able to crank up the energy in this region, and as it that occurs, some powerful discovering can be made. Hopefully you’ll get a taste of it with this exercise.
Loosen any tension you feel around your chest. Focus on letting go and opening it up. Sometimes I’ll repeat a mantra in my head while my awareness is centralized around my chest… “Let go… Let go… Let go…” Keep repeating this mantra as you feel the tension wrapped around your chest begin to loosen.
As you let go, feelings of agape love, compassion and kindness may begin arising inside you. As these feelings arise, it will be easier to let go, which make these feelings of love begin to pour out even further. This positive loop can continue indefinitely, as the feelings of love become stronger and stronger. I’ve had sessions where the feelings of love were so strong I laid in bed crying tears of joy.
Now this may all sound like crazy hippie talk. And it should if you haven’t experienced any of this. Call BS on all this for now, but when you experiment with this meditation, have an open mind.
Continue to connect with the energy of your fourth chakra for the remainder of the session. When you reside in your heart, all the problems you stressed may become not as big of a deal as you once thought. You’re more easily able to forgive others, forgive yourself, and let go of any pain that you’ve been holding onto. The world around you gets infinitely more peaceful when you live your life from this place. This is something marijuana helps you discover, that you can take away with you well after the session concludes.
After The Session
If you had any big takeaways, be sure to journal about them when the session comes to a close. The next day, chew on the lessons you learned during last night’s session.
A common argument people say about marijuana, is you’re simply experiencing a temporary high. You smoke, you get high, you come down, and you’re back to square one. The truth is, many of the takeaways you receive during psychedelic stay with you well after the experience. The lessons I’ve learned about mindfulness, about love, about consciousness have permanently stayed with me after the session. Hopefully you’ll have your own lessons you’ll take from the experience.
In closing, marijuana can be one of the most powerful tools for personal growth. You don’t need to head to the jungle to take ayahuasca, or go to some ashram in India. You can have a transformative meditative experience at the comfort of your home, with a plant that’s available practically anywhere in the world. If used in the right way, you can find your life far more enriching with this herb in your life.
Have you ever meditated with marijuana? Share your experiences in the comments below.