Cannabis and meditation

Did you ever try to meditate on cannabis? Buddhist meditation traditions usually don’t approve of mind altering substances, but many religious traditions all over the world consider cannabis an aid in spiritual practice.

The most well-known example is the Rastafari movement. To Rastafari’s cannabis is a sacred plant associated with the Three of Life. It’s smoked through special water pipes, called chalices, during community sessions. They believe cannabis is a divine gift and communion with the plant brings them closer to God (Jah).

Sadhus, holy men from India, smoke cannabis in a chillum to prepare for meditation. During certain religious festivals in Hinduism, like Holi, bhang is consumed by devotees of Shiva. Bhang is a beverage made from milk, ghee and a paste of cannabis buds and leaves, usually enriched with lots of spices. In several yoga schools cannabis is seen as a ‘sacred vehicle’. It’s believed cannabis stimulates the pineal gland, which is equated with the ‘third eye’ chakra. Cannabis would make the yogi more aware of his breathing and body postures.

Cannabis can indeed make you more aware of the moment that you are in. So how could this be applied in meditation?

DIY meditation

It’s recommend to start the meditation session before cannabis consumption. If possible prepare the space that you are in a bit: clean up, light a candle and burn some incense. Make sure you sit or lie down in a comfortable position and you will not be disturbed.

Start focusing on your breath. You may find it helpful to silently say ‘in’ with every inhalation and ‘out’ with every exhalation.

Try to keep your focus. Every time you drift away in thoughts, just notice and turn back to your breathing. After a while you will observe your breath becomes more deep and slow.

You now can turn your attention to your body; slowly direct your awareness to different body parts: start with the toes, foot and leg on the left side and continue with those on the right. Subsequently move to your belly and chest, all the way up to your head.

Then direct your attention to the space around you. Maybe you have your eyes closed, but you can still become aware of space that you are in. You may become aware of sounds and other sensations like warmth or cold.

These are just suggestions; you can focus on other aspects of the moment as well. For example on emotions or thoughts that are passing by. However, many people find these a bit harder to just observe without getting involved. The main idea is that you stay focused on the present moment. Every time you are distracted by thoughts or worries about the past or the future, just return to the object of your meditation.

Sacrament

When you feel ready it’s time for the sacrament. Decide beforehand on the way of consumption. Maybe you would like to make traditional bhang yourself? Some modern yogi’s prefer vaporising over smoking as it’s healthier to the lungs. Maybe you like to ritually roll a joint.

You can intensify the moment of consumption – the consecration – by saying prayers or formulating intentions. Afterwards return to your meditation. You can just rehearse the steps described above. If possible, try to focus on just breathing for a prolonged period of time. This is the most basic form of meditation and some very spectacular experiences have been reported in combination with cannabis.

How was it for you?

We are curious about your experiences! Did you ever try to meditate on cannabis? What did you do? What happened? And would you recommend it to others?

More traditions

There are many more traditions than just named that use cannabis in a spiritual way. Think for example about some Santo Daime churches - known for their ritual use of ayahuasca - that consider cannabis as a second sacrament. The United States saw the rise of a couple of so-called ‘cannabis churches’ during the past century.

A very recent initiative is that of Hamilton Souther, an American ayahuasca shaman, that started to broadcast ‘420 ceremonies’ online this year. Curious? You can tune in for a live session every month at Blue Morpho TV.



Written by: Juniper