Cannabis in Your Practice – Becca Williams was offered up by Becca at my invitation. There are many ways to talk about working with cannabis for spiritual benefit. My intention with the Cannabis and Spirituality project is to include some of those varying voices. Becca’s guidance is based on long experience with intentional use of cannabis in particular and with consciousness transformation work in general. Her latest project is Marijuana Straight Talk, a national [in the U.S.] TV show that will be debuting in 2016. You can also see her video work on YouTube and at MJStraightTalk.
A Guide to Including Cannabis in Your Practice
by Becca Williams
The reason we practice something, of course, is to get better at it and to be able to do it under most any circumstances. So when it comes to a practice of bringing ourselves into an optimal state of stillness and awareness, we need to – tah dah! – practice.
This gets tricky as it’s easy to let this practice slide since we’re only accountable to ourselves to do this practice. That is, we tend to put other and others’ needs first, often postponing or negating our personal time. But sitting in stillness is actually one of the most important skills that we can learn – as it is foundational to mastering our emotions.
And the secret to that skill is really no secret. It’s just that it’s a skill not a lot of people pay attention to.
And that is breathing.
No! Please Don’t Make Me Breathe
Breathing was something I didn’t really want to do for most of my life. Not that I didn’t want to breath to stay alive but it was the breathing that teachers nudged me to do … focusing on the air going in and out of my lungs – and being very present with it.
For years in attending yoga classes, the breathing part was my least favorite. It was boring – breathing in and breathing out and staying focused on it. In hindsight, I see I was overwhelmed by the swirl of my passing thoughts with an ego that kept nagging that this awareness practice was a waste of time.
But growing older and wiser (note: lots of people grow old without growing wiser), I’ve come to learn that breath—that is, following the breath—is singularly the foundation that leads us to gaining self-mastery over the thoughts and fears that control our minds.
This is great news. Think about it this way – we all have breath. Everyone of us has the capacity to breath into our bodies and gain awareness of our connection with, not only ourselves, but each other and our natural world.
This is where the magic happens.
A Sacred Union: Marrying the Breath with the Plant
But really getting serious about your awareness practice can be a big leap. This is where cannabis comes in. The Plant has an ancient and enduring history in many cultures of facilitating higher consciousness. We’re in good company in communing with her to access our deep healing resources.
Having said that, we also need to be disciplined and mature about it. Hence, the marriage of breath and cannabis will attract only those serious about learning to commune with the plant at a deep spiritual level.
There is an entire cannabis ‘stoner’ culture built around taking in as much cannabis as possible – usually in a concentrate form – with the implicit challenge of continuing to function. This is the opposite of what I’m talking about. The stoner culture is often about sedation and numbing while I’m talking about heightened awareness and sensation.
So let me be clear, the dosing is very important and I highly recommend micro-dosing for communing with the Plant. The combination of breath and a little cannabis (a toke or two or three, depending on potency) is a most sacred and powerful union. One supports the other in carrying you to greater heights.
For those of you who have a high tolerance for cannabis, I suggest trying the micro-dosing approach also. A smaller dose is going to nurture you into a state of awareness – take the plunge into sensation instead of sedation.
What to Use When?
Cannabis strains are important in this matter as well. You just have to balance it with the bio-rhythms of your day and evening. For instance, if you’re going to start cleaning the house after your meditation you’ll likely want a sativa strain that will elevate your energy. An indica strain, on the other hand, will likely be more relaxing and perhaps a better fit for evening meditations and ensuing sleep.
However, having said that, because we are all so biochemically and emotionally different, the same cannabis plant strain can take us down different paths. Experimenting is part of the fun in getting to know your interior self.
Creating Your Container
While it’s not essential, including ritual in our practice adds a delicious sacred container that is ours alone. I invite you to create a space wherein you can retreat and claim alone time for your regular awareness practice. This might be nothing more than lighting a candle and sitting in a quiet corner or having a more elaborate meditation table with objects that hold special intimate meaning for you.
You’ll have created the perfect space in which to light and partake of your cannabis. Give gratitude for this sacred alone time where your precious breath intertwines with the magic of this spirit medicine.
Have water nearby and a journal and a pen (I also like to have my cell phone voice memo app available – if I’d rather record my thoughts). The idea is learning how to intimately get to know yourself, and adding cannabis to the mix can offer a rich opportunity for self-discovery.