“Many drugs, or intoxicants, soften this sharp subject-object dichotomy and help us feel more connected with the wider world. Such experiences dismantle the instrumental nature of most thinking and instead allow us to appreciate life for its own intrinsic value.”Robert C. Fuller, PhD, a professor of religious studies at Bradley University and author of 13 books, including Stairways to Heaven: Drugs in American Religious History.
Of course cannabis and spirituality go hand in hand. I mean isn’t the sacred ritual of rolling a blunt as consecrated as the giving of sacrament and taking in of the body of Christ? There has always been something otherworldly about our religious connection whether within the confines of a church, temple or a heady music concert surrounded by energies. The human drive to feel connected and “plugged in” is what I believe to be the basis for all spiritual euphoria. I remember being younger and feeling like my wheels were always spinning. I was constantly running to encourage, to engage to fulfill my mission as a Nichiren Buddhist. It was some of the best times in my life. And I also remember the distinct sting of withdrawal when I had stopped actively practicing. I likened it to being a drug addict although I knew that was a bit melodramatic it didn’t take away from the underlying sentiment. And when I shared with others that were in the same boat as me they would shake their heads in quiet agreement. They understood what I meant, they GOT it. So I wanted to explore and understand why and how did I have this type of experience? And how do I enhance and use that on a daily basis with cannabis?
When I began this journey of medicially using cannabis for my son and then for myself, I couldn’t help but notice that in ingesting cannabis not only helped me to better see myself and just “be” in the moment by quieting my mind, but it also helped me to better connect and see things from a new set of eyes. Cannabis assisted in bringing about a softening of the armor that I wore to protect me as a black woman and a freeing of the heart in compassion toward myself and also those around me. I felt lighter, free-er and also more open to the positive changes that I desired and chanted for. This was surprising to me because as someone who only used cannabis for recreational use, with no regard to the sanctity of this plant, I had overlooked one of its biggest benefits. The usefulness of connecting to a higher conscience and aiding in the healing of deep traumas.
We all have trauma, hell I know I do! I have experienced abandonment, sexual assault, verbal abuse, disappointments and daily external microaggressions that seem to come constantly. This is not addressing the internal battle of the buddha and the devilish functions via negative self talk, low self esteem and self harm. Any human being in this day and age is dealing with any number of traumatic and stressful factors. Is no wonder that suicides are on the rise and that the life expectancy is lower than any other generation? What are yours triggers? What have you done to treat or mitigate them? Did you know that cannabis can be a ally in your toolbox of strategies to win against this constant battle.
With all the newly envigored conversations about medical cannabis and the ever progressive adult use advocates screaming for freedom of use and social equity within communities most hard hit in the “war on drugs” (all points that I agree with mind you!) I think we are not having the conversations of how cannabis can be spiritually activating and can break down walls built up over time from collective and individual traumas, especially within the POC, Latinx and the LGBTQIA communities. As Stephen Grey the author of Spirituality and Cannabis asserts “we tend to be driven by narratives operating below the horizon of our awareness; the confused mind of the unresolved, unhealed ego—[through meditative cannabis we bring it] into the light of day ultimately allows us to learn how to function skillfully and gracefully as authentic, spiritually awakened beings.”
According to the author of Cannabis and Spirituality the use of cannabis or other herbal entheogenic plants have been a part of the history of the religious world for centuries. Historically humans have mostly used religion and/or spirituality to answer the questions of dealing with trauma. Meditative cannabis use just like any other ritual is about the intentions set before and the actions taken after that dictate and support that ritual, or as Stephen Grey worded it the “post-marijuana meditation” experience. Once we have gained the insight and reverse engineered that trauma what do we do with that new and heightened conscience state? Do we continue to create and perpetuate the patterns that made the scenarios that we found our lower selves in? Or do we choose to go another route? Some folks like medicine shamans Sean Hamman and Steve Dyer, say it has much to do with the state of mind and intentions of the grower of the cannabis even. So how important it is that we have a connection or personal relationship with the plant itself (home grow, anyone?)
I have chosen to take the higher road, although I still get in my Gemini feels sometimes, but I am a worthy work in progress. And I already see the benefit of incorporating my microdosing (which will be another blog and a podcast) and meditative cannabis rituals to heal myself, be a better and more authentic version of Angie; I can then take on the world and help others with those same tools with ease. Just as the great and venerable Bob Marley said “When you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.” What a wondrous plant! Which side of yourself would you like to see in the forefront? Although we can never separate ourselves from the darker side and the traumas that feed it. We can use that side to shine even brighter bringing hope, joy and power to all that are around us.