There’s nothing new about mindfulness. The idea is older than psychology, older than medicine, and older than Western culture. As far as anyone knows, it dates to the age when Sati and Sanskrit were universal languages.
Buddhism has the mindfulness tradition going, and now Western culture has embraced it. Cannabis has attached itself to mindful thinking, and it’s worth looking at how mindfulness can help you.
A beginner’s guide to be a more mindful cannabis user —
Mindfulness is a condition, state-of-mind and body, means and end, and much more. It’s hard to translate original terms, so it has come to mean many versions of the same thing.
Mindfulness describes a behavior of being aware of the moment. That asks you to purge yourself of past and future preoccupations. It asks you to remember to be aware. And, it asks you to find your way to mindfulness through meditation.
Start with meditation —
1. According to mindfulness.org, you start “by first learning to observe simple processes such as the breath (as outlined above) and the feelings that are present in our physical body. From the outset, this simplification and focusing of mental tasks slows the mind and allows it to relax, engendering immediate stillness and calm.”
With practice, usually in group sessions, you develop skills in observation and core body/mind sensations. As you progress, you can focus on walking, stretching, exercising, and other basic physical processes.
2. At some point in your confidence, you will start to observe mental impressions of things nearby. You ask how they impress you, what they mean to you, and how you feel about them.
Eventually, you can bring turn that focus inward to observing and evaluating your mood and emotions. It’s not enough to label them if you can assess and appreciate them. And, you may notice the emphasis on observation — not analysis.
3. Mindfulness is a focus on how your individual mind works. This stems from and contributes to a greater sense of self-awareness.
It may begin with reflection, a withdrawal from the stresses of daily life. Reflection precedes the meditation leading to mindfulness. Meditation works best when the mind and body have relaxed with reflection and calm.
4. The calming, reflection, and self-awareness leads you to recognize that your mind is inclined to chase many thoughts and moods in different directions constantly. Any life can be better when those chases are reduced or managed.
Those multiple chases distract the mind from observing and appreciating larger things. Conversations busy your brain, and most of your time goes into passing judgement on things and those around you. When mindful, you attach no importance to anything except the rhythm of breathing and beating of your heart
5. There are many schools of meditation. They are offered at meditation centers, in real and virtual classes, and with individual teachers. Some schools of yoga and exercise also link to meditation. But, if you want a serious route to mindfulness, you won’t find it at the “Y.”
In the long run, meditation does not equal mindfulness. It provides a helpful condition, but it is not the same thing.
Benefits of mindfulness —
According to Psychology Today, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.” It means, “Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”
It’s a practice where you sharpen your focus, train your brain to be mindful even when not meditating, and engage with whatever’s going on around you.
- Improves memory and school/employment performance.
- Heightens awareness of diet and eating to reduce calorie intake.
- Increases benefit of exercise by committing whole mind/body to the physical routine.
- Sharpens decisions by removing mental and emotional clutter.
- Reduces awareness of cancer, chronic pain, and other physical trials.
- Manages brain activity, improving creativity, and helping sleep.
Reaching and sustaining mindfulness is a process, easier for some than others.
What does cannabis have to do with it?
Some research has considered how mindfulness may provide an alternative behavior and practice to using cannabis. But, the research also concludes much more must be done to determine significant results.
As is, many people who use cannabis and seek mindfulness find some cannabis strains of complement their practice. Those strains provide a physical and emotional uplift.
Smoking cannabis is a purposeful and relaxing breathing exercise. Certain strains induce euphoria and accentuate sensory awareness. Other strains slow thinking and reduce anxiety to reduce physical problems and mental stress.
Sativa strains may interfere with mindfulness practice because of the high energy impact. Indica strains often slow the mind, promote calm, and enhance awareness.
You know that cannabis has successfully treated physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, OCD, and PTSD. You know that it relieves the pains and stresses associated with terminal disease, nausea, and wasting weight loss. But, the connection between mindfulness and cannabis use needs more research.
Is there a problem with being a more mindful cannabis user —
No, but you must consider it mindfully. An article in Cannabis.net makes the usual mistake of confusing meditation and mindfulness. They are not one and the same thing.
Meditation is a practice and behavior that facilitates mindfulness, a more profound and deeper state of being. If cannabis, smoked or consumed, can enable that condition, you might choose your strain carefully and pursue the rewarding and fulfilling practice.
Mindfulness does not have to take more than a half hour in your day. If you find it demanding, you haven’t reached the optimal practice, yet. And, if cannabis intake will allow you to enter that “zone” easily, you may find the experience mind and body expanding.