Twelve High Chicks thanks Guest Contributor Darla Zanolli for this article.
Marijuana and Walking Meditation
Everyone meditates differently from the next person, and we meditate for different reasons: to relieve our anxiety or depression, be more self aware, or just to feel overall healthier. Essentially it is all inner-activity which we cannot define in rigid terms.
Some days it may be easy to sit still and concentrate. Other days it can be a struggle to quiet the mind and find that inner peace, which is where cannabis fits in. If you are experiencing difficulties, don’t give up; successful meditation needs discipline and repetitiveness.
There really is no downside to meditation but I should give some warning: people in fragile mental states should meditate in a class or with someone as it can have adverse effects. When we are sitting still and willing our minds to be quiet sometimes bad memories spring up. But know that if you keep trying safely, you will reach your goal. It may take a little while to get used to being still and clear-minded, but keep at it. Don’t be discouraged.
Many experienced meditators believe that the only way to really meditate and get to that self-aware place is to clear all active thoughts, all notions, and just be. Breathing in and out, not moving or thinking.
To do this, one begins with focused meditation, one of the more practised forms and a style known to most. Sometimes at the end of a yoga class your teacher will guide you through this type of meditation session, unsurprisingly called guided meditation. Usually this is done in the lotus position but really what feels most comfortable is best, especially for those with physical problems that may prevent them from sitting for a long period of time.
Now because this is focused meditation we need something to focus on; most people use their breath or a mantra but it can also be an object you see. As you sit there breathing deeply and focusing on that point your mind may wander, when you feel it do so refocus. Example: I focus on my breath, but while I pay attention to my deep-breathing my mind sometimes goes to a doctor’s appointment or if I took my medication. Once I realize that my focus has shifted to my thoughts I bring it back to my breathing — deep breath in, deep breath out. This is where I find cannabis to be helpful; it can ease a racing mind and help you focus on what you need to do.
There is another still form called mindfulness meditation that is extremely similar, but where we don’t shut off the thoughts we have. However, we don’t judge those thoughts or let them distract us from our mental state, we just acknowledge they are there, accept them, and then release them. Over time with this practice it may help you stop making quick judgements, among other benefits.
Focused meditation doesn’t have to be still, however. With marijuana and walking meditation, how we walk is the focus of our meditation. We don’t try to withdraw from the outside world, we want to be aware of our steps, our breath, the sun on our face, and the leaves on the path. We pay attention to the colours, the sounds, the smells. It is kind of like learning to walk again and each step is made with peace and intent. There is no coming or going; there is no destination in your walking meditation except finding happiness, mindfulness, and love.
It can be practised almost any time you are walking — even to the car or to work — but the best opportunity is when you set aside some time, like a lazy Sunday, and really focus on your path and don’t feel rushed. We want to experience all of that. Plus who doesn’t love smoking a joint on a gorgeous day?
Starting out with Marijuana and Walking Meditation
To experiment with marijuana and walking meditation, first pick a favourite place or path. Start by standing, feet shoulder-width apart, shoulders up and back. Take a deep breath and feel your roots planted into the ground. Feel the earth securely under your feet. Take a few more deep breaths in and out. Now begin walking with small steps, not too fast. Light your joint, it will help loosen your muscles and start making you feel more relaxed and more in the right mindset. As you walk, pay attention to your body: to each step you take, to the sensations around you, and to how they make you feel. You can stop every so often to ground yourself again, as you started, feeling your roots in the ground and the vibrations of nature. Your mind will wander as it does with sitting meditation, just bring it back to your steps like we take sitting meditation back to our focus point.
Some great things about walking meditation are that you get a bit of exercise, you get outdoors and fresh air, and it is a bit easier than sitting meditation. And you can try to do it any time you are walking. The only downside is it is better practiced outside than inside, so if the weather isn’t great it can be harder to find motivation. But if you have a gym membership you can always practice on the treadmill (and vape or smoke before you go).
I use walking meditation whenever I am out and about, and marijuana and walking meditation together whenever I can. I sometimes find it harder in the city because there are so many distractions like shop windows and street performers. But it can be a great test of your meditation to be able to ignore those attention-pullers and focus just on your steps and walking. I use indica-dominant strains for this meditation and if I am in the woods or on a trail with not a lot of people on it, I will smoke a joint rather than a vaporizer because having to stop and keep dumping and filling can be a hassle when you are focusing on your steps.
More advanced forms of marijuana and movement meditation, discussed in my next article, include yoga and Tai Chi. Both traditional forms focus on precise movements that fluidly transition to the next pose using our breath, muscles, heart, mind, and positive energy. Both have similar goals: to help ease mental issues, relieve stress, and help us become more mindful. And both can be combined successfully with marijuana.