Author Topic: marijuana, meditation and awareness  (Read 17821 times)

jayjayshie

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marijuana, meditation and awareness
« on: May 18, 2013, 04:48:54 AM »
I am very new to meditation and have only kept practice for about 2 months after my 10-day retreat at Goenka's. I have been smoking marijuana for about 2 years now and my life has improved in every aspect. The only thing I am concerned about is whether or not my daily marijuana use will regress my meditation practice.

I only smoke after my hour of meditation is complete, and I never meditate while I am high. Also I am wondering how I can increase my awareness in my sensations because since the retreat, I no longer feel my sensations to the extent that I did while I was at the retreat

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 05:29:59 AM »
hi jay,

It is very much advisable to stop marijuana intake daily as you will find fake progress in meditation because of it. If possible stop it completely. If you cant at least do something like 15 days of smoke and then 1 month of non smoking.
The effect of the high lasts upto 7 days ( my experience).

Quote
I only smoke after my hour of meditation is complete,
this is a complete waste of meditation. This is why you are not able to increase the awareness of sensations.


garyblackhouse

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 01:03:05 PM »
Hi jayjay,

I've told this before on the forum, but I smoked on and off for a year before taking a course 5 months ago. When I tried to stop I'd end up seeing reality hit me hard with panic attacks and insomnia. When people tell me they smoked daily for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years I can't imagine how they did it and/or do it. Maybe I was getting weak grass, maybe the highs just wore off for me quicker than the general public or maybe I was just extremely conscious of the effects it had on my life in general.

You say your life has improved in all aspects since you started smoking? This to me is a bit worrying, because eventually drugs wont work and the suppression we create when using drugs will only increase over time.

Find some balance if possible. Maybe just smoke on weekends. Or try 15 days on and 1 month off as Sid suggested. Experiment, see what works for you. Y'know, during my course I kept telling myself when walking around, "Okay, no more grass, no more beer, that's that, a clean slate, a new life" and so on. When I started to tell people my intentions they strongly suggested I don't go completely cold turkey, they (friends I made on the course) explained to me that it's a choice and we shouldn't beat ourselves up over an occasional doobie, so look at it that way.

Having said that, I'd like to ask you, why do you smoke? I ask myself this question also even now I just smoke maybe once or twice a month. You don't have to answer that here, but ask yourself the question, and be honest with yourself for your own health, well being and future.

Peace.

Gary

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 03:43:56 PM »
As Goenkaji and many others have said, a perfect Sila is the fundamental base of your meditation. Try to overcome drug abuse either at once, or gradually, if it won't work at once, and your equanimity and awareness - the aims of meditation - will improve.
I used to smoke on daily basis for more than 3 years and am very glad I overcame it before starting to meditate.

jayjayshie

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 06:40:12 PM »
Thank you for all the answers. I just find marijuana helps me sleep better at night and my grades at school have drastically increased with increased usage. Luckily summer break is starting and I'll be sure to take long breaks. Again, thanks for all the help :)

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 08:55:48 PM »
I've told this before on the forum, but I smoked on and off for a year before taking a course 5 months ago. When I tried to stop I'd end up seeing reality hit me hard with panic attacks and insomnia. When people tell me they smoked daily for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years I can't imagine how they did it and/or do it. Maybe I was getting weak grass, maybe the highs just wore off for me quicker than the general public or maybe I was just extremely conscious of the effects it had on my life in general.

mastering the fear element of weed takes time, but once we learn to defeat it, it wont bother anymore and actually the fears of reality seam silly and cannot overpower after that... just how it worked for me.. cant generalize.

garyblackhouse

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 03:28:19 PM »
mastering the fear element of weed takes time, but once we learn to defeat it, it wont bother anymore and actually the fears of reality seam silly and cannot overpower after that... just how it worked for me.. cant generalize.

True, I don't feel like I have need for it anymore, but there is that part of me that enjoys the concept of a pipe and some high time. I'm involved in music and my closest friends smoke, so I feel it's sometimes easier to just enjoy every now and then than fight the temptations that are there. It's an interesting experience and it opens up different creative outlets.

I can see how your "fake progress" statement makes sense upon thinking about it. Marijuana might make a person feel relaxed, subtle and calm, even the day after a smoke. Of course there are no goals in meditation but a good meditator might feel those relaxed and calm states in life if they practice regularly and over time. So if we smoke and meditate, or more to the point, smoke after we meditate the smoke can give you that false sense of calmness.

I'm curious, the Buddha talked about staying away from mind altering substances, but what kind of drugs did they have 2,600 years ago? I presume there was some form of alcohol, at least wine? I can imagine there was some form of grass and mushrooms or whatever but certainly a much less limited supply of drugs than we have these days. I'm just wondering what the Buddha was specifically referencing when he said this?

Thank you for all the answers. I just find marijuana helps me sleep better at night and my grades at school have drastically increased with increased usage. Luckily summer break is starting and I'll be sure to take long breaks. Again, thanks for all the help :)

That's great your grades have improved. Again I'd just advise you to be honest with yourself, I smoked to sleep also and I knew it all along, when my friend told me I was self medicating I started to really question what I was doing. Furthermore, I think the practice of presence has really helped with my sleep, the reason I couldn't sleep was because my mind was racing with stories and worries, now that my mind is calmer and I can look to sensations in the body as well as the mind, I feel a lot better about laying my head down. I wish you all the best for the summer.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2013, 03:32:08 PM by garyblackhouse »

Matthew

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2013, 07:01:01 PM »
Gary,

...
I'm curious, the Buddha talked about staying away from mind altering substances, but what kind of drugs did they have 2,600 years ago? I presume there was some form of alcohol, at least wine? I can imagine there was some form of grass and mushrooms or whatever but certainly a much less limited supply of drugs than we have these days. I'm just wondering what the Buddha was specifically referencing when he said this?
...

Quote from: accesstoinsight.org
"Mahanama, inasmuch as a lay follower abstains from destroying living beings; abstains from taking what is not given; abstains from sexual misconduct; abstains from lying; and abstains from wine, liquor and intoxicants that are causes for heedlessness; in that way, Mahanama, a lay follower is virtuous."

"wine, liquor and intoxicants that are causes for heedlessness" .... So definitely alcohol and one can assume magic mushrooms and weed - and various other plant based mind altering substances .... the key is "that are causes for heedlessness". Any mind altering substance can be this, all depends how it is used.

And why is steering clear of heedlessness so important? ....

Quote from: accesstoinsight.org
Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.

Matthew

Sources:



"Appamadavagga: Heedfulness" (Dhp II), translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Access to Insight, 23 April 2012, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.02.budd.html . Retrieved on 19 May 2013.

 "Mahanama Sutta: Being a Lay Buddhist" (AN 8.25), translated from the Pali by Kumara Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 22 August 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.025.kuma.html . Retrieved on 19 May 2013.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

garyblackhouse

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2013, 11:22:36 PM »
Matthew,

Thank you. Helpful and insightful. These answers are fascinating, "that are causes of heedlessness..." kind of puts an extra spin on the topic for me. Can someone indulge in these substances (moderately, mindfully, calmly) and be heedful at the same time? Or does the very act of the intake of a mind altering substance class as heedlessness in itself?

I hope that question makes sense. I'm trying to find some conclusion or middle ground in the issue myself. Overall I'm probably just searching for an answer I want to hear so I can further justify. Even when knowing I have to find my own answers to these questions.

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2013, 07:46:54 AM »
gray, during the time of buddha weed (bhang) was more prominently used than alcohol. So if you ask me, he meant for weed and alcohol both. Weed might seem to do the opposite of what the definition of intoxicants mentioned by buddha (especially for meditators) but it really comes down to the same category when closely observed.   

Matthew

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2013, 10:34:20 AM »
Gary,

.... "that are causes of heedlessness..." kind of puts an extra spin on the topic for me. Can someone indulge in these substances (moderately, mindfully, calmly) and be heedful at the same time? Or does the very act of the intake of a mind altering substance class as heedlessness in itself?

There is an extra spin, one needs to look at what is heedlessness and heedfulness:

Quote from: accessstoinsight.org
"Monks, I will teach you about one who dwells in heedlessness and one who dwells in heedfulness. Listen and pay careful attention, I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "And how does one dwell in heedlessness? When a monk dwells without restraint over the faculty of the eye, the mind is stained with forms cognizable via the eye. When the mind is stained, there is no joy. There being no joy, there is no rapture. There being no rapture, there is no serenity. There being no serenity, he dwells in suffering. The mind of one who suffers does not become centered. When the mind is uncentered, phenomena (dhammas) don't become manifest. When phenomena aren't manifest, one is classed simply as one who dwells in heedlessness.

"When a monk dwells without restraint over the ear... nose... tongue... body...

"When a monk dwells without restraint over the faculty of the intellect, the mind is stained with ideas cognizable via the intellect. When the mind is stained, there is no joy. There being no joy, there is no rapture. There being no rapture, there is no serenity. There being no serenity, he dwells in suffering. The mind of one who suffers does not become centered. When the mind is uncentered, phenomena (dhammas) don't become manifest. When phenomena aren't manifest, one is classed simply as one who dwells in heedlessness.

"This is how one dwells in heedlessness.

"And how does one dwell in heedfulness? When a monk dwells with restraint over the faculty of the eye, the mind is not stained with forms cognizable via the eye. When the mind is not stained, there is joy. There being joy, there is rapture. There being rapture, there is serenity. There being serenity, he dwells in ease. The mind of one at ease becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena (dhammas) become manifest. When phenomena are manifest, one is classed simply as one who dwells in heedfulness.


and so on for ear, nose, tongue and body ....

So heedlessness is somewhat, perhaps fully, synonymous with mindlessness as opposed to mindfulness.

.... I'm trying to find some conclusion or middle ground in the issue myself. Overall I'm probably just searching for an answer I want to hear so I can further justify. ...

You probably know best yourself which of the above is your truth ...

Warmly,

Matthew

Source: "Pamadaviharin Sutta: Dwelling in Heedlessness" (SN 35.97), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 30 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.097.than.html . Retrieved on 20 May 2013.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 10:36:34 AM by Matthew »
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Matthew

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2013, 10:59:55 AM »
... The only thing I am concerned about is whether or not my daily marijuana use will regress my meditation practice.

I only smoke after my hour of meditation is complete, and I never meditate while I am high. ...

jayjayshie,

To clarify one aspect of your original post ... you are never NOT high if you smoke marijuana daily, so every meditation session you are high.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

garyblackhouse

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2013, 08:16:25 PM »
Thanks again Matthew, that's cleared a few things up.

gray, during the time of buddha weed (bhang) was more prominently used than alcohol. So if you ask me, he meant for weed and alcohol both. Weed might seem to do the opposite of what the definition of intoxicants mentioned by buddha (especially for meditators) but it really comes down to the same category when closely observed.   

I agree and well said. Different drugs for different effects but ultimately the same characteristics and a lot of the time, similar reasons for taking.

jayjayshie

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 06:33:02 AM »
Thank you for all the discussion, it clears up a lot of questions for me. I will slow down quite a bit on my marijuana intake.

I have been reading a lot about Terrence McKenna lately and a idea I find interesting by him is the idea that no one is smarter than you. No one else in this world truly knows what is going on in the universe and only you can understand your own reality best. As for how this ties in with my previous inquiries, I think a person can experiment with what works for them. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 08:13:47 AM »
While it seems pretty self evident no one else knows your own subjective experience better than you, how many people actually seriously analyse their own mind?

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 10:25:19 AM »
hi jay,

Quote
No one else in this world truly knows what is going on in the universe and only you can understand your own reality best.

i dont agree with this sentence. So you are saying you know everyone else's mind and what they have realized but no one knows yours? you are contradicting yourself with this line.

Quote
I think a person can experiment with what works for them
dont keep experimenting, i dont think anyone is dumb enough that he needs everyday , day in and day out to understand...  :D

lokariototal

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2013, 09:23:51 PM »
Thank you for all the discussion, it clears up a lot of questions for me. I will slow down quite a bit on my marijuana intake.

I have been reading a lot about Terrence McKenna lately and a idea I find interesting by him is the idea that no one is smarter than you. No one else in this world truly knows what is going on in the universe and only you can understand your own reality best. As for how this ties in with my previous inquiries, I think a person can experiment with what works for them. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Hello,

If it weren't for cannabis, I wouldn't have discovered meditation. Cannabis has been very positive in my life, for almost every aspect. Most of the people that are against cannabis/psychedelics are the people that know nothing about it and are just repeating the cultural "just say no" policy without knowing absolutely anything about shamanism and the religious practices of other cultures rather than their own. I see absolutely nothing wrong with meditating in these states. As a matter of fact, I've read that meditation is really a shamanic technique, and I've read about many monks who meditate in these states.

In fact, Roland Griffiths did a study in which he said that Psilocybin mimics the effects of meditation. You can check the video out here:
Griffiths: Psilocybin Mimics Effects of Meditation

By the way, I'm a Terence Mckenna fan as well. I've seen almost all of the videos he has made. He is awesome! So yeah, I agree that your understanding of the Universe depends on YOU! If it works for you, and you are not hurting yourself or anyone else, do it! I personally do meditation with and without psychedelics, and I feel that psychedelics have taught me how to meditate.

It is these sort of situations when I like to remember the words of the Dalai Lama: "If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."

In this case I'm not saying that buddhism is wrong, but what Im trying to imply is, if science discovers that psychedelics can help in meditation, then use them responsibly!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 09:31:00 PM by lokariototal »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 02:21:44 AM »
Using drugs to aid meditation is about as honest as using steroids to win a race.

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 05:59:46 AM »
Quote
If it weren't for cannabis, I wouldn't have discovered meditation. Cannabis has been very positive in my life, for almost every aspect. Most of the people that are against cannabis/psychedelics are the people that know nothing about it and are just repeating the cultural "just say no"

Well if it was not for acid i would not have discovered vipassana. So i should treat it as something it isn't just because it helped me find meditation? Its job was to show that path to the field of wisdom and its job is done. If i do any more of the stuff i clearly do it for recreation and is not at all helpful to my progress. I realize this and then do them. Its not that i have stopped doing them or want others to stop doing them. But stop giving them false status in your mind.
I like to see truth as it is, not as i want it to be  :D

No one who practices vipassana will ever fall under the culture "just say no". We do not depend on someone's experience to evaluate. The fact that you think we do shows your lack of wisdom and practice.


Quote
Using drugs to aid meditation is about as honest as using steroids to win a race.

sums up everything. when steroids are gone my speed goes back to lesser than my actual speed.

redalert

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 11:51:47 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7AAuf0xO58#ws

Mod suggestion: Please use youtube.com links rather than youtu.be links - the video will be embedded automagically by the forum software.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 02:00:11 PM by Matthew »

floyd

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 12:00:00 PM »
No one who practices vipassana will ever fall under the culture "just say no". We do not depend on someone's experience to evaluate. The fact that you think we do shows your lack of wisdom and practice.

I think that's a bit harsh - lokariototal was merely making the point that it's hard to be objective about drugs when they are demonised by society. He wasn't accusing anyone directly - in fact he makes some good points. I've wondered too about the similarities of deep meditation and psychedelic states. I've experienced marked distortions in time using psychedelics and have heard of similar experiences from meditation.

Using drugs to aid meditation is about as honest as using steroids to win a race.

Assuming this 'race' ends at nibbana - a state free from guilt, why wouldn't you choose the quickest possible route?
Perhaps you are suggesting that with drugs nibbana isn't attainable. This may be the case but comparing drug use to cheating will offend a good number of well meaning people.

lokariototal

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2013, 03:35:24 PM »
No one who practices vipassana will ever fall under the culture "just say no". We do not depend on someone's experience to evaluate. The fact that you think we do shows your lack of wisdom and practice.

I think that's a bit harsh - lokariototal was merely making the point that it's hard to be objective about drugs when they are demonised by society. He wasn't accusing anyone directly - in fact he makes some good points. I've wondered too about the similarities of deep meditation and psychedelic states. I've experienced marked distortions in time using psychedelics and have heard of similar experiences from meditation.

Using drugs to aid meditation is about as honest as using steroids to win a race.

Assuming this 'race' ends at nibbana - a state free from guilt, why wouldn't you choose the quickest possible route?
Perhaps you are suggesting that with drugs nibbana isn't attainable. This may be the case but comparing drug use to cheating will offend a good number of well meaning people.

Exactly! I wasn't trying to accuse anyone, and if it looked that way, Im sorry.  I was just talking about how our society repeats the "just say no" policy without questioning or investigating or knowing anything about the subject and demonizes these plants, and then these plants end up in the hands of criminal organizations.

Shamans have known about meditation for thousands of years.  Mercia Eliade, a famous anthropologist wrote a book called "Shamanism: The Archaic techniques of Ecstasy". Meditation is one of these "techniques of ecstasy".  I think plants back in the day (thousands of years ago) "taught" us about meditation, or helped us discover it. For us, these plants are "drugs" but for aboriginal and ancient cultures these plants are the access to the Mystical. And with the research going on in this field, we will learn more about how our species relates with these plants and how we can use them in the best way possible.

I think this video is relevant for what Im trying to talk about:

Terence Mckenna - Return To the Body


Just my two cents...

JamesT79

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2013, 04:25:15 PM »
I think the trick is to not think too hard on the subject, and go with what works for you. Most mind states are worth exploring. Even if being high doesn't help your meditation, the experience of it will inform you regardless. For me sometimes it helps, sometimes it really doesn't. And I agree that the drugs topic is so skewed by propaganda and misinformation that it is hard for anyone to have an objective discussion about it.

Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2013, 06:06:24 PM »
I didnt mean to hurt your feelings, i just want you to get out of 'there is something very important here and is just out of reach and if i jump i can grab it' feeling that you get in the beginning of all these drug experimentation  ;) ,
If i hurt you then really sorry.


Dharmic Tui

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Re: marijuana, meditation and awareness
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2013, 06:52:48 PM »
Assuming this 'race' ends at nibbana - a state free from guilt, why wouldn't you choose the quickest possible route?
Because it's not a race it's about a path and it's about travelling down that path using your own steam, not introducing an outside stimulant and just going along for the ride, that is the antithesis of what you're trying to achieve.
This may be the case but comparing drug use to cheating will offend a good number of well meaning people.
That may be so but it doesn't change the reality that you're not supposed to introduce drugs into Vipassana. You can take drugs and try to obtain altered mental states if you want, you just can't genuinely call it enlightenment.