Are you one of a growing number of people who want to become more spiritually aware? Do you want to experience life through a deeper understanding of yourself, or create a more peaceful and purposeful life? Perhaps you are drawn to the ancient practice of meditation.
Meditation is a healing practice that combines mindfulness techniques and breathing to focus attention, clear the mind and create a quiet, calm state. According to many health professionals’ meditation has many positive benefits such as reducing stress and improving our overall health and wellness and raising our consciousness.
Well documented throughout history, higher consciousness is known to open the mind to new and more creative ideas. It can also help us to be more patient, forgiving, generous and loving. These characteristics can lead us to become more spiritually aware, bringing feelings of peace and happiness.
Overcoming Meditation Challenges: Exploring the Transformative Role of Cannabis in Enhancing Spiritual Growth
If you have explored the practice of meditation, you likely know the importance of being completely relaxed, in a positive state of mind and focused on the here and now as a starting point to becoming more spiritually conscious. If you have tried to meditate, you may know it is often easier said than done!
While the spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits of meditation have been well known for thousands of years, one thing is clear – in today’s chaotic, demanding, high energy, noisy world, this practice can be challenging! Many people spend a good part of their meditation practice just trying to stop the constant chatter and relax the body enough to try to quiet and slow the mind. Is this something you have experienced? The challenge is that it undermines what should be a relaxing experience with feelings of frustration. So much so, that this frustration adds to the already high stress and anxiety levels that are so common in our culture. This defeats the purpose of meditation. As a result, many give up trying.
The good news is that there is a way to support meditative practice and promote personal growth. Many are discovering the positive relationship between cannabis and spirituality. Specifically, how cannabis can enhance the practice of meditation through creative and divergent thinking.
Challenges of Meditation in Today’s Hectic World and How Cannabis Can Help
Cannabis has been deeply ingrained in the history and culture of civilizations around the world for centuries. According to historical reports from many cultures and spiritual practices, meditation is more effective when combined with cannabis. Individually, cannabis and meditation have similar effects on mind, body, and spirit. There are numerous accounts that say combining the two, in a purposeful and intentional way amplifies these positive effects.
Cannabis has been used for centuries by religious groups in India to enhance meditation practices and to reach a state of stillness. Taoists in China believed using cannabis gave them the ability to alter time and reveal future events. Several religious sects in South Asia, including Shaivites, Nath’s and Buddhists, have introduced cannabis into their meditation rituals. They believe the combination brings heightened awareness, because cannabis can help to slow the mind and assist in entering a state of deep, contemplative stillness.
The Rastafarian culture believes cannabis to be the key to self-understanding, self- awareness and to increase their understanding of the universe. According to studies smoking cannabis or “ganja” is a principal ritual in the culture. When smoked in this context Rastas often refer to it as “the holy herb”. They also believe cannabis to induce feelings of peace and love, thus enhancing their strong sense of community.
Carl Sagan, one of the most insightful and well-known astronomers in North America wrote an essay in the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered titled Mr. X. He described in detail the awakening of his social consciousness. He articulated how the cannabis experience gave him a heightened sensitivity in all areas of his life, greatly improving his appreciation for art and music for example and giving him a feeling of a spiritual union with his surroundings (http://marijuana-uses.com/mr-x/). These are just a few of the many historical examples of how cannabis, when used purposefully, can open a wider range of perceptions and heightened emotional and physical senses.
Science can now explain how cannabis enhances spirituality, supporting centuries of anecdotal evidence. Heightened sensory perception is one of the known effects of using cannabis. Cannabis facilitates relaxation, awareness, clarity and expands creativity and insight, which allows for deeper awareness. This can lead to enhanced spiritual consciousness. These features are also desired outcomes of meditation. Recent studies have uncovered ways that cannabis interacts with the brain to stimulate spiritual awareness through the enhancement of creativity and divergent thinking.
Creative Drive and Creative Divergent Thinking
Here’s how it works. Cannabis increases blood flow to the pre-frontal cortex, located at the front of the brain. This is where emotions, problem-solving, reasoning, and planning are managed. This area also accesses information stored in other parts of the brain. With increased creativity we can use the information to make new discoveries.
The frontal lobe is also responsible for stimulating our creative drive and creative thinking. Cannabis use promotes creativity by increasing blood flow to this area of the brain. Creativity requires the connection of images, ideas or memories stored in the brain that seem unrelated. Cannabis accelerates this connection.
Divergent thinking is the foundation for creativity. It stimulates our ability to think outside the box without being limited by normal, conceptual boundaries. In essence it encourages connections between ideas that would otherwise be left unconnected.
Increased Dopamine Level
Cannabis use is also known to increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It causes neurons to fire, which activates physiological effects. Dopamine release triggers feelings of euphoria and promotes creative thinking by lessening our inhibition and encouraging original thoughts (Flaherty, 2005).
Another of dopamine’s effects is a heightened awareness of colours, sounds and feelings of the world around us. The effect of cannabis on creative thinking can be likened to a psychological awakening, motivated by unique, out of the box ideas that are already within us, but are commonly untapped.
More blood flow to the brain = more brain activity.
More brain activity = more creativity.
More creativity = more creative divergent thinking.
More creative divergent thinking = more spiritual exploration.
While we can generalize how the process works, it is important to remember that cannabis affects everyone in a different way. This is based on several factors including the type of cannabis used (THC, CBD, hybrid) the dosage, experience with cannabis, how it is consumed (smoked, edible, concentrate) age, and body weight. Cannabis together with meditation has many positive outcomes when it is used thoughtfully. This means finding the cultivar that is right for you, your goal and purposefully choosing the right dosage to achieve your desired results. It is recommended that you ask and questions about the best options and choices for you from a knowledgeable cannabis professional.
Science shows us how thoughtful and intentional cannabis use can enhance our ability to relax, become more insightful, and go deeper spiritually, all of which are desired outcomes of meditative practice. Combining cannabis and meditative practice amplifies our ability to think creatively, and experience divergent thinking. This produces heightened levels of insight, which can result in heightened levels of consciousness and mindfulness.
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