Contrary to urban myth, marijuana is not a magical doorway to higher consciousness. It’s a drug. And that’s okay. I live in “Potland,” Oregon where cannabis was legalized in 2015. This isn’t a rant against weed. It’s an honest dialogue for yogis who are serious in their practice to give thought about why and how they recreationally use marijuana.
There are many reasons for developing a yoga practice, spiritual growth is one of them. How yoga can assist us spiritually depends on which path we are following. Not everyone’s spiritual practice is affected in the same way through yoga, though everyone can benefit physically, mentally and emotionally from yoga.
Cannabis messes with the body/mind connection. It creates a dissociated state that interferes with spiritual growth and well-being.
The essential problem with cannabis is that it creates a split between body and soul. This is something that can be detected with subtle sensing. Those unfamiliar with this type of sensing may dismiss it as whack-a-doodle nonsense, but folks had a hard time believing the world was round. Stay with me.
Marijuana proponents are quick to offer how chillaxed the drug makes them, in contrast, to say, alcohol drinkers who tend to be more boisterous. While this can be true, it doesn’t validate the use of a substance that creates an energetically fragmented condition. The fractured aura of smokers keeps them peaceful, but at a price. That fuzzy energy field inhibits fully feeling emotions. When you understand this, it offers a less benign image.
When people have adverse emotions or thoughts – such as boredom, sadness, doubt, loneliness – they want to escape and there are many ways to do this. One can drink alcohol, eat junk food, or surf the net. They can sex it, shop it and they can smoke it away. The difference between cannabis and the other forms of distraction, is that the spiritual problems last longer.
The impact smoking has on emotional and spiritual growth is still in its infancy, though more yogis are speaking out. Proponents report feeling peaceful when they smoke, but they aren’t transcending their pain in a useful way. The escape is fleeting. Sooner or later, it will return. Consequently, the tamping of unwanted emotions may explain the psychologically addictive quality of marijuana.
The belief that weed helps “take the edge off” is a euphemism that hides the emotional discomfort consumers seek to avoid. To be fair, it takes a great deal of courage and determination to work through discontent. Unfortunately, smoking doesn’t build courage and determination. That requires the soul and personality coming together to reside within a coherent whole.
Harmonizing mind, body and spirit is the key to being aligned with your true self. Anything that muddies your energy is slowing your progress. Better to be clear in your perception – even if this involves challenging emotions — rather than hide in a fragmented experience of self.
When your soul, or wise self, is integrated with your body, you become more conscious about how you treat your body. Clearing obstructions makes room for spirit to shine through, which provides the energy to confront deeper issues. Weed short-circuits spiritual empowerment by disrupting connection between mind and body.
Another concern is that getting high can mimic spiritual awakening. That’s due to the psychoactive compound THC. Many of THC’s reinforcing effects are mediated by the dopamine system. THC increases the release of dopamine and serotonin, which feels great. Even the anticipation of smoking can release these chemicals. The downside is that long-term use is associated with a blunting of the dopamine system. Gradually, the body’s ability to make this natural, feel-good chemical diminishes – which may explain why high doses of THC are linked to depression. Which is not so great.
To understand what happens on an energetic level, imagine a person with a narrow view. Such a person might find that weed helps them see beyond their limited scope. Thats impressive, almost mystical. It even suggests that marijuana might be a consciousness expanding substance. The “problem” is that weed does expand perspective, to a point. It gives people an open view. Until it doesn’t.
When a substance keeps you at an intermediate level of consciousness, you’ll always be chemically limited from attaining higher states of realization. To better understand this, imagine a range of consciousness between one and ten. One represents a narrow perspective, while ten represents a broad perspective. A person at level one or two could go to level three or four with the help of marijuana. They might be quite pleased by this elevated shift. They would say their consciousness has been expanded, that they feel more creative, open and free.
It’s a convincing argument, until you realize that weed is keeping them from going beyond level four. This is the elephant in the room that spiritual seeking smokers would rather not talk about. Again, I’m not against consumption. It’s been lifesaving for many. This is about the impact. Clarity of mind is key component of spiritual development and weed interferes with that.
The ability to sense, name and locate your energy blocks is vital to self-healing.
The popular claim that marijuana generates peacefulness is based on a restricted idea of what peace is. Peace is not merely the absence of strife or violence. If there were no other options for attaining inner peace, or for dealing with your emotions, then the assumption might be valid. But there are, in fact, many options:
– Learning to feel your feelings is a powerful teacher that builds strength. It’s not easy and rarely fun, but when you gently breathe through your feelings you discover that you are stronger than your fears.
– Learning to question negative self-talk stops the mental and emotional loops. Learning to talk to yourself in an empowering way puts you, metaphorically, in the driver’s seat. Which beats the heck out of riding shotgun with your id at the wheel.
– Learning to move and exercise, by whatever means you choose, gives you an option to raise your vibration every single day.
– Learning to meditate and visualize helps you discover your true spiritual identity. Additionally, spiritual practices empower you to live in alignment with your true self. When you observe the world from a deeper wisdom, it naturally follows that your actions will as well.
Another spiritual concern with marijuana is that it can cause users to get stuck in their heads, endlessly looping thoughts and ideas. It’s hard enough to reign in the mind when one is calm and clear-headed. But for the smokin’ yogi, it’s nearly impossible. You can bend and twist to your heart’s content, but your ability to connect more deeply within will be hindered by the ego’s ceaseless chatter.
If you’re thinking “This sucks!” know that spiritual integrity is something you develop over time. We can’t float our way there in a cloud of smoke. It’s a daily practice. And just as we build muscles through daily exercise, we can build spiritual strength by cultivating daily awareness.
Choice = Freedom
No matter where we are in our personal development, we can choose to move in a healthier direction. If you’re already making better choices, you know how less-than-best ones interfere with your energy. For the soul-seeking yogi, this may require taking a hard look at a well-loved habit.
Please know that from the viewpoint of spiritual practice, whoever or whatever pushes us to our edge, is our teacher. The struggles we have with addiction and distraction are the exact place where the deepest learning takes place. We just need to be open to seeing it.
When you do, you get a sense of what it means to live in alignment with your best self. You literally feel nature (spirit/soul/essence) buzzing within you. That vibration is the sensation of being alive in the deepest sense of the word.
Addiction is real and it comes in many forms. If you struggle, there is help. Reach out to friends. Join a support group. Find a therapist. You have the power to change your life.