Letting Go to Embrace Legal Pot
By Ben Livingston
Regardless of how you voted on I-502, the law belongs to us all. That is not to say the law is perfect, nor that you must dispel your concern about undesirable baggage carried aboard the legal pot train. It is to say we are all welcome, we have critical work ahead and we would do well to promote healing in the cannabis community. Here are 10 practices to aid in that journey.
1. Now is the Time
Living for the now requires letting go of the past—like that misplaced gram of hash. Easier said than done, but saying it may be a simple path to doing it. Recognize that the present moment is the only time we know and you’re on the way to letting go, regardless of how much baggage you carry.
2. Forgiveness is Revolutionary
Few things are as powerful as the act of forgiveness. Forgiveness helps us release shackles we string up inside ourselves—similar to the chains the feds slap on pot-prisoners. Be assured you will never feel worse off or weaker after letting go of resentment and allowing yourself the freedom of forgiving.
3. Short-Term Memory Loss is Preventative Medicine
One of the benefits of cannabis is to aid in short-term memory loss. Raphael Mechoulam, the scientist who isolated THC in 1964 and anandamide in 1992, explained the benefit of forgetting in a quote from “Botany of Desire,” “Do you really want to remember all the faces you saw in the subway this morning, all the faces in the supermarket?”
Forgetting is a survival strategy—a feature not a bug. If we constantly remembered past experience and emotion, we could scarcely reserve processing space for the immediate now. Embrace cannabis as a sacramental path to freeing this processor space.
4. Cultivate Mindful Speech
The Five Precepts form a guiding rule set to help avoid life taking, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech and unmindful consumption. Help promote right speech in the 420 community with the Fourth Mindfulness Training from Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh:
“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. ...”
5. Nobody Cares How You Voted
Unless you’re constantly talking about your 2012 general election ballot, nobody knows how you voted. What’s more, nobody cares. Whether you’re out and proud or closeted about your electoral preferences, realize that Evergreen Staters don’t ask and don’t tell, and even if you did tell, they got high and forgot.
6. Ask Questions Openly
The ability to confidently question oneself cultivates fearlessness. This leads to a more pure ability to ask questions in general. If you want honest answers, question simply and honestly while opening the heart and mind to the idea of receiving graciously.
7. Quiet the Mind
Meditation is perhaps the most trusted path toward letting go. Work on detaching the mind from conscious thoughts and you will create infinite space to accept the peculiar experience of being. Meditation takes many forms—yoga, seated practice, outdoor walks—but generally starts with a focus on breathing, one of the most core life functions. When thoughts inevitably rise, push them aside and return focus to the breath, deeply inhaling and intentionally exhaling.
8. Your Issues Remain
Issues like cannabis DUI, possession by minors and home grow are still valid concerns for cannabis advocates, and we need positive energy contributions to this work now more than ever. If we honestly care, we do not have the luxury of throwing in the towel after the election, win or lose. Consider the possibility that your energy and effort may be magnified in such an environment, concentrated like you ran electoral butane through it.
9. Don’t Be Left Behind
History will not wait for you; it is happening now. Those who pooh-pooh the unique legalization process we have undertaken will not be recorded in that history, their sentiment will count for little. Nobody’s going to beg you to show up, and you can bet others aren’t thinking twice about attending the state’s legal pot party. Involve yourself.
10. Accept a Paradigm Shift
Our reality exists in the mind, and changing that reality is as simple as shifting the mind—however simple that may be. Cultivate an openness to change and we begin to accept change as inevitable and good. Practice knowing that all of us are equally entitled to embrace this legal-pot paradigm shift.