2017 is an interesting time to be alive. We have technology that is nearly physically attached to us most of our waking hours, cars have begun to drive themselves and if you work hard enough at it, anybody can be famous. The wave of information that crashes over us on a daily basis can be exhausting even when you don't realize it. The constant input of what is happening in every part of the world, the non-stop notifications that let you know how valuable you are, it all can become a bit much to handle.
If you read that first paragraph and you are thinking “what is this guy talking about? I'm not overwhelmed I love my Instagram”, take a minute, turn your phone off, laptop, tablet, TV whatever it is, turn it off, go outside and just sit down. Look around and observe what is around you, listen intently. I guarantee the wind won't blow you notifications about North Korea or Likes. All of that, in fact, becomes obsolete when you step outside and just witness things in nature reacting to the wind. None of it matters, the trees will still rustle their leaves when the breeze blows and will still sit still when it doesn't. A tree lives this way for years, sometimes lifetimes beyond our own. Regardless of the surrounds the tree just remains a tree, in its own moment, simply being. Once again you may start to wonder what I could possibly be onto, I sound like one of the hippies off 16th street in Denver trying to get you to give me a dollar.
Before you quit on me because I am sounding too “woo-woo”, let me explain. A morning meditation practice not only changes your day but if done on a regular basis can change your life. Many hear the word meditation and feel a certain apprehension, even those that feel they understand it cannot see themselves doing it. Admittedly it isn't an easy concept to come around to. Without any sort of yoga or isolation tank practice in your past, you probably haven't given it much thought.
There are many different types of meditation, and schools of thought around each, but practicers agree, the results of meditation are difficult to argue with. One could liken meditation to bicep curls for the brain. The mental strength that comes from practicing meditation is undeniable. Just like bicep curls, you don't start heavy, in the case of meditation you probably won't meditate long or very well early on. Just like bicep curls, you build strength over time and after a month or so you start to notice some changes. Before then you may even notice a calmness during the day that was rooted in a morning's practice. Either way, as with anything else one works at, once you see these changes start it is quite hard to find a reason to stop.
The pre-meditation cannabis session is highly recommended. It can both aid you in getting into the moment as well enhance your overall experience. A common complaint among inexperienced mediators is that they don't feel as if they are doing it right. Cannabis is a great way to ease into meditation, especially for a novice. A little ganja can completely change the experience. Smoking pre-meditation is probably one of the main reasons I stuck with it even when things seemed hard or to be going nowhere.
There are many different types of meditation, and they all have slightly different effects, but all in all a meditation practice is a meditation practice and it really doesn't matter which kind of meditation you start your day with as long as it works for you.
My personal favorite to start off the day is box-breathing. box-breathing is a process of breathing in a controlled manner in order to slow down the breath. While I find a mindfulness practice useful, I struggle to curate a focus early in the morning. Box-breathing forces such a focus on the breath that it pulls you into the moment on its own. From there a truly relaxing practice allows one to start the day off on the right foot. Being in control of your breath and being in the moment is such a different way to start the day than most people have it truly is life changing. In a day and age where everyone is obsessed with taking care of their bodies through fitness and good nutrition, many of us forget to take care of our minds.
Meditation isn't simply bicep curls for the brain, it is a mental cleanse. One can learn a lot through meditation about mental anguish and how even the seemingly constant stresses can be eased if one only truly focuses on the here and now. Many of us simply fear our own thoughts, the idea of sitting there with them with no distractions is stressful within itself. One of the main purposes of meditation is to learn how to let these thoughts go without holding onto them and remain in the moment. Nothing happens without practice, and if you never try at some point these thoughts will come back to you anyways. Part of living an active and healthy lifestyle is taking care of your mental health as well.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety, depression, and insomnia I can attest to the importance of learning to be with yourself in the moment, regardless of your fears. While many to drown these things out, meditation is a way to instead accept and move on to the next moment. I used medical marijuana to get off a pharmacy's worth of prescription drugs that were supposed to help, but instead only made things worse. It took years to build up the courage to sit down and meditate, and with the help of marijuana, I was not only able to do it but truly embrace it. Meditation changed my life, and I know there are a lot of people out there that struggle with similar things that I did. Being nearly biologically connected to our technological devices it is hard not to get lost in the hectic way of this fast-paced life. Everyone is stressed out to some degree, and yet very few people go out of their way to simply take a moment and try to root themselves. If everyone in the world started their day with a meditation practice we'd be living in a very different world.
Marijuana isn't the only meditation enhancer out there either, various forms of aromatherapy can be a significant addition to your practice. Personally, I like to burn incense while I meditate, on top of smelling lovely incense is also very calming.
I can't promise it'll change your life the way it did mine, but in the very least it can change a few bad days. I urge you to try it, smoke a bowl if you like, sit down and enjoy the moment. I'll post a link below the box-breathing practice that I do on a regular basis if anyone is interested in trying it. If you do, leave a comment below letting me know how it went.