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Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/16/18 9:44 AM
Kind and thoughtful folks of the DhO:

Life has been pointing for some time to the possibility that the use of what I consider a mild entheogen - "High grade" cannabis and its concentrates, is contributing to the detriment of both life and Path, and possibly Mastery of aforementioned.

We're 10 days out stopping cold turkey, and what has been seen so far, is that hypnogogic experience (dreams) have become much more vivid.

This is not the first correlative series of observations along these lines, as there would be the need (over the last 6 years of almost daily use) to occasionally take a few weeks off in order to deplete the receptors, which had been stacked to the limit and within such absorption, the ability of said substance to be effective in providing its "rewards" were diminished almost to the zero point. I would often observe myself exercising more during those "stop" periods in order to drive even more THC out of the fat cells in order to increase the benefit when it was time to repopulate them again during "smoking phases."

Once I was browsing YouTube and (for some reason) clicked on a "Sadguru" video wherein (to make a long video concise) he basically stated that the main downside of the substance is that it can leave the user unable (after a time) to deal with life's emotional ups and downs. Resisting the urge to go on some useless patronizing tangent regarding Anicca, I will just say -- Sadguru or not -- "True dat!"

Not only this, but after 6 years of heavy use of about every popular high grade strain...the boon of Concentration that "you" may see at the outset, may well dimish or disappear...being replaced by a twitchy quasi ADHD/ADD style default attention set, which sucks for meditations which are unitive or partite in nature.

In my experience, this is undesirable. It has led to problems in a nearly 20 year happy relationship, extreme disappointment to my hard working, loving spiritual teacher, and other detriments. Yet I'm not trying to demonize usage of pot. Just reporting the experience here.

Often I would note the mind justifying continued use over the months, even as it let go of other cravings, vices, and attachments saying, "Ah see how wonderful weed is, you are dropping everything else...why not keep this, like Nisargadatta did his cigs."

For "me", this has turned out to be special pleading, and a way to maintain a dangerous gap to progress while resting in a false security made of a foundation of sand. Torture and more fodder for endless cycles. Perhaps some day something like this could be enjoyed in moderation, but for now one has certainly "worn it out" long ago. Ram Dass or someone once said to drop stuff like that once it has provided whatever help you think it may have done (such as possible prevented dangerous decomp at times during Patisankha Nyana). For me, this is that time.

I understand results and opinions on this issue vary greatly as it should be, especially in this Western climate of debate over things such as decriminalization, etc. So here is just one perspective. 

Another opinion partially based on experience: THC -- for this case, a boon to jhana early on....a major bane to jhana later. Not saying Jhana is the "goal" of anything regarding spiritual practice, but many see it this way, so perhaps this is something to consider, I can't say.

If I haven't made it clear, the worst effect was that on the Sila front -- Acting like a spoiled little baby for much longer than was needed prior to seeing that this was the case via Mindfulness whenever the weed blanky wasn't there. Not good for me, maybe fine for other folks. Not me, not mine, but not nice. 

One of the ways I would falsely justify this behavior being "well within the parameters of the 5 preceipts for lay practitioners of Vipassana" was the notion that, "I'm not intoxicated while using this, I still practice, work hard, usually no Torpidity, and there are plenty of vibrations to 'bust'" I have been seeing through that bull here for some time, and am now acting on it. I am "the bull" and this stuff causes me to slip off my own saddle and hit the floor hard. Cycles within cycles within Meta-cycles.

If you are someone who is running this "experiment" take heart and stay mindful. Your experience will be yours and I understand that many people's set and setting variation makes for much multivariant results. I am merely sharing mine, and do not intimate judgement upon the substance, myself or others currently using it. I am in favor of anything anyone wants to do that doesn't intentionally harm "other", but with my experience, that did not seem to be clearly the case. I am certainly in favor of decriminalization of course. 

Metta.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/17/18 5:40 PM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
...and today, 12 days in, "I" have mindfully failed again. Perhaps tomorrow will start the count anew. If no one cares to read such journaling, please let me know and I will shut it.

Honestly yours in Goodwill and Humility.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 11:40 AM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
If you failed mindfully, what were you mindful of immediately before making this decision that you regret? Those moments before we give in to our compulsions are usually very fruitful to investigate. Why does this pattern exist and how exactly does it play out? Can you deconstruct the experience and learn from it?

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 11:42 AM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
If I am going to do something, I am going to do it with self-honesty and try not to pick up guilt (having seen the price of that type of deception). That behavior can be easy to grasp as neurosis, as most of you wiser than myself have probably discovered.

Post seeing the fundanmental Insights mapped in vehicles such as Mahasi's, the preceipts come alive, as Conditionality of every action is viewed via spacious clarity. Prior to that, if used as a catylst for guilt, from my lay-point of view, worrying/suffering over precept incurtion constantly has been a hinderance in the practice/life here.

A possible discovery is that holding "jhana" (whatever the degree/distinction or spot on the "X" domain you define it) as something to be guilty about experiencing lead to grasping for the more habitual patterns for trying to find a "pleasant abiding in the here and now". There's a trap for me.

Re-adoption of rule-based behavior for life whatever the stimuli -- Trap? ...

Attachment to states/addition can be challenging, even while seemingly experiencing them as delusion, pattern remains.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 11:59 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
If you failed mindfully, what were you mindful of immediately before making this decision that you regret? Those moments before we give in to our compulsions are usually very fruitful to investigate. Why does this pattern exist and how exactly does it play out? Can you deconstruct the experience and learn from it?

I am currently spending 24/7 caring for a dying relative, as well as supporting a wife working full time in the medical field. In addition, I have had Cancer twice (lobectomy after Spindle Cell Sarcome of the Left Lung, then a few years later removal of Renal Cell Carcinoma in my Right Kidney). In 2000 and 2001 respectively I spent ~1 month in a mental institution. A couple years "cancer free" so far tho..

So that is not to paint the picture of a victim, I've had a wonderful life, it's just that I'm still getting lots of lab tests on my own body on the regular, and am dealing with more than the usual in with logistics. I am high energy mentally, so pot was something of a crutch at first to fight monkey mind. Now I see that it is an impediment to having a baseline set emotionally. 

I think traditionally the primary pattern is Feel Needy/lonely/socially or existentially isolated=====>smoke, feel less lonely. Wife working, me unable for several years. Even some "spiritual materialsim" persuit patterns in meditative practice due to same type of pattern. Part of personality.

What caused the breakdown yesterday (yes, "failure" is way too harsh and reveals judgement) was simply my wife saying, "you need to smoke." after admitting that a recent dramatic altercation between us was partly scripted by her expectation of bad behavior from "me" prior to actually observing any in the present moment.

So it's a bunch of complex stuff. I think Nasargadatta said, "If you can see something you think you are responsible fore, then you are." or something similar to that. I agree, and I think my first step here is just to accept all the behavior so I can continue the "seeing" of the whole gory mess.

As for now, have to actually go to a Nephrologist's appointment. Funny I know...noting an impulse to quote Bart Simpson. Luckily, not me, not mine. Thanks for caring enough to be critical/question, and I am attempting to allow your advise to implement in experience.

Metta.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 3:06 PM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
I'm sorry you have so much on your plate--plenty of totally understandable reasons there for wanting chemical help.

Have you considered simply moderating usage rather than going from heavy use to none? I've known people for whom this has worked well. Certainly, you can always cut it out completely later, but this might be a more realistic goal for you at present.

Also, feelings of neediness/loneliness/social or existential isolation might potentially be addressed via some kind of social support. Do you have a therapist you can talk these things over with? Perhaps a charitable organization you could volunteer for? A gym you could join? Something to that effect. Being a fulltime caregiver for a dying relative is an incredibly difficult position to be in and it's really important that you get out of the house and attend to your own needs as well. Things like getting enough sunshine and exercise might seem small, but the truth is we fare poorly when we neglect these requirements.

Best wishes working through your difficulty.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 3:26 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
I'm sorry you have so much on your plate--plenty of totally understandable reasons there for wanting chemical help.

Have you considered simply moderating usage rather than going from heavy use to none? I've known people for whom this has worked well. Certainly, you can always cut it out completely later, but this might be a more realistic goal for you at present.

Also, feelings of neediness/loneliness/social or existential isolation might potentially be addressed via some kind of social support. Do you have a therapist you can talk these things over with? Perhaps a charitable organization you could volunteer for? A gym you could join? Something to that effect. Being a fulltime caregiver for a dying relative is an incredibly difficult position to be in and it's really important that you get out of the house and attend to your own needs as well. Things like getting enough sunshine and exercise might seem small, but the truth is we fare poorly when we neglect these requirements.

Best wishes working through your difficulty.

Yes, taking care of all these personal needs and doing the appropriate time management to keep priority in perspective is a major challenge.

In my view I had arrived at relative moderation, and the issue came up with some drama that my wife and I both had a hand in projecting.
We are healing, and all I can do is hope that she continues to be as accepting of my bad habits and patterns as I try my best to be with hers. Patience, in my view is the ultimate Parami/Paramita, and I have a long way to go.

Metta is worth something (actually it is limitless) so thank you so much. It keeps going, since I now have a decent set of datas to look at from the Nephrologist and a few numbers are up a bit...so I wasn't without the ability to acknowledge my own needs and see positive results.

Having arrived (somewhat) intact albeit only partially mature, at middle age, I have a few friends that put up with the personality. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my rambling post and show Compassion and present thoughtful strategies.

What I feel like I lack, is a peer group of local meditators, so if I'm not too yappy, I may find a few here. I hold all and especially those patient individuals who volunteer to teach us meditation with the utmost respect. I can get excited, then the mind goes out. No personal or other offense is ever intended, and I can only write as well as skill allows. I'm working on shutting up when I see it running out. 

All my Goodwill for your kind advice.

RE: Letting go of Cannabis...
Answer
7/18/18 4:31 PM as a reply to I Dream of Jnani.
To make simple, the status right now is that while I see that life would be stronger without resorting to a crutch in sense pleasure, the same thing applies to eating meat. Idealy, I would prefer being able to be a vegetarian, but I have to eat what and when I can, which can sometims include meat. No guilt, but acknowledgement of what's happeing.

Right now the bottom line is continuing to take all the proper meds, eat enough, and get proper sleep every night. 

The trick is to not keep doing this kind of reasoning forever, when things are easier, for example.

So chemical help gets called into question, and has been for months now. Timing just couldn't be worse here sometimes.  emoticon

Metta.