photo: Torben Hansen on flickr

photo: Torben Hansen on flickr

Dear Meli,

I am a fan of marijuana. I like it a lot! As a matter of fact, I use it almost every day. I am also a fan of spirituality. In fact, I meditate almost every day. I don’t see a contradiction between my use of pot and my spiritual practice. Others, however, do. Most notably my girlfriend. Ultimately, I know that it’s not up to her, but it does cause some friction between us. She thinks marijuana takes me out of a connection with Spirit, but I think it deepens it. What do you think?

Toking in Tucson


Dear Toking,

This brings to mind a memory for me, so forgive me while I tell you a little story on the way to my answer.

When I was in college, I smoked pot every day. I was majoring in both Psychology and Music and I used to practice classical piano about 4-6 hours a day. I was also singing in a band.

One night, I was hanging out with the guys from the band after rehearsal, and we got high. I was talking about how amazing my classical playing was when I was high. How I felt an entirely different level of connection between the music and my heart and my fingers. At their request, I played a bit of the piece I was working on at the time.

Unbeknownst to me, one of them recorded my playing. The next day, they gave me the recording.

Much to my surprise, it was terrible! The music was disconnected and awful.

How had I had been so wrong about my playing while high?

When we partake, our sense of self is altered. Our sense of everything outside of us is also altered. Indeed, our senses, themselves, are altered.

I see now that I was not able to judge how my playing was because I (my full normal self, if you will) was not actually present.

This is one possibility of what could be happening for you in your spiritual practice.

This said, it’s also possible that you really connect more fully. Who am I to say?

But if you take the possibility of my theory – and add to it that your partaking is creating friction between you and your girlfriend – might that not be something to consider? If it truly isn’t a big deal to you, then go without. See how that is for you. Try abstaining for a month or two, and see how your connection feels when you’re straight in your practice.

My guess is that after a few weeks or months, you will be amazed at the connection you discover. But I won’t go so far as to promise. Still, if that is a possibility, and it would also be a good thing for your relationship, perhaps it’s worth a shot?

As someone who is now 25+ years sober – because I could not stop smoking pot without others to support me – I know this might be a challenge. If you’re not one of those people, this trial would be a breeze. But if you find it difficult, it may be that you could have a dependency issue.

If this is the case, the smoking is probably keeping you from feeling all kinds of things! And feeling things can be very helpful in giving us information about choices we make.

Give it a try and see how it is for you. Abstaining from pot smoking has been one of the most valuable gifts in my entire life! I wish all this good for you too, however it may show up!


Do you have any stories about drugs and spiritual practice? Share them below!

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