New discovery: Why people smoke weed.

Lest you believe my discovery of why people smoke weed is an over-generalisation, be aware that it may not apply to you. It only applies to people who smoke weed a lot, all the time, not for medical reasons, and not because they’re insane.

Although, maybe it applies to those people too. Perhaps they can let me know.

There is the inevitable admission to go along with this that yes I have smoked weed. Who hasn’t? (Not many, that’s for sure.) I have smoked it at home, I have smoked it alone, I have smoked it while bushwalking, I have smoked it while doing mundane things. I have also smoked it leaning over the steering wheel of a car, cranking along at 120 kph along the Coorong.**

And I haven’t smoked it since well before I turned 30. I grew out of it; most people do. And of those who continue, they tend to fall into two camps: Those who smoke it for medical relief, and those who have mental health issues. This is my observation of humanity coming into play. I don’t know one person who smokes regularly, and for leisure, who is over the age of 30, who doesn’t have mental health issues. Take from that what you will.

I discovered today that the functional state of having ‘taken the edges off’ with pot is an exact replica of the state of true mindfulness.

It is the state in which you are aware of your body in its entirety. You are supremely focused on doing just one thing, even if that one thing requires you to be dexterous and alert. It is a state of heightened mind, paired with an aware body.

Now, let’s be clear that ‘an aware body’ isn’t just being aware that you exist. It’s knowing, and feeling, exactly what every part of you is doing and feeling, all at the same time – with precision. It’s a situation in which movement also becomes very precise, because you only do what you need to do in order to achieve … whatever it is you are doing.

In my case, I was making a cup of tea.

Importantly, the state of mindfulness – and that state of focus that comes only after having smoked weed – is a state wherein your mind is absent of chatter. Why would you talk to yourself constantly if you are focused entirely on what you are doing? It’s almost impossible to do that; in fact, it’s why so many people advocate mindfulness to start with. Become mindful, stop talking to yourself constantly.

Your mind will take any opportunity to start talking to you again, of course. When the realisation of the connection dawned on me, my mind started jabbering away like an idiot. Of course. I had to calmly file the idea for this article and continue on.

Those new to mindfulness practice get disheartened by the resumption of chatter. It’s silly; better is to recognise when you drop into a state and recreate it as often as possible. Efficient practice of mindfulness helps you to redirect your attention to more important things more easily. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

Once I recognised the state, I actively recreated it while driving. It’s a lot like driving on your own for the first time: Remember just how much attention you paid on that first solo drive?

If you have ever been 100% attentive on something, you will know exactly how much more quickly you get things done, and how much better than usual you did them. This is true for everything from work to sex.

That state of mindful focus is quite amazing. Not only is it a worry-free zone; and not only does it make you uber-efficient; it also makes you feel extremely capable. It enables you to test your physical capabilities on the tiniest scale (how much effort is really necessary to hold an object? Much less than you imagine it does!); it helps you do things with clarity, and skill.

Naturally, these things make you feel good about yourself, too.

I can hear you thinking that it’s just much easier to do if you have drugs to push you there; and if you can be like this a lot, then that’s awesome right?**

I don’t agree. It’s much more satisfying without drugs. If I can get myself to that state by switching my attention, and you have to fart about with illegal substances, pay for it, have all the right paraphernalia, and still have to smoke it and hope it’s any good, then there’s no contest, right?



** Author’s Note: I don’t condone smoking pot. I am also not a marijuana apologist. I had blissful experiences smoking it, and godawful ones. In fact, I find that those who smoke weed a lot tend to be socially inept and, more often than not, are boring, one-track people who get stuck in a groove and never get out. Having said that, it’s not my issue if you smoke weed – so if you’re thinking I’m having a go at you, that is your big deal, not mine (ahem, paranoid). And if you think I’m advocating it, that’s also your issue and not mine. Take from this post what you will.

On Genius

Over cider last night I had a rather enjoyable conversation with a young man whom many consider a genius. He ostensibly enjoys convos with me because I ‘get it’; does that make me a genius?

It made me consider the nature of genius. True, there are those whose mental processing is faster and clearer than the rest of us. But I think that those who focus strongly in one area are just as capable of being considered a genius as the others.

The genius factor is not so much a clear intelligence, as it is a willingness to accept that radical ideas can be possible. This requires two things. The first is an ability to see (or accept and grasp a flash of insight that enables you to see) connections between things that other people either don’t see or choose to ignore.  The second is an enquiring mind that is not restricted by usual paradigms.

One can have an enquiring mind and be completely restrained by paradigmatic belief, which is going to stop you from exploring radical ideas.

One can also have radical ideas, and an enquiring mind existing in the right conditions,  but an unwillingness to grasp a thought opportunity.

The greatest thinkers of humanity have always advocated thought experiments,  time with radical ideas, grasping and writing what they learn. It is not so much that they channel things from the universe as that they read (or explore) enough in a field to allow their minds to make tenuous connections.

In many cases, if those tenuous connections were ignored – or, worse, laughingly dismissed – nothing would come of them.

Yet that feeling when your brain starts to connect things – and you see a big picture something all at once – is something that’s hard to ignore. I’ve been struck by it and sat down to write theory for fourteen hours at a stretch. This fella I had cider with has been struck by it while sleeping and written it down so it won’t be lost.

So if you aren’t capturing those insights you have, I’m not sure why not. Possibly the feeling freaks you out and you write it off as anxiety, and go take medication instead.

The risk is that those who “don’t write” can talk about their philosophies, theories, and predictions, but they won’t go anywhere. The rule is to write.

And in writing, you free your mind of those connections, creating space for more of them.

Allow me to quote Michaelaneglo, in amongst whose papers was a note to his apprentice:

Draw, Antonio, draw, Antonio, draw and do not waste time.