What Is Mindful Toking?
The how and why of practicing it.
Is mindfulness just a fad or is there something to it? Let’s smoke on it!
What does it mean to be mindful? Synonyms to this word include, “attentive”, “observant” and my favorite “heedful.” Yes, being mindful is simply being present. Becoming acutely aware of awareness. It’s a freakishly simple activity that can produce some profound life altering changes in the lives of practitioners.
Yes – there are millions of people who actively practice sitting still, with their eyes closed and simply observing reality from this perspective. Some people find it difficult, however. Mindfulness is the kind of thing that just sort of “happens." It’s not about trying but more just about getting comfortable and waiting for nothing to happen. Allowing all thought and noise to continue as usual, life to unfold without your interference.
It's about letting go
You’re simply allowing whatever is going on “to exist” and opting out of active participation. You let go of the handle bars, close your eyes – and experience whatever is happening in and around you.
This is mindfulness in its basic form. However, some people find this incredibly difficult to do. It’s not entirely their fault either – this hyper-digitalized world has created expectation for quick returns. Practicing mindfulness is about the process and not so much about the results. You are simply engaging in a different “mode” of consciousness – one that many people never engage with during their entire lives. For those that can’t “shut down the mind," mindfulness doesn’t have to be so extreme either.
You can begin to train your mind to be more mindful by incorporating it in certain acts in your life. For example, taking a “mindful walk” means to become acutely observant on everything that is happening in your body as you are walking. Each step, each movement, focusing in on the subtle sensations in your body and mind. Becoming aware of where your thoughts drift to, where your emotions linger – and simply tuning everything out to become observant of the walk.
You can do this with eating, showering and even breathing. You can even do it with smoking cannabis!
Learning how to take a mindful toke
So how would you go about taking a mindful toke? There really isn’t a “right” way to do this, but let me help paint a picture in your mind. If I wanted to maximize the experience – and I’m someone who have been meditating for a while now – here’s how I’d do it.
Take a breather
If you want to maximize the experience of mindfulness toking, you’ll want to prepare yourself properly. Start by abstaining weed for about a week. I know some of you will say something like, “A week without toking weed!” of which I’d response – “YES!”
Seven days is a light detox – it’s a week of sobriety, no big deal. If it is a big deal, the exercise of mindfulness toking would have already revealed its first fruit – revealed how dependent you are to cannabis.
Of course, if you’re using it for medical reasons – it’s understandable that abstinence might not be so easy to do. However, even if you are afflicted with a medical condition – abstaining a day or two is still recommended.
This period of abstinence is for us to see “which areas” of our life cannabis affects. It will also reveal to us the intensity of the symptoms or side effects of “not having cannabis” in our lives – which would deepen the appreciation for what the plant is doing for you.
You will be the judge of your own experience, but if it is possible practice at least twenty-four hours of complete abstinence but ideally you’ll want to do seven days. During these seven days, try to eat healthy, do some exercise – build up a sweat and purge yourself.
Prepare your mind for the experience during the abstinence
During the period of “fasting” – you will want to engage in mindfulness as much as you can. This doesn’t mean meditate for seven days straight, but try to become “aware” of your surroundings, the thoughts in your head, how you feel at different times of the day. When you take a sip of coffee – get out of your head and into your tongue and observe how it tastes. Where does the sensation start, where does it end?
You can also take quick meditations of five to ten minutes or do some Breathwork, Yoga, or Qigong; whatever floats your boat. The point is to prime the mind to become more mindful. You’ll want to have some practice before mixing it with cannabis, that way you’ll be comfortable in the experience and get more out of it.
On the day of
When you wake up, do a quick meditation – stretch, eat some food and get as comfortable as you can. Depending on how intense you want the experience to be – you can choose to take edibles or toke up…that’s up to you.
Edibles will give a deeper body experience whereas smoking it might make it a tad bit more cerebral. I recommend smoking first if it’s your first time ever doing something like this. Mainly because 11-hydroxy-TCH can create some intense trips and after a seven day body purge – you might be in for a journey.
However, I leave all of this in your fine judgement.
Become mindful of everything
If you’re smoking weed, you’ll want to engage with mindfulness during the entire process. Before you begin, say a simple mantra like, “I am here now” to remind yourself to be mindful. This will bring your attention back to the moment. You can also say things like “I am being mindful right now” as a simple command.
Then, become mindful of everything. The setting, how you’re breathing, the cannabis. Pick it up, look at it, smell it…break off a piece and taste it raw. Simply become aware of it. Feel how it crumbles in your hands…and then roll it, becoming aware of absolutely everything you are doing.
Once you are ready to spark up – take a few deep grounding breaths, which is simply a deep four-second inhalation into the nose, and a five-second exaltation out through the mouth. Simply focus on your breathing, focus in on your body. You can also do a quick body scan, which is simply checking how you are feeling at that particular moment.
Whatever it is you are smoking, become aware of the smoke as it enters through your mouth and travels down your throat and into your lungs. Feel how the gas exchange takes place, how your lungs absorb the cannabinoid-infused smoke or vapor. As you exhale, take note of how your body is feeling after this first toke.
Don’t take another toke. Wait for about five minutes in complete stillness. You can close your eyes and simply focus in on your breathing. Observe the feelings in your body, focus in on specific parts. Do this for as long as you can.
Once you feel that the effects have evened out – go ahead and take a second large toke or two. Once again, set the weed aside for another five to ten minutes and engage in mindfulness.
If you feel that the effects level out again – you can then take a third big or two and engage again in mindfulness. After the third time, you can simply enjoy the rest of the joint/blunt/pipe or whatever you chose as your medium.
Once you’re done toking, simply observe your surrounding, do some meditation – take some time to simply be with yourself for a little while. Get to know yourself.
If you ever decide to give it a try – let me know how it went. Mindfulness is something that can benefit everyone and can be done with everything, this was just one example of how you can introduce this concept into your life today.