Music, love and marijuana. Coming of age in the late 60s was a rush. I was part of a crusade that was out to save the world! Or if not save it, make it a little easier to stomach.
In those heady days, many of us proudly smoked pot. “Turn on, tune in, drop out” was the mantra of those times. We held our joints up high, a gesture to the older generation that “the times they are a changin’.”
Recreational marijuana is now the law in California. This blog is neither about the politics of legalization nor the long-term medical effects of usage. I leave that to others to debate. I write today in support of those who choose not to indulge; who will teach their children well that their parents’ troubles are not best alleviated with a pipeful of “the best blend.”
In 1971, I was persuaded by a friend to take a course in communication at the local Church of Scientology in Miami. I was a student at the university there—a campus leader serving in student government, organizing protests and getting high. I already knew all about communication, but as a favor to my friend, I begrudgingly agreed to take the course.
Then, one day, my world changed. I mean CHANGED. I suddenly found myself in present time, in touch with everything and everyone around me.
After I signed up, I was told there was a requirement that I not take any drugs or even drink alcohol while taking the course. This did not sit well with me. After all, I was a vocal proponent of pot smoking and did not see a reason to give up the habit. But after a spirited discussion with the course supervisor, during which she challenged me to stay sober during the weeks I was on the course, I decided to give it a go.
Then, one day, my world changed. I mean CHANGED. I suddenly found myself in present time, in touch with everything and everyone around me. My affinity for my surroundings and myself soared into the stratosphere. My mind was incredibly sharp, memory clear. I was experiencing the recovery of a pure joy that had been lost since my early childhood.
In an instant, I realized that marijuana had kept me out of present time. Whether high or the between-times when I was sober, my senses had become dull. A world that should have been bright and promising had become gray and unreal. It was then I decided that I would never again sully my awareness with mind-numbing drugs. Understanding how very hard it can be for some to give up drug usage, I was lucky. It was a simple decision made in present time, driven by a new understanding of how much better it is to be high on life, which Scientology showed me.
What’s this “present time” thing? It is a common phrase suggesting that all of one’s attention is in the moment. Truth is, most people rarely experience this state for long. Reminded of something unpleasant in the past by something in the present, attention shifts to the past. A husband talking with his wife may become angry for no apparent reason. If he had the tools to understand what was underlying this, he might see that the discussion, which was about dinner, had pushed some of his attention into a long-ago incident where a hot skillet had burned his hand and he berated himself for not using a potholder.
Then there’s attention thrown into the future. Ever find yourself thinking about what you’re going to say next? Part of your attention has shifted to the future. Next thing you know you have no idea what the other person just said to you.
Marijuana shifts one’s attention out of present time. While high, one may wander into a dream-like state, filled with random thoughts. Patterns and mild hallucinations may appear in the air or on a wall. Emotions may become stirred up. Various body conditions like excessive hunger, numbness, discomfort and dizziness can turn on.
What may not be apparent to the person is the residual impact, that carries forward long after one has come down from the high. Mental dullness and various degrees of unconsciousness initially generated by the drug continue on, and one’s ability to be in present time is diminished. Out of present time, past traumas and upsets can invade subconsciously, causing a person to have and demonstrate inappropriate, nonsurvival emotions. Like the husband who got angry at his wife over a simple discussion about what to have for dinner.
Smart consumers take the time to learn about the product before they buy it. Before deciding for yourself or suggesting to a child that smoking marijuana is okay, consider the facts.