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Overcoming Fear & Doubt, With a Little Help From Cannabis

Photos by Nikki Lastreto

Joint Opinions

Overcoming Fear & Doubt, With a Little Help From Cannabis

Longtime cannabis cultivator Nikki Lastreto explains how the experience of getting high is one way to practice feeling an inner peace.

“Have no doubt.” These three simple words of advice were given to me by my spiritual teacher in India many years ago, and they have helped guide me through life. Whether concerning the tumultuous cannabis business, interpersonal relationships or life in general, they have proven to be a tremendous inspiration.

Just yesterday, I was at a friend’s birthday party in rural Sonoma County in Northern California on a sunny but breezy autumn afternoon. All of a sudden we partygoers smelt smoke and saw large flakes of ash blowing over our heads. This was clearly not just a neighbor having a weekend barbecue. As the guests were all Californians who know well about the severe dangers of fires on a windy day during the dry season, everyone quickly grabbed their bags and dashed to their cars to get out of the way of the inevitable firefighters who would hopefully arrive soon. Flames were shooting out of the next door structure as we drove away, waving at the birthday girl who was doing her best to stay calm and make sure her guests were safe.

Once again, I was reminded of the fragility of life as we know it. Everything can change in a split second. I pondered whether my friend would lose her house while I headed towards safety and fresh air. And then another beloved instruction from my spiritual teacher came to mind, “Freedom from fear brings fulfillment.”

Fear and doubt are two of our biggest enemies. Of course, there are the sort of healthy fears that propel you to run if you have a tsunami on your tail. But if you doubt that you can run fast enough, chances are you can’t. Fear and doubt have been used by the powerful throughout human history to suppress the masses. But if you can shatter that cycle and see the silver lining through what society preaches to keep us under control, you can break free.

As a cannabis cultivator, for example, I could worry all day. I could worry about some government agency finding that I dotted an “i” incorrectly on yet another form, that I won’t be able to sell enough product to support the Swami Select business I co-founded, that the early rains will carry mold and powdery mildew, or that a home invasion will happen right now at harvest time. But really, that would be wasted time. I could doubt that small craft farmers will survive against large corporate America sweeping in to the business. Or, I could be a visionary and recognize how far we can go if we do it right and with positive intentions.

So how does one put fear and doubt in the closet, unless truly appropriate? I find reciting those two short mantras, “have no doubt” and “freedom from fear,” at questionable times is very helpful. For example, perhaps you are doubting an employee’s performance or a lover’s loyalty. Showing any sense of fear or doubt to the other party is not the way. Displaying courage and love is the counter-method that opens conversation with heart instead of closing it with darkness.

Meditation can help you focus on these feelings, as we all know. We also know it is not easy! Recently, a fan of our flowers told me he just can’t sit still and meditate. His mind starts racing every which way, so he just gives up. I offered him another way to look at it. First of all, have no judgment and do not doubt yourself — let your mind roam as it will and when you realize it is in left field, rope it back in, with love and courage. And don’t be afraid of it!

So then, he naturally asked how to not have that doubt that he’ll never get it right. “I don’t believe in myself,” he expressed.

“Well, who else are you going to believe in if you can’t believe in yourself?” I asked him in return. “You know yourself better than anyone, so trust in that.”

And then I had an idea, a way to understand meditation so it is not a giant wall that is impossible to climb. It’s pretty simple.

You know that feeling you get when you have just smoked some really good weed and are kicked back and lost in space? That sense of almost flying and being separated from your body? Well, next time you find yourself there, in a quiet place, stop and observe it. Are your fingers tingling? Are you soaring or gliding through time? Is there a sense of expansion of your mind, body and soul? Do you feel that inner peace that makes you smile?

Embrace those feelings you experience. Try your best to remember them once you have landed. Then repeat the process every time you get to that blissful plateau from getting high. Really get to know the feelings of lightness and connectivity to the greater universe. After a few times, now try sitting in meditation and see where you get. Yes, your mind will wander all over that greater universe, so watch where it goes. No doubt, you need to be right there where it takes you. Observe that sensation, and carry on. No time limits, no judgment, just go with the flow. Let your spirit return to that space you felt when so high. The more you can do this, the easier it is to release your fears and doubts.

It also helps to look back on your own life patterns, and I guarantee you will remember times when you thought it was all going to hell. Yet here you are, in an even better place now. All that energy we so often put into worry and trepidation over a problem can just spin us in circles of doubt. So stop, take a break, feel the bliss in your soul and let that guide you in your decision making. It’s probably not how corporate America resolves issues, but that’s their problem.

Let cannabis be your guide to a more mellow and understanding existence. Let her remind you that in your inner core, you are perfect and have no need for unnecessary fears and doubts. Life is precious, it could all go up in smoke tomorrow, so don’t worry about it today. Remember courage and love.

TELL US, has cannabis helped you find inner peace?

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