Mindfully High

John Selby’s more than four decades of scientific and spiritual training come together powerfully in his inspiring new work, Mindfully High: Professional Guidance Integrating Marijuana and Mindfulness. John trained as a psychedelic guide during the 1960s under the late, great psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond, the man who coined the term “psychedelic” and taught the importance of (mental) set and (physical) setting. John also studied many forms of meditation with another late master, the philosopher Alan Watts, and learned experimental wellness techniques during five years in Europe and travelled the world experiencing different mindfulness methods.

The book and free app for Android and iOS devices bring all that learning together to benefit cannabis users and society in general. As John says, “The Mindfully High program has been designed to help fill the need for a more mindful, responsible and successful approach to cannabis in our society.” Applying his method, with or without cannabis, you learn to take charge of your emotional state, to reduce anxiety, to feel more centered and aware—in a word, more mindful, which John defines as mastering “the self-regulation of your attention.” Most of us were not taught anything this useful growing up.

Add cannabis to this mindfulness training, and you will enhance your experiences to the fullest. Cannabis isn’t called the “insight herb” for nothing. The Mindfully High program teaches you how to claim the positive mental and emotional health effects of THC. According to John, “At least 50 percent of the effect of cannabis is psychological,” and we can harness that power to “actively influence and control our experience as we get high, by focusing our attention in mindful directions.” Cannabis is good; mindfulness is good. Together, they are more than the sum of their parts. In most settings, John advises moderation, what he calls “high versus stoned,” though he always leaves room for those ultra-stoner moments in life, too.

The book approaches mindful cannabis use from many perspectives: medical, psychological, social, effects on creativity, motivation, sexual pleasure, pain management and fun. John has included chapters on work life, educational settings, family relations and elders using cannabis for the first time. Not all of us found the blessed herb in the ’60s. Throughout his book, John candidly and courageously speaks to teens, parents, teachers and moral leaders, urging an open-minded inquiry into the meaning that others give to their choice to use cannabis. There’s even a section on “grass groups” to encourage candid discussion. On the website, you’ll find suggestions for forming a group, and a set of discussion questions in the book.

John tackles the old claims about the negative effects of cannabis use and, with scientific help where it can be found, debunks most of them. For the few negatives that have some merit, like loss of motivation and memory, his encouragement toward aware, conscious use, rather than blotto couch lock, reminds us that we can choose our cannabis experience. As John puts it, “We all have the ability to be both high and responsible at the same time.”

The Mindfully High app mixes affirmative statements, eye-catching visuals, soothing music and John’s well-modulated voice to bring you into the practice of mindfulness. There are 24 six-minute audio-visual experiences for you to explore, starting with learning about aware breathing. You can use one or more to create a mini-vacation at home, or you can commit to a daily practice of mental focus enrichment. Topics to explore include: Short-Form Mindfulness Meditation, Anxiety and Depression Relief, Reducing Stress at Work, Senior & Student Groups, A Mindful Study Aid, Stimulating Creative Expression and Relax & Have Fun. All of these topics and more can be explored without cannabis, but, as John says, “when cannabis is added to this mindfulness process, we enter a realm of remarkable potential.” You can get a sense of the power of the Mindfully High app by watching the short video introduction to it on the Mindfully High website.

John has a fine collection of mindfulness videos posted on YouTube also. But don’t confuse him with the John Selby playing in the 2017 World Snooker Championship or the professional dancer. John’s under-10-minute videos are drawn from his decades of experience guiding people into greater relaxation. You’ll find titles such as: Tapping the Source, Emotional Health, Deep Healing and Full Relaxation, available 24/7.

It’s John’s respect for those who choose cannabis and his hope for the future that are the ultimate blessings of this book and app. You will never read or hear John Selby demeaning users. He never stoops to old stereotypes or assumes that we are people devoid of self-respect and honest intentions. He never confuses abuse with use; in fact, his mindfulness program can help anyone evaluate the benefits and costs of their particular level of cannabis consumption. It’s all about developing mindfulness, that self-regulation of attention we all can practice, in toking, vaping and eating the kind herb and in life. John Selby’s Mindfully High book and app deserve the widest possible audience.

To learn more, visit mindfullyhigh.com.

Emerald contributor since July 2015


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