As the only member of the Higher Thought team who doesn’t get stoned, I initially felt hesitant to speak about the game with full-throated enthusiasm, even though its goal of authentic conversation is something I deeply believe in.
In fact, when I signed on to Higher Thought, I secretly hoped that I’d be able to use marijuana with pleasure again, as I had in my teens and early 20s. Nope. Disappointingly, marijuana still ratchets up my anxiety to intolerable levels. It’s not fun.
But conversation? Deep, funny, authentic, exploratory conversation? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.
Real, life-changing in-person conversations, even with good friends or family, can be so rare. Emotions, histories, issues, roles, expectations can deflect our attempts to go deep. Asking for advice or support, as we often do, is intimate and rewarding. But it’s not generally “fun.” New conversational possibilities were what really lit me up with excitement about the potential of Higher Thought: The Cannabis Game.
Because how often do we talk about love, or death, or sex, or stars, or forgiveness, in an open-ended way that’s really free of expectation and constraint? This is the safe yet exploratory conversational framework that the Higher Thought game provides.
And yes, it works even if you’re not stoned!
For example, recently I was with a group of older friends, most in their 70s. They knew I was involved with the game, were curious, and asked to play it.
We all belong to a drum group, and have shared pieces of our stories with each other for years. But now, we were sitting in a circle speaking openly together about whose forgiveness is more necessary—our own, God’s, or other people’s—and why. Sharing what qualities make a friendship last for decades. And even voicing sometimes silly truths about love and sex.
No one was stoned. Yet we were talking in a way that was both deeply personal, and mysteriously free of both expectation and judgment. Our circle that day was revelatory, fun, funny, surprising, and profound. And it made me feel close to each individual in a new way.
So yes. Stoned, unstoned, younger, older—this game catalyzes conversation that gently jogs us out of our personal mental ruts in a warm and lovely way.