Intentional Horticulture with Green Bodhi
Calyxes is a dispensary in SW Portland that has a great little separate enclosed building and John Bayes, the owner and curator and creator of Green Bodhi seems to always have all the prospective elements to a great social and everyone comes away having met some really interesting people and learned something new.
Recently, John put on a Saturday “sit-in” that was advertised via FB + Eventbrite titled “Principles of Intentional Horticulture” that gave a brief description that included subjects of “contemplative science” with “wisdom plants”. We had great mixed Portland autumn weather as we sat in rows for a fantastic lecture for growers of all levels on how they can engage growing in an integrative way that allows the gift of healing, but also “bodhicitta” which when applied to the horticultural activity, becomes a powerful alchemy that amounts to “altruistic selflessness” that is initiated in the garden and can accentuate and imbibe every activity that humans endeavor, not just gardening or cannabis cultivation.
John is a Buddhist and has an artful way of distilling the spiritual and contemplative principles of his studies into a meaningful presentation and with the tangents of background stories and relatable “this is how I learned this the hard way” epitaphs, John offers pupils an opportunity to see the principles he uses to arrive at a deeper understanding in feeling, awareness, and motivation not only with his horticultural undertakings, but within all his activities.
Meditation is a central subject within all of this, but as a true surfer from Cali, John refers to it as a practice that you engage CONSTANTLY, through breath, through sharpening the mind, using images and mantras to offer yourself a platform to then direct the mind/focus and develop merit that that then adds momentum to your dreams. John said “model what works” as a means to being creative in your meditative practice.
“Heart is your mind” is another aspect of the practice and cultivating a receptive nature so that a feeling sense towards energies emanating from the plants, from inside you, and from others can be more acutely understood. John relayed the Buddhist principle that there are two ever-present energies involved in our world – karmic causation and natural or universal causation and it’s our human awareness that can build towards offering integrity in every thought and harnessing these energies to end our own suffering but also the suffering of others.
John had us break for lunch and in the back of the room, there was a high table where he offered a “buffet” of things to add to your experience. A jar of expertly rolled joints (literally expertly rolled by two IG stars who specialize in rolling and photography: @shesmokesjoints, @tonygreenhand), a small rig used specifically for pressed hashed, and an electric nail for enjoying the rosin that John has been applying his strains to. For me personally, I couldn’t believe the taste and smell finish that came off of the Golden Pineapple that John said he washed and pressed a few day earlier. It had an unmistakable citrus overtone when you put your nose anywhere near the several gram temple ball John brought out for everyone to enjoy. The last time I spent time with John at his dispensary “dojo” is when Frenchy Cannoli came to town and it appears that John put Frenchy’s tutelage to very good use.
Lunch consisted of a wonderful spread of humus and kale salad, vegetables and tea and coffee and attendees found themselves in conversations while enjoying their food – I found myself speaking with a gentleman from “out east” who ran a lawn-care business and has come west hoping to help the “green industry” with his soil knowledge. He was trying to build a client portfolio where he amends soils for specific growing applications and strains. He was interested to know if I have a garden and on what scale.
Coming back to the post-lunch hash buffet, it was imperative to try the dogwalker rosin as the terpene finish that comes off of the paper alone is enough to spin you into happy mood. Pine and citrus tied up in woodsey overtones with the Dogwalker OG sitting next to the semi-sharp bitter, semi-floral Sour OG rosin. Both were top shelf representations of the plant and John’s “Green Clean Certified” material makes some of the best solvent-free hashish I’ve experienced so far in 2016.
The relaxed atmosphere and breakaway conversations made for a fantastic lunch period and as people brought their tea and coffee into the main presentation dojo, John fired up a few more Sour OG dabs with his quartz wand, he appears to be a shaman who has a very carefully modulated endocannabinoid system. John started his after-lunch presentation while rolling a joint. John seemed to relax even more and revealed some interesting epitaphs of his time in California and how he’d really come to find out just how fortunate he was and that he can’t speak enough about his gratitude for being where he is at today. He related that since launching Green Bodhi, there have been inquires from very large-name, even celebrity enterprises requesting his consulting service and the conversations have been many times tense and laughable as he has attempted to speak about spiritual foundations to projects with people with seriously limited, seriously material driving motivations.
One of the more relatable stories John brought up was his experience with cannabis investors and business people who don’t even use cannabis. He brought up a very fitting analogy “How can I buy your boat if I don’t know how you ride the waves”? It’s pretty plain to see that John feels that cannabis can support any situation positively, and will suggest a nice smoke session to start a high level activity of any sort. He was not bashful to say that his time spent on the Prop 91 Rules and Actions Committee was preceded by a personal smoke session and he had no qualms showing up smelling like it. In the same breath he would never insinuate that cannabis is for everyone, in every situation.
Some of John’s afternoon presentation became more somber as he referred to the topic of being honest with yourself and to regard all of your worldly intakes as influences on how purified you are in any given moment and we must factor food, TV, and the words of others into the totality of our experiences and honesty. He spoke of working towards an ever more intimate knowledge of the contrast in “wishing vs aspiring vs intentioning” and to very acutely observe your achievements vs accomplishments. We as humans have this primal energy flowing through us that people like to categorize as the EGO and can disassociate with it, instead of conduiting our fear, hunger, and remorse into an attentive and intentional place that supports our dreams.
John also salt and peppered various pragmatic growing strategies that he himself employs and these ranged from feeding schedules to integrative pest management. John repeatedly said that he does NOT deem himself a reference on growing cannabis because he is self taught and has transparently said that he has read VERY LITTLE horticultural literature on cannabis and what he has read, he has found to be lacking or questionable. He purports being self taught and is not going to portray himself to be an encyclopedia of grow knowledge. He knows what works well for him and keeps a constant “student mentality” with the plants, knowing the learning never ends.
John no doubt mimics Terrance McKenna is in referencing of the uncountable “trips” and shamanic journeys with other various entheogenic plants and substances. He recounts many of his journeys for us and how he was able to assimilate them into the intentional path – John is forthright in the factoring in of his entheogenic experiences having a considerable impact on the shifts he’s made as a person throughout his adult life. He is quick to recount his “human-side” that wants to lash out or be reactive or violent in some way and that he is always taking account of his minute internal relapses and that we all have them.
This is what makes John relatable, in the end, that he sees our slip-ups and relapses as just a part of the journey, part of the learning experience, and part of what makes us individually complex, and can relate this ideology to the activity of growing cannabis to the best of it’s genetic capability and with the most integrity that can be harnessed. The part of the journey that is most integral is how you, yourself take account for your internal process, and that all manifestations result from your inner disposition and how practice acceptance and love. Entheogens are a fantastic tool for this methodology and to this John spoke eloquently. Did he just imply though that he smoked some mescaline on the way to Calyxes this morning?