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Registered: 03/06/03
Posts: 21,287
Loc: The Ocean of Notions
Last seen: 8 months, 13 days
a long story about drugs and philosophy.
    #3240544 - 10/10/04 08:57 PM (19 years, 6 months ago)

This is long and I know most of you probably wont read it. But its a very interesting story about a very successful Berkely and Harvard professor during the 60's who was part of many experiments w/ psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. But its also about his search for meaning in life and finally finding it in the hindu religion while feeding LSD to gurus in India.

Introduction to Be Here Now, Baba Ram Das

In 1961, the beginning of March, I was at perhaps the highest point of my academic career. I had just returned from being a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley: I had been assured of a permanent post that was being held for me at Harvard, if

I got my publications in order. I held appointments in four departments at Harvard?the Social Relations Department, the Psychology Department, the Graduate School of Education, and the Health Service (where I was a therapist); I had research contracts with Yale and Stanford. In a worldly sense, I was making a great income and I was a collector of possessions.

I had an apartment in Cambridge that was filled with antiques and I gave very charming dinner parties. I had a Mercedes-Benz sedan and a Triumph 500 CC motorcycle and a Cessna 172 airplane and an MG sports car and a sailboat and a bicycle. I vacationed in the Caribbean where I did scuba-diving. I was living the way a successful bachelor professor is supposed to live in the American world of "he who makes it." I wasn't a genuine scholar, but I had gone through the whole academic trip. I had gotten my Ph.D.; I was writing books. I had research contracts. I taught courses in Human Motivation, Freudian Theory, Child Development. But what all this boils down to is that I was really a very good game player.

My lecture notes were the ideas of other men, subtly presented, and my research was all within the Zeitgeist?all that which one was supposed to research about.

In 1955 1 had started doing therapy and my first therapy patient had turned me on to pot. I had not smoked regularly after that, but only sporadically, and I was still quite a heavy drinker. But this first patient had friends and they had friends and all of them became my patients. I became a "hip" therapist, for the hip community at Stanford. When I'd go to the parties, they'd all say "Here comes the shrink" and I would sit in the corner looking superior. In addition, I had spent five years in psychoanalysis at a cool investment of something like $26,000.

Before March 6th, which was the day I took Psylocybin, one of the psychedelics, I felt something was wrong in my world, but I couldn't label it in any way so as to get hold of it. I felt that the theories I was teaching in psychology didn't make it, that the psychologists didn't really have a grasp of the human condition, and that the theories I was teaching, which were theories of achievement and anxiety and defense mechanisms and so on, weren't getting to the crux of the matter.

My colleagues and I were 9 to 5 psychologists: we came to work every day and we did our psychology, just like you would do insurance or auto mechanics, and then at 5 we went home and were just as neurotic as we were before we went to work. Somehow, it seemed to me, if all of this theory were right, it should play more intimately into my own life. I understood the requirement of being "objective" for a scientist, but this is a most naive concept in social sciences as we are finding out. And whatever the psychoanalysis did (and it did many things, I'm sure) I still was a neurotic at the end of those five years of psychoanalysis. Even my therapist thought so, because when I stopped analysis to go to Harvard, he said, "You are too sick to leave analysis." Those were his final words. But because I had been trained in Freudian theory, I knew his game well enough to enjoy this terribly sophisticated, competitive relationship with my analyst, and I would say to him, "Well in Freud's 1906 paper, don't you recall he said this, and when I'm saying this you should be interpreting . . .? For this I was paying $20 an hour!
Something was wrong-.And the something wrong was that I just didn't know, though I kept feeling all along the way that somebody else must know even though I didn't. The nature of life was a mystery to me.

All the stuff I was teaching was just like little molecular bits of stuff but they didn't add up to a feeling anything like wisdom. I was just getting more and more knowledgeable. And I was getting very good at bouncing three knowledge balls at once. I could sit in a doctoral exam, ask very sophisticated questions and look terribly wise. It was a hustle.


Now my predicament as a social scientist was that I was not basically a scholar. I came out of a Jewish anxiety-ridden high-achieving tradition. Though I had been through five years of psychoanalysis, still, every time I lectured, I would get extraordinary diarrhea and tension. Lecturing five days a week made it quite a complex problem to keep my stomach operating. But whatever my motivations, they drove me so hard that despite the fact that I was a very mediocre student (in fact, I could never get into Harvard no matter how hard I tried, even using all my father's political influence) I finally found myself on the faculty of the "good" universities.
I could study 10 hours and prepare a really good lecture on Freud or Human Motivation, but it -was all as if it were behind a wall. It was theoretical. I theorized this or that. I espoused these ideas, these intellectual concepts, quite apart from my own experiential base. Although I could bring all kinds of emotional zeal to bear on my presentation, there was a lack of validity in my guts about what I was doing. And, to my suppressed dismay, I found, that this stance was considered acceptable by most of my colleagues who seemed, in their attempt to become "scientific", to think of personality in terms of variables. Children were nothing but ambulatory variables, and no matter how hard we tried, by the time we got to the legitimacy of a highly operationally-defined variable, it had lost its gut feeling. So the concepts we were working with were intellectual fun and games, but they weren't affecting my life.

Here I was, sitting with the boys of the first team in cognitive psychology, personality psychology, developmental psychology, and in the midst of this I felt here were men and women who, themselves, were not highly evolved beings. Their own lives were not fulfilled. There was not enough human beauty, human fulfillment, human contentment. I worked hard and the keys to the kingdom were handed to me. I was being promised all of it. I had felt I had got into whatever the inner circle meant: I could be Program Chairman for Division 7 of the A.P.A. and I could be on government committees, and have grants, and travel about and sit on doctorate committees. But there was still that horrible awareness that I didn't know something or other which made it all fall together. And there was a slight panic in me that I was going to spend the next forty years not knowing, and that apparently that was par for the course. And in off hours, we played "Go", or poker, and cracked old jokes. The whole thing was too empty. It was not honest enough.

And there was some point as a professor at Stanford and Harvard when I experienced being caught in some kind of a meaningless game in which the students were exquisite at playing the role of students and the faculty were exquisite at playing the role of faculty. I would get up and say what I had read in books and they'd all write it down and give it back as answers on exams but nothing was happening. I felt as if I were in a sound-proof room. Not enough was happening that mattered?that was real.

And as a therapist I felt caught in the drama of my own theories. The research data showed that Rogerian patients ended up saying positive statements, and Freudian patients ended up talking about their mother because of subtle reinforcement clues?it was so obvious. I would sit with my little notebook and when the person would start talking about his mother, I'd make a note and it didn't take long for the patient to realize that he got his "note" taken, he got his pellet, every time he said certain things. And pretty soon he would be "Freudianized".

In the face of this feeling of malaise, I ate more, collected more possessions, collected more appointments and positions and status, more sexual and alcoholic orgies, and more wildness in my life.
Everytime I went to a family gathering, I was the boy who made it. I was a Professor at Harvard and everybody stood around in awe and listened to my every word, and all I felt was that horror that I knew inside that I didn't know. Of course, it was all such beautiful, gentle horror, because there was so much reward involved.
I had an empire in a place called Center for Research in Personality: a corner office in a building I'd helped design; with two secretaries and many graduate and undergraduate research assistants. I had done all this in about three years. I was really driven. Until you know a good, Jewish middleclass, upwardly mobile, anxiety-ridden neurotic, you haven't met a real achiever!
My Judaism was a political Judaism. I came out of a tradition of folk religion?the spirit escaped me somehow, although we did all the Yom Kippur and Passover Services. But Dad was on the Board of Trustees that hired and fired Rabbis, so how could I get into a feeling with a spiritual leader if my father was hiring and firing these guys.
Down the hall from my big empire, there was a little office. It had been a closet and they needed an extra office, so they cleared out the closet and put a desk in there and in that closet was Timothy Leary. He had been bicycling around Italy, bouncing checks, and David McClelland found him and brought him back as a creative gift to western science. Tim and I became drinking buddies together. Then we started to teach courses together, such as the first year clinical course?practicum?on "Existential Transactional Behavior Change."
The more time I spent with Tim, the more I realized he had an absolutely extraordinary intellect. He really knew a lot. I found him extremely stimulating and the students found him exciting to be around, because of his openness to new ideas and his willingness to take wild risks in thinking.
One night when we were drinking together, we plotted a trip across North and South America, and when I said I flew a plane, he said, "Great, we'll fly in your plane."
And I said, "Wonderful", and neglected to tell him that I had only a student license.
So I secretly set about getting a license in order to meet him on August 1st in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he was summering. There we would start our journey.
At that time I was a consultant for a School Mathematics Study Group, a mathematics program in Education at Stanford. I got my license and an airplane on the same day and flew to Mexico the next day in a death-defying leap. When I got there, I found that Timothy had done some other type of flying, just about the week before. Frank Baron, who was a psychologist at Cal, an old friend of Tim's, had introduced him to an anthropologist in Mexico and they had come to know about the Tionanactyl, the flesh of the Gods, the Magic Mushrooms of Mexico, which one obtained from Crazy Juanna, a woman up in the mountains who ate the mushrooms all the time. Contact was made with her and the mushrooms were obtained.

Tim had eaten nine of these mushrooms?so many male and so many female mushrooms?with a group of others around a swimming pool and had had a profound experience. He said, "I learned more in the six or seven hours of this experience than I had learned in all my years as a psychologist."
That is a strong statement!
When I arrived in Cuernavaca, the mushrooms were all gone, and so was the zeal to go on a trip across South America, because what was the sense in doing external journeying when obviously what Timothy had been looking for was inside his own head.
So I hung out in Tepetzlan with David McClelland and his family and in Cuernavaca with Tim and his entourage, and then flew back to the United States with Tim and Jackie his son, and an Iguana.
And I went to be a visiting professor at Cal and Tim went back to Harvard. And by the time I got back, Timothy had a large psychedelic project going.
He had consulted with Aldous Huxley, who was then visiting at M.I.T., and Aldous and Tim and a number of graduate students had contacted Sandoz, who produced a synthetic of the magic mushrooms called Psylocybin, and they had gotten a test batch of this and were busy taking it and administering it. When I got back to Cambridge in the spring, I was invited to share in this bounty.


The night that was chosen turned out to be the night of the biggest snowstorm of the year and it was to be at Tim's home in Newton, a few blocks from the home of my parents where I had been visiting for dinner. I plowed through the snow, came in and we sat around the kitchen table and there were about three or four of us and we passed the bottle of pills and I took my 10 milligrams. That was my preparation and my set and setting, but beyond that I trusted Timothy. I had seen that Timothy had had a profound experience and he was somebody with an intellect that I understood. I knew that he was not interpersonally destructive?he might be destructive of institutions, but not of individuals. He was a very loving person.
We took a very small dosage, (later we were using 5 or 10 times as much) and the first part of the experience was comparable to a strong pot-high, I'd say. A little more dramatic, a little more intense. Clearly though something happened.
During the first part of this experience with Psylocybin, we got into a very low-level tragicomedy type thing. Tim's son's dog had been running in the snow and upon entering the warm kitchen lay gasping and panting. To our timeless minds, his struggle for breath continued too long and we thought he was about to expire. What could we do? We could hardly carry the dog through a blizzard in the early Sunday morning to the vet's, some four miles away, especially since we were all very high, and thus not sure about the dog's state. It seemed our concern mounted and the dog passed into a nearby room where it appeared to collapse. We finally decided the only path was to summon 11-year old Jackie from the Late TV show upstairs. Since he wasn't under a chemical influence, we would watch his interaction with the dog, rather than frighten him with our own suspicions.
Jackie was not pleased at being disturbed by us, (merely to find out what he was watching on TV), but the problem was quickly solved by the dog, who, upon hearing Jackie's voice, leapt back to life, ready to play.
Now a few hours later I had gone off by myself to reflect upon these new feelings and senses. A deep calm pervaded my being. The rug crawled and the pictures smiled, all of which delighted me. Then I saw a figure standing about 8 feet away, where a moment before there had been none. I peered into the semi-darkness and recognized none other than myself, in cap and gown and hood, as a professor. It was as if that part of me, which was Harvard professor, had separated or disassociated itself from me.
"How interesting . . . an external hallucination," I thought. "Well, I worked hard to get that status but I don't really need it." Again I settled back into the cushions, separate now from my professorness, but at that moment the figure changed. Again I leaned forward straining to see. "Ah, me again." But now it was that aspect of me who was a social cosmopolite. "Okay, so that goes too," I thought. Again and again the figure changed and I recognized over there all the different aspects I knew to be me . . . cellist, pilot, lover, and so on. With each new presentation, I again and again reassured myself that I didn't need that anyway.
Then I saw the figure become that in me which was Richard Alpertness, that is, my basic identity that had always been Richard. I associated the name with myself and my parents called me Richard: "Richard, you're a bad boy." So Richard has badness. Then "Richard, aren't you beautiful!" Then Richard has beauty. Thus develop all these aspects of self.
Sweat broke out on my forehead. I wasn't at all sure I could do without being Richard Alpert. Did that mean I'd have amnesia? Was that what this drug was going to do to me? Would it be permanent? Should I call Tim? Oh, what the hell?so I'll give up being Richard Alpert. I can always get a new social identity. At least I have my body . . . But I spoke too soon.
As I looked down at my legs for reassurance, I could see nothing below the kneecaps, and slowly, now to my horror, I saw the progressive disappearance of limbs and then torso, until all I could see with my eyes open was the couch on which I had sat. A scream formed in my throat. I felt that I must be dying since there was nothing in my universe that led me to believe in life after leaving the body.
Doing without professorness or loverness, or even Richard Alpertness, okay, but I did NEED the body.
The panic mounted, adrenalin shot through my system?my mouth became dry, but along with this, a voice sounded inside?inside what, I don't know?an intimate voice asked very quietly, and rather jocularly, it seemed to me, considering how distraught I was, but who's minding the store?"
When I could finally focus on the question, I realized that although everything by which I knew myself, even my body and this life itself, was gone, still I was fully aware! Not only that, but this aware "I" was watching the entire drama, including the panic, with calm compassion.
Instantly, with this recognition, I felt a new kind of calmness?one of a profundity never experienced before. I had just found that "I", that scanning device?that point-that essence-that place beyond. A place where "I" existed independent of social and physical identity. That which was I was beyond Life and Death. And something else?that "I" Knew?it really Knew. It was wise, rather than just knowledgeable. It was a voice inside that spoke truth. I recognized it, was one with it, and felt as if my entire life of looking to the outside world for reassurance?David Reisman's other-directed being, was over. Now I need only look within to that place where I Knew.
Fear had turned to exaltation. I ran out into the snow laughing as the hugh flakes swirled about me. In a moment the house was lost from view, but it was all right because inside I Knew.
Around 5 in the morning I walked back, plowing through the snow to my parents' home, and I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice; I'll shovel the walk?young tribal buck shovels the walk." So I started to shovel the walk and my parents' faces appeared at the upstairs window.
"Come to bed, you idiot. Nobody shovels snow at 5 in the morning."
And I looked up at them and I heard the external voice I had been listening to for 30 years, and inside me, something said, "It's all right to shovel snow and it's all right to be happy."
And I looked up at them and I laughed and did a jig and went back to shoveling snow. And they closed the windows and then I looked up and inside they were smiling too. That was my first experience of giving a contact high!
But also, you can see in that moment in the early morning the seeds of the breakaway. The seeds of the ability to be able to confront, and even disagree with, an existing institution and know and trust that inside place that says it's all right. It's something I could never have done without anxiety until that moment?until that day.
Now I thought at that moment, "Wow, I've got it made. I'm just a new beautiful being?I'm just an inner self?all I'll ever need to do is look inside and I'll know what to do and I can always trust it, and here I'll be forever."
But two or three days later I was talking about the whole thing in the past tense. I was talking about how I "experienced" this thing, because I was back being that anxiety-neurotic, in a slightly milder form, but still, my old personality was sneaking back up on me.
Well, the next day I had to give my lecture in Social Relations 143, Human Motivation, and it presented me with a bit of a problem because I couldn't find anywhere in the psychology teachings anything about what had happened to me the night before.
Now, what we did at first at Harvard was to tell all of our colleagues about this extraordinary thing that was happening to us, and they all shared our delight, as any scientists do when a fellow scientist finds a new avenue into the unknown. And so the first week they listened with delight. And then at the end of the first week we all went back into our experimental cell?the living room by the fire and opened the bottle again and took some more psylocybin to chart this course further. And the next week we had shared a deeper experience and we came back and we spoke to our colleagues. Now they couldn't hear us quite as well. It wasn't that they were changing, it was that we were. We were developing a language among ourselves. If Admiral Byrd and an exploratory party are going deeper and deeper into the polar region, the things they think about and are concerned about and are interested in become less and less relevant to somebody living in New York City. This was our situation.
We had the choice along the way of stopping to bring everybody else along, or going on. But these experiences quickly became indescribable. I'd get to a point with my colleagues when I couldn't explain any further, because it came down to "To him who has had the experience no explanation is necessary, to him who has not, none is possible." And we would feel this frustration when they'd say "It sounds very interesting." And we'd say, "In order to know, you've got to try it." And they'd say, "No, that isn't scientific. It isn't appropriate to test your own product. You do it first on animals and then on graduate students . . ."

So then the next week, we'd sit around on Saturday night and say, "What should we do?" and we all knew what we were going to do, and we would "turn on." We were exploring this inner realm of consciousness that we had been theorizing about all these years and suddenly we were traveling in and through and around it. At the same time, of course, by the second week, it was as though we had just been traveling in Tibet, and now, back in the school lunchroom, who do we hang out with? We hang out with the guy with whom we went to Tibet, because we shared this very powerful experience.
Pretty soon there were five or six of us and we were hanging out together and our colleagues said, "Ah ha, a cult is forming," which was true for us. A cult is a shared system of belief.
As to how to work with this stuff, Tim said, "We don't know what this is about yet and there are many models, but it would be best not to impose a model too soon, because a model that exists in the west for these states is pathological, and the model that exists in the primitive cultures is mystical and religious and it's better we keep wide open . . .?
So we did what would be called a naturalistic study: we gave the Psylocybin to maybe 200 people who were physically healthy enough and we said, "You take it under any conditions you want and all you've got to do is answer this questionnaire at the end, so we'll know what happened. You do it however you want to."
So we gave it to jazz musicians and physicists and philosophers and ministers and junkies and graduate students and social scientists. And at the end we had these 200 protocols and the first analysis we did showed up very clearly that the reactions were a function of set and setting?a function of their expectations of what was going to happen, and the environment in which they took the drug. If they had it in a very paranoid environment, and they were expecting to have excitement, they tended to have paranoid excitement. All it did was intensify one's expectations.
However, the data also showed something else. Out of these first few hundred, you could see that there was some kind of a step ladder of experience. There was a kind of probablistic hierarchy of experience, so that the most likely experience everybody had was a heightened sensitivity to all of their five senses and speeding up of the thought process.
Then the next type of experience that people would frequently report was an interpersonal shift of figure and ground, where they would look at another person and see the way in which the other person was similar, rather than different from themselves. And it was as if the whole western mind-training of individual differences had been made background instead of figure, so that you'd look at another human being and say, "Here we are." You'd see differences more as clothing, rather than as core stuff. This was a profound perceptual experience for many people.
For example, we had a Negro psychiatrist, Madison Presnell, working with us, and I had been trained to be a very liberal person about Negroes, which meant that you didn't have feelings. It was a phony kind of liberal thing. I went out of my way to be liberal. You know, that very self-conscious kind of equality. And Madison and I turned on together and I looked at Madison, and there we were, the same human beings. It was just that he was wearing that skin and I was wearing this skin. And it was no more or less than that. It was that shirt and this shirt and it had no more relevance than that.
And I looked at that and suddenly there we were, whereas before I had been so busy with my superliberal reaction to color of skin, that I couldn't relax enough to share this unitive place.
Then there was a still less frequent type of experience reported: a oneness, in which subjects would say,
". . . I remember being in a dark room with another person and one of us spoke and one of us said, "Who spoke, you or me?" It wasn't clear from who's mouth the words came.
And then there was a still less frequent experience where one looked at somebody and he started to see the other person as cellular structure or patterns of energy rather than as a person.
And finally, a few subjects (maybe 3% or something like that) transcended all form and saw just pure energy?a homogeneous field. It has been called the White Light.
There was research being done by the group with prisoners, to try to change their rate of recidivism. And there were attempts with ministers: a study was run by Walter Pankhe and a group of the research community on Good Friday in Boston University chapel, with twenty ministers?advanced minister-training students?ten received psylocybin and ten a placebo. It was a double-blind study on Good Friday in a chapel. It was absurd, because a double-blind study was absurd. Everybody knew something was happening. It was as if you were proving the obvious. Somebody who had taken the placebo which made their skin crawl reacted by saying, "Well, maybe something's happening", and then another minister would stagger into the room and say, "I see God! I see God!" and it was all too obvious in a short time who had had the psylocybin.
Now my own experiences were horrible and beautiful and I kept working in different environments and settings and whenever anybody that I trusted brought along some new chemical, I would open my mouth and off I'd go. I was interested in doing this exploring.
For example, at one point I had been in the meditation room in the community house we had in Newton, and I was for four hours in a state of total homogeneous light, bliss, and then I recall starting to "come down" and this huge red wave rolled in across the room. It looked like a cross between a William Blake (that picture of the wave) sketch and a Hieronymous Bosch painting, and it was all my identities, all rolling in over me. I remember holding up my hand and saying, "NO, NO, I don't want to go back." It was like this heavy burden I was going to take on myself. And I realized I didn't have the key?I didn't know the magic words, like "Abracadabra" or "Hocus Pocus" or whatever it was going to be that would stop that wave, and it rolled in over me and then . . ."Oh, here I am again?Richard Alpert?what a drag!"


In these few years we had gotten over the feeling that one experience was going to make you enlightened forever. We saw that it wasn't going to be that simple.
And for five years I dealt with the matter of "coming down." The coming down matter is what led me to the next chapter of this drama. Because after six year, I realized that no matter how ingenious my experimental designs were, and how high I got, I came down.
At one point I took five people and we locked ourselves in a building for three weeks and we took 400 micrograms of LSD every four hours. That is 2400 micrograms of LSD a day, which sounds fancy, but after your first dose, you build a tolerance; there's a refractory period. We finally were just drinking out of the bottle, because it didn't seem to matter anymore. We'd just stay at a plateau. We were very high. What happened in those three weeks in that house, no one would ever believe, including us. And at the end of the three weeks, we walked out of the house and within a few days, we came down!
And it was a terribly frustrating experience, as if you came into the kingdom of heaven and you saw how it all was and you felt these new states of awareness, and then you got cast out again, and after 2 or 300 times of this, began to feel an extraordinary kind of depression set in?a very gentle depression that whatever I knew still wasn't enough!


Now at the same moment, there were obvious changes going on, because that checking back, over and over again, to the inner place inside myself, made me less and less attached to reassurance from the environment that I was all right. So I remember the moment when I was thrown out of Harvard. . .
There was a press conference and all of the reporters looked at me as if I was a prizefighter who had just lost a major fight, and was headed for oblivion, that kind of look you have for losers?real losers! And they stood there looking at me that way. Everybody was looking at me that way, and inside I felt, "What I'm doing is all right."
Everybody, parents, colleagues, public, saw it as a horrible thing; I thought inside "I must really be crazy, now?because craziness is where everybody agrees about something,?except you!" And yet I felt saner than I had ever felt, so I knew this was a new kind of craziness or perhaps a new kind of saneness. But the thing was, I always seemed to be able to skirt the line: to keep it together. I didn't ever DO anything quite crazy enough.
I was the guy that people would come to and say, "Look, would you calm Tim Leary?he's too far out. If you'll calm him and protect him and so on." And I'd say, "I'll help him with pleasure ?cause he's that great a being." And I'd help raise money and run the kitchen and clean the house and raise the children . . .
Well, we realized then that what we needed to do was to create certain kinds of environments which would allow a person, after being into another state of consciousness, to retain a certain kind of environmental support for new ways of looking at himself. After all, if you see yourself as God and then you come back from this state and somebody says, "Hey, Sam, empty the garbage!" it catches you back into the model of "I'm Sam who empties the garbage." You can't maintain these new kinds of structures. It takes a while to realize that God can empty garbage.
Now in 1962 or 3, Tim and Ralph Metzner with him (I was just given author's credit because I took care of the kitchen) had come across the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which was a very close description of a number of these experiences. This book was 2500 years old, at least, and it had been used all those years for preparing Tibetan Lamas to die and be reincarnated. And when we opened it, we would find descriptions of the 49 days after death before rebirth, that were perfect descriptions of sessions we were having with psychedelics.
How could this be? The parallel was so close. Tim rewrote the book as a manual called "The Psychedelic Experience", a manual for psychological death and rebirth, arguing that this was really a metaphor about psychological death and rebirth and not necessarily physical death and reincarnation.
Tim had gone to India, Ralph had gone to India, Allen Ginsberg had gone to India. I checked with everybody when they came back. There was Tim, being Tim and there was Ralph, being Ralph, and there was Allen, being Allen?and I realized that they had all had lovely experiences and seen a beautiful country and so on, but they were not finished looking for something.
And by 1966-7, 1 was in the same predicament. I was aware that I didn't know enough to maintain these states of consciousness. And I was aware that nobody else around me seemed to know enough either. I checked with everybody I thought might know, and nobody seemed to know.
So I wasn't very optimistic about India or psychedelics. By 1967 1 had shot my load! I had no more job as a psychologist in a respectable establishment and I realized that we didn't know enough about psychedelics to use them profitably.
But at that time I was still lecturing around the country on psychedelics to such diverse groups as the Food and Drug Administration, and the Hell's Angels.
Then, along came a very lovely guy whom I had guided through some psychedelic sessions, an interesting guy, who had gone to the University of Chicago in his early teens and had taught seminars in Chinese Economics, had started a company called Basic Systems, which had been sold to Xerox, and now he had retired. He was about 35 and he had retired and taken his five million dollars or whatever he made, and was now becoming a Buddhist. He wanted to make a journey to the east to look for holy men and he invited me to go along. He had a Land Rover imported into Teheran and this was my way out. What else was I going to do at this point.
So I left to go to India, and I took a bottle of LSD with me, with the idea that I'd meet holy men along the way, and I'd give them LSD and they'd tell me what LSD is. Maybe I'd learn the missing clue.
We started out from Teheran, and for the next three months we had lovely guides and a most beautiful time and we scored great hashish in Afghanistan, and at the end of three months; I had seen the inside of the Land Rover, I had 1300 slides, many tape recordings of Indian music; I had drunk much bottled water, eaten many canned goods: I was a Westerner traveling in India. That's what was happening to me when I got to Nepal.
We had done it all. We had gone to see the Dalai Lama, and we had gone on horseback up to Amanath Cave up In Kashmir; we had visited Benares, and finally we ended up in Katmandu, Nepal. I started to get extremely, extremely depressed. I'm sure part of it was due to the hashish. But also, part of it was because I didn't see what to do next.
I had done everything I thought I could do, and nothing new had happened, It was turning out to be just another trip. The despair got very heavy. We didn't know enough and I couldn't figure out how to socialize this thing about the new states of consciousness. And I didn't know what to do next. It wasn't like I didn't have LSD. I had plenty of LSD, but why take it. I knew what it was going to do, what it was going to tell me. It was going to show me that garden again and then I was going to be cast out and that was it. And I never could quite stay. I was addicted to the experience at first, and then I even got tired of that. And the despair was extremely intense at that point.
We were sitting in a hippie restaurant, called the Blue Tibetan, and I was talking to some French hippies . . .
I had given LSD to a number of pundits around India and some reasonably pure men:
An old Buddhist Lama said, "It gave me a headache."
Somebody else said, "It's good, but not as good as meditation."
Somebody else said, "Where can I get some more?"
And I got the same range of responses I'd get in America. I didn't get any great pearl of wisdom which would make me exclaim, "Oh, that's what it is?I was waiting for something that was going to do that thing!"
So I finally figured, "Well, it's not going to happen." We were about to go on to Japan and I was pretty depressed because we were starting the return now, and what was I returning to? What should I do now?
I decided I was going to come back and become a chauffeur. I wanted to be a servant, and let somebody else program my consciousness. I could read holy books while I'd wait for whoever it was I was waiting for while they were at Bergdorf Goodman's and I'd just change my whole style of life around. I could just get out of the whole drama of having to engineer my own ship for a while. This is a funny foreshadowing, as you'll see.
The despair was extremely intense at that point. I was really quite sad.


I was in the Blue Tibetan with my friend and these other people, and in walked this very extraordinary guy, at least extraordinary with regard to his height. He was 6'7" and he had long blonde hair and a long blonde beard. He was a Westerner, an American, and was wearing holy clothes?a dhoti (a cloth Indian men wear instead of pants) and so on, and when he entered, he came directly over to our table and sat down.
Now, up until then, I had found this interesting thing that I don't think I could have labeled until that moment. Once, when I had met Gesha Wangyal at Freehold, N.J., I knew I was meeting a being who "knew", but I couldn't get to it because I wasn't ready, somehow. We were very close?we loved each other extraordinarily, but I hadn't been able to really absorb whatever I needed to absorb. Now here was this young fellow and again, I had the feeling I had met somebody who Knew".
I don't know how to describe this to you, except that I was deep in my despair; I had gone through game, after game, after game, first being a professor at Harvard, then being a psychedelic spokesman, and still people were constantly looking into my eyes, like "Do you know?" Just that subtle little look, and I was constantly looking into their eyes?" Do you know?" And there we were, "Do you?" "Do you?" "Maybe he . . ." "Do you . . . ?" And there was always that feeling that everybody was very close and we all knew we knew, but nobody quite knew. I don't know how to describe it, other than that.
And I met this guy and there was no doubt in my mind. It was just like meeting a rock. It was just solid, all the way through. Everywhere I pressed, there he was!
We were staying in a hotel owned by the King or the Prince, or something, because we were going first class, so we spirited this fellow up to our suite in the Sewalti Hotel and for five days we had a continuing seminar. We had this extraordinarily beautiful Indian sculptor, Harish Johari, who was our guide and friend. Harish, this fellow, Bhagwan Dass and David and I sat there and for five days high on Peach Melbas and Hashish and Mescaline, we had a seminar with Alexandra David Neehl's books and Sir John Woodroffe's Serpent Power, and so on. At the end of five days, I was still absolutely staggered by this guy. He had started to teach me some mantras and working with beads. When it came time to leave, to go to Japan, I had the choice of going on to Japan on my first class route, or going off with this guy, back into India on a temple pilgrimage. He had no money and I had no money and it was going to change my style of life considerably. I thought. "Well, look, I came to India to find something and I still think this guy knows?I'm going to follow him."
But there was also the counter thought, "How absurd?who's writing this bizarre script. Here I am?I've come half-way around the world and I'm going to follow, through India, a 23 year old guy from Laguna Beach, California."
I said to Harish and to David, "Do you think I'm making a mistake?" And Harish said, "No, he is a very high guy." And so I started to follow him?literally follow him.
Now, I'm suddenly barefoot. He has said, "You're not going to wear shoes, are you?" That sort of thing. And I've got a shoulder bag and my dhoti and blisters on my feet and dysentery, the likes of which you can't imagine, and all he says is, "Well, fast for a few days."
He's very compassionate, but no pity.
And we're sleeping on the ground, or on these wooden tables that you get when you stop at monasteries, and my hip bones ache. I go through an extraordinary physical breakdown, become very childlike and he takes care of me. And we start to travel through temples?to Baneshwar and Konarak and so on.
I see that he's very powerful, so extraordinarily powerful?he's got an ectara, a one-stringed instrument, and I've got a little Tibetan drum, and we go around to the villages and people rush out and they touch our feet because we're holy men, which is embarrassing to me because I'm not a holy man?I'm obviously who I am?a sort of overage hippie, western explorer, and I feel very embarrassed when they do that and they give us food. And he plays and sings and the Hindu people love him and revere him. And he's giving away all my money . . .
But I'm clinging tight to my passport and my return ticket to America, and a traveler's check that I'll need to get me to Delhi. Those things I'm going to hold on to. And my bottle of LSD, in case I should find something interesting.
And during these travels he's starting to train me in a most interesting way. We'd be sitting somewhere and I'd say,
"Did I ever tell you about the time that Tim and I . . .
And he'd say, "Don't think about the past. Just be here now."
And I'd say, "How long do you think we're going to be on this trip?"
And he'd say, "Don't think about the future. Just be here now."
I'd say, "You know, I really feel crumby, my hips are hurting . . .
"Emotions are like waves. Watch them disappear in the distance on the vast calm ocean."
He had just sort of wiped out my whole game. That was it?that was my whole trip?emotions, and past experiences, and future plans. I was, after all, a great story teller.
So we were silent. There was nothing to say.
He'd say, "You eat this." or, "Now you sleep here." And all the rest of the time we sang holy songs. That was all there was to do.
Or he would teach me Asanas?Hatha Yoga postures.
But there was no conversation. I didn't know anything about his life. He didn't know anything about my life. He wasn't the least bit interested in all of the extraordinary dramas that I had collected . . . He was the first person I couldn't seduce into being interested in all this. He just didn't care.
And yet, I never felt so profound an intimacy with another being. It was as if he were inside of my heart. And what started to blow my mind was that everywhere we went, he was at home.
If we went to a Thereavaden Buddhist monastery, he would be welcomed and suddenly he would be called Dharma Sara, a Southern Buddhist name, and some piece of clothing he wore, I suddenly saw was also worn by all the other monks and I realized that he was an initiate in that scene and they'd welcome him and he'd be in the inner temple and he knew all the chants and he was doing them.
We'd come across some Shavites, followers of Shiva, or some of the Swamis, and I suddenly realized that he was one of them. On his forehead would be the appropriate tilik, or mark, and he would be doing their chanting.
We'd meet Kargyupa lamas from Tibet and they would all welcome him as a brother, and he knew all their stuff. He had been in India for five years, and he was so high that everybody just welcomed him, feeling 'he's obviously one of us'.
I couldn't figure out what his scene was. All I personally felt was this tremendous pull toward Buddhism because Hinduism always seemed a little gauche?the paintings were a little too gross?the colors were bizarre and the whole thing was too melodramatic and too much emotion. I was pulling toward that clean, crystal-clear simplicity of the Southern Buddhists or the Zen Buddhists.
After about three months, I had a visa problem and we went to Delhi, and I was still quite unsure of my new role as a holy man and so when I got to Delhi, I took $4.00 out of my little traveler's check and bought a pair of pants and a shirt and a tie and took my horn-rimmed glasses out of my shoulder bag and stuck them back on and I became again Dr. Alpert, to go to the visa office. Dr. Alpert, who had a grant from the Folk Art Museum of New Mexico for collecting musical instruments and I did my whole thing.
I kept my beads in my pocket. Because I didn't feel valid in this other role. And then the minute I got my visa fixed, he had to have his annual visa worked over, and he had to go to a town near-by, which we went to, and we were welcomed at this big estate and given a holy man's house, and food brought to us, and he said, "You sit here. I'm going to see about my visa."
He told me just what to do. I was just like a baby. "Eat this." "Sit here." "Do this." And I just gave up. He knew. Do you know? I'll follow you.
He spoke Hindi fluently. My Hindi was very faltering. So he could handle it all.
We had spent a few weeks in a Chinese Buddhist monastery in Sarnath, which was extraordinarily powerful and beautiful, and something was happening to me but I couldn't grasp the total nature of it at all.
There was a strange thing about him. At night he didn't seem to sleep like I did. That is, any time I'd wake up at night, I'd look over and he would be sitting in the lotus position. And sometimes I'd make believe I was asleep and then open sort of a half-eye to see if he wasn't cheating?maybe he was sleeping Now?but he was always in the lotus posture.
Sometimes I'd see him lie down, but I would say that 80% of the time when I would be sleeping heavily, he would be sitting in some state or other, which he'd never describe to me. But he was not in personal contact?I mean, there was no wave or moving around, or nothing seemed to happen to him.
The night at that estate, I went out?I had to go to the bathroom and I went out under the stars and the following event happened . . .
The previous January 20th, at Boston in the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, my mother had died of a spleen illness?the bone marrow stopped producing blood and the spleen took over and grew very large and they removed it and then she died. It had been a long illness and I had been with her through the week prior to her death and through it we had become extremely close. We had transcended mother-child and personalities and we had come into true contact. I spent days in the hospital just meditating. And I felt no loss when she died. Instead there was a tremendous continuing contact with her. And in fact, when I had been in Nepal, I had had a vision of her one night when I was going to bed. I saw her up on the ceiling and I was wondering whether to go to India or go on to Japan and she had a look that was the look of "You damn fool-you're always getting into hot water, but go ahead, and I think that's great." She looked peeved-pleased. It was like there were two beings in my mother. She was a middle class women from Boston, who wanted me to be absolutely responsible in the most culturally acceptable fashion, and then there was this swinger underneath?this spiritual being underneath who said, "?go, baby." And I felt these two beings in that look which supported my going back into India.
This night I'm under the stars, and I hadn't thought about her at all since that time. I'm under the stars, urinating, and I look up and the stars are very close because it's very dark and I suddenly experience a presence of mother, and I'm thinking about her?not about how she died or anything about that. I just feel her presence. It's very very powerful. And I feel great love for her and then I go back to bed.
Of course, Bhagwan Dass is not the least interested in any of my life, so he'd be the last person I'd talk to about my thoughts or visions.
The next morning he says, "We've got to go to the mountains. I've got a visa problem. We've got to go see my Guru."
Now the term "Guru" had meant for me, in the West, a sort of high grade teacher. There was a Life article about Allen Ginsberg?"Guru goes to Kansas" and Allen was embarrassed and said, "I'm not really a Guru." And I didn't know what a Guru really was. . .
Bhagwan Dass also said we were going to borrow the Land Rover, which had been left with this sculptor, to go to the mountains. And I said, I didn't want to borrow the Land Rover. I'd just gotten out of that horrible blue box and I didn't want to get back into it, and I didn't want the responsibility. David had left it with this Indian sculptor and he wouldn't want to loan it to us anyway. I got very sulky. I didn't want to go see a guru-and suddenly I wanted to go back to America in the worst way.
I thought, "What am I doing. I'm following this kid and all he is . . .? But he says, ?We?ve got to do this," and so we go to the town where the sculptor lives and within half an hour the sculptor says, "You have to go see your Guru? Take the Land Rover!"
Well, that's interesting.
We're in the Land Rover and he won't let me drive. So I'm sitting there sulking. He won't let me drive and we are in the Land Rover which I don't want to have and I'm now really in a bad mood. I've stopped smoking hashish a few days before because I'm having all kinds of reactions to it, and so I'm just in a very, very uptight, negative paranoid state and all I want to do is go back to America and suddenly I'm following this young kid who wants to drive and all he wanted me for was to get the Land Rover and now the whole paranoid con world fills my head. I'm full of it.
We go about 80 or 100 miles and we come to a tiny temple by the side of the road in the foothills of the Himalayas. We're stopping and I think we're stopping because a truck's coming by, but when we stop, people surround the car, which they generally do, but they welcome him and he jumps out. And I can tell something's going to happen because as we go up into the hills, he's starting to cry.
We're singing songs and tears are streaming down his face, and I know something's going on, but I don't know what.
We stop at this temple and he asks where the guru is and they point up on a hill, and he goes running up this hill and they're all following him, so delighted to see him. They all love him so much.
I get out of the car. Now I'm additionally bugged because everybody's ignoring me. And I'm following him and he's way ahead of me and I'm running after him barefoot up this rocky path and I'm stumbling?by now my feet are very tough?but still his legs are very long and I'm running and people are ignoring me and I'm very bugged and I don't want to see the guru anyway and what the hell?
We go around this hill so that we come to a field which does not face on the road. It's facing into a valley and there's a little man in his 60's or 70's sitting with a blanket around him. And around him are 8 or 9 Hindu people and it's a beautiful tableau?clouds, beautiful green valley, lovely, lovely place?the foothills of the Himalayas.
And this fellow, Bhagwan Dass, comes up, runs to this man and throws himself on the ground, full-face doing 'dunda pranam,' and he's stretched out so his face is down on the ground, full-length and his hands are touching the feet of this man, who is sitting cross-legged. And he's crying and the man is patting him on the head and I don't know what's happening.
I'm standing on the side and thinking "I'm not going to touch his feet. I don't have to. I'm not required to do that." And every now and then this man looks up at me and he twinkles a little. But I'm so uptight that I couldn't care less. Twinkle away, man!
Then he looks up at me?he speaks in Hindi, of which I understand maybe half, but there is a fellow who's translating all the time, who hangs out with him, and the Guru says to Bhagwan Dass, "You have a picture of me?"
Bhagwan Dass nods, "Yes".
"Give it to him," says the man, pointing at me.
"That's very nice, I think, giving me a picture of himself, and I smile and nod appreciatively. But I'm still not going to touch his feet!
Then he says, "You came in a big car?" Of course that's the one thing I'm really uptight about.
So he looks at me and he smiles and says, "You give it to me?"
I started to say, "Wha . . ." and Bhagwan Dass looks up?he's lying there?and he says, "Maharaji, (meaning ?great king'), if you want it you can have it?it's yours."
And I said, "No?now wait a minute?you can't give away David's car like that. That isn't our car . . .? and this old man is laughing. In fact, everyone is laughing . . . except me.
Then he says,."You made much money in America?"
"Ah, at last he's feeding my ego." I think.
So I flick through all of my years as a professor and years as a smuggler and all my different dramas in my mind and I said, "Yeah."
"How much you make?"
Well, I said, at one time?and I sort of upped the figure a bit, you know, my ego?$25,000.
So they all converted that into rupees which was practically half the economic base of India, and everybody was terribly awed by this figure, which was complete bragging on my part. It was phony?I never made $25,000. And he laughed again. And he said,
"You'll buy a car like that for me?"
And I remember what went through my mind. I had come out of a family of fund-raisers for the United Jewish Appeal, Brandeis, and Einstein Medical School, and I had never seen hustling like this. He doesn't even know my name and already he wants a $7,000 vehicle.*
And I said, "Well, maybe. . ." The whole-thing was freaking me so much.
And he said, "Take them away and give them food." So we were taken and given food?magnificent food?we were together still, and saddhus brought us beautiful food and then we were told to rest. Some time later we were back with the Maharaji and he said to me, "Come here. Sit." So I sat down and he looked at me and he said,
"You were out under the stars last night."
"You were thinking about your mother."
"Yes." ('Wow', I thought, 'that's pretty good. I never mentioned that to anybody').
"She died last year."
"She got very big in the stomach before she died."
. . .Pause. . . "Yes."
He leaned back and closed his eyes and said, "Spleen. She died of spleen".

Well, what happened to me at that moment, I can't really put into words. He looked at me in a certain way at that moment, and two things happened?it seemed simultaneous. They do not seem like cause and effect.
The first thing that happened was that my mind raced faster and faster to try to get leverage?to get a hold on what he had just done. I went through every super CIA paranoia I've ever had:
"Who is he?" "Who does he represent?"
"Where's the button he pushes where the file appears?" and "Why have they brought me here?"
None of it would jell.
It was just too impossible that this could have happened this way. The guy I was with didn't know all that stuff, and I was a tourist in a car, and the whole thing was just too far out. My mind went faster and faster and faster.
Up until then I had two categories for "psychic experience." One was 'they happened to somebody else and they haven't happened to me, and they were terribly interesting and we certainly had to keep an open mind about it'. That was my social science approach. The other one was, 'well, man, I'm high on LSD. Who knows how it really is? After all, under the influence of a chemical, how do I know I'm not creating the whole thing?' Because, in fact, I had taken certain chemicals where I experienced the creation of total realities. The greatest example I have of this came about through a drug called JB 318, which I took in a room at Millbrook. I was sitting on the 3rd floor and it seemed like nothing was happening at all. And into the room walked a girl from the community with a pitcher of lemonade and she said, would I like some lemonade, and I said that would be great, and she poured the lemonade, and she poured it and she kept pouring and the lemonade went over the side of the glass and fell to the floor and it went across the floor and up the wall and over the ceiling and down the wall and under my pants which got wet and it came back up into the glass?and when it touched the glass the glass disappeared and the lemonade disappeared and the wetness in my pants disappeared and the girl disappeared and I turned around to Ralph Metzner and I said,
"Ralph, the most extraordinary thing happened to me," and Ralph disappeared!
I was afraid to do anything but just sit. Whatever this is, it's not nothing. Just sit. Don't move, just sit!
So I had had experiences where I had seen myself completely create whole environments under psychedelics, and therefore I wasn't eager to interpret these things very quickly, because I, the observer, was, at those times, under the influence of the psychedelics.
But neither of these categories applied in this situation, and my mind went faster and faster and then I felt like what happens when a computer is fed an insoluble problem; the bell rings and the red light goes on and the machine stops. And my mind just gave up. It burned out its circuitry . . . its zeal to have an explanation. I needed something to get closure at the rational level and there wasn't anything. There just wasn't a place I could hide in my head about this.
And at the same moment, I felt this extremely violent pain in my chest and a tremendous wrenching feeling and I started to cry. And I cried and I cried and I cried. And I wasn't happy and I wasn't sad. It was not that kind of crying. The only thing I could say was it felt like I was home. Like the journey was over. Like I had finished.

Well, I cried and they finally sort of spooned me up and took me to the home of devotee, K. K. Sah, to stay overnight. That night I was very confused. A great feeling of lightness and confusion.
At one point in the evening I was looking in my shoulder bag and came across the bottle of LSD.
"Wow! I've finally met a guy who is going to Know! He will definitely know what LSD is. I'll have to ask him. That's what I'll do. I'll ask him." Then I forgot about it.
The next morning, at 8 o'clock a messenger comes. Maharaji wants to see you immediately. We went in the Land Rover. The 3 miles to the temple. When I'm approaching him, he yells out at me, "Have you got a question?"
And he's very impatient with all of this nonsense, and he says, "Where's the medicine?"
I got a translation of this. He said medicine. I said, "Medicine?" I never thought of LSD as medicine! And somebody said, he must mean the LSD. "LSD?" He said, "Ah-cha?bring the LSD."
So I went to the car and got the little bottle of LSD and I came back.
"Let me see??
So I poured it out in my hand?"What's that?"
"That's STP . . . That's librium and that's . . . ? A little of everything. Sort of a little traveling kit.
He says, "Gives you siddhis?"
I had never heard the word "siddhi" before. So I asked for a translation and siddhi was translated as "power". From where I was at in relation to these concepts, I thought he was like a little old man, asking for power. Perhaps he was losing his vitality and wanted Vitamin B 12. That was one thing I didn't have and I felt terribly apologetic because I would have given him anything. If he wanted the Land Rover, he could have it. And I said, "Oh, no, I'm sorry." I really felt bad I didn't have any and put it back in the bottle.
He looked at me and extended his hand. So I put into his hand what's called a "White Lightning". This is an LSD pill and this one was from a special batch that had been made specially for me for traveling. And each pill was 305 micrograms, and very pure. Very good acid. Usually you start a man over 60, maybe with 50 to 75 micrograms, very gently, so you won't upset him. 300 of pure acid is a very solid dose.
He looks at the pill and extends his hand further. So I put a second pill?that's 610 micrograms?then a third pill?that's 915 micrograms-into his palm.
That is sizeable for a first dose for anyone!
And he swallows them! I see them go down. There's no doubt. And that little scientist in me says, "This is going to be very interesting!"
All day long I'm there, and every now and then he twinkles at me and nothing?nothing happens! That was his answer to my question. Now you have the data I have.


I was taken back to the temple. It was interesting. At no time was I asked, do you want to stay? Do you want to study? Everything was understood. There were no contracts. There were no promises. There were no vows. There was nothing.
The next day Maharaji instructed them to take me out and buy me clothes. They gave me a room. Nobody ever asked me for a nickel. Nobody ever asked me to spread the word. Nobody ever did anything. There was no commitment whatsoever required. It was all done internally.

This guru ?Maharaji ?has only his blanket. You see, he's in a place called SAHAJ SAMADHI and he's not identified with this world as most of us identify with it. If you didn't watch him, he'd just disappear altogether into the jungle or leave his body, but his devotees are always protecting him and watching him so they can keep him around. They've got an entourage around him and people come and bring gifts to the holy man because that's part of the way in which you gain holy merit in India. And money piles up, and so they build temples, or they build schools. He will walk to a place and there will be a saint who has lived in that place or cave and he'll say, "There will be a temple here," and then they build a temple. And they do all this around Maharaji. He appears to do nothing.
As an example of Maharaji's style, I was once going through my address book and I came to Lama Govinda's name (he wrote Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism and Way of the White Cloud) and I thought, "Gee, I ought to go visit him. I'm here in the Himalayas and it wouldn't be a long trip and I could go and pay my respects. I must do that some time before I leave."
And the next day there is a message from Maharaji saying, "You are to go immediately to see Lama Govinda."
Another time, I had to go to Delhi to work on my visa and I took a bus. This was the first time after four months that they let me out alone. They were so protective of me. I don't know what they were afraid would happen to me, but they were always sending somebody with me . . . They weren't giving me elopement privileges, as they say in mental hospitals.
But they allowed me to go alone to Delhi and I took a 12 hour bus trip. I went to Delhi and I was so high. I went through Connaught Place. And I went through that barefoot, silent with my chalkboard ?I was silent all the time. At American Express, writing my words it was so high that not at one moment was there even a qualm or a doubt.

So after all day long of doing my dramas with the Health Department and so on, it came time for lunch. I had been on this very fierce austere diet and I had lost 60 lbs. I was feeling great?very light and very beautiful?but there was enough orality still left in me to want to have a feast. I'll have a vegetarian feast, I thought. So I went to a fancy vegetarian restaurant and I got a table over in a corner and ordered their special deluxe vegetarian dinner, from nuts to nuts, and I had

After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus

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King of OTD

Registered: 09/22/04
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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #3240589 - 10/10/04 09:09 PM (19 years, 6 months ago)

it stops at a weird spot........

we want the rest!!!

"I am eternally free"

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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: tomk]
    #3240688 - 10/10/04 09:40 PM (19 years, 6 months ago)

The most interesting part is that the narrator had a friend that consulted with Aldous Huxley. He rocks!

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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: MoneyAddyct]
    #3240759 - 10/10/04 10:00 PM (19 years, 6 months ago)

holy shit.... slight pun intended...

i think the point was that there is no rest.

breathe, relax.

"You cannot trust in law, unless you can trust in people. If you can trust in people, you don't need law." -J. Mumma

Edited by BleaK (10/11/04 04:51 AM)

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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: BleaK]
    #3241951 - 10/11/04 03:54 AM (19 years, 6 months ago)

Is this breaking copyright laws?

Anyway, I'm currently half way through this book. I seriously doubt the validity of the guru/lsd incident, as with a few other incidents.

The middle part is interesting. Nothing others haven't already said, but still thought provoking. I've noticed a big contradiction in it that relates to most eastern philosophy. I still need to think about this some more though.

Ok book so far.

Put that monkey back in the oven.

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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: ninjapixie]
    #3242487 - 10/11/04 10:32 AM (19 years, 6 months ago)

I'm sure this isnt breaking copyright laws, as my Asian Religions professor sent this in an email to about 1000 people earlier this week. I'm not doing anything different than he is. As far as the rest....My commentary follows in another post.

....So after all day long of doing my dramas with the Health Department and so on, it came time for lunch. I had been on this very fierce austere diet and I had lost 60 lbs. I was feeling great?very light and very beautiful?but there was enough orality still left in me to want to have a feast. I'll have a vegetarian feast, I thought. So I went to a fancy vegetarian restaurant and I got a table over in a corner and ordered their special deluxe vegetarian dinner, from nuts to nuts, and I had the whole thing and the last thing they served was vegetarian ice cream with 2 english biscuits stuck into it. And those biscuits . . . the sweet thing has always been a big part of my life, but I knew somehow, maybe I shouldn't be eating those. They're so far out from my diet. It's not vegetables?it's not rice. And so I was almost secretly eating the cookies in this dark corner. I was feeling very guilty about eating these cookies. But nobody was watching me. And then I went to a Buddhist monastary for the night and the next day took the bus back up to the mountain.
Two days later, we heard Maharaji was back?he had been up in the mountains in another little village. He travels around a lot, moves from place to place. I hadn't seen him in about a month and a half ?I didn't see much of him at all. We all went rushing to see Maharaii and I got a bag of oranges to bring to him and I came and took one look at him, and the oranges went flying and I started to cry and I fell down and they were patting me. Maharaji was eating oranges as fast as he could, manifesting through eating food the process of taking on the karma of someone else.
Women bring him food all day long. He just opens his mouth and they feed him and he's taking on karma that way. And he ate eight oranges right before my eyes. I had never seen anything like that. And the principal of the school was feeding me oranges and I was crying and the whole thing was very maudlin, and he pulls me by the hair, and I look up and he says to me, "How did you like the biscuits?"
I'd be at my temple. And I'd think about arranging for a beautiful lama in America to get some money, or something like that. Then I'd go to bed and pull the covers over my head and perhaps have a very worldly thought; I would think about what I'd do with all my powers when I got them; perhaps a sexual thought. Then when next I saw Maharaji he would tell me something like, "You want to give money to a lama in America." And I'd feel like I was such a beautiful guy. Then suddenly I'd be horrified with the realization that if he knew that thought, then he must know that one, too . . . ohhhhh . . . and that one, too! Then I'd look at the ground. And when I'd finally steal a glance at him, he'd be looking at me with such total love.
Now the impact of these experiences was very profound. As they say in the Sikh religion?Once you realize God knows everything, you're free. I had been through many years of psychoanalysis and still I had managed to keep private places in my head?I wouldn't say they were big, labeled categories, but they were certain attitudes or feelings that were still very private. And suddenly I realized that he knew everything that was going on in my head, all the time, and that he still loved me. Because who we are is behind all that.
I said to Hari Dass Baba, my teacher at the time, "Why is it that Maharaji never tells me the bad things I think'?", and he says, "it does not help your sadhana ?your spiritual work. He knows it all, but he just does the things that help you."
The sculptor had said he loved Maharaji so much, we should keep the Land Rover up there. The Land Rover was just sitting around and so Maharaii got the Land Rover after all, for that time. And then one day, I was told we were going on an outing up in the Himalayas for the day. This was very exciting, because I never left my room in the temple. Now in the temple, or around Maharaji, there were eight or nine people. Bhagwan Dass and I were the only Westerners. In fact, at no time that I was there did I see any other Westerners. This is clearly not a western scene, and in fact, I was specifically told when returning to the United States that I was not to mention Maharaji's name or where he was, or anything.
The few people that have slipped by this net and figured out from clues in my speech and their knowledge of India where he was and have gone to see him, were thrown out immediately. . . very summarily dismissed, which is very strange. All I can do is pass that information on to you. I think the message is that you don't need to go to anywhere else to find what you are seeking.
So there were eight or nine people and whenever there was a scene, I walked last. I was the lowest man on the totem pole. They all loved me and honored me and I was the novice, like in a karate or judo class, where you stand at the back until you learn more. I was always in the back and they were always teaching me.
So we went in the Land Rover. Maharaji was up in the front?Bhagwan Dass was driving. Bhagwan Dass turned out to be very high in this scene. He was very very highly thought of and honored. He had started playing the sitar; he was a fantastic musician and the Hindu people loved him. He would do bhajan?holy music?so high they would go out on it. So Bhagwan Dass was driving and I was way in the back of the Land Rover camper with the women and some luggage.
And we went up into the hills and came to a place where we stopped and were given apples, in an orchard and we looked at a beautiful view. We stayed about 10 minutes, and then Maharaji says, "We've got to go on."
We got in the car, went further up the hill and came to a Forestry camp. Some of his devotees are people in the Forestry department so they make this available to him.
So we got to this place and there was a building waiting and a caretaker?"Oh, Maharaji, you've graced us with your presence." He went inside with the man that is there to take care of him or be with him all the time?and we all sat on the lawn."
After a little while, a message came out, "Maharaji wants to see you." And I got up and went in, and sat down in front of him. He looked at me and said,
"You make many people laugh in America?"
I said, "Yes, I like to do that."
"Good . . . You like to feed children?"
"Yes. Sure."
He asked a few more questions like that, which seemed to be nice questions, but . . . ? Then he smiled and he reached forward and he tapped me right on the forehead, just three times. That's all.
Then the other fellow came along and lifted me and walked me out the door. I was completely confused. I didn't know what had happened to me?why he had done it?what it was about.
When I walked out, the people out in the yard said that I looked as if I were in a very high state. They said tears were streaming down my face. But all I felt inside was confusion. I have never felt any further understanding of it since then. I don't know what it was all about. It was not an idle movement, because the minute that was over, we all got back in the car and went home.
I pass that on to you. You know now, what I know about that. Just an interesting thing. I don't know what it means, yet.
Hari Dass Baba was my teacher. I was taught by this man with a chalkboard in the most terse way possible. I would get up early, take my bath in the river or out of a pail with a lota (a bowl). I would go in and do my breathing exercises, my pranayam and my hatha yoga, meditate, study, and around 11:30 in the morning, this man would arrive and with chalkboard he would write something down:
"If a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only his pockets."
Then he'd get up and leave. Or he'd write,
"If you wear shoeleather, the whole earth is covered with leather."
These were his ways of teaching me about how motivation affects perception. His teaching seemed to be no teaching because he always taught from within . . . that is, his lessons aroused in me just affirmation . . . as if I knew it all already.
When starting to teach me about what it meant to be 'ahimsa' or non-violent, and the effect on the environment around you of the vibrations?when he started to teach me about energy and vibrations, his opening statement was "Snakes Know Heart." "Yogis in jungle need not fear." Because if you're pure enough, cool it, don't worry. But you've got to be very pure.
So his teaching was of this nature. And it was not until a number of months later that I got hold of Vivekananda?s book "Raja Yoga" and I realized that he had been teaching me Raja Yoga, very systematically?an exquisite scientific system that had been originally enunciated somewhere between 500 BC and 500 AD by Patanjali, in a set of sutras, or phrases, and it's called Ashtanga Yoga, or 8-limbed yoga?and also known as Raja or Kingly yoga. And this beautiful yogi was teaching me this wisdom with simple metaphor and brief phrase.
Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling ?our-story' as I have just done, or through teaching methods of yoga, or singing, or making love. Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom.
For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message . . . the living faith in what is possible.

After one comes, through contact with it's administrators, no longer to cherish greatly the law as a remedy in abuses, then the bottle becomes a sovereign means of direct action.  If you cannot throw it at least you can always drink out of it.  - Ernest Hemingway

If it is life that you feel you are missing I can tell you where to find it.  In the law courts, in business, in government.  There is nothing occurring in the streets. Nothing but a dumbshow composed of the helpless and the impotent.    -Cormac MacCarthy

He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.  - Aeschylus

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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: Madtowntripper]
    #3242661 - 10/11/04 11:29 AM (19 years, 6 months ago)

Awesome read :cool:


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Re: a long story about drugs and philosophy. [Re: deff]
    #3243562 - 10/11/04 02:49 PM (19 years, 6 months ago)


Men look at themselves and they see flawed humans, we look at women and we see perfect
Women look at themselves and they seem utterly human, when looking at men they see proud



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