Wednesday, July 26, 2006


When I was about 32 I was living in Oregon, in Eastern Oregon, the dry part. People think that Oregon is all lush temperate rain forest but that is just a thin strip along the Pacific Coast. Most of the state is what is called high desert. Not totally desert, there are plants and trees and some precipitation but it is very dry. I was living in a small town called Hermiston, living what was known then as the hippie life. I owned a house, a small, white clapboard affair. I had a wife, a son about 8 and a daughter 2. I was working as a carpenter, making fairly good money and I was getting stoned almost every night. This was in the 70's so smoking pot, though illegal was kind of accepted and did not have the stigma it currently enjoys. Also at that time the pot we bought was not nearly as strong as what is available now so I think the culture was a bit different. In any case, one evening we had a party, not unusual as almost every Saturday night us pot-heads would gather at someone's house to get high and discuss important things, like how high we were and the best high we ever had, etc. It was all depressingly familiar and boring. On the particular night I am about to relate, someone had come with some LSD. This particular culture I was in was wary of LSD and most people did not use it. I had taken LSD a couple of times, in small doses, and liked it but was also a bit wary. This particular evening I took what was offered and waited for the experience to begin. One of the things that I had been doing at that time was reading a lot about mysticism and spirituality. I had read about meditation and kind of thought I understood. I didn't but what did I know? So, having taken the LSD, I decided to see what all the fuss was about and left the party to go to my bedroom. I sat on the bed, in what I thought was a proper meditative position, closed my eyes and waited for something to happen. About then the LSD kicked in.
I think that LSD tends to follow your intent or at least your sub conscious wants. Your mind slides into a new groove but with the old stuff guiding because that is how you understand. So a person who is subliminally paranoid of the world will have an intense experience of paranoia. What I dearly wanted was to understand why things work. That has always been my motivation, my core need. So that's what happened. I was sitting there, pretending to meditate, when my body disappeared. Richard Alpert describes a similar experience in Be Here Now. What then happened was what is called a White Light Experience. Your consciousness finds itself in a place of light. There is no point source like a sun or a lamp, everything is just light. This was scary, terrifying but I rode it out, determined to understand. Then I realized that there were two beings, one on either side, telling me things. I could not see them. There aren’t any bodies as such in this place I guess. I was aware that they were filling me with information, things that I needed to know but I could not seem to hold onto anything intellectually. On reflection I believe they were putting this information directly into my sub conscious, bypassing the critical mind entirely. I do not know how long I sat there, over an hour I think. At some point I realized that I had a choice at this moment. I could stay with these beings, leave my body behind and go into their world; or, I could return to my body and fulfill my responsibilities, responsibilities which, at this time, were fuzzy at best but seemed very important. I opted to return. As I was rediscovering my body, both beings said a last piece of advice to me. It is the only piece that I consciously remember. They both said, at the same time, "Remember, there are no rules!"
I got my body back, got up, stiffly I might add, and returned to the living room. I think I expected some kind of acknowledgment of my inner journey, some kind of notice but there was nothing, no notice at all. Everyone was just as before, stoned, telling one another how stoned they were, how this stone compared to other stoned nights. No one noticed that I had changed. But I knew. I think this was the moment when I realized that this world of stoned people was not for me. It was the moment when I slowly began to withdraw. The moment that eventually led to the dissolution of my first marriage and the beginning of the long journey to find my teacher.

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