Sex & Drugs & New Age Music: My Search For Enlightenment In The 90’s—Part Two.
When I returned under an increasingly electric mid-morning sky to the outdoor German Cafe, Kristina was under the table. Hot tears streamed down her contorted and angry face.
She extended an accusing finger at me and spat out these words, “You are the devil of my existence.”
Not a great way to begin a shared eight hour journey into the extremely altered state of LSD. I had imagined this going quite differently, but I guess the pesky “universe” had other plans.
“This very mellow acid,” the young and soft spoken drug dealer had assured us with that characteristic Indian head wobble (a gesture which indicated everything from yes of course, to no, to I don’t know, to we shall see, to maybe) “good for sitting on the side of the party and enjoying the music.”
Goa is a party town.
Think Palm Springs on Spring Break and then add a lot of unwashed Europeans, all-night beach parties with thumping 90’s techno music, rented low-powered motorcycles buzzing everywhere, cafes that sold “Bhang Lassi” —a potent yogurt drink infused with liquid cannabis, and enough LSD, Ecstasy and Amphetamines circulating to ensure that sleep was thoroughly out of style.
But we were above all that. No motorcycles for us, no amphetamines and certainly no techno music as the soundtrack to our encounter with the divine within and around us via the ancient sacrament.
Like many people, we really felt that psychedelic substances were the doorway to God.
Not God in the sense that most religious folks believe, but a kind of pantheistic god-in-everything, god as nature, as the cosmos itself, god as the Vedantic ground of being, as the eternal Void of Buddhism.
God as each of our inherent true nature, sleeping behind our deluded eyes, hiding inside the illusion of the material world.
God as the alpha and omega, the spark of divinity inside each of us, the Atman that ultimately is self-realized as Brahman, the soul that finds it’s way home.
God as the dance, God as orgasm and God as the self-transcending, yet all-embracing consciousness discovered in meditation and self-evident in every lived moment.
God as the divine intelligence behind and within the cosmos, the creator, the orchestrator who’s hidden hand is seen in synchronistic moments which remind us that what we perceive is not all there is…
Most of the yoga community believes in some version of this “god.” Not content to be mere pansy-ass believers, we were psychonauts, explorers of inner space, we wanted to find out for ourselves.
We wanted to see the face of God and live to tell that tale from behind enlightened eyes.
We knew that just like the Buddha and Jesus, no-one would really understand us —but perhaps our lives could be lived in constant knowledge of this ultimate truth and of our divine purpose on the planet.
Yea I know—crazy kids, huh? But it is not sheer craziness that we linked powerful altered states to this perennial mysticism.
There is much evidence and academic speculation about the origins of many religions lying in the sacramental use of psychedelic plants and fungi.
From the potentially mold-infused and vision generating psychoactive bread in the Jewish ark of the covenant, to “Soma” and “Kykeon” —suggestively potent sacramental drinks that “revealed the knowledge of the gods” in ancient India and Greece respectively, to the use of ritual mushrooms (called the “flesh of the gods”) in Eastern Europe and Central America, to the Ayahuasca of the Amazon Rainforest, the ingestion of mind-bending substances and ancient religious ritual appear to be quite intertwined.
Now, in India, which our favorite guru Osho (or Baghwan Shree Ragneesh) had called the “Buddha field,” we were ready to pierce the veil once more and go to the next level of our personal evolution.
It was about 10 in the morning when we made the decision.
The smiling German owner of the cafe had assured us that it had been designed explicitly for tripping. The Rajastani canopy above us was multicolored and bore small reflective mirrors.
The ocean was a brilliant aquamarine and the sky a clear and deep electric blue. Kristina’s eyes glimmered in a similar color spectrum as she she handed me the half tab of acid.
“I haven’t done this in over five years,” I said to her, “I am a little nervous, let’s just do half.”
With a shared knowing look, and a ritualistic deliberateness, we put the improbably thin and small piece of paper soaked with a tiny drop of the most potent drug on the planet onto our god-hungry tongues.
We shared some delicious fruit and sipped on dark coffee.
She always knew just when to catch me off guard. Before I knew it I was agreeing to add another entire hit of acid on my tongue, to join the half hit that was already making it’s way to my brain.
“Don’t worry,” she said, eyes twinkling, mouth smiling seductively, “I’ll take care of you.”
After we had each taken this second, larger dose, I had a brainwave. What could be better as a way to establish the tone of our trip than to spend the 45 to 60 minutes before the drug “came on” reading from our favorite spiritual books?
Kristina liked this idea and headed downstairs to the bathroom with the understanding that I would be back shortly from a visit to the hotel room.
I grabbed her little backpack to carry the books and made my way over to the hotel room, grabbed The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, The Eagle’s Quest by Fred Alan Wolfe, Ken Wilber’s Spectrum of Consciousness, and Bringers of the Dawn by Barbara Marciniak, tucked them safely into the backpack, slung it onto my shoulder and began the walk back to our perch on the Goan cliff.
Now, it had been a while, but I was “experienced.” My most profound awakenings had occurred on LSD. I felt it had revealed to me the truth of a transcendent self that was beyond my current existence or material limitations.
I had also spent long periods meditating on mushrooms, and of course much longer periods for many years meditating without psychedelic fuel.
We had eaten Peyote cactus we had gathered ourselves in the Mexican desert, and I had also been introduced by Kristina to the blissful heart-opening wonder of pure MDMA Ecstasy.
I was not, however, prepared for what would ensue.
First of all, it had been maybe 20minutes since we had dropped, and yet my senses were starting to register some dramatic changes that I wouldn’t have expected for another few hours at least.
It started with needing to spit.
I felt that there was a prickly wad of mucus in my throat. I spat onto the red dusty pathway that wound it’s way up the hill and then stopped.
A rush of associations flooded me: the spit contained micro-organisms that were part of me but not, the earth received my body fluids, the air was contained in it’s bubbles, and surely this wad of DNA was part of the evolutionary spectrum, this spit would one day evolve up the great chain of being and become (of course) a Buddha.
The sky was pulsating gently, it was filled with knowing, it hummed with an incommunicable information. Masculine, unyielding in its truth.
The ocean was spelling out hieroglyphs as it broke on the shore, the curling frothy waves telling a story of what lies beneath the surface of reality.
Along the curving shoreline that was visible from our height there were rock formations that appeared to be a morphing menagerie of animal gods all engaged in various acts of sexual congress.
I thought to myself that I had better make it back up to our canopy covered sanctuary before this got any more intense.
Kristina’s blonde hair hung in braids around her face, accentuating the fullness of her cheeks, cheeks that were flushed and wet with tears. Her emerald eyes burned at me from the darkness under the table and an accusing finger pointed right at me as I approached.
“What?! I took your bag to carry these books for us. I had no idea your journal was in it..”
“You’re lying. I should never have trusted you! You’re a demon.”
In moments like these I have this strange ability, even it would seem in the beginning stages of strong LSD, to get very calm.
“Listen Kristina, I love you. I would never read your journal. I didn’t even see it in the bag. We just took some very strong acid and I think we are in for a hell of a ride, so why don’t we just put this aside and talk about it tomorrow. We have to be on the same team right now…”
She came out from under the table and we crawled up onto the cushions to begin our inner journey, wiping her tears and smiling. I assumed my half-lotus meditation position and closed my eyes.
To Be Continued…