So much of my early life is recalled through the music of the times because music was central to my life in so many ways. I started listening to music of my own choosing in a conscious way when I was seven. I chose rock 'n' roll over the music of my mother. I started playing guitar in 1972 and writing songs in 1973, featuring the folk rock music that suited the acoustic guitar so well. All my teenage angst was experienced hand in hand with the music happening all around me. Most of that music had to do with the counter-culture revolution, when young minds were busy throwing off the trappings of earlier generations. We were rejecting war and embracing peace, although we made the mistake of rejecting those who had been sent to fight those wars as though they themselves had caused it. Those vets paid twice for fighting a war they may or may not have signed up for voluntarily. They fought it in Vietnam and they fought it on the streets of America when they returned home, already battered and abused from the inside out.
I can't experience "throwback Thursdays" on Facebook, where you're supposed to share a photo of yourself from the past, without experiencing a trip back in time through music. A time that commemorates those times of unrest and revolution. My growing up years are inextricably linked to the music that informed me, infused me, and introduced me to the world that existed outside of my head. Although I always had a lot of friends, I saw myself as a loner growing up because what was going on inside my head was more important to me. I couldn't have cared any less about school cliques and proms because it was the internal stuff that mattered to me. Music helped introduce me to new ideas about the world. It helped me to explore my inner space while the world around me was exploring outer space.
When I was entering the seventies, I was not quite a teen yet, but I was already being introduced to drugs through my friends, school, and through the "head music" side of rock 'n' roll. I may have been only twelve at the time I started smoking pot and doing drugs, but I started using drugs as part of a search for answers to all the philosophical and metaphysical questions for which I craved answers. I didn't do drugs to "drop out." I was doing drugs to find my way to Truth. That path never managed to lead me to truth philosophically, but in a way it did lead me to Truth experientially. When I would start off on an acid trip, I would encounter a blank wall and on it the word why? would appear. I would trip inside my head for many hours, but as I was coming back down, I would always see the word why? appear again on the wall, and I would realize that I had gained nothing, learned nothing really from the trip I'd taken with those drugs. Until "one dark and stormy night," when I came face to face with someone inside me and outside of me at the same time.
During a trip in 1975, when I had done 2.5 hits of LSD, I had an unexpected encounter with someone from beyond this realm. I found out decades later (by asking questions) that it was one of my spirit guides who spoke to me and got my attention in a very big way. A little LSD, a little nudging from beyond, a little hallucinating, and I found God. Only I didn't find a God that fit in a tiny little box that could be tied up in a package with a ribbon and a bow. I found a Being who embodies love and embraces us all: gay, straight, bi, trans, you name it. Every color of the rainbow is found in the Light. Every culture, every truth. Although I went on to embrace charismatic Christianity for a decade after that, I found that church was more about capturing the Divine in a box and putting it on display than about allowing that Being to live and breathe in an expansive way through us. I think that was what Jesus himself was all about, but that is not what most churches were doing at the time. So I learned as much as I could from the few churches who were serving up Truth and allowing the Divine to be expansive then left Christianity, taking this expansive Being with me to continue to shine the light of love on the path before me. That light led me to search other religions and viewpoints, and it showed me that all spiritual paths are predicated on love at the heart of their teachings. Those that weren't had stumbled off the paths on which they'd started. When I realized that all paths to Truth are based on Love, then I realized that Love was the heart of Truth and all spirituality. As long as I hold to Love as my guiding Light, then my path will be in the direction of Truth. When a path veers into judgment of others, fear, and hatred, then it has careened off the path.
No one religion holds the key to all wisdom, but if we stop long enough to listen to one another, to share the pieces of Truth we've encountered along the way, then we'll reach the Truth. Truth is already centered and built upon a foundation of love--for ourselves, for each other, for the awesome Being and experience of everythingness around us. If, in our explorations of life and outer space, we focus our inner space on Love, it will take us where we want to go. Along this path is the freedom from rules the counter culture was seeking. It is an inner freedom rather than merely an outer one, but we had to throw off the outer chains first to realize that what is left then are the inner chains that are not any better than the outer societal ones. Being chained to drug addictions or unplanned children were not necessarily better than the previous generation's rules and laws. They were simply different. Attempting to rebel against those laws put us at odds with ourselves and our children rather than our parents.
The song from my music CD, Driftwood: The Music, entitled "Caught in a Nightmare," marks the 5th anniversary of that night when I met the Being within and beyond my small perspective and walked away from drugs for good. Although I smoked pot a few more times after that point, I never did hard drugs again. I no longer needed LSD, PCP, THC, or any of the other myriad mind-expanding drugs out there. I discovered that my mind was already as expanded as it needed to be, and that I was in the process of shrinking it with drug use. Now I expand it by allowing prayer and meditation to take it beyond the illusory limitations of three-dimensional thinking. I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am spirit and spirit knows no boundaries that it would need to extend them. I simply plug my spirit light into the Source of all Light and let it flow through me. It may not always be easy to do that, but it is always simple. As simple as lying back and letting the music you hear inside take you into outer space. As simple as plugging in an electrical cord so you can allow it power your computer or lamp, etc. You can plug into the Source that is Light and Love and let it empower you effortlessly.