For all the pain and anxiety my kids’ adolescence is putting me through, there’s a beautiful side to it all. Philosophical, youthful exuberance is hitting my kids head on. Their intellectual curiosity is raging. They’re asking questions and seem to have a genuine respect for my opinions and experiences.
My son is 16. He’s fascinated with marijuana. It might be naïve on my part, but I believe him when he tells me he's not using drugs. I know everyone has different experiences, but I’ve known too many people whose emotional and intellectual development stopped when they started using them.
There seem to be two different types of people when it comes to drugs. For some, it’s just a matter of getting fu%#ed up (might as well be booze). For others, it’s a genuine lust for exploration.
I have junkie friends who look at LSD and other psychotropics with disdain as “merely recreational”. Altering their state of consciousness is strictly a physical experience.
All my son’s rock and roll heroes are big druggies of course, so he’s naturally curious.
Altered states of consciousness are a natural part of intellectual curiosity, but I’ve asked Dylan to wait until he’s in his mid 20s. He’s promised he would.
Dylan’s been reading Herman Hesse. I’m about to turn him onto Carlos Constaneda and maybe John C. Lilly.
Constaneda’s first book, The Teachings of Don Juan, was written for his college thesis. Don Juan was a Yaqui shaman. One of the first things Constaneda learned from him was how to know when you’re dreaming.
His trick was whenever you saw your hands in a dream, you'd realize you were dreaming. It took practice, but I taught myself how to do it. I was almost always lucid in my dreams. I fully intended to search for some deeper meaning in life, but all I could ever think to do was fly. It was a lot of fun though. It still happens every now and then.
I fell in love with the band Supertramp when I heard the song Dreamer. “Can you put you’re hands in your head?” “But now you put your head in your hands, oh no!”
Dylan is learning about the Buddhist philosophy of becoming one with the universe from
John C. Lilly invented the sensory deprivation chamber and wrote about his experiences meditating in one, as well as taking LSD. He was in his 50s, and it was the 1950s.
When I was around Dylan’s age, I trained myself to turn off my inner conversation from information gleaned from these books. It was harder than waking up in my dreams.
I remember staring at the wood grain pattern in my bedroom door one night. My inner conversation stopped, and I began to hallucinate. The door became an entrance to a cave, and I went in. Planets and stars began to whiz past me, and I felt an overwhelming sense of euphoria.
Adolescence can be a wonderful experience. It breaks my heart when I hear how terrible it was for so many of my friends. I know my kids are on their own, but I can’t help but want to do every thing I can to make it a great time for them.
Pic is my brother Patrick, me, and my girlfriend Pam in my bedroom in our Soulard apartment. Believe it or not, we were in High School. You can just make out my brother’s dog Cello’s tongue sticking out from under the bed.