Once upon a time, specifically February 1969, I was in my last semester of a four year college degree in biology. It was about three weeks into that final semester, while taking a cell physiology course, that my most major inner conflict at the time came to a head. Having spent 12 years in a strict Catholic school, with 17 years of being "guided" by my Irish Catholic mother, I was having significant difficulty reconciling the view of life I grew up with, with the prevalent scientific view of the day (and for many, to this day).
Not that this was the beginning of my religious doubts, which had begun about age 13, but it most clearly brought them to a boil. Trying to keep this short, I dropped out of college and headed west, both "to figure things out" and, ideally, to ski in Colorado or Utah. Like just about everyone, I had gone through infinite spins of the dial as to "what I wanted to be when I grew up." It had actually come down to being a brain surgeon or a ski bum about that point in time.
I stopped in Chicago to visit my best friend, a year ahead of me, then graduated from Notre Dame and teaching fourth grade. That hung me up for about six weeks in the windy city, where psychedelics and parties were found in abundance. My buddy had a reasonable circle of friends, also graduated from ND, several of whom had attended the same Catholic school I had on Long Island.
I had modest experience in the "mind altering" department, as what I can best describe as a "wanna be" hippie, though my interest was not so much in partying as searching for meaning and experiencing the universe through the Albert Hoffman lens, discovered in 1947, the same year I appeared, in the form of lysergic acid diethylamide 25-- aka LSD, along with a few other more natural mind-altering substances.
My truly brilliant friend and I had done much research for quite some time on these substances and we both came away concluding it was the most sensible way to get a deeper understanding of the world we lived in. In fact, for my senior project, my delightful adviser and open minded biology professor (who later founded Orion Nature Quarterly, still going strong, with a long chain of prestigious awards), helped me examine my chromosomes under I think a 600x microscope, and take pictures of them. This, to get more serious evidence on the claims by much of the press, that LSD damaged chromosomes (it doesn't).
My friend and I had amazing and mind-opening times, such as examining luminescent jellyfish for hours one night in the Peconic Bay, watching a sunrise from a lone coastguard tower on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, watching a Jimi Hendrix/ Janis Joplin concert, having deep philosophical discussions, wading in the surf, going to a zoo for many hours, and much more.
One day my friend was teaching and I was hanging out with two of his downstairs neighbors, in an old Chicago brownstone apartment (before my getting a short term job in a G.D. Searle lab, to fund my way further west). The couple happened to have a small white pill, one of the modes of LSD transport at the time, and we decided to split it three ways. I have zero idea of the actual dosage, nor how it was distributed throughout the pill.
I took my portion while lying down on a couch, while the couple sat across from me on comfortable living room chairs. There was a Beatles's album on the record player, and we were all rather laid back listening to the various songs.
At one point in time, not long after "the drop," on came Strawberry Fields Forever click here. I recall that the fellow across from me, who I knew only moderately well, told me to lay back and enjoy the music, which I did. Shortly after, he told me or so I think to this day, that this was "my song" and this was "my day." Which I thought rather strange, but I was not in the mood to question it.
I had my head on the couch pillow when I recall a strange but powerful emotion coming over me, as though it was somehow lifting up my body. In short order, with my eyes closed and simply laying there listening to Strawberry Fields, I was suddenly travelling down a long eerie tunnel, with various images of people from my past whirring by on the sides, old friends, my mother, and others who I felt the essence of more than actually "saw."
Time was irrelevant and I can't even imagine what it may have been "in real time." At the end of the tunnel, I recall a clear image of a large Chinese gong, in the form of a large gold circle, seemingly about six feet in diameter, that I was passing through.
As I traveled through the gong, a fantastically loud noise sounded, as if to say, "Yes, this IS the real thing." Remarkably real, as I well recall to this day. When I say "I passed through the gong," I am referring to my consciousness alone, sans body.
Next in my field of awareness appeared a large bright light, which filled my field of vision. It was no ordinary light, such as an incandescent light or the sun, just a large, warm, loving light. There is no other way to describe it.
I was headed into this light, and felt my ego being dissolved as I did so; but this was absolutely no problem, as the light was so warm, loving, and inviting that I was delighted to be leaving anything that might be called "Daniel Geery" behind, and about to be absorbed into the light, which I can now best describe as "the universe turned inside out."
Again, no sense of time involved here. Then, as I was entering this indescribable ball of light, another "gong" or loud noise was sounded, while my awareness, or consciousness, was turned around, and anything that I can possibly call "myself" was rejected by the light. I have no other way to describe it.
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