Thursday, August 19, 2010
PSYCHEDELIC PRAYERS after the TAO TE CHING
The poems were inspired by the Tao Te Ching (Way of Life), ancient spiritual writings of Taoist philosopher Lao Tsu. Leary believed Tsu's writings would serve as an excellent guidebook for psychedelic sessions, so--armed with nine English translations--he sat under a tree in India and attempted to distill the works' essential meanings (from a drug-induced perspective, of course).
As meditation is to Eastern spiritual traditions, psychedelic drugs were to Timothy Leary. The counterculture guru encouraged people to transcend ego-centered perspectives of ordinary human consciousness, go beyond the dualities of right and wrong, and liberate themselves from their limitations.
The Tao Te Ching fit these purposes quite well, he thought, and Ralph Metzner, who wrote the book's introduction, agrees: "These meditations on the art and science of consciousness expansion are serene, sensuous, funny and wise.
They are among the most inspired writings by one of the outstanding visionary geniuses of the 20th century."