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Saturday, March 20, 2021

See you in the next bardo


I sent the following letter to a client and friend who is a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I thought that perhaps the rest of you might find it somewhat amusing or interesting:

Thanks S_____, I should be in all day. I would like to bare my soul to you a little bit right now if I may. 

I was a late to the party psychedelic warrior in the 1970's. My grandfather lived in Los Angeles, on Fairfax. He had been in a coma at cedar sinai for over six months. My friend Hank and I took a hit of some very strong acid and went to LACMA and walked into a few tangka paintings, like doorways in space. This is about 1977 or 8 I think. I am telling you we were teleporting. Powerful stuff. Then we walked into a blue and white persian exhibit. Equally mind blowing. Somehow we made it to the hospital to see grandpa.

We stood over his shriveled body and read from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, wished him on his way peacefully into the next bardo. The next thing we knew we were in Watts and people were throwing gang signs at us, don't know how we got there and how we finally extricated ourselves. Intense is not the word.

But it was definitely one of the heaviest days of my life and I will always have a deep affinity with LACMA, although on a different tangency than most of your patrons, I must assume.

Speak soon.

Robert

4 comments:

island guy said...

Ask Big Dave about our trip to/at the Vorpal gallery for a private showing of Escher works. Granular!

Blue Heron said...

Actually you figure in this story far more than Dave does. Because you and I were camping in the anza borrego that night and we threw the strange hexagram about the corpse blowing away into the night that neither of us could understand and we both woke up wordlessly at three in the morning and silently drove back to carlsbad and as we walked in the door of my house at six the telephone rang with the word that my grandfather had passed. And then it all made sense.

island guy said...

I’m sure we drove out on Hwy 94. Did we also take Hwy 80 that day? It was a powerful reading of the hexagram which I certaiinly remember.

Jon Harwood said...

Ya kno'. A deity isn't mandatory to have the phenomena one finds in some Eastern philosophies. At least in Theravada Buddhism you don't need one at all. There is Dharma, Kozmik Law and everything follows from that. True or false, that approach is at at least an explanation that can reconcile the interesting experiences that turn up with psychedelics or with divination like the iChing versus the rest of consciousness. I am fairly sure that the Big Name Theravada practitioners might say that the goal is to get above woo woo or psychedelia and to enter enlightened consciousness. But since I never got a spiritual E ticket I have to content myself with the little bit I might know.