don lattin

Leary was different things to different people. He was reviled. He was revered. He was a prophet. He was a phony. He was a brilliant, innovative thinker. He was a fool. He captured the irreverent, rebellious spirit of the sixties. He was a fame-seeking, manipulative con artist. Who was he? Perhaps The Trickster said it best when he quipped, ‘You get the Timothy Leary you deserve.’
—  Don Lattin

anonymous asked:

Some good books you suggest?

Be Here Now by Ram Dass, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas, The Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Lattin, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Grist for the Mill by Ram Dass, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, High Priest by Timothy Leary, Being Good by Hsing Yun, Think on These Things by Krishnamurti, Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop, The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – The Diary of Frida Kahlo, The Diaries of Anaïs Nin, Another e.e. cummings, The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman, I Wrote This For You by pleasefindthis, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, 1984 by George Orwell, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, No one belongs here more than you. by Miranda July… That’s probably a good start. (:

anonymous asked:

do you have any book recommendations?

The Diary of Anaïs Nin (7 volumes), The Diary of Frida Kahlo, Acorn by Yoko Ono, Be Here Now by Ram Dass, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas, Story People by Brian Andreas, in passing by Jamie Oliveira, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman, The Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Lattin, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, Another e.e. cummings, 1984 by George Orwell, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol, 2012 and the Galactic Center by Christine R. Page

Recovery and the Fifth Precept

‘Most of us who came of age in the 1960’s convinced ourselves that getting high was the quickest - if not the best - way to begin the long, strange trip toward higher consciousness. Aldus Huxley, the man who wrote The Doors of Perception and turned Timothy Leary on to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, seemed to be saying that we could access ancient wisdom through the wonders of modern chemistry.

For a while at least, that theory seemed to hold true for me, and I suspect I’m not the only reader of this magazine who became interested in Buddhism following an acid trip back in the sixties.

Further on down the road, in the 1970’s, I got a bit more serious about my Buddhism. I struggled through a few meditation retreats with the Korean Zen master Seung Sahn and even considered taking vows to become an official Buddhist. But one of the Buddhist precepts particularly bothered me. It was the fifth one, the one about abstaining from intoxicating drink, and presumably from other drugs that also gave rise to heedlessness.

I never got round to taking formal vows and soon fell away from my meditation practice altogether. It took two decades before I reconnected with meditation, in this case a Vipassana group. Getting high was still an important part of my daily routine, but I’d long since abandoned the delusion that alcohol and other drugs were somehow furthering my spiritual growth. I could no longer hide the fact from myself that I was an alocholic and drug addict - a functional one, with a good job, a house, and a family, but an addict nonetheless.

As a journalist, I’d written about twelve-step spirituality and the burgeoning recovery movement, but I’d never felt like Alcoholics Anonymous was for me. I knew enough about Buddhism to know that its teachings about the dangers of craving and attachment (and obsession, and selfishness and egomania) might offer a path out of addiction. After asking around, I discovered the beginnings of a Buddhist recovery network. I found the work of Kevin Griffin, the author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps and more recently A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery. I attended one of the retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County. I also connected with an eclectic group of recovering addicts who were interested in Buddhism and gathered every Monday at a place we called the KooKoo Factory, a funky loft/performance space in San Francisco’s Mission District. That group disbanded following the death of its founding angel, and I started attending a larger meditation recovery group at the San Francisco Zen Center. I also put a little more effort into finding an AA group that was right for me, and discovered that some of my old ideas about AA were based on too many preconceived notions and not enough personal investigation.

Several years ago, I started working on a book about the early years of the psychedelic drug movement (It would be published as The Harvard Psychedelic Club.) One question the book asks is whether drug-induced feelings of wonder, awe, empathy, and interconnectedness are authentic religious experiences. My answer is that while the experiences may be authentic, the real issue is what we do with them. Do the experiences change the way we live our lives? Do they make us more aware and compassionate human beings? Looking back on my own history, I’d have to say that a few psychedelic drug experiences back in the day did change the way I think about the world and live my life. They did make me a better person. But I can’t say the same thing about a few decades of experiences with other drugs, including alcohol.

Last year, I interviewed six Buddhist teachers about their interpretations of the fifth precept. Some of them urge complete abstention from alcohol and other drugs. Others see nothing wrong with a glass of wine with dinner. Some urge caution but still see some value in psychedelic drugs. One thing I’ve learned in my own recovery is that it’s not up to me to decide if someone else has a problem with alcohol or other drugs. It’s up to them. And I’ve come to feel the same way about the fifth precept.

So if you have a problem with the fifth precept, you might want to ask yourself just why that might be.’

- Don Lattin, Recovery and the Fifth Precept in Tricycle, The Buddhist Review, Fall 2010.

The Harvard Psychedelic Club by Don Lattin–a great, historical book about four of the most arguably influential leaders of the psychedelic movement in 1960s counterculture America. Chronicles the actions and events involving Timothy Leary (the Trickster), Richard Alpert (the Seeker), Huston Smith (the Teacher), and Andrew Weil (the Healer) and how they came to be such important figures around the various psychedelics in this country (including psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and mescaline), as well as the controversial research and results that came thereafter. Read this if you have any interest in the history behind what you’re tripping on!


LSD research. This is the story of how three brilliant scholars and one ambitious freshman crossed paths in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the winter of 1960-61, and how their experiences in a psychedelic drug research project transformed their lives and much of American culture in the 1960s and 1970s".

it's here, can't you feel it?

“Here’s some rare footage of an experimental LSD session that I came across doing research for my next book, a group biography of British writer Aldous Huxley, philosopher Gerald Heard, and Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s from a television program, circa 1956, about mental health issues. The researcher, Dr. Sidney Cohen, was dosing volunteers at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Los Angeles. Aldous Huxley, who first tried mescaline in 1953 and wrote about it in his seminal book, The Doors of Perception, got Gerald Heard interested in the spiritual potential of psychedelic drugs.

Heard then turned on Bill Wilson, guiding him on an LSD trip supervised by Dr. Cohen in the summer of 1956 – perhaps in the same room we see in this video. Wilson, who started AA in the 1930s, thought LSD could help alcoholics have the "spiritual awakening” that is such an important part of the twelve-step recovery program he popularized.

Heard and Huxley set the stage for better-known psychedelic research of Timothy Leary, Richard “Ram Dass” Alpert, Huston Smith and Andrew Weil, who are profiled in my 2010 book, The Harvard Psychedelic Club.“ - Don Lattin via Huffington Post

“I’ve never seen such infinite beauty in my life.”