ALL OF THE FOLLOWING WORDS ARE DEDICATED TO SPIRIT, THE SPIRIT THAT LIES WITHIN AND WITHOUT EVERYTHING!
The ground, the fabric, the underlying basis of the Haight Ashbury and the Summer of Love was spirit. We traveled to the heart of godhead, revelled in the ecstasy of union. We experienced ourselves as gods and goddesses and put our consciousness beyond form, into the magical rainbow that is the molecular flow.
We sang of love; we longed to experience love forever. We were certain that the whole human race was ascending, that all things were ascending. We were blooming like flowers toward an Omega point that Teilhard de Chardin described as a quantum leap for humanity.
The Haight Ashbury saw itself as the front echelon of consciousness. We were being guided up the mountain by magical beings. Then we learned that we ourselves were magical beings and reached down to help others up to our new heights.
Angry with hypocritical establishment religions, we read the scriptures from ancient mystics and flocked to hear spiritual teachings in our own new vocabulary. We sang, chanted, had ceremonies, danced and made love with Krishna, Diana, Shiva, Padma Sambhava, the Bal Shem Tov and Einstein. We met the tulkus, the swamis, the yogis, the rabbis, the roshis. We read Tibetan Buddhism, Timothy Leary, Ramakrishna, Suzuki Roshi and a myriad of other wise humans whose maps guided us to higher consciousness.
This is the Haight Ashbury that I knew. I had a store and a mansion there. I started out in high heels and a mink coat going to look at the "weirdoes". I ended up with very little, another saddhu wandering around America.
These pages are my pages and your pages, a real story of a few months in the Summer of Love and after. Nothing is hidden; there is still the amazing contrast between spiritual ecstasy and inter-relationship trauma. I mean, it was hard, man, and it was heaven. It was groovy, and it was sad. It was a pendulum swing between nirvana and hell. But through it all we were reaching for spirit.
The Diary was written in '67 - '68. I called it The Diary of a Pilgrim. Sometimes I sat on the edge of my little horse hair pad on the floor at Bill Paul's house, and I watched my hand scratching out mysterious symbols on pieces of paper that seemed way down there. Sometimes I could hardly see the words as they flowed out, but I knew we were pilgrims, explorers on the frontiers. In spite of the confusion and pain we dug that there was a light that rose from within us and surrounded the Be-ins, the dances at the Fillmore West and the Avalon and the Family Dog and on Haight Street itself. It created some great teachers, Stephen Gaskin and his Monday Night Classes, Bhaktivedanta from India, Tarthang Tulku from Tibet and Sajit Saddhu, whom the papers in India called the hippy guru. Schlomo Carlbach sang and danced like the ancient Jewish chassids; Murshid Sam Lewis did the same for the Sufis. The Grateful Dead, the Airplane, the Anonymous Artists of America, Big Brother and the Holding Company played the music that was our hymnal. They played on the streets and in the parks for free.
We meditated, took LSD as a holy sacrament that helped us recreate ourselves as holy, learned to do Hatha Yoga. We were born again hippies. Hip. Meaning to be aware, to know, to have soul, to understand. Smoking ganga, we wandered through realities that melted the barriers of time and space, of separation and loneliness.The life blood of the Haight Ashbury was SPIRIT.
Spirit underlay all the experiments in sex, in music, in politics, in psychotropic sacraments and family relationships. It was towards Spirit that we yearned. It was to Spirit that we committed our energies.