Ground State Training: Learning the Ways through the Garden

The Sixties Style Sheet

LSD settled into the era of materialism, a realm of science and rationality, the land of stimulants and alcohol.  That alone made it revolutionary.

To begin with, this world has a different kind of time.  It is the time of biological rhythm, not of the clock and all that goes with the clock.

Alan Watts, the Joyous Cosmology

And there was a seeming fork in the path: one way eschewed the past, embrace the Future, the apocalyptic, the New Age, Aquarius, a new calnedar, a radical rupture with history, messianic, into the heavens – space colonies.

Better living through chemistry.

The other way turned to the earth, to the old ways, seeking models in pre-industrial cultures, tribe, tradition, anthropology, plants.  Land.

Another Iteration of Fork’d Path Garden

[Starting at least 4000 years ago] Yogic techniques developed to include a broad array of practices, from the subtle breath control of the pranayana schools to the bhaktic ganja smoking of the saddhus, from the alchemical energy transmutations of the sexual tantras to the bare-bones, stripped-down mindfulness practice of the Buddhists.

Two advocates discuss their ways


SIMPLICIO, a practicioner of the poison path

SAGREDO, a practicioner of a traditional meditative discipline, let’s say, Zen


SIMPLICIO: We’re for doing it the easy way.

SAGREDO: The Same.  What could be easier than the direct and immediate practice of ground state training?

SIMPLICIO: True, if it works.  But for how long do you have to do it?  Years and years, I’ve heard.  And some never get it.

SAGREDO: It’s the same with your way.  But even those who do not attain True Enlightenment find some peace and inner serenity through our way.  Even their health generally improves.  They are less predatory and more compassionate.  They laugh more, and have more poise.  Can the same be said of your way?

SIMPLICIO: Yes… well, for some.  For others, not, I admit.  I’ve seen some who have followed our way for thirty years emerge as Great Egocentric Assholes.

SAGREDO: (Sigh.)  It’s the same for us, I’m afraid.  And the always feel so righteous about it!  Maybe we should talk about our successes.

SIMPLICIO: I’m for that.  Some of our adepts are so advanced that they look like ordinary people.  You would never know, unless you are an adept yourself.  Like ordinary people, but maybe with an extra radiance.  Otherwise they are like everyone else: a doctor, a mother, a professor, a contractor, a farmer.  Like others, but probably with a double life – besides the day job they may have a life in the arts.

SAGREDO: Or in a spiritual practice.  Sounds like one of ours.  We like to say, “in the world, but not of the world.”

SIMPLICIO: Yes, the other world teaches us that.

SAGREDO: Tell me, how would you characterize the difference between that world and this one?

SIMPLICIO: In the other state one can experience the Unity, and the truth beyond selfhood.  Also, one can see beyond the perceptual mold that we, collectively, have reified.  How would you state it?

SAGREDO: What ‘other state’?  It’s right here…  You see the intrinsic problem with your approach?

SIMPLICIO: You tricked me.  You set me up.  I’ll get back at you when it’s time to dance, instead of this Zen stuff, like being wise.  But let me ask you, do you find that there are some who are so ensared by the Illusion that they haven’t even glimpsed that there is anything else?

SAGREDO: There are many such.

SIMPLICIO: We have the edge, that way.  Our poisons have the power to crack open the World.  The experience shows people that there is more to the world than they could ever have imagined.  And it works on almost everybody, even the deeply cynical.  Is it not a good thing to crack open the world?

SAGREDO: Yes, if it sticks.

SIMPLICIO: We say that it is the sticking that is the problem!  In our ordinary mind we forget, we say “it’s this,” or “it’s that.”  That is the frozen part, the ice cubes, the seeming.

SAGREDO: Touche.  You set me up.

I saw sagredo bow, and simplicio bow back.  I blinked and they had merged back together, into Salviati, who was lounging at the base of a tree, just loafing, chewing on a spear of summer grass.




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