Consciousness Cookbook

I started exploring consciousness in about 1967. My early efforts started with psychedelics. Rather conservative for a hippy, I just tried those that were available at the time once. First it was LSD, then peyote, and finally psilocybin. Then I moved on to yoga, which I practised intensively for about 3 years. I lived at a yoga retreat in the summers of 1970 and 1971, teaching hatha yoga and leading meditations. I was meditating 3-4 hours a day, doing hatha yoga 2 hours a day and occasionally fasting – sometimes for as long as 10 days.

I had some remarkable experiences during that period and in India in 1971-72, but also became disenchanted — not by yoga, but by our Western assumption that we can get the most out of yoga in our culture. For about the next 25 years, I did my best to lead a “normal” life, but that was never easy because of the way meditation had changed the way my mind worked.

In about 2003 or 4, I learned a ridiculously simple technique that, after a few tries, put me into a similar state of consciousness I used to get into after an hour or so of meditation. I’ve written about it in The Crazy Wisdom of TDA Lingo, if you’re interested in learning more.

In about 2009, I started working on the outline of a book. The title, A Cookbook of Consciousness, came to me in a flash. Basically, it was an attempt to look at the brain from different perspectives: physical, chemical, electrical, and holographic. The final section, Beyond the Brain, was intended to be a look at the evidence that consciousness is not dependent on the body and continues to exist after we die. Practical matters got in the way of fleshing out the book, but it took a lot of research and one of these days I’d like to get back to it, so I’m preserving what I’ve written so far here.