|Stephen Gaskin (February 16, 1935 - July 1, 2014) with his wfe, Ina May|
And that's only one hour.
As I get older, it becomes increasingly impossible to grasp the nature of concepts like a "year". These days it feels easier at times to sense the nature of the Timeless in the boundless expansiveness of each moment.
I guess my head sort of goes to that place whenever Stephen Gaskin crosses my mind as it did this morning. It seems surrealistic to me that it has been three years since he passed away at age 79 at his home on the Farm, the intentional spiritual community he had helped to found in rural Tennessee in 1971.
More than anyone, Stephen's teachings informed my ideas about the nature of Reality and the work to be done during our sojourn on this planet. I came across his rendition of the Bodhisattva Vow for the first time in The Farm's first book Hey Beatnik! Although it was to be years before I would "formally" take this vow, I was hooked.
At that moment the vow took me.
A decade older than many of the young folks who flocked to San Francisco in the mid-sixties as part of the Psychedelic Revolution, Stephen always maintained he was more of a Beatnik than a Hippie. Yet, wearing tie-dyes til the end, Gaskin was a central figure in the burst of spiritual energy that encircled the globe during the 1960's and 70's, catapulting many of us into a Collective Kensho that transformed our lives. Claiming that they were "out to save the world," Gaskin and 50 bus loads of Hippies left San Francisco to circle in for a landing in Tennessee to form what was, for a time, the largest hippy commune in the world. Although the size and structure evolved over the years, The Farm is still there.
Although I was a lightweight when it came to psychedelics, those were High Times. The Collective Consciousness was so energized that even I had a number of compelling out of body experiences, saw aura's, and experienced powerful moments of synchronicity and telepathy that were mind-boggling -- without drugs in my system. Ultimately, I had an experience of Perfect Oneness that fulfilled my deepest aspirations and dispelled any fundamental fear about death. (Admittedly, I also had some very powerful moments while under --or perhaps, over --the influence of various medicinal herbs and compounds.)