I remember taking a sugar cube of LSD in New Orleans when I was 16 years old. The sugar cube glistened with a special kind of sacramental power and forbidden allure. I was fascinated by the fact that such a potent chemical could be contained inside a small, normally mundane piece of candy.
The anticipation of swallowing the dose brought up a little nausea and nervousness, and once the cube touched my tongue and went down the hatch, there were tingling sensations pulsing through my stomach and bloodstream. It was a slightly alien feeling, and I definitely could discern that the effects were artificially induced.
I had very high expectations for the trip. I wanted to see reality in a totally different light, and to really "trip balls", as they say. I wanted to break on through to the other side. Most of all, I wanted a show: a sensory extravaganza.
We went to a Blockbuster to rent Disney's Fantasia, which is often recommended for stimulating the mind during a psychedelic experience. I was already becoming giddy in the store, and loudly describing to my brother how everything looked liquid and luminescent. He kept hushing me, probably because the customers and clerks were starting to notice my largely dilated eyes and the goofy grin plastered on my face.
We made it back to our friend's house in one piece, and after deftly bypassing his parents, we retreated to the bedroom to watch the movie. As the hallucinatory acid in my system began to pick up more momentum, my heart was deeply touched by what I was beholding on the screen. It was an intimate, underwater montage unfolding to the music of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. It was so delicate and precious, so resplendent and exquisite. There was a goldfish coyly hiding—enveloped under its own silky tail and lateral fins, like a mermaid concealed by a blanket of finely spun seaweed. The animated scene was the epitome of beauty.
But, I became disinterested with other scenes later in the movie, and the acid began to wear off. After the trip, I was left with a strong sense of yearning—a residual desire to further unpeel the layers of the physical world, and of myself.
Fast forward to the age of 28, when I first laid eyes on the cover of the Deep Meditation book. The plain blue background and run-of-the-mill font might have appeared boring to most, but to me, it sparkled with the same kind of magic that the LSD sugar cube had. But this time, my talisman wasn't a shortcut; it was a navigation manual for the long journey ahead.
With a dose of LSD, it's mainly sitting back and watching the show, but with AYP, it's more of an active surrender. The mantra has to be easily favored; the spinal nerve has to be traced up and down the central channel; the sutras have to be repeated and released; the vision of an ishta has to be cultivated, and so on. There's more outward flow. Not that people on LSD haven't done creative things, but the path of full-scope yoga requires much more participation on the inside and outside, which makes the letting go all the more sublime and rewarding.
The higher power is in us.