Psychedelic Parenting Podcast #20

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Growing Up Leary: My life with Tim and Ram Dass, with Zach Leary

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zachOn this episode, Jonathan sits down with Zach Leary, son of Psychedelic pioneer Dr. Timothy Leary. Zach is the host of the “It’s All Happening” podcast, an infrequent blogger/writer and a seasoned digital marketer and brand strategist. Zach is also a practitioner of bhakti yoga as taught through many of the vedantic systems of Northern India. Through the practice of bhakti yoga he has found keys that unlock doorways that allow the soul to experience it’s true nature of being eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. In addition to bhakti yoga, Zach has been influenced by many different methods and traditions of consciousness exploration ranging from trans-humanism to buddhism and clinical psychology. Zach is also a frequent pundit on the political systems that are fueling societies economic systems and structures. At the core of all of Zach’s work is the belief that we have been fused together by the adoption and collective practice of using technology, spirituality and mysticism to define the very nature of who we are.

zachwithquoteIn this conversation, Jonathan and Zach talk about what it was like being raised by one of the pioneers of the psychedelic movement, about how this effected Zach’s early encounters with LSD, and his relationship with substances generally. They also talk about Zach’s long relationship to his spiritual teacher and lifelong family friend, Ram Dass (Richard Alpert), and how this relationship fostered his love of Indian devotional music, Kirtan. Jonathan and Zach also talk 12 steps, and it’s relationship, or lack thereof, to the psychedelic experience.

newmicDeep gratitude this week goes out to our friend (and next week’s guest), Danny Litin, who donated to the show a Blue Yeti digital microphone, which will vastly improve the quality of the recordings we release to you! Thank You, Danny, for this invaluable addition to Psychedelic Parenting! This week’s introduction was recorded with the Yeti, while the actual interview was recorded on our old set-up, so listeners will be able to hear the dramatic difference in quality!

 

JT: Tell us one piece of advice you would give to psychedelic parents for introducing their kids to these substances or concepts in a healthy way.

ZL: Be patient. And check your intentions when you’re introducing someone to this culture and to this practice. It is a life-changing moment. Your life will never be the same after you’ve done a heroic dose of any psychedelic. So if you’re a parent, introducing your kids to it, just being very, very sensitive of that; and creating a very soft and nurturing environment.

Conversation Highlights:

JT: How did your parents introduce you to psychedelic thinking?

ZL: My parents had GREAT taste in music. If there’s any one thing I can isolate about the best ingredient they provided in my life, it was Rock & Roll.

JT: When were your first experiences with psychedelics, and were you introduced to them by your dad and mom?

ZL:  For the first couple years of me doing psychedelics [between 13 and 16], [my dad] was NOT ok with it. My mom was not ok with it. He was of the opinion that psychedelic shamanism should be used by a brain that is fully formed. [He believed that] psychedelics are built for the adult mind. But later, around 16, the wheels kind of fell off and he had to embrace it. Then our house became a wonderful, safe place for these kinds of experiences.

JT: What is your relationship with Psychedelics today?

ZL: For the most part, I subscribe to the Alan Watts school, you know, ‘once you get the message, hang up the phone.’ But that’s not to say I reject psychedelics. The great insight that psychedelics give us is that they provide us windows into other points of view within reality that are not always visible.

JT: What’s one thing that your dad taught you about Psychedelics, or about drugs in general, that you think was really valuable?

ZL:  While tripping, remember that you’re in control, that you never have to relinquish control and fall into a dark spiral or a k-hole or a bad trip. You can pilot the spaceship and see new lands and new visions and get new take-aways and new wisdom from your ability to really harness this human biocomputer that we’re so blessed to have.

JT: Do you think that the Psychedelic Experience should be a part of the 12 steps, as Bill W intended before the advent of the Controlled Substances Act?

ZL:  My answer, and most people who are members of the 12 step community don’t like to hear this, is that the psychedelic experience, when embarked on with the right set and setting and with the right intention, IS a spiritual practice. Period.

JT: Tell us one piece of advice you would give to psychedelic parents for introducing their kids to these substances or concepts in a healthy way.

ZL: Be patient. And check your intentions when you’re introducing someone to this culture and to this practice. It is a life-changing moment. Your life will never be the same after you’ve done a heroic dose of any psychedelic. So if you’re a parent, introducing your kids to it, just being very, very sensitive of that; and creating a very soft and nurturing environment.

Topics and Websites Discussed in this Episode:
  • Important things to tell kids about their first journey
    • Know and Trust the source of your medicine
    • If you are going against the blessings of your parents, take another look at it again.
  • Alan Watts on Psychedelics:
    • “Psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. If you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope, he goes away and works on what he has seen…”  –Alan Watts
  • YouTube Ram Dass Channel: “Ram Dass on Psychedelics and Enlightenment”
    • “When you are using something that is illegal, even if it’s wrongly illegalized, you are paying for it with a certain kind of paranoia, and that keeps cutting you off from other human beings. And that’s very subtle, but it costs something. It was 5 years after I stopped smuggling before I could cross a border without freaking, and I could imagine that a border guard could be an actual human being.” –Ram Dass
  • YouTube: “Terence McKenna-Meditation vs Hallucinogens”
    • “I think that all of these techniques, mantra, yantra, tantra, whatever; they all work incredibly well in the presence of psychedelics. This leads me to suppose that what they are is tools that were developed in the paleolithic world of psychedelic magic, and all we have now are these tools, but we don’t have the original engine that drove them. Yes, I am very bored by spiritual practice unless I’ve taken a psychedelic. And then, mantric chanting is beyond the power of the mind to encompass or describe. Sex isn’t bad either.” –Terence McKenna

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