“Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out” Reflections

“Turn on” meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. “Tune in” meant interact harmoniously with the world around you – externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. “Drop out” suggested an active, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. “Drop Out” meant self-reliance, a discovery of one’s singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean “Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity” – Timothy Leary

Turn On

There are tons of ways to “turn on” your neural and genetic equipment. Dreaming, studying Tarot cards, spiritual journeying, hypnosis, deep meditation and  psychedelics or other consciousness altering drugs are all examples of ways to expand one’s awareness beyond the limiting perspective of Ego consciousness. The way we experience reality is largely conditioned into us. When we “turn on” our minds we start to realize that we can move beyond preconditioned ways of seeing things and become co-creators of reality.

I find that using Tarot cards helps me activate deeper levels of my consciousness. The symbols and archetypes illustrated by the cards help me dive into the realm of the myth. “A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world.” ~Alan Watts

When I lay down the cards with a specific intention or question in mind I look for symbols that help me investigate the issue/s I am grappling with. I look for synchronicities, for patterns and images that carry meaningful messages for me personally. As I investigate the symbols in the images and how the various cards relate to one another I am sifting through possible realities, alternative ways of seeing myself in the situation at hand. Ultimately, as  an intuitive reader, whether I am reading for myself or another person, I look for the reality in which the querent is the “hero” and has the power to change his/her situation for the better.

To “turn on” is to expand our awareness and embrace other ways of seeing reality.

Tune In

How can we know which thoughts and actions are in harmony with the rest of the world? Again there are lots of ways to approach this step.

One way in which I “tune in” is through yoga. I really enjoy yoga. When I practice regularly it changes my relationship with my body; I can feel how mind and body are one. Through expanded awareness of the whole of my body’s perceptions (not just the limited perception and judgement of my rational, thinking mind) I feel more in tune with my surroundings. Living in harmony is much easier when you are more aware of the power of all of your senses.

To be in harmony with the world around me I sometimes find it is necessary to shed certain beliefs and patterns of behavior that are no longer serving me in a positive way.  Repitition of certain ideas or behaviors causes habits. Some habits are positive and help us survive, other habits are negative and can lead to self-destruction. The Sanskrit word for this concept is samskara, “The word samskara comes from the Sanskrit sam (complete or joined together) and kara (action, cause, or doing).” In essence, samskaras represent the whole of our conditioning, the patterns of behavior and thinking that become so joined to us that they become unconscious drives. It is very hard to break free from this kind of conditioning, but I have found that practicing yoga helps!

…most of the core yogic practices—asana, meditation, study, mantra repetition, visualization, Pranayama—not only create new, positive samskaras, they also have the power to wash away the old, limiting, pain-producing ones. Here, meditation is especially effective because it can literally flush old samskaras out of your unconscious. When mental static or strong emotions surface during practice, beginning meditators sometimes think they’re doing something wrong. In fact, a rush of thoughts and emotions is part of the natural process of samskaric burn off, in which some of your layers of buried impressions come up to be released. There’s a reason why a period of meditation or yoga will leave you feeling calmer, clearer, and less emotionally cluttered—even if your mind did not become noticeably calmer during the meditation itself. Simply practicing has cleansed your unconscious of some of its burden. – Sally Kempton, Yoga Journal

It is not always easy to find the path that puts you in sync with the world, but when you are on it you feel it. My Aunt Eleanor once told me, “When you’re with it, all the lights are turning green.” To be “with it” is when I am turned on (i.e. my conscious mind is expanded beyond my day-to-day patterns) and I am tuned in (i.e. in touch with my mind/body). When you are in harmony with your surroundings and in touch with your higher Self it does seem as if everything works out to your advantage.

Drop Out

To “drop out” is to act authentically, in spite of what you are told to think and do. It is a daring and difficult way to live. Each of us suppresses our true desires in order to be “normal” and fit in, but deep down we feel isolated and lonely because we feel we aren’t allowed to be who we truly are.

Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like ‘Have a nice day’ and ‘Weather’s awful today, eh?’, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like ‘Tell me something that makes you cry’ or ‘What do you think deja vu is for?’. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others.

~ Timothy Leary

When I do act authentically, in spite of my personal fears and anxieties, I tend to get positive results. As I act more authentically, others around me do, too. The path to enlightenment, self-actualization, and even heaven is unique to each individual. To “drop out” means to stop following the herd and start thinking and acting for yourself. I am beginning to understand that my impulses, desires, thoughts and feelings are begging me to take a more creative and active role in developing my reality. The more I learn to express myself authentically the less anxious I feel about my existence. Dropping out doesn’t mean resting idly, it means to boldly walk the path of the individual. It is a difficult path to find and walk because it is unique to each individual. The narrow path gives the individual the power to determine what is right and wrong for herself.

I think ultimately, it is about finding your personal connection to spirit and living a life in line with God’s plan. This may sound contradictory, but God encompasses all that is, so how can I be separate from God? My freedom and power exist because I am part of God’s Creative Intelligence.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these videos of Timothy Leary:

Evolution of Intelligence

A Lively Debate between Timothy Leary and Ram Dass



 A Side Note: The Timothy Leary quote that inspired this post was originally posted by Vortex Quotes. Debbie Cohen has a gift for finding and posting the quotes I need to hear precisely when I need to hear them. I highly recommend following her if you enjoy inspiring and timely quotes as much as I do.

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