The Sixties – What it was for me.
Time gives you perspective.
I was born in 1949 so the sixties was my era. It was the period of time that formed me.
The sixties for me represent freedom, questioning, optimism, assuredness, discovery, adventure and experimentation.
If you never try you’ll never succeed. If you never fail you’ve never tried. Failure is a learning experience.
This was the time I left home. I had my mind full of Kerouac, Beatles, Downliners Sect, Bob Dylan, Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart and Ginsberg. I was discovering literature and reading DH Lawrence, Steinbeck, Mailer, Jerry Rubin, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C Clarke, Vonnegut, Hesse and Sheckley. I was travelling around. At fourteen I spent the summer hitching round France, at twenty I was hitching round the States – New York Greenwich Village over to San Francisco and LA, camping in Big Sur.
I was at college and meeting all kinds of interesting people – up rapping and hanging out. There were gigs to go to, places to stay, to see, to hear, to read – minds to be expanded.
I looked at mystical teachings, American Indian philosophy, Eastern mysticism and Buddhism. I looked at nuclear physics and Art. I discovered surreal and infinity.
It was a time of growth, wonder and huge pleasure.
I was in love. I was wild and had no obligation. There was a world to discover. There was a mind to furnish.
Back then I looked at my parents and saw them in a rut of work, suburban life and boredom. I promised myself I was going to do more with my mind, my life and my future. I might burn out but I’d go down blazing.
I saw my parents following the rules. But this was the new age. There were no rules. I did not want to be part of that society with its selfishness, greed and war-mongering. I wanted a life based on different principles: – equality, freedom, exploration, fairness, openness and love. I wanted to see those other cultures and find what they were about.
I tore up the rule book. I’d make my own. I knew what I wanted. I knew what was right. I did not aspire to wealth, status or the hypocrisy of religion. I wanted something mystical and meaningful, exciting and wonderful.
I thought the new world of love and simple living, sharing and equality was worth more.
This was the height of the Hippie era and although I did not think I was one of them I was in tune with the idealism and ethos.
Of course, life caught up with me and compromise was the order of the day. But there were values I kept sacrosanct. The idealism of the sixties was subsumed and faded along with the casualties. But it left a great rebellious legacy that has changed the world and informs me to this day.
I took all that with me in my journey through life. I still do not trust our leaders. They are just people. I see them as part of a corrupt, hypocritical system. I still do not trust religion. I see it as man-made and power seeking. I still look for that world of meaning and creativity and see life as one long exploration, a journey of fun friendship and love. I still believe in openness, fairness and freedom. I took that into my teaching. Teaching is about relationship. You open up and give of yourself and you get ten times as much back. Honesty and genuine openness. I still play my music and read avidly. I still think we can build a better world. All the ordinary people I’ve met all over the world are good, kind, caring and helpful. There’s a minority of brutal thugs, selfish bastards and exploiting megalomaniacs. Why do we keep electing them?
Life is about opening your mind to the universe and letting it in. My mind is rich and full. I’ve loved it all. What a life!
I cannot imagine a better time to have lived!