I was raised by a pair of New Age hippies. Not actual hippies, but the later generation of truth seekers who were too young to have actually attended Woodstock or partied during the Summer of Love. More like early incarnations of the free-spirited travel-loving folks who would eventually be referred to as “backpackers”. There was always a copy of Ram Dass’s Be Here Now on the coffee table in the living room. Not just our living room table, but that of every pseudo-hippy friends’ house we’d visit. It was ubiquitous. As a child, the brown-colored portion of the book with hand-drawn illustrations of naked yogis looked like something promising I might be entertained by, but upon close inspection revealed itself to be way too “far out” even for an artistically-inclined kid like me. It wasn’t until recently I learned the chair in the center of the mandala on the cover was meant to represent Vincent van Gogh’s chair from his famous painting “The Bedroom”, of his actual starving-artist cliché bedroom in Arles. It was meant to symbolize the Seat of Consciousness. Our true consciousness––that which abideth within this crude machination of clay and feldspar.
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