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Saw another great documentary film last night. ‘Orange Sunshine’ follows the birth and development of a 1960s, California-based movement called the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. This group of young seekers came together in a communal living situation to explore modes of spirituality and eventually, to elevate human consciousness using psychedelics.
Members of the BEL used psychedelics and they manufactured and distributed them. In the course of time, their mission became to expand the consciousness of every human on the planet through the use of hallucinogenic drugs. They built their own labs for the manufacture of LSD (‘Orange Sunshine’ being their most popular product), and traveled to Afghanistan and India for the best hash oil, which they smuggled into the U.S. and disseminated across the country.
This group took a lot of risks. During this era, the Nixon administration was obsessive about its ‘war on drugs’. At the height of the frenzy, a person found carrying a tiny amount of marijuana, even for the first time, was imprisoned for years. BEL was on the government’s radar. Eventually, federal investigators used phone tapping and other means of surveillance to arrest and convict many members of BEL.
But prior to the shutdown, BEL members lived in a near-paradise. They rejected current culture. They tossed aside the 19th and 20th-century blueprint of success: go to school, graduate college, secure a career, marry, have children, pay taxes and mortgages, work until you die, or retire.
BEL members worked their land, had their babies in bed, shunned animal products, rejected capitalism, occasionally lived in teepees, exposed politics and politicians, lived in love, made lifelong friendships, explored their spiritual selves, found truth, got high, glimpsed God, and endeavored to share what they’d discovered with others.
They made and sold affordable psychedelics and used the profits to manufacture and sell more affordable psychedelics. Their aim was not wealth: part of the profits went to supporting their community, but the lion’s share of the wealth was rolled back into the production and distribution of psychedelics for everyone.
Whatever your views are on the use of psychedelics as a means of spiritual ascension, BEL embodied the apex of the human spirit. It took courage to drop out of a society that controlled so completely. Rejecting racism and sexism in a period of history when racism and sexism were national institutions meant cutting yourself off from family, friends, and any means of societal support. Refusing to go to war meant risking prison. Flying drugs across the world carried the threat of life behind bars.
This was not a group of moderate, slacktivist drop-outs. BEL meant business, and stayed focused on their goal – to turn on the world. While the whole world was not turned on by BEL’s work, many, many people were. More people continue to be today. BEL still exists, not as its former self, but as an art community and spiritual center in Laguna Beach, California. I’d like to visit there soon.
We are in a universe that is in the process of unraveling itself, revealing itself to us. Whether we use psychedelics or meditation or spirituality or academics or pure love to tune in to the frequency, we can rest assured that if we are looking for God, however we approach it, we will eventually find the target.
There is a gossamer-thin veil between this grind of a material life - structured by society and sanctioned by culture - and this mysterious thing called ‘truth’. Our cynical and sophisticated understanding of the world - with its buildings getting taller and its automobiles getting shinier - blocks the efforts of those who aspire to transcend technology, culture, religion, capitalism, science, racism, sexism, ignorance, and even Self. But movements like BEL will forever try to crash through the roadblocks.
I recommend this film, obviously. It’s free to watch on Gaia television online.
Live in peace.