Remember 1972? Hippies? Tune in and drop out? Sideburns, boots, and VW buses? Back to the earth? Make love not war? Become one with the universe?
I was not the only one fascinated by the lure of Zen practice, nor was I alone among would-be adepts to encounter many obstacles to attaining a state of meditation. Brainwave monitors that let one tune in to hidden EEG waves were the new way to achieve a Zen state. But for a struggling college student, the main obstacle was the price–these devices cost hundreds of dollars–a month’s rent on my room. What to do?
I worked tirelessly to construct a custom brainwave monitor from Radio Shack transistors–a quest for a new technology that might empower the Quest. After a year of work, I attained my electronic Nirvana. I could journey to the stars with my mind and a 9-volt battery! But a friend pointed out the shame of not sharing this with the world. He insisted that I simply must publish the new solution. I contacted Popular Electronics. The excited editor asked me for a “parts” kit to accompany the “how-to” article. I reluctantly located a small company in Berkeley to supply the kit. I then produced the article and returned to my studies in physics.
Picture this: It is December of 1972. The article hits the stands. I am proud but broke and subsisting solely on frozen burritos. Three months later, a royalties check for $10,000 finds a new home in my mailbox! Never the ‘A-List’ English student, I nevertheless now know this: I am a writer.