Steven Kotler in The New York Times Magazine:
My earliest childhood belief was a sneaking suspicion that the world was more mysterious than people were letting on. It’s hard to say how much of this was suburban boredom and how much heartfelt sentiment, and in the end it didn’t matter. By the time I got to college, that little notion had grown into a bad case of Jonathan Livingston Seagull-itis. When two semesters of philosophy failed to satisfy, I dropped out and moved to Santa Fe because the New Age was booming.
Santa Fe was the rabbit hole, all right. There were ashrams, monasteries, strange teas, stranger mushrooms, Sanskrit chants, Native American medicine men with headdresses made from whole otter skins, folks on the run from the law, folks on the run from much worse. I signed on for the whole tour; it lasted for years. By the time I returned, I could sit in full lotus for six hours at a time, but I never, not once, achieved a mystical anything.
During the next decade, I lost interest. I still hoped there was a place where exalted magics were possible but no longer lived in that part of the world. Since I didn’t go in for the big-invisible-man-in-the-sky theory, there wasn’t much left. Instead I went in the opposite direction, becoming a science geek, a fervent devotee in the high church of observable phenomena. And then, in my mid-30’s, I got Lyme disease and whatever faith I had in the miracle of modern medicine ? for me, the apogee of rational materialism ? was lost, too.