Yesterday I was looking through The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1964), by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert (now Ram Dass).

While perusing, I  was especially stuck by a sentence in one passage, and its subtle similarities in spirit and phrasing to John Lennon’s immortal intro to "I Am The Walrus": "I am he / as you are he / as you are me / and we are / all together."

Here’s the passage from Leary, Metzner, and Alpert (emphasis added):

A sense of profound one-ness, a feeling of the unity of all energy. Superficial differences of role, cast, status, sex, species, form, power, size, beauty, even the distinctions between inorganic and living energy, disappear before the ecstatic union of all in one. All gestures, words, acts and events are equivalent in value — all are manifestations of the one consciousness which pervades everything. "You," "I" and "he" are gone, "my" thoughts are "ours," "your" feelings are "mine." Communication is unnecessary since complete communion exists. (The Psychedelic Experience, 1964.)

Admittedly, this is not much to work with, but I think the coincidence in timing is worth noting. "The Psychedelic Experience" was published in 1964, just as Lennon and the other Beatles were first encountering LSD. In the next few years Lennon wrote his psychedelic anthems, "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Revolver, 1966) and "Strawberry Fields Forever (1967),  as well as "A Day in the Life" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (Sgt. Pepper, 1967).

It seems likely that a book such as "The Psychedelic Experience" would have been among Lennon’s reading interests at the time.

Clearly this is longshot speculation, with little to go on, but it seems possible that the idiosyncratic syntax of this phrase, "’You" ‘I’ and ‘he,’" as well as the spiritual import of the paragraph, caught Lennon’s attention.

Just maybe, these words helped inspired what I’ve always thought to be the peculiar (and somewhat masculine) phrasing of Lennon’s captivating verse: "I am he / as you are he / as you are me."

I haven’t looked at my Beatles books to see what John has said about the influences on "I Am The Walrus," but I thought this small correspondence was worth noting. I have no evidence that John Lennon read this paragraph, or, if he did, that it had any influence, but I think the similarity in spirit, and slight echoes in wording, to one of Lennon’s most iconic lyrics, is enough to raise the question.


Additional note (Aug 11, 10:26am): 

I just glanced at a statement where Lennon says the first two lines of "I Am The Walrus" were written during two separate acid trips. More resereach to be done. Also, on further the reflection, the "I am he as you are he," kind of language also seems similar to my memory of some of the kinds of wording used in the Upanishads.