Friday, October 31, 2008

Pool Sharks: Harbin, Friends, Bath Tub


Happy Halloween.

Although Harbin Hot Springs was bought most recently in 1972 and was significantly shaped by that time and the countercultural language that emerged then, I have found that its pools can help facilitate eliciting the relaxation response in far-reaching ways, and more so and more often (in that they're always open) than, for example, in {Quaker} silent meeting. I enjoy this 'coming home' experience and neurophysiology a lot.

So, emerging from the early 1970s, Harbin has attracted the most colorful and varied folks ever imaginable, - wildly so, in some ways.... hippies, musicians, spiritual teachers, artists, hobos, flower children, free-lovers, vagabonds, astrologers, gypsies, (apple-raspberry) tarts, travelers, pool sharks, circus performers, jewelry makers, communards, comedians, Wavy Gray, the Green Tortoise Adventure Bus Line, swingers, Ken Kesey, Fritz Perls, Timothy O'Leary, jugglers, tripsters, mathematicians, writers, shamanic healers, and many other folks, esp. from northern California, etc. Anthropologically, as a participant observer, the 'relaxation response' (my language, and not language I've heard at Harbin, nor among Friends recently, - although I imagine Friends used this term in the 1970s about Friends' Meeting when the book was published) is for me central to the unique aspects of life that occur vis-a-vis the Harbin pool area and the pools. As two churches {Heart Consciousness Church (HCC) and New Age Church of Being (NACOB)} - which may have been started in hippie-fashion - but which have led to a beautiful Harbin and its beautiful temple et al., Harbin probably shares similarities with early Quakers' processes emerging from Cromwellian England, but in Harbin's instance out of the freedom-seeking movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

Harbin's simple rooms and rustic facility, as hot springs' retreat center, remind me a little of Pendle Hill, a Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation, near Philadelphia, PA, although Harbin may have been more variable in terms of cleanliness in the first 30 years of its history.

Having lived outside - while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for 4 months one year and 1 1/2 months 2 years later, and enjoying rustic (simplicity, in a Quaker sense) aspects of travel - I find Harbin uniquely comfortable in the winter, even while camping, because the pools are warm, there's a community kitchen, and there are warm spaces to hang out in. I'm not sure when you visited, but I think that Harbin's buildings, etc., have improved over time.

I read and enjoyed Jeffrey Kripal's "Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion" after you mentioned it last fall. I'm writing an ethnography of Harbin - my field site - with the intention to create virtual Harbin as a form of ethnographic representation, and as a comparable virtual field site. Examining the distinctions between virtual and actual raises fascinating anthropological questions.

I'm also curious to explore how one might begin to represent the beautiful aspects of Harbin in a virtual world, in order to help elicit, Harbin-wise, the benefits {clothing-optional and open-ended sociality} of the relaxation response, in one's own bathtub {where one can control the temperature}.

~ Plant Trees Scott


vulture shark sculpture park


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Natives: Fauna, Flora, Species at Harbin

The large fauna in the Harbin valley include humans, deer, quail, and wild turkey. There are numerous bird species, and wild pigs came into the valley as recently as the 1990s, but were too aggressive.

Native flora includes . . .



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Land: Alternative Vision, Roots, Back to the Land

I have some good friends who went back to the land in the early 1950s. They moved from a mid-West city to as-rural-as-you-can-get eastern Oregon, worked very hard, and eventually were able to buy a 700 acre ranch, and build their own house with lumber from their property, where they've lived for decades. They tree-farmed sustainably, and gardened, taught college and school, and realized a vision. They had gone to a Quaker college, - part of this back-to-land, sustainable vision emerged in this context, I think.

This kind of vision grew in the 1960s and 1970s. An estimated 2 - 10 million people tried to go back to the land in the late 1960s and early 70s (Turner). And hippies developed this vision to include hippy communes, of which only a few remain, partly due to a lack of organization business-wise, I think.

My good friends (my aunt and uncle Ted and Mary Brown) were sensible business-wise and they also practiced sustainable forestry, creating a kind of tree-garden on their land, which nevertheless involved very hard work. Not only did they realize a kind of 'little house on the prairie' American pioneering dream, without costs to Native Americans, they also raised a family in the process.

I find it fascinating that the hippie-countercultural social freedom movements of the 1960s have long prior roots - my good friends are an example - from the 1950s and before. And my friends sought and found a kind of freedom.


For some, Harbin, as hippie commune, similarly involved a return to living on the land, and a sustainable environmental vision. The Harbin garden, now beautiful, but with all its ups and downs, is one expression of this vision. And visitors continue to return to the land and the experience of nature - in the pools, too - when they come into the Harbin valley.

Heading to the pools, soon.




Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cornucopia: Intention, Skills, Flourishing

intention, cognition and volition

"I'm going to flourish..." {or elicit loving bliss:) - with MDMA as reference experience}

{If someone were to say this, how would this work - philosophically in terms of the philosophy of mind - and actually, so neurophysiologically in context?}

One philosopher at UC Berkeley I know (J.S.) doesn't think it's possible to develop such intention, cognition and volition vis-a-vis 'flourishing.' :)

Will knowledge- and reason-oriented people ever learn the skills to do this in self-defined, optimal ways?

How? What are the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC)?

Here's a free MIT Open Course Ware course for learning how a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging tool might be used to study related areas of brain functioning, particularly vision.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Data Acquisition and Analysis

(was -

Perhaps I'll write a book about intentionality and counterculture in India, at a later date.

Back to the Harbin pools soon, and the relaxation response . . .



Monday, October 27, 2008

Harvest: Sawain, Heart Consciousness, Pools

At Harbin this past weekend, there were pumpkins around the warm pools and Halloween decorations in the restaurant.

In years past, Sawain, the harvest festival and remembrance for people who have passed away, might have been practiced or celebrated, possibly even to the exclusion of Halloween at Harbin. While the carved pumpkins around the pools are beautifully creative, what has changed such that Harbin is celebrating the U.S. holiday of Halloween (which doesn't really have any religious connotations, anyway)?

I think it reflects a kind of Harbin expression of similarity with widespread United States' social patterns. And while New Age and pagan rituals, like Sawain, may be celebrated as well this year - I'll see this weekend - I wonder if this celebration of Halloween reflects a kind of Harbin movement away from Harbin's 'cultural' roots in the late 1960s and 70s, and the fundamental questioning that was part of that fabric of life. In general, I think holidays have not been that significant to Harbin, even in the 1970s. (To be seen . . . )

I also think that Harbin might continue to celebrate Sawain for generations into the future. Even in Harbin's connection and expressions of similarities with widespread U.S. social practices, 'Harbin' continues to remember and cultivate alternative practices at the same time.


Harbin's 'Heart Consciousness Church,' and 'New Age Church of Being' are examples of this. Each organization is its own unique entity, and both have emerged from Harbin itself. Heart Consciousness Church {HCC} operates Harbin, and the New Age Church of Being {NACOB} is an educational program, which ordains 'ministers,' - even in all of Harbin's freedom. NACOB has ordained about 20 ministers so far. NACOB is a church within another church {HCC}. Harbin, in general, is curious vis-a-vis religion, which it plays down, but, at the same time, has given rise the unique milieu of Harbin, and kind of alternative vision, which for some has a spiritual side. Hippie-ness was very creative with religion, and counterculture gave form to a spiritual revolution, of which Harbin is .


But in Harbin's curiousness, the pools themselves are where you might most likely experience a significant degree of harmony and oneness, (and ease and openness) and without thinking about it, ~ very Taoist - and in a clothing optional environment. How did this happen? This emergence has something to do with the 'energy' of the pool area and the valley.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Soil and Roots: Actual and Virtual Harbin - Problem and Venue

Problem and Venue in Actual and Virtual Harbin


The site, space, or discourse that is Harbin Hot Springs emerges into the present out of a blockage, difficulty, or breakdown that was the late 1960s and early 1970s, (as well as modernity) where widespread expressions of counterculture found form. Harbin's ongoing expression as site, space, or discourse requires both the conceptual work of understanding this unique assemblage, as well as the narratives that emerge there which inform the Harbin experience. The parallel practical work which my fieldwork as well as my creation of virtual Harbin Hot Springs in Second Life / OpenSim gives rise to, as problem, concerns the disjunctions that develop in the actual-virtual space.

The blockage that is Harbin vis-a-vis modernity, and as an organization - in the present - becomes the platform for the elaboration of tensions, where the people, actors and organizations that are my informants, and Harbin, Heart Consciousness Church, New Age Church of Being, and the Watsu Center, etc., both give rise to breakdowns, as well as shape practices in an ongoing way that make up the 'Harbin experience.' Additionally, in examining these breakdowns that occur 1) in studying actual Harbin ethnographically, 2) in creating a virtual Harbin, and 3) in giving form to these blockages vis-a-vis both the 'actual' and the 'virtual,' the disjunctions that emerge between these two aspects give new form to this study of Harbin.


Two venues, then, emerge from this problem. 'Actual' Harbin becomes the venue that shapes both the narratives and the objects of inquiry, including the pools, the pool area, etc., explicit understandings of the present, questions of embodiment, and the Harbin experience.

And 'virtual' Harbin, as information technology in the form of virtual world building, and then avatar interaction in what will become a comparative in-world, field site, which then gives expression to new forms of narrativity. So, venue includes here a new form of 'textual' generation.

In addition to the venue of actual Harbin, the venue here becomes both literally a kind of informational technological equipment – virtual Harbin, as well as the generation of this as ethnographic practice – in the present.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thyme in the Pools: Music, Tantra, Language

I went to sit on a tent platform this morning to play my practice chanter (for my Scottish Highland Bagpipe) and startled a deer, a stag, that was resting on the ground. It stood up and moved away from me and the platform, but not far at all. This deer had a large sack hanging under its right eye, and it also had antlers; although it looked fairly mature, it only had one antler with one spike and the other antler had no spikes. I started to play my practice chanter, and the stag stayed around as if listening. It even moved closer to me as if appreciating the music and wanting to 'join' with it. It's my reading that this deer was drawing close to me listening with the intention for a kind of oneness. Lyrical and melifluous sounds elicit a kind of connection and connectivity that I thought this deer wanted to further, as it edged closer to me, with its head down.

I went to a Tantra workshop facilitated charmingly by Steve Carter in the Harbin Temple last night that was listed in the Harbin schedule.

Here's a loose structure of last night's workshop.

Imaging and Imagining
A golden orb


When Steve first heard about Tantra, he thought it was about orgasm. Someone else said they thought it was about sex, when they first heard about it.

Steve said Tantra was about 'yes' and 'receptivity,' and good communication, that can then facilitate great intimacy, including sexuality.

In practice, and with a couple modeling this, they (and we later) created a bubble around themselves, while sitting facing one another.

What emerges are a series of rituals, or practices for good communication and intimacy.

They honor each other by bending forward to bring their foreheads together.

From this imaginary bubble, they added and took out 'things' they didn't want to have in their Tantra session. "I add openness," he said speaking outloud, and she said "I add good communication." And "I'll add my shiva energy," she says. "And I'll add my shakti energy," he says

"And I'm going to take out impatience," and "I'm going to remove from the circle frustration." "I'm going to take out my monkey brain." And they do this by physically play-acting the removal of something from their circle.

They then communicate their desires, fears, and boundaries - first one, then the other.

Then Steve encourages the woman model to sit in the lap of the man model, if they want to. And they do, and model intimacy.

With some New Age language and ideas (mostly drawn from India), they developed a series of practices, which would be very helpful and therapeutic for couples wanting to deepen intimacy and communication.

Thyme, who looks like she was a 'flower child,' {there's a light in her face, and her long hair is free, and she's relaxed, open and alternative is normal for her} is probably in her mid-50s, and has been around Harbin for a long time, enjoys the pools a lot, I think, - a little like an otter enjoys water. I often see Thyme in the pools, and while there she plays and explores, as if at home like a river otter. In my observations, her comfort in the water, and attraction to it, is unique-to-Harbin fit by someone touched by the 1960s and 70s, - hippie.

Anonymity at Harbin can be great . . . and a variety of names, including spiritual ones, exist.


In a kind of hippie language and understanding, men have sex with sisters, it's part of being a sister – and sisters have sex with brothers. The language and shared understandings seem to shape this opening, that's widespread, and different from many current norms vis-a-vis sexuality.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bioregion: Counterculture, Flow, Ecstasy

In a way, counterculture, which emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, asked what culture, tradition, and norms, as well as socioeconomic processes, were generating - both personally and societally - especially in terms of their limitations, and questioned these processes to explore creatively freedom.

There was a widespread, fundamental questioning of many received patterns, especially concerning politics, spirituality, sexuality, art, race, science, the academy, and ideas, as well as in terms of vision. A great many individuals gave rise to an amazing variety of great understandings and visions, and collectively, too. There were widespread protests against all kinds of wrong doing, often by governments, like war, in every city in the West. A language and literature emerged. People experimented with marijuana, psychedelics, and drugs. Music, especially rock and roll, became far out, and contributed profoundly to counterculture and this vision. People returned to the land, started communes, and became environmentally conscious and activist, for example. Organic farms and the organic farming movement spread grew.

How did this happen?

So, for example, a student might bring an interesting book to other students at UC Berkeley, sitting on the grass talking, that completely re-envisions 'reality' as they knew it before - for example, the Upanishads or "Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience." Other students would begin to explore this, and new cultural practices emerge.

Here Csikszentmihalyi characterizes 'flow' in a TED talk on ecstasy:

So, out of this, for example, David Rains Wallace writes "The Klamath Knot" (Sierra Club 1983 / University of California Press 2004) combining questions of evolutionary history (40 million years of relatively unbroken history in these northern California / southern Oregon Klamath / Siskiyou mountain ranges) with the experience of living in these wilderness areas, in beautifully written essays. He also helps to characterize 'bioregions' in essay form.

How to elicit 'loving bliss' counterculturally in far-reaching ways, and at Harbin?

To begin, I've found it has something to do with easing, the relaxation response and 'coming home, '~ a kind of oneness.

Heading to the Harbin pools shortly . . . :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cantaloupe Melon: Counterculture, Loving Bliss, Brains

Here's an interesting area of inquiry to come in the study of information technology and counterculture:

Find {serendipitously?}, meet {synchronistically?} and talk with countercultural folks~bodyminds~'brains'~{hippies} which took shape in the 1960s and 1970s {'culture' giving new form to brains?}, of all ethnicities, who have generated a remarkable degree of 'loving bliss' - in Northern California, on the West Coast of the American continent, India, and around the world, especially in terms of optimal experience and enjoyment.

Amma, from India, is one example.

Whose minds generate loving bliss and optimal enjoyment, in part due to a re-orientation in understanding emerging in the freedom-seeking movements and processes of the 1960s and 1970s?

How does culture (counterculture) inform biology (brains), possibly distinct from the loving bliss that these minds might have generated without the 1960s and 1970s? India is a particularly fertile land for this, to complement these questions and related travel and get togethers on the West Coast.


At UC Berkeley today, I walked from Bancroft and Telegraph Aves. into the central area through Sather Gate and in front of Dwinelle Hall at lunch time to a place where there were a group of people sitting under what I think was a cedar tree. Folks were relaxing and lying on the grass, haphazardly. One person was playing a guitar. A 60-ish year old man with white dread locks, whom I've seen playing this guitar quite well usually, was playing chess on the grass with someone else, - he had lent his guitar to a student who was playing it. Another young guy was wearing a Cal / UC Berkeley t-shirt. There was one woman, also probably a student, who looked hippie-ish. Most of these people looked like they were students. Many of the men had slightly long-ish hair, but not as long as pony-tail length. I sat down with them and ate my lunch.

I think that groups like this one, and similar individuals, were the 'seeds' of the 1960s and the emergence of counterculture ~ {little groups, for example, just hanging out, talking, making music and being} ~ sitting on a little grassy corner in the middle of this large University, taking it easy. I see relatively few of these kinds of nascent, alternative, loose, free-minded groups around Cal or the city of Berkeley these days, but the city of Berkeley is still pretty thoughtful and alternative, as well as prosperous, as a whole.



Here's some related research to the above counterculture > brain questions {from which the above photo comes - click on the title}:

The God Experiments
by John Horgan / Discover Magazine (Nov 2006),361,The-God-Experiments,John-Horgan--Discover-Magazine ...


To the Harbin dance and pools soon ...


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hot Springs: Harbin Hot Springs and Modernity

Harbin Hot Springs and Modernity

I'd like to examine how Harbin Hot Springs as {countercultural} place (Basso) that gives rise to an unique culture (Aubrey, Herder, Brothers Grimm) which emerges as a response to modernity (Baumann & Briggs). By examining this binary relation vis-à-vis de Certeau ("Practices of the Everyday"), I'll examine ways in which Harbin as counterculture emerges as a form of tactic in relation to the techno-rational-bureaucratic-legal 'strategies' of modernity. To do this, I'll examine Harbin particularly as a construction of place in terms of Herder's and the Brother Grimm's 'constructions' of traditionality vis-à-vis Romanticism, but also in terms of Harbin as a singularity (Kopytoff). Using interviews and textual analyses, I'll examine also how today's Harbin Hot Springs, emerging from the late 1960s and early 1970s (as counterculture), then, gives rise to place-related practices that instantiate, in an ongoing way, alternative practices in relation to modernity. As place (Basso), too, I'll examine questions of the poetics of Harbin as place, where the experience of 'oneness' as part of the founder Ishvara's understanding of Harbin and New Age practices - particularly in the pools {and the 'relaxation response'} and uniquely mediated by Harbin's milieu - emerges in response to modernity; traditionality, vis-à-vis Native American practices are similarly invoked by Harbin residents and in Harbin literature. As a response to modernity, Harbin's beautiful, natural setting thus makes possible a return to nature, accentuated by the pools. I'll then examine ways in which Harbin as emerging from counterculture informs a reading of modernity as culture.

In my project to create a virtual Harbin in OpenSim / Second Life 3-D virtual world software, which is ethnographically comparable with actual Harbin, I'll explore ways that information technology and virtual world software emerge from the 'project' of modernity, and in which an 'alternative' virtual Harbin makes in-world (in a virtual 'space') ethnographic fieldwork possible through the creation of a virtual field, thus giving rise to new instantiations of countercultural place, virtually. In so doing, however, I'll examine ways in which people anthropologically might elicit similar virtual experiences {i.e. in their bathtubs} to those that people actually have at Harbin {i.e. the relaxation response in the pools}, as well as related 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' experiences (Csikszentmihalyi), thus engaging a virtual experience of Harbin. As a virtual “field site,” I'll examine also ways in which a virtual Harbin may become a countercultural ‘destination’ as field site unto itself, vis-à-vis modernity.

The pools are central to the Harbin experience as a retreat (from modernity), and many people come to Harbin simply to soak in the pools and relax in the pool area, but also for its alternative culture. This going-to-natural-hot-springs took on unique (counter)cultural and historical expressions in the 1960s and 1970s, which I'll also use to contextualize Harbin's emergence. Methodologically, I'll use fieldwork and interviews to examine how, through language (parole in de Certeau's usage), Harbin residents, in what is loosely a hippie commune, engage New Age, astrological, Human Potential Movement, wildman (Taussig), environmental, and communitarian ideas to cast modernity in a unique-to-Harbin way which gives form to Harbin's milieu, both actually and in a virtual world.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peapod: Enjoyment, Relaxation Response, Vivid Vision

You might enjoy Mike Cskiszentmihalyi's "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience." I find 'optimal enjoyment' a fascinating topic vis-a-vis his studies.

In general, though, both the philosophy of optimal enjoyment, as well as 'its' neuroscience are lacking.

And while the relaxation response in warm pools can be optimal for me, exploring the relaxation response richly elsewhere also has benefits.

I wonder if we can cultivate kinds of vision, that can take on the vivid qualities of hallucinations or dreams, in specific, ongoing ways, that are also helpful, and seem benign, to people vis-a-vis optimal enjoyment. How might this give rise to a language and conversation? Can this process itself also be a 'flow the psychology of optimal experience' experience?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Forests: Modeling, Climate Change, Bicycles

I know of a number of people who have ridden bicycles to avoid using cars for decades based on conscience {vis-a-vis Quaker processes, in my case, formerly} - doing something on principle or doing the right thing - in response to Global Warming / Climate Change.

And bicycle riding can be also fun and liberating - a 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' experience, as well as physical movement which can lead to well-being.

What can you or I do to change the cultural practices that are leading to Climate Change / Global Warming to reverse it, where human fossil fuel burning and carbon emissions are one key contributor, in the US and around the world? Besides riding a bicycle, here are some possible ways of reconceiving energy use -

Modeling as 'practice' works ~ e.g. Gandhi {& India}.

How to move to abundance by design, especially vis-a-vis Amory Lovins' work? Modeling may work here, too: creating appropriate energy-economic models has merit.

But beyond far-reaching energy-policy changes and dramatic innovations in solar technologies, for example, perhaps moving to more agrarian or forests-centered socioeconomic processes ~ in northern California and the Pacific Northwest, for example ~ has merit.

How to move actually from design to ethos, vis-a-vis energy use, but also loving bliss {think omega-3s and MDMA for reference experiences}?

Harbin Hot Springs {see Harbin's pamphlet "Living the Future," for example} is an interesting milieu {but not as model, even virtually: Harbin just is} to explore envisioning this, especially in the pools. :)

And I see only a few bicycles on the 4 miles of the Middletown - Harbin road.

The exploration of the relaxation response is another aspect of being that might offer ways to envision innovative ideas, and possibly realize them.

- Plant Trees Scott

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chestnut: Singing, Dancing, Nonharming

Singing and dancing as sociocultural practices in late capitalism.

And what's next on the west coast of the US over, say, 140 years, or 400 years?

* Non-harming as widespread sociocultural practices in developing friendly nontheistic Bohemianism {democratic and prosperous}.

How would this work? - Here are some ideas from my other blog post today, but dated October 12, 2008 ~ Zephyr: Bohemianism, Bonobo, Neurophysiology.

Last night in the Harbin Temple, the marimba band, Kuzanga from Santa Cruz (drawing on Zimbabwean marimba music), played so nicely, with players rotating among marimbas. This marimba music was elevating. While dancing, I was exploring 'bliss' in my bodymind - it was so easy with this music. I added 'lines' of my own music - mental, musical code - as well as lines of poetry and music I recalled, to complement the marimba musical patterns I was hearing . . . which became complex, especially in conjunction with dancing. The patterns that each marimba player makes are a little like computer generated patterns, which then come together is lovely ways.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rushes: Wind, the Pools, Watsu


Whoosh, wind ~ warm pool
people receive this flow
~ Rushes ~
with Watsu, dancing
Naked, at ease, in the water
Together, MMmmmm, yes
A kiss, and then just being.


... - October 18, 2008)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Garden: Pools, Brains, Neurophysiology?

A garden of flourishing brains.

{For nourishment, try flax seed oil (omega-3 fatty acids, 1000 mg, 3-4 times a day, if desired, to start, ~ and singing and reading?:)}

A warm pool of minds blossoming like water lotuses, and especially philosophically and musically ~ with touch, clothing-optionalness, and self-defined optimalness.

And as bodyminds, too? Affectionately and intimately. Yes.

How would this work neurophysiologically? What are the chemistry and the brain processes, knowledgeably characterized and naturally elicited?

I occasionally see people who look like they're flourishing. I think this reflects their brainbody states. It's those brain states, I'm interested in. Might someone teach these brain states?

Who's researching, or thinking about this, building on Csikszentmihalyi {"Flow: the Psychology of Optimal Experience"}, R. Davidson {Lab for Affective Neuroscience}, and M. Seligman's {"Authentic Happiness"} research?

Harbin Hot Springs makes possible a unique milieu for this and loving bliss to occur in unfamiliar, yet wondrous, ways.

The Harbin pools today re-oriented significantly effects of the city, - of modernity.

MMmmm :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bee Pollen: Words, "New Words," Loving Bliss

Here are

"Things You Can Do with Words"?

British philosopher J.L. Austin?

Mike Marshall and Humberto de Holanda playing virtuosic Latin duets on their recording "New Words / Novas Palavras" ":))

Is this what virtuosic words can do?

Loving bliss, ~ naturally and neurophysiologically.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Petals: Theorizing anthropology vis-a-vis cyberspace

To speculate about theorizing anthropology vis-a-vis cyberspace, I'd first like to suggest that human bodyminds are like computers (input - output devices) ...

"Humans are experiential, feeling, thinking, remembering, imagining, sentient, networking, idiosyncratic, embodied, procreating computers {conscious, cultural, distributed input-think/feel-output bodymind systems that can have babies and can self-program (“add/remove programs?”;) / learn / plan and that also have been 'selected for' / “encoded” in ancestral environments via Darwinian natural selection, and by family and community (acculturation)}. (Posted on July 31 on this blog)"

- and then explore the idea that human communication is like networking computers, sharing software - language{s)}, but ...

concepts of determinism - pairbondage, troopbondage, abidance, ycleptance, foredoomance - adhibition (engagement), inhibition, explication (John Money 1988) - and where sexuality is central ...

and where cultural communication is shared software

Loving Bliss

How, creatively, to explore new, loving bliss-oriented sociality in a city, freely and easily, in relation to academia, and while remembering the neediest?


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life: Waterdance, Friends, World University

Ecstasy in doing Waterdance or Watsu {water shiatsu} ~ easily? Yes.

Great friendships emerge from these sessions.

There's so much to pull one away from the release of warm pools in the modern world.

Beautiful, social, clothing-optional, warm pools everywhere? Yes.

And an university and school where anyone might post or take a course, using an open, video-capable, programmable, iPhone-like device? That's a big Wiki, and a lot of wireless bandwidth around the world. And only bigger computers, like MacBooks, offer easy access to making videos.

Free to students? Yes.

In all languages? Yes.

A combination of Wikipedia and MIT Open Course Ware? Yes.

At all 'levels,' and in all subject areas, and very open and open-to-innovation, too? Yes.

With Watsu and waterdance courses? Yes, potentially in a virtual world-cum-bath tub, but they're better in real life. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lagoon: Traveling, Friends, Beauty

Traveling, Friends, Beauty

The quiet of
the lagoon and
the open land

just northwest of
San Francisco and the
Golden Gate Bridge

sings soothingly.

No warm pools
at this beautiful
youth hostel here yet,
so, friends and focus. :)



( - Monday, October 13, 2008)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Zephyr: Bohemianism, Bonobo, Neurophysiology

In the hippie imaginary, I wonder how one might develop a kind of Bohemianism trajectory or gentle, warm, 'wind stream' - possibly neurophysiologically {a new kind of writing of history}, as well - from Bonobo chimpanzees (millions of years of current behavior - 'biology' and 'culture,' due to evolution by natural selection) ~ Bohemianism (the term emerging in France in the 1800s) ~ counterculture and hippies (with some roots from 1968-1972) ~ Harbin Hot Springs ~ West Coast of the US (esp. in other US cities) ~ to a far-reaching culture {examples: Paris, at times, counterculture, many European cities, at times, Hawaii, 'South Seas' islands & India:}.

I also wonder how nonviolence or nonharming {ahimsa} might weave itself into the fabric of such a society {the Network Society}, with some of southern India as a comparison, where I found it sometimes difficult, out of curiousity, to find a non-veg restaurant, for example, and where nonviolence seems somehow to me interwoven into the fabric of life, more so than most other places I've visited.

Quakers, also, have created a long-lived, nonviolent sub-culture (350 years), where very little violence has taken place within the Society of Friends, or perpetrated by Friends, {due in part to the language of Friends, I think}.

And then how might people cultivate far-reaching practices of loving bliss {}, as normal and wide-spread brain/bodymind explorations?

Perhaps World University and virtual worlds will make possible the exploration of this.

Back to the Harbin pools, after yoga . . . :)

Heart: Heart Consciousness, Good Energy, Going into the Pools

The energy around the pool area at Harbin is great. Thanks, Harbin pools. I experience an easing, a kind of 'coming home,' a sense of relaxed welcome, and a breath of fresh air. It's like an externalized relaxation response in this particular milieu of the Harbin pool area. It's a curious, salutary phenomenon, like a lot of other things in life just slipped away, or aren't there, as you enter the pool area.

(Why is this? How can 'energy' be great? Is this the stuff of 'spirituality' or Heart Consciousness Church, the church that operates Harbin? What role does the Harbin pool person, for the day, play? Harbin is about oneness, so this is a non-question, anyway).

While this is, of course, my subjective view, I think many people share this experience, and might or might not use different language to characterize it. If one posits the idea that cultural 'phenomena' are partly constructed, how is this ease upon entering the Harbin pool area shaped? To get to the pool area, you either walk up a fairly steep hill from near the Stonefront Lodge and the Gazebo and Fountain, or along the Village Path, which is around a 1/3 mile long. So a little movement gives rise in part to this good energy, I think. And people either know or anticipate positively going into the welcoming and receptive pools and area, and this contributes to the process and neurophysiology. Perhaps it's the spatiality there. And perhaps all of us Harbin residents who know the pool area contribute to shaping this 'energy' in the way we think about it.

While there's good 'energy' in and around Stonefront Lodge, too, as well as in the rest of Harbin and its Valley, somehow the pool area energy is great. Perhaps it's that people come there to soak, or sit naked on the Sun deck, or go up to Fern Kitchen, which is above the Harbin Dressing Room in the pool area. Perhaps it's the lessening of possible 'conflicts,' as almost no business transactions take place there. Or perhaps it's the smart water, and the cleanliness, the beautiful milieu of pool area buildings and trees, with views of the lovely ridge across the Valley, that occur when one 'comes home.'

How might I measure this energy neurophysiologically? R. Davidson's research at the Lab for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison? Herbert Benson MD's research?

Sometimes Harbin reminds me of the Czech film "Closely Watched Trains," which takes place at a very rural Czech railway station, and is about the wry, close scrutiny of the one train a day. ;) Naked people go into the Harbin pools with such regularity. {But technologies at Harbin are simple}.

And sometimes Harbin reminds me of the film "The King of Hearts," where a Scot goes into a deserted French town during WWI, after it's been evacuated, and finds the town's asylum door left open, and its now-free inhabitants exploring what they want too, delightfully. {Harbin is low tech - there's no bunker in the center of Harbin}.

Going into the pools changes things beneficially for me - neurophysiologically. It did so again this morning and yesterday. I think it does so for many people. Now, away from Harbin, with no easy warm pool nearby, I wonder how to find such a pool in Berkeley. Why not create easy-to-access, clothing-optional, beautiful, warm pools everywhere, and creatively shape easing, cultural practices for using them? They are delightful and transformative, and something that's central to the Harbin experience.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Belly: Holotropic Breath Work

Heading to a Harbin workshop on holotropic breath work, which can take one places... It was explored a lot more in the 1960s and 70s, I think, than it is today.


I didn't get to the workshop.

But I did Holotropic breath work about a month ago at Harbin - :)

~ Right out of the 1960s?

Holotropic Breath Work was Wild

Lovely Dree with a faux European accent, comes to Fern kitchen – where I'm cooking some eggs with tomatoes, onions, pepper, and parsley, with a little Vollkorn Brot - 5 grain bread - for dinner. I've seen her around for a few days. She has lovely, long, blond hair, and a smiling, warm, open face. A number of men have been paying attention to her over the week, and cooking with her. We've only said hi in passing. I asked her where's she's from? She's a little mysterious. Sweden, I wonder? She's spent some 2 years in Austria, - in Graz. We speak a little German together. She's not from Germany, so I say "Hungary?," the "Czech Republic?" "Poland?" "No." I don't find out. (Is she from Slovenia? - this raises a series of other questions in my mind vis-a-vis CE, who had a lovely Polish girlfriend, and who no longer comes to Harbin).

Dree is wearing a short pink dress, and looks a little bit like a flower-child from the 1960s. She offers me a little bit of her tea, with half-and-half cream and honey. I decide to go to the event. She says she's often late to things, so she heads to the Temple at 6:50 pm and I finish cooking my dinner quickly, and walk with bowl in hand down to the Harbin Temple in the garden to the Holotropic Breath Workshop.

N is setting up his drums in the Temple. Things are a little chaotic. He mentions a workshop he took in 1981 with Stanislov Grof MD at Esalen on Holotropic breath work. He engages Indian rituals. He's originally from Europe, has long white hair and wore a red bandana around his hair, mentioned living in the Middle East for many years, is a Harbin resident, and has come and gone from Harbin a number of times.

He offers us little structure. He seems like he hasn't done this too much before. Do we want to have an assistant? Or not? I walk across the room to where Dree is lying down and ask if she wants to work together. There are probably 15 people in the workshop. She says yes. Assistants have been used in the past in Holotropic Breath Work, which some, who have had some experience at this, are familiar with. We're instructed to make ourselves comfortable - very comfortable - with cushions. We put a lot of cushions under us, in slightly uneven ways. They are comfortable. The cushions in the Temple are perfect for this.

Dree starts on her back, and I'm her assistant. There's little direction, except to start breathing. Breathe deeper. Breathe actively and vigorously. Dree begins to go numb and says so to me. She mentions something about an injury she's had. Having taught yoga with attention to alignment, I wonder if it's her assymetrical body position on the pillows, possibly pinching a nerve along her spine. She wonders if it's her breathing. She continues to breathe deeply. N circles the room getting people to breathe actively, - he is pushing quite firmly on their chests, and creating a cacophony in the air. Music plays in the background, which is also 'energizing.' The music becomes somewhat discordant. The atmosphere is chaotic and people are vigorously pumping their breath through their bodies. Dree is still going numb – in her face, hands, she says, and I worry a little. I suggest she does some yoga twists, thinking in terms of symmetrical yoga positions as a possible solution.

I invite her to my blankets and area across the room, and fold them with care symmetrically and align them for a restorative yoga breathing position. Then she lays down. At first I think she is free of the numbness. But it hasn't stopped, - it's part of the breath work.

We change partners, and she becomes my assistant, but mainly sits by me as I deepen my breath, and absorb the music and N's words. "Breathe deeply ... More deeply," he exorts. He sings some Indian chants and continues to play his drums.

Then I do start to breathe deeply, - and do go a little numb . . . and the process does become wild – almost psychedelic – and wildly freeing, as I tune into the music, and continue to breathe deeply. You kind of learn what your belly wants while doing this. The music itself is transporting, and since I'm somewhat experienced at letting go, and going with what comes up, this helps me explore freedom and rich, almost trippy, imagination. The process offers fascinating avenues into the mind, if done repeatedly. And despite its wildness, and slightly too much chaos at first, I did open avenues to freedom and release, that were new for me, and great.


Angela and Victor's yoga, much more gentle, also can get into some of these uniquely 'psychedelic' or trippy places, and many other subtle states of being, using rich language and remarkable vision.

To explore these processes further... :)

It was very nice to return to the pools today, ~ to return 'home,' in a way.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Cherry Blossoms: Yoga Ideas, Neurophysiology and Loving Bliss

Simply doing yoga asana (poses) regularly over long periods of time is salutary, and has multiple benefits, some of which are unexpected. How to do this yourself? How to explore this deliciously and without injury? And how to engage yoga to elicit the neurophysiology of loving bliss? Explore, practice and play :)

I enjoy Angela & Victor's Yoga, but they come only very occasionally to the the U.S.A. -

Visit my yoga web page - - for helpful ideas, as well, including links to the following media, and others too. I've enjoyed Rodney Yee's gentle "AM Yoga for Beginners" available for .01 cent, plus shipping, on video (VCR) at here, and done this many times. If I could find 3-6 gentle, as well-conceived, well-rounded yoga practices on DVD to complement Rodney Yee's "AM Yoga," I would engage them serially.

I've also found the Mehta's "Yoga: The Iyengar Way" helpful for yoga postures.

Finding a fun social context in which to do and learn yoga makes sense, too. Angela and Victor's courses are fun. :)

Finding very experienced and caring teachers in any yoga group can have benefits.

I enjoy primarily restorative, regenerative and gentle yoga; vigorous yoga has merit. :)

It's particularly the deliciousness of the relaxation response in resting-related poses, and the bodymind chemistry that emerges from good health due to asana-practice overall, as well as while in the poses, and through creative breathing explorations, that I find sweet about yoga.

Let me know what you find in your exploration of yoga, by commenting below on this blog. Yoga can help give rise to beneficial neurophysiology.

I'd like to create a web site with lots of free yoga, especially of Angela and Victor's yoga. :)

I'm still exploring how to engage yoga to elicit loving bliss, but I've found that envisioning this, as well as releasing into loving bliss when it emerges, is part of the process.

Heading to a free yoga class {Harbin generally offers three, free yoga classes a day} at Harbin Hot Springs soon . . . ~ and then into the pools :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bodyminds: Brains, Philosophy, Freeing Possibilities

Human brains are meat which can talk and think, among many things. They are also integral to bodyminds. I looked at and handled some animal brains today, and saw for the first time the real, gross anatomy of real brains. None of the brains I looked at could have talked, - we were told that they were pig, sheep, and cat brains. These brains were very similar to one another in size, shape, anatomy, lay out, appearance, - an interesting pattern that evolution by natural selection gives rise to.

In thinking about consciousness and to understand thinking, starting from the brain first - brain anatomy itself - makes most sense to me.

Brains can also dream, love, imagine, trip, think philosophically {think about thinking, for one}, and create extraordinary music, among many other things. Cultivating these aspects of what brains do fascinates me.

What happens to people's brains in warm water, for example, at Harbin Hot Springs, vis-a-vis the eliciting the relaxation response? and its milieu~ethos. And what happens to hippopotamuses's brains in water - {click on title link above:}?

the Harbin pools . . . :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chimpanzees: Freedoms, Philosophy, Primate Narratives

How to grow freedoms, building on the freedom-seeking movements of the 1960s and 1970s, that are viable, ethical, delightful, and lead to a lot of loving bliss, in Modernity, Post-Modernity, the Network Society {Castells}, or 2008 in the U.S.?

Talking philosophically via thematic unities or shared code with friends is one way to engage already well-conceived, sophisticated, philosophical thought, with which to conceive of freedoms, particularly vis-a-vis loving bliss.

Singing may be another. {Choral Music} ... {Songs of the 1960s?} ... {"Rise Up Singing"?}

Contemporary narratives of Bonobo chimpanzees are fascinating vis-a-vis Common Chimpanzees. Although the data are still coming in and Bonobo have conflict, they are apparently peaceful, without violence or homicide, egalitarian, very sexual in all possible combinations, and matriarchal. Common chimpanzees, by contrast, engage in war and killing, and are hierarchical.

Are the Human Awareness Institute's {HAI} "Love, Intimacy and Sexuality" workshops a kind of countercultural exploration which parallels Bonobo-like behavior?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Genes: Labs, Loving Bliss, Hippies & World University


Labs - labrador retrievers - have such a consistently loving temperament. This seems to be an example of genes giving expression to a range of 'complex scripts' {'algorithms' in communicative species?} in this breed of dog. They are an exceptionally affable, gentle, intelligent, energetic and good-natured kind of dog. They are also good with little children, as well as loyal. Humans are more complex, and societies seem to alter possibly some of these aspects of humanness, but these characteristics may also be something humans can cultivate with language.

Love in the 'Hippie-Imaginary'

What are examples of love from the hippie-imaginary?

The Rainbow Gathering? {but this is real, although annual}

Ovid's characterization of the Greek myth of "Baucis and Philemon"?

Free love in communal and collective houses and at festivals, in the 1960s and 1970s {this happened}, and in the ongoing generation of counterculture?

Bonobos loving bliss experiments? Where could such explorations take place? How would successful experimentation bear fruit?

World University

How might people give rise to it so that it runs itself, freely, effortlessly, somehow naturally, and easily, and is very beneficial for people, like Wikipedia and MIT Open Course Ware?

How might a virtual World University explore loving bliss? Here are some ways I see Information Technology giving rise to loving bliss - - from a course I taught on Berkman Island (not on Harvard's faculty) in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life this spring.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Black Cherry: The Hippie-Imaginary & Counterculture

The hippie-imaginary is rich, influenced as it is by psychedelics, and a wide variety of modern ideas, literature and film, understood counterculturally.

From Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" to Rock & Roll to the hippie trail and travel all over the globe, hippies explored and created ways of thinking and being that saw things differently. This could involve transforming crazy situations into beneficial ones, through shifts in thinking.

The hippie-imaginary drew on Beat poetry and literature, Victoriana in the San Francisco Bay Area, science fiction, the earth, as well as back to the land movements, and a variety of ways of expanding minds. The anti-war movement {make love, not war}, flower children, power to the people, and utopianism all arose in new forms. And the Rainbow Gathering - here's the intro to the Rainbow Gathering's web page today:

"Rainbow Family of Living Light Unofficial Home Page

Some say we're the largest non-organization of non-members in the world. We have no leaders, and no organization. To be honest, the Rainbow Family means different things to different people. I think it's safe to say we're into intentional community building, nonviolence, and alternative lifestyles. We also believe that Peace and Love are a great thing, and there isn't enough of that in this world. Many of our traditions are based on Native American traditions, and we have a strong orientation to take care of the the Earth. We gather in the National Forests yearly to pray for peace on this planet."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lemon: Alternative Places in Europe, World Wide & the Harbin Dressing Room

Talking with a Harbin resident in the Harbin dressing room this morning from western Europe, I asked her what alternative places or organizations, like Harbin Hot Springs or the Rainbow Gathering, are around today in Europe. She mentioned ZEST and said that there are others, but didn't give me any other names of these. She recalled how in the 1980s, people would form human chains to protest the nuclear industry, for example. This is the alternative movement she knows in Europe. She doesn't know of many places like Harbin in Europe.

Here are a list of intentional communities world wide from Wikipedia.

The Harbin dressing room is fascinating for a variety of reasons. Men and women undress and dress here before and after going in the pools, especially when it's cool outside. In warm weather, many people disrobe on the sundeck or around the pool area. People new to Harbin, and who carry with them concerns about their bodies, encounter something new with the dressing room. The context normalizes, and transforms, ways of men and women being together. It's part of the Harbin experience which can surprise people new to Harbin. E, who came on Friday and Saturday to Harbin for the first time, was surprised. There isn't really any place to undress and dress in private at Harbin. While there are a few toilets with lockable doors, most people don't use these for the purpose of changing. And there really isn't any point, because almost everyone is naked in the pools and in the pool area. So most people open to what is normal at Harbin, to body affirmation - nudity - or they don't return. Many take to it normally, especially vis-a-vis Harbin's hippie-mindedness. A few people do wear bathing suits, like E, but, in my experience, this doesn't last very long. This dressing and undressing in the dressing room can sometimes be erotic in interesting ways, but the norm that everybody is naked at Harbin changes aspects of eroticism. The woman in a young couple who spoke Russian last week seemed . . .

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cloud: Dancers, Pool Inspiration, Loving Bliss New Form


Blue green tree
In late orange light ~
From heart shaped pool ~
Glows on the ridge
Cloud hides sun ~ :)


The rain last night freshened and made green a lot at Harbin Hot Springs. In its fall coolness, many people were there. {Much of California gets 6-10 months of pretty rain-free, temperate, lovely weather.}

I met some dancers (modern & ballet) who came together to visit Harbin from San Francisco. In the heart shaped pool, they were creating, innovating, and internalizing free-movement which they might bring back to the city. Some were playing with contact improvisation in the heart pool ~ delightfully. Others were exploring movement in the hot pool from its beautiful railings, and with the heat of the water.

Bodymind~water~brainstorming in new, warm dimensions. Good energy. Most people are nude.

How to explore this to elicit loving bliss - neurophysiological - and create a new form? {It's a brain process that emerges readily for me at Harbin, and is delightful, having to do, in part, with the water in the baths, releasing, noticing the inner neurophysiological joy, and then cultivating it. And bringing in my imagination opens many possibilities, that go much in the direction of trippiness. This is fascinating. Try it:}.

As I envision this new form, it's a kind of chamber music, choral music, contact improvisation & dance exploration, with good will, intimacy, an emergent language, and delightful, expanding communication.

Start with a mission, and a group of creative dancers open to this, and explore?



( - October 4, 2008)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dandelion Seeds: Wandering, Solar Vehicles, World University

Dandelion Seeds

Traveling north
toward Harbin Hot Springs
from Berkeley today
via San Francisco.

~ Into the moment,
and out of the mind
of the city.

Seeds in the wind ~
Wandering is freeing.

Ah . . . how easing,
and heading to loveliness.


Where are the very low cost, solar {energy autonomous concept} vehicles so everyone might wander when we want?


World University is developing and looking for funding.


Into the Harbin pools soon . . . :)

( - October 3, 2008)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

La pomme - Czardas: Virtuosic Gypsy Music and Dance

Csárdás(Czardas) - Monti [feat. Vengerov and Patkoló]

Roby Lakatos - Csárdás

Romafest Gypsy Dance Theater - Verbunk

Cigánycsárdás (Gypsy Csárdás)

Pre-counterculture comes on stage - wild freedom in music.