Sunday, November 30, 2008

Frond: Human Computers, Hipness, Virtual Harbin

The world (evolutionary biology) creates human computers ~ see this "Theorizing Anthropology vis-a-vis Computing" blog entry on August 26, 2008 ~


Hippies {and Beatniks} were cool - hip. People liked hanging together as hipsters. It's a curious beginning to a far-reaching confluence of social processes, giving rise to counterculture ... which renamed everything... Cool...


Can I write a blog entry to elicit what occurs in the Harbin pools, and to have the effect of being in the pools? This is part of the virtual Harbin in Second Life idea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Evolution Basin: Eliciting Flourishing, Guidelines for Practicing Loving Bliss, Conversation

I wonder how we might elicit flourishing ~

And, in particular, what new forms might we give rise to, perhaps building on Watsu {water shiatsu}, singing, or simply sitting in a pleasant living room around a fireplace talking with friends, to explore the natural neurophysiology of profound loving bliss, when and as we want.

Let's develop this conversation, for creativity's sake, ~ since the following is an exploration, as of yet without a form.

How might we teach this?

Guidelines for practicing loving bliss vis-à-vis practicing a musical instrument

Articulating 12 Guidelines for Practicing a Musical Instrument (by Marsalis and Ma) with developing how to practice loving bliss


Here are some practices to elicit loving bliss with which I'm beginning to articulate these 12 'how-to' guidelines below:). And here are what I think is love in some of its best senses ~ In the following ideas and explorations of how we might 'practice' loving bliss, as we would practice a musical instrument, I assume our bodyminds are like musical instruments. As I'm presently thinking about this, I'd love your thoughts about this ~


~ Keep the 'vision' of making music in your mind

~ Make eliciting loving bliss, as practice, enjoyable (omega-3 fatty acids, 1000 mg flax seed oil, 3 times per day, as a basis?)

1 Seek out private instruction.

> ... for modeling and teaching qualities of loving bliss
> With whom?
> Might interactive media via the Internet help give shape to this, without private instruction?

2 Write out a schedule, a plan with goals. (Choose pieces you enjoy playing – S.M.).
Yo-yo Ma says, never make a sound without hearing it first; hear it in your mind.

> Are there 'loving bliss' musical pieces?
> What are the skills of loving bliss?
> Develop techniques of loving bliss, such as 'tuning,' expressiveness, breathing, relaxing, eliciting, remembering

> Questions vis-a-vis 'flow: the psychology of optimal experience' - choose learning situations for this
> Reading and engaging 'loving bliss in its best senses'

3 Set goals to chart development.

> These qualities of brain neurophysiology, then those qualities of brain neurophysiology?
> Engage a teacher for this goal charting
> Use a technology (what machines exist now that measure, or provide biofeedback about, loving bliss?)
> Use language, as a kind of technology
> Use your own inner sense of loving bliss 'response,' and then build on this
> Synthesize arts like Watsu {water shiatsu} with loving bliss, to develop ways to chart development

4 Concentrate when you practice.
Yo-yo says join feelings into your music when you feel bad, to integrate your feelings with your mind and body.

> Use feelings to integrate you as a musical instrument when you feel bad, then ~>
> Relax into the relaxation response
> Elicit the 'bubbling up' phase of loving bliss

> While listening to music
> While dancing
> While exploring positive emotions
> While eliciting loving bliss with a friend

5 Relax and practice slowly.

> Relaxation response, breathing, eliciting, 'practices to elicit loving bliss,' with your mind releasing
> Find pools of warm water to practice eliciting loving bliss, with ease and focus
> Find a friend to do this with

6 Practice hard parts longer.

> Go into, or release richly into, loving bliss?
> For transcendent & heightened experiences of loving bliss, focus on these often, and with depth

7 Practice expressively.
Be serious – invest yourself expressively.

> Let go into loving bliss fulsomely, imaginatively, exploratorily
> Bring emotion and 'oomph' to this practice
> Engage music (especially classical) as reference experiences

8 Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Learn from your mistakes.

> Focus, after not concentrating, - and care for yourself, while generating loving bliss

9 Don’t show off.

> A kind of Taoist approach {masking the brightness - (Feng and English 1975: #4)}?
> Don't put your loving bliss on display
> And also let your loving bliss shine out, especially when regenerative, and when with friends who are also exploring this

10 Think for yourself.
Don’t become a robot, but don’t dismiss what you’re taught.

> Innovate vis-à-vis eliciting loving bliss
> Learn loving bliss techniques, as if learning Watsu (water shiatsu}, and with focus
> Don't repeat loving bliss 'techniques' by rote (e.g. by listening to Mozart's "Magic Flute" or dancing to elicit loving bliss ~> cultivate loving bliss with relaxed intention)
> I think all of the above have quite explicit biochemical, neurophysiological correlates, that, when known, we might begin to orchestrate profoundly, - keep thinking

11 Be optimistic.
Nothing sounds worse than pessimism coming through a horn.

> Cultivate optimism with loving bliss - it might be difficult not to

12 Look for connections. (Make the social aspect of practicing regenerative - S.M.)
Music washes away the dust of everyday life from your feet.

> Orient your mind to connecting with

* your own neurophysiology of loving bliss
* to other people~friends who are exploring this
* to innovating vis-à-vis generating loving bliss

> Explore doing this in multiple networks in your life (including playing musical instruments together:)
> Let's create a remarkable & profound language and culture for this

Friday, November 28, 2008

Flourishing and Harbin

Harbin gives rise to a kind of milieu-related flourishing, emerging from unique ways of being there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Foliage: Thanksgiving, Napa Valley, Harbin Pools

Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of hippies, driving through the gorgeous Napa Valley in all its varied autumn colors. The wine may be good this year.

To the Harbin Pools soon . . .

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canyon Ridge :0) See all Haiku

Canyon Ridge :0) See all Haiku

High on the ridge
Canyon here around
See all



~ ~
( - November 26, 2008)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mist: Counterculture, Resistance, Clothing-Optional Harbin Pools, Enjoyment

Counterculture seems partly based on a kind of fundamental resistance to - the 'counter' word - normative, routine, often repressive or limiting, cultural and social practices, the alternative practices of which were widely shared in the 1960s and early 1970s, - in people's minds and in life. And counterculture as a word seems to imply that 'culture' has some widespread, latent qualities affecting a fabric of life or values which inform language and behavior, and in which the emergence of counterculture is a response. And, not to reify ("thingify") counterculture too much, the countercultural aspects of the 1960s and early 1970s fundamentally changed how people thought, the effects of which on individuals are still fascinatingly and far-reachingly present in bodyminds 40 years later (embodimindedment}. Counterculture as an anthropological subject is interesting because it forms an obvious binomial in relation to 'culture.'

But when these widespread 'counter-' or countering tendencies - a generation of shared thinking - lessened, how did and does counterculture, as a kind of meme (word, cultural unit, pattern or social constellation, that has highly replicating properties in people's minds), continue? Some schools cultivate it. It also continues through hippies and others who think counterculturally as a response to social practices of modernity that emerged from those present in the 1960s. And it continues in places like clothing-optional Harbin Hot Springs, through people going mostly naked into the pools and hanging out at Harbin, in a pattern that is different from much of the rest of society.

Counterculture also gave rise to thinking in terms of the 'reverse,' uniquely to its time. As one reversal process, counterculture opened ways for people to think about enjoyment, as well as to enjoy themselves. There was a widespread, shared understanding that culture and society were influencing conditions that were not enjoyable, especially vis-a-vis militarily-industrially influenced modernity, and hippies found ways to explore fun and enjoyment in relation to these limiting social practices, often very creatively and humorously. In the midst of the 'rat race,' making money, and the hustle and bustle of modernity, (which is sometimes alienating?), hippies smile and found an ease, in protest, with many moving back to the land (2-10 million in the U.S. by Fred Turner's estimate in "From Counterculture to Cyberculture"). Clowning as hippie practice emerged; Wavy Gravy started a kid's camp for this: Camp Winnarainbow -, in northern California. In a hippie bakery in Berkeley recently (November 2008), one of the workers in the collective smiled warmly at me when I didn't want to buy anything, suggesting a different way of seeing the world; this bakery seems to generate an alternative, easy, way of working, in general. It's a pleasant place to hang out. 'Reversal' is a key aspect of counterculture, - many men wore their hair short in the 1960s, so hippie men grew their hair long, and celebrated this.

Hippies also can fundamentally question aspects of 'up' and 'down' in society, finding ways to reshape these understandings, - in relation to race, in relation to war, 'the system,' to corporations and capitalism, in relation to knowledge production, and vis-a-vis daily social practices, often tactically, which become fascinating when examined (e.g. Michel de Certeau's "The Practices of Everyday Life"). To essentialize, reversing social understandings of up and down is a root of counterculture.

Counterculture also explicitly questioned authority again and again, and brought the limitations of the problematic uses of authority to the public, through talking about this, and through media, symbols, events and writings.

And hippies renamed so many aspects of life, with an explicit examination of language ~ cool.

To the Harbin pools soon, and the relaxation response before . . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Celosia: Brain, World University, Bliss World

How to perfuse the brain with loving bliss neurochemicals (as in natural variants of MDMA - Ecstasy), when and as one wants?


World University and School
 ... ... may also become an archive of courses that lasts thousands of years.

And I see it as an expression of love via beneficial idea exchange, in potentially all languages and subjects.

And it will also become a kind of developing meta-directory for learning and teaching.


While the following may be Utopian thinking, I wonder if we might 'design' a lovingly blissful {socioeconomic} world, engaging what we have learned in evolutionary biology, history, social psychology, {and with nontheist friends}, and build on this.

This seems more possible representationally in virtual worlds like Second Life and OpenSimulation than ever before in human history. In fact, I wonder if the people who spend much time and build in Second Life these days, are engaging a de facto form of this, mediated by the technologies, the representations, and finding ongoing "flow: the psychology of optimal experience" experiences. Might finding 'flow' in Second Life be a kind of 'natural' basis for the emergence of a lovingly blissful socioeconomic world?

And our genitcally close, primate relatives, the Bonobos, act intimately and sexually in a way that has been selected for by natural selection over millions of years. ...

And in actual life? Might Harbin curiously be a possible beginning for this kind of culture?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Oneness, Smiling, World University

Oneness at Harbin - people have the opportunity to merge with each other. The waters ease you, and people feel more in tune with each other.

The 'merge' word, itself, seems to be an urge.

There's a kind of deep, happy smiling that occurs around the Harbin pools, inspiring haiku and poetry.

A kind of skin trip also occurs.

World University is a kind of people-to-people university and school.

The World University Wiki itself becomes the technology and platform and software for a global university, a global learning opportunity, in all subjects and languages.

This may bring people together - in a kind of oneness, too - digitally and in virtual worlds, to complement on-the-ground learning opportunities.

Be in the Virtual World soon and be here now.

To the pools soon . . .

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vines: Consciousness Raising, Language, Flourishing Ideas

In the 1960s and 70s, the language of 'consciousness raising' was in the air, referring to shared, 'higher'-oriented common ways of thinking and goals, that were often very far-reaching, imaginative and creative in their implications. Consciousness-raising language has drifted away since that time, in many circles, perhaps in relation to consumerism and a kind of dwindling of those memes (cultural units), due to a kind of pendulum shift.

Widespread use of psychedelic drugs were avenues to raise consciousness at the time, and the effects of tripping affected a generation of people, hippies and thinkers. Significantly, that generation is still around, 40 years later - there are so many people who lived at that time and found freedom - and many are in their 60s and 70s, financially comfortable, and very familiar with the language of the 1960s and 1970s, consciousness raising, and psychedelics.

To interview and talk with people who generated the 1960s and early 1970s, and were transformed by them (by counterculture), and engage these ideas today, in an ongoing way, is a fascinating prospect. The time was so fertile, as well as symbolically rich, and people created so many books, and so much art and music, about it.


Harbin Hot Springs' two churches may emerge out of this context of the 1960s, including explorations with psychedelics. For example, in 1968, on the Harbin property, there was a church, which focused on LSD explorations.


While excesses, chaos and destructiveness (the Vietnam War, the assasinations MLK Jr and JFK, drug misuse) emerged in that time, as well, that which is positive about consciousness-raising, including active thinking about what can change society for the better, and far-reaching beneficial experimentation, is still 'in the air' ~ in people's minds. And people continue to choose to explore them. Perhaps these ideas will remain more under-the-radar than they were in the 1960s, in a kind of Lao Tzu-ian (the Taoist writer) sense, but perhaps people will find freedom in the beneficial ideas that emerged en masse then to help people, and develop them, leading to a kind of flourishing.

Here's one way:

'World University and School' - post or take a course :)

La langue . . .

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dahlia: Bodaciousness, Audacity, Outrageousness, Harbin

Bodaciousness, audacity, outrageousness, and so much more, were 'in the air' in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

"Let's protest the American War in Vietnam, by bringing significant numbers of Vietnamese refugees to the US, to protect their lives." And then it happens.

"Let's protest war in general." And mortality from war in the intervening years has dropped dramatically {for a complex of reasons}.

"Let's protest centuries of racism in the U.S." So thousands of people go to the south to change this history. Forty years later, Obama gets elected.

"Let's go to India overland from London." "Tomorrow?" "Yes." "How are we going to get across the English channel?" "Sailboat." And the hippie trail develops . . .

Harbin Hot Springs emerges from this time. And Harbin - nominally Harbinger University at the time in the 1960s - was probably pretty psychedelic. See Ellen Klages' Harbin book.

So a virtual Harbin might emerge into this...

How can the infectiousness of those ideas of the 1960s and 1970s - the great and beneficial ones - grow in people's minds today, to transform things for the better?

And why were these ideas so infectious at that time?

There were major protests in every major city in the West, often against wrong-doing by governments. Freedom seeking was in the air.

And Harbin is still around, and might emerge in-world, in a virtual world. :)

Harbin pools ahead . . .

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wisteria: World University and School - Add Your Course to the Wiki Now

Welcome to World University and School

A Global, Virtual/Digital, Open, Free-to-Students, {Degree-Granting}, Multilingual University & School

for the developing world and everyone


What are you envisioning?

I'm thinking of starting a blog, any advice?


Did you read the 'World University and School' wiki page?

where anyone in any language can post or take any course . . .

at all levels, and open to creative innovation.

There's a LOT you can learn on the World Wide Web already, which people can post to this Wiki (an editable Web page).

And people can make learning more fun than it is, by posting (including University level) courses in video, etc., that might also explicitly focus on generating fun, and even the neurochemistry of loving bliss (MDMA naturally).

the wiki is already up and running


virtual classrooms?


interactivity happens in Second Life and virtual worlds, on laptops, and through video-capable handheld devices . . .




that's a developing, parallel track - easiest to do it in conjunction with an existing University - cameras in classrooms in existing lectures and seminars to stream into Second Life and OpenSim virtual world software, for credit for already matriculated students, and than expand / extend and create synergies between courses, languages, new learning technologies . . .

For degree-granting, we'd like to include, over time, Ph.D.s, M.D.s (Doctor of Medicine), I.B.s (International Baccalaureate), & Music degrees {e.g. classical - Indian and Western}, etc.


virtual jazz clubs for virtual students to wear virtual berets in after hours?


that happens in Second Life already, in many ways - although I've only heard of a little multi-sited music-making


sounds promising


Free MIT Open Course Ware has 1800 courses with much video lecture.

Wikipedia has 2.5 million entries, and is in 70 languages

Youtube video posting is available

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, says he will host it on Wikia.

And there are lots of open-source, innovative possibilities ahead with information technologies


can i set up virtual movie screenings?

allows you to stream live into SL from anywhere for free (in the beginning) - it's all possible and cool . . .

bandwidth continues to be a limitation - (Greek chorus:)


are you actively involved?


it's my envisioning. . .

World University and School - Add Courses Now

The Global, Virtual/Digital, Open, Free, Degree-Granting, Multilingual University & School

and for more detail about early structures - click through folders on right


i just forwarded the info to my friend working in sustainable development and economy in morocco

sounds cool


And click on 'global university' tag here at right on this blog for more thoughts about this

all languages - very cool and potentially very helpful to people -

illiterate people who have video capable hand-helds with ample bandwidth could also teach courses by posting videos

To start a blog - is helpful, developing technology (Google) - pick some themes and start posting :)



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Legume - Bilateral Assymetries: Actual and Virtual Worlds, Human and Avatar Perspectives

Beginning to build a virtual world in OpenSim (which draws on the 3-D virtual world of Second Life library of resources) rewrites questions of the representational actual {the virtual}, vis-a-vis the actual. It's possible to import USGS data elevation maps into this open source, virtual world software, but in order to make this terrain avatar-centric, it makes sense to change the actual in-world topography vis-a-vis real life topography. For example, condensing topographic elevation in-world makes sense 1) from avatars' perspective, as well as 2) from our viewing of our avatars on the screen.

Other changes include . . .

Avatar subjectivity, therefore, rewrites representations of place vis-a-vis human subjectivity, due to virtual world building technologies.


Here's how to download the free program of Second Life to get your own avatar, which is also free and takes about 20-30 minutes. Not only can you build in this world, there are many free lectures and concerts, as well as an emerging society (with a currency, the Linden dollar, that has an exchange rate with the US dollar.

And here's how to set up the free, open source software of Open Sim on your own MacBook computer.

Download the program from this page:

(Installing OpenSim requires some knowledge of networking).

And here are useful building tools.

But such questions don't rewrite the benefits of the Harbin warm pools and actual relaxation response . . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bubbles: A Brief History of Harbin Hot Springs, and Harbin's HCC and NACOB

Harbin Hot Springs is a nonprofit hot springs retreat and workshop center in Lake County in northern California, near the wine-producing Napa Valley region, about 2 hours northeast of the San Francisco Bay Area. Significantly influenced in its current form by the 1960s and 1970s, Robert Hartley (AKA Ishvara), its founder who still lives on property, bought the land in 1972 to be a Gestalt Center with hot springs. Sold to Heart Consciousness Church (HCC) in 1975, Harbin is also a kind of visionary, hippie commune where 150-180 residents live and operate the retreat center for visitors from all over the world. Harbin's New Age Church of Being (NACOB) was incorporated in 1996. Harold Dull and the Water Dance Family created and developed Watsu (water shiatsu) and Waterdance, two new forms of water dance movement therapy, at Harbin. Located on 1700 acres, much of which lies in a beautiful, remote valley, Harbin is a leading expression of the 'New Age,' and attracts an eclectic and colorful variety of visitors and residents. Harbin's clothing-optionalness, its pools, its milieu, and its natural beauty significantly influence remarkable aspects of the 'Harbin experience.'

Some relevant books vis-a-vis Harbin's history:

Dull, Harold, with the Water Family. 2008 (2004, 1997, 1993). Watsu: Freeing the Body in Water and with Tantsu on Land. 4th edition. Middletown, CA: Watsu Publishing.

Ishvara. 1996. Living the Future. Harbin pamphlet. Middletown, CA: Harbin Publishing.

Ishvara. 2002. Oneness in Living: Kundalini Yoga, the Spiritual Path, and the Intentional Community. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Klages, Ellen. 1993 (1991). Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land. Middletown, CA: Harbin Springs Publishing.

(See also "Symbols: Writing to the Infinite, Harbin Books, Ethnography" -

About Harbin's churches, HCC and NACOB, that Harbin created (from Harbin's web site):

Heart Consciousness Church owns and operates Harbin Hot Springs. It is not a church in the traditional sense of buildings, structure and congregation. It is an embodiment and a manifestation of the New Age: that common thread uniting the Human Potential Movement, the Holistic, Natural Movement, and Universal Spirituality.

We identify so completely with this point of view, we call it Heart Consciousness, which we resonate with most deeply, and try to manifest consciously. “Heart” is the inner place where Oneness and Love are experienced. Love of ourselves, of each other, and of the natural environment, is the everyday experience closest to complete identity with Oneness.

The purpose of the Church is to teach spiritual life and how it can be realized by individuals; and to spread wide the practice of Heart Consciousness. Further, our purpose is to provide opportunities for the practice of work and organizational skills, including the discipline and character development necessary not only for effective work, but also for spiritual practice.

The Church honors the spiritual dimension in everyone and each human being’s unique expression thereof. It accepts individual differences in interpreting the essential unity of the Human Potential Movement, The Holistic Natural Movement, and Universal Spirituality. We believe the New Age already exists in these three movements, and our work is to combine them, giving strength to the whole that they form, and then to reach out and to teach.

New Age Church of Being

One of the exciting aspects of New Age Religion is that it draws on the Human Potential Movement, Wholism, and Universal Spirituality, thus allowing its adherents to find inspiration in many different practices, traditions, symbols and metaphors. The bottom line is the miracle of existence itself and the magic that comes from cultivating a grateful awareness. All world views can find a home and an expression in it, including science and atheism. You need not give up your own religious traditions - it is inclusive.

Bodywork, Yoga, Trance Dance, Holistic Foods, Meditation, prayer circles, and quiet places are some of the expressions of New Age Religion to be found at Harbin. The New Age Church of Being, or NACOB, oversees those aspects more traditionally thought of as religion: Rituals, ceremonies, and rites of passage including New Moon and Full Moon ceremonies in the Warm Pool, weekly Kirtan (Hindu devotional chanting), Full Moon Pipe Ceremonies, Pagan rituals marking the Seasonal Cycles (especially May Day and Halloween), and monthly men’s and women’s traditional Sweats during the rainy season.

NACOB Ministers are trained through a six-month program open to residents. The meetings are generally once-a-week, with formal classes in philosophy, history, comparative religions, and traditions alternating with more informal classes for sharing, hands-on practice, and rituals. Many of these classes are taught by the students themselves (and indeed, each student is required to teach a class as well as conduct a ritual). For some, we invite experts.

What do students have when they graduate? Well, hopefully they find that the classes are interesting enough to be their own reward. Beyond that, graduates begin to be somewhat comfortable offering ceremonies, including weddings and other rites of passage. They understand symbolism and metaphor and are able to recognize and take responsibility for trance states induced by rituals. They are able to recognize and avoid dogma. And they have an increased understanding of the personal power and effectiveness to be gained by practicing integrity and presence.

The Minister Training Course is not absolutely necessary for ordination as a NACOB Minister and not a guarantee of acceptance. Nor is it necessary to be a NACOB Minister in order to do rituals and ceremonies at Harbin – that is open to everyone including guests, and is usually arranged through the Events person in the Workshops Department.

NACOB Ceremonies & Events

Some events are announced in advance on our Events Calendar page. For exact times and locations, check posted schedules upon your arrival.

Chanting -- (Every Sunday in the Temple)

Peter and the "Harbin Kirtan Band" offer chanting at Harbin not as religious "worship" but as an invocation of the energies represented in simple inspirational chants and by the various traditional Hindu deities. Chanting can induce a transcendent meditative state and achieve a state of pure yoga (union). The art of chanting was passed on to Peter by Kirtan master and former Harbin resident Bhagavan Das, who began chanting on Sundays at Harbin in the early '90's. Various Harbin residents and guests make up the band each week with instruments such as ektar, guitar, cello, bass, dilruba, sarod, harmonium, tabla and kartals. Attendees can make a joyful noise as "The Heart Consciousness Church Choir" singing simple English and Sanskrit call and response chants and are also welcome to dance, meditate, practice asana or just enjoy the vibration.

New Moon & Full Moon Ceremonies -- (Monthly in the Warm Pool)

The New Moon represents letting go of the old and bringing in the new. The Full Moon represents abundance and gratitude. We center ourselves in the universe by inviting each of the cardinal directions to join us, thus welcoming All of Life:
- East represents birth, the rising sun, Spring, mental energy, inspiration, and air.
- South represents earthly life, noon, Summer, spiritual energy, passion, and fire.
- West represents old age and death, the setting sun, Fall, emotional energy, compassion, and water.
- North represents the mystery time between death and birth, midnight, Winter, physical energy, the secret of manifestation, and earth.
- Above is generally considered male energy, Below is female energy.
The details of the ceremony are different each time, inspired perhaps by an astrological symbol or an urge to focus on a specific prayer. After our prayers and meditation, we raise a joyful energy, often howling at the full moon, then settle into a profound peace which we send out to all the world.

Sacred Pipe -- (In the garden at the full moon – times vary)

Offered by Harbin’s own pipe-carrying medicine woman, Lorindra Moonstar, the Sacred Pipe ceremony is based on Lakota, Cherokee, and other traditions. The cardinal directions are invoked (see above) and the stem of the pipe inserted into the bowl to represent male and female. Again, we are now centered in All of Creation. Prayers are placed into the herb mixture, which represents Earth, and then placed into the bowl. The element of Fire is used to light the herbs, the breath and smoke represent Air, and saliva is Water. The pipe is passed around the circle, each smoker touching the bowl to Earth and pointing the stem to Heaven as s/he meditates upon the prayers and blesses all with the smoke. The circle is opened, and songs are shared.

Sweat Lodge -- (Upper Meadow, various times during rainy season)

Amidst ritual, fire-tenders heat rocks to red-hot while participants enter a light-tight lodge made of willows and covered with blankets. The rocks are brought in and the heat in the lodge rises till intense sweating is produced. This is repeated for four rounds (representing the cardinal directions) as prayers, songs, sharing, silence, drums, and rattles help to transport the spirit in the searing heat. Visions and emotional releases often take place and are welcomed as part of the cleansing process.

Beltaine/Maypole -- (May Day celebrations)

This is the ancient sacred marriage in which the priestess anoints a king, often crowning him with stag’s antlers, and their love-making guarantees the fertility of the land. After ritual invoking the directions and the marriage ceremony, the joyous couple purifies for the job at hand by leaping over the Beltaine Fire. Drumming, fire-leaping, feasting and merry-making follow. As a separate event or incorporated, prayers are woven by dancers with brightly colored ribbons (representing the cardinal directions and All of Life) around a male pole inserted into the female ground.

Samhaine -- (Halloween)

This is the time between the years on the old Celtic calendar – “time out of time”. The veil between the worlds is thin and the dead are consulted and honored. There is often a passion play for the dying god, wearing stag’s antlers, who represents the stalks of grain which have spilled their seeds and lie fallow. However, though he dies and will now take a long journey through the underworld to meet his shadow, he has sown the seeds of his own magical resurrection in the Spring. Bountiful harvest, ancestors, the mystery of the shadow world, lamentation and prayers for successful resurrection are all themes for the Samhaine ritual (pronounced Sa-ween).

Minister Training and Degree Program

Ann Prehn, founder of the NACOB Minister Training Program, offers an ongoing correspondence course leading to minister ordination and as well as a Bachelor of Spiritual Arts, Master of Ministry, and Doctor of Divinity. This course guides you to develop your own unique ministry, and gives you valuable ministerial tools. Metaphorum Ministries has been a California non-profit since 1996.


Harbin's pools, its milieu and its natural beauty significantly influence remarkable aspects of the fabric of life there.

Into the pools soon . . .

( - November 18, 2008)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pond: Contact Improv, Harbin Literature, Pools Soon

Contact improv jams with great energy are fun and liberating. How to complement and add to these? They open avenues to exploring new possibilities around movement and physical contact. They are very very creative, inspiring, and opening. There's a good jam happening in Fairfax, California. A significant number of the women participating last night were smiling {beaming} and very happy. Is this due to dance and physical contact that feels safe?


In addition to the 'Harbin Hot Springs' Statement of Consciousness,' {here consciousness refers to intention} here's other literature I found in the Harbin office about what Harbin is and what it offers:


Harbin Hot Springs: Watsu, Massage, Spa Treatments

Rated one of the ten most outstanding places to receive a massage in the U.S.A.

discover our difference

Massage and other health treatments available at Harbin focus on touch from a place of love and respect. This distinction brings a dimension and purpose to each and every that you will rarely find at a typical spa or resort.

We offer a variety of modalities, including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Foot Reflexology, Shiatsu, Cranio-Sacral Balancing, Chiropractic, and Harbin's own Watsu (water shiatsu) in our warm pools.

Additional services often include Lymphatic Massage, Thai Massage, La Stone Therapy, Aromatherapy, Amanae, Energy Work, Wraps, Scrubs, Face Treatments, and more.

You may stay overnight as a guest, or choose an affordable day pass. Either option includes use of our natural spring-fed pools, clothing-optional sundecks, sauna, trails, and more. “massage-only” visits – including soak time – are also available. Call ahead for details and appointments.

Harbin Hot Springs

North of Calistoga, near Middletown, CA
Massage office: (707) 987 0422
California toll-free: 1-800-884-3117
General information: (707) 987-2477


Sierra Hot Springs and the Historic GLOBE HOTEL

Sierra Hot Springs
and the Historic GLOBE HOTEL

Bordering the Tahoe National Forest

Sierra Hot Springs is located at the cusp of an enchanted forest and a beautiful alpine valley. Here, it is impossible to resist the overwhelming sense of tranquility. For centuries, Native Americans have regarded this land as a sacred healing place. The water here is as smooth as silk and the pools are a true experience. For almost 150 years, this land has hosted popular hot springs resorts. With the last several years, two of the springs have been beautifully redeveloped.

The Medicine Bath is outdoors, it has a sand bottom and is surrounded by rock tile. Amidst the tall pine trees and in the meadow, this seasonal hot pool is ideal for enjoying the star-studded skies. The Temple Dome and Pools are magnificent. The Hot Pool is enclosed in a large geodesic dome, featuring stained glass and skylights. This pool is sand-bottomed, with mosaic tile sides. The Phoenix Baths are in private rooms, and the warm spring water is drained and refilled between users. Body acceptance is a key component of Sierra Hot Springs, therefore all of our pools are clothing-optional. We have 700 acres bordering National Forest land, so biking and hiking possibilities abound. During winter, cross-country skiing is another attraction, and our location is less than one hour from major Tahoe ski resorts. To fully complete your healing experience, be sure to schedule a massage or Watsu ® with one of our certified practitioners. Please inquire about other available health services and programs.

Our overnight guests have their choice of staying in European-style private rooms or the dormitory at the charming Main Lodge by the Springs, or at the elegant and historic Globe Hotel in nearby Sierraville. There is also plenty of space for tent campers or RVs (no hookups). We welcome day-visitors as well. Our kitchen is directed by an award-winning vegetarian chef, and the food must be tasted to be believed. We serve buffet-style dinners seven days a week (during winter months, Fri., Sat., and Sun. only).

On weekends and holidays, brunch is also served. In addition, there is a guest kitchen available to prepare your own meals. Well-behaved children are welcome at Sierra Hot Springs, including all accommodations. They must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times. There are specific times for them at the pools.

Sierra Hot Springs is a membership retreat center. At least one person in your party must hold a current membership. Membership fees do not include use of the facilities. Sierra Hot Springs and Harbin Hot Springs are sister retreats and honor each other's memberships.

Membership Rates:

$10 – 1 month
$30 – 1 year
$400 – Lifetime

Room Rates:

Sun-Thur $60

530 994 3773


From I-80, go North on Hwy 89 at Truckee, approximately 30 minutes to Sierraville. The Globe Hotel is at the intersection of Hwys 89 and 49.


Friends of Unconditional Dance Present

New Year's Dance Festival

at Harbin Hot Springs Dec 27, 2008 - Jan 1, 2009

New Year Party
Live with
Stephen Kent & DJ Omer


Living the Future (a 16 page pamphlet from 1996 describing Harbin and its vision)

Heading to the Harbin pools in a few days . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bougainvillea: Harbin Statement of Consciousness, Residents

In the Harbin office yesterday, I picked up Harbin literature, and here's its statement of consciousness. :)

Harbin Hot Springs

Statement of

Harbin Hot Springs is a center where we can experience the beauty of nature while exploring our potential as human beings. Our resident members operate this retreat and workshop center as a service to others, with common values guiding our actions. Together we choose . . .

To recognize our reliance on this land, water and air, and be responsible in our stewardship of it;

To provide an atmosphere of safety, comfort and quiet, encouraging all to awareness of their own being;

To welcome people of diverse cultural, economic and social backgrounds;

To create a place where the human body is nurtured respected and celebrated;

To behave harmoniously, bringing communication, respect, integrity and love to our daily interactions;

To explore and present alternatives in the areas of human potential, bodywork, relationships and holistic thinking;

To cultivate lives of spiritual awareness and presence, while encouraging others to do the same;

To manage our human and financial resources in a way that will permit the improvement of Harbin and the support of related projects;

In all of our work, decisions and interactions, we choose to use heart consciousness as our guiding principle.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Symbols: Writing to the Infinite, Harbin Books, Ethnography

In the pool area this morning, a friend who is a Harbin resident, mentioned "writing to the infinite" to me, possibly about my writing about Harbin, in passing. There's an understanding at Harbin that sees everything as {part of} one. Curiously true, the Harbin pools, and its milieu, highlight this, as do the bodyminds there. And Harbin, in this respect, is far-reaching and wild ... so I'll keep singing this Harbin song, ethnographically.


Harbin Hot Springs has generated a significant collection of writings over its nearly four decades, since Ishvara bought the land in 1972, which show Harbin to be a healing- oriented, Watsu, alternative, New Age, Hot Springs retreat center, emerging from the countercultural, and the freedom-seeking, movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

Here's a bibliography:

Anand, Margot. 1989. The Art of Sexual Ecstasy: The Path of Sacred Sexuality for Western Lovers. Jeremy P. Tarcher Press.

Dull, Harold, with the Water Family. 2008 (2004, 1997, 1993). Watsu: Freeing the Body in Water and with Tantsu on Land. 4th edition. Middletown, CA: Watsu Publishing.

Gilkeson, Jim. 2000. Energy Healing: A Pathway to Inner Growth. New York: Marlowe.

Harbin Hot Springs Web Site. 2008.

Harbin Quarterly. Multiple issues over decades.

The Harbinger. Multiple issues over decades.

Ishvara. 1996. Living the Future. Harbin pamphlet. Middletown, CA: Harbin Publishing.

Ishvara. 2002. Oneness in Living: Kundalini Yoga, the Spiritual Path, and the Intentional Community. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Klages, Ellen. 1993 (1991). Harbin Hot Springs: Healing Waters, Sacred Land. Middletown, CA: Harbin Springs Publishing.

Kötke, William H. 2005. Garden Planet: The Present Phase Change of The Human Species. AuthorHouse.

Wyne, Sajjad. 1997. The Big Bang and the Harbin Experience. Middletown, CA: Harbin Springs Publishing.

Yavelow, Andrew. 2004. Embodiment: Opening your Body to Consciousness. Middletown, CA: Self-published.

(See also "Bubbles: A Brief History of Harbin Hot Springs, and Harbin's HCC and NACOB" -

Yet, the pools create an experience of ease, akin to oneness, that these writings don't necessarily do. And Watsu {water shiatsu, which was created and developed at Harbin} complements this. (The Harbin domes in the picture above were created with Watsu in mind). Harbin can generate this ease {the 'relaxation response,' I think}, which is oneness, profoundly.

And with this ease, people try things in far out, fascinating and sensible ways - Harbin has been pretty experimental, but not yet infinitely so. ...

( - November 15, 2008)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Heat: Fire Engine, Harbin Technologies, Harbin Pools

Near the Harbin Hot Springs' front gate is a vintage fire engine from the 1950s, in very nice condition, which is one of the first things you see after driving up the 4.2 mile-long road from Middletown, California. On its passenger side door, it says "Middletown - 608 - Harbin Springs Annex." It has some flame detailing on its front, right fender, and three fire extinguishers that look like they might work on its right running board, behind an "Extreme Fire Danger" sign. The sign reads:

of any kind
violation with result
in immediate expulsion
(all in capital letters)

The seat in the flatbed in the back of the truck, from which some one might have operated the water controls during a fire, is covered with leopard skin-like textile. There are a few remaining hoses on the truck, that are probably nonfunctional. Harbin is hot, and this fire engine is apropos, as a symbol.

At the Thursday night dance in Harbin's Conference Center last night, the DJ had set up a number of black lights on beautiful tapestries that were influenced by Hindu and Mayan - so, 'New Age' - art. Perhaps between 40 and 70 people attended, over the course of the evening. The dance's energy is integrating, and unique to Harbin, due to its milieu. After the dance some people went up to soak in the pools.

The Conference Center has recently been renamed the "Stan Dale Conference Center," in memory of the founder of Human Awareness Institute, whose workshops fit in well with Harbin.

The technologies that Harbin uses in general are those for a 1200-1700 acre Hot Springs' retreat center, so, for example, there are buildings, vehicles, backhoes, and pool cleaning tools, and some technologies which gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, including sound systems, and black lights. And computers are used to play rock and roll and techno music.

{Are the Harbin pools a kind of technology that have salutary effects - that is, harmonizing effects - on bodyminds, that is, on a kind of symbolizing information technology?}

Heading to the pools . . .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Purple Cosmos: Loving bliss and practices to elicit this


Here are some thoughts about loving bliss and practices for this, loosely assembled {}.

I'm curious about loving bliss from the perspective of neurophysiology, after the at least thousands of generations that precede us, and with potentially thousands more ahead, for those who have children. I've had many experiences of this, that I don't associate with either religious or spiritual language.

I'm not sure people want to read about my experiences, but might instead enjoy reading ways in which they might 'access' loving bliss naturally, although, in brief, here are my experiences with it. Roughly from ages 1-6 were very fun years, coming into language with friends, and with my very fun mother - loving bliss was 'in the air' {i.e. in our bodyminds} ... And here too: on the island where I've grown up in summers in Massachusetts, when I was head sailing instructor there some years ago working with kids, and organizing a talent show in the evenings, and also while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for four months in California and Oregon a year later. I've also experienced loving bliss at North Pacific Yearly Meeting (Quaker) in the early 1980s, and in the pools at Harbin Hot Springs - - as well as in the milieu of Harbin, and sometimes while contra-dancing, and listening to Mozart's arias in "The Magic Flute," {e.g. 'Queen of the Night' arias ~> neural cascades of pleasure}, and when I've loved some women in the past – a lot.

Loving bliss doesn't occur for me continually in these examples, and these examples represent a variety of qualities of it, but it is these experiences, thoughts and neurophysiology I enjoy, find fascinating and wish to explore further with friends. I've also had these experiences while caring for others. They are each a kind of 'flow' experience (see Csikszentmihalyi's "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience").

Philosophically and neurophysiologically only, I think ecstasy (MDMA - methylene_dioxy_meth_amphetamine) is a fascinating, reference experience. The above experiences all loosely relate to what I imagine MDMA experiences to offer. Such neurochemistry suggests that these processes are biological, and not supernatural or spiritual (as some might suggest), and ingesting such a compound suggests also that there is a kind of threshold across which these states emerge. While the following definition doesn't fully explain what loving bliss is for me, it does involve experiences that are deeply, gratefully harmonizing, and reciprocally appreciative and affectionate, both with a friend or friends, and alone, as well as profoundly and naturally high at the same time, and which are ongoing, biological, 'flow' experiences. {What is it for you?} So I think one can access loving bliss, and while I'm a little 'wired' for it - I think it's part of my neurophysiology - I'm interested in exploring the threshold effect idea, where we can think about, create and enter into these fugue-like states, naturally and extensively.

And while it's part of other people's neurophysiologies - - Kenneth Boulding's (Quaker economist and poet) comment, at Olney Friends' School in Barnesville, Ohio, when asked about his cheeriness: "Oh," (he chortled in his English accent – I met him before) "it's glandular," - I think loving bliss is accentuated also by idealistic and intelligent discourse.

But I haven't had these experiences all the time, and don't have, and I'm curious about accessing this neurophysiology in an almost naturally emergent way, perhaps by doing less - wu wei {non-action in the Taoist writers' Lao Tzu or Chuang Tzu's senses}, - or as if one were surfing a wave, or singing a line of music rapturously and floating on this, or as easily and freely as 'googling' information and surfing the World Wide Web, and how, when, and for as long as one wants. How can one begin to just let loving bliss happen, and then welcome it on and on? The pacifism, simplicity, integrity, open-endedness and focus on goodness of Quaker, silent meeting, as well as the relaxation response, seem to provide possible bases. How to let loving bliss emerge with awareness, and flower profoundly and profusely as it's beginning to bubble up in one's bodymind are questions, and experiences, I'm exploring. Let's explore this together, over decades.

I'm also interested in thinking out of the box – outside familiar patterns and norms, which is something (nontheist) Friends have explored historically (with conscientious objection to war, fighting and violence, for example) - to explore how to access loving bliss fully. Click on the 'notes' here for further thoughts about this -

How to imagine and envision the kind of loving bliss you want, and then realize this? Sometimes loving bliss just bubbles up for me, - especially in beautiful, natural areas, in the Harbin Hot Springs' pools, and in silent meeting, among many places. While a beautiful place can help cultivate bliss, omega-3 fatty acids (1000 mg flax seed oil, 3-4 times per day with food) may also be helpful. And nontheist friends, with the possibility of shaping friendly language that doesn't invoke the supernatural, but where loving bliss arises partly vis-à-vis an emergent language and culture may also facilitate this. So, for me, both Harbin Hot Springs with its wonderful milieu, as well as the open-ended form of the unprogrammed, nontheist tradition of the Society of Friends (Quaker), offer interesting contexts in which to explore these questions, neurophysiology and language.

I'd love to explore and find ways with you to give rise to the wondrous weather of loving bliss in our bodyminds, whenever we want it, freely and with personal freedom, and in so many ways.

Let's communicate further, directly or indirectly, about loving bliss as friends. :)

Warm regards,

Practices to Elicit Loving Bliss

A basis for loving bliss (the following open the way to bliss for me, - explore innovative ways for yourself):

relaxing into the relaxation response (Benson 1972)

releasing and breathing practices (especially delicious ones)

{a healthy bodymind also seems important, - walking, yoga asana, swimming, dancing, a good diet, and omega-3 fatty acids?}

For bliss {each of the following can be a rich kind of flow experience, - especially when cultivating bliss; in some ways these are 'technologies' for bliss}:

listening to music (iTunes)

* arias in Mozart's "Magic Flute," especially the Queen of the Night's
o "O zittre nicht" aria on
o "Der Holle Rache" on
* Yo-Yo Ma playing J.S. Bach's "Cello Suites" on youtube
* The Belleville A Cappella Choir, recorded by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax on

dancing (especially New England contra-dance for me)

singing & improvisational, play singing

making music

playing and working with kids

eating extraordinary food

making love, intimacy, sexuality & coitus

conversing (mind-expanding & receptive, intellectual conversation)

engaging great music, poetry, literature, art, etc.

enjoying incredible nature, natural areas, wildflowers, flowers ..., - richly


opening to bliss while moving back and forth between Harbin Hot Springs' hot (113 F / 60 C) & cold (60 F / 15 C) pools

shaping a virtual world to explore practices of loving bliss?

smiling ~ beaming :))

~ What helps you elicit bliss naturally?

For love:

reciprocated, ongoing affection for another, a friend

exploring love in art, music, and ideas with a dear friend, and/or friends

nameless, loving understandings between friends who love one another

receiving and giving warmth and love with a radiant friend

Practice loving bliss:

consider using language that works for you as a kind of art or technology to bring these qualities of bliss to your bodymind in a variety of ways

> learn loving bliss through practice
{guidelines for practicing loving bliss vis-à-vis practicing a musical instrument}

> rekindle a lovingly blissful memory in your bodymind, and let this flower

> explore loving bliss {with friends} ~ dream it ~ write about it~ focus on it ~ create it :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In the Air: Venue, Problem ... Flourishing . . . Ethos Change

Venue, Problem ... Flourishing . . . Ethos Change?

(What is venue for Michel Foucault? What is a problem here, and how does this work? And what is flourishing in the context of Harbin Hot Springs?)

The scene shapes the 'how,' in which people find 'flow' {neural roots of flourishing?} . . .

but action emerging from practice leads to discourse {loving talk} . . .

And venue (as scene) is now significantly the World Wide Web . . .


How to elicit ongoing creativity and generativity? 40 years of copious poetry, music and writing generation, - posted to the web, and sharing with friends - so that the ethos in which we live changes dramatically, for example? 70 years? 400 years? A distributed network of bodyminds, as far-reaching and exploratory as those in the 1960s and 1970s, generating widespread beneficial change and helpfulness, - {thinking of India:} ~ an ethos change?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Grassy Hills: Redwood Forest Canyon Serendipity

Grassy Hills

Brown, grassy hills to the east,
redwood forest to the west,
I straddle the ridge between,
living anew in a Japanese-like,
~ hai ~
wooden house compound,
an ocean sailing,
sailboat builder's dwelling,
at the top of a hill.

It's warm above the forest.

The air is fresh,
the world is quiet,
and the light is clear now
in Canyon, California,
where folks live close,
in the woods, to the reservoir
which shares its water with Oakland.

Life is beautiful,
easy-going and funky here,
along one winding road,
in the forest,
so close to the city, ~


( - November 10, 2008)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Canyon: Redwoods, School, Community

The other day, I remembered hearing about the community of Canyon, California, east of the Berkeley hills, and close, and part of the San Leandro Reservoir, which provides water for Oakland. I went there, and was amazed to find a little, alternative community, in a redwood forest, so close to the metropolitan area of the San Francisco Bay Area. The school there dates from 1918, and is for kindergarten through 8th grades. There's also a post office. You drive through about 2 1/2 miles of open land to get to this community.

I went up to the ridge above the town, past the community garden near the post office that marks its beginning, past houses nestled in the hillside, and found a beautiful place, where in one direction you see open, California hill, scrub, and grassland, without anything growing on it, and, in the other, a redwood forest. {Anand!}. I was astounded that such a place exists, so close to the Bay Area, and so beautiful.

So yesterday I attended a memorial service for a 7 year old girl I had never met, in the Redwood Grove at the Canyon School. Between 100 and 200 people came together there in the dark, cool forest, after sunset, just as the temperate California winter is coming on.

We first signed a guest book in candlelight at a table with some photos of Beama, flowers, and her stuffed animal, then walked 30 meters to the Redwood Grove itself. People held candles in remembrance, as family members spoke of 7 year old Beama, who had died suddenly, tragically and unexpectedly, of a brain aneurysm. The Canyon School kids, friends of Beama, were there, and sang a few songs. There was very little 'religion' in this remembrance. Many of the people in the dark seemed to be couples in their 40s, 50s and 60s, as well as a lot of kids. Beama's aunt read poetry by Rumi. Another woman, a Quaker, spoke about her Quaker-ness and nature in relation to Beama. An uncle recalled some touching and amusing stories about his niece, Beama. The uncle praised so many people for coming, suggesting that such an outpouring of support was unusual for Canyon community.

This gathering, in the form of a memorial, seemed to me to emerge also out of the 1960s, 1970s, West Coast 'culture' and counterculture. In this redwood grove, outside, the memorial service was nature oriented. People coming together among the trees in remembrance of a little girl's passing, and to support her family, was the significant thing. Although next to a big urban area, I was struck by how these folks were almost forest people.

I'm also curious about how 'off-the-radar' Canyon is; a friend who has grown up in the Bay Area and could well have known about it, didn't. Is this due to its alternativeness, the people it attracts {culture}, location or smallness?


I attended a memorial service on Saturday for musician Jeff at Harbin, too. This remembrance, while centered around Kirtan chanting, was similar in many ways. People shared their remembrances, like in Canyon, and Harbin's hippie-informed community shaped it.

In both places, people gathered in a large, loose circle, out of a sense of caring for their friend who had died.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baby Pachyderm: Yoga, Virtual Berkeley, World University Endowment

Yoga makes the bodymind well, and it seems to affect so many aspects of the body beneficially.

I'd like to make the city of Berkeley in a virtual world, both in the present, and as Berkeley in the 1960s and 1970s, with all its aliveness, in so many ways. Berkeley was pretty heady and trippy then, so modeling these freedoms in a virtual world like Second Life would be very interesting. And researching this, too, would be fascinating. And then you could travel from virtual Berkeley to virtual Harbin Hot Springs in-world - from your library to your bathtub - which could be pretty wild, all on your developing MacBook. What might we find along the way?

Second Life has, or is, its own trippiness, with colorful bubbles floating by (in the past), and furries (some avatars look like furry creatures) walking around, and the ability to make anything, and communicate with anyone, anywhere, in new and novel ways. Its very virtual-worldness is trippy in its own right.


I'd also like to generate an endowment for World University and School that is double Harvard's (which is around US $36.9 billion in 2008) over, say, 20 years. How to do this?

Heading to the Harbin pools soon . . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

Autumn Starlit Night: Harbin, American Dream, Pools' Transformation

Harbin is a dream ~ a beautiful one, in many respects ~ and it also emerges from the American experience, particularly of counterculture and the early 1970s. But in hippie-fashion, it's a very beautiful, alternative, American, un-American, American Dream. And I think it doesn't go nearly far enough in its experimentation.

Last night was cool, bright and clear, sleeping on a tent platform.

I returned to the pools this morning after a 5 day hiatus. They are so lovely. They, Harbin and its pool area, transform my neurophysiology. After spending some time in the warm pool, {intentionally eliciting the 'relaxation response'}, I went into the hot pool, and mirth emerged from me. Why and how does this work for me, and what does it do for others? Experiences in the pools are many and very varied, given all the people who visit Harbin.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Smiling Elephant Baby: The American Dream, Nonharming, Flowing Into Abundance

Here's an expression of the American Dream, from Wikipedia, - and I would add to this with something like - "with freedom from harm by the state, or individuals or groups in that nation-state":

"The American Dream is belief in the freedom that allows all citizens and residents of the United States to pursue their goals in life through hard work and bravery {"with freedom from harm . . ."}. Today, it often refers to one's material prosperity, which is dependent upon one's abilities and work ethic, and not on a rigid class structure.

Although the phrase's meaning has evolved over the course of American history, for some people, it is the opportunity to achieve greater material prosperity than was possible in their countries of origin. For others it is the opportunity for their children to grow up and receive an education and its consequent career opportunities. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the restrictions of class, caste, religion, race, or ethnic group.


Historian and writer James Truslow Adams coined the phrase 'American Dream' in his 1931 book "Epic of America":

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.""

How to flow into this American Dream again vis-a-vis the Taoist writers' Lao Tzu {Laozi ~} and Chuang Tzu's ideas {Zhuangzi ~}, especially in relation to Harbin's pools?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Apple Tree in Bloom: World University, A Bliss Economy, Envisioning

Barack Obama won the election! Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream "I Have A Dream ..." extends. The American Dream continues!

{Make peace, energy autonomy, and reversing global warming~climate change, priorities}.

What might we envision and realize next?

A fun, World University and School: - Wikipedia and MIT Open Course Ware model {and}. Start adding.

A loving bliss economy. What would this look like?

A 'Finland' with its trust, safety, efficiency, high standard of living, technological orientation and relative equity {as well as its music program:}.

A socially-conscious, stock-based (e.g. those companies chosen by the Domini Social Equity fund) and agrarian economy, plus a new kind of stock market index-investing approach that would tie together loving bliss neurophysiology { and MDMA neurochemistry} across the U.S. population with 'gains' measured by multiple economic factors, and moving toward the best of contemporary Scandanavian 'third way' economy models.

New far-reaching, equitable visions and creative opportunities across this U.S. society and the world? How? Small groups, vision, writing and organization . . .

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

Pacific Ocean: Seashore, Obama, Counterculture

At the Pacific Ocean in the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California, this morning, it struck me very enjoyably that we Americans may elect Obama and Biden today, and change the face of history. That Obama may become the next president emerges, in part, significantly, from the civil rights' activism of the 1960s and 1970s, and counterculture. :)

Let's see if we can start an African American studies department and an African studies department at UC Berkeley, as well.

Creative bohemianism ahead . . .

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nematodes: Contact Improv, Ocean and Youth Hostels

Heading for a contact improv jam this evening in Fairfax, California. Steve Paxton started contact improv in 1972 at Oberlin College in Ohio; Nancy Stark Smith was a founding participant. It's very free-form and creative, around points of physical contact. Click on the link above.

Then to the youth hostel at the ocean-so-large in the Point Reyes National Seashore. :) :) :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Fractals flower flamingly

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Neurochemistry: Harbin, Trippiness, Ecstasy

At Harbin today in the rain, I was exploring letting my vision go completely - softening the physical processes of seeing the world - in the pools, such that I began to experience the raindrops falling in the pools - inside my mind. If one softens 'seeing' deeply, the pools themselves can be a trip, with lots of naked people coming in and out, and many snuggling, or doing Watsu {Water Shiatsu} together.

I've been loosely exploring what tripping naturally would be like, - here at Harbin, but also as I travel around the San Francisco Bay Area and northern California. Vis-a-vis Ecstasy {MDMA}, I do explore related neurochemistry in the pools, naturally, again and again, but not always, especially not always when I want to. But over the past 9 months I've elicited a lot of bliss, naturally, especially while in the pools. Hallucinogenic and psychedelic experiences {like those on LSD and Mushrooms} are not so readily accessible to me, but I have explored them naturally as well. In particular, I've had them a little in a holotropic breath workshop at Harbin, and when Sophia was DJ-ing (disk jockeying, I think – spinning music disks – a pretty important role in the 1960s and 70s, too – which can create the musical 'magic' of a different time and space, and be very fun), and played music by 'Dunkelbunt,' and 'Nicodemus.' Both groups played music that was kind of wackily absurd, and very skillful musically, and, in the context of free-form dancing, I went to some pretty psychedelic mental spaces, - in the Harbin Temple. I sometimes experience this elsewhere, as well – while walking along the Harbin village path, from the meadow to the pool area, and back, for example; I'm not sure why. An 'opposite' experience is a kind of 'static' mental view of reality, that is 'realistic' and perhaps 'flat,' but not particularly enjoyable, although it can be, too. But I'd like to go further, and these experiences don't reflect the intensity of psychedelics or Ecstasy, as I imagine them to be.

I continue to be amazed in the Harbin valley at how much serendipity and synchronicity there seems to be, and how akin these experiences can be to trippiness, even 37 years after 1972, when Harbin was most recently purchased, with the 'revolutions' and freedoms and drugs in people's minds then, especially in northern California, but all over the western world, with a lot of travel to the East.

Time for the pools . . . and then back to Berkeley – too short a time at Harbin . . .