2010 Kaua’i Trip: 3

by Richard Grossinger on August 12, 2010

July 20 (Day 9)

Tania, a long-time Noniland steward and aficionado from Australia, has made a noni-juice concoction with blended fruit, honey, and vanilla.  For the amusement of the locals I just smelled inside the giant jar of fifteen or so fermenting nonis; it is like rotten cheese or an old shoe.  Avocado described noni as tasting like a Dr. Scholl’s footpad.  Green and cone-like on the trees, the immature fruits look like oblate limes or toy hand grenades.  In the jar they mimic large monotreme eggs or skinned octopi.

Tania’s blended drink is pink and pretty, and I am encouraged to sample some.  Kohta has graciously carved me out a coconut with a long reed-like papaya-stem straw.  The proposal is that I can wash down the noni with coconut milk if I need to.

It is a bit of a gauntlet, but I concur that I can’t stay in Noniland without at least honoring the totem plant, so I accept a small glassful along with my coconut drink.  The taste is foul and medicinal as advertised, and I ingest it in short intense sips.

Noni is a major topic of interrogation and initiation here.  Nathaniel, while woofing it down, insists that after a while the body craves it more than anything, can’t do without it.  But Aurora, David Wilcock’s girlfriend, complains that noni is hard on the colon—don’t drink too much or you’ll regret it.

I ingested most of my offering, and it didn’t make me sick, but it did have a residual olfactory effect.  For the rest of the day I could smell and taste noni everywhere. Every damp corner, mulch pail and pile reeked of the fruit, as did the row of shoes along the balcony and the entire kitchen after Aurora discovered that an algae drink she had brewed in a plastic bottle and forgotten had turned rancid, so poured it into the sink.  The noni taste had been internalized for me.  Even things that smelled sweet or neutral continued to evoke noni.  Probably that is the first step toward craving it.

This noni adventure occurred while Lindy was still asleep.  I got up early at seven and, in addition to my drinks, I hiked around Noniland, did my t’ai-chi set a few times, and engaged in conversations ranging from the practical and dietary to the highly esoteric.

People here are deeply interested in nuances of food, assimilation, and nutrition—in other words, the cell alchemy of metabolism and high performance.  The discussions were wide-ranging; for instance, soy was vituperatively trashed as an industrial by-product that American corporations have put into everything so-called natural because they have to find a use for a crop that was overplanted in South America (and, additionally, for markets that have since dried up).  Thus they have turned it into paint, ink, building material, and—the big scam—health food.  No one in the discussion ate or drank soy if they could avoid it, out of principle at very least.

I knew that soy had a bad rap, but I can’t say if this particular rumor is any more true than David Icke’s reptile broadcasts from the Moon.  Both of them, true or not, bear prophecy and oracle.

Thai young coconut milk was trashed next as polluted with industrial toxins.  That made me squirm because I have drunk a lot of the stuff the last few years while considering it healing.  Today it was branded variously as too purple-tinged, permeated with plastic overwrapping, artificially sweetened, and rigged for every coconut to taste alike.  Australian papayas were then contrasted to Hawaiian and Philippine ones; Tania considered the Aussies the finest because of being exposed to frost as well as heat, plus they turned ugly while still delicious, so were cheap.

Puffs of tropical out-gas are punctuated by sea breezes, nostalgic and ancient.  An unbroken music of roosters, doves, and other birds comes from near and afar.  Huge cumulus clouds commandeer big sky, filling and dissipating over the ocean.  Small lizards, geckos, crawl on the walls and ceilings.

At eleven, Lindy and I headed out on an excursion that was meant to include a nearby beach and then an itinerary to Kalauea, Princeville, and Hanelei, all within seven miles.  We started by looking for the beach that Nonilanders call Rock Quarry, or Kahili in the guidebooks.  Following various people’s directions, we somehow missed the dirt-road turnoff and ended up at a spiffy botanical garden.  We thought to explore that instead, but entry turned out to be by guided tour only, at forty dollars a head, and none till late afternoon.  But we got instructions there and found the dirt road, which ended where a river skirted the shore.

This beach was totally different from previous Kauaian ones.  Enormous waves crashed unimpeded with resonant thunder, white explosions from them like detonations.  Lindy was worried about me getting washed away, plus I had emailed warnings from Bill Stranger, a recent visitor here, that there are many native spirits, not all of them benign, so tourists drown every year for mysterious reasons.  This area was also posted as dangerous: “If you have a doubt, don’t go out.”

An apparent extended family with young teenagers was making castles and dams with adults reclining in lawn chairs, as other generic surfers and swimmers filled the distant beachline.  The kids had also drawn a deep trench in the sand around their turf, as if to mark off an exclusive cabana, which I thought was kind of nerdy.  But it wasn’t that at all, as we were soon to find out.

Unabated waves had carved out a small smooth valley at a certain level of the sand, and the tide either fell short of its hill or rolled a little way over it, vanishing into hot sand.  We put down our towels well beyond that line.

I started by sitting on the hill and receiving the last gasp of the surf on my legs, but eventually I moved down to the edge of the waves.  Huge amounts of surf exploded around me and threw me back and forth.  The waves varied; some were towering and momentarily terrifying as I tried to clear my eyes and nose, regain my spot, and keep from getting pulled back in the wash.  Others just galloped in gently and surrounded me.

I felt a cleansing of mind, body, spirit, aura—an elemental bath.

Lindy surprised me by coming right down and going even further out than I did.  She made me nervous, as these waves were huge, bumptious creatures that were pulling us into their dance without any regard for how small and fragile we were—undines.  Ten minutes were quite enough for both of us.

Afterward we lay down on our towels on the sand and were resting when suddenly we were surrounded by water.  For a second we didn’t know what was happening.  It was all we could do to grab our clothes (including wallet, cell phone, and car keys), peel up the soaked and sandy towels, and get to higher ground.  Not a single subsequent wave came anywhere near that far.

That was what the line around the “cabanas” was all about.  The surf had traveled into it, filling it like a fast-movin g canal which elegantly detoured around the book-reading sun-bathers and their belongings—and they were considerably closer to the ocean than we.  The sandy hill absorbed most of the water, and what rolled over it in their vicinity was easily handled by the moat, maintained by delighted, cheering boys.

We hung out at Rock Quarry Beach twenty minutes longer, partly to get our towels and clothes minimally dry.  I made another pass at the waves, standing in the surf this time, feeling grateful for the salty soaking and massage, easily forgiving the prank.  There were no malign creatures here today, though David Wilcock later reported being stung by jellyfish at this spot.

Our misadventure with towels and clothes induced us to return prematurely to Noniland, only a few minutes away, in order to wash off the sand, hang up the towels, change, hack a can of soup open with Nick’s Swiss Army knife, do a brief lunch, and take off again.

Kilauea Lighthouse: many species of sea birds array among the rocks like a resting army in the trees: gulls, albatrosses, and long-tailed tropic-birds.  Single ones take long glides in the wind, as the ocean crashes in slow motion far below.

Hanalei Fields: from the hills above town, laid out in perfect squares, some filled with water, most with taro.  It looks like ancient Filipino rice paddies.

That isn’t a dog but a wild pig sniffing alongside the road.

Hanalei itself is a bustle of tourist activity with characteristics of every beach town I have ever visited, from the boardwalk at Long Beach, New York, to the shops in Santa Cruz, California.  A series of connected shopping centers along the road wind away in village-like clusters, which adds up to a lot of souvenir, junk-food, art-gallery, surf-shop activity and a mass congestion of tourists with overworked cameras, cigarettes, ice-cream cones, most of them dressed for the generic high-priced, upper-class Western bazaar.  Like in all beach towns, there is a slightly haunting undercurrent, a bit of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes or David Milch’s John From Cincinnati. Surfers, large Pacific tattooed thugs, and lost souls wander among oblivious, tranced-out crowds of astonishing vulgarity and corpulence with a few beautiful children and natives.

We surprisingly conducted meaningful commercial activity, though not what we planned.

After spending futile time in tourist shops looking at overpriced native Hawaiian t-shirts and amulets—and Lindy trying on a sarong that didn’t fit—I decided that we had to return to the paraplegic man who was painting with his mouth and selling his art.  It bothered me that the throngs were ignoring him, as he was an uncomfortable vignette in the midst of programmatic shopping and tourism.  His paintings were surreally bright and colorful.

We ended up not only buying a print for $60 but talking with him for twenty minutes.

His name is Moses Hamilton, and I guess he is about forty, forty-five, though I couldn’t tell because of his condition, which was in more than just limbs and torso; his facial features were twisted too.  It was not disturbing; actually his eyes and mouth were raised into a spirit state, elevated beyond his body so that he seemed a grounded angel, paint brush in mouth.  Finished tarot-like icons of Kaua’i appeared on the display table beside his wheelchair.

Mo was born and raised in Taylor Camp, a famous renegade commune down the road in Haena near Ke’e (site of the Na Pali trailhead).  The State closed it and burned it to the ground several decades ago, everyone dispersing (shades of Waco and Avatar).  His family move temporarily to Oahu but eventually found its way back.

I say “famous”; I had never heard of Taylor Camp until Mo mentioned it, but after he did, the name came up repeatedly in conversations—synchronicty or had I zoned it out before? “There is a book about the place by a man named John Wertheim,” Mo said.  “It includes a shot of my parents and me.  I’m just a nursing babe in my naked mother’s arms.”

On a night in 2002 he was driving plastered drunk when he ran into a tree.

“One door closed; another opened,” he pronounced, “just like that.”  He wasn’t even a painter yet, but taught himself to apply fine details with his mouth.  “The talent was there, but I only did sketches before.”

Finally he spat out his long oral contraption and got into serious conversation: “What could be better.  I’m on Kaua’i.  I’m a real artist.  When I’m painting, I forget everything else and just get into the picture.  I’m a beginner still.  In another five years, I’ll be good.  There are mouth painters in India who put me to shame.  But it’s a gift just to be alive, to get to come here and paint every day.”

He did seem pretty blissed out, as he took his brush back up and showed us how he put in the details orally with finely controlled strokes.  We took his card, and he told us to stay in touch and spread the word.  Okay, it’s: http://www.mosesart.org/.

With the spirit of commerce in the air, we returned to Havaiki, an oceanic and tribal-art store (www.havaikiart.com) where we bought a wooden bowl of monkey-wood from the Solomon Islands that we had been eying earlier; it was carved so as to represent a turtle on its back embracing the concave shape of the bowl—virtually the least expensive and most attractive item in a store where most things ran over $500—a bargain at $125.  It plus Mo’s art amounted to four and half days saved on Island Car over Alamo.

We ended up talking for a while to the proprietor of Havaiki, a catlike middle-aged woman who, once coaxed, spilled many beans.  She lived in a small town in South Africa but came to Kaua’i periodically to visit her son Dylan Thomas (yes) and help him with his shop.  It had taken Dylan a long time to find a calling; finally he hit upon it starting in 2002: yachting around the Pacific, 40,000 miles out of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Island, meeting native craftspeople, befriending them, buying their wares.  Then a shop in Hanalei turned out to be his ideal occupation.  According to Dylan’s Mom, he even picked up a beautiful blonde American wife somewhere in the ocean (it seemed) and an eight-month-old boy.

She figured that she had spent enough of her life with her two daughters in South Africa; now it was time to hang out with the prodigal son and his family.  In a couple of weeks she was going back to South Africa but would probably pack up and return here for good.

It downpoured big-time in the late afternoon at Noniland, so I took off my shirt and ran outside to get a dose of ormus.  Then I lay on the lanai, watching the sky change and gradually turn dark.

A dinner party seemed just to kind of develop, though I learned later that Tuesdays were open-house nights at Noniland.  Candice had told us that there would be a communal dinner, but no one seemed in much of a hurry, as preparations were intermittent, sporadic through 8, 8:30, 9.  People were standing around, chatting, enthusing, drinking tea, then mead.  They were in low-key mode, nonetheless fixing all sorts of spectacular raw entrées: another papaya salad, flax crackers, kale-wrapped vegetables, pumpkin-seed sauce, and assorted coconut, mango and avocado dishes.  Quirky guests began showing up, a few making dramatic entrances with speeches or pronouncements.  A guy with a tilted chapeau who could have been played by a young Johnny Depp grabbed a guitar and began riffing.  A professorial type held out a coconut platter, practically all evening in fact—coconut in six different forms—and made a speech about only eating one food at a time, made the same speech over and over.

Before the dining began, people gathered in a circle holding hands, maybe about twenty of us, and Nick led a prayer that was brilliantly and weirdly improvised, slow and patient to include a wide variety of spirits and elements, backtracking with elegant inelegance to pick up loose items he had missed.  Then he summoned us to send a great chant out over the Pacific.  After our Om settled, he announced the menu, dish by dish calling out ingredients, and thanked the spirits behind their planting and the food.  By this time it was well after nine o’clock.  Lindy and I were invited to start the food line.  A banquet and jam session began.

Eventually a raw strawberry, banana, cacao pie and fruit pudding were produced for dessert.

The event was still going on when we headed to bed, was still going on in some fashion at two in the morning as we were awakened by voices.  Near five we were awakened again, this time by staccatao thumps, and went downstairs to see and feel the topical rain that was making such a din on the roof.  People were asleep on couches and the floor.

Cassiopeia, or what looked like a piece of her, was already emerging back out of the clouds.

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July 21 (Day 10)

I have gotten salient feedback from many readers, and today begins with oracular words from Robert Phoenix:

“Kaua’i is potent.  It is like a dream generator–think Lathe Of Heaven.  If you are conscious and kind, it will reveal great secrets.  If not, it will masticate you.  Also, it will test your commitment to principles and belief systems. ”

I am reminded of an exchange I had with Nick the first day we stayed here:

“Where do you live?”

“Where do I live?  In the house, the big house.”

“This house?”

“You mean, where do I sleep, mate?  On the land.  We believe in natural.”

On my morning hike up to the cattle pasture to view the sacred site, I passed Nick wearing only tattoos, conducting a morning ceremony and prayer to the Sun.

In a simple and powerful way, he opened my heart, not only in respect and empathy for his bold act but in regret for my own unlived life and the lost wild-man.

The thing that is wrong with this entire grabby, self-important civilization—to state the hyper-obvious—is that it is blasphemy, at the simplest and most basic level.  And what makes it blasphemy is that the most innocent and well-intentioned creatures are sucked in and given no venue for their deeds.  There might as well be a reptilian generating station on the Moon.

Nick bowing the Sun was a clue to what this entire planet could be doing if it were sane and awake.

It turns out that we missed a whole David Wilcock riff session last night when we got tired and retreated to our while the party was still going strong.  David and Aurora got back around 10:30 and then held forth till well past midnight.

David and I managed to have a long talk this morning, partly in a shifting group and partly in private, as people circulated in and out of the kitchen.  A lot of it was shop talk, as there was a mare’s nest of misunderstandings left behind from our having published his first book in the form of a hybrid document that was essentially ghost-written and imposed on him by another author while he was in his early twenties and naïve as to his options.  Naïve no more—David has plenty of colleagues and advisors, and no one is happy about what happened or its consequences.

Getting the history clear, then figuring out had to deal with it was essential for any talk or relationship between us to go forward.  That had been evident from the moment we arrived here a week prior and met in person for the first time in the coconut-milking shed where his greeting was both coy and quixotic.  And it had been reestablished directly in comments and by innuendo many times since we became resident guests in adjoining rooms upstairs in the Big House.

My guess is that David didn’t wanted to talk metaphysics with me until our old business got straightened out, not in any punitive or leveraging way but because that had been in the forefront of his thoughts about me for so long that he could now taste the opportunity.  Though he had been marginally pleasant and even funny about it, it was still unfinished business.  Since he and Aurora were leaving today, this was our chance to clear the air.  We did.

As for the greater conversation, I will touch on a few high points.  My reporting is rough and will not be wholly accurate, as I was not taking notes.  The Wilcock logos is its own tangled web and operating on more than one level of reality and transmission simultaneously.  The universe according to Wilcock:

•There is a whole special-ops, men-in-black meta-government with an extraterrestrial technology and commerce in full operation clandestinely.  The vast majority of humans are not the least bit aware of it: star gates, wormholes, UFOs, transdimensional products, assorted interplanetary and intergalactic machines.  Whistleblowers in the global corporate military-industrial secret-cartel keep leaking out critical information, often to clear their own karma for malign deeds to humanity, but the truth gets corrupted in the general information discharge, not only by over-eager bloggers who scare the “deep throats” but the secret government’s intentional planting of disinformation that negates any revealing leaks.

•DNA is a universal intelligent design and cosmic information system, not just something that arose on Earth by Darwinian selection.  We should expect to find it operating everywhere in the universe and to find DNA creatures in all the galaxies.  Those chaps flying UFOs are human because DNA is human.  Their complexions may be every shade of the rainbow and they may range from a foot and a half to fifteen feet tall, but they are part of the same biological matrix and cosmic reincarnational pool as we are and are additionally members of an interplanetary exchange network in which we are now active partners.  Most of them are benign or neutral, but not all are.  There are some very bad players out there, and power-hungry humans have made trade deals with very nasty folks like the Centaurians.

•The whole “David Wilcock as the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce” deal is absolutely true, DW says, but not all that a big deal; people have inflated and misinformed views of reincarnation.  “Obviously I am Edgar Cayce,” he says, but “I am David Wilcock now, and that’s what counts.”

A very profound notion if you dwell on it for a while, and of relevance to all of us.

I threw out the notion that we probably don’t reincarnate individually but come out of group souls, clusters of karmic potential and intelligence.  Thus, he didn’t have to be Edgar Cayce in a literal reincarnate sense but could be connected to that karmic cluster.

He agreed, more or less, and added that, although it is not common, a soul can also reincarnate in more than one person at the same time, so “Edgar Cayce” wasn’t even a singularity.

Over the course of our conversation he spoke plainly and in a contemporary and ironical tone about his “Edgar Cayce” incarnation: a big book is coming, a screenplay will follow, then the blockbuster movie.  It might have read as boasting or hyperbole in other chaps, but David laid it out with bemusement and conviction.  His subtext is that he is an important human and has been through many rebirths and knows it, but who cares, there’s so much to be done in the universe now with 2012 imminent and he’s just a small part—a messenger.

When I probed further about the Cayce proof, he cited the resemblance of him and Cayce at every age such that no one can tell their photographs apart, the near-identical birth chart of each of them, and the remarkable congruence of looks and birth astrology between five or six Wilcock family members and key Cayce associates.  “The example is astonishing and unique in reincarnational lore,” he asserts, “one of the most striking cases ever.  People who make it their business to know about this kind of stuff say they haven’t seen anything else like it, ever.”

The reincarnation of Edgar Cayce as David Wilcock, the young blonde man standing in the Noniland kitchen bantering with me, is a living example how the greater universe works, whether it goes by that recycling denomination or not.  (And by the way he is standing there right now because his girlfriend Aurora is best friends with one of Avocado’s former girlfriends, Love.)

When Wilcock said again that too big a deal is made out of reincarnation, I suggested that it is partly because right now we are so wired into this body that we have only its comprehension of the world and meanings and how it even sees the places and events of past lives.  What is past is literally past; spirit moves only in the present, no matter the circumstances of its past lives.  Those lives are no longer recognizable to it as such.

David agreed; he said that the whole point of being alive was to be here now, not to compile a past-life archive or collect former-life memories which are not active anymore.  It would be better, he concluded with his confident wry smile, if in the long run Edgar Cayce were ultimately viewed as the preincarnation of David Wilcock, and people said, “Wow, that guy Edgar Cayce turned out to be David Wilcock.”  It was said with with earnest, even insouciant sincerity, but the ambition biting the mask behind it was slightly demonic.  He was writing, or living, a strange hagiography.

Back to Rock Quarry Beach, on my own this time. The sheer force of the waves mixed with the ocean’s chi makes for a shamanic encounter.  Every wave is different.  Sometimes they intersect each other in twisty patterns.  Sometimes they just pop open and surround me with homeopathic foam.  Sometimes they caress and play.  Sometimes it is like being inside a waterfall.  Some are actively squirrelly and aggressive.  They are all undines,

I feel as though I am doing an old guy’s surfing, just sitting in the sea and let it toss me around.  That’s plenty for this man.

I could come here for twenty minutes a shot every day for the rest of my life.  I won’t because I won’t live on Kaua’i—but I could.

Whatever else this trip is about, I realize that I have happily lost the thread by which I came here.  I am in open space.

An opera of bird sounds keeps going all the time, a background to transformation, inserting data about life and death that I don’t absorb except subliminally.  It is such an urgent, unconscious cipher—chirps, didgeridoo-like buzzes, rattles, instruments picking each other up.  If you listen carefully from a human rhetorical sensibility, it is ridiculous: monotonous, gibberish, desperate and terrifying in its closeness to the beginning of meaning and life, yet the simple fact of tropic speech.  And as much as any alien transmission from a station on the Moon or download through a transdimensional gate, it is the voice of creation, the sound of DNA, and the chatter of the divine.  Here it issues a song of revelation and consciousness shift, as it is inserting its own intelligence on a continuous basis, stuffing it into our nervous systems along with subtly shifting tiers of psychic vibration whether we are listening or not.

And don’t let anyone tell you roosters only crow at dawn.  On Kaua’i they are at it all day and on and off throughout the night.

Lindy and I set out in the afternoon for the famous trail along the Na Pali Coast.  We knew that it involved extraordinary cliffs, deep valleys, and was far longer and more challenging than we could handle (people routinely spend a week camping along it).  But we planned to spec it out and hike a small section.

The day’s reality took us in a different direction.  We got maybe five miles beyond Hanalei when the traffic backed up, and all parking disappeared.  We didn’t make it to within a mile of the parking for the trailhead.  Instead we considered ourselves lucky to grab a space along the lava cliffs that shoot straight up from the road by the Tunnels Beach.

We lay on the dry heat of the sand, watching the activity in the surf.  We hadn’t brought bathing suits, a mistake any day anywhere in Hawai’i.

Then we made a small picnic from our food in the adjacent park.  I have forgotten till now to report how tame and sweet the little doves on Kaua’i are.  Fearless as they curry food, they allow close pedestrian approach.  After I scattered some crumbs on the table, a hesitant dove chose to dine with us for most of the meal.

Under the cliffs across the street from the beach was a deep slit in the cliffs, a tunnel or cave.  It didn’t actually read as a cave.  It lacked cave phenomenology—you wouldn’t look for a bat or a stalactite in it.  It was more like an underground garage—you might expect to find it filled with cars or dumpsters.  It was as if someone had excavated a basement out of the bottom of the rock or as if the lava had risen with a bubble in its base and then the molten flow had popped, leaving a gap.

As we walked into the slit among a crowd of tourists and squealing children, I was reminded of the Salt Lake, into which people stroll as if it weren’t a lake because it is so shallow for so long.  I am guessing that this hole was Waikapala Cave in the guidebook.

Other mementos of our thwarted Na Pali drive: seeing many houses on stilts (protection against hurricanes?), at least half a dozen one-way bridges with no traffic control except courtesy (six or seven cars at a pop the local custom, according to posted signs).  In general, it was slow-going, as the lava spill’s gigantic towering peaks pretty much crowded road and habitation space here to a sliver.

Back at Noniland, David Wilcock was doing an youtube interview on Sunpop Radio, Nick Good the emcee.  Nick started the exchange with a secret Noniland handshake, and then two began teasing each other.  I left as Nick was engaging David on Jung and the psyche because I had arranged to trade bodywork/psychic healing sessions with Layla, the girl who lost her belongings while hiking.

I had already figured out both intuitively and ordinarily that she was an amazing spirit going through a high phase.  Standing on the lanai the previous evening, we had talked about consciousness and energy systems, and she was sober and on a roll.  I felt as though I were talking to a made shaman who was also still a little girl, barely out of her family home.  She spoke, alternately, as child and teacher.  She was like a daughter, even a granddaughter, but she wasn’t my daughter; she was a companion traveler.  I felt her presence on many levels: anima, archetypal female, tomboy, androgyne, Noniland movie star.  She was both a beautiful seed woman and yet outside the realm of either conventional beauty or eros.  It was empathy and heart energy that she expressed and projected, not charm.

It is amazing to work with subtle energy.  The longer you train it, the subtler your awareness becomes.  I hadn’t attempted either craniosacral or psychic healing with a stranger for about eight months, yet my awareness had deepened on its own in that time, and I instantly clicked into its wavelength.  She had picked out a spot in the arbor at the entrance to Noniland, near a tent where she had set up housekeeping for her four days here.  We ended up working on each other on a rusty lawn chair that had ended up there through the lost history of objects.

Her body was both delicate and tough—fluid, in part because she had been a competitive gymnast, in part because she was wide-open and always practicing flow.  But she also was a mere chrysalis and still had her original birth shell.

She totally engaged my curiosity, as she had from the moment I first saw her and heard her speak, and I was grateful for an opportunity to work on a direct level with an enchanting, even glamorous being.  This is a culture that forecloses and taboos such encounters as inappropriate or unsafe.  Yet years of studying the channel of conscious touch had given me dispensation and permission.  Long ago I yielded doubt and self-mistrust.  I knew what I was doing and could take responsibility for my boundaries.  I didn’t any longer question myself on a subconscious level.

As practitioner, I was able to find imbalances in my partner, holes and blank spaces, seeds of future beings.  I worked on releasing and integrating them.  I went from finding and following the cranial rhythm in her head to tracking the zone of her jaw, adam’s apple, and throat, to enaging the rhythm at her satyr-like feet, hardened from so much barefoot hiking.  I can’t say how I did it because I was half-receiving from an imaginal healing master, half-following tissue and aura tendencies and patterns that drew me in, and at the same time trying hard not to overthink or overchoreograph my movements.  I simply knew that it worked, and Layla backed that up with a description of how she felt afterward as well as the colors that arose for her internally.

Her own modality was Reiki, and it was engulfing and penetrating.  I am close to three times her age; yet the practice of spirit is timeless and ageless.  Her Reiki was so profound that I felt myself in the care of an ancient spirit, an air being whose native realm I glimpsed neutrally in inner movies during dreamlike passages of the treatment.  It looked like a garden world with vast forests that had yet to be inhabited by anything other than elementals and invertebrates.  Her hands were ancient and supporting, as I felt literally carried through a numinous realm.

I had a number of awakenings during the treatment, as I went through fugues, some of them made out of the shuffle of healing elixirs and vibration-hues onto me, others like hypnagogic dreams in which something in a narrative went wrong or clashed and I awoke, or more accurately, switched levels, with a troubled start.  I saw a litany of internal colors, including the deep blue of the throat chakra, a pink-red from the lower chakras, and a bright ochre at the solar plexus where Layla told me she saw a torrent of energy releasing.  What I experienced more accurately was a luminosity beyond conventional hue.  It had a tannish radiance as well as a pinkishness and might have represented several of the lower chakras in tandem or their source nadis.

This is definitely a better planet when two people from different realms can just team up like that, using what modalities they carry, and exchange treatments.  It doesn’t happen often, or often enough, but it should be taught to children in grade school so that we gain other ways of connecting and touching than the limited repertoire that is now sanctioned by society.

After the treatments I followed through on a related promise to do read her tarot.  I had brought my deck along on the trip, figuring it might come in handy at Noniland.  Trevor served as our audience on the lanai.

I understand that any cards that get drawn fall into some sort of a teaching story, so I can’t rave about the accuracy of the particular pattern of a draw; still I never cease to be surprised at how prescient a picture the cards can cast.  Layla’s being robbed of all her belongings (various swords), her equanimity in loss (the two of swords crossed in harmony before her), her imminent start of graduate school (The Chariot), her emergence from her happy natal family (the paradisal ten of cups with its dancing clan and rainbow), and her goal of being more practical in the future (The Knight of Pentacles in the final position, transforming the Knight of Cups as my chosen significator) were written so explicitly that one didn’t need to know the cards’ meanings to get it.  Those facts were strung together in the pictures, and Layla read most of her own fortune straight from them.

Another issue hung in the contradiction between the four of cupst,at her base (four cups sequentially offered out of a cloud to an uninterested recipient) and the four of pentacles as her future influence (a man grasping, sitting on, and holding coins on his head).  Once she integrated the given meanings, she deduced that this opposition described the precise dilemma she had posed to the cards: nonattachment (I can refuse anything, no matter what you offer) versus possessiveness (I refuse to relinquish control over anything).

You could put down a thousand random card layouts without getting one so on target.  I know because, in the hours since just as an experiment, I have been imagining other layouts and cards that might have been drawn, and they are banal by comparison.

In the big house I continue to be startled by geckos on the walls, crawling around corners, coming out suddenly and blasély out from behind pictures and cabinets.

The crew here has been involved in processing honey from their bees while listening to a spiritual performer unknown to me, Snatam Kaur.  Her deeply karmic voice has been permeating the house with haunting and timeless kirtans.

A planned literary reading from my book 2013 and my ongoing Kaua’i notes kept getting postponed, from 7 to 8 to 9, then finally to 9:30, because things happen here when they do and there is no way of enforcing hard schedules or deadlines around dinner or community time.  You have to let them evolve as the day delivers, no matter what was planned or set up earlier.  The wait from 7 to 8 was for the honey, from 8 to 9:15 was for people to eat and then improvise a consensus desert from bananas, coconuts, cacao, and other ingredients in a blender.  Then we waited another fifteen minutes for Nick to roar up in his car, a climatic outcome that amused all because we had been forewarned that we would hear him well before he was on the Noniland grounds.  For the reading I had about twelve listeners: Trevor, Layla, Tania, Nick, Lindy, Kohta, Nathaniel, Kate, and others whose names I forget.

Disconcerting but, I suppose, inevitable: these notes from Kaua’i are in many respects well beyond 2013, which it took me two and a half years and hundreds of painstaking hours to compose and edit.  That makes me happy because I have changed, but it also makes me sad.  Reading aloud to others is a real truth test of voice.  Tone and meaning are indisputable in the raw.

My newly published book is already obsolete.

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July 22 (Day 11)

The pumpkin milk has run out, so Nick decides to prepare a new batch for breakfast upon entering the Big House in his robe this morning.  He turns the process into a how-to lesson for raw-food provincials like us.

I had read yesterday’s note about him aloud last night (the squib about sleeping in nature and his prayer to the Sun in the buff), evoking group merriment, hence the following dialogue ensues:

Me: “So you just put the seeds in a beater, no juicer or anything like that?”

Nick: “Mate, this is no beater, and if you wrote that in your notes, you’d be dead wrong.  This here is a Vita-Mix Blender.  And we should really be doing quality control to get the rancid seeds out of here—see, the ones that have come out of their shells and adversely affect the digestion—but we won’t be picky this time.”

He spun the lauded machine around to face me.  Then he proceeded: add purified water to the ground-up seeds, squeeze the pulp through a cheesecloth bag “to imitate the actions of your internal organs like the kidney and liver, see, like that.”  He held the oozing bag up.  Then he added Himalayan salt, cinnamon, fresh honey, and vanilla.  Lindy put it right on her retro spelt flakes, and I did the same, even though I never have milk on cereal.

Today we decided to try to get to the Na Pali Trail for real.  Layla declared at once that she’d love to join us and pronounced herself ready to go—even though she had already hiked and camped the whole eleven and a half miles just a few weeks ago.  Actually we engaged in a bit of a miscommunication, as she thought we would do the far end of the trail.  That would have taken three hours of driving just to get the trailhead, like circling clockwise from around one-thirty all the way to eleven rather than counterclockwise fifteen miles through Hanalei to one-forty.  We didn’t have that kind of energy, but she figured she’d accompany us anyway.

On the way to our destination, we learned a lot about Layla’s escapades, both her recent ones on Kaua’i and previous ones elsewhere during her relatively short human span (she was hatched in 1987).  She had been hitchhiking and camping the Big Island and Kaua’i for the past six weeks without deleterious mishap until the theft of her backpack; she had been caught in a mudslide and washed downhill in Kilauea; she had worked in a Berber village in Morocco; she had volunteer-gardened at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah (though oddly thought that Berkeley and Oakland were right by LA); she had lived in Belize; she was initiated into a Sufi order in Sarasota, Florida (Layla was her Sufi name, her birth name turned out to be Lindsey Marie)—and you already know she is a Reiki master and an active practitioner of love and forgiveness.  I am not inflating her gratuitously; this is leading up to a one-liner.

She spends most of her life barefoot, eats raw, is respectful and nonjudgmental of others, and wants to devote her life to helping people through life crises.  She is going to start the Naropa Buddhist Psychology program in three weeks.

We were walking the road to the trailhead, discussing crystal books that we copublish with Heaven and Earth in Vermont, when Lindy mentioned the recent joint title Stones of the New Consciousness.

Then I added, “The next big book stars Layla; it’s called Girls of the New Consciousness.

Then we passed the slit cave (Nick told us over pumpkin milk that it’s where people used to retreat for safety during hurricanes).  We drove by a companion cave that was totally different: filled with water.

Despite Layla’s claim that she had great parking karma we didn’t find a space in the main lot by the trailhead.  When I saw half a dozen cars lined up waiting for people to leave, I said, “We won’t find anything here.”

“Well, certainly not with that attitude!” she chided.

We turned around, drove back, and parked just beyond the second cave in a marginally informal lot that other drivers had created out of what was probably a turnaround.  Parking was pretty much chaotic here anyway, and you had to hope that they didn’t enforce it.  The long walk from the lot to the trailhead extended our hike by a little bit.

The underwater cave was foreboding, almost sinister, like a sleeping cobra, a signature of the psyche or the unconscious mind.  Its sequential portals and darkening water evoked the realm from whence dreams come, the threshold between unconsciousness and consciousness, death and rebirth.  It was more than just a symbol; it was a concrete psychic representation in stone and stilled aqua of an actual inner passageway.  Occasional drops of elixir plunked from the ceiling into the dusty, dark water, the cumulative deposit of moisture and minerals oozing down like pumpkin milk over god knows how many moons.  The outcome above was a complex mural, a speckled, whorled representation—Jackson Pollack meets Yves Tanguy—the cave’s own Sistine Chapel.

To the right of the portal through which the water flowed in near stillness, the wall looked as though an intentional painting had been executed millennia ago and was still visible if faded; it was (take your choice) Etheric beings manifesting across a dimensional interzone, the birth of a Polynesian Christ, giant prehistoric penguins, or alien contact on the ancient beaches of Kaua’i.

Another cave, apparently, just above the one we were looking at, held “the blue room,” one of Nick’s favored initiation sites.  In fact, he offered to take us there at night, but the ceremony was over my head: you have to swim across the cave, go a ways underwater, and then come up in a room of blue crystals.  That was the mission.  He didn’t say how far you had to swim.

In fact it was my mention of the blue room, recalling Nick’s proposition earlier in the day, that led to our discussing stones of the new consciousness on our walk.

At the trailhead was a crowded beach, full of people and chickens, a reminder that there’s virtually no spot on this island where free-range fowl haven’t made themselves at home.  Beaches are perfect for them because of picnics, but I’ve got to say that chickens and roosters running around people on towels look out of place.

The Na Pali trail goes straight up—no messing around or preliminaries for this one.  It is pure lava palisades with jagged and knobby summits.  While not a radically steep climb, the escalator is continuous.  It reminds me of some of the trails in Acadia on Mount Desert Island but multiplied by five because everything here is vaster.

Peaks loomed overhead, many of them bare, others covered or partway covered with vines and ambitious vegetation.  Their shapes were more protuberances than typical mountain crags, so they had an uninhabitable Martian look.

This is young terrain, gangly lava rather than old windy buttes—cathedral-like and cindery, not rounded mesas.  It’s alien, Mordor-like.

We ascended through central-casting tropical vegetation, lavish and lush.  At times looking out at the view, I thought that someone might shoot a new album cover here for a remake of South Pacific.

The difference between being here and seeing a guidebook color shot of it is ontological, made up of many different sensations and cues, so many that it is hard to characterize them, but for a start: the narrowness of the trail; the engulfing sound of the waves; the smells of the flowers and leaves, especially the multicolored pinwheeled passifloras, whose perfume traveled; the birds in episodic uproar—but especially the wind.  It got stiffer as we ascended and, at the overlook where we paused, it was blowing so hard that it stopped just about all other kinesthesias in me and I stood in place and felt it against my mass.  I thought, “I have a body.  I have had a body for the last 20,000 or so days.”  There was an intelligence to the wind, and it called my soma to attention of its own surface and density.  Initially the constant pounding and turbulence made me dizzy, but it gradually became empowering, even elating.

Later, as I climbed silently with my musings, I thought about yesterday’s Reiki session; my sense was that it had opened a fresh window in an old house.  The masonry was the same.  All the old windows were still there.  But I was looking out a new portal at a different world.  It was what Layla had transmitted from her own consciousness, her indigo planet, but it was sourced in my own consciousness.  It had been dormant there for a long time, then was freed of interference by another’s energy pattern.  Her Reiki served as a gate inside an energy field.

We reversed course after a bit more than a mile because—well, we weren’t going to walk the whole eleven-plus, and we weren’t even going to climb to the next height and then descend in order to get to the beach…and I personally didn’t think that it was worth going on just for bragging rights—no reason to be that acquisitive.  There were other things to do in the world.  Yes, it would have been attractive to hike the whole thing while camping out, but that was a different us and a different life.

Layla walked the whole trail with uys shoeless.  I have done hikes in Maine barefoot without damage, so I took off my shoes for the last half of the way back.  The trail didn’t look like something that the soles could stand, as it was rocky and rugged, but barefoot-hiking is akin to firewalking—you do it and somehow it works out.

Actually I thought that I would try it only for only a short stretch, but I got so much value out of barefoot yoga that I practiced it to the end of the trail.  Feeling the ground with every step was immediately grounding and drew me out of my mind and the upper half of my body into my feet and the ground.  It also allowed me to suck up neutral earth energy.

The rocks gave me acupressure, a meridian flow that extended palpably to my neck and cranial fascia.

The need to step carefully changed my gait to more of a jig and added consciousness to movements.  I got to land on straw and silt a few times as well as stones.  The highlight was two small streams that crossed the trail; I waded through them slowly and sensuously, lifting mud with my toes. The feeling of coolness on awakened feet was worth it.

After the hike we hung out at Tunnels Beach, the same one as yesterday.  I didn’t see a posting that warned of a riptide, so I sat in a surf where the undertow felt like roots crawling underneath my body.  Lindy frantically summoned me to move, pointing to the sign.  Then she joined me in a quieter part of the beach.  Even there, where the surf was mostly placid, a last wave picked me up and threw me down in an exploding geyser.  That’s why it was the last.

Lindy drove us back and, as a passenger this time, I counted more like ten one-way bridges between Na Pali and the last one out of Hanalei.  They called attention to themselves because we got into a bad cadence such that we were usually the lead car, three times having to stop on a dime and once, partway along the double bridge, having to back off because Lindy had hesitated a moment too long out of courtesy and the cars on the other side took advantage and started rolling.

Late afternoon, 5:15, I revisited Kahili Beach by myself.  In fact, I was the only one there when I arrived, though two lone surfers appeared soon after.  I stayed till almost six, taking in the waves.

Taste and smell are such a big part of the experience, the salty, rich brine getting in my nose and mouth.  Blowing off the ocean, the srpay makes a fine breath visible in the Sun’s particles.

Sight is filled near and far by the procession of waves and vastness of ocean, the near crash of foam and bubbles.

The sound is deep, ancient, and sorrowful, a cosmic echo.

Touch is a form of qigong and massage but also a balm both cool and warm.

The senses of the higher planes are filled too, by the sheer elemental energy and incipient consciousness of water, bursting against the limits of this dimension.

We began here, we humans, as life forms, in sea brine.  That is, our bodies originated here.  Our cells were brewed and bred in primeval water.  We come not out of the sea but from inside the inside of the sea.  There, there is no disruptive motion or peril at all, just a cradle and a metronome: a gyroscope of molecular becoming.

As we set out for dinner at Postcards in Hanalei, it began to pour.  In Hawai’i you don’t dress for rain because the air is warm and the water is warm (and usually brief) and the experience is basically refreshing.

We got pretty drenched between the Big House and the car.

Then our Island Motors clunker proved a real problem because the headlights didn’t cut through the mist.

From Noniland to Hanalei is not an easy road at night in good weather.  The white line on the shoulder is sporadic, and the turn-offs left and right are marked in cryptic Hawaiian conventions like hopscotch panels.  The combination of these factors, our dim headlights, the rain, oncoming car headlights, fog, and SUV lights in the side and rear mirrors periodically wiped out the center line and the direction of the road.  Add in unfamiliar terrain, lots of curves and a hairpin or two, widening and narrowing surfaces, and you have a hellish nine miles.  I averaged twenty miles an hour and had to pull over twice to let a line of cars pass.

I just couldn’t see the road well enough, an experience I have never had to such a degree except in famous nightmares of the same.  After we rolled to a definitive stop, it took me five minutes in the front seat with my eyes closed, taking deep, slow breaths and centering, to recover enough to enter the restaurant.

Later, back at Noniland, we mentioned the harrowing trip, and Nathaniel, lying on the floor in a group riffing and playing music, rolled over as he said, “Man, those are like the worst cars ever. They’ve like died somewhere and then Island Motors gets them.  They’re like, I don’t think they’re legal or anything.”

“Yeah,” someone added, “I don’t see how Joel gets away with renting them.  They couldn’t pass inspection.  They all have something really bad wrong with them.  The one you’re driving now, like that’s the nicest I’ve ever seen.  You must have the top car of the fleet.”

Postcards justified Bill and Hillary’s signed photograph and endorsement on the wall.  The fried taro balls in sweet and sour sauce were the highlight for me, while tandoori mahi mahi and pineapple cake with lilikoi topping were reassuringly Hawaiian too.

The drive back from Hanalei without the rain, with less traffic on the road (Lindy driving this time) was a huge improvement.

This has become two trips, utterly different from each other: one to resort Po’ipu and the other to communal Noniland, one to 1980 and the other to 2025—South Shore and North.

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July 23 (Day 12)

We started today with a trip to the Hindu Monastery, a much-talked-about sacred site and tourist attraction in Wailua, not far from Ellias Lonsdale’s house.  It was founded by an American Hindu, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, also known as Guruveda; he died in 2001.

The overall property is huge, 376 acres, plus the order is in the process of constructing Iraivan, the largest Hindu temple outside of India—target date: 2012.

We drove fifteen or so miles from Noniland and worked our way to Kuomo’o Road, same as for Ellias’, climbed four increasingly winding miles up the mountainside, then turned onto Kaholalele Road.  We arrived there mid-morning, well within the 9-12 window for guests.

I didn’t have very formed expectations, though I looked forward to sitting in a consecrated Eastern temple absorbing some energy and intelligence from the energy and intelligence of a focused group meditation and traditional altar.  The Hindu landscape in general is ancient, ornate, and a bit spooky—the mother of Buddhism and last surviving daughter of the Indo moiety of the Indo-European Stone Age.

People arriving in shorts had to put on a sarong, so there was a basket of new ones to choose from and, under that basket, another headed for the laundry.  We had worn shorts pretty much everyday here and hadn’t thought of it as a possible issue when setting out for the monastery.  So we fussed with pale blue sarongs, trying to get them on tightly enough.

No one was handling guest sign-ins, but there was a book to write in.  When I saw the line of Monastery publications beside it, I couldn’t resist putting my card into the book with a note inquiring about whether they might be interested in trade distribution.  A longshot, but it’s always worth starting a dialogue just to see where it goes.  This Monastery is a big institution with global political outreach and tied to the worldwide Hindu movement via the Tamil Saiva tradition of Sri Lanka and South India.  Who knows?

My relationship to Hinduism has been back-burner since my college years but ongoing.  I discovered Vedic texts well before I explored Buddhism, taking a course on formal Hindu philosophy in the early sixties at Smith while a student at Amherst.  After that I read Hindu teachings for years until I discovered Chögyam Trungpa in the early seventies and, more or less, switched my focus to the cleaner, more psychological Buddhist view of consciousness and eternity.  As Ram Das said early in his career, “Hinduism always struck me as a bit gaudy.”  However, the psychic system I have been studying with John Friedlander for the last two years has a significant Hindu component, as its seven planes of consciousness have roots in India.  There is something about Hinduism that is less directive and more receptive to the universe’s long and serpentine unfolding on its terms.  It is like being exploded slowly inside a lotus of energy and not having to effort or seek so much as chant and pray because it is all happening anyway, and is going to happen, forever in fact.

The main thing on my mind as we approached the monastery was a recollection of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi from almost forty years ago.  The scene in which, at the touch of his guru’s hand, Yogananda instantly remembered his past lives dazzled, tantalized, and terrified me—in the sense that, if that happened to me, the game would just stop, right there.  The game would stop because I would see the larger game:

“As I maintained a bewildered silence, the saint approached me and struck me gently on the forehead.  At his magnetic touch, a wondrous current swept through my brain, releasing the sweet seed-memories of my previous life.

“‘I remember!’  My voice was half choked with joyous sobs.  ‘You are my guru Babaji, who has belonged to me always.  Scenes of the past arise vividly in my mind; here in this cave I spent many years of my last incarnation.’  As ineffable recollections overwhelmed me, I tearfully embraced my master’s feet.

“‘For more than three decades I have waited for you to return to me.’  Babaji’s voice rang with celestial love.

“‘You slipped away and disappeared into the tumultuous waves of life beyond death.  The magic wand of your karma touched you, and you were gone!  Though you lost sight of me, never did I lose sign of you!  I pursued you over the luminescent astral sea where the glorious angels sail.  Through gloom, storm, upheaval, and light I followed you, like a mother bird guarding her young.  As you lived out your human term of womb life, and emerged a babe, my eye was ever on you.  When you covered your tiny form in the lotus posture under the Nadia sands in your childhood, I was invisibly present.  Patiently, month after month, year after year, I have watched over you, waiting for this perfect day.  Now you are here with me!  Here is your cave, loved of yore; I have kept it ever clean and ready for you.  Here is your hallowed asana-blanket, where daily you sat to fill your expanding heart with God.  Here is your bowl from which you often drank the nectar prepared by me.  See how I have kept the brass cup brightly polished, that someday you might drink again from it.  My own, do you now understand?

“‘My guru, what can I say?” I murmured brokenly.  ‘Where has one ever heard of such deathless love?’  I gazed long and ecstatically on my eternal treasure, my guru in life and death.”

That, after all, is the only thing worth wanting or ultimately lasting.  But was it what is really what I desired today?

Probably not.  was pretty busy and infatuated inside the game.

This was some of the mental chatter and semi-subliminal backdrop under which I entered the monastery grounds.  But then I forgot about it, as our excursion turned into sight-seeing, voyeurism, and reading religious p.r.

[This was also, by the way, lilikoi day.  My regret at not ordering lilikoi mousse and yielding to Lindy on pineapple cake the night before at Postcards, passed as soon as I discovered, to my delight, that those mysterious unnamed green round balls in plasticky shells piling up in bowls in the communal kitchen weren’t limes as I originally thought; they were Noniland lilikois.  Inside a thick inedible skin, they yolked greenish jelly with seeds, mostly citrus and tangy but with an oddly sweet edge.  To make up for lost time I ate three of them that morning for breakfast.

They are such weird fruits.  The jellied mass sits in the center like an oyster, but it pours out like uni or egg.  Bitterness with a slightly sweet undertow holds culinary curiosioty.

The shells are so stuff and shiny that the knife easily slips, so I ended up with some blood and a band-aid.  “You’ve gotta stab’em,” Nathaniel demonstrated with the point of the knife, “or just bite’em open like this” (demonstrating).

Now I found that every statue and image in the Monastery had multiple offerings of lilikois set in their crevices and hollows, placed at their bases like Easter eggs.  Hundreds of lilikois—apparently the preferred gifts of these oldest extant gods on the planet.]

Something on the Monastery wall then struck a deeper chord, broke my trance, and touched the part of me that is always vast serious.  I will rephrase it in the way that I took it in: “Shake the mind loose from the shackles caused by the slumber of so many births.  Change ‘Who Am I?’ to ‘I Am That.'”

From a somewhat maudlin question to quantum-energy blip of being and annunciation!

“So many births….”  If we keep getting reborn, life after life, our existence does become a sort of goo and a slumber.  We awake in shackles and fall asleep in shackles.  We never see the big picture or where we are.

But, again, did I want one of those monks in saffron robes who were pacing the grounds so close to us, to stop, reach out, touch. and awaken me?  No!  I preferred to be left to wallow in the mystery illusion of profundity.

Inside Kadavul Temple (remove all footware) is a Hindu stageset with familiar landscape: Siva, Ganesha, candles, shrines, mandalas.  Amid the chambers, alcoves, and illuminated symbology you would only have to change the Hindu gods to Christ and Mary to have a church and a full-blown Catholic shrine.

At the entry was an astrological board with a grid in the circular design of the zodiac.  The signs were marked in English (Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, etc.) and Sanskrit.  On their pie sections were placed largish crystal balls marking the daily configuration of not only planets (Uranus, Saturn) but Budha (sic), the Sun, the Fourth Node, and so on.  These movable balls were each colored a different rich shade—blue, silver, brown, tan, red, green.  Venus was absolutely colorless, transparent.  A giant marble sat in the center—the Earth, I am pretty sure, but an Earth whose continents and oceans looked unfamiliar, perhaps antediluvian.

Most astrological charts are flat and hieroglyphic; they convey celestial book-keeping.  This one, probably Jyotish, projected real gravity and spheroidal energy through the three-dimensional heaviness of its balls.  It was an astrological planetarium.

We selected meditation cushions and found spaces to sit cross-legged as instructed.  From there I stared at the statues and luminous images on viewing platforms and in chambers, as I tried a bit arrogantly to take them to higher planes.  The act seemed efforted, egotistic.  Also nothing happened, so I let it go.  Then I tried just closing my eyes and journeying in after-images.

I can’t say just when or how—it was not a heavy wake-up like the touch of a yogi’s hand instantaneously dissolving amnesia of past lives or a Rosicrucian flash filling my mind.  That’s Hollywood, and I was not in a cinematic mode.  But it also wasn’t like any psychic exercise I had ever done.

First I saw a procession of many events and scenes from my life.  What distinguished them was how gently yet automatically they arose, as if pouring from a jug.  Evenly paced and disparate they came randomly from my childhood, my youth, my young adult and later adult years.  They came from remote cameos of infancy as routinely and spontaneously as the folios imprinted yesterday, the brilliance of which had not begun to fade.  Balanced, illuminated, and connected like stills from an open-ended archive or cards of a tarot, they flowed and shuffled by.  This sequence had a graceful, redemptive quality—each card a signature of its particular beauty and divine grace.  It didn’t whether it felt that way or didn’t at the time.  Happy moments, sad moments, embarrassing moments, incidental moments, memorable moments, forgotten moments.  Each one was discrete, held in place for an instant, then released and supplanted by the next, as if a projectionist were following a set protocol.

On the rare instances when I have experienced this sort of automatic picture-flow before, I felt as if my brain were downloading its charges of neuro-debris into the mind, cameo by cameo.  The condition always seemed migrainous—electrical and garbage-dumpy, close to epileptic.  This procession was choreographed, like a screening of separate holographic leaves, what I imagine a drowning person might see as his life rushed by in pictures.  Here it was without urgency or haste, a dance of maya.

Then individual people arose one by one in my mind’s eye, forming by the same principle of composition: grade-school teachers and camp counselors, long-dead family members and passing acquaintances from parties and plane flights and classes, college friends and high-school friends, team-mates and poets, my children’s playmates, celebrities at my father’s hotel, unidentifiable strangers, even Layla from just yesterday.  I had the same abiding sense of love and redemption from and toward the people as the places.  These myriad semi-random characters all seemed to be part of some script, although they were not connected to one another except through me.  Though each was discrete and immaculately photo-real, their figures were somehow juxtaposed, not only on each other but on the various layers and personae of itself, its own soul life, the countenances and forms shifting too rapidly for me to grok the principle or mechanism and yet and at the same time as casually as in a stately timelapse.  The speed suggested an inner atomistic transformation on the scale of cells and molecules; yet the timelapse flowed from portrait to whole portrait, each new persona reconstituting instantaneously from the debris of the previous one.

It was more than that: the personae were of indeterminate age because they were eternal incarnations, just souls; contemporaneous, from the same historic frame, morphing through phases of their own lives, perhaps even past lives, from infancy to old age, little girl to crone, but so swiftly, Heisenberg-uncertainty-like, and instantaneously that each chrysalis was itself changeless in change. Occurring on two levels simultaneously (explicit and subliminal), they were of no age or time or place—not young, not old, not even ageless.  They were tops spinning so rapidly that they were motionless.  Layla was an old woman and a little girl.  My first-grade teacher, Patricia Tighe, was an adolescent and a matron.  My ago school chums were simultaneously bearded men and cherubic boys.

I understood implicitly that the ages and incarnations melded at a soul level—a quantum component that read as speed and metamorphosis but was actually depth—intrinsic, atavistic, self-refreshing metamorphosis, the same thing that is occurring inside us inaccessibly at every moment.  We are all every self and every one of our selves at each moment.

Like the procession of scenes, this cortege was neither heavy nor dramatic nor even spectacular; it did not seem special or for that matter like some flamboyant fantasy that I was conducting with an unconscious telepathic wand.  It arose from my transparent mind because it had always been there.  Plus I had a quiet conviction that the energy of the temple was speaking to me.  Its energy was summoning up archives and folios that I was harboring subconsciously, Akashic images that were already mine and innate and thus that I could navigate comfortably, that could deliver the weight and meaning of—as it was gradually working me into its view of time and space—nothing less than soul and cosmos: soul and cosmos as the same.

I am reminded of an old joke that goes something like: a Hindu car mechanic says to a concerned Westerner: “Don’t worry, boss.  It’ll get fixed.  Empires rise, empires fall.  Universes are created, universes are destroyed.  Gods arise, gods disappear.  It will all work out in the end.  No problem.”

A monk in robes and a turban came in and rang bells.  Did he ever ring bells!  He walked around, doing slow bells, fast bells, soft bells, piercingly loud bells.  He speeded up his bells to a paroxysm and then precisioned them down to a whisper.  A few in the audience got up, walked to the altar, and jostled bells from the walls in response.  The monk brushed some sort of ointment onto the central altar statue.  Then he circled the room again, following every blast with a span of silence.

The aftermath of the bells, when their last granules of molecular presence had sizzled away, evoked deeper images and deepened the images that were arising.  It seemed as though the pundit was changing the vibration of consciousness, working in a very old science whereby planes were interwoven and hyperlinked complexly by sounds.  Each passage of bell-ringing switched the level, so what I was seeing interiorly jumped or sank a subplane.

I sat tranquilly watching this cinema, pleased as punch to have received such a gift.  It was effortless to keep it going.  It just went on; its impulse was endogenous; I did not have to push.  In fact, whenever I put in effort it stopped and my mind went back to being regular and tedious.  I had opened a flow that thought itself, intention even at the level of desire, halted.  It was a study and practice of absolute neutrality, absolute awareness.

There were also gaps among the ringings when nothing happened at all, and I was simply there, in the passage of time, neither good nor bad, until another series of views arose: amorphous internal panoramas of hardship and violence.  They contained the cumulative woes of this lifetime but also slaughter, battles, tortures, cataclysms from other places and eras.  Just as autonomously arising, they seemed vibrant and real and, though ugly and cruel, they were remote, without trepidation because I knew that they were over and done, their impulse consummated.  They appeared cumulatively as a kind of unprocessed grist that surged and wallowed in front of me, as if a master baker were trying to work them out of a poltergeist dough.  I could recognize all the individual horrors of creation with the agony that came with them.  Their karma was not resolved, but they were diluted by the vastness of the universe and the passage of cosmic time.  Again, this was not melodramatic; it was spoon-fed, almost neurological in presentation.

I had the conviction as I viewed the malign stills, that the anxiety of this lifetime represents, in addition to its own legacy of trauma and suffering, the cumulative agony and grief of lives and deaths in myriad forms in different creatures and people across the Earth and even the universe, so many of them horrible and excruciating, all part of me somehow, whether they were or not, but all past—ameliorated and antidoted.  It had happened, yes, but it was done.  The terror was undifferentiated and collective; it was an echo, not a present occurrence.

Because the events depicted were mushed together, vast, and faraway, I experienced them in a kind of overriding sweetness like a nectar made out of their poisons.  I wasn’t at their mercy or threatened by their perpetrators, and their sources didn’t matter anymore.  It was all being turned into clear water and running fresh into the cosmos.  Mine was a new life and, even though I had already contaminated it in so many ways, a virginal elixir lay beyond me too, in the far distance, enough of it to engulf, neutralize, and redeem anything that had ever happened to me or the world or any world.  The vibration of everything bad, ever, was honey: “It will all work out, boss.  No problem.”

But this didn’t feel like a lasting sentiment or something I could count on or root in.  I knew at once that it was an angle of impression, not a courage that I had earned or would get to keep.  It seemed more like spiritual theater, for momentary comfort, an amulet to retrieve in troubled times, an overview to keep in mind at some level.  It belonged to Kadavul, not me.

The lesson seemed to be that I didn’t have to get the lesson; I only had to observe that it was happening and log it as a boundary condition and background to this entire manifestation, my sensation state and the world- illusion.  Like the new temple, the cosmos was under construction.

Then I saw a sequence of ancient landscapes that were clearly not of this planet or time.  They were not unimaginable; in fact they were banal and kitschy.  They could have been sci-fi art or movie posters or paintings from prior centuries, but what made them vivid was that they came into me as directly sensed and instilled presences of rocks, valleys, great distances, broad vistas, lived events.  I was inside not outside them.  Even as I thought, ‘Wow, maybe these are planets I lived on in past lives,’ they threw me out, as if to shatter such a simpleton and meddling response.

The last things I saw before the state passed entirely were a brilliant flower garden lit from within; then it became the emanation of my whole nervous system, like a galactic morn dawning inside my body; then a pinwheeling vastness, a huge fog of many layers, each tinted with subtly changing hues and expressing the spectrum from red to violet, thick and cloudy and dull, not luminous at all.  I felt as though I was staring at It, at This—this life, this manifestation, from inside.

Then it stopped.  It was back to existence as it is, time as it is.  That was my choice.  The choice I make, that I always make.

I found myself thinking about completing our tour, getting a drink from the bottle of lime-and-honey honey juice I had mixed from Noniland bees and lime trees and left on the back seat of the car.  I was ready to move on.

There was a six-headed, twelve-armed figure at the end of a short jungle path to the side of the temple.  The dense trees, vines, and lianas in that spot made a dark corridor to the shrine.  The statue, representing different degrees of perception and illusion, sat at the center, just outside the complication of a twisted multi-branched tree.

When we retraced our steps to the starting point to place the sarongs in the basket, I asked a woman at the shop who that figure was, and she told me it was Aramuga, even spelled it out for me, but I am unsure if that’s the true name.

Our next stop was a planned meeting with Curtis and, as it turned out, the trip to the Monastery had taken us very close to his house.  We did not have to return to the main highway; we simply cut across a number of streets, taking Kamalu across the edge of the mountain.

Once we arrived and settled in, we juggled a series of conversations across two and a half hours, starting at the house with KatRama and Curtis, then just Curtis (as KR went to work on a wedding), finally moving with him to the Waipouli Inn outdoors by the ocean where we ordered lunch—taro fritters, seared ahi, beet salad, sweet-potato bread.

Curtis McCosco, originally from a Boston-area farming family, was a delightful, all-purpose intellectual foil, much like friends Lindy and I have had at different phases of our life, no matter where we have lived.  Our topics today covered Darwinian theory, the Kinks, astrology, Ellias’ psychic work, iPhones, Hamlet’s Mill, various mythologies and metaphysical theories of the Milky Way, Mayan ball games representing etiological myths, and the absurd New Age medicine show, for which Kaua’i is a regular stop, a gig that, according to Curtis, every huckster tries to play, the most recent being Carl Calleman just this week.  He wanted eighty bucks just for Curtis to interview him.  “I don’t pay for interviews,” Curtis sniffed.

Calleman’s local promoter responded by telling Curtis that Barbara Hand Clow, channeler and all-purpose New Age promoter, had just declared Calleman the most brilliant interpreter of the Mayan calendar and 2012 and an absolute genius.  That led to a host of “Barbara Hand Clow” jokes that, coincidentally, all began (or ended) with her accusing someone of being a linear thinker.

That had happened to me when I met her in the late eighties at the time that we were both speakers at a conference called “Aliens, Angels, and Archetypes” in San Francisco.  She declared publicly that I was a conventional linear thinker whereas she was an advanced axial/spiral thinker, which led me to respond at the time, “Who gave you the right to hand out the spiral-thinker academy awards, Barbara?”

Barbara later sold Bear and Company to Inner Traditions, which went on to publish Calleman’s rants on the Mayan calendar, so there was a link at something a good deal more orchestrated than the autonomous and synchronous six degrees and less.  Curtis pronounced the guy naively fundamentalist as well as creationist with his mainly pseudo-scientific Power Points tagged by the Discovery Institute.  In a recent blog CM had accused him of blending sacred geometry with the Bible and the Mayan calendar to come up with a rigged, Neo-con think-tank, fundamentalist view of the world and the sky, lacking mystery and wonder and encouraging biblical apocalypticism.

“He has no sense of sacred or cyclical time, or the karmic vision quest,” I said.  “He is trying to shoehorn a Mayan system into a Western marketing scheme.”

“The funny thing is,” Curtis laughed, “he’s the linear one.”

“So why is it,” I asked, “that the linear thinkers always accuse others of being linear?  Is it projection?  Or are they just uneducated, deluded players who want to star on the Medicine circuit?”

“They’re ambitious.  They don’t care if what they say is true.  And they’re so caught up in their own ideologies they don’t even notice when they’re making stuff up.”

“They have lost the distinction between their own fantasies and the fantasies that the cosmos has on its own.”

Curtis was clear on his heroes as regards matters Mayan—John Major Jenkins and Martin Prechtel—the timekeeper and the shaman.

Best of all, at least for the publisher in me, he was working on a manuscript combining ancient Mayan thought, American Indian cosmology, and Buddhist ontology.  The conversation veered soon enough into North Atlantic shoptalk, a bit abruptly for Lindy, who (after all) just retired, but we got through it with marginal grace.

On the beach just beyond where we were eating outdoors, a monk seal had come up to bathe.  When that happens in Hawai’i, a monk-seal patrol gets the word and arrives to protect not only the actual animal from harm but his peaceful rest on the shore.

The whole beach was roped off around the seal, while he was happily sunning and dreaming, hopefully not of sharks.  A sign posted at the edge of the sand said, “Aloha, my name is K-131 (temporary I.D. V21 on left side).  I am an adult Hawaiian monk seal, one of an estimated 1100 of us left.  I go to Ni’ihau to give birth.  I am blind in my left eye.  I have some scars, but I am otherwise healthy.  To deal with sharks in the water, I need undisturbed rest.  Please be quiet.  Mahalo!”

His protectors, carrying notebooks and signs, two on cells, one in uniform, looked earnest and righteous, a crew not to mess with.

“Does this happen every time a monk seal comes on land?”

“Absolutely,” Curtis said.  “Word goes out somehow, and dedicated volunteers show up to protect them.  It’s pretty funny when you have a beach at Po’ipu filled with tourists from the expensive hotels.  The monk seal arrives, and the gendarmes come out and clear the beach.  The guests look as though they can’t believe this is really happening to paying customers.”

“That’s so great.  The humans have to leave to let the monk seal have his rest.”

Now back in the big house at Noniland, there are seven geckos chasing each other along the kitchen wall just below the line of the ceiling.

People here have been tolerant of our cooking on the stove (of which only three out of four burners are working, two of which two always have superherb teas on them) or as a last resort in the oven (it doesn’t work except on broil with the timer).  It’s not like we’re doing anything dietarily vulgar, but this is Noniland, Rawfoodville.  We have cooked organic spinach pasta with organic tomato sauce; we have roasted lightly fried organic russet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes in coconut oil; we have mixed free-range eggs with pumpkin milk and beat it into a batter for local seven-grain organic bread to make French toast, also in coconut oil.  With much stabbing and prying of Nick’s Swiss Army knife, I have opened a can of organic adzuki beans and a can of organic no-chicken soup.  (It’s amazing what a can really is when you don’t have an opener and have to deal with it on its own terms.  These things are sealed like time capsules.)

Everyone has graciously looked on, but no one has partaken of our food.

So after our visit with Curtis, we stopped at Papaya’s and bought lettuce, kale, sprouted seeds, and some more coconut oil.

A class in Hawaiian martial arts was being conducted in the little park at the center of the shopping mall in front of the Polynesian cultural center, outside the natural foods store—long-haired native teacher, all native kids.  The teacher was twirling his staff so rapidly it was hard to see, a hummingbird’s wings.  The kids were in awe.  One boy tried and got a bit of a twirl going; then the stick fell.  “You need to put the fire in your hands,” the teacher called out.

After touching base at Noniland, I returned to my favorite beach at five again today.  Nothing to add except that this time I noticed how the water from the biggest waves seems to bounce a second time after exploding the beach.

Later on I was working simultaneously on a big salad with the greens and sprouts and seeds and a simmering of mixed potatoes in coconut oil on the stove when Nathaniel came in and got involved.  He produced some enormous purple sweet potatoes that they had grown outside.  The tubers looked like gigantic turnips from rocky soil; inside they were amethyst, purple swirling in Fibonacci-like motifs.  He put them in a cooking dish and got out the Himalayan salt, acknowledging, perhaps on our behalf, that cooking was the only way to go at these babies, and it might as well be tonight.  He also produced a papaya for my salad and cut up some lilikois on the side.

When Lindy came downstairs, a serious discussion she had been having earlier with him about chickens continued for my benefit.  Nathaniel got down to it, “This big hurricane came and scattered them all over, and now it’s like completely out of hand.  I know we’re vegan and all, and people think it’s cruel, but you’ve gotta get a beebee gun and take those birds out.  Yeah, that’s controversial stuff at Noniland, but we’re trying to plant this stuff, and it’s hard work.  Then the chickens come along and dig it all up.  You gotta take’em out.”

“You could get a job going all over the island doing that,” Lindy teased, “getting rid of the chickens.”  She was half-serious, as she had been putting her mind to trying to think up lucrative work for Nonilanders, since it is not yet a cash-generating enterprise.

“Ah, no.  Not me.  The ones around here are plenty.  I killed one the other day, you know.”

“Really?” Lindy asked.  “Did you bury it?”

“Cut it up and mulched it.”

“How did you kill it?” I asked.

“It’s a funny thing.  These chickens were messing around in the coconut shed, and Tania was there with me, and she was saying, ‘You all have to do something about these chickens.  You can’t have them all over the coconuts like this.’  So I picked up a coconut and just tossed it.  I was thinking of scaring them, not killing them, but maybe I was.  I hit this guy dead on.  Heavy! I never killed anything one-on-one before.  But, you know, this problem isn’t going to go away.  We gotta get down with it, and it may mean killing the chickens.  You know, they’re not exactly sweet peaceful Buddha beings!”

Other Nonilanders came back to the Big House and joined the conversation.  Opinions ran strong on both sides of the matter.

“I like the collards and other greens,” Ra said, “but I couldn’t kill a chicken.  Nathaniel’s a young dude and he’s into the action.  Now that he’s got blood on his hands, we gotta get him a beebee gun.”

“Didn’t he use a beebee already?” Orion asked, joining the conversation.  He’s the permaculture expert from Oahu.

“No,” Lindy said, “he hit it with a coconut.  It wasn’t that bad.”

“I think that’s worse, bludgeoning it with a coconut, much worse!”

“He didn’t bludgeon it, ” Lindy objected.  “He just had good aim.”

Soon Orion went on to talk about his years as a forest ranger in Ashland: “I had seven districts.  That’s unheard of.  Most guys had one.  I wore a uniform, a badge.  It was rad.  I could go around telling people what to do.  I was Mr. Big Deal Protector of the forest—Tarzan king.  You know, without the badge, these young guys’d look at me like ‘fuck off dipshit.’  But with the badge, I could say, ‘You idiots just cut down a green tree and you’re trying to burn it.  What kind of fools are you?’  And they go, ‘Oh sorry, sir, you know we’re just out here being assholes, drinking beer, doing sorry shit.’  But I made the mistake once of going into Williams.  You know Williams?  That’s the center of the hippie resistance.  I was just going to visit a friend.  No badge, no uniform, but I did have the truck.  It got real sketchy, real sketchy.”

“Like they weren’t gonna let you out of there alive?” asked Nathaniel.

“Like that, and I was talkin’ real fast.  Like ‘hey, I’m one of you, I’m just here visiting my friend.'”

If I haven’t made it clear already, Noniland is an amazing commune of sweet young people working on the land, their bodies, their minds, their spirits, their chi and etheric bodies, their karama.  They are moral, committed, hard-working, thoughtful, funny, generous, at least to all appearances—and isn’t that about the best that any priest or monk can do?  They clean the house everyday—scrub the floors, keep the dishes washed, the filtered water rolling.  They dust and paint.  They plant, weed, gather; do coconut, honey, papaya, avocado, and noni.  They sit at the Noniland altar.  They drift in daily after sundown, collaborate on communal meals, have conversations about the planet, the universe, and what’s going on, jive about the day and their work, make fun of each other and themselves. They play guitar and keyboard improv, in fact right now as I write, the hour drifting toward eleven PM, Candice, the house mother, on the guitar.  It’s dark, so I can’t see who’s on the keyboard.

It is a great thing that Avocado has created here, and it is a privilege to be their guests.

Go to Top | Continue to Day 13 | Days 1-4 | 5-8

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