As I soak in a pool of warm spring water, naked humans float silently past like noodles in a soup. In this primordial water, heated deep within mother earth, we float beneath fig trees whose leaves look like lily pads floating in the starry night sky. Reflections from distant lights shimmer on the ripples of water that suspends us together timelessly under the infinite night sky.
The unspoken rule is silence. There is no mindless chatter, cell phones or any frantic noise. In this quiet refuge in the mountains north of the San Francisco Bay, we all float serenely in mother earth’s primordial womb. In this pool, silence is truly golden as it enables each person’s mental chatter to dissolve away in the water and the infinite open sky.
All shapes, sizes and colors of humans move through this pool – all seeking serenity, peace and rebirth. Couples embrace in the water, while some hold each other and gently guide them as they float on their backs and drift beneath the fig trees under the night stars. Across the pool a white man holds a black man in his arms and gently supports him in the water as he guides him beneath the stars. An old man with a long white beard drifts in front of me, spreading soft gentle ripples across the pool like old man time. The ripples created by any one person touch all of us.
Though alone among “strangers”, I feel completely sufficient and in harmony with the universe and all those around me. At this serene place, deer do not fear the humans and come up to the pools and roam throughout the 1,200 acre grounds, while musicians play acoustic instruments among the flowers and trees like little musical ferries. At Harbin Hot Springs people enjoy their days conversing, reading, mediating, relaxing, swimming, gardening, doing yoga at the temple, chanting, singing, having massages, dancing, hula hooping, hiking, watching movies, eating wholesome meals at the organic restaurant and making love. Some stay in rustic lodges, while others camp along the streams and amongst the trees.
Earlier in the evening I danced with abandon at the “unconditional dance“. There were no steps or moves to memorize and no proper or correct way to dance. Each person was free to just let the music move them. I danced “as if no one was watching”. I danced without conditions, expectations or rules. I danced with real joy and freedom. I even learned to hula hoop.
On my way from the dance floor to the hot springs, I spotted a beautiful young woman reclining in the crooked flowing branches of a mulberry tree. In the moonlight I could see that she was eating the berries from the tree. Her long brown hair draped over her shoulders and naked breasts. She smiled and extended her hand to offer me some of the tree’s fruit. Was this paradise rediscovered, with Eve offering me a potentially forbidden but sweet fruit? At the risk of being kicked out of paradise, I tasted the berry from her hand and it was delicious. She laughed when I called her Eve.
She came with me to the pools and we slipped into a heart shaped pool where silence was not expected. The moonlight seeped through the tree branches and leaves and light the pool. Along the edge of the pool near the trees a deer fawn grazed calmly on the under brush.
Eve shared that she was originally from Montreal and now lived mostly in Hawaii, often camping alone among the trees. One of her great passions was composing and performing music.
She had recently recorded an album in which she made music with whales along the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. She stood in the water and played a long didgeridoo that was shaped like a long elephant tusk and blew deep melancholic tones that resonated through the air and deep into the ocean. The deep rich tones drew the whales toward her as they echoed her music back to her with their deep submerged bellows. She and the whales were accompanied by a violinist who stood in the waves and serenaded her and the whales. Their acoustic harmonies were recorded in real time using underwater and acoustic microphones. As this wet goddess, light by the moonlight, told me this fantastic story I was mesmerized by the beauty of it all.
She offered me a CD of her fantastical collaboration with the whales. We left the pool to listen to the sound of the whales playing and singing inside my motor home. Â We smoked up and Â sunk into the sofa while the rich tones of her didgeridoo elicited distant calls and bellows from whales far out in the ocean. Their rich tones mixed together as the sounds danced intertwined in the air and water. The sound of the whales grew louder and bolder as they drew closer to shore. How incredible that this acoustic symphony, created by this naturally beautiful woman and the whales she called to her like a mythical siren, now echoed within my motor home. I closed my eyes and pictured sleek whales slipping powerfully and gently through blue waters illuminated by sunlight streaming through the water.
Then I imagined the image of whales and the sound of their rich songs projected into the desert night sky during the Burning Man Festival. Yes, whales moving through blue water and singing in the desert. How perfect! She agreed to let me share her music on the desert playa. How fantastic, soothing and truly far out!
Would you like to experience it? Come to the Black Rock Desert during the first week of September during the Burning Man Festival and experience the sound and sight of whales swimming and singing in the desert night sky. Isn’t life on this planet amazing?
The Spiritual Soul of Harbin Hot Springs:
“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.”
Note - To respect the privacy of those visiting Harbin Hot Springs, visitors are asked not to take photos. I encourage you to come see it with your own eyes. You can also visit their website at www.harbin.org