“This very rock where we’re sitting is a rock because we have been forced to give our attention to it.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Robert Pirsig: Rest in Abundant Peace

n

Robert Pirsig has departed. He was and continues to be a grand pillar in my consciousness. Though I have very little patience for academic philosophy, I do consider Pirsig a philosopher, a grand phiilosopher of our time . Grand as the myths that society seems to (mistakenly!?) assign to famous Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle (which he challenged and pointed at as culprits of much of our modern day suffering). His philosophy felt driven by a passionate need to make sense of an appearingly senseless world. His hunger felt like that of a starving person, not of a privileged theoreticist. He continually transforms my perception of a deteriorating world (which seems to evident at this time) to a world that is stubbornly moving towards better.

His first and well known book was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I have an interactive summary of it, maybe its time to release that). I have dedicated a section of this site to his second, lesser known (yet in my opinion more vital) book Lila: yetAn Inquiry into Morals.

Almost every day, as I look out at the world, as I read about other people’s interpretations of it, I wish that Pirsig was a part of the conversation. I feel that so many efforts by so many people to navigate the troubled waters of our times could be richly informed by Pirsig’s reflections. I believe his presence will continue to shimmer in the peripheral vision of human consciousness from where his field will continue to subtly inform us. I am pleasure whenever I see echoes of his discoveries manifesting in others ideas and realizations.

Though he is no longer in body, I feel him vitally present. The best words I can find to describe the experience of his departure come from his own writing. But not from either of his books, rather from an afterword added to a later edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In it Pirsig talks about the death of his son Chris who was stabbed to death on the streets of San Francisco. I did not want to change the original and so I invite you to hold “Robert” in your heart when you read “Chris”:

“Chris is dead … Where did Chris go? … What was it I was so attached to? .. Do real things just disappear like that? … What is the ‘he’ that is gone? … What had to be seen was that the Chris that I missed so badly was not an object but a pattern, and that although the pattern included the flesh and blood of Chris, that was not all there was to it … Now, Chris’s body, which was a part of that larger pattern, was gone. But the larger pattern remained. A huge hole had been torn out of the center ot if, and that was what caused all the heart-ache … If you take that part of the pattern that is not the flesh of Chris and call if the “spirit” of Chris or the “ghost” of Chris, they you can say without further translation that the spirit or ghost of Chris is looking for a new body to enter … it was not many months later that my wife conceived, unexpectedly.”

Robert Pirsig … your larger pattern remains … may you rest in abundant peace.

I am also holding gratitude in my heart for James Landis (with whom I corresponded briefly some years ago) the publisher who chose to support Pirsig’s work.

 

 

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This is what HOME felt like

n

home … a place where opening replaces recoiling

“The ideal birth occurs in a place that has been saturated with love for many years. In this way the walls, the furniture, the linens the garden, the trees outside the window, all breathe back that love. For a soul who comes from a place of pure openness, this lve is a palpable comfort of familiarity. In this love filled environment baby realizes, ‘Oh, this feels good. This is what HOME felt like!'”

World Mother via Sunni Karll – Sacred Birthing : Birthing a New Humanity

 

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Opening

n

not just babies … not just birth

“Home birth is a gift to both parents. Birth can be the spiritual impetus that opens a parent to their next higher vibration. All birth has the potential to offer this initiation. Home birth supports your receptio of these spiritual energies because your peaceful home is where you are comfortable. Being comfortable and in your power traslates to being open and receptive. Being open encourages parents to stay in their heart and encourages the high vibration we wish to create and maintain for the incoming soul … After a home birth there is no place you need to go … At home there is no interruption, no strangers, no hurry, no frenetic activity, no need but the present moment. Love deepens and builds as it is expressed …

The sharing o home birth is a ‘glue’ of relationship. A deep connection within relationships is built after a family experiences home birth together. This glue has been taken away from the family by institutionalizing both birth and death and there is precious little that replaces the exquisite depth of sharing that these experiences offer. Only by acting on our inner truth when home birth is right for us, can these experiences be returned to the family and community. Reclaiming these intimate, natural, loving experiences and bringing them back home may be the adhesive that again strengthens our families.”

Sunni Karll – Sacred Birthing : Birthing a New Humanity

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The Fourth Phase of Water by Gerald Pollack

n

This book was my winter companion two winters ago and I have been wanting to write something about it ever since … especially given that I frequently mention it to people in conversation. For years I’ve carried a wish for a good book about chemistry … something passionate and inspiring. I am interested in chemistry in a practical way because it is all around me … in soils, in earth construction, in burning of rocket stoves, in wood finishes. But all of my past attempts to relate to chemistry have failed. I first read about Gerald Pollack and The Fourth Phase of Water a review by Charles Eisenstein. This book has definitely answered my wish, it was a joy to read … though I remain even hungrier for understanding … I look forward to many more books like this (if you know of any please leave a comment and let me know about them).

Science

The book, as its title implies, discusses a fourth phase of water, beyond liquid, solid and vapor. It is a phase that comes about when water is in touch with hydrophilic (water loving) surfaces. Most of our body is made up of hydrophilic surfaces. It is a well known piece of trivia that our bodies are 70% water, but less well known that we are 99% water molecules … so this research has far reaching implications.

When water comes in contact with a hydrophilic surface it rearranges itself into a liquid crystal like structure – somewhere between liquid and solid. This layer is substantial, it can extend millions of molecules away from the hydrophilic surface. In the book this is called Extraction Zone water or EZ water. It is named this way because molecules organize in a very tight atomic lattice that, as it forms, pushes out contaminants and once it is formed, prevents contaminants from pentetrating it. Another feature of EZ water is charge separation … there is a measurable potential difference between the EZ water and the surrounding liquid water. A third feature is a drastic changes in the PH gradiant from the hydrophilic surface, through the EZ water and the surround liquid water.

The book offers many explanations to water behavior in nature: how electrical charge forms in our bodies, boiling, bouyancy, droplets and bubbles (they are related!), why warm water freezes faster than cold water, why concrete needs to be watered when it sets (it doesn’t dry, the water doesn’t ‘leave’ it, the water changes phase and locks the concrete together!), physical joints (what are the liquid properties that prevent bones from rubbing up against each other), why two panes of glass with water in between them resist being pulled apart but can slide apart, why ice can be sticky and slippery, electric current in nerves, blood flow (challenging the myth that the heart is a pump, it is too small relative to the size of the blood vessels in our body to be able to pressurize it, demonstrating that it doesn’t need to, because flow is generated in the blood vessels themselves which are hydrophilic tubes … so the heart only gives it direction!), viscosity in vodka … and so much more (the author admits that he wanted to share even more but was limited by editing considerations).

Approach

The book begins with a promise that to understand it one only needs to understasnd that positive and negative charges attract. It lives up to that promise. You can read the whole book and understand the science described in it with just that understanding, basic logic and arithmetic and without any mathematical formula. This, in its own right is an inspiring achievement. It demonstrates that science can be taught in a light an inspiring way, that science can be a commons, accessible to everyone, that you don’t need to have advanced academic degrees to enjoy and benefit from science.

As I was joyfully reading the book I thought back to science that I was taught in school (I was also taught some in university but I didn’t get it) and how the emphasis was on mathematic formulas and calculations and pointless memorization of bits of information. It was lifeless and uninspiring … complex formulas and calculations were an obstacle, a barrier … and I was good at math and algebra and geomtery … I can’t imagine what it was like for students who were not as comfortable with math.

Looking back at the science education I received, I wonder if that was because my teachers themselves didn’t really understand (I don’t blame them personally, I am suggesting that understanding was not yet available to them) the phenomena they were trying to teach. I feel that the formulaic science was a cover up … and this has implications beyond teaching. The explanations offered in the book are often simple, simpler then established explanations, sometimes even contradicting and undermining well established complex theories (one prominent example is Einstein’s theory of Brownian motion). The book also opens up the door to things that have been viciously rejected by mainstream scientific thought … water memory is a prominent example: the structure of the EZ water responds to the characeristics of the hydrophilic surface like a template.

Context

In the first part of the book the author gives some historical background to the current state of water-related research. He shows how socio-political considerations effected and undermined research in the field of water. These statements have potentially far reaching implications to the current state of science beyond the field of water.

He also discusses and challenges the view that science has come so far that it is almost “complete” in its ability to understand, predict and manipulate nature (I also got this impression when I was growing up. I recall a promise that some kind of Grand Unification Theory was supposedly just around the corner … and 25 years on it seems that there are more unknowns than knowns in science … which to me feels like a sensible balance). As a result, science has become peripheral … scientific research is focused on niche subjects which are considered mere extensions of established core understandings. But, the author suggests, there is still much to do in the fundamentals of science itself and that questioning basic assumptions should be inherent to scientific research (there are a bunch of wildly divergent theories, but we still don’t know how water molecules organize into liquid water!).

The research in this book has so many applications that could drastically effect our lives: passive (flow based) filters based on exclusion zone properties, imagine photovoltaic panels that are made of water instead of silicon, there are medical applications

The book was a delightful read. Science always appealed to me, but I was repelled by the way it was introduced to me. Reading this was educative, inspiring and a healing experience.

 

 

 

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Recoiling

n

… not just babies

“When a baby’s body feels good, it opens to receive more stimuli and the body-consciousness makes a simple decision to continue opening. When the body hurts, the body-consciousness recoils, makes a decision to separate from life, and takes what time it needs, in order to come back into balance after integrating this stimulus before continuing. When the baby body-consciousness is harmed, it is not as easily open to the nex experience that life presents. This rudimentary decision to open or to protect is the basis for emotional balance or imbalance.”

Sunni Karll – Sacred Birthing : Birthing a New Humanity

 

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Stuart Kauffman on the Hegemony of Mechanistic Thinking: Must There be Laws of Nature?

n

this comes on the heels of Daniel’s Shmachtenberger’s talk about Emergence:

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Volcano National Park – Sculpture Garden

n

The sculpture garden formed when lava flowed over trees. The trees, it seems had enough life in them to support the lava as it flowed around them, formed tubes and lava and then burn the encased trees … resulting in these sculptures … imprints of trees made of lava. It is hard to capture in pictures, but in most of the scultpures are tubes which are the spaces the trees inhabited.

We the walked towards the large crater where vog (fumes coming out of the volcano = volcano fog) is continuously erupting. We went there despite signs that indicated visitors are not allowed there because of the vog (my uncle is inspired by “do not” signs and can’t help tasting the forbidden fruits):

This picture, though not much to look at it, is a rare view … the layers, starting from the road, volcanic field before crater, crater wall on the far side, a mountain rising after it and finally in the distance (this picture is from an area south of Mauna Loa) is the barely visible Mauna Kea.

 

From here my uncle continued for a walk around another neighboring crater. I was tired and decided to walk back to the car.

I got lost in the lava fields (mentioned in the beginning of this post) and knew then that this would be the last day of travels with my uncle. The next day I felt back to Kauai where another journey had begun (it is a story from a parallel universe so doesn’t really belong here) … where I found rest, relaxation and nourishment in preparation for my long journey (6 flights) home.

 

 

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Mauna Loa

n

Today we drove up to Mauna Loa – the sprawling mountain across from Mauna Kea. Its an impressive drive up … a long wavy road that crosses through vast rough textured lava fields … it did not feel as steep as the road up to Mauna Kea … its impressive feature was its length and the contrast between the smooth the texture of the road surface next to the rough texture of the surrounding landscape. It is also a narrow, one lane road … with side-niches for stopping to allow oncoming traffic to pass. The twisty(right to left), wavy (up and down) narrow road creates plenty of potentially hazardous blind spots and demands attention driving up.

You can see Mauna Kea across the valley:

Mauna Loa is a rough landscape … lunar … lifeless … vast:

It also has some observatories … but apparently these are more military-ish … so closed off to the public.

 

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Around the Big Island

n

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Ancestors

n

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Two (more) beaches

n

We seem to have found a rhythm of one day intense and one day soft. Today was soft … two beaches. We were able to get close by car to the first … and went swimming in it:

A short hike through a lava field brought us to the second where we were greeted by bright greens and white sands (apparently the sand on this beach is from corals)

… and went swimming in it too … then I went to check out the next two bays (David went earlier) and found this phenomenal site … trees that have grown on the volcanic surface close to the beach … first feature (which I’ve seen a lot of) is superficial root systems that simply can’t go deep … so much that there is a tree species (I saw a lot on Kauai) that has roots reaching from above ground into the ground … but then, when close to the ocean, the sandy soil gets washed out from beneath them leaving them to collapse.

and the hike back brought us to the “classic” Hawaiian scene

We then stopped by the car rental agency to change cars to a 4×4 … because the car we had did not do a good job of carrying us down Mauna Kea … and there are still more up&down-hill adventures ahead. We changed from the very-large car in front (Dodge) to the huge one in back (Nissan):

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Mauna Kea

n

Maune Kea is one of the two volcanoes on the Big Island, the one with all the observatories on top of it.

We passed through the clouds on the way up. This was the view down from the visitors center at ~9000 feet where we stopped to acclimatize.


After anotherr few steep miles we were at the top driving between the large telescope structures.


​we decided to walk down to lake waiau 

And setting aside any preconceptions about sacredness we found ourselves in a sacred place


And gifted with an abundance of beauty and connection we started our way back to the car

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Kiholo Bay Lagoon

n

After the long day in Volcano National Park we went for a different kind of day … a less-traveled spot … about a mile walk from the coastal highway brought us to a beach (with another rich and shameless deserted villa) that brough us to a picturesque lagoon where, together with the local turtles, we went swimming:

not many pictures … this time we were more IN it 🙂

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Volcano National Park

n

We took a long drive down to Volcano National Park where we started with a hike in Iki (=small) crater. Later in the visitor center I learned that we were walking on what was a lake of lava less then 100 years ago. I’m not sure the images can begin to capture the contrasts of the place. To my eyes so much of the landscape looked dark, yet the landscape is covered with fine-silica which reflect a bright shining light which dominates the pictures. It took a bit of post-processing to get the pictures to resonate with what I felt I saw.

The hike starts with a rain-forest-ish walk around and then down into the crater.

then the crater’s lunar surface appears

followed by a short walk into a lave-tube cave 

and then another drive took us down to the shoreline where vast black lava fields meet the pounding waves of the ocean … a collission of static and dynamic forces resulting in … life! in the distance you can see steam rising from where hot lava is currently flowing into the ocean.

It was fascinating to learn from the visitor center video that the Hawaiian island were (and are still being) formed by the same volcano. The under-water structure that is the Hawaiian islands is drifting east (away from the USA) ~10cm a year. The volcano is like the head of a 3D printer that is printing islands that are then drifting east … creating (ongoing!) the chain of islands.

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Hapuna Beach – Big Island

n

A short flight brought us over to the Big Island. From the plane landing it became apparent that this is a very different island. First the powerful, raw, rough & rugged black lava that dominates. Then the large and full private jet parking lot at the airport!

We are staying at what is the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever been too (didn’t imagine I would ever spend time in one) on Hapuna Beach.

We took a beach walk to the neighboring Mauna Kea resort … and on the way passed a few deserted-looking (though actively maintained) villas of the rich and shameless (the jets at the airport are probably part of the kit when you build one of these villas):

… and arrived at the neighboring resort:

and on the way back …

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Waterfalls and Waimea Canyon Revisited

n

Yesterday we started out with a surprising waterfall … small but alive and vital … and with the added playfulness of the people who were jumping into its pond and climbing out around it.

I found a quiet spot just before the waterfall to dip my feet in a gentle flow

 

Then we revisited another look-out (park and snap) waterfall this time with better light

 

On our way to drive up to the Waimea canyon road we stopped in the harbor once again … saw some kids learning to sail and another cruise ship (that today I saw out at sea again).

 

 

Stopped in a few lookouts with, again, poor lighthing / visibility down in the canyon) … still immense views:

Then we were surprised by this stream of green-ish looking water flowing the red-ish clay

We made it all the way to the end of the road again … and again found ourselves in a cloud that blocked ocean and cliff views

On the way down we a sunset found us on a coast, still on the west coast, which felt like a homeless neighborhood:

… and then what felt like a long drive home in the dark … felt tired throughout the day so today I took the day off to relax and prepare for our departure tomorrow to the Big Island.

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Around Kauai: Waterfalls, Beaches & Sunset

n

After a first waterfall (poor light, no good pictures) we caught up with a group finishing a kayaking trip:

then a waterfall with decent light (not limited access … trails were closed)

then a beach … with end-of-the-day light

and we got back to the resort just in time for a sunset … mostly from the world-class golf course that sits between the resort and the ocean … which, according to the security guard who kindly asked us to leave, is not used much … so not making enough money … so the owners don’t allow people to just walk around … but we are welcome to rent a golf-cart and then freely roam the area … arrrrgh!

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Barking Sands Beach

n

On the way we passed the harbor and saw a cruise-ship in it for the day … these things are HUGE …

And then drove all the way around the island to the last beach, just before the cliffs on the other side of the Na Pali Coast. A beautiful 12 mile stretch of beaches. I went into the ocean again … fantastic water. I also felt, beacause of the very active waves the powerful combination of forces … under-currents pulling at my legs to carry me into the ocean, while the surface water carries me back towards the beach.

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Na Pali Coast (and trail)

n

The Na Pali coast is, I’ve been told, one of the highlights, if not THE highlight of Kauai. I am not a fan of hiking so I cannot enthusiastically get behind that … many years ago when I visited  New Zealand and arrived at such a famous coast + trail I chose to skydive over it … and THAT was a good way to see it!

Kauai island is small and there is a road that goes almost all the way around it … almost because the Napali coast is a 17 mile stretch of cliffs and so the road reaches both end of the cliffs but cannot go fully around.

It is a demanding trail. We did the first 2 mile stretch and then started another two mile stretch that leads to a waterfall, but turned back half way into the trail … so a 6 mile round trip.

There are two vantage points, a quarter of a mile and then a half mile in.

Then … a long walk that winds up and down (so climbing and descending in both directions)

Eventually we started to converge down towards a beach that marks the end of the first 2 mile stretch

… and there we were … large and powerful waves … not safe for swimming in … when we flew in the helicopter over this area the pilot told us that during the summer months the water here is like a lake … flat and peaceful … and it is possible to kayak the length of the coast.

In the second stretch in the direction of the waterfall  .. there were impressive bamboo clusters that stood out from the already dense green vegetation.

Then we stopped at another coast with a pier … and had a tatse of a local Hawaiian day ending … with many people converging on the coast to take in a sunset:

… those surfers are 8 year old girls

 

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Google now listening in ALWAYS

n

First this as context:

“Today some Google Home owners reported hearing something extra when they asked for a summary of the day ahead from the smart speaker: an advertisement for the opening of Beauty and the Beast … The ad was delivered using the regular Google Assistant voice, so it blended in seamlessly with the other My Day information (weather, calendar appointments, etc.) … When contacted by The Verge for more information, Google denied that the audio snippet was actually an ad … “

then this:

“Online advertising and privacy has always been at war. Listening in on your conversations because you placed an always-on microphone in your home is just the next obvious hill to capture. Google has already normalized reading your emails for context-aware advertisement. Listening to your dinner conversations is just a natural jump.”

 

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