Trying to Hone in on a Lexicon of Spirit
Jul 15, 2010 | 1616 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EXPLORING LANGUAGE … The Telluride Institute ratcheted up the level of think tank innovation last week with its most recent Ideas Fest symposium exploring the mental states of spirit from the secular perspective of Western Science (neurology, psychology, theology) and the religious scan of Tibetan Buddhism … Stanford’s Center for Compassion, Altruism, Research and Education (CCARE), along with the Claremont College’s Fetzer Center and the University of Michigan, co-sponsored the private Bohmian dialogues last Thursday and Friday at the Elks Club – with a free public lecture on Friday evening. The Dalai Lama’s own translator, the masterful Geshe Dr. Thupten Jinpa Langri, led the talks with brilliant co-director Dr. Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin … All in the inner circle were well-versed in their respective disciplines, while those of us on the outside of the conversation were active listeners, as is the way of Bohmian dialogues. We too were engaged (if only in our own minds) in a multi-disciplinary discussion of key spiritual concepts such as compassion and suffering, altruism and joyful kindness – with the neurological implications of the latest brain research playing linguistic ping-pong with a deep Buddhist tradition derived from ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts … I scribbled endless notes and only got a very little weaving done attending a morning session. And if it hadn’t been for my poor knocked-up spuds that demanded weeding and mounding at Cloud Acre, I’d have attended every one.

VACATION … Feeling rested (exhausted?) after a couple weeks up in the far Northwest … One high point was managing to catch Sunday brunch on Father’s Day with number two son at my maybe all-time favorite bistro – Foley Station in La Grande (Ore.). Eggs Benedict topped with dollops of Hawaiian barbecued chicken, fresh mango, the house Mocha & a sinful slice of huckleberry cheesecake … The long-planned trip was a redo of last year’s backpack to Shi Shi beach (Dolores LaChapelle’s favorite) on the Olympic Peninsula’s Makah Indian Reservation … My old hiking pard from Sixties-Seventies San Fran (Steve Clark) had set up a poet’s hike to Robert Sund’s Shi Shi beach refuge on Petroleum Creek with Ish Poets Tim McNulty, Michael Daley & friends. This year most were back, including Gregorio & I. Three nights on the lyric strand. Close up to Point of Arches. Poetizing, campfiring & drinking Isle of Islay scotch to the misted pounding of the wild Pacific surf … We’ve lots of photos posted on Gorio Oshá’s Facebook page, including a grand Goldsworthy-esque 50-foot sand dragon adorned with seaweed green and surf red crab carapaces that the boy and writer M.L. Lyke collaborated on.

WITH CULTURE … Saw Sasha and Ann Shulgin on the street for Mountainfilm past and mentioned something about Sasha being a “counter-cultural icon”. Although almost blind, Sasha happily explained that at the San Jose Psychedelic Conference in May, it was decided that “counter-cultural” was the wrong term to use to describe the current movement. It’s like we were fighting the culture. Instead, it was decided that Sasha was a “with-culture icon” … And when I explained that I’d tagged myself as a “paleohippie” these days, he suggested (as only a dedicated lifelong entheogenic bio-assayist could) that we needed to return to a Paleo-lick-it Future.

SPEAKING OF MUSHFEST … Okay, maybe not speaking of, but certainly thinking of – Sasha did headline twice in T-ride – Stamets is coming! Stamets is coming! … For 20 some years, Fungophile and countercultural (or “with-cultural”) icon Dr. Andrew Weil delighted and charmed Telluride audiences with riveting tales and positive perspectives on mycology, ethnobotany, integrative medicine and entheogens. Paul was his younger friend and outlaw researcher, who funded his own lab by selling mushroom grow kits and medicinal fungi. Each year Paul grew more and more comfortable speaking, and his insights and discoveries continued to astound – from petroleum-eating oyster shrooms to forest myco-restoration … Like Andy, Paul has gone on to wider audiences – Bioneers, TED, and most recently a panel discussion in New York City after the new film 2012: Time For Change with Sting, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Tiokasin Ghosthorse. Last it was month a short bit on NPR. And before that at big-time California events – the Sustainable Brands Conference in Monterey and the Green Festival in Santa Rosa … And for several years he’s been missing in Telluride. But he’s found his way back for three lectures to kick off this year’s Telluride Mushroom Festival, Aug. 26-29. www.shroomfest.com


born again

we lay the nut

of the world

on the flat rock

of the mind

and hit it with

the rock of language

to break it open

and get at the meat inside.

this is the human way

our way

and has been so

for a very long time

perhaps even

ever since we were human

perhaps not

at this late date, who knows?

and yet the world


and yet the world

refuses to stay shattered

each morning

it is born anew

again and again

over and over.

– Dennis Fritzinger, Berkeley

Dennis Fritzinger has edited the Armed with Visions page of the Earth First! Journal since 1991. His books include Tame Wilderness (Arif Press, Berkeley, 1979), Earth National Park and Branded with Desire (www.earthfirstjournal.org)
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