Jeffrey S. Brooks
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Dear friends, I left Tucson at about noon and drove across the great Sanoran desert during the heat of the day. Without air-conditioning it was pretty hot, however I had repaired a device that I purchased from a friend some year ago, called a Kar Kooler. A Kar Kooler is an evaporative device that works on cooling by evaporating water and blowing the humid and cooled air onto the passengers in the car. It works fairly effectively when the air is dry and not too hot.
The first day was spent just getting to Southern California, and keeping the Kar Kool filled with water. It requires 2 gallons of water every 2 hours. The van requires 10 gallons of gas every 2 hours so filling them both up at the same time worked out pretty well.
I arrived in Palm Springs around 9 PM where I dropped off my artwork with the son-in-law of a friend of mine. He plans to rep my work in the Southern California area. Since I was going on an extended journey to bring the message of the emergence of a Western vehicle of Buddhism, and the ecstatic experience in Buddhism, to the American people I did not have a place to store my work, so instead of just throwing it all away, I decided to leave it with Joshua Coan. If you are interested in tracking down my art and photography, then please contact Joshua at email@example.com
After dropping off my art and photography with Joshua I headed west on I 10 to the exit for Joshua Tree National Forest, where I exited and found a place in the desert not too far off the interstate to camp for the night. It was incredibly windy and remarkably cold. The campsite was not far from many giant wind generators, which turned ominously as dark shadows on the night horizon.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
This morning I got up at dawn and meditated until sunrise, then I drove that van back to the interstate and headed toward Santa Monica. I arrived in Santa Monica before the morning rush hour got too intense.
Millennium Twain and Don greeted me very graciously with a green drink, which they were making at the moment of my arrival. They are dedicated raw food consumers, so they feasted me on coconut and almond keifers, and raw green drinks. I was just in time to attend Millennium’s morning Chi Gong class, which is held in their organic garden every morning at 9 AM. An hour-long Chi Gong class followed by another delicious green drink was quite an excellent way to end the long journey across the desert.
After class we got right to work preparing their center for the weekend workshop on Ecstatic Buddhism, Yoga, Chi Gong and Raw Foods. We scraped paint off walls, which were being prepared for painting, and we swept the side walks and put out tables for preparing the Saturday feats.
That afternoon Millennium took me on a very nice bike ride around Santa Monica and along the beach. We returned just in time for the evening class, which I led as an experiential exercise in jhana attainment, and an overview of the levels of jhana and how to recognize them.
Millennium and I took turns leading classes and workshops on meditation, moving meditation, natural living and raw food consumption.
Friday, May 21, 2004
This morning I led the 9 AM moving meditation class. I directed everyone in a fairly classic Theravadan moving meditation practice. The practice of standing and walking meditation is described frequently in the Pali canon. It seems quite similar to the Taoist moving forms, such as Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Gong. Since the Taoist moving meditation forms are quite recent historically, it seems reasonable to speculate that they are a variation on these older Buddhist practices. I ended the class by marry the Taoist forms with the Buddhist forms as well as the practice of moving yoga as expressed in the Sun Worshiper (Surya-namaskar) into a moving jhana-sensitive practice that is conducive to the Western peoples.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
The Living Lighthouse is dedicated to raw vegetarianism, so they fed me “green drinks” and fermented coconut and almond meats for the last few days. Last night I had a hyper real dream of vomiting all of the bushel baskets of green vegetables that were used to make those highly concentrated green drinks. When I woke up I decided this body had had too much “green drink” for a while. However, the fermented coconut and almond meats have been exquisite.
Saturdays are the big day for the Living Lighthouse, so they start the day with an hour of Chi Gong that was led by Millennium Twain. It is a recent development in Chinese movement exercises that is based upon the original Tai Chi Chuan movement concept that dates to the 18th century. After the class Millennium made us all green drinks. I could not think of a way to say I had had enough, so I drank the green-drink he so graciously made for me. My through constricted around the very concentrated green liquid. I would have been far happier to eat all of those vegetables that went into making the drink.
Around noon everyone walked to the farmer’s market, where we bought organic produce to make organic raw fruit pies for dinner. Millennium is a regular there, so he receives quite a few donations from the farms to support his community Raw Food kitchen.
The crust for the pies was made with fermented coconut and almond meats mixed with flax seed. The pie shells were then filled with a mix of fresh raw fruits, such as a flat of black berries that one of the students bought. The pie was topped with a “cream” topping made of fermented nuts blended with fermented coconut milk. The pies were simply out of this world.
In the last week of the hard work of moving and packing I developed an infection in my left ring finger at the cuticle. I have had this condition several times in the past. It seems to always arise during the most stressful times, and seems to signal extreme exhaustion. I took to resting the body as much as I could, and using my left hand and that finger as little as possible. I also frequently treated the infection with immersion in hot salt water the finger was almost better by they time I left the Living Light House.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
I had another dream that I was vomiting bushel baskets full of green vegetables.
We began the day with another Yoga and movement meditation class, which was followed by green drinks made by Millennium. It seems the diet for Don and Millennium is predominantly green drinks and fermented nutmeat fruit pies, because that is all I ever saw them eat.
During the evening meal, which was another green drink and another great fermented nutmeat and fruit pie, I learned that both Millennium and Don were retired aerospace engineers. I found it a rather interesting coincidence that I was once engaged in research in Astronomy and Optical Sciences, and none of us were degreed in an engineering discipline.
A weekend non-residential retreat on
Ecstatic Buddhism at:
The Living Light House
1457 12th. Street
(N.E. corner at Broadway)
Santa Monica, California 90401
Millennium Twain --
Don Kidson -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Many blessings to you, Jeff
Great Western Vehicle
PO Box 41795
Tucson, AZ 85717
Discovering the Joy of Meditation
at the Living Lighthouse