Rob's Spiritual Diary 


Enlightenment & Lightening up !

 "Seekers Are Finders"

Potential Magazine Article: 

Esalen Institute


My Peak Experience. 

To be read one sentence at a time.


A Free read for you--read it in smaller bits--email me with questions or comments -- visit my links -- learn to Meditate if you choose!  It was written in stream of consciousness the first time through.

This article is © Copyright 1989, 1999, 2006 Gustaveson

miniwaterfall.jpg image by comiczar


     With morning I arose to Cynthia's heart song dance -- uniquely different every time. I feel happy and alive today. Good. Secure. From this "Heart Song Dance" I realize movement is improvement. And sound and movement are good ways to change moods, physical structure of ones body...even ones emotional and mental state.  

One can learn through Love rather than pain and suffering.

Cynthia and other beautiful women in this movement class are moving like sensuous cats on all fours, freely, unembarrassed. The music is flowing now and we effortlessly enter into it. Whole class dancing at their own unique speed...most very slowly. Paying attention is part of the practice--perhaps all of one's practice of daily living. Very little instruction. 

Mere minutes ago I was happily asleep in comfortable small clean shared quarters -- the slightest pungent smell of lemon polish pervades a chest of drawers.  But communicating with people you've never met who have become suddenly  your roommate is a strange  experience for me.  

Amazing to me people manage to get up this early (7:00 a.m. or earlier) to participate in movement. People in this free flowing  movement class are probably 17 -- 70  years old.  Everyone is silent before we begin.  With awareness we crawl slowly around the room and begin, at the level of micro-movements, to slowly stand up.  I usually stand with knees slightly bent.  

And now my eyes are closed and I slowly open them in Huxley (a wonderful large space) each of us dance and move uniquely in our own way.  Gentle coaxing and suggestions from Cynthia.  I am aware of my breath.  Stomach relaxed.

Huxley has a high wooden ceiling with great windows that open inwardly -- set scenically in extraordinarily beautiful green lush nature.  

This experience in nature is a far cry from my usual surroundings in the City of L.A.  Sometimes huge wall length reflective mirrors are exposed  by withdrawn curtains.  The room seems to double in size and the outside lighting adds a unique dimension.  A beam of light shines in stirring the room.  There is an old finely tuned antique classy black piano in one corner of the immense space and in the opposite corner a wonderful stereo system -- music is playing softly but will change tempo radically several times in the next 45 minutes.  Sometimes a rug, soft mats or pillows cover the entire  smooth shiny wooden floor.

Pillows.jpg image by comiczar

The people are whirling, having physical contact, moving all over the room, jumping, standing still, emoting, avoiding eye contact, laughing, hugging, resting, meditating, stretching, having eye and smile contact, whirling, avoiding running into each other, piling on one another, lifting one another, practicing a yoga pose, sharing with the other people, being.  

It is more fun than kindergarten and more free than old fashioned rock concerts at the Greek Theatre in L.A.  (In the nature of this play one might turn a leaf or a rock into a musical instrument and get a unique sound or one might wear costumes or make faces or pretend one is a rock star an athlete or a dancer or singer--all is allowed).  

People come and go as they want (in some sessions) and no one is judging--except possibly you.  The air outside is clean and clear and crisp.  The golden sun is rising and the mist moves over the cliffs and mountains casting shadows or playing with the forms and crags--every moment a new scene--a new view.  Life is happening!  I have jumped in!

Sometimes a famous teacher lectures in Huxley or at times someone plays the congo drum or there is a classically trained musician or teacher demonstrating his technique.  One of my favorite classes was with the famous Cellist David Darling and Al Huang.  Electricity wildly alive in the environment.  Genius at play.

One of my teachers used video feedback after we had all performed in our own way.  

Someone might show specially prepared museum quality photos of petroglyphs (300 -- 20,000+ years old from the Coso Range) aka cave drawings. Or as we sit in circles on pillows we may listen or share the stories of our lives -- or might get in touch with deep seated feelings.  Others may temporarily doze off.  

Still other workshops may have breathing or breath work or sacral cranial work or acupressure, shiatsu or, well the list is infinite.  They even show movies.  And there are places where one can borrow consciousness raising sound and video tapes. There is a bookshop in the main office filled with tapes and books and things one might need.  Some come for room and board but most are here for workshops and seminars.

Uses of Huxley (named after English Author & consciousness pioneer Aldous Huxley) are many.  (Like Big Sur itself --"The Land of Many Uses.") People might be hanging out or in Love and Huxley is a favorite place to snuggle and feel safe and free at all hours.  

It, like all of Esalen, is a happening and a place to work through stuff in one's life.  Some classes teach the elderly how they can now move -- more slowly or differently and with less or no pain.  The flavor of Esalen ranges from intense focused Tantric workshops--a gazing into your future mates eyes or an early morning meeting by Esalen's staff to a room filled with canvas's and artists to people clobbering each other with pillows or making strange noises or movements.  The space is clean and clear (cleaned after every workshop at least) and infinitely higher vibrationally than ordinary existence (fast food restaurants and most of the places I use to hang out).  

Outside of Huxley at night there could be a fire in the wood burning fireplace.  A world renowned Schooner Operator could be playing classical guitar alone.  While at the other end of the deck a couple of people are sipping tea or coffee.  Others coming up from the baths refreshed and ready for sleep.  Couple of raccoons vibrating calmly nearby as a mystical lady tells you to fear not.  Their scent uniquely pungent still to my memory.    Sounds of nature flourish.  Sparks from the crackling fire fly up into the gentle breeze of the cool crisp evening toward the star filled universe surrounding us.  Stratus clouds intermingle with silhouettes of tree branches.

I am pulled to breakfast not from hunger or appetite but because of the bountiful variety present to choose from.  Something I am not use to.  I'm a lunch guy not a breakfast guy.  After a sumptuous breakfast of fruit and home baked bread I hit the baths.  The view down to the baths is amazing.  

The spring water for the baths are from the property.  Esselen Indians use to bathe in these waters hundreds of years ago. The water from the natural hot springs are pumped up from below the ground and are considered healing.  I've seen people drink the water even though it has a slight smell like sulfur.  Strangely as a kid when I use to melt sulfur and other stuff from my chemistry set I use to always get a cold after accidentally inhaling the fumes.  But here I have only had good experiences at the baths -- no side effects at all from the sulfer, people even drink this water for health (I tried it twice).  

I was also never into hot water.  But now that I live in the Pacific Northwest I have an appreciation for tubs.  I'm glad I am usually not shy.  And am amazed how non-sexual I find the baths.  Bodies are of so many sorts.  If women went topless I bet men would be less fixated on sex and everyone would be more at peace.  There is occasional beauty outward and often beauty inward found with people there and now here.  We make sex overly important by our thoughts and conditioning and other societal games (make up, advertising, high heels -- my thought not Esalen's).  

One fellow floating in the tubs brags that he is wealthy and seemed to tune into me and began speaking about a course I had been taking in L.A.  It was amazing that he was expounding the very knowledge I was studying.  One woman later was giving him undivided attention.

People  are free to be nude at the baths.  Only the occasional person wearing a bathing suit seems somehow out of sync to me.  People honor their own comfort level.  Relaxation and soaking are good and healthful things to do.  Massage and the baths really go together well.  

Offering a woman a massage at the baths (or anywhere) and having her accept is not unusual.  I once saw John Lily at the baths.  (The Scientist who facilitated interspecies communication with man and Dolphin and who invented the isolation float tank).  

In the inside baths we witness a couple of kids sliding across a bunch of oily massage tables over and over again.  These tables were precariously close to the edge.  I kept my fear in check that they might fly over the edge and down a steep cliff.  What fun & creativity.  The children were oblivious to any danger.  My telling them to stop would have gone unheeded anyway.  In seconds their parents arrived.  But did not scold them or act worried but smiled all knowingly.  And did not speak English.  Sun shining, sea rolling, sky blue, birds flying, mist coming and going.   People, laughing or talking.  People from all over the world come to Esalen.

Later there is a yoga class that is so natural & perfect my body felt more enlivened than ever before in this lifetime! The movements were done very slowly. Very small and concise movements from a teacher who apparently knew more than most teachers of Yoga. Since she was a body worker too perhaps that knowledge was also utilized. (Quite a contrast to some "Yoga teachers" who try to combine it with aerobics -- which I don't recommend though certainly I need to do aerobics too at a different time).

I love to swim.  And once I combine swimming with yoga and Tai Chi I am literally in the Tao.  Add a little piano or meditation and I am in ecstasy.

There is a center -- a chakra, undeveloped in many people but present in all people -- known as the "ajna" center.  It is also referred to as the "Christ Consciousness Center." Quite developed in wealthy persons who may not even know they are utilizing it -- and who developed it more fully in previous incarnations.

There are 7 major chakras. The ajna center is short for Arjuna the most famous beloved disciple of Krishna (the Hindu Christ of 5000 years ago).  It is the place of meditation and is actually located 1-3 inches in front of the physical forehead. Slightly above and between the eyebrows. By holding ones attention here one can feel or sense God's presence and know him. The ajna center is distinct from the 3rd eye which is developed over time in specific manners.

The sun is rising and Arjuna is born in me. The sunlight is hitting my ajna center. I feel a warm glow spreading like a healing exterior light over my entire face and body. 

And when one meditates one may feel or see something in ones head or not. In Meditation deep one experiences, at times, an inner light. It will be unique for you -- it won't necessarily be for you as it is for others.  Meditation should be done alone and in groups (in service to God and all that is).  There are many forms.  

Some have positive results after their first yoga class others after years of Meditating. Finding a true Spiritual teacher to help you, at least at first, is highly recommended. Email me if you would like a list of teachers.  (MY opinion based on my experience).  There are many forms! The ajna center is known as the sixth chakra. There are a total of seven major chakras.  About 22 minor chakras and many minute ones. 

Chakras image from PRS

When one meditates there is more light available. More light comes into this universe where we currently reside and also possibly through our "prison cell" of flesh and temporary limitation. 

This light which we open to in meditation passes through our equipment.  Where more people Meditate Science has proven crime falls. And though conflict still exists (since we live in a 4th plane harmony through conflict universe) it can be minimized, utilized, diffused, learned from, redirected and more. The light from God fills our being and Universe and humans can remember their full potential and fully unfold it. 

For this day and age the heart center and above are the main focus -- according to one esoteric path. The old way embraced all the Chakras (I still do). You don't have to do anything, necessarily for certain chakras to open.  It is recommended you don't do anything -- don't try to make them open or there could be consequences to you of an adverse nature (Kundalini arising too soon when your frequency/voltage isn't build up high enough -- so to speak). And definitely don't mess with other peoples' energy.  I just want you to be aware of where the seven energy centers really are (the literature can be conflicting or confusing or erroneous).  But Chakras often open by themselves, correctly, when one prays and meditates (and does yoga and or tai chi).  We are energy beings. 

(This article just became the kind of Meditation workshop I would lead at Esalen or anywhere).  Indeed, I am a teacher of meditation.  Please contact me for details.  Check out the links in this article.

Esalen has its own round house over a stream used for meditation.  Many windows surrounded by green nature.  There are many forms of meditation.  I think Vipassana meditation (silence) is practiced most there (but am uncertain if that "formless form" is the official one).  Once I witnessed ten or so  people  all doing different meditations at the same time.  Other times we all did the same one.  The space is (or was intended) solely for Meditation (not sleeping, not talking, not eating).

People have Spiritual Emergencies all the time -- which is why Stan Grof co-created the Spiritual Emergency Network I think.  Around 1982 I visited Esalen for my 2nd workshop there with Groff.  Sitting with beautiful Marilyn while she breathed (and she sat for me too)  was part of the practice.

I am watching my thoughts and allowing them to quite down. We waste a lot of energy when we talk. Silence is golden. And the Golden sunrise is gently reaching my Golden Ajna center (a small golden sun 3 inches in front of the forehead).  This  sense of well being I experience when I meditate is available to everyone.  One of the reasons we are on this planet is to live up to the potential of "every man (and woman) a Christ" (-- like being).  This existence continues until this is so with no one left out. A matter of choice. And choiceless awareness.  (You may substitute the "Station" of Christ with the word Krishna or Buddha or a Saint from a true Spiritual Religion).

My ajna center nearly opened the first time I noticed around 1978 and 1982. That which I am sharing is learnt & remembered experience. It seems practicing slow Hatha yoga has a tremendously positive effect on the physical and emotional bodies. 

Seven years earlier while I was at Esalen in Stan Grof's "Transpersonal Psychology" workshop doing certain breaths I felt my ajna center as a concentrated point -- an actual place.  I did a painting and by focusing on the painting I felt "ajna" more and actually put a dot on the forehead of a character in my painting (Silly Sy Ben) where the people from India put a spiritual symbol on their forehead.  Now I have found out that concentration is a prelude to meditation.  And in deed one definition of meditation is focused concentration.  But I find that and all definitions lack.  Your practice and experience is what matters.

Then in 1989 after leaving a Sunday Service and walking slowly around the grounds (Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, California) after learning a few special meditation breaths which I did for the next 6 straight hours as I drove North alone to Coast Highway 1 in Big Sur.  I got to Big Sur and Esalen and experienced lower Samadhi.   I entered the grounds in a heightened state of awareness.  Peace and bliss most profound was amplified by being and intending to be constantly more aware. It was an act of will.  I did not have to answer phones or drive a car or order merchandise or deal with customers (my store was at its financial peak -- and I left an employee in charge). 

The three workshops I took included one with Alan Watt's friend & Tai Ji Master Al Huang.

After a weekend alone there the first course entitled "The Long Body," with Bill Roll, a prominent parapsychologist, began. What I most remember during the workshop was when we (all 11 of us) balanced and sensed each others Chakras. A vibration of perfection surrounded us. Bliss and peace and great intuition increased (at least for me).  Everyone seemed to be supportive and loving.  

One time I felt (I think) what a lady was experiencing when I was next to her.  I felt a little uneasy sharing her bubbling ecstasy within -- it was a unique never before felt sensation. 

In my daily living I had temporarily transcended certain things including care with eating (diet) (fasting) and lust and most desires. 

I spent some quality time alone outside spiraling (walking in arc-like-circles in a spiral instead of a straight  line because it felt natural) in slow motion in circles in the light rain in the Tao one with everything. It felt great -- I was not cold -- others were bundled up -- this could inspire a great commercial about unwinding. (And enlightenment is about more than just feeling good.  But in this moment it was perfect just being and there were no other considerations.) 

There was an absence of fear -- as distinct from my experience just prior to entering the class on the way to it.  And indeed arriving in the class it was revealed that there was an accident on Highway One that delayed the instructor -- a fire (which got my imagination ((the subconscious)) active.  And I said "he is fine and will be here soon."  Later in the class I seemed to know what some participants were inwardly experiencing (because I experienced it too at the same time within me -- it was a little shocking at the time -- but in retrospect quite amazing and I was always calm).  At other times I did not try to tune in.

And I think 1982 and 1989 were possibly called, at the least, "peak experiences."  Possibly lower samadhi.

(Side note:  The drive home was eventful. Driving North on highway 1 my tire blew out. So then I drove South and a different tire blew out again. Coincidence? Maybe not. Because a jogger ran by me followed by a van keeping pace with him and on his tape deck was an Alan Watts lecture. The Bill Roll class was in "Watts," named for famed philosopher Alan Watts. These kind human's called a tow truck for me. And I was not gouged by the gas station.)

I returned to LA and became infinitely more responsible with and for my daughter. This is not an understatement. 

Photos by Rob Gustaveson

The ajna is a spiritual center if you make it so. (Through prayer and meditation.) I learned this from 1982 through 1996 and still so to a degree. This profound feeling of oneness did not diminish as I paid attention to every thought, word, action, bite of food (amount and quality -- vegetarianism), and held certain thoughts that were continuously positive and spiritual.  This profound experience lasted 6 months.  And then by practicing Yoga and Meditation daily I kept the sense of "being in the Tao" for over ten years.  Sixth ray chakra, ajna, is the chakra of devotion (to God). The Heart Chakra and Head or Crown Chakra are involved. The Head center is located 3 inches above the head. And the real location of the heart center is three inches behind the back near the location of the heart. I felt it a little higher at Esalen in the front. Mankind is taking, collectively, a new initiation. 

The Author 1997


I went for a wonderful walk up a canyon containing fresh drinkable water. I call it my Zen walk. In 1982 I saw a perfect blue green geometric form floating with me. When I do this walk alone I wear old tennis shoes and sometimes walk barefoot. I shut my eyes and imagine (and feel as cold water shocks my system) the star filled universe surrounding me. And sustaining us and all that is. I look up and see the top of giant pine trees and hovering floating above that a beautiful Hawk circling gliding in wind currents amidst the blue of the sky in the cool green primeval forest. Sound of roaring water. 

I fall into the cold refreshing enlivening wetness of the steam. As the water carries me effortlessly around rocks I imagine everything as God. (More than just early religious conditioning). The sense of awe as my senses explode with joyful exuberance, color and aliveness at having  landed in the water in my clothes only makes the fun of this experience more titillating. I surrender to the moment. I drink deep the water. 

"Love comes from within and without." The Kingdom of Heaven is within you and all around you. You are the Kingdom. You are the Universe. You are the Cosmos. Be still and know that you are God. Meditate. I wonder why Cities exist. Touch some moss. Watched many insects. Saw innumerable mushrooms. Slowing down as awareness increases. Stillness. Profound silence. 

Goosebumps but not too cold. Sunlight filters down to the multicolored forest floor. Sloshing onward in wet comfortable old tennis shoes and baggy black pants I walk around a big granite boulder feeling thankful for its existence. There are no worry thoughts today. I spot a reindeer it doesn't run away. Symphony of leaves stirs gently in the cool crisp forest. The air cool on my skin and face. There are hundreds of mini waterfalls to splash and play in. Happy. Remove clothes lay in the sun. Watch birds. Rainbows and sparkles on spider webs. Bees busy doing their own thing. Butterfly lands on nose. 

News at 11:00 the same on every channel. Phone rings -- you don't have to answer it. Unplug your phone. Open your mail less often. Pay the bills every 2-4 weeks. Cut up your credit cards. 

Daniel Bianchetti is the Spiritual Intuitive and cook (at the time) and great guy who I most admire.  I like how strictly vegetarian I perceive him to be.  My imagination usually makes up stuff about people.  But regarding him as having higher consciousness is not imaginative but factual.  I trust him with my life.  His wife who I regarded always as gorgeous seems to be a professional who kept me at arms distance (rightly so).  Once I found out they were together I never considered her as other than his wife and therefore totally off limits -- not that she ever showed a spark of interest.

In one course with George Leonard & Michael Murphy co-founder of Esalen I experienced compassion.  They were tolerant of me.  In the writing course I read something before the others in the class in front of George Leonard and a writing group --  I was in I felt that Tai Chi flow and really enjoyed the moment.  One felt Godlike (but not in an overbearing egoistic way -- more like Soul expression -- what one really is).  Reading aloud is good.  If you catch George a little off guard you might hear him say "I'm glad you asked me that."  I still don't know what haiku is.  But aikido means "peace, balance, harmony, the Tao."  (Though there are other definitions).  Leonard is an Aikido master too.  As a work scholar I did some "gestalt" singing with him and a group of others.

Got to attend a huge outdoors rock event at Esalen once via special invitation.  It was held for an Indian tribe to provide eye surgery to heal blindness -- famous rock stars performed.  It was surprisingly peaceful and positive and though 1000's of people were in attendance did not  feel in any way crowded.  The number of people that could fit in what looks like a small area was surprising.  Ordered love.

Twice I spent a month at Esalen as a "work scholar."  I could not make family understand why I'd pay to work there.  I explained Esalen was an Institute.  And it is.  I've always loved and studied things of an esoteric nature.  Esalen was a great fit.  A gift to Ones Self.   I washed a lot of dishes and washed and folded and delivered a lot of towels and sheets.  Cleaned a bunch of cabins.  Got to take the workshops at a reduced rate.  My favorite experience was gently scrubbing the massage tables with Dr. Bronners Soap  in the morning at sunrise.  It is said that when the golden sun is rising or setting that that is a healing time.  And there are techniques for taking sunlight  in through your eyes just when the sun is at the horizon when it is safe (and most healing -- most orange).  Allowing the sun to hit your medulla oblongata is healing too.  It just feels good.  Esalen helped me appreciate the morning.

So many great teachers at Esalen touched me in various ways.  So many awesome healing massages received near the baths overlooking the ocean under the sun hearing the breathing living sea.  The stroke of the massage in harmony with the inflow and outflow of the waves. 

One of my greatest joys was the time between the workshops -- getting to them -- walking in nature interacting with people on the grounds.  Sometimes one wants to be alone (when emotional).  But usually being with people is nice.

Letting go of God to get God. Yoga. Meditation. Peace. God contact. Love is the foundation of all that is. Letting go of words to get experience. God's love sustains everything. Open to it. I dance over rocks singing mantras and other songs. All the rocks are alive. Just singing more slowly. I did one pose for an hour in the Garden. I heard someone's thought. I thanked them for it even though it was judgmental.  "Resistance causes persistence" (est). 

I often visit an area behind the "Big House" which has a stone stairway with a metal hand rail down part way to the rocky sea shore.  Where I am above the ocean on another deck the sounds are intense and it is striking to view a still lily pond.

lilypond.jpg image by comiczar

while hearing the roar of the ocean -- and from one angle one can see a wonderful big waterfall.  It flows beautifully downward coming from the sacred canyon which feel so much like home to me always.  If you did not believe in nature spirits prior to coming here you might afterwards.  It is a mystical magical place.  I videotaped my last adventure there.  I've done acrylics and watercolors at a few locations at Esalen.

Love is the natural place from which to come. Luc is now balancing my chakras. She looks like my first girlfriend (Sharon whom I still love and have not gotten over). Without the need of sex there is Love. The second chakra is located 3 inches behind your lower back where those two indentations are. The sex chakra -- is known as the sacral center. Well as she balanced it I felt energy. It felt good and I enjoyed it. I did not suppress it. 

By the time she got to my forehead I felt my ajna was fully open. The base chakra (survival) at the base of the tail of your spine is connected to Crown (beyond persona).  Sacral center (sex chakra) is connected to throat (the bump on the back of your neck is the physical location -- 3 inches out behind).  The throat center is a very creative center (when your (ones)  mind is chattering it's probably associated with this place). Solar plexus (power center) chakra is really 3 inches behind your spine (connected to the Heart Center.)  (The spine is the altar of God).


Bill Roll

Luc sensed all my chakras to see how open they were.  Then I sensed her chakras and was amazed by how open each of her chakras were--most felt infinitely open. She is a body worker--a giver. 

All of us in the whole room are balanced. More sensitive now.  In tune.  In the Tao.  ready for doing some "readings."

As the class ends for that session prior to evening session I look at a photo of Richard Price co-founder of Esalen and draw a geometric pattern in seconds on a blackboard--the teacher watches me--but I have no explanation as to why I am doing so nor is there comment from anyone as they are exiting the room. It was drawn in the Tao--a foreshadowing, perhaps, of my first Tai Chi class to come in a few days.  I see it as tapping into another plane and an successful attempt at contact. Actual contact with it.  As it was trying to contact me too. 

Later I pass Luc as she leaves the naturally heated swimming pool (overlooking the Big Sur Coast with its breathtaking ocean & view) the exchange is energetic joy.  Behind us is an immense park like setting with ornate trees that too seem to be dancing (just slower).  Trees breathe.

Suddenly there is an amazing sense of effortlessness and I want to be with people

Yesterday the sense of love was so intense and circuitous and beautiful. The past is with me only if I choose it to be. All power occurs from the present. The present is all there is.


Alan Watts

Luc offers to press a place in my spine. She pops it back. It had been out since losing Sharon my first beloved 21 years previously. This is more than some Wizard of Oz wish fulfillment. Intense healing occurred for me at Esalen in this workshop and others! Not a dream or fantasy or imaginary tale. Luc is somewhat aloof it feels to me. I massage one of her hands and her feet. She is a masseuse. 

Meditation is Super consciousness. Sleep and fantasy are of the Subconscious. 

Photo of people in our workshop.  

I used my camera to capture Claudia and Luc's old man because of the intensity they are locked in rather than Luc at end of table in this photo.  Notice midground that which is in focus.  I also have one with Luc in focus.

Claudia and I visit the baths. There is hugging. Mutual supportiveness. There is light chanting with Claudia at the baths. I make her a bath and light a candle for her.  Strangely her husband (sometimes & currently estranged) also owned a comic book store (strange because of the humor of finally discovering that in the course of a session). We had kissed and hugged on the lawn one night under my "prayer tree."

When I first saw her Claudia (a Psychologist) looked blown away (tired) and I wanted nothing to do with her. Luce's mate  was in Huxley with Claudia during a truly boring lecture. (Experience is so much more fun than hearing about an event -- like a family photo means most only to one's own family.) 

I was happy to be outside with Luc. Luc was the epitome of everything I wanted in a woman (and looked exactly like my 1st girlfriend).  Yet I was not in lust with anyone at the moment.  It was a calm shared with a fellow Aquarius.  I chose enlightenment over sex this time, for me that was a breakthrough. 

I will choose enlightenment again.

MeditationBench.jpg image by comiczar

Meditation bench at Esalen. Water colors by Rob Gustaveson

Yet I had been hugging and kissing Claudia. It was perhaps mutual support mostly. I had been practicing celibacy and vegetarianism and attending SRF for a very long time. But this felt right.

Perhaps I am unwilling to be hurt at the intensity experienced at age 17 (and except for my marriage & Renae won't allow my self to be hurt again in that way).  So the issue is to trust again.  The sea is rocking Luc and I.  I want to get close to her.  The surf is loud and precarious. The night is alive and vibrant.


Click flower for another article by me: Findhorn's Peter Caddy an Esalen Workshop

Walking enjoying the evening I find myself behind a couple for a short distance.   No reason, no intent, just feeling good walking briskly perhaps towards my room.  The man has a voice like a song--his language not spoken is sung and it is so beautiful it touches my soul. I had, earlier in the day, given this woman who he is with my favorite Alan Watts tape. I wonder if he knows.  If she told him and if he cared.  The gift was given in exuberance and joy.  My usual operating procedure when I think I could be in love.  

In this moment after that wonderful Tai Chi jump and first night of class I am enlivened -- feeling good, up. 

As I walk toward my room I find myself following this couple down the driveway I suddenly feel fear (my vision is sometimes nearsighted allegedly so I cannot make out their faces). I feel this fear grow. Immense. Yet I feel secure and safe. There is this giant ball of fear. It sweeps like a ripple outward over all space around me and takes all my fear and all the fear of all the people around away.  I imagine (for fun) a Zen master used it to alter the course of a meteor away from residential areas of Big Sur to strike a mountain a ways off. There is indeed a loud crash.  

Where Love is...fear cannot remain. Disintegrated fear.  I think (and know) Love conquered fear here and we all benefited at Esalen.  I feel Love of a different type.

There is a prayer circle before a meal -- its been 9 intense days so far. Bette Dingman leads it--it is in silence by the kitchen. We hold hands in a large circle and bow our heads. We know the sacredness of the food we eat. For it is God.

I break my self imposed  fast.  Some guy next to me (an Oriental guy is eating as though he is starving -- wolfing down the food).  I begin to eat some spaghetti and enjoy it as a gourmet enjoys a meal. Very slowly.  Enjoying each bite--fully experiencing the intense flavor.  Have you ever slowly eaten a perfect peach.  Or tasted a really good orange--orgasmic explosion of intense taste?  In the est training we ate a raison very slowly and fully tasted it.   One can savor ones experiences.  It is rare how seldom I am grateful for what I have.  Gratefulness is the heart of prayer.   

Later after I leave Esalen I have a gourmet banquet down the road at Deejen's.  In a large old space.  I am alone in silence still in the gourmet way.  I'm having an actual sense that immortality is possible for some people I and feel bliss without worry and a deep peace.  There is a large table nearby with a bunch of people who look like dignitaries or aristocrats of some sort -- but they seem very human and not uppity.  I watch them occasionally for a few seconds.  They too are in the Tao -- their own heightened Tao.  This was a place of pleasure but of a higher kind.

 daisies.jpg image by comiczar


In God we live and move and have our being! It is said the angel kingdom is connected to the plant kingdom. And flowers are a recent evolutionary occurrence. 

"You are running the show. You're doing the whole thing because you want a surprise."--Alan Watts 

Seed thoughts:  "I am the soul here and now."  "I am that I am."  "I and my Father are one." 


The means does not justify the ends. It determines the end result. 

The river stream is flowing from its origin to the ocean. God at both ends and along the way.--Gustaveson 

 "The human being is a correcting being." --Bill Roll

 I met a girl in the Tai Ji class named Rochelle.  A soul mate to be sure.  Later she became a teacher there at Esalen.  She cast runes for me and was ill and asked me to walk her slowly to my room.  The experience for me was wonderful.  Practiced unattachment.   Yin and Yang energies were balanced.  

Some say there are many people in this life who would be right for you in a relationship.  

I regret not having Luc and Rochelle (and many other people) in my life more often.  Don't get me wrong I enjoy solitude also.  True God contact happens when we meditate.  When done correctly (with all ones heart and mind and will and Soul) it is superior to anything and lasts always.  

Yet woman seems to complete me in this cosmic drama of creation.  Yet Meditation actually completes us.  God Contact is all.  All fulfilling.  And God is there when you leave your body.  Who else will be.  And it is so.

This profound beauty surrounds us at Esalen and in Big Sur. At Esalen I have an intense sense of Self (Soul) yet also grounded connectedness (something nice for an Aquarian). Connected with large and small circles (circuits) of nature and something else. The mystical is naturally what is. Perceivable when we are more aware. Aware when we choose to be so and act in ways of awareness

Past image we have about a person is the way that person is held.  It isn't actually them.  Or us.  There are times when we need to break up crystallized dogmatic forms.  A time for everything under heaven.

Not worrying about what she is saying or how it is perceived Claudia is on a roll in Watts sharing with us all -- also in the Tao -- in the here and now. Practice what you know, be, are. 

The river is flowing wildly and I am tossed around like a leaf floating on it.  I surrender to the flow then grab a boulder and climb aboard. 

It is noon and the perfect time to meditate. I touch my tongue to the top of my mouth. There is a circuit. I put my hands together in prayer mode--there is a circuit. I touch my middle finger to my thumb there is a circuit. The sun rises and sets, the Earth revolves around the sun, we shut our eye lids together -- there is a circuit. I saw moss growing in a circuit. This computer uses circuits. Reincarnation is a circuit. How does one get off the wheel of birth and death? Meditate. Beyond Polarity, beyond ego is God Divine. Spirit is Truth. Live the heart of your Spirituality. 

Step over crystallized dogmatic forms around the noose of corporate slave sheep systems of greed and fear. Watch, unattached, your thoughts come and go. Sit up straight. Meditate. 

The roar of the river fades into the background. There is a field of orange tulips. Here on a giant rock of green jade tiny drops of water fall on Buddha's brow. Arjuna too rises over Krishna's brow and is held in lotus suspended in a sacred lake of bliss and joy Divine. Sky, Water, Minerals, Plants & Insects, Trees, Animals, Humans, Kingdom of Conscious Souls, Angels, Stars, Sons of God, the Father about which naught can be said, all that is.


A Poem By Rob Gustaveson

Sometimes Through A Mask Of Words

Spirit Seeps

 Like Dreams Of Cause And Being

Spirit Uncontained

Forever Remains

The Cause And Structure Of All 

Poem © Gustaveson 1989, 2002 

Italicized words in this article are by me too.

Divine Beauty


The word is far removed from the living breathing world. Bliss is a possible reward for those who choose to Meditate. It is different from instant gratification. 

Dancing as light in Light I jump into the air; time froze--it felt like I was literally 12 feet in the air--when I land Sung Ling (Al Huang) tells me to laugh into it. I felt no pain. As I land softly in Huxley there are 20 women practicing their perfection. 

I dance with one woman--voluptuous (later think she is involved with a man who sings another language) (see above) (time is not linear) and I give her my favorite Alan Watts tape (my only copy I think--later got a copy back from a friend to whom I had lent one). The dance leader changes clothes in front of 20-30 cute young alive women no one is slightly embarrassed that I can tell except for maybe me..  

 I had jumped really high. I was a little embarrassed because the Tai Chi class had not yet started and I wasn't sure it was ok for me to just jump in and participate in this energy of dance and play. But I figured what the hell--Since I was there for 10 days or so I could take the risk--I was after all (at least in my mind) part of the community (and had been a work scholar twice for  a month each time), and this was Esalen.  It was really a spontaneous half hearted dance by me. I went with the moment and movement and Tai Chi feel. And did so for the next six months--and prolonged it for nine years.  Psi sensing and Tai Chi are powerful.  Meditation amplifies.  

In Huxley I played the Piano like a professional (well after 20 minutes of experimenting it sounds good to me). George Leonard walks in and plays old man river.  Mastery is superior to hack-ness.

Ooh Ahh Dolphin Cloud became a favorite saying (later I took my daughter to Esalen and even she went "ooh ahh" after kissing a boy there.  And I took three of my Girl friend's to Esalen Marsha, Gloria and Renae -- at different times; I even took my Mom to a Chi gung workshop with Al Huang in L.A. after this peak experience).  

I named myself Dolphin Cloud Eagle because I felt Indian Spirits in the rocks at Esalen! Eventually my body started moving more slowly.

I touched the shoulder of a guy who was in a wheelchair -- as I passed him even though I did not know him.  Later I witnessed him walking without the wheelchair or crutches.  As I sensed the chakras of people around me I intended healing and balance.  A staff member retorted to my expression about money by saying some people have no problem making money.  

In the Esalen Garden a sign said: "Work is Love made visible." Giving compassion, even when it isn't easy--even when one is not in the mood, is Love. In the tao I enjoyed the perfection of "what is" without needing to take that beautiful shiny rock/shell/twig/woman home. I enjoyed them where they were and I did not grasp to excess. Everything exactly perfect as it was. 

Seventh Ray is God's Will Into Form. Every man and woman has the potentiality to be a Christ (a Krishna or a Buddha or a Gandhi or a Mother Teresa). Love is the context for everything to exist. There is great abundance in Nature. Without judgment ask yourself if you love God or his Creation more. Trick question really.

Everything is a living prayer. This is probably how truly spiritually enlightened people live. Everything is a living prayer. A living Meditation. Here in the being universe. Where are we now? Individually & collectively. 

If the "constellations" were not grouped together by Man's considerations what other forms and thoughts and Divine blueprints might we find. Many people are in error about Astrology. "The Science of Religion" by Swami Shri Yukteswarji is accurate. Check it out. We are entering the Golden Age (or at least moving to a higher age)!  He was the Guru of Paramahansa Yogananda. The comforter is here as the Holy Spirit! Meditating is tuning in to God. 

That which we label a star, I wonder, is it conscious sometimes. A brain spark in God's physical brain. All is illusion--a cosmic play--a comedic drama. I exist until I am withdrawn into the creator. And my individuality is still intact. Is a Star an angel or a living learning experimenting God.  

The black night calls me as a cloud formation evaporates past the nearly full bright moon. The star point breaks through the mountain mist for a moment. I can feel its energy too. Does it make up me and you. Granite lent to Earth by living stars in the sky. Their agreement makes up the Earth (I say). Water comes from other worlds every day almost invisibly. Creation allows for all. Stars contribute themselves raw to Earth. May we be the light shining back to the Stars and inwardly our Souls shining to Spirit Divine in divine appreciation.

"Energy Ecstasy" A book I took with me to Esalen

"As causes are without limit when you are the Self you are the Heart of Cause." -- Gustaveson

"Self" here is Soul.  

"The reformer is the greatest impediment to true change"-- Jiddu Krishnamurte.    I held Krishnamurte's words  before me as principles to live by on a daily basis for a long while. Along with the wisdom of Manly P. Hall (founder of the Philosophical research Foundation) and others. 

"Govern a nation the way you cook a small fish, delicately!"--Alan Watts.   

Our educational system is unnatural. All systems become corrupt. George Leonard the famed author and Aikido master wrote a book called "Education and Ecstasy." It could help the current educational system unleash its full potential. 

Our Father who is also the heavens please bless thy children, forsake us not. Thank you for all the miracles you are each day.


Everything must be brought to Light. In this case Light is upwardly redeemed matter. Embrace Dolphin return to water! (My version of his book:) "Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain." Chung Liang Al Huangs' famous Tai Ji book. 

Science has proven the existence of the Human Soul (the 4th plane etheric  body). Skeptics are recoiling. It's their job. (Read books by John Lily such as  "The Center of the Cyclone" and Zukav's "Seat of the Soul"). Dolphins don't have to become extinct. Michael  Murphy's great book "The Future of the Body" is a good place to start remembering to Meditate  and it validates for Science the power of meditation. Read his book. We are all chemical electrical beings. We are in the Garden if we but have eyes to see... ears to hear.  Light, Sound, Color, Vibration...(=) ...Earth, Air, Fire, Water, (+Ether)

Attention is energy. Observation changes things.

The creator is beyond yet still one with his creation. As Alan Watts has said "there is no separation between us and the air we breath."  (Read his "The Art of Contemplation.")  All is relationship. Don't piss off Shiva. Will you honor the temple that is your body? Baby girls are still killed in certain countries. Islamic Countries entrenched in their crystallized forms and perhaps the practice also still occurs in parts of India. These countries do not hold females in high esteem. Man and Woman are equals. I would say they are both God but then I might be misunderstood. We are all small waves in the big cosmic sea of God. God is neither male or female. God is beyond polarity. Beyond duality. 


Completion. Wholeness. Holiness. Whisper songs of Love. Songs of Hope from above (vibrationally). Whisper  Love dreams  from within you. Whisper songs of caring, sharing, daring, feeling, leading to love fulfilled. Honor the Self within. Om Namai Shivia.

Every petal is a shrine. Dolphin Cloud Eagle. Oh Ahh Dolphin Cloud. Running light ray dances the sky and sea. White Dolphin Cloud Whale Spout I swim in beauty of oneness with thee.


Grace is real. Faith can move mountains. Repentance is all one needs to do. Forgiveness occurs each moment. There is nothing God doesn't know. "There is no Birth no Death." -- BhagavadGita.  

THE SOUL IS IMMORTAL!  You are the Soul.  Soul/Spirit always was and always will be. 

Habits are hard to change. 

Environment is everything. 

Born into families with people we were incomplete with in previous incarnations. 

Life is a service project for God. 

Meditation is service. 

A beautiful green humming bird before me now. 

Bridge the chasm of thought between spirituality and sensuality. The only sin is turning away from God thus hurting yourself. That is called ignorance. Meditation is turning toward the Light. Meditate on God.  

We live in a sensuous universe. Suppression is the old way

Meditation and God contact are all fulfilling. Bring children in consciously.  Everything done with awareness is sacred. Every moment was a Meditation for me today. Here at Esalen in 1989 I constantly say to myself "remember to breath." Love is strongly felt in deep deep peace shared with other Esalen seminarians and residents in silent awe of a setting golden sun as one at Dolphin Whale point by the cliffside geotectonically heated nudity optional swimming pool. United in bliss watching colors on cliffside above infinite moving alive ocean. Saw Dolphins and Whales. One has to slow down a lot to see whale spouts! 

I continued feeling a ray of light going outward from my head for 6 months as I followed my breath.  And Meditated.

Disclaimer -- I do not represent anyone in this article but myself (according to Tolle one cannot speak about another or oneself).  My intent is to share. 

Three images were not created by me and will not appear in this actual article unless & until I obtain permission (Al Huang said I could make one T-shirt with the image I have temporarily used of him). The other images (photos and art are by me.  Words are being edited weekly--and added to as I remember).

If you'd like to quote something please ask me first.  Ask rightly. 

Experiences you have may be entirely different from mine or another's (and will be).   Co-Founder of Esalen, Richard Price wrote:

 "Contact is the Appreciation of Differences.  And Similarities." 

This may also be an attempt by me to share with friends and family what I have discovered along the way and currently need to rediscover.  

This article is definitely an attempt to integrate all my Spiritual Paths into one.  

All types of people go to Esalen.  I experienced it from my conditioning.  Very little of the spiritual quotes in this article comes from Esalen--so don't attribute it to or blame them for it.  I'm doing the philosophizing, the remembering and the sharing. And you know what Fritz Perls's called philosophizing.

No two workshops are the same for anyone. The river is never the same twice. Om Buddha Matraya Mim So Ha. 

Love, Rob. 

Al Huang:  Living Tao Foundation


This piece is dedicated with love and light to 

my beautiful smart daughter Sheila

And to my successful smart son Jeremy

And Sharon Gilbert my 1st beloved.

With Thanks & Love to my close friends:

 Elizabeth Johnson, Rob Gluckson, Ruthe Gluckson, Leonard (Len) Gluckson and Jeff Briar who all contributed in different ways via friendship & love throughout my life. 

And to every person with whom I shared a film, dinner or conversation or workshop or seminar or whose smile or attitude was positive and genuine.

With acknowledgment, thanks and love to my Mom and Dad and Sister.  And Aunt Val & Uncle George. To Aunt Margie who is helping me learn fast.   To Ernest (the Mason and Vera).  And the rest of my family.  And to Ella & Mark, Bob and Connie.

With love to my grandchildren Matthew and Rachael & Jenna.

This piece is a work in process of intimate experiences in my life.  Tune in for more in the future by hitting refresh or reload or click links. 

Thanks to Daniel Bianchetti Richard Price, George Leonard, Stan Groff, Oscar Janiger, Michael Murphy, Werner Erhard, Al Huang, Steven Gaskin, TM's Founder and others, Ralph Nader, Georgia Lambert, Manly P. Hall & PRS, Ram Dass, Rajneesh, Alan Watts, Carlos Castaneda, Frank Herbert, Aldous Huxley,  Swami Satchidananda,  DevakiJiddu Krishnamurte, Baba Hari Dass,  Bill Roll,  my guru Paramahansa Yogananda and Self Realization Fellowship,)  and many others who have contributed one way or another to me this lifetime and to humanity.  For the special teachings since leaving formal school.  

And to Joe Hyams and Harlan Ellison, George Clayton Johnson and others, thanks.

Comic Book and SF genres.   And the New Age and Now Age and the Old age.

To the Beatles:  John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. The Moody Blues.  The Doors.  Donovan.  Bob Dylan.  John Denver.  Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkle, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, the harp, the Piano, the Cello and all musical instruments -- human or otherwise.

To all film makers, poets & artists.  Thanks.

Deeply felt thanks & love to Renae (Shelly) C., Marsha E., Dina D., Gloria E., Maureen H., Sherry L., Rochelle.

Thanks to Esalen and Big Sur.

Thanks to and appreciation for:  Ulla Anneli, Lorin Hadlock, Alan & Ladd Hadlock,  Rose. And to people whose names (but not faces or souls) I may have temporarily forgotten.  Fern, Lynn, Lou, Sarmod, Marshall Alexander,  DeeDee, Robin A., Debbie, Don K., Alan R., Leslie S., Barry, Larry, Harold, Barbara H., Steve H. Mel.  Jerome Mark.   And the Peace Dance Community of Seattle.  To James -- who serves selflessly.

With special Love and thanks to:  

Pam Z. and Alicia 

May God bless family, friends, so called enemies, 

humanity entire & all the kingdoms of nature.

Om Peace Amen.



Email me with questions, comments, offers.  

There is much more material of this sort.

Thank You,  

Rob Gustaveson 

 The photos art and article are

 ©Copyright 1989, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 Rob Gustaveson 

We all need to live in the present and not the past.  

Our work is needed in the world.  Never give up.


The greatest Joy I ever experienced was 1989 at Esalen. God Bless Her, always!


This page is dedicated to Jesus Christ, Bhagavan Krishna, Mahavatar Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Swami Shri Yukteswar, and Paramahansa Yogananda.  (And the Saints of all true religions).  Love, Love, Love!  P.S. God is real for people who know how to contact him.


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