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What is the most spiritual city in the U.S.A.?

Most of the gurus on Soul’s Code say that spirituality cannot be measured. But an economist would reply with two words: Ojai, California

BY PAUL KAIHLA — Ojai, CA is to spirituality what Silicon Valley is to technology. Due east and a 40-minute hop inland from Santa Barbara, Ojai has more mind-body spas per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. — probably, the world.

How does Ojai pull that kind of rank? For one thing, it’s got a tiny population: 8,000 souls. For another, Ojai was the North American base of the great Indian mystic, J. Krishnamurti. He underwent one of the most famous enlightenments in history at Ojai in 1922.

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Confessions of a billionaire: Shari Arison reveals why money can’t buy It

The Carnival Cruise Lines heiress and richest woman in Israel comes to terms with her wealth, her father and her faith

Shari Arison

SPECIAL TO SOUL’S CODE: SHARI ARISON, excerpted from BIRTH

— In my decades of seeking inner peace, I have become increasingly aware of the fierce battle raging within me — between sadness and happiness, between acceptance and frustration, between praise and envy, between strength and lack of confidence, between the adult and the child. I have recognized the evil inclination within me. The dark side. The closer we get to our inner essence, to the divine spark that resides in every human being, the closer we get to the basis of the evil within us.

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What is the most spiritual movie, ever? Here are 12 nominees

We’ve expanded our slide show, Transcendental Movies, from 9 classics to 12. Our new additions: Fur, Being John Malkovich and Last Year at Marienbad

BY SOUL’S CODE — That last choice, Marienbad is set in a mid-century, is a 1961 classic by the French “new wave” director, Alain Resnais). Set in an upper class Grand Tour-like spa in Germany, it is the oldest film in our pantheon of spiritual cinema — and about our favorite because of its parallels with an ABC TV series that came along four decades later.  LOST

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9 Spiritual Resorts in the West

In our mind, a spiritual resort is a place where you can go out of mind. A place that’s therapeutic not just for your body but your most over-worked and over-heated organ in this mad, mad world — your brain. A spiritual resort is a place that chills your brain organ to the point that it releases itself from its compulsion to think.

Here is our ranking of the top 9 resorts on North America’s West Coast, ranging from Vancouver Island in the north to Carlsbad, CA in the south:

1. Harbin Hot Springs, Middletown, CA: Three hours north of San Francisco, this new age community features the only real mineral hot springs in the vicinity of Napa Valley wine country. Equally noteworthy, it is the birthplace of a deeply-somatic therapy called watsu, a word conflated from “water” and “shiatsu”. Think Swedish massage meets reiki meets hypnosis trance — in water. Watsu is as powerful as it gets.

This year, for the first time, Harbin has opened the doors to these domes that look like they’re out of the movie, Dune, to outside guests. To book a room, go here.

Cost: $60 – $160 per night.

Fine print: Harbin is an out-there scene, not some yuppie weekend-massage spa — cell phones, computers, booze and drugs are verbotten.

2. The Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA: Call it the cradle of West Coast civilization. Founded in the 1960s, it was here that figures like Joseph Campbell, Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls and an Episcopal priest-turned-Zen Buddhist named Alan Watts fused eastern mysticism with modern psychology. They seeded mega-trends ranging from Gestalt Therapy to Star Wars.

If physical place is the dominant force that shapes your experience then nothing compares to Esalen. Its sandstone cliff-hanger mineral baths are fed by a spring on the beach that in earlier centuries were a healing force for the coastal Esselen Indians. Today’s baths are open all night long, and nude lounging is welcome. Entranced by the moon, stars and breakers five stories below, visitors from around the world take full advantage of both options.

Cost: $105 – $180 per night.

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The Top 9 Spiritual Resorts in the West

The Top 9 Spiritual Resorts in the West

In our mind, a spiritual resort is a place where you can go out of mind. A place that’s therapeutic not just for your body but your most over-worked and over-heated organ in this mad, mad world — your brain. A spiritual resort is a place that chills your brain organ to the point that it can release itself from the compulsion to think.

Our picks for the top 9 resorts on North America’s West Coast span Vancouver Island in the north and Carlsbad, CA in the south.

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Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: The Chopra Center

Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: The Chopra Center

No. 9

The Chopra Center, Carlsbad, CA: Dr. Deepak is dismissed by purists as Spirituality Lite but let’s face it: he’s done more than most people alive today to bring consciousness studies and mind-body work into the mainstream.

Cost: $325 – $1,000 + per night.

Fine Print: The “center” is actually a meditation and ayurvedic treatment facility within the walls of the La Costa golf-course spa

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Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Sycamore Mineral Springs

Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Sycamore Mineral Springs

No. 7

Sycamore Mineral Springs, San Luis Opisbo, CA: A for-profit venue, Sycamore is nonetheless as devoted to wellness in all its forms as the other destinations on this list. It offers everything from Qi Gong to hyphotherapy. It also happens to sit at the northern end of the California “central coast” wine region that the movie Sideways made famous. 

Cost: $165 – 890 per night.

Fine print: Every single room has a patio with a mineral water hot tub!

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Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Breitenbush, Oregon

Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Breitenbush, Oregon

No. 4

Breitenbush Hot Springs, Detroit, Oregon: Like Esalen, this is a workshop resort. But unlike Esalen’s coastal perch, Breitenbush sits at the end of a deep, remote gorge in the Cascade Mountains, southwest of Portland, OR. Its cedar sauna is heated by a bubbling hot springs that sits below the building’s floor boards, and three of the resort’s natural spring pools are walled by smooth stones — not the porcelain tubs you get in California’s wine country.

Cost: $46 – 108 per night.

Fine print: The rustic cabins don’t have showers but they are heated, geo-thermally.

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Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver Island

Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver Island

No. 3

Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, BC: It’s not an official spiritual retreat center — it’s a commercial eco-resort. But this is that rare for-profit venue where heaven truly does meet earth, and earth meets heaven. Where old-growth rainforest meets whale-watching. This dreamy outpost on the far side of Vancouver Island feels like its perched on the edge of the Earth.

Cost: Rooms start at $460 (Canadian) in the summer, and about half that during off-season.

Fine print: The resort’s panoramic, A++ Pointe Restaurant is kind of like the French Laundry of the northwest.

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Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: The Esalen Institute

Top 9 Spiritual Resorts: The Esalen Institute

No. 2

The Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA: Call it the cradle of West Coast civilization. Founded in the 1960s, it was here that figures like Joseph Campbell, Abraham Maslow, Fritz Perls and an Episcopal priest-turned-Zen Buddhist named Alan Watts fused eastern mysticism with modern psychology. They seeded mega-trends ranging from Gestalt Therapy to Star Wars.

If physical place is the dominant force that shapes your experience then nothing compares to Esalen. Its sandstone cliff-hanger mineral baths are fed by a spring on the beach that in earlier centuries were a healing force for the coastal Esselen Indians. Today’s baths are open all night long, and nude lounging is welcome. Entranced by the moon, stars and breakers five stories below, visitors from around the world take full advantage of both options.

Cost: $105 – $180 per night.

Fine print: Esalen is a workshop-oriented retreat but it is possible to snag a space

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