Tag Archives: Paul Kaihla

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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Stone temple pilot: Teotihuacan, Mexico

Stone temple pilot: Teotihuacan, Mexico

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The largest pyramid in the Americas has drawn people from around the world who want a peak experience. Now I know why. I just had one.

PAUL KAIHLA — Like a typico gringo, I launched into a litany of questions about historical facts so that I could “know” Teotihuacan, a sacred city that was built by the Toltecs 2,000 years ago — that is, at about the same time that an Atlantic away the Romans were achieving hegemony over the antique world and crucifying Christ.

My guide dissuaded me from such thinking — and thinking, at all.

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Mitt’s Mormonism

The Republican nominee low-bridges his faith in a party of Bible-thumpers

BY PAUL KAIHLA — The Democrats have their “minority” candidate in-waiting for president — Hillary — and a minority president, through the prism of the ‘race card.’

Religously-speaking, the Republicans have a minority candidate, too. Mitt Romney (translation: Mormon).

Mitt is a Boomer begat by a baronette of American politics: George Romney, three-term governor of Michigan, a former federal cabinet secretary and a runner-up to Nixon in the 1968 Republican primary for president. But did you know that Romney senior was born in Chihauhau, Mexico?

And did you know why? His parents had fled the U.S. because the LDS — Mormon shorthand for their official church — had disavowed polygamy. Although it was officially illegal in Mexico, who back-then-there would give an Eff about such a statute in an out-of-the-way place?

Was Mitt’s father a polygamist? Hardly. But he was a true believer, and actually worked as a Mormon missionary before his political career and turn as CEO of American Motors.

Back to the future: When Mitt launched his campaign for the 2008 presidential nomination, he worked overtime to dispell “misconceptions” about Mormonism in a big interview that the New York Times splashed on its front page:

He said he shared with many Americans the bafflement over obsolete Mormon practices like polygamy — he described it as “bizarre” — and disputed the argument that his faith would require him to be loyal to his church before his country.

Holy speaking in tongues — ”bafflement”?!

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Swan dive from above

Hypnosis in a bathing suit

The California retreat, Harbin Hot Springs, invented a powerful form of deep trance work variously called watsu and water dance

BY PAUL KAIHLA — I first heard of watsu when I went to Harbin Hot Springs with an ex because of its rep for having the best mineral baths north of San Francisco. We were surprised to discover that the place was actually a New Age hangout.

When my significant-other saw people in a pool doing what we later learned was watsu, she almost sounded like a socialite encountering lepers — “Ewww, who are those people?”

At first glance, it did look somewhat sideways: What seemed like a bunch of aging hippies in the nude, paired up and cradling each other as if they were attempting some kind of re-birthing exercise.

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One of the world’s hottest spiritual teachers shares her prescription for feeling great

Pamela Wilson asks: When you worry, or feel fear, can you say this to the anxious voice in your head? “You are welcome here!”

BY PAUL KAIHLA — Pamela Wilson has many moving parts — part spiritual muse, part Gestalt Therapist and part post-modern mystic, in the sense that she can induct an audience into an expansive state using voice and anchors the same way that the late great Milton Erickson did with patients in hypnosis.

Featured in the Soul’s Code slide show, Female Mystics, Wilson comes as advertised: I and 60 others were moved by the power of her presence the other night in a simple hall in Berkeley, CA. She held an over-educated and highly-experienced audience in her sway, to paraphrase the Rolling Stones.

Wilson is fond of revealing the ways in which the mind acts as a blunt instrument.

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The shaman origin of your spa’s sauna

The sauna is a Finnish, warlock thing. To prove it, I skinny-dipped through a hole in the ice of Lake Superior

BY PAUL KAIHLA — I spent the afternoon breaking trail through the great boreal forest on the north shore of Lake Superior on cross-country skis made of hickory with my host, Olli. We had a novice tagging along, who couldn’t quite get the swing of it.

A Finnish engineer who has two adult children, a happy marriage and a wry sense of humor, Olli offered our tag-along adventurer mock comfort about the learning curve she faced with nordic skiing: “Don’t worry,” he quipped, “the first 10 years are the hardest.”

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What will replace LOST? Why the ABC series was the only show on TV that had a religious following

The gospel of LOST: Steeped in mystical memes and Einstein’s deconstruction of time, here are 12 reasons that LOST was the most “enlightened” show on TV

BY PAUL KAIHLA — In the 2011 liturgical calendar of American TV, what have we got? Jersey Shore ?! Millionaire Matchmaker? They make Sarah Palin look seriously spiritual. And they strip all shame from the vapid Lloyd Braun-Marc Cherry content called Desperate Housewives. Also an ABC product.

In this 2011 season of Lent, we still long for LOST. Why bring up religious matters?

LOST was a religious experience. Here are 12 reasons why:

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Spiritually $urviving job loss

The Secret‘s wishful thinking, versus the reality of 7 million American jobs lost. Soul’s Code introduces its own guide to balancing job security — and inner security

BY PAUL KAIHLA —  Oprah’s endorsement helped make a viral, online video called, The Secret, a mainstream hit a couple of years ago.

The theme of The Secret is that the good or bad you see in your life situation is a reflection of the contents of your consciousness. No, not your intellectual property — your intention. The producers of the indie Internet phenomenon co-opted the phrase, “the law of attraction” — as in, you have what you believe in.

Or more to their point: your affluence equals your attitude.

By that measure, many Americans — and good people all around the world — must have been thinking some very, very bad things, indeed, since September, 2008.

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“Rule the hearts of thy servants and the President of the United States”

“Rule the hearts of thy servants and the President of the United States”

On this First Day of Advent, The Great Litany has a new ring under an Obama presidency

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants, the President of the United States, and all others in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth.

BY PAUL KAIHLA — That line in the six-page petition, or poem of loving kindness, called The Great Litany had a plaintive ring during the two Bush terms. But as churches across America chant it in procession at the beginning of Advent, marking the official start to a liturgical new year, it feels like a prayer that actually connects under an Obama presidency.

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Mad Men’s Don Draper and depression in America

In 2010 America, we all live in a world that is 90 % mad: The most fascinating show on TV’s sly commentary on our current mental health

BY PAUL KAIHLA —  On October 1, 2010, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a survey of the most recent data on depression — and the results were, well, depressing. One in ten Americans suffered from that mental illness as the economy careened into the current recession.

But what surprised many researchers, especially at pioneering psych departments like that at Stanford University, is that the statistic was not higher. According to Stanford neuro-psych Viveka Ramel, about half of us in North America will suffer from a clinical disorder of some kind during our lifetime — and for a fifth of us, that diagnosis will be depression.

A brilliant reflection of our current economic and spiritual health, and how those macro forces course through our personal psycho-dynamics, is on display this fall on the AMC cable channel series, Mad Men. The show’s writers — some of the same people who brought you the hit HBO show, The Sopranos — frame their mise-en-scene in the emerging New York megapolitan of the 1960′s, riven by characters who are careerists on Madison Avenue.

Casting this story in the past gives us just enough comfort-zone to look at ourselves in our present-tense, and make no mistake: Mad Men is a commentary on *our* anxious, over-politicized and publicized times.

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