Every morning I briefly tune into the headlines of the New York Times and Fox News, just to monitor some conventional reality and keep a wary eye on the world of ‘alternative facts.’ I do this as a contrast to this alternative life I lead at Breitenbush Hot Springs. And each day I experience a jarring noise-to-signal static that triggers outrage at political behavior so weird and irresponsible, I wouldn’t tolerate it in my own sphere of influence.
But my deeper reaction is one of growing ridicule. I cannot restrain my mirth which, like a yawn, ignites more of same the longer it persists. The news is more entertaining than any fiction. My laughter response comes in spite of knowing there are imminent dangers hanging in the balance. The fact that elected representatives lie isn’t news, but these ‘alternative facts’, in speeches, tweets and tantrums, are so farcical that public ridicule of the offending officials seems the only sensible response.
Laughter is good, and I laugh now more than ever because these “leaders” are so laughable, so where’s the harm? I could just leave it at that … but I can’t. Because, behind this buffoonery are the specters of ballistic missiles and climate collapse—just to name two terminal trajectories—so I am aware that, should this comedy continue its current course, we might all die laughing. This noise, this static, of outright lying and violent speech, not to mention the actual violence itself, is unmistakably of a higher magnitude than in recent memory, and being broadcast from the very pinnacles of pyramidal power structures.
Ridicule as response may be a fit behavior, but ultimately we have more important work to do than merely analyzing the insane behavior of public policy professionals or some whacked out president (your choice, there are many). Ultimately, we have the opportunity to answer a higher calling, engage the important issues behind fraudulent ‘facts’, and dream into and make manifest a more sane world. In short, ‘alternative facts’ call for alternative solutions. Or, to paraphrase Einstein, we can only solve our problems with qualitatively different thinking than we used to create them.
A year ago I was invited to give a speech at a week-long international conference in China. The conference, called ‘The Localization and Globalization of Psychosomatic Medicine,’ had speakers from all round the world, each addressing some aspect of psychological, emotional or physical healing. I was invited to speak about holistic healing from the point of view of an educational consciousness center (Breitenbush), so I titled my talk, ‘Seeking Wellbeing Through A Mind/Body/Spirit Curriculum.’
From the stage, looking out at the audience sitting in long perfect rows stretching to the back of the vast hall, I departed from prepared remarks and decided to tell them what I really think. I said, I am waiting for a miracle. We all are. We’re waiting for all people to treat each other with respect for each one’s dignity, knowing that we are all the same in the important ways. We have the capacity to do this, we demonstrate it everyday through love of our children, our family members, our respected peers and colleagues. We are an amazing species, and we have the opportunity to consciously evolve.
I went on to describe Breitenbush in terms of its educational offerings (workshops, retreats, conferences), as well as what the place offers guests by way of natural beauty, organic food, etc. We are a center entirely dedicated to human potential, not human pathology. And the cool thing is that Breitenbush, and centers like it (and there are now thousands), does not request or require loyalty, there is no organization to identify with or become a member of. As the title of my talk inferred, the teachers we invite and the people who choose to come find wellbeing in their own ways.
The speech was well received, and led to television interviews and the like. More interesting were the meetings with representatives of long established or newly emerging holistic centers, from Europe, the States, UK and China. There is a movement quietly growing larger across the human world, though it garners very little publicity. Breitenbush is part of this movement. The interesting thing about this is that each of these centers is a one-off. The revolution will not be franchised. It happens only and always at the local level. Holistic consciousness centers are springing up everywhere around the world. Each one addresses issues relevant to the people in that locale. They can be found throughout the Third World, and the First World, in capitalist and communist economies, everywhere. What I do know is that worldwide there are alternative holistic centers manifesting positive practical alternatives, based on human potential. Now, that is an alternative fact that makes me mirthful for the right reasons.
by Peter Moore
Breitenbush Hot Springs