The circumstances in some places appear to violate that simple premise.
There's Iraq. Afghanistan. Zimbabwe. Many people would agree you can't
there, or you'd experience extreme uphill if you attempted to.
And then there are some places where, in contradistinction, you can't
even if you tried. They are the power points of
chakras, if you will.
Such a place is Nepenthe. Carved out of the cliffs gut wrenchingly high
above the Pacific Ocean on the California coast, Nepenthe creates a
sense of you gazing through a porthole out onto the
of Life itself. And then that porthole starts to blur and fade until
there's no distinction between
who you really are
of Life itself.
Situated near Esalen (the manger of the human potential movement), the
museum (a monument to one of America's greatest beat generation
writers, indeed of any genre of writers), and the village of Big Sur
(which unfathomably manages to merge sheer awe, splendor, and
magnificence with a simple one gas station one store whistle stop),
Nepenthe is a place to experience for yourself directly since such
places can never really be effectively described in words. Any words I
put on it don't express it totally and even diminish it. I get whatever
is present here is so vast I'm either unable to get in touch with it
totally or I'm poorly equipped to comment on it or both.
Nepenthe's symbol is the phoenix. According to legend, this
with its golden bejeweled wings comes back to Heliopolis from Arabia
once every half millennium, cremates itself, then rises again from its
own ashes, more awesome and more magnificent than ever before. The life
of the phoenix is a parable for you and I breaking up who we think we
are in favor of
who we really are,
and for immortality.
Homer refers to Nepenthe in The Odyssey as a remedy for grief. Edgar
Allan Poe writes in The Raven "Quaff oh quaff this kind Nepenthe and
forget the lost Lenore" (Poe is referring to his lonely man's lost
The colors of Nepenthe are the greens of the forest, the blues of the
ocean, the brown ochre clays of the mountain, the whites and grays of
the clouds and the mists. I want my wardrobe to be cast entirely in
these magnificent rich deep lush hues! The details of Nepenthe are the
corduroy ripples far below off the beaches as waves wash the kelp beds
on the waters edge, every leaf on every tree and every bush as they
rustle waving at me tickled by the gentle summerbreeze, the majestic
glide paths of eagles and hawks as they soar a mile high scanning with
telescopic vision for prey far, far below. The scents of Nepenthe are
the salt of the ocean mist, pungent redwood and oak, indeed the
freshness of my own lungs freed from fetid air.
But all that aside, the thing about Nepenthe is the scope,
the height, the hugeness, the distance, the sheer expanse, the
the space, indeed the
... Taking all that in (if you dare) gives direct indisputable
and undeniable access towho you really are.
who you really are.
When you get that, at that point you no longer believe. You know.
A long, long time ago when I first had the good fortune to visit and be
a guest here, staying in a room in a home in these forests viewing
through a huge plate glass window onto this immense spirit, I was given
a local magazine which described the impact of Werner Erhard's work in
these parts. I read late into the night, the printed words jumping and
flickering on the page lit by the naked flame of an oil lantern. It was
there and then, very slowly at first and so intimately even I didn't
realize at the time it was happening, I first began to get an insight
into who Werner really is.