Friday, May 16, 2008


I just finished a wonderful book by John Robbins entitled 'Healthy at 100'
. I know, it hardly seems like Aja's kind of book, however, it was
incredibly diverse in speaking of what makes up health, and what those
cultures look like which have consistently had the most centenarians and
supercentanarians (those who live past 110).

I have often put forth the premise that if you could define and describe
paradise, every facet of it - birth through death, education, family
relations, community, education, spirituality, economics, EVERYTHING, and
then flip that 180 degrees, you would have current western civilization, or
lack of it. (Mahatma Gandhi was once asked "Mr. Gandhi, what do you think
of western civilization?" To which he replied, "I think it would be a good

Anyway, I digress. The point of this story is that Robbins, in this book,
similarly shows how, in many ways, my contention is correct: this society
is exceptionally unhealthy. In onechapter he writes about nurturing,
touching and how important this is to our health. Not only important,
literally crucial. He quotes the late psychologist, Virginia Satir who
says, "We need 4 hugs a day to survive. We need 8 hugs a day for
maintenance, and we need 12 hugs a day to grow."

We of the Barnashram community are attempting to take these words to heart.
Doing a little research on hugs, we've found that there have been a number
of 'hug heroes'. Just in the last few decades there was Eleanor Hill who
founded Resonance House, and promoted hugs with 'I give hugs' buttons. More
recently, Juan Mann started a 'Free Hugs' campaign and showed up on Oprah a
couple ofyears back.(check youtube)

Anyway, I've decided we need to create a hug-o-meter (pronounced hug - ahh
- meter - emphasis on the Ahh!) At present, I'm thinking 12 beads on a
string, which you can move to one end each time you give (or get) a hug.
(We used such a device to keep track of our daily chanting when I lived in
temples.) Look for them soon... Or better yet, create your own today!

So, why is Aja (famous for his curmudgeonly behavior) doing this? Because
it is essential. It takes very little time to recognize the Absolute. The
difficulty is that there is so much garbage in the mind, particularly of a
low self worth nature, that the recognition of the Absolute cannot be
maintained or REALized. They continue to be little glimpses which quickly
subside because, ultimately, we can't stand ourselves, our lives, our
environment, our society, our ... Hugging reverses this trend. You start to
share love and you become love. (I met a saint a couple of years ago in
India walking down the street. Beautiful man. He turned to me and said,
'Love is God'. Not God is Love, but Love is God. It's the only thing he
said, and then walked on. And you can't go around arguing with saints, ya

The Who and What of us is One Thing. The What (or Absolute is recognized
when the Who-ness is clear enough for the What to shine through. What
obscures that, in part, is our identification with a who in which we assume
there is 'something wrong'. There is nothing wrong, but we don't believe
it. Living in Love, allows us to recogize that there IS nothing wrong.

Okay, enough for now. So HUG - ON DUDES!