HAPPINESS; THAT ELUSIVE WILL-O-THE-WISP

HAPPINESS: THAT ELUSIVE WILL-O-THE-WISP

There are three kinds of happiness: the kind you wish you had, the kind you think you have, and the kind that’s unmistakable. Problem is, those who don’t have happiness are looking for it in all the wrong places, and many who think they are happy are actually pleased—a paltry consolation prize. A feather on the sole of the foot may provoke laughter but it hardly brings joy.

Up until recently it appeared that the advertisers had won. People were looking to establish successful lives through goods and services, or as one writer put it, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Is that to be our legacy, a tombstone surrounded with the gadgets that failed to add any years to our life or—more to the point—life to our years?

In the early l960’s a brilliant and my late partner, John Williamson ran computer models to determine what was wrong to cause everyone so much unhappiness and discontent? Ultimately his model findings would be the foundation to the creative design of Sandstone Retreat/Foundation, where the focus was belief that our minds, spirits, body and soul were loved and respected.

John determined that we were guided by the chatter inside our heads, a false sense of self that deludes us and which handles our problems by giving them names, namely the ego. We built a society on these false assumptions, either naively or cunningly steered by parents, school, books, film, television, advertising and other people’s feedback. And since most of the people on whom we model our behavior also conduct their lives based on false assumptions, we never learn to know anything different. We went about our lives based upon assumptions rather than real experience.

Upon examination, these assumptions turn out to be out of touch with reality. We say with the authority of tradition, ”Everybody knows that it is so,” or, “It has always been that way.” But if we try to analyze an assumption of this kind it falls apart as soon as we touch it. And that is why we prefer not to touch them and sometimes even fiercely defend them. We poor lemmings continue to leap into the sea, confident that there is land within our reach because, “everyone knows that.”

As a result, we end up living under the pressure of countless false fears. We live in a cage that is of our own making, but one that seems real enough so that we do not venture outside of it. We end up restricting, our actions and our choices, and thus strangle our precious potential. All this because of false fears based upon false assumptions.

The activity of ceremonial drumming is a pathway to the heart, leading us to know our true self. The heart reaches a magnetic field 500 times more powerful than our brain. One hour of drumming registers a huge boost to the immune system, and generates emotions of joy and bliss. It works across all cultural conflicts. Recently Cindy Stevens was in Iraq to revive their spirit. It is touching and you can view her drumming at; http://www.ubdrumcircles.com/video.php and join in to be a part of saving the world.

Meditation is another huge threat to the craziness in our lives. We are blessed with great support while heading into the New Year. May you have an exciting new year!

BORN TOO LATE

TRAMPOLINE05_cropLooking back in history to Sandstone’s sexual revolution in the 60’s and 70’s you will know that we wanted out of bondage and be free to explore and discover our little known inner self. We continually searched the consciousness to understand our purpose in life and help us mature from childhood to adulthood.

Sandstone dominated the Media coverage from 1970 through 1973. Over the past several years the mass audience has been exposed to Sandstone through numerous articles in diverse publications. I appeared on the Dick Cavett show with the Sandstone philosophy to inform the world that from my perspective life was a banquet and most poor souls were starving to death.

For those of you born too late for Sandstone here are some excerpts from a few publications with a total circulation well in excess of 15,000,000 copies.

 Rolling Stone: 1972 “Sensuality Comes to Suburbs.” In the City of the Angels, in the land of sensory overload, it’s Saturday night. From out a plate glass window in the main room of Sandstone Institute, you can watch the full moon make patterns on the ocean waves. Every 15 minutes a new couple arrives…Just regular folks, the kind you see in the shopping plaza on Saturday morning with three kids in the back of a station wagon. Inside the main room, 35 people are sprawled on the sofa and over the floor, eating dinner. Half of them are totally naked. Sipping wine and making conversation.

 LOS ANGELES TIMES: 1972 “Sandstone: Close-up of a Unique Life-style.” Sandstone combines an alternate life-style, a community, a private club and retreat, and a sociological research community. While there is a definite sexual basis for their interpersonal relationships.. . Sandstone is not a “sex club” or a wife swapping fraternity, at least not in the usual sense. While newcomers may be awed by the open sexuality, most old timers are more relaxed by the atmosphere and say they thrive in an environment which allows them to experience sex without guilt or social stigma.

 ESQUIRE 1972 “ Nobody Serves Onion Dip at Sandstone” Most American Suburbs are swinging these days. In the Los Angeles suburb, group sex has achieved a higher consciousness. An Esquire writer recently visited a place completely in harmony with the rest of our suburb, Sandstone Retreat. They make love openly, unconcerned by the lack of privacy, and, not intimidated by things that might inhibit outsiders. It is a fundamental concept at Sandstone that the human body is good, that sexuality is a positive force toward greater intimacy and understanding.

 PENTHOUSE 1972 “SANDSTONE—A LOVE COMMUNITY” On a California estate overlooking the Pacific, sexual hang-ups are treated by permissive therapy or orgy, depending on how you see it. I read some papers written by John Williamson where I found Williamson’s rationale for the Sandstone Community. Sex emerged as one of the major ways in which people must learn to communicate. “We waste a lot of time and energy on fantasies” said John, “I think that if you have a fantasy about taking your secretary to bed, then you should take her to bed, if she’s willing. That way you exhaust the fantasies and they can’t bother you. I’m not saying that public sex is better than private sex. It isn’t. A strong reaction against public sex is what’s debilitating. A little public sex will help you immensely in your private sex.”

THE END

LOST LOVE

kamasutraWell over a millennium ago, Indian Hinduism treated sex as an art, a science and a spiritual practice. It was not considered a remnant of some dark and ancient bestial behavior, but rather a civilizing force. As such they wrote extensive treatises on how to elevate their sexual potential.

The most famous pieces of Indian literature on sex are the Kamasutra (aphorisms on love) and the Kamashrastra (from kama “pleasure”, and shastra “skill”). This collection of explicit sexual writings, both spiritual and practical, covered most aspects of human courtship and intercourse. The Kamasutra is thought to have been written in its final form sometime between the third and fifth century AD, a period of Indian history when sex epitomized love, pleasure, synergy and happiness. It was a successful strategy, which begs the question why around the 11th or 12th century, India took a conservative turn toward decreased freedom for women and a proscription against premarital and extramarital sex. They wrote a new sex manual suitable for their new order.

In Jewish law, sex is not considered intrinsically sinful or shameful when conducted in marriage, nor is it a necessary evil for the purpose of procreation. Sex is considered a private and holy act between a husband and wife. The residue of sex (as with any lost bodily fluid) was considered ritually unclean outside the body, and required ablution. Perhaps this is how sex became cast as a dirty act, forming an imprint in our brain that must somehow be removed.

Christianity re-emphasized the Jewish attitudes on sexuality with two new concepts. First, there was the reiterated idea that marriage was absolutely exclusive and indissoluble, placing further guidance on divorce and expanding on the reasons and principles behind those laws.

Second, in Old Testament times marriage was almost universal, in continuity with the total matrimony in Eden, but in the New Testament, the trajectory is extended forward to the goal of no marriage in the new heavens and new earth (see Matthew 22). Practically therefore the new age after Jesus now has marriage as only normative, but celibacy is a valuable gift in and of itself.

In present time, it feels as though our free will and identities have been stolen from us. My understanding from birth has been that each of us has a free spirit and entitled to create and live a chosen fruitful life of discovery, adventure, productivity and happiness, without meddlers and the dictates of a false society. This period of an open attitude towards sex reflects love, pleasure, synergy and happiness in their culture.
It was necessary to have a sexual revolution and the reason we pioneered Sandstone Retreat, which became known as the hub of the sexual revolution.

In 1972 we went so far as to create the Sandstone Movie for viewers to look in on members happily living an alternate lifestyle. It just happened that our principals were in sync with Hindu principals and expression of an open attitude towards sex reflects love, pleasure, synergy and happiness in the culture. The Sandstone Movie (only one of a kind) has been re-released on https://www.indieflix.com site. Just go there register (free) and search for “Sandstone.” Enjoy this rare event.

THE GREAT VEGETABLE REVOLUTION

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PART II
It took an understanding of nature to successfully and practically roll back the tide of gentrification and denaturing we had endured for centuries. And right at the height of the space age with men finally stepping on another heavenly body, a couple who were attuned to nature and its rhythms took yet another small step for a man that would yield another giant leap for mankind. John Williamson and I engineered a new social environment (or a very ancient social environment) focused on an alternate lifestyle that would free us from the masks we were forced to wear. We did not descend into anarchy, we gave control back to the natural order that created and fostered us.

Sandstone movie was first released in 1972 and is the only documentary today that features an alternate lifestyle community of people that desired to simply be themselves and shed the artificiality of living in a smoggy, chaotic and congested city. Included in this blog is the latest re-release information for those with interest in sexuality, multiple relationships and a functional community lifestyle.

“Sandstone” is a thought-provoking window into the heart of the sexual revolution in Southern California in the 1970’s. This legendary mountain top retreat was a fantasy playground for adults and an important social experiment rolled into one. Sandstone is relevant today because it facilitates an open dialogue about the pressure many people still feel from traditional societal expectations about sexuality and what is ‘normal’
About the film:

Filmed in the 1970’s, famed producer, Jonathan Dana’s “Sandstone” has been re-mastered and is making its exclusive worldwide digital premiere on Indie-Flix this week. The company’s goal is to entertain and engage their viewers with a socially relevant conversation about group marriage, relationships and sexuality.

The Cultural Connection:
When “Sandstone” was filmed, the ‘sexual revolution’ was a reaction to the pressure to be ‘normal’ as defined by mainstream society. It was a backlash against the traditional 1950’s lifestyle, in which appearance, perfection, and convention were prized above emotional fulfillment, freedom or growth.

While the term ‘sexual revolution’ generally implies the period from the 1960’s to the late 1970’s, in many ways our society is in the midst of a second wave of sexual liberation and equality. There is an increased acceptance and even celebration of sexual identity, the LGBTQ community and nontraditional relationship dynamics as Polyamory.

Only Nature is humanity’s physical, mental and emotional support system. Nature is trying to teach us to live and discover the persons we are! The shamanic journey teaches us to tap into our “true self” through respect and connections with nature. Getting grounded in our true self opens the pathway to our heart and ability to experience a happy and blissful life.

GOLDEN RELATIONSHIPS

Golden Relationships

As I write this, I’m sitting at my desk pondering the self-exile of humans from nature—both Nature with a capital N and human nature. What a sorry state of affairs this is! In a kinder, more sympathetic time we sprang from the fertile soil of Earth, then one day by mutual acclimation we paved over it.

There is an old myth from the Greeks about the giant Antaeus. While some part of him was in contact with his Mother Earth he was continually strengthened and enjoyed invincibility. Hercules, sensing the value of their intimate connection, lifted Antaeus up into the air and strangled him. The moment we turned our back on nature with distain, we created our own Hercules out of our arrogance and self-importance. Beware this monster—he will turn on you.

Our relationships were meant to be pervasive, stretching in all directions, to embrace life in all its grand diversity. We are surrounded by kindred spirits; the ox and owl, the hawk and cheetah, the wolf and lamb. As adaptable creatures, it is our heritage to reach outside of ourselves and form bridges to different viewpoints, different lifestyles, and different loves. What sets us apart as a species is not how much we can separate ourselves from Nature with a Capital N, but rather how fully and consciously we can embrace it. Ours was the golden opportunity to see not just our own thread but to stand back and perceive the whole tapestry, to know the design and our place in it. Instead we tug the threads that fall within our grasp and rapidly destroy a beauty that we fail to understand.

This callous approach to life could not help but erode the beauty and harmony within our own people. Rather than a mighty glacier, we are individual ice cubes held captive in a tray of our own design.

In the work-a-day world about the only consideration I have experienced, is what can we get from one another in this transaction? How much is this person worth to me? Oh my God, we must have lots more potential value that has spilled over into a vacuum! All the possible exchange of caring, compassion, respect and awakenings for a long term relationship are lost in this transaction.

The Sandstone environment spotlighted the almighty need to focus our energy towards creating a natural environment that could enhance awareness and relationships between us. Nothing took center stage that was more important than budding relationships and their vastly personal power.

First, is the need to unleash us from bondage and correct the sexual dysfunction. What followed was the need to begin replacing the old outdated negative program by tearing down the retaining walls in our brain and replace with positive, cleansing thoughts and actions, so we could feel good and respect our mind, body and soul. The task to carry out this matter is best handled through our hearts. Love is the most powerful emotion on earth, love yourself and assure your happiness!

People think freedom, and more importantly, how to achieve it, is difficult. Often people think freedom is measured by a lack of restrictions, take away the prison bars and you are free. But people carry around attitudes, prejudices and assumptions that are their own private prison, and it follows them wherever they go. I want to help people help themselves, to achieve the only freedom really worth having…and that’s a freedom that comes from within.

Legacy of the Williamson’s Sandstone Retreat

sandstone retreat legacyOnce NASA was testing a deep space radio array that could reach satellites around the dim outer planets of our solar system. What message did they choose to beam into the vastness of space? It was the Beatles’ song, “Across the Universe”. Among the lyrics were the words:

Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on, across the universe

In his press release, the usually staid NASA reporter said, “With nothing to stop it, this song will go on across the universe. It has achieved a form of immortality.”

That’s a very romantic image, and I’m as much a Beatles fan as anyone else of my generation, but chances are the signal will be too weak and distorted to appeal to teenagers on some distant inhabited planet. Sandstone, on the other hand, put a ripple in our social fabric that does indeed change lives. John was indeed a limitless undying love that shone around me like a million suns, and he does call me on and on across the universe.

I remember one evening at Sandstone when a successful gentlemen approached me to say thank you for an unforgettable weekend. “It was like falling down the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland,” he laughed. “Exciting, crazy, a kaleidoscope of wild emotions, a thrill ride I will always remember.” He took my hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it softly. “Thank you, Miss Barbara, for the most magical unforgettable weekend of my life.”

So let that be Sandstone’s legacy—a magical Camelot for one brief and shining moment, too exciting and beautiful to ever be forgotten.

THE MOST LIBERATED WOMAN IN AMERICA

Most Liberated woman

In 1972, Gay Talese, author of a book about Sex in America, sat for an interview with Playboy Magazine. Not surprisingly, Sandstone, John and I came up during the conversation, and Gay tagged me “the most liberated woman in America.” That was one accolade all my slaving away in capitalism could not win for me. Liberated…that sounds like freedom, right? As in freedom from growing up in Rural America, as in freedom from buying and selling, and—dare I say it—freedom from puritanical slavery to the traditional Western dictatorship of shame? Now there is a plaque I would be proud to hang on my wall!

I didn’t realize it at the time, but liberated describes me and our forty seven year marriage. Yes, you heard me—I did say “liberated” and “marriage” in one sentence that did not refer to divorce! Don’t laugh, folks, it’s possible. I’ve made it my mission in life to show you how and why.

To me, real liberation means individual freedom to make choices and decisions in life that are responsible, considerate, respectful, and caring. Not only for myself, but for maintaining the planet, and the effect on people I love, as well as the ones that love me. There I go messing with your mind again…I did say freedom and responsibility in the same sentence. If you’re wondering what I’ve been drinking, it’s iced tea, thank you very much, and you’re welcome to join me in a glass. Freedom and responsibility are not natural enemies. In fact, the key word is “natural”, and when you strive to put the nature back in human nature, not only do freedom and responsibility get along, so do marriage and liberation.

Along with a new lifestyle, I found it necessary to examine and adopt a new attitude and belief system. When the centuries old traditions, social attitudes, and perspectives fail to produce happiness and well being, it’s time for a change. Our lives have a limited time on earth so it is with a sense of urgency that we discover happiness, joy, and a positive attitude. The brain is the culprit that is interfering with the ability for us to enjoy living in a positive space. Actually, the brain feeds the “Ego” which gives us a false personality. It’s the brain that sends us out on shopping expeditions, travel, and seeking sex to distract us from fulfilling our spirit and soul needs.
Discovering the power path to the heart is the pathway to our true self. The heart has a magnetic field 500 times more powerful than our brain. We can trust our heart to show us our real self.

Entering a new lifestyle brings into question the outdated vocabulary we use to describe elements of our relationships. Example: Referring to our partner as a piece of property, this is “my husband or my wife”, is just plain wrong. Why not say the individuals name or if more of a label is necessary, say this is “my life partner or significant other.” That allows each person to maintain the dignity of being an individual. You can carry this ownership further: my house, my car, my furniture, my kids, etc. is used continually. Since it is impossible to literally own another person, why not trade it in for more positive descriptions. Otherwise, that mindset leads to negative feelings of alienation, jealousy, possessiveness, unhappiness, and distrust of one another.

The Sandstone membership marveled at the relationship John and I had built, and said they wished to have one like it. I told them it was possible and would simply take a strong commitment on their part to hang in there through the hard times. We worked hard to build trust, love, compassion, and equality into our relationship every day. We felt so confident and secure in our relationship that it was then easy for us to open our marriage and bring others into our bond. Our dream interdependent relationship allowed us complete freedom of choice and a healthy lifestyle. What could be better for a couple than to desire love and happiness for one another?