Musing on the Mesa

By Steven Libowitz   |   April 26, 2018

It was early last spring, just over a year ago, that Mark Ruskin published his second book of poetry, On Love’s Path ~ New Versions of Rumi, Kabir & Hafiz, in which he intuitively interprets the words of the great mystic poets through his own heart as a Chinese medicine healer. As with his first volume, Ruskin read selections from the work at a couple of different events, some of which were accompanied with music, and occasionally offered one or two of his own original poems, which not only flowed seamlessly alongside the interpretations but also were favorites with the audience.

This Sunday, those roles are reversed, as Ruskin will be sharing an afternoon reading with Daphne Rose Kingma in which both will reading only their own works, poems that encompass the realm of love and the radiant heart. Ruskin’s pieces are newly composed poems, while Kingma will be reading selections from her book Warrior/Queen, as well as many new pieces written for this afternoon’s event. Together they will create “an antiphonal tapestry” of offerings that illuminate the journey of the human heart and the unfolding of the soul in an intimate event that aims to touch, open, and inspire all who attend.

The reading takes place at 2:30 pm at a private home on the Mesa. While there is no cost to attend, voluntary love offerings will be gratefully accepted. To reserve a spot, email your request to Mark Ruskin at

Breathing and Birthday Honors 

Hansavedas Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit spiritually led by the Himalayan monk, His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda, that has been stepping up its public presence earlier this month, continues with two more in-depth events this week. A Himalayan 3-D Psoas Breathing Workshop takes place 9:30 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, April 28, at Parish Hall at the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1535 Santa Barbara St., where participants will learn to harness the power of three-dimensional, thoraco-pelvic cylindrical breathing by properly utilizing the myofascial psoas (a deep-seated band of muscle that connects the diaphragm, spine, and pelvis). 

Deep breathing allows people to feel the breath down to the pelvic floor by properly utilizing the diaphragm and thereby releasing tension in the sternum. This is a fundamental step in guiding prāṇa in the spinal breathing techniques of Himalayan practices. Through proper instruction and practice, participants will be able to experience the power of prāṇāyāma breathwork to bring about emotional release, meditative repose, vitality, and wellness.

HH Swami Vidyadhishananda is a yogi-monk who hails from lineages of meditation adepts that are from a combined heritage of rishi sages and nath yogis. He is able to reveal rare prāṇāyāma and meditation techniques from the Himalayan siddha tradition. Prior experience with ujjāyi breathing, known as the “breath of victory,” is not required as the internal breathing technique will also be briefly reviewed during the workshop. But those unfamiliar with ujjāyi are urged to learn the technique ahead of the workshop via three free videos available at and to read about Breathing from the Core at Course fee is $85.

One day later, Hansavedas offers Life & Times of an Enlightened Master, a Full Moon Fellowship Commemorating Paramahansa Hariharananda, at its Hansavedas Meditation Centre, 1807 E. Cabrillo Blvd., suite D, by the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. The up-close and deeply spiritual commemoration of the birth anniversary of Swami Hariharananda Paramahansa, the monastic master of His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda, finds the Swami offering sublime chanting and devotional songs related to his own satguru. Imbibe the blessings of mantra chanting and vespers offered at the Meditation Altar. Visitors will also hear how Swami Hariharananda Baba spent his childhood and training years in Puri’s Karar ashram to become a spiritual giant, listen to inspiring stories about his interaction with his satguru Swami Sriyukteshwar and learn about his close association with three great disciples of Swami Sriyukteshwar, namely, Swami Satyananda, Swami Narayan, and Paramahansa Yogananda. Guests will also see rare video footage from his teaching years and learn about his wisdom teachings. 

An Ayurvedic vegetarian lunch (gluten-free and mostly vegan) will be served in the courtyard of the Cabrillo Meditation Centre here will be a full moon beach walk followed by a continuation of the fellowship before an evening open-eye meditation gazing at the moon starting at 7:15 pm. The moonrise is at 7:34 pm just before the 7:41 sunset. Gather at the East beach near the volleyball courts for this peace walk and meditation that takes place monthly. The event has a requested donation of $35.

For more information about the events or Hansavedas Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, call (909) 543-6003, or visit

Reflections with the Revs 

With the controversy over their retention as reverends at Santa Barbara Unity finally in the rear-view mirror after the membership voted to overturn a board decision (as well as replace the board), married reverends Larry and Denese Schellenk have stepped up their commitment to the community in a number of ways, including a new monthly evening of exploration, dialog, and discussion around the “ups and downs of our human/spiritual journey.” The second installment takes place 7 to 8:30 pm Wednesday, May 2, in the Chapel at 227 E. Arrellaga St. A love offering is requested.

On Friday, April 27, EntheoMedicine presents Robert Forte in a talk titled “Entheogenic and Psychedelics: Ancient and Modern Doorways to Well-being and Creativity” (which we profiled in more detail last week). The 6 pm lecture will be followed by Q&A and networking until 9 pm. Tickets are $30…. Tania Shanti Isaac offers a special Soul Rejuvenation session at Unity on Saturday, April 28, leading a workshop that combines restorative yoga, hands-on healing, and channeling for a transformative and nourishing experience that also integrates sound healing and essential oils. The holistic workshop is intended to help heal and rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. The 1 to 4 pm workshop is limited to 10 participants and costs $50.

Meanwhile, this week’s Sunday single service (April 29) at 10 am starts a new series inspired by The Untethered Soul, one of the books that have proven profoundly meaningful to me (and many others). “Untethered Soul Series #1 – Awakening Consciousness” also has music by Nadine Risha. Contact Isaac at (818) 415-0652 Info for all Unity events at 966-2239 or

Sacred Sounds Awash in Salt 

There are sound bath events all over Santa Barbara on a regular basis, including several yoga studios and even at churches and other gathering places, not to mention a steady stream of them at the recent Lucidity Festival. But only at the Salt Cave can you combine salt therapy with sound healing in a powerful blend that can help to align every cell in the body through breath, harmonic resonance, and connecting with the Earth’s natural energy.

Brandon Kaysen‘s Sound Bath with Gongs, which returns to Salt on Friday, April 27, is a sacred sound bath journey that helps raise the collective consciousness, nurture the soul, and heal the body by strengthening the nervous system via carefully choreographed playing of Tibetan and crystal bowls, didgeridoo, chimes, and more. The vibration of the primordial sacred gongs honors our ancestors, their places, and traditions by participating in self-reflection and expansion. These healing qualities of sound help assimilate affirmations and prayers all while creating passageways for release to occur. It was Yogi Bhajan who said, “The gong is the only thing that supersedes the human mind, because this is the basic creative sound. Mind was created out of it; it’s like the father and mother together.”

Santa Barbara Salt cave is the largest underground crystal salt cave in North America; its walls and ceilings are made of 45 tons of back-lit Jurassic-Age salt blocks and crystals, while the floor is covered with crushed Himalayan salt – from the same region as the gongs and bowls. The ancient sea salt is laden with minerals, including magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium, all of which play a key role in our body’s health, function, and cellular communication. Visitors can relax in comfortable zero-gravity lounge chairs, or lie directly in the salt to soak up the sounds – creating a unique experience of breathing pure air in the salt cave while journeying deep within ourselves and peacefully connecting with Mother Earth through sound and salt. The journey begins at 6:15 pm at the Salt Cave at 740 State Street and costs $25. Call 963-7258 or visit


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