Healing Hub for Hubbard

By Steven Libowitz   |   May 16, 2019

Although she spent the final few years of her life at Loveland Ranch in Sunrise, Colorado, Barbara Marx Hubbard – the futurist and author dubbed by Deepak Chopra as “The voice of conscious evolution” who passed away on April 10 at age 80 – spent a decade and a half in Santa Barbara beginning just before the turning of the new millennium. Hubbard’s history includes publishing one of the first newsletters on evolutionary transformation called The Center Letter in collaboration with Abraham H. Maslow, founder of Humanistic Psychology, back in the 1960s, and working closely with Dr. Jonas Salk as an original contributor to the Salk Institute. In the 1970s she co-founded The Committee for the Future in Washington, D.C., which developed the New Worlds Educational and Training Center based on her work.

But it was here that Hubbard co-created the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, a new developmental path to the next stage of human evolution, one that has as its goal the awakening of the spiritual, social, and scientific potential of humanity, in harmony with nature, for the highest good of all life. The work – which encompasses several different media and much more – served as her mission for much of the rest of her life.

The local Santa Barbara Conscious Evolution community, sparked by a Mind & Supermind lecture in 1999, met weekly in town for many years, and remnants of it still continue to get together to effect change and spiritual/global growth. This weekend, many of those who were touched by Hubbard’s life and work are coming together for a Commemoration at Unity of Santa Barbara (227 East Arrellaga Street). The event is being organized by Ani Ahavah, who herself moved to Santa Barbara to work directly with Hubbard in 2005 after spending six years working remotely, including transcribing Hubbard’s talks and inspiring speeches.

“I knew within the first few pages of reading after someone gave me her book Revelation more than 20 years ago that she and I had the same belief about this generation being a very spiritual one primed to make a big difference in the world,” Ahavah said last weekend. “After I met her at a conference in Palm Springs, I said to her ‘I can serve God best by serving you.’”

Ahavah said she worked with Hubbard as a personal assistant as well as in other positions at the Foundation, and also turned an Oakland workshop into a DVD series. In 2008, Ahavah created Love Grid at Ayni Gallery, which ran from 2010-16 as a monthly community hub for extending Hubbard’s work locally. “I wanted to have a place for the community to continue as the people around her were evolving in their own lives. We met as part of the result of Barbara inseminating people with the meme of conscious evolution. She was the inspiration.”

The Commemoration on Friday, May 17 – which Ahavah said she created via “an energetic transmission in my heart and soul that my memorial (to her) is to be a launch pad” – begins at 7 pm with music followed by an opportunity for those who worked with Hubbard and others to share how they were touched by her, and express gratitude and appreciation. A 15-minute video that serves as “a celebration about her messages” will then be screened before the event moved into the “activation” phase. “This is where we begin about how we pass the torch,” Ahavah said. “There will be some dialog, and showing clips of Barbara where she says, ‘I am at the tip of the tipping point.’ We’ll play off of that.” The evening closes with a “cosmic cellular meditation” from Sudama Mark Kennedy and another song.

“Visitors will also be able to add their names to a signup list of people interested in gather again to continue with what wants to happen,” Ahavah said. “An unfolding that’s launching. We’re the universal humans that she awakened, and it’s up to us now. The people who will come are the ones who are attracted to fully expressing themselves in all their amazing potential.” For more information, call Ahavah at (805) 450-2238 or email her at ani@iamuniverse.com. 

Ring that Bell

Rob Bell, The New York Times bestselling author whose books include Love Wins, What We Talk About When We Talk About God, and How To Be Here, was once a pastor of the fastest growing church in America and heralded as the next Billy Graham. But all that changed when he began challenging deeply held conservative ideals while grappling with such questions as “Can faith and science coexist?” and “Do belief and progress stand in opposition?” Bell’s sharp left turn prompted lots of controversy, particularly polarized even in our troubled times, with fans calling him a prophet and paradigm shifter while detractors labeled him a conveyor of lies and purveyor of twisted scripture, all of which was documented in the 2017 film, The Heretic.

With his current “An Introduction to Joy” tour, Bell hits the road as a pseudo stand-up act, using elements of comedy to explore deeper and sometimes darker eras of our faith and soul, making people laugh so they can feel more open about examining our human nature. Bell has a chart-topping spiritual podcast titled the RobCast, has toured with Oprah Winfrey and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011. He also has a regular show at Largo in Los Angeles, a version of which he brings to the Lobero Theatre for a presentation at 8 pm on Friday, May 17. Tickets are $35, or $85 for priority seating and entrance to the pre-show Q&A at 6:15.

Master of Meditation Returns

Sheng Zhen Meditation has been enjoying a period of growth in Santa Barbara recently, what with three teachers offering regular and ongoing classes, workshops, and practice sessions. Sheng Zhen, which means Unconditional Love, is a comprehensive system of health and healing that helps people understand the power of love through moving and still meditation that can apply to real life beyond the practice itself. 

Sheng Zhen Meditation was created by Li Junfeng following a career as head coach of the renowned Beijing Wushu Team (where he led the full contact martial arts team to 12 consecutive undefeated seasons and once coached a young Jet Li) and as a star in the martial arts movie industry in China. He founded the International Sheng Zhen Society to spread the practice wide and far and has since taught the meditation in more than 30 countries across six continents. Master Li, who serves on the board of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong and the Qigong Science Research Association of China, has lived in the U.S. for 17 years, and has spent time here in Santa Barbara over the years. 

The 80-year-old Li Junfeng arrived back in town last weekend for a series of mini-workshops and classes, each focusing on a different aspect of Sheng Zhen. The final three events – all of which are practices in Heaven Earth Heart Mantra, a seated form of the meditation – take place this week, with a two-hour class at 5:30 pm on Saturday May 18, and 75-minute sessions at 4:30 pm on Monday and Wednesday, May 20 and 22. All of the classes will be held at Leslie Sack Dance Studio, 20 West Calle Laureles in midtown, and carry a suggested donation of $20 each. For more information, visit www.shengzhensb.org/shengzhenclasses-om or call (805) 729-4449 to reach Bryce Lupoli, who teaches Sheng Zhen Healing Stage One on Thursdays and Awakening the Soul on Saturdays weekly at the Santa Barbara Sheng Zhen Center, 222 East Canon Perdido Street, Suite 306. 

More Meditation: Peace Party Debuts

Although it sounds like a new political organization that might challenge the two-party system with a more pacifist approach, Peace Party is actually a new Santa Barbara Meetup that employs mindfulness meditation to cultivate inner peace and loving kindness. Based on the Dalai Lama’s words that “Changing the world for the better begins with individuals creating inner peace within themselves,” the new group welcomes both new and experienced meditators to weekly hour-long gatherings that begin with a small talk on peace followed by guided mindfulness and loving kindness meditations. Taking another wise cue that time in nature can be healing in itself, the Peace Party Meditation Meetup gathers in Ambassador Park, the strip of green directly across Cabrillo Boulevard from West Beach, at 205 West Mason Street. The first meeting takes place at 11:30 am Saturday, May 18, and continues at the same time every week. Attendees are encouraged to bring a mat, chair, or cushion to sit or lay on. Visit www.meetup.com/Peace-Party-Meditation.

Moonlight Meditations

Mitsuko Conner Newlan’sBlue Moon Meditation & Gong Bath, which takes place at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening, May 18 at DiviniTree Yoga, uses the active energy of the full moon to meditate and support personal growth. The two-hour gathering includes a physically active long meditation (22 to 31 minutes) meant to push participants physically, mentally, and possibly emotionally to strengthen the reaction of the nervous system under stress. The 90-minute event begins with a Kundalini Yoga warm-up and concludes with a consolidating Gong Bath Shavasana. Admission is $20 in advance, $22 day of.

Over at Yoga Soup, Patrick San Francesco returns for one of his periodic Full Moon Meditation, Healing & Talk events at 7 pm on the same night. Following 45 minutes of individual healing attention, the Goa, India-born energy healer will lead a Full Moon “Expressive” Meditation followed by a talk on the topic of “How to be who you truly are and not what ‘they’ want you to be.” Admission is $30.


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