Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Roaming in Wyoming?

Days ago I bicycled out of the Rainbow Gathering in western Wyoming and am now in Green River, WY.


Bicycling to this gathering, it turned out that our group split up. Satya, Sara, & Peter decided they wanted to get there fast, so went ahead, while Vlad, Jose, & I wanted to take our time. Sara & I had been riding the tandem bike most the way, & I decided to switch it with Satya's bike, so Satya & Sara could ride the tandem. A few days after our split-up, Satya's bike's hub cassette broke, meaning defunct bike. Meaning I had to hitch with bike. But we weren't far from the gathering and the hitch would likely take only a day. But Jose was way tired of biking & insisted on hitching, & I was way into biking there, so we traded bikes. Jose got a ride right away - to the gathering that day in 2 rides. Vlad & I got there in 3 or 4 more days, only 12 hours after Satya, Sara, & Peter! We tortoises woulda got there the same time as the hares except for our breakdown.

I usually haven't known that many people at Rainbow Gatherings, like a shy new kid at school. But this time I felt so warm & fuzzy seeing so many friends there: friends from Portland (besides our biker tribe), friends from Moab, Santa Cruz, and from previous Gatherings.


The Rainbow Gathering was inspiring this year for me. It was smaller & mellower than usual, and the area was perfectly beautiful. The scouts, including my Moab friend, Val, again did a fine job choosing the site. I found this photo of it on the net:

Rainbow Gatherings are the nearest thing to a moneyless, gift economy I know of in the human world. How they work is a miracle. No where else have I seen such an overwhelming display of freely giving, as I see at Rainbow Gatherings. And the masses of people who do it think it nothing but fun & don't think about credit. Most are anonymous. Rainbow is anarchy at work. By anarchy I don't mean chaos, but amazing order that arises naturally out of what seems like it should be chaos. That humans, like other creatures of nature, could order themselves without Babylon's overseers & rulers makes the overseers & rulers go ballistic. The LEOs, as usual, were giving poor Rainbow people exorbitant fines for absurdities. One friend from Moab, who always wears green ranger pants (maybe the only pants he has), got a fine for impersonating a ranger. Another man got a fine for standing naked under his solar shower. They gave out tickets for speeding 40 mph in a 35 mph zone in the middle of nowhere. And LEOs, out in force with dogs, searched cars in their obsession with marijuana. I often wonder if this police state is still America. If you want to see real crime and hard drugs, go to any city. Yet the cops are here in force where there is less crime & less violence & less hard addictive drugs & alcohol & more generosity and cooperation than any other place in America I know of. I say this with full conviction.


That said, even so, Satya came up with an idea that he & I have been talking about for years: starting a new, alternative gathering, which for now we call a Gathering of Spiritual Practice Traditions. We envision various world spiritual traditions gathering to share their practices & wisdom with one another. We finally decided to do something about it and declared it at this Rainbow Gathering. About 30 people came to our meeting & want to be a part in starting this gathering, which we hope to begin next year. So what is it? It would be separate from, yet supplemental to, Rainbow Gatherings, not to replace or compete with them. Both gatherings would fill a need.

It would be modeled after Rainbow in that it would be free of charge, without money use at the gathering, open to all.

By consensus, we came up with a 3-fold statement of purpose. It would be a time & place for
(1)Focusing on Spiritual practice without the usual distractions
(2)Creating a forum among the world's spiritual traditions, with a spirit of listening & cooperation with one another, not competition or proselytizing, discouraging egocentric ideas of superiority.
(3)Practicing voluntary simplicity, which the world's faiths teach but rarely practice. The healing of society, the environment, and the individual can never take place without practicing simplicity in this world infected by greed & consumerism.

Any religion, whether ancient or new-agey, that you have to pay any kind of fee for is religion of deception. Truth cannot be sold.

[[Please note the Gathering of Spiritual Practice Traditions group was deleted from the internet December 18th, 2008, due to too much spam & lack of coordination.  My apologies.]]


It turns out we all wanted to leave the gathering at different times, and I was the last to stay, so I ended up bicycling out by myself. I fixed Satya's bike and rode out on it. I snagged lots of leftover food, mostly whole grains, from the gathering and decided to head out onto the lonely dirt road southward toward Farson. Kind of silly since I have no proper bike tools or partner support or money; but that's my nature.

I saw droves of pronghorns, as well as a few deer. It is said pronghorns rival Cheetahs in being the fastest creatures on land.

I rolled past Farson on lonely dirt roads through high sage desert clear to Green River, Wyoming. Green River is a beautiful town. Yet, it's strange; I asked several people where there was a grocery store and nobody knew, except finally one woman, who told me there was one Smith's miles way up in the foothills in the ritzy part of town. Otherwise, people buy food at Maverick gas station or drive to Walmart in the next town, Rock Springs. Green River is a fairly large town! Astonishing. I remember Kingman, AZ was the same way. The kids there didn't even know what a grocery store was, referring me to KFC instead! Is eating real food becoming passe? Especially if you are poor, you don't have access to actual food, only what masquerades as food. This feels like a twilight zone dream. One day our people will wake up and realize we can't eat money, one Native American prophesied about us.

I'm thinking of hopping a train with the bike and making my way back to Oregon from here.


Oh, yeah, my friend Gordon just announced his new website, which includes the "Moneyless in Moab" video he made with me a couple years ago. For you who've been asking, yes, he got the whole thing on the web. Here it be:


Nothing is free
Yet everything real is always freely given!
If I give expecting credit,
I am a person of ulterior motivation,
and I am not real.
Love is never free
Yet love is always freely given!
Anything else is prostitution.

The love of credit is the root of all falsehood.