About the Author


I am currently engaged daily with writing and editing the sequel to In Search of Simplicity. I present below a little piece about the birth of our first child, Amira in September, 1990:

The pregnancy progressed smoothly. Roughly five weeks before the expected due date, Lucia and I joined several other couples for our first of five weekly birthing classes at Ginny’s house. We had the earliest expectancy date of any of the couples so Lenya and Ginny had delayed the classes a little so as to best suit the majority of the couples.

“You should be able to attend most, if not all of the classes, prior to delivery,” said Lenya at the clinic not long before the first class.

We enjoyed that class, as much for the camaraderie of the other young couples as for the value of the information imparted. Half way through the class we took a break and Lucia hustled, to the extent that her condition allowed, to the toilet. If I recall correctly, the break lasted just long enough for each of the pregnant ladies to relieve their pressured bladders.

Lucia sat in front of me on the floor as Ginny resumed her talk. She was talking about some of the signs that indicate when a birth is imminent. “Not long before the birth, the mucous plug is released.”

Lucia turned to look at me and whispered, “I just passed a plug of mucous in the toilet.”

I thought, Here we go.

After the class, as the couples were making their way out we stopped to talk with Ginny.

“I just passed some mucous, Ginny,” said Lucia, “How long would it be until the birth?”

“That’s hard to say,” replied Ginny, looking a little concerned. “You had better come in for an appointment tomorrow.”

 

At the clinic in Santa Fe the next day Lenya checked Lucia.

“The baby has dropped,” she said, “You’ll have to get off your feet for the next week. This is too early for us to help with a home birth. By law, if the baby is born outside the window that extends from three weeks before the due date to two weeks after, the delivery has to take place in a hospital. There is a greater chance of complications if the baby is born too early or too late. We will be in attendance even if the baby is born in hospital, but then we would have to work with a doctor.”

The following week Lucia followed instructions and stayed off her feet as much as possible. There was no more garden work for her now. There was much discussion and deliberation between us that week. We were in complete agreement about the idea of a hospital birth. We didn’t want one. We had embarked on this journey in order to give our expectant child the most natural start possible. In our eyes that didn’t include the antiseptic atmosphere of a hospital, where statistics showed that something like one third of all births employed caesareans and even more births used drugs of some kind. Billions of pregnancies had come to successful, natural completion in the millennia of human existence. It was only over a few decades that doctors had insisted on hospital deliveries.

Lenya and Ginny were part of a growing group of excellently trained midwives who were returning to the time-honoured methods of the past, infused with the skills and technology of the present. Between them these ladies had delivered over five hundred babies. They had never lost a baby or a mother. We wanted them on our side.

Lucia and I felt a growing sense that this baby was coming soon. I called up the midwives.

“We are really clear that we don’t want this birth to occur in a hospital. We experienced the water birth of friends of ours a few weeks back. I feel confident that we can do this on our own if need be,” I said with what must have sounded like false bravado.

“Birthing is an entirely natural process,” said Ginny. “But complications can arise, and that’s why there are trained professionals.”

“I understand that, but we just don’t want to have a hospital birth,” I continued. “At the birth we attended recently I watched the midwife pin off the cord, and later cut it. Can you tell me at what distance from the baby’s belly would I have to pinch the umbilicus and could I use a clothes pin? And how do I know when it is safe and timely to cut the chord?”

Ginny reluctantly answered my questions and made an appointment for another check-up the following week.

We drove into Santa Fe for our appointment and we were met by Lenya. She gave Lucia a comprehensive check-up in her usual gentle manner.

“Do you mind if I have a word with Ginny for a moment?” she asked.

“No. Go ahead.”

Lenya left to locate Ginny who was engaged in another examination elsewhere in the building. They returned together a few minutes later.

Ginny spoke, “Lenya outlined for me how your examination went. You are healthy and strong, Lucia. So is the baby. It is still three and a half weeks until the due date. We have agreed that we are here to assist with a home birth from now on. We know we are slightly outside the prescribed window, but due dates are almost always difficult to pin down perfectly accurately.” She winked, “This one may have to be adjusted to a few days earlier.”

Lucia and I each gave the ladies big hugs of gratitude and relief. Deep down I don’t think either one of us relished the prospect of delivering a baby without any help. Amira must have been listening. She was born the next day.

 

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then many that I see have the curtains drawn. In a few sad cases the windows are boarded up.

The soul’s innate joy shines through the eyes of every child. Often, a newborn’s eyes are closed. Not so with Amira. The instant she was born she spoke volumes with her eyes. I was totally unprepared for the magnificence, for the depth of Being radiating out from those eyes. I felt as if I was staring into the soul of God.

That baby’s eyes communicated with each of us in the room, individually. To me those heavenly beacons said, “I KNOW YOU. I AM YOUR TEACHER. LOOK AFTER ME.”

I was thrilled. I was devastated. I felt as though I was the recipient of an immense gift and a daunting responsibility. In that briefest of instants my life was turned upside down. No longer was I able to remain a self-centred young man. I was a father now, and I suddenly needed to contend with the needs and wishes of another. And that Other had spoken with immense power and with the eloquence of silence. Never, before or since, have I looked into eyes like that.

I was shattered for weeks.

 

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

 

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i-have-a-dream-blog-image-earth-circles-by-people

The following words are from a song I wrote quite a number of years ago. A dream dreamt alone remains a dream. A dream shared becomes reality. Share this dream with me.

I Have a Dream

 

I have a dream where all brothers and all sisters unite.

I have a dream where the future of all nations is bright.

 

I have a dream where all races: black, red, yellow, brown or white…

I have a dream where all humans never discourage from the sight of

 

Freedom, freedom, no place left to hide.

Freedom, freedom, runnin’ with the tide of

Freedom, freedom, touches every side of

Freedom, freedom, crosses the divide.

 

I have a dream where all people treat this earth with dignity.

I have a dream where all ages live as one in community.

 

I have a dream that through our efforts is a world made whole.

I have a dream that in this healing each and every soul finds

 

Freedom, freedom, no place left to hide.

Freedom, freedom, runnin’ with the tide of

Freedom, freedom, touches every side of

Freedom, freedom, crosses the divide.

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I’m a lucky man. I wake up every day in paradise and I go to sleep in the same place.

 

In the last year we’ve lost almost every penny of our savings, after having been mortgage-free most of our life together.

 

Yet I don’t feel sorry for myself. I am so lucky.

 

I was introduced to yoga by Lucia 20 years ago when we met in the Himalayas. I continue to start nearly every day with a refreshing taste of yoga and meditation, the ultimate breakfast for me. Now, after many years away from it, Lucia has resumed teaching—two early morning classes each week here in our house. I attend them, along with a small malleable group of good friends. I feel like I’m living in an ashram. I am so lucky.

 

Late most afternoons, when much of my work for the day is done, I retreat to my room for Six Healing Sounds and relaxation. This quiet time feels so good to me. I am so lucky.

 

Most Wednesday evenings I walk along the beach, turn inland and up a hill to the radio station where I interview some amazing person for an hour on radio and cable television. I call that show Voices from the North and I love doing it. I am so lucky.

 

Most Thursday evenings a dear friend leads a small dedicated group of us in Sanskrit chanting. I walk along our beautiful beach to and from her home. I am so lucky.

 

Other evenings I walk alone or with Lucia, work in the garden or play outside with my children, the air alive with the heavenly fragrance of Queen of the Night and Datura. What more could a man ask for? I am so lucky.

 

Every month my family attends our local Ceilidh, an alcohol-free evening of live, quality music performed by talented local musicians. We dance for hours, swept away in the joyful atmosphere of community. I am so lucky.

 

I have one small problem: finding the time to put into place all I am inspired to do, write and share. I take it one small happy step at a time.

 

At night, before bed, I pick up my guitar and sing one or two of my devotional songs, make a simple prayer asking that I can continue to be a clear channel of service to humanity, and I fall peacefully asleep. I am healthy, I am happy and I’m in love. I am so lucky.

 

 

six-healing-sounds-by-mantak-chia

For nearly nine years I’ve been practising The Six Healing Sounds, an ancient Taoist breathing technique using sub-vocalised sounds, breath and visualisations related to internal organs. For nearly four years I’ve been teaching this technique to others.

Below are a few words I’ve put together about The Six Healing Sounds:

Although some teachers attribute the practice of the Six Healing Sounds to a sixth century Buddhist hermit, elements of this ancient chi kung form were found inscribed on silk fragments in the famous Mawangdui tomb discovery, dated to 216 BC. Their original name may have been the Six Healing Breaths, which makes sense when you consider that this technique can be considered more similar to pranayama than to mantra in the Indian yogic tradition.

The sounds are taught by a number of modern masters, from the East and West. Each of these exponents describes a different practice. The pronunciation of the sounds varies. Fortunately, many of these apparent differences seem to arise from difficulties in representing these sounds phonetically in print. However the sound for the kidneys varies significantly, certainly more than can be explained by the challenge of phonetic representation. As always, I can only recommend that you find what feels right for you and stick with it. As with all sound work, the intention is at least as important as the actual sound.

The degree of vocalization varies greatly, from totally inaudible, through the sound of the breath exhaling to complete vocalization of the sounds. It might be well to heed the words of Ni Hua-Ching who says, “If the sound is coarse and audible it will hurt the chi in the body.”

The order of the sounds varies from teacher to teacher, although most follow the productive (Shen) cycle of the Five Elements or Phases. Some begin with the liver sound, probably because it represents rebirth and the season of spring. Mantak Chia, on whom I base my interpretation, begins with the lung sound. Virtually all the teachers agree that one finishes with the sound of the triple warmer. You can experiment with this, perhaps varying with the seasons. It is also possible to focus on one sound and repeat it up to 36 times, in instances where you are attempting to purify a particular emotion or organ. The Triple Warmer (sometimes called Triple Heater or Triple Burner) may be unfamiliar to many Westerners. It has an integrating function that links and harmonises the processes of the primary organs.

 

Let’s look at some of the potential benefits of regularly practicing the Six Healing Sounds:

 

1.                     The sounds have a cooling and harmonizing effect on the internal organs, which tend to overheat with the many stresses of modern life.

2.                     Qi (life force) is increased, leading to restoration and maintenance of calmness and good health. Minor ailments can be prevented or easily overcome.

3.                     Improves digestion.

4.                     Perhaps the greatest benefit is in the release or transformation of negative emotions into more positive, life enhancing energy.

5.                     Weakness and sickness in the internal organs such as the stomach or the liver can cause bad breath. Practise of the sounds can, therefore, alleviate halitosis.

6.                     Likewise body odour can be reduced, especially through the practise of the lung and kidney sounds.

7.                     The Six Healing Sounds release trapped energy in the organs, thereby leading to improvement in the range of movement of practitioners. Similarly, the Healing sounds can serve as an excellent warm up prior to singing.

8.                     The practice of the Healing Sounds is a form of Qigong, and as such is another effective tool to be used in the process of self discovery.

Cheers,

John

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.wordpress.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

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“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

 

 

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