He’s been called an Indiana Jones of the spirit. In his first book, In Search of Simplicity, released in the Far North in 2009, local author John Haines chronicled his exciting, serendipitous journey around the world in search of the meaning of life. Inspired especially by the simple living villagers of the Trobriand Islands in Papua New Guinea and by the Hunzas in their Shangri La-like mountain stronghold at the top of the world in Northern Pakistan, Canadian-born John Haines followed a series of inexplicable messages to begin to live the ‘Good Life’ in the high deserts of Northern New Mexico, to a place he’d never been before. What he didn’t know at the time was that New Mexico was only one of many stops along a circuitous path that eventually brought him and his family to a somewhat more settled existence in the Far North.

Unlike his first book, which could be called a spiritual travel adventure story, John Haines’ eagerly anticipated sequel is more of a spiritual gardening adventure than a travel saga. Beyond the Search chronicles the author’s profound experiences and experiments with Truth, simplicity, self-sufficiency and the Spirit of Nature in New Mexico, Arizona, New Zealand, Canada and the Netherlands. Although it is the sequel to In Search of Simplicity it is a complete volume in its own right.

Beyond the Search describes in an enjoyable, easy-to-read style John and his growing family’s sometimes faltering attempts to live the dream; to live simply, nobly and in harmony with nature and each other; to live an unfettered life, unplugged from the grid and disconnected from all forms of media, while remaining connected to the messages coming from nature and within.

It is a story of challenges and adventures—from rattlesnakes and a devastating hailstorm to an international gold mining company intent on developing an open pit mine literally on the other side of the fence—proving in this instance that an escape from the rat race is not always easy.

Beyond the Search is a triumph of the spirit. It is an inspiration to anyone wishing to live a little more simply, a little healthier and more connected with nature and each other. As one New Zealand reviewer recently wrote, ‘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) Like all life stories this one is not all a bed of roses. Haines shares with us how he overcame a battle with depression and the near loss of his marriage through perseverance and the will to make things work: naturally, of course!

In Beyond the Search Haines challenges some of today’s popular assumptions, suggesting we’re not merely victims of the weather, but co-conspirators in its creation. And if you’re having trouble with possums, read this book. I say no more.

John Haines lives today with his family in Coopers Beach. When he’s not writing he can be found on Doubtless Bay Family Radio or assisting patrons at the Kaitaia Public Library. His books are available in your local bookshop or by contacting the author directly at (09) 4060149. John is an inspiring speaker and is available for talks in the area. For more on John and his books visit www.insearchofsimplicity.com or www.johnhainesbooks.com.

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

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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I’ve been encouraged by several sets of people the last while to create audio books for In Search of Simplicity and for the recently released (last week) sequel, Beyond the Search. I will be regularly recording more from these books so keep checking in. Here’s the introduction to In Search of Simplicity:

I’ve also just created a website exclusively for my books called, of all things, John Haines Books. Feel free to visit it at:

www.johnhainesbooks.wordpress.com

And here’s a little more audio about the book called In the Footsteps of the Masters.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart.

“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.”
Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

The following is a somewhat condensed version of Chapter 3 of In Search of Simplicity. It is a turn around time for me when I come down with spinal meningitis in Norway and end up in a coma. This chapter was condensed for a compilation book of inspiring stories.

Enjoy,

John

 London, May, 1986.

“Can you tell me where I might find the Russia-Scandinavia tour bus?” asked the blonde stranger.

After a restless night spent in one of London’s crowded traveler hostels I had been searching in vain for the bus that would take me on my next adventure, a six week camping tour of Scandinavia and the Eastern European communist states. The 8.30 am departure time was rapidly approaching.

“Do you know where the tour bus is?” asked the young man again. I was more than a little surprised to have this absolute stranger voice the very question that was on my lips.

“Funny you should ask. I’m looking for the same bus,” I responded, smiling back at this man. “Let’s look for it together. It can’t be far away.”

So it was that I met Dean, the shy, muscular Cape Town native who was taking time out from construction work in London.

We found that bus around the next corner. We were the last to arrive. We quickly discovered that aside from a couple of Canadian girls in their late teens, we were the only travelers on the tour who were not from Australia or New Zealand. There is something divinely ‘right’ about two lost people meeting each other. Perhaps it happens more often than most of us realize.

The bus took a ferry across to Belgium and we spent the first night of the tour in Amsterdam. Over the next week we carried on up to Denmark and we were soon enjoying the beautiful fiords north of Oslo.

We were driving along a road cut through snow banks the height of the bus. I leaned over to Dean and said, “I feel horrible.” I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach and had the faint onset of a headache.

 “Perhaps you’ve got a touch of food poisoning, John,” said Stan, the red haired Kiwi whom both Dean and I had befriended.

“Maybe I do,” I groaned, lying down on the seat. In a matter of minutes I had a whopping headache. It felt like my cranium was beginning to swell and my neck was stiff and throbbing.

A few minutes later I called out, “I think I’m going to die!” I had never voiced these words before and I wasn’t sure where they were coming from now. I was terrified. I must have been delirious.

“John, take a couple of aspirins,” interjected Maree, a petite Australian friend. It was rare for me to use any medicine but I was grateful for this offer now.

I lay down again and dozed off.

I was incredibly grateful when the bus stopped and our travel was over for the day. I was doubly grateful that this was to be our first stay in quite comfortable cabins, after night after night of camping. The thought of a tent was not an appealing idea. Dean and Stan helped me to a lower bunk.

I had excruciating pain in my head, which now felt as if it was swollen like a balloon.

“My neck is too stiff to bend. Can you guys help to get my shoes off?” Dean and Stan were happy to oblige. They helped me get under the covers.

That night passed by in a blur of repeated somnolent trips to the toilet to vomit. Despite evacuating my stomach throughout the night I felt even worse in the morning. My head felt as if a herd of Norwegian reindeer had stamped on it all night. Stan and Dean supported me as I stumbled out to the bus. That is all that I remember. At this point I slipped into a coma.

I heard later that our tour leader became very concerned. They stopped at the next village and consulted with a doctor. When the doctor observed my comatose form and noted the other symptoms, which now included spots all over my arms, he diagnosed spinal meningitis and prepared to give me a massive injection of penicillin.

I awoke abruptly from the coma to find that I was lying on my back. I saw a doctor above me holding a large needle before my eyes. The doctor was flanked by two nurses on one side and three female friends from my trip.

Maree looked at me in surprise. “Oh, hello John. You’re awake. Are you allergic to penicillin?”

“Yes,” I replied and slipped immediately back into the coma. That memory is still etched indelibly in my mind over twenty years later.

The next day, twenty seven hours after I initially went into a coma, I returned to consciousness with a splitting headache, in what appeared to be a small, private hospital room. I was being drip fed on intravenous.

After a short time, a nurse, with a cloth over her mouth and nose, looking like a bank robber in white, quietly entered the room.

“Oh, hello. Good to see you back with us. You’re a lucky young man,” she exclaimed.

“Where am I?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

“You have spinal meningitis. You are in the hospital in Molde, a small town in Norway. The doctor will explain more to you later.” She checked the intravenous and some monitoring devices and then left the room as quietly as she’d entered. My impression of her now was more of a talking ghost than of a bank robber.

A few hours later the doctor visited me.

“Hello John,” he said. “How are you feeling?”

“My head aches and it feels like I could sleep for a week,” I responded, remaining prone in bed.

He looked at me understandingly. “That’s not unusual. You will be with us for a while. We are all happy to see you out of the coma. Do you have any questions?”

“How did I get this, meningitis, that is?” I asked.

“For some unknown reason we have a few cases of it in this part of Norway at this time every year. A teenage boy died last week here in the hospital. Meningitis is highly contagious and it usually attacks children or young people who are fit and healthy. It is a mystery why one person gets it and another doesn’t.

 “As for your headache we have you on morphine through the intravenous for now. If you have difficulty sleeping we can give you some sleeping pills.”

He left, presumably to continue his rounds. I promptly fell asleep.

For close to two weeks I remained in that room, isolated from other patients and most of the nurses save for the friendly, talking ghost.

Despite steady improvement in my condition, there were a few little complications. The veins in my forearms became rigid and made it increasingly difficult for the nurses to rig up the intravenous for me there. They decided to use a vein on the left side of my neck. This worked well until I developed a huge herpes in that location.

Each time the doctor came by I would ask the same question, “Can I go home yet?” His response was always the same, “Not yet.” This made for rather tiresome conversations.

Finally, after nearly two weeks the doctor said, “We’re going to give you a spinal injection tomorrow to see if your cerebrospinal white blood cell count is low enough for you to leave.”

This should have been good news. But I lay in bed and wondered, What if the white blood cell count is too high for me to go home? What if they make a mistake with the needle? I don’t like the idea of someone jabbing me in the spine with a needle. I still remembered vividly having spinal injections when in the hospital with meningitis at the age of four. This current experience seemed to trigger deeply buried fears from that time of illness as a child.

The next day I was wheeled down to the belly of the hospital for my shot. All went well and there were no complications. I had to wait all afternoon for the results. I felt like a prisoner who had been on death row when the capital punishment law was revoked. I was waiting for the decision of the prison warden to see if I had served enough time.

Early in the evening, in the eerie light of a northern summer day, the doctor came to visit me. The smile on his face said it all. “The white blood cell count is low enough. You can go home tomorrow. Congratulations.”

“That’s great. Thanks,” I said, a wave of relief pouring through me.

“No thanks are needed,” said the doctor. “You have healed well.”

I started to get out of the bed.

“What are you doing?” asked the physician.

“I thought I’d pack my things. Isn’t my backpack in that closet beside the bed?”

“John, please stay in bed and rest until you are discharged tomorrow. This has been a serious illness. You have only just survived. Do you know how close to dying you were?”

“No,” I said a little sheepishly, getting back under the covers.

“John, you have to rest for at least another five to seven weeks before you can resume an ordinary, active life. If you don’t rest enough you could have a headache for the rest of your life.” The doctor seemed to be coming on strong but, in fairness, he could see that I was not inclined to remain idle for long. I took his words seriously. After all, I continued to have a raging headache that had hardly abated in two weeks. I was anxious to leave and get on with my life. I felt that this hospital and its mostly unsmiling faces was no longer a healing environment for me. Modern care and allopathic medicine, together with ‘angelic’ intervention (at the time of the nearly fatal penicillin injection), had saved my life. What I craved now was that greatest of healing forces, love, and I could think of nothing better than to fly home to Canada and stay with my parents until I was healthy enough to resume my travels.

I spent the next three weeks with my parents in their home on the north shore of Lake Ontario. It was just what I needed: frequent walks in the lakeside air, the sound of birds, the summer warmth, my parents’ love and practical care. I recovered quickly, gaining some of the weight I’d lost in Norway. The headache waned and then, one day, it was gone.

 My mother and I took another walk through the long grass beside the lake. The killdeers were nesting and singing the distinctive melody that gives them their name. Mom said softly, “We were so concerned when we went to pick you up from the airport. We thought you might be blind or partially deaf. We were so relieved to see you in a remarkably good, if weak, condition.”

 I made a trip to the library to research meningitis. In a medical text I read that in seventy percent of the cases in which the patient is not treated within 24 hours, death follows. Of the thirty percent that survive many have mental difficulties, blindness or associated long-lasting debilitations. I was a lucky man. Twice in my life I’d had spinal meningitis. Twice I’d fully recovered and I’ve rarely had a headache in all the years since.

As my health steadily improved I looked into resuming my world tour. But I could see that the nature of my journey had dramatically changed. Rather than seeking adventure and the discovery of new places, I was now in search of meaning, in search of answers to the deepest questions in life. I was now in search of truth and simplicity.

This experience had transformed me. I wanted to know what or who had woken me from the coma at precisely the right time to save my life. I wanted to know why I was allowed to live and what I was to do with the rest of my life.

I was fired with a burning desire to understand the deeper issues of life. Finished with floating on the surface, I wanted to dive beneath the froth and make some sense of the mystery that lay below the waves.

Perhaps most importantly, I knew now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was being guided on my path and that I was never alone.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator 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.

I am currently completing the sequel to In Search of Simplicity which will be called Beyond the Search. It is the story of Lucia’s and my return to nature and our continuing intention to lead ‘good and natural lives’. Before our initial embarkation on this journey I read two books by Helen and Scott Nearing that greatly inspired me. These books, Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life, described the Nearing’s homesteading experiences in Vermont and Maine over many decades beginning at the depths of the Great Depression in 1932. Years later I read another book by Helen Nearing titled Loving and Leaving the Good Life. It was a touching memoir of her life with Scott. Her description of how he lived and, especially how he chose to die, deeply moved me. I share below words of Helen Nearing that describe vividly these final days and months of Scott Nearing’s life. These words were found here: http://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC26/Nearing.htm

You may be interested in my earlier post on my mother’s touching and dignified death called We Are Always Connected.
Enjoy,

John

At The End Of A

Good Life

Scott Nearing’s dignified death, like his life,
sets an inspiring example for all of us
by Helen Nearing
One of the articles in What Is Enough? (IC#26)
Summer 1990, Page 20
Copyright (c)1990, 1997 by Context Institute | To order this issue …

Perhaps the most profound reason for our intensely consumptive lifestyle is, at bottom, our fear of death. “You can’t take it with you,” as they say – though you can try to numb the terror with the things that money can buy. But in his purposeful death by fasting at the age of 100, Scott Nearing demonstrated that there are better, simpler choices.

Throughout their lives, Helen & Scott Nearing were a living example of the possibility of such choices. Their experience, memorialized in Living the Good Life and a string of other books, has been an inspiration to thousands of people looking for an alternative to modern industrialism. On their homesteads first in Vermont and later Penobscott Bay, Maine, the Nearings built, made, grew and collected nearly everything they needed. Yet they still found plenty of time for nourishing their inner lives and giving to others – through music, education, writing and speaking.

Here Helen Nearing, who still lives at the Maine homestead, recounts the story of Scott’s purposeful passing. For more information about the Nearings’ rich-yet-simple lives and their many books, write to Social Science Institute, Harborside, ME 04642.

Doctors practice medicine. Scott and I intended to write a book together, We Practice Health, which never eventuated, though we wrote much on the subject in various chapters of our homesteading books Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life. We rarely if ever used doctors, pills, or hospitals. Yet Scott lived to a hale and hearty 100 and died when he decided to – by fasting for a month and a half at the very end.

He had always been physically active, in the woods, in the garden, in building construction. He was also active mentally, having written 40 or more books from his 20’s to his 90’s, including an autobiography, The Making of a Radical.

“Work,” said Scott, “helps prevent one from getting old. My work is my life. I cannot think of one without the other. The man who works and is never bored, is never old. A person is not old until regrets take the place of hopes and plans. Work and interest in worthwhile things are the best remedy for aging.” Still, he was facing the end and knew it.

Interviewed in 1981 he said “I look forward to the possibility of living until I’m 99.” His blue eyes twinkled. “It is a precarious outlook, I assure you. With age, your facility of expression and perception diminishes. I have almost nothing left but time. But if I can be of service, I would like to go on living.” Walt Whitman, at a far earlier age (70) said, “The old ship is not in a state to make many voyages, but the flag is still on the mast and I am still at the wheel.”

Most people begin to get old in their 60’s. Scott only began to be old in his 90’s. Up to then if anyone called him old I was outraged, because he neither looked nor felt old. Sure, he had plenty of wrinkles. They came in his 50’s from a lot of hard work in the sun. But failing and getting feeble? No.

He did more than his share of mental and physical work up to his last years. At 98 he said “Well, at least I can still split and carry in the wood.” And when he was close to the end, lying in our living room, his one regret at leaving this Earth plane was on watching me lug in the wood for our kitchen stove. “I wish I could help with that,” he said. He was a help unto the end.

A month or two before he died he was sitting at table with us at a meal. Watching us eat he said, “I think I won’t eat anymore.” “Alright,” said I. “I understand. I think I would do that too. Animals know when to stop. They go off in a corner and leave off food.”

So I put Scott on juices: carrot juice, apple juice, banana juice, pineapple, grape – any kind. I kept him full of liquids as often as he was thirsty. He got weaker, of course, and he was as gaunt and thin as Gandhi.

Came a day he said, “I think I’ll go on water. Nothing more.” From then on, for about ten days, he only had water. He was bed-ridden and had little strength but spoke with me daily. In the morning of August 24, 1983, two weeks after his 100th birthday, when it seemed he was slipping away, I sat beside him on his bed.

We were quiet together; no interruptions, no doctors or hospitals. I said “It’s alright, Scott. Go right along. You’ve lived a good life and are finished with things here. Go on and up – up into the light. We love you and let you go. It’s alright.”

In a soft voice, with no quiver or pain or disturbance he said “All…right,” and breathed slower and slower and slower till there was no movement anymore and he was gone out of his body as easily as a leaf drops from the tree in autumn, slowly twisting and falling to the ground.

So he returned to his Maker after a long life, well-lived and devoted to the general welfare. He was principled and dedicated all through. He lived at peace with himself and the world because he was in tune: he practiced what he preached. He lived his beliefs. He could die with a good conscience.

As to myself and my old age: I try to follow in his footsteps. It is not so easy homesteading alone, but I carry on. A few more years and I also will experience the great Transition. May I live halfway as good a life and die as good a death.

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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. 

My agent in Frankfurt, the world’s largest book fair, indicated interest was way down this year due to the fragile worldwide economic situation and a rapidly changing publishing world. Still, I am delighted that publishers from The Netherlands, Spain and Korea are interested in publishing and translating In Search of Simplicity. It’s a start to reaching further with the story.

Bryan Flournoy

In Search of Simplicity is continuing to garner praise from readers and reviewers and I’m beginning to gain access to radio shows with more reach. I was interviewed yesterday by Bryan Flournoy who has put together a visionary series which includes such notable authors and visionaries as Dr. Bruce Lipton, Neile Donald Walshe, Joan Borysenko, Dr. Candace Pert, Byron Katie and many others. I feel privileged to be included in such illustrious and established company.

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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.

In Search of Simplicity is an autobiographical travel adventure story that reads like a novel. Over the years, when I’ve told some of the stories of coincidences now contained within the book, listeners began to have (or at least to notice) magical happenings in their own lives.

Book Cover TargetNow it is with great satisfaction that I receive feedback from readers of the transformative and inspirational quality of the book. Only yesterday I received an amazing review that I’d like to give you an opportunity to read. This makes all the work of writing worthwhile. Here’s the link:

http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 Thank you for your time and support. May you and this world find peace.

John

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Take one genre, two combative critics, five authors angling to break out of the pack and what have you got? “Blurb!” – the new book show that’s anything but bookish. Each week, bibliophiles Sally Shields and Dr. Kent review not books themselves but pre-recorded pitches from five writers whose literary works are hot off the presses. And each has got a mere three minutes to convince the hosts that theirs is the one worth cracking. But if they succeed, they capture the coveted Book of the Week title. That means Sally and Dr. Kent post the winning work prominently on the Blurb! Radio page, and invite its author on their show a week later for a live pitch to thousands of listeners. Plus, each winning work will be featured on the BlogTalkRadio blog!

I just received news that In Search of Simplicity will be one of the books featured Friday, 25 September 2009 on the above Blurb ! Radio Show at 12:30 PM EST. Have a listen. This is exciting! I better a few hours of sleep. That will be 4:30 AM Saturday here.

Book Cover TargetHere’s the link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/blurb

Dr. Kent Gustavson: Publishing Guru

Dr. Kent Gustavson: Publishing Guru

Sally Shields Bestselling Author

Sally Shields Bestselling Author