My high school alma mater is there; I learned to mediate there; I met with a small group of mediators and Gary Friedman weekly for more than two years there. Where? Marin County, a unique place of true beauty and hippie roots.
Reading this article about Marin was such fun! Hope some of you also will find the reading entertaining. From "On the hippy trail" (Irish Independent):
"There were men and women naked all over the beach, everyone was huffing and puffing on pot, children were running wild, there was drugs and sex everywhere," Gordon Johnson, a local resident, is telling me, gesticulating energetically at the seaside town in front of us.
I am looking at what can only be called middle-class America. ... Wild, naked, drug-taking orgies it is not.
[Marin County] is just a 15-minute drive from San Francisco over the majestic orange pillars of the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz Island; you know you have arrived when you drive through the rainbow-painted tunnel.
After several hours of hiking we reach another spectacular viewpoint, and it is impossible not to be struck with the beauty of the place. We look down across San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the
jagged coastline of the Marin Headlands and over the cliffs out to sea. ...
This is the enclave of the former radicals who came up in the world; those who turned on, tuned in, but didn't drop out, and instead went on to become very successful. Marin has the fifth-highest per capita income in the United States.
This development -- from hippy to high-flyer -- has created the split personality of the place. It is eco-aware, yet indulgent; well-to-do yet alternative. A YouTube spoof popular with locals, called The Man from Marin, stereotypes them as eating vegan super-foods, driving Prius cars, holding Buddhist beliefs and enjoying tantric sex.
This is the place that inspired Jack Kerouac's novel Dharma Bums, and the interest in spirituality is still rife. A trip to nearby Buddhist retreat Zen Center for their Sunday public programme of meditation, followed by tea, homemade muffins and a walk through their organic gardens, is a must.
That Zen Center, called Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, is where I attended most of my 5-day mediation training programs; the setting is stunning. And you can easily walk to the Pacific Ocean, which I did often. Click for photos.
Green Gulch image credit: surharper.