Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Spirituality of Hot Springs

At first sight a truly carnal experience of blissful sensuality, boiling in a sulphur and mineral soup leeched from the earth's core, is equally a spiritual delight. At one with nature as the body returns to the womb, the heart is tenderized as the mind is cleansed. A peacefulness occurs as the concerns of another world evaporate in the steam. Even deep pains are shed as the body turns to ooze. A new person is reconstituted the moment the idea to depart arises. Evolutionary biology takes place in rapid sequence. Out of the primal soup this new creature arises. Commands are sent from the brain to the toes and exquisitely slowly the whole system reboots. Rebirth and born again I stand on land. I look at my neighbours with more love because I know that when I was most vulnerable they did not collectively turn and eat me as dictated by the genes of our species. I too resisted sinking my teeth into the younger tastier morsels poorly protected by their dazed parents and can pride myself on my civilization. It's a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual steps that are taken into and from a hot springs. Each new hotspring is a journey of personal discovery. It's surprisingly socially acceptable given how good it feels.

Harrison Hot Springs is of course one of my favourite such shrines. Mostly because the exquisite and elegant surroundings suitably disguise the vague similiarity this activity has with hippos in an African watering hole. After exposing our basic animal natures, reconstituted, we sit about in the loveliest of lounges and restaurants acting as with such practiced gentility. Passing each other in the upscale gifts shops later we act as if we haven't witnessed each other in the act of orgasm as our bodies ooohed and ahhed or saw the smug looks that only those relieved of constipation might be expected to express. No , back in our proper street attire we are not that person who floated in near naked ecstacy moments before and looked out at the others resisting too much moaning. Indeed I would cry hallelujah hallejulah. In the hot springs the twinkling eyes shout such praise while the body doesn't want to make the effort. Later in passing we have no shame and smile at each other as if we've partaken of a secret society where the virgins were restored and not deflowered. Now this is indeed a kind of spirituality. We've dabbled our toes in hell and come back touched by heaven.

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