Origins of the Ranch, part XLIII - Rancho La Puerta

Origins of the Ranch, part XLIII

From the archives

Mindfulness, meditation, going within—call them what you will, these techniques of self-growth, calm and reflection have been a tradition at Rancho La Puerta since the earliest days. The Ranch strove to incorporate some form of meditation into each and every day, be it on your own or in a class. It still does.

To encourage reflection in 1943, especially while eating, and enhancing their relationship with nature and themselves, early guests were given cards printed with sayings. (A typical “Essene School” meal in the early 1940s looked like the plated food and bowl of yogurt pictured above.)

Alas, our archives do not contain an original or two of these cards (not that we’ve found yet!), but fortunately we have co-founder Deborah Szekely herself to reflect on those days when meals were eaten under the oaks, and guests often took their plate of food to a quiet spot, free of interruption, to eat alone.

“To inspire positive thoughts,” Deborah recalls, “we gave our guests cards on which were printed the Essene Communions with our Earthly Mother and Heavenly Father. Everyone was to focus on the special communion of the day.

“The cards of 1943 contained messages that were in the realm of simple thanksgiving and celebration. These were gathered from ancient texts, and/or written by my husband, the Professor:

• The heavenly Father and I are one.
• The Earthly Mother and I are one. She gives the food of life to my whole body.
• The Angel of Power descends upon my acting body and directs my acts.
• The Angel of Sun enters my solar point and gives the fire of life to my whole body.
• The Angel of Water enters my blood and gives the water of life to my whole body.
• The Angel of Wisdom descends upon my thinking body and enlightens all my thoughts.

“Some were supplications:

• Angel of Work, descend upon humanity and give abundance to all men and women.
• Angel of Joy, descend upon the earth and give beauty to all beings.

“Many communions anticipated present-day biofeedback and other recent techniques for bringing into focus certain parts of the body:

• Intensifying and directing metabolism of the body: contemplating edible fruits, grains or plants.
• Absorbing by our acting body (nervous system) cosmovital forces from the stars; contemplating stars their radiations and the cosmic ocean of life.
• Radiating and directing accumulated solar forces from the solar plexus: contemplating the rising sun.

“En masse, participants at our first Ranch camps joined us at dawn for a meditation hike up our mountain to greet the Morning Sun. At sundown we paid a similar tribute to the Evening Star.”

Today the cards are lost to history, but not forgotten. Mindfulness still infuses The Ranch experience, and being a part of “the cosmic ocean of life” seems not so far-fetched after all.