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So what is all the talk and publicity over what is being called the “God Gene”? Well, researchers have concluded after exploring 2000 DNA samples that a person’s capacity to believe in God is linked to brain chemicals. Of course the religious community is all up in arms over the study – Rev. John Polkinghorne, a fellow of the Royal Society and a canon theologian at Liverpool Cathedral, said: “The idea of a God gene goes against all my personal theological convictions. You can’t cut faith down to the lowest common denominator of genetic survival. It shows the poverty of reductionist thinking.”

No offense Mr. Polkinghorne, but the true poverty of thinking is completely disregarding science especially when it might be reinforcing the concept of God from a more scientific standpoint. It seems like more of a threat to a long standing establishment that bases its dogma on mostly blind faith?

The God Gene or VMAT2 explains why some people have more aptitude for spirituality than others.  VMAT2 is a vesicular monoamine transporter that regulates the flow of mood-altering chemicals in the brain; people who carry higher levels of this transporter were more likely to develop a spiritual belief. Researcher Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unit at the National Cancer Institute states that “Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus all shared a series of mystical experiences or alterations in consciousness and thus probably carried the gene (maybe in higher levels),” he said. “This means that the tendency to be spiritual is part of genetic makeup. This is not a thing that is strictly handed down from parents to children. It could skip a generation. It’s like intelligence.” Further, growing up in a religious environment was said to have little effect on belief- a classic natural vs. nurture argument.

I personally think it is interesting that scientists were able to isolate such a gene that is somehow connected to our ability to be attracted and plugged in to a higher power: The sublime intricacies the Cosmos. Quantum physic and astrophysics continues to shed light on our connection to the Universe – I have written how Karma and the Afterlife can be proven through science and the discovery of the “God Gene” should not be a threat to theologians but simply should be further proof that we do indeed live in a Responsive Universe.

Up next, lets tackle the “God Particle” which is also creating an uproar among the religious – this story is even more intriguing because for the first time, science is knocking on the door of God! Exciting stuff…

John C. Bader


related article reference

Earlier this week I lost an elderly family member. She died peacefully of natural causes with family by her side. She is in a better place now.

I was on a bike ride this morning and memories of her jumped into my head. I thought back to her spicy southwestern cooking that she was known for and the long life she lived. I hoped her life was good to her. Was she happy, fulfilled and smiling back on her past as she slipped past the threshold of mortality to the sublime?

Only she can answer that I suppose…

Decades ago, I was one of the first grand children in the family and for years I was the center of attention. She used to call me “John John” and even continued to do so in my adult life. My thoughts continued to meander and as I was riding my bike and I could not help to notice the pretty white wild flowers that edged the bike trail under the dawn light. The sun was out and their small intricate flower petals were opening after a nights nap. As I continued to ride my thoughts continued to float like clouds across the blue sky of my mind. I wished her well on her new journey and I thanked her for her inspiration and energy.

As I thanked her and said goodbye, I noticed a small patch of pink flowers within the white wild flowers along the bike path. It was interesting because just as I said thank you to her memories these flowers came into view. I had ridden for miles that morning and only white flowers adorned the trail.  There was a synchronicity to the moment that was surreal. The coincidence of the flowers was one thing. It was the energy and connection to the entire moment that told me deep down these flowers were not a mistake.

It was not as if she was trying to communicate to me – that was not it. It was a responsive quality that transcends my words and simply was the quality of the moment; a shift in energy and perspective that resonated with love and connectivity. I knew she was off on her new journey and everything was fine as it stood in life. She was in a better place and I was in a good place too.

I find it is important to find positivity and closure for the ones we lose. I also think it is important to be mindful of this Responsive Universe that surrounds us. We are a part of something grand that includes the Mandala of life, death and rebirth – energy changing form.

Warm thoughts…

Energy and love…

Reverence …

John C. Bader


The following is a recent article I wrote that was published

 this week at mindbodygreen.com. It is titled Pause, Breathe, Be Mindful…

I hope you enjoy it

Have a great weekend,

John C. Bader



I HOPE YOU ENJOYED my blog series titled “Manifest Destiny” – Meditating across America. I learned a lot from this trip and since then I have really connected on sublime levels with the bond of Nature and Universe. It is hard to explain, but I just feel comfortable in the outdoors and I have found meditation to be especially powerful under the sun and clouds. I will talk more about this energy and experience in the Responsive Universe – Meditations and Daily Life Practice – scheduled for “Official Online Release” this July 4th, 2012 at 8am CST.

Thanks for all your time and consideration – JCB



Wauconda, IL (home)

4830 Miles Traveled

And so my adventure ends, “Meditating across America”, to Manifest Destiny. Over the course of two and a half weeks, I have traveled through 12 states and visited many amazing places and people. In some ways it was a bittersweet trip: It was wonderful to see family and friends in California; to surf and soak up the Pacific sun and the opportunity to travel and hike some of the most beautiful places west of the Great Lakes. Yet, there was some challenging aspects to my trip as well. Driving seven to eight hours a day was arduous and the plight of America in places like the Navajo Nation and tornado devastated Joplin were eye opening experiences. Still to drive across so many diverse geographical regions and exploring the different cultures and demographics was in itself rewarding.

searching for round chakra rocks at the beach was a simple walking meditation exercise that achieved full mindfulness of the moment.

The premise of this journal series was to explore Energy Vortexes across America. As discussed in previous blog entries, scenic places of beauty tend to hold higher levels of energy – or so I thought before disembarking on this road trip adventure. As I traveled across the Great Plains, spacious views would open up for miles in every direction. There is a quality of space and openness associated with big sky vistas. In the mountains of Colorado I connected to the epic beauty and grandiose sights of the Maroon Bells near Aspen. There amidst the snow-kissed peaks, I felt peace and inspiration that bought forth an acute level of awareness; a natural high of sorts. Across the red canyons and ravines of Utah came feelings of comfortable desolation and revelations of how small we really are in the grand scheme of the Cosmos. When I finally reached the coast, the healing ocean and scenic coastline brought back vivid memories of childhood but also the loss of my firstborn ten years ago. Bittersweet indeed, but seeing old friends and family made the trip all the more rewarding. Then of course there is Sedona and its famous healing vortexes. Hiking up Bell Rock was an amazing experience. I found the longer I stayed in Sedona the more energy I felt. There was even a lack of energy sensed upon my departure from Arizona. Throughout the entire trip I focused on my mindfulness of the moment – keeping my center and thoughts rooted in the present. I enjoyed some very productive and energy infused meditations, especially under the watchful eye of God; in the tranquil and unfettered dominion of nature.  Yet, even through the hustle and bustle of Chicago, peace was found. Truthfully, I can even find peace and inspiration meditating in my living room at home. So what conclusions can be deduced from all of these experiences?

Image by Tracey Dunba

It seems we are all products of God. The natural beauty of the Maroon Bells, the Pacific Ocean and Sedona are all products of God – as is the City of Chicago and the utter desolation of Utah’s southern deserts. Everything is a product of God. When I use the word “God” I am describing everything that exists in the universe: The vibrating waves of Quantum energy, the love we feel for a friend or spouse, the loss of a child and the birth of another. The essence of God is indefinable as it relates to the universe. To even think one can comprehend such concepts and designs is egoistical and futile. We as humans have yet to evolve to a level where the concept of God can be truly defined and understood. Still, we can revel in its beauty and immensity: The beauty of nature and the beauty of energy as it relates to our True Nature. It is enough to know we are a part of something so vast and special it tends to overwhelm the rational mind. It seems there is an energy and peace within us all – and all of this is somehow connected to nature and our intrinsic self. We can touch and wield its energy and power through compassion, karma and mindfulness. Still, the true, unfettered nature that is Mother Earth seems to bring us closer to the concept of God as it relates to everything. Maybe the synapses that connect humans with their soul or True Nature are easily coupled by raw unadulterated beauty – this is especially true for the many people that do not connect to these rudimentary concepts with ease. For many, the ego and a false perception of life muddles our True Nature and it takes amazing energy sources like Sedona to help bring forth this clarity. For a lucky few, the energy is already found inside our being – a source of empowerment that can be found in even the most ordinary places. So, it seems the concept of God as it relates to the universe and the concept of energy as it relates to Cosmos is already found within. Places of beauty like the Maroon Bells and Sedona only help us connect to this dynamism with more vigor and intensity. The challenge for all of us is not to seek out places of beauty like mountains and canyons, but seek a beauty and energy that lies within. It is then, that a true responsiveness of energy and life transcends this existence we call life.

My journey to Manifest Destiny is complete.

John C Bader


Albuquerque, New Mexico

3150 Miles Traveled

Sunset over the desert Mesa

I was sad to see Sedona go in my rearview mirror. I feel as if there was an amplified energy that continued to build the longer I stayed within its red rock reaches. I felt some amazing feelings of energy akin to the beauty that is Sedona but it was the lack of energy entering New Mexico that was more perplexing.

I visited the City of Gallup, just across the New Mexico border from Arizona. My Wife and I wanted to search for reasonably priced turquoise jewelry. My Grandfather, an old cowboy familiar with these parts said we should search the trading post/pawn shops that dot the border. The prices were through the roof despite a slumping economy, and disappointed, we did not purchase anything. I drove out of Gallup with a cold negative energy that seem to float over the dusty streets. It seemed as though all the local Indians were pawning their family heirlooms to make ends meet. The poor neighborhoods that dotted the landscape east were a grim reminder of how depressed west New Mexico really is. I felt sad for the Native American people that call this region their home. I felt a negative energy from people and the surroundings and was happy to leave for Albuquerque. All I can say is my heart goes out for these people. I think they need and deserve our compassion even if they greet tourists such as me with cold, indigent stares – not to mention, negative energy. I know Native Americans are very spiritual people and unfortunately they are victims to the social/political climate here in the US.

Still, the day was not a complete bust: Once in Albuquerque, I was greeted with an amazing sunset. I sort of consider myself a sunset connoisseur. I especially love tropical sunsets as the sun sets over the ocean. Still, here in Albuquerque, with the sun setting over the desert mesa, this moment (as shown below) is hard to beat. Sunsets can bring so much energy to just an ordinary vista. One does not need scenic mountain peaks or red rock canyons when the perfect painting of clouds and refracting light can make any moment at dusk extra special. This was a special sunset and I will post this journal now and continue to enjoy the afterglow that greets the night in New Mexico.

Tomorrow, the panhandle of Texas and then Oklahoma City as I grind my way home back to Illinois. Between you, me, and the cactus out here in New Mexico, I am ready to come home!

We will talk soon

John C Bader


Sedona, Arizona

2830 Miles Traveled

The Court House

After reaching the ocean on my trip to Manifest Destiny, my travels now loop back to the Southwest deserts. I traversed the brutal Mojave Desert from California to Arizona, where I experienced 115 degree temperatures. My journey across America in search of Energy Vortexes now takes me to Sedona, AZ. Sedona is famous for its spiritual and meditative powers; a power or energy that seems to transcend all religion and faiths. An Energy Vortex is a unique place that exhibits subtle levels of swirling energy that some say actually permeates from the red rocks and outcroppings surrounding Sedona and Oak Creek. During my adventures in Colorado, I confirmed that the more picturesque and scenic a site is the more energy it seems to permeate. The Maroon Bells near Aspen, Co. are a perfect example. Still Sedona is a little different. One can always find higher levels of energy in natural places of beauty. Energy can be found in trees, mountains and even people. Yet, here in Sedona, there is a dynamism that takes the concept of energy to an entirely different level. It is even a viable business as paid guides lead tourists to the different Vortex points around the region.

The Airport Vortex

I experienced three individual Energy Vortexes while visiting Sedona and its outlying areas. The first stop was the “Airport Vortex”. This particular Vortex can be found close to town, off of 89A on Airport Road. The Airport Vortex features a chasm saddle shaped mesa which is surrounded by many canyon walls and rusty rims.  I hiked up a trail that lead to a lookout that provided inspiring views. The key is to look for special Juniper trees which dot the hills sides. Most Juniper trees are normal looking as their branches and trunks reach straight for the sky above. Still, if you are mindful of your surroundings, look for the occasional twisted and gnarled variation that indicates there is a higher level of energy present. It was my Wife that actually found the perfect spot: The trunk and branches of this specific Juniper where twisted and tormented as if there was a mysterious force at work. It was here with Canyon views in all directions that one could feel a change in the environment: An uplifting feeling that welled up from within.

The Cathedral Vortex

The next stop was the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful stone Catholic Church nestled into the red rock canyon walls overlooking the “Cathedral Rock” Vortex (off of Chapel Road). The Church was beautiful as was its immediate surroundings: The canyon walls displayed textures and faces that look like they had stories to tell. The Cathedral Rock Vortex looked like a monument built by God sitting alone on a desert floor. It’s towers of red rock and spires where magnificent. At the time, there was a lone thunderhead sitting directly above the edifice. The clouds here in Sedona are interesting: They tend to swirl and make odd shapes that seem indigenous to this region.

Near the apex of Bell Rock

The “Bell Rock” Vortex is considered the most famous and powerful of the sites here in Sedona. It is here I took several hours to climb its red features and actually meditate for 45 minutes in a special spot near a twisted and tangled Juniper tree. Bell Rock is located off of HWY 179, just North of the Oak Creek Village. I was exhausted and a bit cranky after driving 500 miles the day before through scorching heat. I also have a wicked blister on my foot the size of a quarter (thanks to hiking in California) that makes walking and climbing painful and challenging. Yet, as I hiked to the mid section of Bell Rock, there was a noticeable energy transformation: I was enveloped with a complete attitude adjustment and my pain and sore muscles were washed away. It was clear there are healing properties at work at Bell Rock. There was a point at the top of my climb that I had the entire monument to myself – my meditation was peaceful and inspiring. During my meditation session a large thunder-storm began oscillating to the west. Its distant thunder almost seemed like a warning that this is as close to heaven mortals are allowed to travel. Almost immediately, the stifling 99 degree air dropped to the upper 70s – goose bumps materialized on my skin and a shiver rolled through my body. At one point, I laid on my back and watched the clouds swirl above the Bell Rock peak – much like Maroon Bells, there was this visual evidence that high levels of energy were present. It was enough to feel its healing qualities, but there is also tangible evidence of energy as well.

Famous Bell Rock in Sedona

I have to be honest now. I have traveled over 2800 miles in search of natural sources of energy – It is my opinion that all places of beauty hold higher levels of energy and lets face it, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have worked hard over the years to be spiritually mindful of my interior qualities as well as my surroundings. I have a clarity and responsiveness to life that has taken years to craft. I feel the energy here in Sedona and there is no doubt this is a special place. From a scenic standpoint, it is a 10 in my book. Still, I felt similar energy rushes in Colorado and even in my back yard at home. My honesty disappoints me in the fact that I was hoping to come to Sedona and find something magnificent. I did find inspiration and peace, but that is intrinsic to my being. Maybe the beauty and energy is all inside us and certain places like Sedona or Maroon Bells helps facilitate a better medium to connect to such energies? My wife brought up a good point: Annamarie stated that maybe such places like Sedona require more effort? It might take 5 individual hikes up to Bell Rock to slowly preen the energies present – and maybe each experience will be different: The gift may be the combined experiences over years of appreciation. I can tell you that this will not be my last trip to Sedona.

Up next, New Mexico as I meditate across America. There is more to come later this week as I begin my long drive home.


IMAGES: (in order of appearance)

“The Court House”: This edifice sits next to Bell Rock and is amazing to behold.

“Airport Vortex”: There were a lot of gnarled trees in this area – definitely a lot of energy!

“Cathedral Rock Vortex”: One of the more stunning rock formations in Sedona. There was a unique looking thunder head that was sitting right over the formation. There were no clouds anywhere else in the sky at the time.

“Bell Rock Vortex”: After hiking  midway up, I took this image laying on my back looking up at the peak of Bell Rock. The clouds actually appeared to be vortexing around its apex.

“Bell Rock Vortex”: Known to be one of the more powerful Vortexes in Sedona.

John C Bader


Dana Point, California

2231 Miles Traveled

Salt Creek Beach

Manifest Destiny! I have finally reached the Pacific Ocean on my adventure, “Meditating across America”, in search of Energy Vortexes. I can only imagine what early explorers and settlers must have thought when they caught their first glimpse of the ocean blue. It was definitely a sight to behold after traveling through the heart of America the last week. My adventure has reached its midpoint of discovery: I have already explored the far reaches of Chicago, the great Midwest plains, the mountains of Colorado and the canyons and ravines of Utah. Now, I am greeted by the warm summer waters of the Pacific.

The ocean and beach are special places for me. I was born near the ocean and was raised by the beach. The love that song by Jimmy Buffett titled, A Pirate Looks at Forty: ” Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call. Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.” I am a pirate looking at forty so this song resonates more than you know. Still, for me it is not the lyrics or old childhood memories of the beach that brings my sentiments full circle; it is the first whiffs of the salty sand and beach that reminds me of the past and settles me here in the present.

I have lived in the Midwest for five years now, but before that the Dana Point area was my home for almost three decades. I grew up, went to school and even married out here on the west coast. I have gained a lot, but I have also lost a lot here. In 2000 my wife and I lost our first child: An almost full term stillborn baby. It was a devastating experience for both my wife and I. Through my suffering and toil, the ocean and beach has become my temple of sorts. It was near here at Monarch Beach, that I cast the ashes of little John Jr. into the sea on one sad and unforgettable afternoon. This intimate loss forced me to confront suffering at all levels of my existence: From a forgettable childhood to struggling with low self esteem, the loss of my first child was the final emotional blow – from that time forward, I vowed to search for enlightenment and understanding. I began studying Buddhism and began questioning conventional western based religion. I knew there had to be more to life but I did not know how to attain it. At one point, I even lost my faith in God. I felt alone, depressed and without recourse. It was an awakening I experienced several years ago that showed me the light. I finally understood why good people die young and why bad things happen to nice folks. I found God not in a Bible or from the mouth of a priest, but inside me! My efforts to find happiness in a world of indifference was a difficult and challenging road, but it has been a rewarding one. My most recent literary work, The Responsive Universe (coming Christmas 2011), is a product of my success in self-actualization. I have found a less trodden path to happiness and now I want to share it with others.

Many new gifts have been handed to me over the years since: A wonderful marriage, my new son Ethan and a clarity and wisdom to reach for the most that life offers. I am blessed and thankful for my life. I am not perfect, but I work hard to be something beyond just the flesh and bone of man. I have a true openness to life and a responsiveness to connect to the energy within: My True Nature. Here at the coastline, it is possible to simply look out upon its blue waters and visualizes a life with less suffering. I cast my son’s ashes into these waters over ten years ago and this week I will be mindful of casting my suffering, attachments and ego into these healing waters. As I wade into the warm ocean, I can’t help feel the healing attributes both physically and mentally. The ocean and coastline is almost therapeutic. The ocean is where I was born and it is where I want to die.

San Clemente Pier

The sound of rolling waves crashing on the shore; the sand between my toes and the squeal of a seagull in the distance. Palm trees dot the shore and a sailboat catches a wind line across the point. The smell of salt and sea; a cool breeze permeates off blue horizons. A deep breath and exhalation brings clarity and awareness – the sun warms my being as I settle into the peaceful environment that is the coast. At sunset, I sat on the beach, facing westward. A few errant clouds in the sky were ablaze with shades of red and purple. The sun sunk into the horizon bloated and distorted as it slipped into infinity. A gentle ocean breeze enveloped me as I thought back to another time – how simple things once were and how quick time has passed by. Still the governing thought was really how lucky I am to be alive, healthy and sitting here on the beach, mindful and present in the moment.

Coming up next, Sedona, AZ as I begin the journey back along Route 66. For now, I think I am going to enjoy the beach, go surfing and relax. I will talk to you early later this week.

John C Bader


Southern Utah

1731 Miles Traveled

Capital Reef, Utah

The change in scenery is again amazing: From majestic mountains and green alpine valleys to dusty red iron rich canyons and cavernous ravines. The drive west along Interstate 70 was breathtaking. In every direction for as far as the eye will allow, rich earth tones paint desert mesas and ragged ridgelines to infinity. I am traveling across America in search of Energy Vortexes. My journey began a week ago in Chicago and now I am within reach of Manifest Destiny.

There is a stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere that spans over 120 miles without gas stations or other services. I probably missed the sign that warned this was a scene out of Land of the Lost. To my horror, the needle on the gas gauge was dangerously low. Then the shock of the low fuel level alarm made my nervous situation worst. This is one of my worst fears in life: To run out of gas in the middle of nowhere; and now I have to go to the bathroom too. Trouble in paradise! Nervous, twitching, watching the miles rack up and the gas evaporate. I was mad at myself and at this point there was no turning back. On fumes and a perspiration soaked brow, the familiar view of a gas station came into view. I thought I won the lottery!

The views from my observation point at the foot of the Capital Reef National Park were truly incredible: Jagged outcrops, distant plateaus and desolation own this part of the world. As far as you can see, detail at every blink of an eye: Canyon rims and ridges, colors changing to the music of the clouds passing above. Storms were dancing across the region bringing much needed moisture to the thirsty soil. The sensation of rain drops hitting my exposed skin while mindful of the experience at hand was inspiring:

A large storm cloud lumbers across the heavens – behind it, big blue sky

It’s significance transparent as its shadows dance on the red canyons below

A calm wind echoes the questions of mankind as ravenous canyons glow

Views span in all directions allowing this quantum energy to flow

The rustle of sage brush, under the afternoon light – its radiance unfettered

Then a sense of tranquility like no other

Rusty ridges, distant plateaus and a feeling of responsive grows…

Tomorrow, a quick jaunt through Nevada and then California and Manifest Destiny. We will talk in a couple days!

John C. Bader


Aspen, Colorado

1284 Miles Traveled

The Maroon Peaks of Aspen

From the Great Plains tower the majestic Rocky Mountains. Welcome to my adventures to Manifest Destiny. In this journal entry I am “meditating across America”, in search of energy vortexes. Much like the awestruck feeling as I entered the city limits of Chicago (greeted by the impressive skyline), leaving the fertile plains of America’s heartland to be welcomed by the Rocky Mountains is in itself awesome. It is one thing to be impressed by the architectural marvels of humanity, but to see Mother Earths rendition of a mountainous skyline is even more striking.

From farmland and corn to mountains that rise 12,000 feet off the table of the continent: The geographical transition is unexpected and alluring. After a stop in Golden, Colorado near Denver, I was greeted by steep plains and evergreen pine trees. Soon I crossed the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass (elevation 11,992 ft). I was impressed with the varying kinds of mountainous terrain: From granite peaks to red rock canyons and bluffs, to tundra wind whipped buttes. My focus in this region is the famed Maroon Bells near Aspen. The Bells are two extraordinary mountain peaks that reflect down on a crystal clear glacier lake basin. The lake reflects the massive snow kissed peaks and the many Aspen trees that dot its edifice. Across the valley lies contrasting maroon mountains that are equally impressive. Right now is the perfect time to visit as the valley floor is alive with color and texture from millions of blooming wild flowers.

I found a quiet spot off the tourist path that encircles the lake and I settled into a mindful appreciation of the surroundings. The loud but relaxing sound of a bustling creek could be heard echoing across the valley. Centered and present, I focused on my breathing: “In with positive energy, out with negativity”, as I inhaled and exhaled. Views of white puffy clouds, smells of wild flowers and a sense of everything being right in the world enveloped me; I closed my eye’s and let the sounds of nature permeate my being. There is definitely something going on here; something beyond the ordinary. It is one thing to be captivated by a thoughtful tree, a grand mountain peak or a lake reflecting the days beauty; but to combine all of this into one picturesque view is intoxicating. A sense of freedom, reverence and a luminous feeling bubble out from within. This is pure, unadulterated and unfettered. Wow, what a feeling! About 15 minutes may have passed and then comes a loud rustle in the bushes near me., rousing my Zen moment. In the interest of not being eaten before I reach the ocean, I am going to move back to the path and resemble a tourist like the others.

The jarring effect of being startled was not conducive to the meditation at hand. Still, even after returning to the main path, I felt a sense of peace and inspiration. I wanted to immediately race to my lodging and write this blog. The Maroon Bells is an amazing place. One can almost visualize the energy swirling above, captured by the sure immensity of the mountains. The lake reflects this dynamism which further expands this vortex of energy and responsiveness that seems to enter and exit my conscious; leaving behind this feeling of bliss and clarity. Emotions surface from deep within: A notion that anything is possible and everything is as it should be. A smile swells across my face for no apparent reason – Jack Pot!

Compared to the city and farmlands of the Great Plains, nothing can compare to the Alpine vistas of Colorado. There is an energy that is akin to the mountains, rivers and trees. For reasons I can’t fully explain these extreme natural elements hold and harness this mysterious energy in ways only described by quantum physics. There is this definable energy field that pulses though everything and when you open yourself to its offerings, amazing feelings of grandeur greet the heart and mind, merging them as one – if only for a few moments. Those few moments seem to be enough. It seems all of us need to pay more attention to nature, even those seemingly ordinary parks and reserves near our homes. It is easy to take these amazing gifts of nature for granted.

The Bells of Aspen

620 miles traveled

Thunderstorms in Nebraska

Welcome to the Great Plains as I meditate across America: My two week adventure to Manifest Destiny and beyond. I am in search of mysterious energy vortexes that exist for the most part in nature – places of special and unique qualities that harbor and collect the quantum/spiritual energies of the universe.

After driving through America’s heartland the last day or so,  I have just two things on my mind: Corn, storms, corn, storms and more corn. First off, I did not know there could be so much corn; there is so much corn in the states of Iowa and Nebraska that it is difficult to quantify. Further, the wicked thunder storms that pummeled Interstate 80 provided plenty of white knuckle driving today. Still, there is an underlying quality to the plains region that is unmistakable: Open and flowing. These are very important words or concepts when we discuss meditation and self-actualization. I like the word “space” as it relates to our surroundings. Space or openness is also the infinite quality of our minds as it relates to our true nature. We can acknowledge that during meditation and daily life practice, countless thoughts race through our minds. Imagine the space required to create and field all of those thoughts. How about memories? What about useful daily life skills and dreams? The brain seems small, but the mind seems vast. Our exterior environments can transcend this feeling of space as it relates to our minds and even the universe that is everything.

Here in the Great Plains, views span for miles in every direction. I have heard the locals chuckle or even complain about how flat it is out here in States like Nebraska. Yet having space that surrounds you can be quite peaceful and tranquil. Just days ago, I visited Chicago. Greeted by the hustle and bustle of city life, there is this confined quality associated with large cities as compared to the spaciousness of the open countryside. For some people there can be a claustrophobic energy that can breed stress and anxiety within populated areas. Don’t get me wrong, we need to stand above such “mind over matter” scenarios and connect to the energy within. Yet, here, surrounded by expansive farmland and nature, there is an unrivaled spacious quality associated with the region. There is nothing to be stressed out about: Time moves slow and even the cows grazing off the side of the road seem to be on vacation. One just needs to stand tall and erect and views will open up for miles unabated in each direction; breathe in the fresh air and feel the energy associated with a clear and boundless vision.

Up next, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado: In two days, I will reach the well known energy vortex that is Maroon Bells, near Aspen. One can only hope that the weather cooperates as I ascend the Continental Divide. Talk to you soon!

John C Bader


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