A First Encounter with Michael Barnett and his Wild Goose Company
Energy World, Verneuil Moustiers, France - Summer 1995
Michael Barnett, a Western Spiritual Teacher
I first met James Bampsfield in the early 90s, in the teacher's room of Ritsumeikan University, where we both taught English. He had just had an altercation with a motorist while driving his motorcycle. He had chased down the driver and, with a very limited vocabulary in Japanese, had given the bun-hole bloke a piece of his mind.
A brotherhood of masculine camaraderie grew like bamboo, in the moist soil of a fertile alternative community. Each Sunday we'd meet and do 'Energy Work' via a mysterious European cult called 'The Wild Goose Company,' lead by his 'crazy-wisdom' British master Michael Barnett. James alias 'Deepen' and Sasha, his young provocative lover, 'goose-named' Machi, and I, enthusiastically slipped each week under... under the alluring hypnotic spell of spiritual-sensualism.
Deepen, his growing coven of wild world travelers, and a select breed of outrageous Japanese seekers, met weekly to move in 'Diamond Yoga' patterns, and shake the rafters in dance, at his bachelor's flat on the woods edge. Music, the latest and greatest 'hot' from the 'Rave-high' dens of the USA and Europe, rattled the quiet cedar forest and dissipated our blood sugar out our pours and up-through our upper chakra. We had fun with purpose. Enlightenment and love bubbling from the experientially exhilarated and emptied depths of our soul, we farted out frustrations and inhaled exuberance.
It was at this time I lost to a double dose of cancer the dearest of friends, from the Yale pact art-punk scene of my New Yorker days, Russell Epprecht. As a ceremony of farewell, with my deeply saddened wife Reiko and our two tiny children, we ventured to Amorgos in the Cyclades of Greece. With my family theoretically and tenuously safe in a Grecian paradise, I traveled to see my teacher's Master at his recently acquired castle commune in central France.
Energy World, was M.B.'s exquisite gathering of wayward wanderers, the coolest of dissidents, and a luscious exotic mix of 'state-of-the-art' therapists and 'whole earth' healers. Each woman more beautiful and insightful, every male a monument and model to the potentials I hold dear. Though it sat two thousand miles from where I lived, I had found home and a name that meant much more than my own. Now re-named Dalando, the "Ultimate Home," I faced the merely impossible task of integrating happiness with real world madness.
Prologue to the present eight years later:
I left to find a wife jealous, of the joys I had found where she would not go. I saw, too, the seeds of her own misadventures that left a scar that would not heal... when her hormones turned against her, tumbling and twisting her logic, meanly manifesting as a reason to die. Why couldn't she allow herself alternatives... ones with a positive upward draft... instead of the relentless cold chill of her deadly despair? She tried. I tried. Our friends tried. Perhaps her death was as destined as that of Russell's. A bitter notion I still find hard to swallow.
Perhaps our body chemicals shift, in ways we can't anticipate... only 'moment' aligned to 'moment' in an endless cycle of second chances. Maybe one or two of us departing into death is no big thing... maybe not.
Maybe all Energy World was 'was.' Leaving me living quite near, but ultimately not home yet.
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Robert L. Seltman