melting pot without thought
Alternative Atlantic Surf Almanac Volume One Number One Limited-edition
glimpse and gratitude
Independent and home-grown Paper from sustainable forests Distributed via friends, core surf shops and shaping bays Price covers printing
Board artwork by Neil Erskine
Editorial Why does a surfing magazine have to be a certain way? Why do we all have to surf the same way? Surfing here is different to anywhere else, and despite the flaws itâ€™s great. It is this unique natural and cultural environment that I have attempted to recreate here. Melting Pot is an annual collection of poetry, prose and paintings created with the aim of inspiring people to look at the surfing experience in a different way. Melting Pot is independent, limited edition, numbered and signed, printed on sustainable paper using vegetable inks. Surfing, like any other activity we partake in, can simply be taken for what it is. There is no need to adhere to or be guided by anything or anyone else. This is simply what I see when I go surfing, and what inspires me. Number: Signed: Dan Crockett
Walked across fire and slipped into Forgotten villages with uncommon vistas Danced on street corners and squares Ate squid, tiptoed, smoked Got scraped by Noahâ€™s leathery hide And bounced on rocks, sand and grass Lightning-lit Cane toad faces Crushed by velvet tyres in the night Smelled roadside sugarcane fire Held hands with glory, fate, chance Chewed Betel-nut miles from home Made friends with gabba fans and Dodged dumped asylum patients Left to die in the hazy light Whilst outside iguanas were stoned By less than rational thoughts Met heroes and realised zeroes Crested miles in laden Mercedes Laughed with Scottish farmers Drunk tequila with German schoolgirls Fanned phosphorescence in Mandalas Kicking splendid ripples on the stroke
without thought Interview with Richard Moss about Peak Experience.
“Control and loss of control become so close you can’t tell them apart and right at that membrane we go through to something else.”
Peak experience has been described as ‘killing the ego.’ Can you say why this is?
So you think a widespread understanding of peak experience would be beneficial to society?
The reason I believe peak experiences has a tremendous moral impact is that before a peak experience we are all subconsciously living inside this structure that we call ‘me’ or ‘I’, and me is something we have to defend. We are afraid of abandonment, we are afraid of being suffocated, we are afraid of being controlled. Fear is basically the god that rules the lives of people, until you step outside of the ego, and outside of the sense of me. When you have an experience that takes you out of that me, there is no worry. You mind’s not in the future so you can’t be worried about the future, and you don’t need false hope. Your mind is not in the past, so there’s no remorse, regret, guilt, shame, blame, nostalgia. Your mind is not occupied with something else or someone else, there is no object of consciousness. The experience itself and you are the same thing, and so there’s no ego there. It’s actually the experience of essential consciousness, which is not a consciousness of me. It is an experience of freedom and connection, suddenly instead of fear being your god it’s the wholeness of everything, it’s the inter-connectedness, it’s the unity of all things in their diversity that produces a sense of rightness and connection. You emerge from that experience and you look at the world and realise we are killing the world because of fear, and fear is based in something you’ve now experienced to be relative, not essential or central. The basis for your moral and ethical world changes.
I think a widespread understanding of peak experience, in the context of a broad teaching about what it means to be a human being, teaching that might ask: ‘What is a life well lived?’ Who am I really? How is it that I can serve the highest good for all beings? Teaching that is asking us to be responsible for our daily lives and in daily life. Once that’s been united with some kind of peak experience it becomes natural rather than some kind of imposed morality. It starts to work from the inside out. My peak experiences are in rock-climbing and in mountaineering, and I still get into the mountains and I still surf, although I’m not a very good surfer. They were like a prelude to an experience I never knew I might have, which came upon me unexpectedly and took me into the deepest state of unity I’ve ever had. About nine months after that I went into that state again in a different context, now that’s nearly thirty years ago.
And that had nothing to do with athletic activity?
In the western world we separate mind and body, and yet peak experience erodes this, do you believe this to be true?
Do you think peak experience could have an influence on how an individual perceives the world?
In athletic activity I always attributed the peak experience to the rock climbing or to being in the mountains and being so totally focused that there was no room for the mind to think, no future and no past, just the movement you are in. Of course you drop out of it when you start thinking ‘should I go any further? is this far enough? is that too difficult? This other experience was more of a kind of mystical experience, a kind of spontaneous unitive experience. What a teacher of mine called fundamental realisation, it’s not an event you can explain. I don’t know why it happens, it just happens. It’s an evolutionary thing that happens in a lot of people and some of them go crazy, there’s a whole literature about spiritual emergence. There are events in people’s lives that are not madness, they are not psychosis, they are actually the emergence into these tremendously heightened states of consciousness and energy. But the ego isn’t ready for it, it doesn’t get out of the way enough or afterwards the ego comes back in and it’s so inflated with that energy that it gets itself in trouble. The peak experience is leading you to humility, as opposed to self-aggrandisement, that’s what’s really important.
The flow state and peak experience always involves the whole body. In surfing, the whole body is involved and every wave is different so you can’t plan, you have to respond without thought, you are using a different part of the mind, a deep, background part of the mind. The wave, the board, your body are really a continuum and so when you start to really become able to surf you are entering that space where you’re no longer trying, no longer thinking about it but you are in a totally receptive and totally active process simultaneously, that’s what invites peak experience. Control and loss of control become so close you can’t tell them apart and right at that membrane we go through to something else.
I think there’s the potential, every time someone is in a deep sense of flow or has a peak experience to feel so connected to the environment in which they are, and often these experiences happen in nature, that afterwards you feel a moral obligation to the world. You feel a sensitivity to the world. It’s not so other anymore, it’s not just resources to be harvested. It’s almost the body in which our consciousness is emerging. It’s as if it’s a living thing. I think within that experience is the seed for the possibility of a different consciousness in terms of how we steward our planet. That gives me a sense of great hope. We might almost say these experiences are evolutionary, because they are carrying us almost to the next level of possibility in our consciousness. Our future depends a great deal on whether or not we will recognise our connection to the rest of the earth, and peak experience gives you that connection, frequently.
Imagine a speaker, who instead of riding a surfboard or climbing a mountain starts to let the passion in his words and his idealism come out until he disappears and he becomes the instrument of his belief system, and the energy that happens as he enthrals and he inducts this group of people and as their induction and their excitement grows it inflames him. So, a charismatic speaker like that can use the same exact energy that comes from peak experience.
How does the flow state relate to peak experience?
What is actually happening in the mind during a peak experience?
Do you think peak experience is something that could be taught?
The flow state is a peak experience; it’s one of those situation where the observer is suddenly not separate from what he or she is doing. It’s like suddenly the distance between who we are and what we are doing collapses, and we are what we are doing. When that happens, it’s as if the world within us and the world around us unify we feel connected to everything, we feel connected to ourselves but not in the way of looking at our ego or our personal self, we are looking at something that is so much vaster, and part of everything, so there’s a natural state of joy, and a kind of ecstatic send of well-being, it can flow into gratitude and it’s a sense of exhilaration and aliveness, as if things make sense.
In my experience, during a peak experience the thinking mind stops utterly and there is just awareness. The awareness isn’t evaluating the experience. It’s really hard to describe such an experience; I don’t think it’s possible to describe it. It’s like coming from a three-dimensional world and trying to explain a two-dimensional world. So the understanding or the interpretation of the description of the experience comes after you return to your more ordinary level of consciousness. I think some peak experiences transform forever the structure of a person’s consciousness, so that you return to who you were before. It’s almost as if it has opened some windows, it’s made your porous. Now you are breathing between two dimensions, or multiple dimensions. While you are in a peak experience there is no thought, at least in the ones I have touched.
You know, there’s a famous Zen statement, I don’t know which Zen master said this about peak experience, he said that enlightenment is an accident. Zen practice can make you accident prone. So the question of whether you can teach peak experience? No, you cannot. You can point to a peak experience. You can set up a context in which a probability for some kind of flow state increases much greater than in ordinary life. You can’t teach a peak experience. Once a person has a peak experience, it teaches them.
I first became aware of peak experience through athletics, mostly through rock-climbing. Frequently I would enter into a state where the colours became so vivid, where I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, I was just moving and knowing. At the end of the day it was like having lived in another universe. Every sense is heightened and it’s a total sense of aliveness.
When you are in a peak experience you don’t need words, and it’s like you’ve come home to something you intuitively recognise as rightful, and trying to explain it in words just ends up diminishing it. And once you have that kind of experience, the world of ego-drives and desires and narcissistic self-involvement and competition, it becomes unimportant because there is something much more essential that you understand about life. The question of the importance of peak experience to what we as human beings are doing to the planet is really important.
bagus days john eldridge
Some days I’d rather watch one guy go straight than another guy do ten turns. Some guys are just much more fun to watch going straight. There’s something about the way they do it. There’s a feeling there, an indefinable thing. Jim Banks
john isaac photos
from handmade books ‘Gratitude’ and ‘Ashafine’ illustration by neil erskine books by daniel crockett
The beak. Imagine this. You are in that relaxing, confusing and sometimes alarming nether-world between waking life and sleep. It is the time at which sounds can be suddenly magnified, jarring the mind into a synaesthetic lurch of vibrant insanity. You were born and raised in the country, where by night every sound has significance. Unlike the city, where endless sounds are spent, and quiet never really materialises (though it threatens to, now and again.) So, whilst drifting into the cosy vestibule or maniacal romp of your sleeping hours, you are on the alert, expectant. And at this time comes the tiny rap of something on the glass pane of your window. Real, or imagined? That’s the first in a seam of questions that come uninvited into your mind. Danger or safety? It could be delight – the fingernail of a lover knocking gently to announce her arrival. It could be a warning – the freshening wind that will become a tempest nudging your glass. It could be false – something recorded and played back, forgotten and remembered. It is but the beak of a tiny bird.
melting pot daniel crockett five short stories about life
Dinner with a rich lady. Let me tell you about eyes and ice. Eyes so perfectly hellish that they reach out with tentacles and snake around your head and neck, seeking an entrance to your brain. Eyes black and bottomless, so obsidian that at their core your mind conjures a hearth, for such blackness in nature is unthinkable. Right at that black core your flames flicker, but you cannot sustain them for long. To do so, to place warmth at that frozen core, is unthinkable and your flames flutter and die. Before you, above and beneath you, is an abyss: a silent, apocalyptic infinity. You realise, not for the first time in your life, that you are utterly, irrevocably lost. Unforgivably, the tendrils that spring from the core find their way into your mind, and the realisation that life cannot revert, that you will never reclaim the soft, warm place that you hanker after, looms. You are hopeful, and your own eyes (pale and weak in their comparison) take on that pathetic, entreating glaze that cannot be masked or quelled. Hopeful for a retreat, hopeful for an escape. And then those unnavigable seas of darkness turn their attention elsewhere. The crisis: the feeling once they have passed away is, if possible, worse than when they wholly bound you.
The effigy. “Hear this, the word said by this, the picture.” The effigy begins its procession. We are all in thrall to the effigy, for its procession is never-ending. The highest honour would be to be picked to carry the effigy on a leg of its journey, although the reward is instant death. It is said that the bearers of the effigy, upon their ultimate sacrifice, go at once to meet the woman that the effigy depicts. Those that carry the effigy, and it takes several hundred at once simply to lift its frame and move it on its eternal quest, see inside the mechanism and understand the true secrets of the device. It is understood that exposure to these kill a person, not simply upon seeing them for the first time, but witnessing their might and then being forced to turn your gaze away. This would explain the constant upturned faces of the bearers, and the grim and silent figures that wait for one or other of the straining men and women to fall away from the procession. They are swiftly ended, before the madness can engulf them. Beneath the effigy, who knows what unfolds? The effigy is constantly followed by a procession of people who wait in the hope that they are picked for service. They get used to the chant, understand its intonations and cantatas, and eventually chant along with the bearers. Once they have mastered the chant, they are ‘noticed’ by the figures in black, who elect the bearers. It is a good system, they tell us, for anyone can join at any time. Even the weak, the young and the old are given their chance, but they rarely last long beneath the crushing weight of the effigy. Unfortunately, in my dreams, I wish for the effigy to tilt to one side, and fall to the ground, the frail mechanics robbed of their life and the great fraud exposed for what it is. The power, I hope, would be returned to us. Instead they are coming for me.
The Crown. The crown is something we’ve all worn. It is a heavy piece of metal, bedecked with multiple jewels that rise, like a flight of birds, from its heart. These precious stones, labyrinthine in their composition, are made up of everything good that has ever happened to us. The smallest stones – tiny topaz and rubies, are small events, like the lightness gifted by being alive on a fine morning. The largest, diamonds the size of pebbles, intricate golden sculptures bedecked with gems, these are the events central to our creation and ongoing evolution. Together this display makes up a phalanx, a cornucopia of positivity. These are the moments at which we appreciate life for what it truly is and could be, rather than what we have allowed it to become. The crown is a joy to wear, but as I said before it is heavy. So heavy, in fact, that the weight of manifold happiness can make you sad. So heavy that it can give you a bent neck and a hunchback, from the desire to collect and possess all those moments. And worse than bearing the curse of having to reach those heights again, is the fear that the stones might drop from their mount at any moment leaving only a hollow shell, plucked at by egrets that steal away with beauty, until the stones that are left glimmer dully, almost forgotten in their despoiled setting.
The Bridge. I came to a bridge. Let me describe it. On the right of the bridge was goodness. Kindly faces stared at me through open, imploring eyes. Their arms were outstretched, their palms upturned. Their honesty and sincerity were obvious. I caught hints of a pleasant smell coming from lush vegetation; I believe it was the same honeysuckle. I saw figures trusted – friends, people that had shown me kindness or who had steered me with their guidance and advice. All those anonymous people with whom I had exchanged a smile stood there, ranks of them stretched backwards into the light. A path stretched away from this side of the bridge, running through deep forest where a host of animals and birds lived. My dogs ran amongst the trees, alive and dead in a pack. Through the trees I could glimpse an ocean, the sun softly stroking the waves. This side of the bridge spoke of peace, consideration, and empathy. It was calm, soft and assured. There was so much to joy to witness there that turning away to look at the left of the bridge was difficult. There, the ground was blackened and cracked. All the rubbish I ever placed in a bin or dropped on the ground was burning in a monstrous heap. Through the toxic flames, faces of pain, revulsion, suffering appeared. Further down the path stood death. I cannot tell you his name or how he looked, but I knew he was death. He was accompanied on all sides by evil people. A man sat at a desk, his knuckles white, eyes desperate. Into his ugly mouth was stuffed a dirty wad of money, so full that notes and coins spilled out. Around him were instruments or torture, blackened stumps and the corpses of animals and birds, some of which wriggled as if in pain. A smell curled up from a blackened ocean in wisps. There was a scream, pushed towards me by a foul wind. Which side was I on? Like all humans, I stood in the middle.
The wall rotates through a thousand shades of green. The wind, the same wind that created this , gusts hard up the face and almost blinds. The sound of the thing! The speed! Every second spent in pursuit of this single transitory journey is justified. The ego is dead, yet the self accelerates. Moments stretch into eons, the hiss of the wave is ten thousand snakes, the light at the end of the tunnel the very sun itself.
‘Litmus’ started off with a direct quote from you, it goes something like: ‘I wish when they’d asked me what surfing meant, I’d replied a spiritual activity instead of a sport, because that put us on the wrong track’ do you stand by that statement? Nat (2005): Yeah. I still believe that surfing is much more of an artform than a sport. I think that it is a misnomer. When the media and the general population had to put us into a box, they wentthis is a sport. But it could have just as easily gone the other way, and be considered as a legitimate artform, if it would have been projected as such. Literally, it would have been adopted instantly by the London Ballet company, and then Sydney, by all these different places as a form of dance, and expression, then we would probably all be in a lot different position. I’m only saying this because I feel it probably would have been a more accurate label
It would have, should have, could have, but it simply bloody didn’t
- Judges are impressed with how much water you throw up in the air. So boards have to be designed to throw water in the air. So you want hard edges.
- That wave, that guy they are calling a kook, it could be the best wave of that guy’s life, and you’ve had a million waves just like that, why be greedy and take his?
- You gotta remember too, it’s a subjective sport, it’s not objective. So that’s an extremely difficult thing to judge.
- No one I’ve seen has a proper shaping room. I’ve never seen a well designed shaping room as far as ventilation goes. You’d want a vertical flow of air, in other words air passes straight down through the room. So in other words you wouldn’t even need a mask shaping, cos all the dust and fumes are taken straight down through the floor out into a dust collector.
- I know both Tommy Curren and Kelly Slater used to do this in Santa Barbara. They’d go down and get four boards at a time, all the same size, and surf them and choose the best one of the lot. I remember him bringing one up to my house, and he said this is a magic one, and this is a reproduction. They spent hours making it, and the reproduction doesn’t work. I could just pick four things straight away without even getting a rocker template or anything. It wasn’t anywhere near the same as the other boards.
- They are looking at what I’m doing and going well fuck we want to surf like that, so they started making surfboards small. - Oh I’ve shaped my share of duds don’t worry about that, you gotta go to extremes to find balance in it.
- You’d go down to your local dive shop and get a beaver tail top with pants. I used to get a farmer John that gave me two layers around the middle. Cos I didn’t have any body fat to keep the heat in, so I had two layers of rubber. Remember with the beaver tail, if you straighten out, in California we are talking 10-12 degree water temperature in Celsius or about anywhere from 52-56 degrees temperature in the winter time, depending on the air sometime it would even get down to the high 40’s. It was cold, the problem with the beaver tail design, you’d straighten out and the wave would catch up behind you, you’d prone out, it would balloon your wetsuit out and all the water would gush inside it. It was alright going out, cos the water was going the other way, but if you the water come up behind you, you would definitely flush your wetsuit. - What do you see the locals ride at sunset beach? Boards as thick as a car door. - Well, surfing is something you go to do for fun with your friends.
something you go to
for fun with
light of various senses paintings by daniel crockett (i) light of various senses triptych - 1 (ii) Bogangar (iii) Dittany all Acrylic on paper
Light really burning now, sun got up all sudden spilling over everything. Dousing it. Noise of the cars playing pizzicato on my nerves. Bead of sweat springs up on Macy’s temple, I can see it throb throb throb through her hair. Slip of metal clasped tight. Calloused old vices sprouting curls, white in places where they bust up and healed and bust again. That bird at it again in the roof of the world. None too many back here, but that one always shrieking. Macy looks up, I do too, but it’s too dizzy and the heat starts up again like a motor. I had the same car since before Macy-O, bowing down in the shade there, trying to escape the press. Fucker roars into life and Macy climbs up rides shotgun when I open the door for her. House gone in the rear-view, all needs paint but been thinking that for years, it’ll be dust before. Pass on down past Brer and Peter, who waves with one stump because the other got took. We stop out the shop and I say to Macy ‘wait there.’ I done need say it anymore, because she always stays put. Shop-girl rolls her eyes at me. ‘Going see shore again, Farley?’ I go to the far wall and choose my water-grade. I choose an eight because Macy been awful dry late and needs it. I’d drink ten to get by, nine on Friday.
I eye the 1s and 2s, but I can feel they eyes from behind the rack. Glance through the winder where the hot sun still cuts through the layers the girl got hung. It burns right through the glass. Poor Macy, I think, with no shield. Empties my wallet right out and just have enough, thanks oh thanks. Kids walking past looking real dry, looking at Macy, bug eyes and red skin. Back in the car she is all pinned up one wall in the shade, and I cap the water and pour a bit for her. Sailing out of town, cutting through the still and the wind feels good against our faces. It’s like before the heat come on and the green withered up. Feels like we headed out the coast, for pineapple and to play all day in the waves. Just like real wind come whipping down through the canyons and clusters, fanning the sea. And I think of my buddies, hooting and hollering, side-slipping down the waves. Then we eat up the miles, cutting through the dust on the road and sending it all pluming out behind us. All that curmudgeoning forgot, and even Macy has a smile on. Now you can clear see where the land end and the sea starts, like a great big column where the dry meets the wet.
You’d think it’d be real angry and tense up there in the air, those great differences between the two, but it’s like all their energy for a fight just left. This is where they mine water grades 2 to 5, since the rain stopped. It still pisses a bit here, an it leaks a bit from the mills, so they fenced off five miles from the sea to keep people away. We get closer. Thing is, Macy don’t know why we are here and she is up all happy at the winder. Eyes find it hard to see the green now, but suddenly we are right up in it and the dust drops away from the tyres. The signs start up, one every hundred or so. I count em, I know where we gone. It was lucky that Macy found the narrow crack in the wire. The car was giving me trouble or we’da never seen it. Seen her scramble through and come back dripping wet was the happiest day. She shook herself off and I caught the drops on my tongue. Near Pure it was, I swear to you. Macy felt good then for a while but that was then.
It looks smaller though, acres of blue stretch and stretch. This is damn near close as you can see it. Pull over then and get out, do a big stretch as if sore from the road. Macy looks excited, cause she been there before. I let open the side door and she comes out like a shot. She knows where we gone and slopes off down the side of the road where little bits of green are trying to seed in the dirt. Macy runs ahead, and then she wriggles under the wire and beyond, in the natural shade. I want to go under with her, but they’d see the car and we’d have no chance then. I can’t keep her you see, can’t afford the grades of water she needs, and I know they’ll take her soon. I stamp the wire down where it was come up, and give Macy one last look through it. Then she goes.
We crest the last hill before the slip down to the road where the green is so thick through the fences it feels like you hid from the world. Then there it is, that great jewel of ocean.
harold An American
[preceding] harold in the garage [this spread] daily detail and pavels
Tom Jones - El Ballerina
bonzers Campbell Brothers bonzers. [left] 7’6’’ five-fin egg. [this page] 6’6’’ three-fin logo.
gratitude 2006 exhibition - Neil Erskine, Daniel Crockett, John Eldridge “It confirmed that the core of the tree is still solid”
glimpse extracts from â€˜Glimpseâ€™ - one copy annual illustration and prints by neil erskine
melting pot is dedicated to Jono Parr, never forgotten.
melting pot is homegrown, comes from the heart and is written and created by people that care about surfing.
this issue was inspired by
Editor, Concept, Design: Daniel Crockett Moment thieves: Greg Welch, John Eldridge, John Isaac Anna Greenland, Neil Erskine, Bones All photography and artwork is ÂŠ of the respective authors. All other material ÂŠ Daniel Crockett Melting Pot 2008.
please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arvo Part Neil and Ness Elfie and Lily Philip K Dick Rell Sun Paul Klee Ted Spencer The Gallerus Oratory Mahavishnu Orchestra Campbell Brothers Joanna Newsom Chartreuse De La Verne Lou Reed Litmus Dulcimer The Earlies Anna Greenland Vashti Bunyan Surfersforcetaceans also by Daniel Crockett: Form Magazine issues 1-2
Text of Gratitude Azimuth & Altitude And they spoke the word,Ashafine Wildering
Annual collection of surfing poetry, photography, prose and art.