Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dreaming-Bear speaks of Burning Man, fails to mention Hanging Man

The desert must surely be among the cruelest of places in which to be abandoned, with the unrelenting sun beating down upon tender flesh, searing the heart, inflaming the very soul.

"What am I doing here?" the half-naked* man asked himself again and again, but the unforgiving sun did not reply, nor did it ease up on its relentless assault. Merciful night, with its cold reflected light and its billion burning stars, was still many hours away.

Oh, the anguish. Oh, the (in)humanity!
"I, a boy from Maui, used to the rain forests…what am I doing in this desert, burning my butt off?" the man cried out.

I could have answered that question, had I been in that desert, which, thankfully, I was not. I would no doubt have pointed out to the "boy from Maui" that he had chosen to be at Burning Man, along with nearly fifty thousand other hedonistic, self-infatuated SNAGs** and SNAG-ettes, all engaged in various forms of "radical self-expression."

And while I was at it, I would have mentioned that Dreaming-Bear Kanaan, Whirled-class pseudo-mystic, ersatz American Indian, phony Poetry Man, and genuine poseur, is not technically from Maui, having lived all over the U.S. and in other parts of the world – according to his bio information, anyway. Maui, that enchanted island, is merely his current home base. But accuracy doesn’t matter when it comes to any tale told by Dreaming-Bear, who is so authentically, sincerely phony that he is perhaps best described as a New-Wage lounge lizard – a contemporary pseudo-spiritual version of Nick The Lounge Singer, Bill Murray’s character from a long-ago era on Saturday Night Live. The main difference between him and Nick is that D-B mostly talks (more melodiously than Nick sings; I will give him that), and usually wears a white towel or a loincloth, if that much, instead of a leisure suit. And whereas Nick played to smoke-filled rooms, the smoke most often present at a D-B performance is that which he blows up the apertures of his devoted audiences as he attempts to "kiss them into consciousness."

Still, Dreaming-Bear’s desert drama makes a pretty good made-up story. In any case, our tattooed lounge lizard survived that arid hell and slithered back to his regularly scheduled monologue "Teleseminar Communion" this past week, apparently even more in love with himself than ever. He might have burned his butt off in the desert, but he grew a brand-new tale in the process. And he gladly shared it all with listeners of his weekly "Communion," which is hosted on Wednesday evenings (9pm EST / 6pm PST/ 3pm HST) by a New-Wage clearinghouse/crap processor called Blue Diamond Pachamama.
Burning Man is an annual eight-day festival that takes place in a makeshift city in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The event is most famous for art and nudity, making it the sort of affair that you could no more keep Dreaming-Bear away from than I can keep my dachshund away from the Kitty McNuggets in the cat boxes.

Some call Burning Man a peaceful celebration of music and art and other forms of self-expression. Some call it a cult. Call it what you will, but it definitely does not seem like my idea of a good time, for the very reason that suffering, in one way or another, seems to be part of the experience. Yet that suffering is, for the most part, something deliberately chosen, a mortification of the flesh or spirit in order to reach some greater level of enlightenment, or at least the illusion thereof.

And so our hero Dreaming-Bear ventured into the desert to suffer, to be naked, and to inflict his art on others. After his week of anguish, he returned to his virtual throne on September 5, attended to by several doting female fans.

The September 5 program was the first D-B Teleseminar Communion that I have actually listened to in its entirety, and I did so for a very specific reason. I wanted to see if D-B had any words of wisdom or comfort to share about a tragic event that took place at this year’s festival. So I clicked the link, sat back, and listened. To spare you having to suffer through the program yourself, I will give you a rundown.

It begins with an intro from Blue Diamond Pachamama’s Linda Pannell, who describes D-B as "inspiration and passion personified." Linda is a faithful keeper of the D-B mythos, explaining that he is "of Cherokee and Palestinian descent; raised in both worlds."

Right off the bat Dreaming-Bear alludes to the torment he endured at Burning Man, describing it as "seven days of sheer, absolute desert-like conditions…I was challenged on every level." Yet, he reveals, it was through this egregious suffering that he rediscovered "the same amazing truth that has come to every soul from Moses to Michael Jackson." And you just know that he is prepared to elaborate upon that truth at great length.

But first, the poetry – the invocation, the call to worship. D-B proceeds to recite an original poem inspired by "my experience of absolute anguish on the desert floor, wondering why I had been abandoned." The name of the poem is, "There is no cure in this insane love game" – not to be confused with "Ain’t No Cure For Love," penned by real poet Leonard Cohen.

The poem over, he holds forth on the meaning of Burning Man, which he says is all about passion and rebirth. And he’s off and running with a mix of metaphors about flames and the desert and the Phoenix – and, of course, passion – whipping it all into a frothy foam. The verbal effluvium spills out over his adoring female listeners, who can be heard in the background purring, mewing, and occasionally giggling. D-B does not speak so much as he spews – the verbal equivalent of projectile vomiting. (He’s not the only one who knows how to overdo it with the metaphors, you know.) I must warn you, though, that if you follow the link to this Teleseminar, prolonged listening may result in projectile vomiting of your own.

D-B reveals many things about his favorite subject: himself. At one point he says he is not comfortable with being labeled an actor; he would rather be thought of as "an authentic being." He prefers to think of himself not as being "onstage" but rather as being "in a center of authenticity." He claims not to care about what others think of him, and suggests that we should all be similarly immune to the world’s judgment. "I’ve come to the place where I am no longer apologetic for who or what I am…We can never apologize for being beautiful… we can never kowtow to people who can’t appreciate beauty…" (Later in the program he humbly admits to being "the most imperfect person on the planet! I had to say that to myself over and over this last week!")

In short order he’s back to his metaphors of fire and flame, explaining that the purpose of his excess verbiage is to awaken the Divine in his listeners. "I am nudging, ever so gently, those fires… I am stoking those holy coals…" He speaks of reaching a point at which "passion takes on a quantum meaning." (You don’t think any New-Wage lounge lizard worth his pretentious indigenous bangles and beads would fail to mention the word "quantum" at least once, do you?)

Nearly half an hour into the teleconference, D-B apologizes to his hosts – well, in a manner of speaking – for his garrulousness. "After all, this is supposed to be a dialogue," he acknowledges. But, he explains, there’s a good reason for his monopoly of the show thus far: "Truth falls like honey from one’s lips when one has been kissing the Divine…" And then he’s off and running again, with nearly another half hour of projectile verbiage. His speech is rife with spiritually erotic references, such as, "Getting naked with God," and "soulgasm," references that never fail to evoke a female titter or two.

For all you single gals who might be wondering if D-B is attached, I am sorry to inform you that he is married, sort of. "I married my soul to Truth," he says, failing to mention that he is apparently a faithless husband who is cheating on Truth with Self-Love and Unmitigated Bulls--t. Or perhaps he and Truth have an open marriage, in which his soul makes love mainly to his own B.S. (while his body boinks as many of his female followers and students as he can get away with), and Truth slinks away to find solace in miserable dives like this blog.

More than forty minutes into the broadcast he says he is going to open up the show for the input of others. This time, though, he is not repentant for having spent so much time gabbing. "I don’t apologize for the time I’ve taken." After all, he says, a fire doesn’t apologize for the time it takes to burn; it just burns, and when it is burned out the smoke rises like a prayer.

More interminable minutes follow in which D-B spews many more words, finally wrapping up his monologue – sort of – by reciting another original poem called, "The Milky Way." It starts out being about the stars and the universe, but quickly morphs once more to images of the flesh: "suckling from the sweet breast of truth," and the like. His female listeners sigh and swoon as he recites his immortal words about "gentle sucking," and "milking, milking, milking"…and… well, you get the drift.

And then, finally, he "opens this sacred space" to others who might have something to say. Not that they haven’t been participating anyway, he hastens to assure them. One does not have to talk in order to participate, he says. The truth, he asserts, is that anyone hearing his voice has been participating on a spiritual level all along.

Host Linda pipes in, saying that people have criticized her quavering voice. D-B assures her that hers is the voice of God.

Then a participant named Shauna makes a forceful entry through D-B’s barrier of words, saying she has written to D-B (apparently he has not responded). She is, she explains, a lifelong free spirit whose family and friends criticize her free-spiritedness. D-B gamely tries to give her the validation that she seems to be so desperately seeking, but she has more talking to do. She speaks of how her family of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses didn't accept her freeform spirituality, and D-B responds that members of his own family were shocked when he abandoned Islam for whatever it is he embraces now. But when it comes to gabbing, Shauna gives D-B a run for his money; he has trouble getting a word in edgewise over her rambling self-analysis.

The show is running into overtime now, but Linda the host quaveringly begs D-B’s indulgence and reads a letter from another doting female fan who attended a recent D-B performance and began her spiritual journey that very night as a result.

At this story, the female listeners murmur their approval. You can just feel the love, and it is really kind of icky. Once again, as was the case with an interview last year between The Secret creator Rhonda Byrne and Anna Darrah of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, I am reminded of Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer on the old "Delicious Dish on NPR" skit on Saturday Night Live ("Good times....mmmm. Good times.").

And then – finally! – D-B utters his closing words, assuring his listeners that they are the Resurrection of the Christ, the Golden Buddha, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, and maybe even a bit of Osama Bin Laden. Which is to say that we are all a bit of the sublime and the evil. The show concludes – yes, this time for real – with Shauna still interjecting with her on-the-fly analyses of her problems.

Good times....mmmm. Good times.

I’ll tell you about someone who probably isn’t having "good times" right now – the family of the young man who apparently committed suicide at Burning Man. On Thursday, August 30, a 21-year-old Colorado man was found hanging in a two-story tent located in the festival’s Comfort & Joy Theme Camp. He evidently had been hanging there for about two hours before anyone in the large tent had the presence of mind to take him down. According to Mark Pirtle, special agent in charge for the Bureau of Land Management, "His friends thought he was doing an art piece."

This was the first known suicide in the festival’s 21-year history (if you don't count the slow suicide the festival itself seems to be committing), and for the most part, the party went on as usual. You could, of course, chalk the whole tragedy up to the impaired thinking characteristic of young stoners. But you could also look upon it as a metaphor for the dark side of New-Wage culture: self-centeredness imperfectly disguised as introspection, bad behavior masquerading as creativity or free-spiritedness, all combined with a fierce mandate to avoid negative judgments about anything or anyone. I’m thinking Crack Emcee at The Macho Response blog would agree with the New-Wage metaphor assessment.

As, I believe, would others, such as some of the folks participating in a discussion on Gawker. A person with the moniker "Sanfranlefty" wrote:
The Burning Man crowd is a bunch of trustafarian hipsters who don't work and yuppie dot-comers who design websites, who are thinking that spending a lot of money for the right to be someplace "money-free" in BFE Nevada where they have to barter sex for water bottles is some sort of big life-changing artistic statement.
What a bunch of tripped out losers to not realize they needed to cut the guy down for two hours. Poor guy…
And then there was this one, from "Truculent":
Talk about the ultimate self-criticism. And yes, Burning Man has no deeper meaning tha(n) getting naked, rolling in the mud with strangers, being wasted and dehydrated (which heightens the effect) and pooping into plastic bags. The downside is you are forced into intimate contact with loons, psychopaths, boors and other people who you would never, ever associate with in real life.
At any rate, I really should have known better than to think that Dreaming-Bear would devote any part of his weekly "Divine Dialogue" to such a bummer of an event as some young dude's suicide. After all, D-B barely survived his own agonizing stint at Burning Man.

So maybe I should just cut him some slack.

For the benefit of those foolhardy souls who have decided they want to listen to the actual program and hear Dreaming-Bear expounding upon the meaning of Burning Man – but don't feel up to digging for the link in the mound of prose up above – here it is again. But don't say I didn't warn you.

* Or, more than likely, fully-naked man – I don't know and I don't want to know.
** SNAG: Sensitive New Age Guy

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Citizen Deux said...

Interesting - having been a "rennie" for almost 20 years - I still am, actually. I entertained thoughts of going out to BM this year back in the spring.

However, the more I read and the more I looked - the less I like what I saw. The sheer impact of half a hundred thousand folks on that part of the desert is staggering.

Where else, but the USA, can you pack up - go into a human hostile ecosystem and get loopy. To me, it seemed the height of arrogance - a blistering paradox for the NeWage crowd.

Cosmic Connie said...

Hey, CD, I like the Texas RenFest myself, though I've only been a few times (believe it or not) and have never done the campouts. And there is something about huge bohemian festivals that I find strangely appealing (I sometimes wish I'd been at the original Woodstock). But BM (hmmm... what apt initials) just didn't appeal to me. They could at least have it in a nicer environment. Such as Maui... though of course the Maui Millionaires would never stand for such a thing.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting commentary on Dreaming Bears's approach to life. You seem quite enraged by a person who is experiencing joy and sharing that with others! I hope you are able to experience peace within yourself someday!


Cosmic Connie said...

Aloha yourself, Anon! Let me guess... you're either Dreaming Bear himself or you're one of his giggly female admirers. Am I close?

Anonymous said...

Getting really real means transcending the judgement and looking at the basic message D-B is sending out. And what does the world need? Love. D-B is bold and couageous enough to get on 'stage' and express his constructive message in a form that Yes is appealing to females. THAT is what the world needs- more openly loving males. We have so much exploitation of the feminine in the media so to me D-B and all he expresses on stage adds up to alot of healing for women worldwide. D-B is a blessed balance.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thank you for your perspective, Lily. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree here. Call me really unreal, but... while you see an "openly loving" male up there on stage, I see and hear a ham who's full of himself and isn't above exploiting sex and spirituality to win fans and to get laid. Which, of course, is no different from what many New-Wage "leaders" and "gurus" of both genders do all the time.

Does the world really need more of that?

Actually, take spirituality from the mix and what D-B does is no different from what a lot of rock stars have always done too. And I probably have no room to talk about D-B, since as a teenager I had a hopeless crush on the late Jim Morrison. Talk about a poser who was full of himself...

Hmmm... maybe if D-B had been around when I was a teenager I would been taken by his "charms." But he wasn't and I'm not.

However, I do find D-B to be very entertaining, and as long as he doesn't do his trolling for dates among underage prey, I imagine he's relatively harmless.

As for me, I'm gonna go listen to "When The Music's Over"....

Anonymous said...


HOW refreshing to have ONE realistic TRUTHFUL account of what DB is like on the web !!!!

I lived on Maui and saw his little games.
Yes he manipulates and hurts women and sleeps around like a sleazy fratboy -- and with as much respect for women (more on that later).

But what I find really appalling is that it still works-- he even seems to be touring with Ram Dass....GOD!!!

It is all fluff! he IS AN ACTOR for G's sake. He told me himself: he was tired of doing the struggling actor thing...
and VOila! got himself into a nice little Gig of Pseudo Prophet.

His Goal in Life? OPRAH.
He is doing all this brouaha to get on Oprah!

I even think that his little wheelchair stint is just part of his ACT.

One day soon, he ll get up from it and tell us MORE ON HOW HE has suffered and Learned. And hopefully--- wheelchair (AND MIRACLE) will get him straight to OPrah's show.. and she ll talk about his books.. and he will makes loads of mullah.
That and be worshipped some more. And get laid some more.

Am not a cynic. Have just seen and gotten to know him enough to know how he operates and thinks.

Living on Maui I ran into a few heartbroken girls he used. It seems his free-loving pansexual thing is never quite so open--- it s never "it's just sex baby" but more like "I love you-- you re the only one" probaly because you get so much more from a woman like that.
Quite a few have become his cook/ maid/ assistant like this-- buying him food etc.... The cherry on top of the cake? Unprotected sex of course ( he loves me! there is only ME!) and --ahem... he even "plants his seed" without even asking permission. I met a girl who ran around Maui vowing to cut his head off after such an encounter.

I am really scared by the thought that this guy still has a following. And by the amount of lies and deception he engineers.

Other new age leaders may take advantage of the groupie factor-- but at least have something worthy to say (Osho for ex.). This guy...says nothing.

But hey,he is a great performer. I guess.

Cosmic Connie said...

In regard to Anon 8:04 AM's very interesting comment, I suppose my standard disclaimer is in order here: I have not substantiated these statements and am not responsible for their accuracy or lack thereof. Furthermore, Dreaming-Bear is certainly welcome to refute them.

That said, Anon's statement is pretty consistent with my impression of D-B, right down to my suspicion that the wheelchair is part of an act. One of his defenders above wrote, "We have so much exploitation of the feminine in the media so to me D-B and all he expresses on stage adds up to alot of healing for women worldwide." It seems that there's more than one way of "exploiting the feminine," and D-B has found a terrific way to do it.

Oprah, you've been warned!

Anonymous said...

I live on Maui and am Dreaming Bear's friend and yes, I happen to be female. I'm no girlfriend or devotee and I don't want to be. I don't call myself enlightened or worship Tilak. Think and gossip all you want but I feel compelled to share some light on his medical situation, as someone who has accompanied him on several trips to the hospital and has seen his MRI's. The wheelchair is no act. I don't see how he can scam an MRI and numerous doctors. He has some pretty serious issues with his back that will likely haunt him for the rest of his life. The surgical procedures he has undertaken will likely get him back on his feet soon but his condition is degenerative and most likely he will find himself unable to walk again. He'd much rather be recognized for his poetry, not for being in a wheelchair. It's pretty humiliating and an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Cosmic Connie said...

Anon 12:25 AM: Thank you for your perspective. I will also publish your comment in the discussion section of my most recent post about Dreaming-Bear. You are right that being wheelchair-bound, or having a degenerative condition, are not experiences that a compassionate person would wish on anyone. If what you are saying is true, then I owe D-B an apology for implying that the wheelchair is part of an act. I wish him a speedy recovery and many years of mobility.

I stand by my other opinions and observations about him, however.

Anonymous said...

Lol. he has had back problems for years. he just is using it now. and a wheelchair.

Cosmic Connie said...

Well, as I said to the previous commenter, I don't wish ill health on anyone, not even D-B. But as I've also said or implied before, D-B is the sort of person about whom everything is suspect until proven otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Here on Maui, we used to have benefits for schools in impoverished nations, fighting hunger, for the environment, for friends with cancer. Now it seems we mostly have benefits for Dreaming Bear.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...
It gets even better!

Cosmic Connie said...

Dude! 'Shrooms! Salvia! Plant vibes! Wow... it's the '60s all over again! Thanks for the link, Anon 11:33 AM; it was very amusing.

And that host guy Martin sounds like the perfect person to interview DB. Where does "SNAG" leave off and "gay" begin? (Not that there's anything wrong with the latter, of course. But at times it's hard to tell.)

cw said...

"transcending the judgement and looking at the basic message D-B is sending out. And what does the world need? Love. D-B is bold and couageous enough to get on 'stage' and express his constructive message in a form that Yes is appealing to females."

This, folks, is how women end up getting conned out of their life savings by "loving" con-men.

Cosmic Connie said...

Ah, Chris, I couldn't have said it better myself. I think all too many women (and not just D-B's paramours) could benefit from a book called, "He's Just Not That Into You ~ But He *Is* Into Your Bank Account."

Cindy said...

To the person saying Dreaming Bear's wheelchair is no 'act'...while it is true that he does have a 'bad' back after injuring himself in a motorcycle accident with his GF on board. (BTW he never seems to care about how her injuries affected her life) I have personally witnessed times he used the wheelchair to gain sympathy and get people, usually women to dote over him. He is in Ireland what is referred to as a 'gobshite cornerboy' and he hasn't learned to wear his words. The harm he does comes from charging for services, pretending to be able to help others with 'conditions' he can't even help himself with. He is no shaman, no healer, no anything but a new age fraud, poseur full of himself to the point he is 'gag me' sickening. The 'New Age Lounge Lizard' comment fit him perfectly.

Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks, Cindy. It's interesting that I'm getting comments about DB on some of these older posts again. Is he on the prowl again? Did he start yet another "tour" to push his shtick? I haven't been keeping up with him lately but am always glad to hear updates.

Interesting insights on the wheelchair prop.

Here's a link from a few years back, elucidating some of DB's poseur ways:;wap2

Cindy said...

Read the link you posted and can vouch for the fact that what is written there is truth about him. Every last bit of it! Don't know if he is on another one of his 'tours' but he seems to have gotten a lot more sophisticated in finding ways to swindle money out of people over the years. Must have someone helping him with his 'marketing' techniques ;)Have you checked out lately?

Cosmic Connie said...

Cindy, I did go to the Loveolution site and I agree with you that DB seems to have found more elaborate ways to swindle the unsuspecting. I suppose he thinks that his CA (conspicuous altruism) shtick adds a bit of depth to the poet/poseur/Nature Boy act.

And oh my, I don't think I could find a more stellar example of one of my long-time complaints about New-Wage "culture": its obfuscatory ways with the English language (this is from the "four principles" list on the Loveolution web site):

* Language for New Paradigms: ‘Lovevolution’ itself as a namesake represents the synthesis of commonalities between emerging scientific understandings and practically evolving perennial philosophies. The Lovevolution phenomenon institutes a new paradigmatic language, which rearticulate's outdated narratives of old limitation thinking. By growing the conceptual understandings of existence beyond a constricted consensus of what is possible, ‘lovevolutionary languaging’ naturally contributes to a new and expanded ‘multiversal’ worldview.


Damn. I'm a satirist, and at times a pretty good one if I do say so myself, but I could never hope to match that.

Anonymous said...

Classic new age conman. I bet he has a string of women that he owes $500 - $5000 to.

Cosmic Connie said...

You're probably right, Anon Thursday, December 01, 2011 3:15:00 PM.

Zic the Wyrdo said...

That's a depressing and sad story.

I guess a certain percentage like that turn out in every generation.

As I was reading, I was also thinking he reminded me of Jim Morrison.

I like the Doors, but I never was able to see Jim as a visionary or anything. He was a guy who could sing well and was often looking to score in various senses of the word.

D-B seems to be a lot more scammy though.
Furry cows moo and decompress.

Anonymous said...

So about me... I live and work in Maui at a very upscale restaurant on the North shore. I have experienced serving this Mr. Dreaming Bear fellow on numerous occasions. Let me say that without having any previous knowledge of this guy, I experienced an overtly rude, womanizing, and ungrateful person. A Prevailing spirit of self-intitlement and arrogance hung over this character like the stench of a Patchouli soaked hippie. The guy brings different women in to the restaurant, orders up big (special requests) expects "royal" treatment, and then passes the check to the woman lucky enough to be in his presence. This guy is a JOKE. Seriously! The irony of how he presents himself vs. how he acts is almost the text book definition of the term itself.

Anonymous said...

He now says he has a Asperger's according to my niece, who is one of his latest devotees. In the last year DB had back surgery and I wouldn't be surprised if my niece paid for it. This guy is a greasy swine.