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Gary: Eight-Circuit Thailand

cooked water bugs at a roadside market, Thailand
Water bugs at a roadside market

Eight-Circuit Thailand:
Absorb, Integrate, Transmit

Story and Photos by Gary Singh

an elephant at the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center
Lampang Elephant Conservation Center
nside the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok, the air conditioning does little to offset the interconnected heat from a hundred journalists dressed in business attire. We’re receiving a multimedia transmission about the new trend of “experiential tourism”—a buzz phrase the presenters define as “our emotional response to our journey through time and space.” From the stage, Christin Grothaus and Michael Biedassek explain that recent trends no longer favor traditional destination-based tourism, but, instead, “-ing” types of tourism, i.e, cycling, elephant riding, caving, snorkeling, etc. They predict future tourists will want to “experience, reflect and share.”

Conceptually, I deem this a meaningful coincidence because I’m already experiencing Thailand with a copy of The Eight-Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body by Berkeley mystic, Antero Alli. According to Alli, to key to increasing one’s intelligence is by absorbing, integrating, and transmitting information. Merely absorbing information will not help one evolve; rather, one must integrate what one learns and transmit that information.

As soon as Grothaus and Biedassek describe their model of “experience, reflect and share,” I immediately synchronize it with Alli’s model of “absorbing, integrating and transmitting.” The book wasn’t intended as a travel guide in the geographical sense, but on this journey it’s my equivalent sidekick.

sunset at Pattaya Beach on the eastern coast of Thailand
Pattaya Beach

In Alli’s model, the brain contains eight circuits. The first four are the basic survival circuits: (1) Physio-Biological Intelligence; (2) Emotional-Territorial Intelligence; (3) Symbolic-Conceptual Intelligence; and (4) Social-Moral Intelligence. These four function as anchors for the other four, the "upper consciousness" circuits: (5) Somatic Intelligence; (6) Intuitive-Psychic Intelligence; (7) Mytho-Genetic Intelligence; and (8) Quantum-Nonlocal Intelligence.
All eight of these symbolic modalities are interconnected and each one exists at various degrees of expression and latency in everyone. While traveling, one experiences the model as a dynamic constantly-changing whole.

Since I’m in Thailand, where Buddhism penetrates everything, my natural sense of interconnectedness is already kicking into overdrive. Alli’s book shapes the emotional responses to my journey through this particular space and time - (“May the farce be with you and the Buddha, too,” he advises, adding that the point, above all else, is to have fun with this.)

The multimedia transmission on experiential tourism here in the Conference Centre brings it all into perspective. Absorb. Integrate. Transmit. Are you receiving me? Good. Some quick examples:

Circuit 1, Physio-Biological Intelligence, (security and the basic will to survive), centers around imprinted attitudes of trust and comfort. For example, in Chiang Mai, the boutique hotel, U Chiang Mai, sits rights across the street from a watering hole called the Chiang Mai Writer’s Club & Wine Bar—the city’s unofficial foreign correspondent’s club. Both of those fine establishments—the hotel with its upstairs reading room, free WiFi and 24-hour breakfast; the bar with its celebratory ambience supplied by owner and expat journo Bob Tilley—absolutely satisfied my fixations for security and self-preservation. Upon leaving, I vowed to return.

Buddhist monks in familiar orange robes, Thailand
Cessation of suffering is possible

Circuit 2, Emotional-Territorial Intelligence, deals with personal status, power tactics and stabilizing your ego in the midst of it all. For example, when several writers travel together and share a bus for two weeks, all with varying degrees of professional jealousy and inferiority complexes, (myself included), Circuit 2 can disintegrate in no time. Following the book’s advice, my opinion is: “I am free; you are free; we can have our separate trips or we can have the same trip.” I’m just glad Buddhist monks travel the streets in Thailand, reminding me of that Third Noble Truth: Cessation of suffering is indeed possible.

man at work at the Orchid Jade factory, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Orchid Jade factory, Chiang Mai

a view of the interior of the Soneva Kiri Resort, Koh Kood, Thailand
Soneva Kiri Resort
Even more challenging scenarios characterize Circuit 3, Symbolic-Conceptual Intelligence. This is about analyzing situations, making metaphorical maps of what’s going on around you and finding ways to organize the sensory overload of information coming in. It requires focusing and paying attention, talents I often lack, especially when experiencing many things in one trip: The Soneva Kiri Resort, The White Temple, the Jade Factory, the Lampang Elephant Conservation Center, the Buddhist monks, the water bugs, the Thai fortune tellers, and the sex tourists at Pattaya Beach. The book provides Circuit 3 exercises that help me focus and sort it all out, like making reality maps to adjust how I think, talk and write about experiences.

sign of a Thai fortune teller
Sign for a Thai fortune teller

Rounding out the first tetrachord of Alli’s model would be Circuit 4, Social-Moral Intelligence—the urge to belong, the impulse to fit in. This poses no problem in Thailand, as the natives are convivial and welcoming. Whether I’m in a Thai cooking class by the river all afternoon or haggling over a $3 tie-and-cuff-links package with wholesale vendors in blistering 110-degree Bangkok, everyone makes me feel at home.

The upper consciousness circuits, 5-8, impact their corresponding anchor circuits in respective order, stimulating growth and evolution in those lower circuits. Circuit 5 impacts 1, Circuit 6 impacts 2, etc. For more, the reader can peruse Antero Alli’s The Eight-Circuit Brain and its predecessor, Angel Tech. Both books expand on previous ideas by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson.

outstretched hands at the White Temple near Chiang Rai, Thailand
The White Temple near Chiang Rai

In the end, the Eight Circuit model opens my consciousness to a new way of experiencing a destination. The presentation on experiential tourism provides a perfect all-encompassing recap, bringing me back to the end of this journey and perhaps even the beginning.

As I sit in the UN Conference Center in Bangkok, Grothaus and Biedassek are unleashing their snazzy PowerPoint presentation, defining the integral components of experiential tourism: “Experience, reflect and share.” Little do they know, their Holy Trinity almost precisely harmonizes with Antero Alli’s model. I feel tuned in just thinking about it.

Consider that a wrap. I have absorbed and integrated. You have now received the transmission.

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Let Gary know what you think about his traveling adventure.

* * * * *

Your tea adventures are especially interesting because I've always associated tea with British etiquette or a bevy of women wearing dainty victorian costumes and sipping tea with their little pinky sticking out. To see Tea from a man's perspective brings new light in a man's psyche. I've been among the many silent admirers of your writings for a long time here at Traveling Boy. Thanks for your very interesting perspectives about your travels. Keep it up! --- Rodger, B. of Whittier, CA, USA

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Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Irish sunset

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aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
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So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

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There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

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Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

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Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
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