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The Heart Holds The Power
by Teryani Riggs

Throughout the past two years there’s been a reoccurring theme in my life. Every time I turn a corner I’m hearing the same thing: my dance instructor and chiropractor instruct me to "lift from center." A lecture from Dakota environmentalist Tom Goldtooth says that one can only use the mind through the heart – those who use the mind alone have "lost their connection to the earth." Somehow, everything meaningful I come in contact with seems to be saying "come from the heart."

So I wasn’t surprised when, last year, I found myself listening to a workshop given by Joseph Chilton Pearce (the author of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg) at Network For A New Culture’s Summer Camp outside of Portland, Oregon. Through more than eight hours of dynamic speaking, Joseph demonstrated to us through empirical evidence how and why the heart is the most powerful part of the body – how it "literally sets the pace for everything else that occurs in the body – including thought – and how it also, within itself alone, has the capability to heal not only itself and its "host," but also to effect the healing of others."

He went on to talk about how you can measure energy from the heart in watts and that it expresses a measurable "energy field" of about a three-foot radius from the heart itself. For example, if you are within 3 feet of a person in distress and re-live in your mind to its minutest detail an incident in your life where you felt most loved or appreciated, the odds are good that the person in distress will become calmer and more at peace. Additionally, both hearts would be found to be electrically in "entrainment": in synch. Joseph also emphasized that children who did not get the chance to be at their mother’s breast have more difficulty coming into entrainment with other humans, animals, or even with the earth (which emits its own frequency).

So what does this have to do with creating a harmonious, violence-free, eco-friendly future? Well, if it’s true that those who have lost their connection with their heart have lost their connection to the earth, then perhaps one of the keys to stopping the destruction of the planet (and of each other) is to return to the heart. Someone once told me that "the rape of the Earth won’t end until the rape of women ends. The rape of women won’t end until racism ends. Racism won’t end until genocide ends..." and so on and so forth. In essence, all of the "-ism’s" are just spokes of the same wheel: oppression. While many of us are working on the more obviously "ecological" aspects of the wheel, there are those trying to change the culture from the inside out – to make the world a safe place for people to come from their hearts, to express their innermost feelings, and to learn to love and be loved. Network For A New Culture (NFNC) is one such group aspiring to create a world where we can be free to come from our hearts.

NFNC is a North American group that was originally influenced by the German group ZEGG, whose German acronym stands for Center For Experimental Cultural Design, and, like ZEGG, seeks to build a sustainable, violence-free culture through exploring intimacy, personal growth, radical honesty, transparency, and the power of community. How? The main cauldron they use is an annual summer camp where what goes on is as experimental as the culture they’re trying to build. Last year the featured speakers included Joseph Chilton Pearce, Bruce Lipton, and Patch Adams, and each presented on a day with a given focus: relationship with the self, relationship with the family, relationship with one’s community, etc. Personally, I’d never been to a camp with so many high caliber presenters one after the other.

But, as much as I was uplifted by the speakers, I was even more amazed by the environment. Within a few days of intense bonding, the feeling in the converted trolley barn where the workshops were held was deeply nourishing – by mid-week almost everyone had dropped their layers of armor. In fact, while listening to Joseph speak, a pile of us were entwined on the floor, in full "entrainment" with one another. Even as a large group we were experiencing what it feels like to be physically, emotionally (and why forget spiritually?) in synch, but it soon became obvious to even Joe himself that he, and everyone in the room, was in the midst of a healing energy produced by linking the hearts of a number of individuals whose desire was to simply feel connected. We were living in the moment the incredible things he was teaching!

Another speaker, Bruce Lipton, followed up by showing us that everything we need to know about living can be seen in the behavior of a single eukaryotic cell: over thousands of years, cells learned that by linking together, they could ensure a better chance for survival – we could say that they were the first "intentional communities." So we learned, or rather were reminded, that a whole is more than the sum of its parts, that we can enable our visions of how we want to live by reconnecting not only with our own hearts, but also with the hearts of others in a deep, personal way, which, in turn, increases the healing energy that can be then given back to the earth/planet.

Augmenting the speakers, there were workshops which deepened our heart-connections with one another experientially. We began with the Human Awareness Institute’s (HAI) introduction to Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality in the first week and progressed to Bob and Maggie’s Erotic Spiritual Play workshop during the second week. Also during the second week came the ZEGG-based Communication game and the Forum, all designed to increase the intimacy between the individuals and the community we were instantaneously creating.

By coming to NFNC’s Summer Camp I felt I was finally truly living that common theme that had been running through my life: to come from the heart. I even learned how to physically feel the difference between heart and mind-based interactions. I was used to being in entrainment with the Earth, but the depth of connection with my fellow human beings during these two weeks was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.

One of the organizers most influenced by ZEGG said that "ZEGG got together to save the planet, but found that they couldn’t do that until they healed the wounds between men and women. That’s what we’re here to do." Network For A New Culture takes things a step further and aims to provide understanding between not only men and women, but between men and men, women and women, the individual and the community, and between the community and the Earth. And it’s true: until we can begin repairing the rift between people, we cannot succeed in living healthily on the Earth. NFNC’s Summer Camp provides a place where we can explore the power of our hearts and do whatever healing is necessary to be in entrainment with ourselves, others, all our relations, and ultimately, with the Earth.

Last year’s Summer Camp theme was "Intimacy and Community." This year’s camp is about "Transparency and Transition" and will include Naka Ima , Ted Neff from Radical Honesty, Lysbeth Borie on Consensus and Community Building, and George Lockwood, as well as the Human Awareness Institute’s Introduction to Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality and many others. There will be plenty of time to connect with other campers, music (be sure to bring an instrument!), and a whole crew of wonderful people to play and connect with.

The Place: A 98-acre Private Estate on the Hood River in Oregon – a clothing optional nature preserve with camping and conference facilities.

The Times: Begins the evening of Tuesday, August 10th, and runs through Sunday early afternoon, August 22nd. You can come for the whole thing, for a week, or just for a day (though the second week may be closed to new arrivals). Prices vary accordingly.

Bring: Camping gear (limited, non-hookup R.V. spaces available), river toys, musical instruments. Be prepared for hot weather with slight chance of rain.

We Provide: Co-ed outdoor showers, hot tub, three vegetarian meals/day, all speakers and programs, recreational facilities.

The Price:
Full 12 Day Registration:
Before June 30th $399
July 1st to July 31st $449
Groups of five adults $1,800
(5 for price of 4)

- Kids $125 to $200 sliding scale
- Limited work exchange available on a case-by-case basis.
- Late registration charge may apply after July 31st

Daily/weekly prices vary accordingly. Remember, you’re getting a full 12 days for what most presenters charge for a single weekend.

For More Info Contact:, and please visit our web site at for more info and registration forms.

Network For a New Culture
Summer Camp '98
PO Box 160
Forest Grove, OR 97116

Teryani Riggs is an environmental activist who has worked with such groups as Earth First!, the Shundahai Network, and the Save Ward Valley Coalition.