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Braydon Holtzinger

Humanity in Unity Temple of Consciousness Ashram

Interview Conducted by: Penelope Morgan


Braydon Holtzinger continually asks why, and then laughs, “At the base of it was like- no one knows. No one has a clue.” A recent college graduate, Holtzinger has followed a varied trajectory that is, perhaps, most consistent in its restlessness. “I’ve been searching most of my life. I don’t know what stimulated that, maybe a sense or a craving for perfection.” His search for answers in his constantly evolving spirituality eventually lead him to the Humanity in Unity Ashram in Crestone a year after he graduated college, where he has been living and working for two monthes. Holtzinger expresses admiration for the members of the Ashram, citing their kindness and goodness as his draw for moving to the communtiy. “The Ashram has a very open way of receiving people of all faiths and they believe very much in this greater divinity. In this, creation, source, god…whatever you want to call it. That love, you know…love is a lot of what I think about…I guess its just love…it’s just so wonderful. And the Ashram and the people here are all just trying to centre themselves. Trying to kind of move away from habits of past, patterns of the mind or of the body or of relationships or the way that we’ve interacted and kind of just moving deeper and deeper into that, that still peace-that love…this resonating beauty.”

Life in the Ashram is, according to Holtzinger, both physically and spiritually busy. “We’re setting up programs, I mean down to chopping would and shoveling paths. Communities take a lot of work, and right now we do all of it. It’s full time. When you include our spiritual practice in what we’re doing, I think of it as full time.” Holtzinger spoke of the spirituality and practices of Humanity that connected with his own, “We have certain practices that come from Hinduism and those practices that when they get broken down to their core have those tenants in them. Have love; trying to meet divine healing energy patterns, healing, you know…moving out of the mind into stillness. Moving out of the chaos into stillness. At a certain point, I was like…I’m bowing to the divinity inside of me. I’m bowing to this light, to this love, to this grace. You know, an outsider would see, I’m bowing to this guru, I’m giving devotion to this guru, but it has nothing to do with our emotional attachment to this being and everything to do with our devotion to our divinity inside.”

Although Holtzinger points out that Humanity in Unity’s practices aren’t necessarily Earth based, the environment surrounding the Temple of Consciousness Ashram is special, although not always expressly recognized. “Being here, there’s a reason we’re here. And it is to be in the mountains, to be at the high elevation, to be much more with the land; much more in a place of seclusion-isolation. And while our practices aren’t necessarily Earth-based. We believe that nature is with divinity and we hold that very true, whether its going for walks or snowshoeing or just being outside and taking in where we’re at and …the trees, the land itself…the desert, the mountains…the vibration of the place. Yeah…defiantly there’s a strong connection that maybe isn’t recognized by, or isn’t practiced on. I mean, verbally we recognize it sometimes, I mean…like ‘Man, this is amazing.’”

Holtzinger links the proposed national gas drilling and its economic and social effects to a broader pattern of events. “Should Crestone be able to decide whether or not an oil rig is put here? If every community decides whether or not an oil rig is put there- will we see a general weaning off of oil with some communities? In politics, the way that decisions are made on a state and national level, I think we need to go to the community. I think that’s where…I think that if we start making that transition back there’s going to be increased spiritual awareness, there’s going to be increased awareness period. People are going to be more responsible for their land, for the land that they’re using.” He describes the Crestone area as having a particularly special energy that enhances a person’s own natual vibration, a place that is, as he puts it-deep. “I mean, the community’s unique in itself because it’s defiantly got a spiritual vibration to it. The land, place…there’s a vibration here. You know…I grew up in cities…I grew up in LA. I went to school in East Bay, California…there’s a huge difference between those two places. And we can say it’s social if we want to. Its fine, it is. The way that people talk, act, etcetera. But what’s behind that social activity, that social way of engaging with people…what’s beyond that? There’s something, there’s something that’s changing. And maybe it comes through social activity. It starts changing on a deeper level…but there’s a change at a deeper level. There’s deep change here, whether people want to interact with each other and they do or just the way that they vibrate, that they exist. That I think is super unique about it. It’s grounding…that’s super unique about it.”