Deep in a grotto composed of volcanic stone and weathered by hydrothermal activity, Lava Hot Springs mineral waters percolate up through a bed of natural gravels made of white quartz and beige volcanic pebbles. The water seeps upward, traced by little bubble ribbons. As the bubbles pop at the surface, little concentric circles radiate outward and disappear. The water is wonderfully clear and does not have the odor one often associates with hot springs as there is no sulfur component in the local minerals. I like the deep-heat therapy of the pool at this end of the grotto where the temperature is about 112 degrees. And, since fewer people like it this hot, I have more solitude.
I alternately soak and cool off—each having its own contemplative allure. When I am immersed, the intense heat demands observation. My peripheral blood is first to boil and the heart responds by working a bit harder to compensate for the expanded volume. Eventually, inner organs and muscles catch up, relaxing and releasing toxins into the bloodstream. Sweat pours down my brow and I get a cue to get out into the cool wind. I sit on stone steps, gazing at the water while my eyes fixate on surface ripples. Then I refocus and see a reflection of the surrounding volcanic grotto waving like a mirage.
Everything becomes dreamlike and fluid. Bubbles, ripples, and reflections interpenetrate, obliterating any sense of separation. And the randomness of each quality expresses a fundamental truth about how chaos rules even when I seek certainty. Something happens to my mind when it cannot discern a repeating pattern. Awareness merges seamlessly with the chaos, unraveling the tendrils of control, and becomes deeply relaxed. I cool down and then re-immerse my body, blending everything together.
The healing waters cleanse and renew, just like they have since native humans discovered this site. From muddy holes in the ground to the now highly developed pools, the healing qualities endure and attract people from far away. Many nationalities are represented here today—Euro-American, Hispanic, Russian/Slavic, Asian, and I may have recognized a Native American (maybe this is only hopeful on my part because I did not want to disturb his meditation). It seems we are all drawn to the therapeutic waters. I pray as we all immerse together, that we might recognize no separateness.