Mt. Shasta Book

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     Erik Berglund, a harp player who has recorded five CD's and performs internationally, can live anywhere on the planet as long as he has a telephone, fax machine, and access to an airport.

     He has chosen very consciously to live at the foot of Mount Shasta.

     "The first time I came here it felt like paradise, and it still does," said Erik, who moved to the mountain in 1991.

     Erik grew up half a continent away near Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father taught at St. Olaf College heading the fine arts department, and his mother directed the community choir. Erik enjoyed a childhood rich in the arts. He sang, played piano and violin, and studied drama, art, and filmmaking. He played violin in his father's orchestra when it toured Norway, and sang in the St. Olaf Choir when it toured the United States and Europe.

     After earning a degree from St. Olaf, Erik dove into New York City where he acted in off-off-Broadway plays, composed music and performed in a puppet theater, drew portraits, played street music, taught voice lessons and mime, and was part of a folk rock band.

     And then he discovered the harp - not the jazz version know better as the harmonica, but the kind of harp the angels play. He studied under Mildred Dilling, who also taught Harpo Marx.

     "I would go for a half hour lesson and end up there for hours," Erik said.

     At the same time, Erik was deeply involved in the city's spiritual community, and began playing his harp for meditation groups, New Age gatherings, and at workshops. It was at a conference in Banff, Canada that he met a musician who was living in Mount Shasta, and later visited him to make a recording.

     That's how he stumbled on paradise.

     Erik managed his own move to the mountain in 1991. Mount Shasta is home base while Erik travels the world playing his harp in concerts and conducting healings, a gift he discovered he had while on a journey in the Andes Mountains of South America. He has played in Europe, South America, and Canada, as well as throughout the United States and in "power points" such as the Great Pyramid and Machu Picchu.

     "I have played in places that are breathtakingly beautiful, and I've played in many of the world's Power Points," says Erik. "But there is something special above all the others here in Mount Shasta. That's why I choose to live here."

     "It's more than just the beauty," he said. "It's easier to meditate here, and draw inspiration, and to regroup from whatever I have been doing elsewhere in the world. It feeds me. I can sit at a lake with my harp, see the mountain reflected in the water, and all of these beautiful melodies come to me. The mountain is just this brilliant conductor of creativity."

     "Erik has recorded many projects in Mount Shasta, at Shasta Song Studios. He has recorded elsewhere - mostly in Germany - but the Mount Shasta venue is his favorite because he can look out the window and see the mountain as he plays his harp and sings."

     Erik believes that Mount Shasta manifests many good things.

     "I think the mountain is responsible for creating strong unity in the spiritual community here, where it feels like we all work together without competition. It's like a loose knit family here, and I haven't seen that anywhere else."

     "Mount Shasta opens you up to feel reverence for God's creation, for nature, for all life, from something as big as the mountain to something as small as a dragonfly or wildflower. If we applied the same reverence to all of the people we meet, we'd have a much better world."

     "Every place has an energy. I've played inside prisons, and in a prison - even with your eyes closed - you can feel that energy. I've been in places in the Yucatan where people's hearts were cut out, and you can feel that energy.

     "Mount Shasta has a positive energy that creates an incredible uplifting. It makes people feel good; it makes people smile. That's something visitors say to me about the people who live here, that they're very friendly and smile a lot. I was in a beautiful park in Hungary two days ago, and no one smiled or greeted me."

     "I'm very grateful that I can be here. I travel to unusual places, connect with different energies, and meet beautiful people. I go to play my harp, and appreciate where I am, but I'm counting the days until I'm back here in what I consider paradise."
~ Interview by Jenny Coyle, from the Mount Shasta Book

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