When Stan Dale walked into a workshop room a ripple passed through, a turning of heads and a sparkle of expectation. He did not walk in with a sense of owning the place but rather a sense of seeing you—and you—and you. He saw people—he saw their innate innocence laced with unknown wisdom and that knowing had him stand in himself in an amazingly robust way.
HAI’s history in inextricably interwoven with Stan’s. We share here some of the pivotal chapters of his life, which prompted him to found HAI.
Stan started as a radio man. He was a popular DJ (Stan the Record Man) in Chicago, and had at times been the voice of radio programs such as The Shadow and The Lone Ranger.
When Stan was in his twenties, he was drafted into the US army during the Korean War, and for a time was stationed in Japan. In Japan, Stan had a life-changing experience of being treated with reverence, with a kind of profound honoring unlike anything he had ever known. He came away thinking, why don’t we all treat one another like this?
After returning to Chicago and his work as a DJ, Stan became interested in psychology and went back to school and earned his degree. He then merged his interests in radio and psychology by initiating the first psychologically-oriented talk show during the 1960s.
The management at the radio station told Stan he could talk about anything but sex. Of course Stan knew what an integral part of a person’s life sexuality is, and while he understood the laws and mores of the time, he couldn’t reconcile leaving out this critical aspect of our humanity. He had the insight that sexuality is the one topic of enforced ignorance in our society. So he decided to offer a workshop on sexuality.
These early workshops in Chicago started out as lectures, but Stan and the workshops quickly evolved to become much more interactive and experiential. Stan’s experience of reverence from Japan deepened in him through the years, and became an integral thread throughout the tapestry of HAI.
By the mid-to-late 1970s, Stan and the workshops had moved to California. In these years the workshops added gentle music behind the face-stroking exercises. The intern program (team) began, initially for those who wished to learn to do what Stan was doing, but it quickly evolved into a program of supporting the participants through the workshops.
Stan’s voice had a timbre that resonated the ear and his words were a combination of experience and insight that caused people to sit up and listen. He invited people to look within; he delighted in holding up a mirror to a person—to people to see themselves and therefore catch themselves. Stan would challenge people in their stuck places and soothe them in their running away places. Stan’s presence swung from humble to fierce and he played deep and strong in the arena of life. He was a big voice with big ideas, he laughed readily, cried easily and loved people so much that he would try anything to assist them in seeing what he felt was possible.
Through the 1980s, the workshops expanded tremendously. Stan trained several facilitators, some of whom are still leading today. People in other regions organized for the facilitators to come lead and new communities grew, in the Midwest, East Coast and Southern California in the US, in the UK, Japan and Australia, and later in Germany, and Ontario Canada.
Stan died in 2007. Any time a founder of an organization dies it’s a watershed moment regarding that organization’s direction, and even survival. Fortunately Stan had trained a powerful cadre of facilitators to carry on the work. Around the time of his death the organization shifted to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HAI Global. The member’s of the HAI Global Board bring exceptional business skills, blended with heart, all of which is essential to keep HAI thriving.
In the more than ten years since Stan died, the Human Awareness Institute has trained and hired three additional facilitators, and two have retired. We have also added the Ontario region in that time, and revitalized Southern California.
HAI’s non-profit status has greatly assisted in creating a second income stream so that we are not entirely dependent upon our workshop revenue to support us. This has been vital, especially since the fire in 2015 that destroyed Harbin Hot Springs, which had been our Northern California home since the late 1970s.
Today HAI has vibrant communities across North America, and in Europe and Australia. Our work to bring love and understanding to a world that is aching for it keeps us very active and motivated. Imagine, if you will, a world of love and connection. This is HAI’s mission.
The Human Awareness Institute is still gathering people into its embrace, creating a circle where people open their hearts, and gently loving each human being into the radiant messenger of love they were born to be.