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Music Festivals: A Playground for Awakening

I guess you could say that music festivals and live music are my comfort zone. They are where I was rebirthed, where I was freely allowed to safely explore new conventions and ways of being, swaddled in a temporary autonomous zone of warm sunshine, vibrant colors, otherworldly sounds, and totally uninhibited individuals. There you don’t have to be bogged down by work, or bills, or deal with bureaucrats. You don’t have to labor over the typical societal conventions and encumbering social norms. It is this very freedom and vacation from the constrictions of traditional culture that allows the inner and outer exploration of one’s self to take place totally unimpeded. It gets back to the core basics of living under the stars, with a tribe, co-creating together. This is why you see so many people in this scene, at least the ones who go in with some intention, waking up little by little.

Through play and inquiry, the things we are uncovering within ourselves are very similar to the core revelations and esoteric ideologies of many of the great philosophies, religions, and spiritual teachings throughout history. It's no wonder that daytime workshops at most festivals are heavily steeped in yoga, mysticism, ecology, and meditation. This daytime sharing of knowledge is accompanied by an evening swathed in something we don't find too much in our daily lives: total play. When the music hits and everyone is in a beautiful trance of dancing, sharing, laughing, hugging, and loving just to love; for the people there, it’s a completely different universe for that time being, and playing in a new universe brings on entirely new perspectives. The funny thing about new perspectives, is that they add entirely to your life and own personal worldview, and even though you can’t take the experience home when the set ends, you are free to take your new perspective everywhere and share. You become the mobile vessel to share the experience you just had. This is how festivals are subtly and incrementally changing the world, pushing it more towards freedom, connectivity, and love.

One of the special parts of this wave of awakening that washes over the festival scene, is that even though we are all connected, having similar fun and gaining analogous truths, the insights are completely individual. There is no dogma. There is no proselytizing. There is no one way to be or one lesson to be learned. We are a communal group of individuals, a collective group of souls, but all having these wildly different and uniquely visceral experiences in this shared space. Very often we have these opening kind of experiences, but we don’t know what is happening to us because many of us don’t have a background in spirituality, yoga, or eastern philosophies. These traditions have been dealing with transcendental revelations and mystical experiences for thousands of years, and have taken the time to outline the dharmas and understandings of the path. I know the pure nature of reality cannot but touched, as it’s something completely ineffable from our small perspective, but these traditions have found a way to succinctly throw paint over the invisible man. They have been able to identify and put into practice the kinds of experiences we are almost accidentally, unknowingly, or haphazardly stumbling into as we explore our consciousness in these visceral adult playgrounds.

As I was gaining these insights, these truths, and the layers of “who I thought I was” were being peeled back, I had no ground or basis for these kinds of experiences. After some time of flopping around rather confused and chaotically, it took years of searching, inquiry, and study to find there was a scientific, historical, and spiritual basis for the individual and collective experiences that I was having. I lucked out that podcasts like Joe Rogan’s were able to point me to people like Duncan Trussell, who was able to point me towards Raghu Markus, who was able to point me towards Ram Dass, who was able to point me to his guru Neem Karoli Baba, who was able to point me towards Hanuman, who was able to point me to Sita and Ram. It’s like those Russian dolls that keep opening and take you farther back to the core of it. Without this slippery slope of fingers pointing at fingers who were pointing at fingers who were finally pointing at the moon, I would definitely still be out enjoying the exploration of consciousness, but it would be without much basis for what was going on, and without proper spiritual practices, which have revolutionized every aspect of my being and seeped into every facet of my life, far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

With this blog, I hope to be of service to people out there who are into festivals, live music, and the exploration of consciousness, by providing a fun, authentic view of the scene from a spiritual perspective, rather than just pure hedonism. I get down with the hedonism. There is for sure a time for that and quite a bit of spirituality encased within it, but to stop there would be missing the point. I’m here to open up a channel for individuals like myself, who have begun to awaken through the music festival scene, for people who start seeing the oneness, the flow, and the perfection in everything, even the imperfections. I’m here to give my perspective and to compare notes with others, so we can help lift each other in an evolutionary community, as this new wave washes over the planet. I don’t think festivals are just a contemporary good time. I think that with the right intent they are an experiment in a fresher, more open, loving, communal and creative world, and that all starts with the individual.

Happy Festival season, everyone!

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