Sonic Bloom Preview: Unifying the Culture

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When one attends Sonic Bloom it might as well be a happy trip to a little model of utopia. Of all the festivals I have personally been to, Sonic Bloom’s amazing display last year certified it as one of most cohesive, beautiful, smooth and purely friendly gatherings out there. I had heard great things, and the experience trumped them all. Sonic Bloom’s subtitle for this year is “The Unified Field”, in reference to Nassim Haramein’s teachings and Jamie Janover’s excellent conveyance of them; but there is another meaning to this title for me, and it is the unification of all the aspects of transformational gathering culture into a fully immersive and8nr_2025 authentic experience. From the Colorado scenery to the fans to the overall atmosphere and aesthetic to the music to the many offerings present, Sonic Bloom is a fest and a feast for the soul, the mind, the heart; and a very unique feeling one at that. It is one of those festivals that carries with it a magic and an air of joyousness that goes far beyond any one of the standout elements, a gathering that feels whole, complete and totally worthwhile. With this years lineup and offerings, we are in for another amazing time.

Sonic Bloom took, in my opinion, an amazing leap of confidence and seriously welcome innovation when they debuted their full lineup. Its not because of the amazing acts present, in fact its just the opposite. Sonic Bloom booked almost no acts that were present last year (just 5 or 6). That is awesome! And what’s more awesome is the incredible lineup that has resulted. This lineup is just pure FUN:

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The happy hard-hitting world-renowned Australian glitch-hop headliner Opiou. The soul-touching subtle stylings of Bluetech (and an uptempo set under his other name, Evan Marc). The extremely talented and explosively fun band The Werks. Rare appearances by Whitebear, LYNX and Lucent Dossier Experience. Lesser known and simply amazing Australian acts such as GOOSEBUMPZ. Time-honored bastions of the culture like  Desert Dwellers, Govinda, Akara, Random Rab, Adham Shaikh, the list really does just go on and on and on. In terms of the styles of music present there is a comfortable variety here, hard-hitters and chillout masters, a great range of tempos and styles. But there is one thing that all the music of Sonic Bloom has in common, and that is that it is of the utmost quality of production and live presentation. All of these performers, like the ethereal and beautiful Akara, have splendid stage presence, and create truly fresh and original music, spread across many different styles. Also, the lineup of painters is great as always, these are true visionaries creating a new paradigm of expression, and their work re:expresses the feelings of these gatherings, re:creates and intimates the symbology of this culture, and also serves as a reference point for the truth that this culture is engaging in a renaissance of creative potential and output.

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Moving past the music, the real meat of Sonic Bloom, or should I say the real nectar of Sonic Bloom, comes clear. There is a lot to take in, so lets start on the stage performance. Sonic Bloom always includes extensive and constant displays of amazing stage performance. Wether it be dancing, fire or toys, the flow arts at this festival really make the sets something special. Furthermore, Sonic Bloom does not skimp on the quality of the performers (I mean, what’s worse than a stage “performer” that just looks like a drunk fan?). These are world-class artists of movement, so prepare to be impressed. Moving on from that there is an entire world of workshops and yoga and movement offerings for participants. From astrological work with Adam Sommer to Earthship classes with Baron Kinder, the workshop lineup is truly stellar and covers a lot of topics and areas of learning and experience. Last year I found myself stumbling across offerings that really opened my mind and heart, and that inspired me spiritually as well. One interesting offering this year that I will have to attend is being given by the musician Temple Step, and it is a Sound Activation experience that “fuses self created sound design, live FX processing with sacred audio

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from a diverse range of mediums such as binaural and holosync sounds, recordings of outer space by NASA, monks, shaman’s and sound healers.” Being a huge fan of sound healing, this one is for me; and since there is a fairly wide array of topics covered at Sonic Bloom, I suspect that everyone will have a “hey this one is for me” moment looking at the workshop lineup. Focusing, as it has in recent years, on quality over quantity, Sonic Bloom’s workshop lineup gives everyone’s interest just enough service. Looks like once again I will have to find a way to recharge without sleep after the epic sunrise sets so that I can nourish my mind and soul during morning workshops.

As a final note, the overall aesthetic of Sonic Bloom must be mentioned. Simply put, the festival is beautiful. Hardworking hands deliver inspired and engaging stage designs (and word around the rumor mill is that a new stage is going where the Buddha Lounge was last year, the people putting it on are a great crew as well); mandalas and art installations abound; spaces and places of interest as well as beautiful and friendly natural surroundings inspire epic relaxation and intimate connection among friends new and old. The truth is that one of the h8nr_1805allmarks of the transformational multi-faceted festival movement is beautification and re:creation of space, and from what I have seen at Sonic Bloom, this gathering absolutely nails it.

So there you go, if you didn’t know already then you should have an inkling as to what Sonic Bloom is: one of the most beautiful, multi-faceted and well run festivals on the planet. If you have been on the fence about attending, go ahead and find the time and the funds. Price your travel, get a ticket, and come join an all star crew of musicians, artists, spaces and a seriously welcoming crowd that stretches well beyond Colorado, for a weekend of fun, learning, and life-changing experiences.

-Edwin John Leskin

The True Holography of God

~~::This post is a very quick somewhat academic analysis of the truth that all is Center::~~

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photo (of Self)

It must be that the primary foundation for general existence is the primary foundation for your own existence. In that, the center of reality that is you is the general reality for all things.

Yet of course we’re not used to thinking in this way, why?

The complex ideational structure of human reality seems to paint a being that is truly standout in its form. We may survey the great variety of animal and marine life, the bound actions of plants, the seemingly inert corpuses of ‘dormant’ material phenomena like mountains and the ocean, the seemingly mindless and non-variable actions of the stars and planets, and then look to the human being and find a difference in the substantial nature of its experience.
So while the foundational nature of human existence is an individuality, a central centered lens of view, a centrality based reality, which comes from the ability to produce variability in action and thought, it might seem as though this is stand alone to humanity, for a large inert body like the Atlantic ocean cannot have such an individual centeredness as the foundation for its being, nor can the sand upon its beaches. The roaming elk on the plains of Africa must be tied into a group reality, barring them from the distinctly human individual center. Plants seem to maybe hold very little conscious basis for existence and with no eyes to see and no brain to think it seems impossible that the foundation for their existence is the same as ours. The Earth, similarly, is a gross physical phenomenon, and owing to the little variability of its base of action cannot have the same individual center of all felt in the human experience.

Yet such suppositions are a farce, which posits the transient as constant and the constant as transient.

If we take the situation of reality honestly it is clear that the variability of the human experience is not substantial, or rather the variance of action, which paints a picture of the nature of being human as different and standout, is invariably transient. But of course it is the many potentials of propagation of thought form and action that seem substantial to our experience.

In fact it is by the very nature of the fleeting tender of thoughts, actions and even the body, we should properly regard them as truly transient. Thus we should not qualify the human experience by variation of thought (no matter the seemingly “great” potentials of such), the potential for awesome realms of action, or the seeming substantiality of the body. The variability of all those factors actually renders them as transient, fleeting, insubstantial and passing on the wind. Instead we must look to that which is constant in order to properly render the human experience, and we will then find that which is central to the human being is in fact central to general reality for all instances of matter.

That which is constant, that which doesn’t change is the fact that you are Generating the thoughts, actions and general experiences which befall you. It is the fact of generation, which in truth is a fact of Center, which is truly constant. Were I to remove from you all your sensory inputs, take from you your eyes and taste, your feel and hearing and olfactory capabilities, that which is foundational now would still be foundational then: you are at the true Center of reality. In the body and in the dreamscape, during intercourse and during astral projection, drunk and sober, even during that rare boon to the self that is ego-death, one thing remains;

You are at the Center of Reality,

and the nature of this center is Generation, propagation of thought, of being, of action, and most fundamentally: Generation of the infinite omnipresent field of reality and all the things that fill it. You cannot be removed from this center, and this center cannot be removed from you. And so if that being at and in the Center of All is so foundational for you, how can it possibly be different for the rest of the universe?

You have considered yourself as standout and different from All because we generally posit that which is transient, thought forms, identity and other variables, as that which is constant. But that which is only and truly constant is the fact of being at the center; and if such is the primary foundation for reality in you, with that which makes you human being transient, then it simply must be the homogenous tender for all instances of being in the universe.

So now if we take the fact of Center to be the foundation for all existence then the true light of Being shines upon our analysis. You see, in fact there can be no manifestation of being in this universe without such being the Center; it is being the Center which is the prerequisite for general existence. This is the true holography of God.

Anywhere that we find an individual body, one that does not merely rest on ideation but one which stands as its own presence, though of course (like all things in this universe) tied into other bodies through systems, we find a being that is the true Center of the universe, and we find the generative God of the All. Such is true most obviously for all heavenly bodies, such as the sun and stars, but is also true for a glass of water. Not in the corpus of the entire glass, but further in when we get to any individuated structure (no matter how fluid) in the water, the molecules, we look at the center of the universe, projecting the all inwardly to outwardly through the Godsource within. And certainly when we get to the atomic level (with such extreme space between such entities) we see an individuated body (though comprised of other individual entities within the system) which is the true Center of All. It is projecting the universe, streaming the universe, out from the core of Self.

Also, since the tenders of this center are complete indefinability, alone from Generation, it is obvious that there are no two centers. Nay, for something to be the true Center of reality it must be the only center of reality, as center implies a paramount pivotal vortex in a schemata.

Thus all beings are One. For the fact of centrality being the paramount essence of manifestation in the universe belies an infinite superposition (a thing being multiple places at once) of Center. That which makes you human, that which makes a star a star, that which makes a water molecule a water molecule, that which makes an ion an ion, is all transient and is only a potential wave upon the Core. Truth to be told, this Center that is you is the sacred shared Center of All…

And deep in your Center, God is having the experience of every being in the universe…

:::::There is no difference between the rising sun and the person upon which the sun rises:::::

Love and Blessings of Work! 

-Edwin John Leskin

Transformational Festivals: A Broad Analysis of Three Events

The Transformational Festival:

Global music festival culture is growing at an exponential rate. Across the world more and more multi-day camping and non-camping musical events are popping up, definitively fueled by the high rise and popularity of easily staged electronic music. These events carry similar formats and share an inspiration and aspiration for group communal experience, and it is safe to say that the idea of the concert has found its most comfortable and expandable setting in the form of the music festival.

Yet as these events begin to take rise globally, we may notice a variation in the basis for these events, and we can pinpoint that there is a certain kind of festival which takes the want for communal experience to a level of holistic completeness. What I am talking about is the transformational festival, those gatherings that carry with them a full acceptance of new age spiritual goals, holistic living, permaculture and artistic creation.

This summer I had the great pleasure of attending three events that fall (in my opinion) into the transformational festival category. Although without a doubt, it can easily be argued that all music festivals, and concert experiences in general, are transformational and hugely inspirational on some level, these events have certain elements that point them directly toward being intended as transformational. The events I attended were Symbiosis at Pyramid Lake, Nevada, Lightning in a Bottle just outside of Los Angeles, and Sonic Bloom in Georgetown, Colorado. It is funny because I didn’t realize just how different the inspiration and impact of these events were until I returned to my old stomping grounds of Wakarusa. However, in retrospect, it has become obvious that for many reasons these events were bent upon the fruition of transformational experiences for participants.

In order to begin an analysis of the transformational festival (through the lens of these three events I attended), it is important to note geographical particularities and ideational background. First, in the United States, the kind of events I am writing about take place almost exclusively on the west coast, with the majority of the gatherings happening in California. Of course, there is variation in the spirit of the event as a result of such a vast geographic spread of sites.  I definitely noticed a difference in the vibes between Symbiosis, which drew a Northern California crowd and Lightning in a Bottle which drew a Southern California crowd. Yet it is safe to say that while there were some noticeable differences in the crowd attending the shows, on the backend, that is to say in terms of production, things were very similar. Another thing to note was that both of the large West Coast events I went to had a distinctly international presence both in the musical acts and in the participants of the events. I remember one absolutely hilarious scene walking down into the healing village at Symbiosis (more on that later) that went like this:

Guy #1 to another passerby: “Hey Man you need any rolls?”

Passerby: “I’m from Australia mate I don’t know what the fuck that means!”

In terms of the spirit of these events, it is important to note that much of the foundation for some of the ideas backing the events comes from Burning Man. It is as if the famous ten principles of Burning Man have seen a serious diaspora into West Coast festival culture, guiding some of the impetus for various elements of these events. Also it is important to note that much of the foundation for these events in terms of their ideological backing comes from new age spirituality, the belief in the great shift, extra-terrestrial presence, the potential for spiritual development, and an intensive helping of astrological knowledge. So in between Burning Man notions coming into play and a heavy presence of new age spirituality we find a different idea for what these events mean to the participant, definitely summed up in the word transformational.

Now moving forward into a direct analysis of salient themes and trends, I will take it in chunks of examination to show just what makes a transformational festival a transformational festival.

Ceremonial/workshop/yoga areas:
One thing that is definitely noticeable as a differentiation in the transformational festival format is the presence of areas that are utilized specifically for ceremony, workshops and yoga. At Symbiosis this took the form of Symbiosis village, a healing village that was a large congregation of art installations that housed ceremony, yoga and workshops all centered around a sacred fire that burned all day and all night. At Lightning in a Bottle this took the form of the Lucent Temple of Consciousness, a hilltop collection of stages for workshops, speakers, a yoga tent, a sauna, a healing center with professional acupuncturists reiki masters and other energy healers, and a sweet meditation temple that doubled as a jungle gym. At Sonic Bloom there was very limited space but there was a lakeside area for workshops and yoga and the Seed Dome, a workshop geo-dome. These areas are what academics would classify as ‘temporary autonomous zones’ as in they create an energetic and experiential haven where one feels unaffected by the world and intimately connected to the higher vibration, which is of course facilitated by scheduled workshops and yoga, which brings us to our next category.

Workshops and yoga:
A definitive trend in the transformational festival that certainly has backing in the new age spirituality movement is the heavy presence of workshops and yoga. The transformational style of a festival provides these avenues of learning and bodily connection to spirit as an attempt at offering a more holistic approach to gatherings. We come to these gatherings not just to dance and to party, we come to experience unity and open our reality to new things, so why not have specific activities that are meant to teach and inspire participants? At Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle and Sonic Bloom there was more or less a full schedule of talks by notable authors, healers, extra-terrestrial channels and great thinkers that ranged from permaculture to unified field theory, and throughout the day you could walk to the workshop areas and have your mind blown by these accomplished thinkers. The presence of yoga has certainly made headway into the East Coast festival scene, but the sheer volume of yoga classes at the three events I keep mentioning was impressive, and yoga freaks had a range of styles to choose from. All in all, the focus on learning and active spiritual connection at these festivals was a great boon to the participant, you could fill your day with healthy soberly mind-expanding, engaging activities before breaking out the whiskey or acid for a night of fun. These workshops and yoga classes are specifically transformational and put the gathering’s focus on you having an awakening, which is something extremely important in fleshing out the full potential of what a music festival can be in my opinion.

The Green Agenda:
Here the verbiage of Burning Man gets heavy play, as all of the events I am referencing in this analysis were (supposedly) ‘leave no trace’ (one of the principles of Burning Man). A leave no trace event means that at the very least you leave no trash in the vicinity of the event, and even can potentially mean that you pack out what you pack in and dispose of all your own trash. The green agenda had some major headway at Symbiosis, where to my great surprise and elation the vendors gave you reusable plates and glasses, on which you paid a down payment in return for tickets.  Your ticket was redeemed when you took your plastic plate to the washing station, a vending booth that washed the dishes all weekend and then redistributed them to the food vendors. Though I went home with a couple redeemable tickets and a few plastic glasses, I thought the format of the plates and silverware was brilliant and would love to see it more in the future. At both Lightning in a Bottle and Sonic Bloom all the food vendor materials were compostable (well almost all of them) which was also really awesome to see. As music festivals grow into a truly global phenomenon, they carry with them more of the vibe that this is the next step in human evolution and the more the question of sustainability is raised in my mind. While I was participating in the West Coast music festival scene it seemed like the green agenda was present and was cool, but I didn’t realize the true impact of distilling the value of ‘leave no trace’ until I went to Wakarusa and on the last day looked at the campgrounds to see tons (literally thousands of pounds worth) of discarded debris. The transformational festival upholds a transformation for festivals at large in the area of greening events, and I would like to give a big shout out to my homie Eric Giambrone with Ecotopian Enterprises for pioneering the green agenda at smaller events coast to coast.

Mainstage ceremonial activity:
While there is certainly a burgeoning presence of this at festivals across the nation, the propensity for opening and closing ceremonies at the transformational festivals I attended this summer is definitely one of the things that made these gatherings powerful. Having the crowd gathered together while notable space holders guided intention and set the energetic presence for the gathering certainly helps to center the idea of the festival into personal and group communion. The beautiful ceremonies at Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle and Sonic Bloom helped to define some of the experiential qualities of the weekend, and actively put the intent of the festival production and the participants in the gathering towards transformational partying. At one opening ceremony at Symbiosis a spiritual theatre troupe did an awesome play of transformational experience upon the stage, with a suited business man being changed into a Mexican blanket wearing hippie throwing sage into a fire. That ceremony ended with Starhawk passing out gourd seeds to the crowd asking us to plant them with intention to grow containers for magic to bloom; I ate mine ;) At Sonic Bloom the wondrous galactivator Adam Apollo performed two opening ceremonies.  During the second one he had us create a giant circle and led us into intentional prayer before spurring us to move around the crowd and meet new people afterward. It is this kind of ceremonial activity, which happens upon the same stages where the headliners play, brings the focus of these gatherings into a new age blooming of transformational experience.

Art Art Art!:
The Transformational festival is certainly preoccupied with aesthetically pleasing mind-expanding and truly connective expressions of artistic creation. Whether it be live painting by amazing artists, multiple galleries upon the field, the many art installations that are functional or just meant to be looked at, creation walls, gallery auctions, stage design, right down to the dancers that are constantly present onstage (oh God, Sophia marry me), the vast array of artistic presence at transformational festivals is certainly one of the things that makes such gatherings transformational. Seeing the beautiful creation of many artists inspires personal internal artistic creation within the self, exploration of transformational themes, and a feeling of true co:creativity. The more art the better; the more artistic design on the stages, from live artists, art installations, right down to the clothes you wear, the more expansive the feeling of the festival is. Art is transformational in itself, especially when it carries with it direct and indirect messages of heady bloomings of awesomeness.

Stage Design:
Now this element is certainly an outgrowth of the last category, but it definitely bares mention. At the festivals I have attended before this summer, stages all followed a similar aesthetic format. They are carted in by trucks and are rented by the production staff, these stages look like flattened boxes before they go up and look like big boxes when they go up. In fact I think it would surprise many festival attendees to know that there is actually little to no design that goes into most stages at festivals. They are rented to be just what they are when they are erected. Surely they can still be amazing containers for musical creation, but what I thought was possible with a festival stage in terms of design and aesthetic got a serious kick in the ass upon my attendance of some transformational events. At Symbiosis each stage was a finely crafted piece of art, from the gigantic pyramid over the mainstage to the finely crafted wood paneling at the Earth stage where the sunrise music took place to the crazy mandala design over the Sun stage, each stage felt distinctly unique and truly inspired different experiences. I could tell also that each of these stages had started out with that same boxy design that gets carted in by truck, but there had been hundreds of man hours put into crafting different artistic elements of the stages. Similarly, at Lightning in a Bottle, the four stages had their own complete feel and the Do Lab spared no expense at making each of them truly awesome, from the bamboo wings on the Bamboo stage to the gigantic columns of lit up plywood at the Lightning stage, each setting inspired a completely different and extremely aesthetically pleasing tone to the dance party. It is the framing of the party into varied evocative experiences that makes these festivals transformational.  Personally, feeling a different emotional connection to each stage was one of the things that made these festivals inspire in me the feeling of personal transformation.

Crowd co:creation:
One seriously awesome and distinctive feature of these transformational festivals, more specifically Symbiosis and Lightning in a Bottle, was the sum of the elements brought not by the festival production and related entities, but by the crowd itself, which can be summed up in the words ‘throw your own party’. At Symbiosis and Lightning in a Bottle, I noticed numerous campsites with artistic flair, multiple communal spaces and renegade sound. Now this might seem like a small element to the gathering but I think it’s one which definitely makes these festivals transformational, as there is a certain spirit of the party that is created by people throwing their own inventive, interesting, possibly artistic parties amongst all that the festival provides. This element is certainly something that spills over from Burner culture, where the party wouldn’t exist if attendees of the event didn’t throw their own aesthetically pleasing ragers within the event. All in all, seeing people together offer visually pleasing communal spaces in and around their camps was one of my favorite elements of these festivals. It’s funny too because I didn’t realize the importance of this part of the transformational festival situation until I arrived to Wakarusa and a storm stopped the stages from running Saturday night. When this happened there was only one renegade sound system that blasted anything in the entire festival, and rest assured that at any of the aforementioned gatherings there would have been at least five renegade sound camps running parties all night, and probably a lot more than that.

The Feeling of the Shift:
To close out this analysis, I must reference something far less definable, a feeling which permeates transformational festivals and is not limited to any one physical or experiential factor, but rather is the cause and the result of many of them. That is the feeling of the great change in ourselves and in the world that many of us are experiencing right now. As human civilization reaches a dangerous precipice of resource exhaustion and social catastrophe, many are awakening to the possibility of a new way of thinking about what it means to be human and about what it means to live at all. It is as if for some, there is a great reconnection with the spirit, with God [I’m not afraid to say it ;) ] and with the integrated and cosmically connected Self. There is something about all festivals that connects us to this, something about communing over sonic exploration with huge groups of like-minded people that integrates us into this vision, but the presence of this feeling was directly at the forefront of Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle and Sonic Bloom, from the marketing of the events to their completion, the production staff and the visionaries behind them certainly believe that their events exist to foster this blooming of consciousness as well as the potential for a new way in which our human civilization can relate socially and personally.

In closing, I really only have one piece of advice: if you can’t make it out West, GO to Rootwire. Papadosio’s festival Rootwire Music and Arts Festival is everything I have mentioned above. It is an amazing family time, and Tribal Council will have the great grace of running a workshop station and an awesome art installation to boot (oh and my band Amarru is playing, check us out!).

I hope that all of your festival experiences are transformational, and that you seek out the events that will inspire in you the kind of next level attitude of personal development that it’s going to provide a basis of love and acceptance that will keep you happy throughout your entire life.

Love and blessings of Work,

-Edwin John Leskin

Cultivating Daily Meditation Practice

In this stage of our development, spiritual adventure calls out to us like the Soma light of the full moon. Across Earth conscious beings bent upon awakening to the essence of reality are coming together for gatherings of all types. From Burning Man of Nevada to Boom of Portugal, from Electric Forest to Coachella, from Symbiosis to Transformus, the great energetic surge brought about by group awareness and the unifying experience of music and art speaks out to us and calls us forth. So do the many holy places of the world, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Stone Hendge and the Pyramids at Giza, they beckon to us to move ourselves into communal and holy places. The beauty of this planet, the tributaries of the Yellow River in China, the awesome majesty of the Grand Canyon, the ethereal perfection of Kauai all speak to us as well. This whole world is calling, and we as ones on the Path, the many paths, are drawn to experience all that the natural world, the religious world, the social world and the gathering of intentions have to offer.

Yet we could go around the entire planet over and over again and potentially never find what we need. We could travel to the corners of the earth, go to every gathering, and still we may find that the ego is in control.

We might get what we need here and there spurred by the thought-neutralizing state of travel and group communion, but we could possibly never find it. What is it that we need? What will bring us into the next level of being? Inner sanctuary. It is the temple of the heart that when occupied brings forth the sweet bliss to last us our entire lives. It is the house of God seated deep in the self: pure, non-qualified, eternally shining, absolute nothingness.  It is the eternal Oneness that is going to breathe into this life the flavor of immortality which underscores the universe. Once we get a taste of it, it consumes us, and we see the possibility of being truly extinguished of desire and cumbersome unwanted mental activity. Once we glimpse the reality of the universe, it is all that will fill our soul properly. And how are we going to get there?

We are going to have to begin to do that which calls to us more strongly than the world entire, we are going to have to take time every day to neutralize thought forms, and then commune with the All.

This is meditation practice.


Naiya in meditation

The cultivation of meditation practice will allow the entire spectrum of the day to become a constant communion. The cultivation of meditation practice will slowly allow us to contact the essence of our experience, the unified Love field that subsists the universe. As Chogyam Trungpa said, “It is the only way out, and the only way in.”

Meditation is the gradual neutralization of thought forms brought on by loosening attachment to thought forms while sitting still. Once this stillness becomes emptiness (at any level), Prayer becomes possible. Pranayama (energy breath work) is Prayer, speaking to the Source is Prayer, visualizing energy unity is Prayer; Prayer and meditation are one. And beyond all our trances, evermore as we increase our meditation practice, we will constantly find that the world of unity nestled deep in the heart is the only constant in our lives.  We will see that if it were possible to enter directly into it, we would be free.

There are plenty of guides to meditation, there are ten-thousand styles, there are infinite things to focus on, eternal varieties of methods, but I am not speaking of method. Method of meditation should be whatever you need it to be, and if you need to adopt a style, then do so.

I am speaking of Work. I am singing of daily practice.

The truth is that whether we are standing in front of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, the very tree where the Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment, or if we are at a weekend long festival with a little too much dubstep and not enough IDM, or if we are entering into a day of completely mundane activities, our inner self should be in a similar state of openness and clarity. The only way that this is going to happen is if we cultivate a routine, and go beyond that routine as much as possible as well, of communing with the deeper self in hopes (in great longing hopes!) of getting to the Eternal Self. This kind of routine will bring the sort of unshakable stability of spiritual insight that will allow us to Be Here Now, to be present and clear, a conduit for the experiential structure of reality. This is the kind of routine that isn’t very different on the Appalachian Trail, at Rainbow Serpent festival in Australia, or when accidently passing out on a friends couch and waking up confused the next morning. In all these places, we are still practicing meditation at the two pivotal points:

Before sleeping and upon waking.

Councilors communing in morning meditation. AURA Music and Arts Festival, St. Cloud, FL. Photo: Caroline Rose

The key to cultivating meditation practice is of course to enter into meditation, but as we all know we may wake up in the morning with the intent of sitting and getting to know our truth, and then somehow by three or four in the afternoon it is completely impossible to do so. This is because if we do not take the reins of our thought forms then they create a world of illusion that is too strong, telling us of our profane separateness by quantifying and classifying this life. An excellent step to ending this cycle is to steal ourselves just before bedtime, as it is the only thing which will allow us to steal ourselves upon waking as well.

Yes the day might have been terrible and our minds may be full of monetary worries; yes we may have just gotten into a fight with our significant other; yes we may have eaten badly, spoken badly, been the very thing we wish with all our hearts to not be; yes we may have sinned deeply, but we are giving those failures too much grace if we do not let the deep want for peace urge us to meditation before bedtime.

Yes we may have had an amazing hatha yoga session in the afternoon, with a blissful Shivasana to cap it; yes we may have had a conversation with another seeker that opened our hearts, untied karmic knots, and awakened our reality; yes we may have created a beautiful work of art; yes we may have had absolutely mind-blowing, soul inspiring sex, but we are not giving those accomplishments their true grace if we do not use the energetic boost of such activities to spur us to meditation before sleep at night.

We might even have a partner that wants to dreamily look into our eyes until they fall asleep, one who gives no care to communion. Well, we might just have to let them fall asleep soundly, then get out of bed and hold space before getting back in bed and cuddling the night away.

It is ruthlessly stealing the self before bed, just when the ego is weakest and thought forms are losing hold on us, that is going to open up the potential for daily meditation practice. It is only meditation before sleep which reveals a key to the land of bliss: meditation upon waking.

When we arise, thought forms begin to weave an objectified reflection of being that is illusory and cut off from the world, and once that train gets rollin’, it just don’t stop. An hour after waking up we might find ourselves completely consumed with the world, rocking out to music in the car while talking nonsense in our head, sexualizing the people around us, looking at the car brands in a city instead of the architecture, fantasizing about worldly glory or worldly failure. We might not even notice that the moon has risen perfectly during the day, and is smiling upon us. This is the root of suffering; slavery to the inner monologue is the essence of samsara, the master of illusion. A practical and accessible way to begin to break the cycle is to hold space and commune with the Source directly upon waking up.

We may have work at eight in the morning, and need a full hour of time to get ready and get there, but the entire day will become a thing of beauty if we roll back that rising time another half hour, and without fail enter into meditation that prepares us to have primary spiritual experience at many points throughout the day.

By establishing non-identification with thought forms directly upon waking up, after dealing with essential bodily functions if they are pressing, (of course no eating before meditation though) we establish experience of the true self, which is not thought, but is the pure generator of thought. Reaching such emptiness will allow us to go about our day focusing our eyes and minds on what we want to focus on, on what is directly in front of us right here right now. It will unencumber our minds of needless rambling for the entire day.

Chanting and breath work class in the sanctuary. AURA Music and Arts Festival 2012. St. Cloud, FL. Photo: Clayton Gaar

By then developing that emptiness by establishing experience (Prayer) with energy bodies and the unified matrix of reality that is the Eternal Self, we will allow ourselves to train our thought forms on the infinite throughout the day when we see another person, a mountain, the sun, the meal we are about to consume for lunch. It is through training our inner eye on the infinite after reaching emptiness in the morning that we carry sacred space with us throughout the day.

Thus it is good to begin a regimented practice of meditation at night, when there is always time to do so, and keep it up for awhile. If you must stay up late then so be it, in a talk from 1938, Paramahansa Yogananda divulged that he often stayed up till three or four in the morning, as it was the only time in the day he could commune with the One Infinite Creator. Then, after evening practice is easy, integrate morning practice. With the gradual culmination of regimented nightly and morning Prayer and practice, eventually we will be taking anywhere from ten minutes to an hour for communion every day, without fail. We will begin to see that our average day on the job is really amazingly beautiful, and our incredible day at the festy is really pretty normal.

All things will start to reach the middle, just as we have been practicing. We will know the heart more and more, and Love will shine infinitely within and without.

Work is the only refuge, nothing is as comforting. We know that if we don’t start to have primary religious experiences and great swooning spiritual realizations as often as possible then we will die. Surely there will be off days, days of low energetic import, frustrating trance plateaus, but we will still train our eyes on Reality in the morning and in the evening, and soon we will move forward. The battlefront is right now, it is the thoughts we are thinking.

Maybe its time to let go of the fruit, and hold on to the branch.