Book of Face: Ch. 4, Verses 47-55
“Summer, Shambhala & Synchronicity”
Coincidence vs. Fate
This summer I was blessed.
It started by watching the sunrise on my friend’s roof. Seeing it illuminate the skyline of downtown Edmonton. For those of you who don’t know what this looks like, here’s a taste (although pictures never do justice to the moment).
This was going to be an epic summer. I spent the next several weeks working in old Strathcona, drinking in old Strathcona, and seeing the sun rise many more times. Great people and great memories.
Then came Shambhala.
There are 3 kinds of people; those who don’t know what Shambhala is, those who think they know what it is, and those who have experienced it.
I was in category 2. I thought Shambhala was an electronic music festival. It seemed like an amazing party in an amazing place with great music. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
The moment came, we packed the jeep and made a mad dash to the Kootenays.
An adventure unto itself.
After a night spent sleeping in the car we were ushered through security. Searched by security personnel with smiling faces. My spidey sense began to tingle, “hmm.. something is strange here” I thought. We passed though unhindered with the blessing of “Happy Shambhala!”
We came upon the camping area, a sea people, tents, trailers, and cars greeted us. “How the hell are we supposed to find anyone in this?” (our cell phones had lost the signal on the drive in) We were alone… or so we thought. There appeared a guiding light on the road. Her name was Carly. She, Bailey and my sister had traveled together through Asia a few months prior. “How did you know to look for us now?” we asked. Her reply, “I didn’t, it just happened.”
I know what you’re thinking, that’s just a coincidence. My reply, “You obviously haven’t been to Shambhala.”
We were guided to our camping area. We couldn’t have asked for something more perfect. We had space, we had shade (provided by the amazing Bobby & Lisa, Yes!!), we were just the right distance from downtown (short walk, but not too loud), & most importantly we had a Shamily.
Whenever you meet a new group of people you usually find you like them in degrees. So and so was awesome, this person was pretty cool, so and so was alright, I didn’t care much for that guy.
This was something else.
Never in my life have I come across such a group of high-caliber, like-minded individuals. Non-judgemental & loving. Amazing in their own unique ways, but no less amazing. Each with something unique to bring, their own personal beauty.
They were “So Good!”
How did such a group converge on this place, here in this valley, in the middle of nowhere?
Coincidence some might say. But coincidence is a word I no longer say.
I arrived in my usual state: friendly, but somewhat reserved and shy. I still wasn’t sure on Shambhala protocol; for instance, when does one say “Happy Shambhala!” or when is it ok to give someone a hug? (the answer to both these questions is Always)
I gave my usual pleasantries. “Hey, how’s it going?”
In return I was given love. Why me? I’m not really special. Then I realized what it was.
It was an investment.
When you give love unconditionally you don’t do it with an expectation. You give it with hope. Hope that they will take that love into themselves, cherish it, foster it, let it grow, and then give it away. And with some good fortune you may just get some of that love in return. It might be instant (like the smile in their eyes), it could be little ways down the line (like 3 months and 20 days), or a little longer (like next Sham), or a long time from now (like when we’re old a grey and we can still remember that Pretty Lights set in the Village, and talk about how it was “So Good!”).
I didn’t take too long before I realized something else was happening here. It wasn’t just another music festival. It was something else. It was the expression of something divine. It was love. And it came with a killer bass line.
Now came the time to make a decision. Do I continue to stick to the tried and true behaviors, or do I try something new. Do I stand here still and let the waves wash over me, or do I become one with the wave & ride the tide of consciousness.
I dipped my foot in; a little face paint here, some dancing there, a hug or two, “Happy Sham!” to a stranger.
“Hmm.. this feels pretty good,” I thought. A couple more hugs, another night of dancing with a painted face, a conversation with a stranger (See “Infinite Receptivity” BoF: Ch. 2, Vrs 4-12). This wasn’t just an acid trip, or a figment of my imagination, something real was happening here, something profound, something life-changing. I couldn’t let this pass me by, I had to be part of it. Before I knew it I was shirtless (I’m not usually a shirtless jersey-shore type guy), wearing a mask I made, and dancing to psy-trance till the sun came up (I even shaved my beard!). And all the while my mind was on fire.
I came to realization about the nature of humans, our latent abilities, our divine purpose, my purpose. The nature of love, the nature of fear. The need to pray/ meditate/ dance. The need to express ourselves. We don’t just do it for ourselves. Who knows what your words/ art/ music could inspire in others. It doesn’t only feel good, it’s our duty. Our duty to be and express love. Our duty to be human.
So I danced, and I prayed, and I loved.
I built new connections with amazing individuals. I strengthened my connections with those I knew before.
But in time, all things must end. (or do they?)
So we left that valley. Headed back to the “real world.” That place of jobs, and bills, and mortgage payments.
How do I go back to that, after all that I have seen? I can’t just be that guy I was before I saw the light (or at least not again), the man I was before I came to Eden, the man who walked through life with his eye closed, who saw truth and looked away. I had to embrace it.
This wasn’t the first time I experienced something this profound, nor the last. But it did let me know that I’m not alone in this.
Not everyone who goes to Shambhala has the same experience. Not everyone transcends their physical form. Not everyone lets their spirit be touched in that way. It’s all what you open yourself up to. Some people go and just have fun, some people just get messed up, some people might say this isn’t for me (although I don’t know how). It’s all what you open yourself up to. It’s who you were before, it’s who you are becoming. It gives you just what you needed for this stage of your journey. And it comes to you when you’re ready for it.
So I made a promise to myself as I left that valley. I was going to be the new version of myself, the better version of myself.
That doesn’t mean I walked out of there, cut all ties, and started over again. I decided who I wanted to become. I didn’t just become a new person overnight, I saw where I wanted to go, and started taking the steps to get there. It’s the path I’m walking today. It’s the path I’ve been walking my whole life. It’s the path that was laid at my feet. It’s about being the best me I can be, and helping you to do the same. Because I love you, unconditionally and without reservation. Because you are me, if I was you. We are traversing the heavens together each and every moment. Spinning around this sun, spiraling through this universe, creating with every moment of our existence.
So Happy Shambhala Everyone!
May you be the best you that you can be.
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”