Meditation Could Be Your Secret Weapon This Festival SeasonArticle by: Marcus Barnes|@mgoldenbarnes
Mon May 15, 2017 | 13:30 PM
Today, society seems to be embracing spiritual teachings and so-called alternative methods of self-therapy and discovery more than ever. Yoga, mindfulness, organic food, various spiritual medicines, psychedelics and meditation are among many lifestyle choices making a positive impact on the lives of people around the world. There is a similar movement in festival culture, with so many of the best-known events more and more often providing its passionate attendees access to holistic tents, organic and vegan food stalls, and practitioners of alternative therapies.
Meditation is certainly one of the most popular practices, and rightly so. When implemented in the right way it can open a whole new world for the person practicing it. On a basic level meditation can help improve concentration, reduce anxiety and stress, and help to clear one’s mind of unnecessary thought patterns. Going deeper, meditation can help love and compassion supplant ego and worry, and increase connectivity with the world itself along with awareness and enjoying the present moment, rather than being tied up in thoughts of the past or future. Festivals are about living in the now, and consistent meditation can help you get there.
Alternative Spaces at Festivals
Taking those positive effects into account, the benefits of meditation to the festival experience are clear to see. Fest300 spoke to fully qualified Osho Meditation Facilitator Jessica Brookes about this very subject, posing her questions on the different aspects of festival life and how meditation can enhance the time we spend in that magical space.
Jess holds a space at the wonderful Meadows In The Mountains festival, which takes place in Bulgaria. The Shanti Space , as it’s known, is one of many healing spaces that can be found at festivals across Europe and the rest of the world.
Another famed space is the utopian Lost Horizon (found at the UK's Secret Garden Party and several others), where a natural, muddy pond becomes a hub for naked hippies, while a hot spa helps to rid the body of any grime acquired during the festival and a mutual massage area allows you to get intimate with fellow free spirits.
And the big one, Glastonbury, dedicates a huge space called the Green Fields to free-thinking (the Dalai Lama gave a speech there in 2015) where the Healing Fields especially offer massage, herbal remedies, vegan food and spaces where political and spiritual discussions take place.
How Does Meditation Improve Our Life Experience?
Jess tells us, “Life experience itself is amplified through meditation and as we clear out old patterns, release trapped energies and concentrate the mind, we create space for more positive revitalizing experiences where infinite potential shines through the dark clouds of conditioning.
“Meditators tend to be very tuned in to themselves, their truth and integrity. In community this creates a more open-hearted and compassionate spirit amongst people with a strong foundation of trust and understanding. People connected with their truth tend not to be easily manipulated and misguided by dogma and peer pressure. What they embody is authenticity and an ability to check in with themselves and their intentions.”
Music and Dance
We can't ignore the importance of music, one of the intrinsic ingredients at many of today’s most popular festivals. After all, it's been scientifically proven to make you happier and keeps you healthy. How can music, sound and vibration integrate with the meditative festie?
Jessica calmly enthuses, “Music invites dance and movement. Through dance we can reach ecstatic states, lifting the vibration and shaking out all that isn't riding on that frequency. It is cathartic. Nature shakes and vibrates. Indigenous tribes have been shaking out for eons, now in our age, we find a dance floor to move on and become one with the dance. In dance, the dancer and the dance become one as the ego moves aside and the mind is quiet.”
Awareness and Connectivity
At festivals we become far more aware of the world around us, as ingenious production and colorful lights and decorations reconnect us with our environment. This awareness also permeates our interactions with other festies, so imagine how much more connected and aware you can become to the festival experience when you’ve got your meditator hat on.
Jess keenly shares her wisdom, acquired through spending extended periods in India, Thailand and South America. She tells Fest300, “The journey of self-enquiry takes one closer to themselves and develops a very strong awareness. This awareness, the place from which one is looking from, is a space which is constantly connected to Source, where nothing can touch you. It is that which is watching the show, while witnessing the responses and projections of the mind. Some call this place home. I call it nature.
“When one can reside in this place, they develop a grounded confidence and self-esteem. They are self directed and no longer needing to seek guidance from outside of themselves. They are the free thinkers, the liberated, the 'grown ups' amongst us no longer depending on the 'guardians' that our society is so good at forcing upon the masses.”
Love Overcomes Ego
As we’ve already discussed, ego can be our worst enemy, which meditation helps to us to embrace and love - in the process dissolving the ego and allowing the love inside of us to become our prominent guide - bringing us back to the truth inside, the real self. How many of us have met friends for life at festivals? Or become the person that we feel is truly who we really are, not constrained by the stresses of a working routine, or the daily commute, but free and egoless, open and sincere?
As Jess explains, “I find music festivals are a place where egos are left at the gate, where people flow to the natural rhythms of their soul (not the limited realities of time constraints and corporate obligation) with a spirit of community and a heartfelt generosity that gives freely expecting nothing in return.
“I have fallen in love countless times at music festivals (including my last two partners). In this open-hearted place of complete acceptance and presence, we fearlessly offer our whole selves to the celebration of life; manifest as a beautiful music festival.”
When you're at a festival, you want to be present in every moment. Magical sights, sounds and experiences are all around you, and you'll want to be able to relive them all once the work week starts again. Consider integrating meditation into your lifestyle and this festival season it could come into play as your secret weapon to enhancing any adventure that comes your way.
Check out the Shanti Space website by clicking here.