Changing Vibrations

If any of you have wondered where I have been for the past week, the answer is Mammoth Lakes, California. This beautiful safe-haven of endless mountain-scapes, relaxed country folk, and champaign powder snow is a one-time-a-year stop for me and some old college buddies. I am fortunate to stay in contact with such great people and even more lucky that we get to rendezvous in such a gorgeous, breath-taking place.

One thing about Mammoth is its vibration. Peacefully lethargic like being trapped under a large, comfortable blanket, Mammoth is the epitome of homeyness. Each visit, my host introduces me to old friends who have never strayed from the comforting shadow of the mountain. There is always that awkward moment awaiting imposed judgement, but unlike anywhere else in the world, the locals could care less. They boast of extreme pride: their love for their town is undeniable. And I can see why.

Spending time in Mammoth is like recharging your spiritual batteries. What’s even more spellbinding is that you don’t need to know what spirituality is to benefit from the penetrating vibrations of the town. Nature and its beauty only need be experienced to gain its wisdom. Happiness, calm, peace, and reverence are almost unavoidable in Mammoth. You’d have to be a hard-pressed pessimist to miss these waves.

Writing an article on Mammoth could easily turn into a book, but what I’d like to do is to expand on my experience returning to Manhattan.

The beautiful intensity of the city

No more separate than night and day, my flight from California to New York brought me across the threshold of environmental duality. Like stepping out of fire and into ice, my experience, my being was thrust into a completely different vibration. Although I had experienced a similar change going West, my trip back East was much more jolting. Traversing down hill is always much easier than heading up. And going to New York from Mammoth was like scaling a the face of an inverted skyscraper.

Once in the city, everything felt faster. People’s eyes were the first things I noticed. No one let their eyes relax. Scanning, pulsing, and shooting in all directions, eyeballs were going insane! No one could keep my gaze and everyone was too busy to stop searching their surroundings. Even patrons awaiting their flight—with ample time on their hands—were struck with an incredible eyeball immediacy. The next experience I noticed was my lack of involvement with the vibration of NYC.

Kind of like being left behind, I was a fish swimming downstream against an entire city of fish heading upwards. Bustling was the word. Everything was moving at the fastest pace possible. The energy was overwhelming and for the past two days I have been crippled by the weight of a sloth-like laziness.  Just moments ago did I finally feel like I’ve begun to shake of the binds of extreme relaxation. It would be safe to say that the vibration of Mammoth and New York have little to do with each other aside from the fact that they are both vibrations.

Mammoth's Breath-Taking Mono Lake

I find myself asking, why do I live in New York. And I see my answer as a duty. My life, my writing, and my passion is to help others and only in such a productive place as New York will my lump of coal turn into a diamond. Living in Mammoth, Fiji, or Costa Rica may be very enticing, but my purpose of existence in this life is not relaxation—at least not yet. And the vibration of New York is the most upbeat, exhilarating vibration of any place I have ever been. Getting work done here happens in your sleep.

To each vibration their own

What I’ve taken away from this mini-vacation is an appreciation for the inherent qualities of different locations. Like the people that inhabit them, each place brings a different vibration to the scene of experience. Understanding their subtleties (and sometimes no-so-subtleties) is the extravagant offering of life. Experience is the game and life is where is it played.

Understanding the Hard Road

My father used to tell me, “Matt, there are two roads you can take: the easy one or the hard one.  And son, you always choose the hard one.”

What he told me when I was a child, still somehow seems to fit as an adult.  Although much of the content has changed—thank god—I still seem to forego comfort to seek out challenge.  Even in times where I wish I had it easy, my gravitas lies in taming difficulty.  For me, the feeling of accomplishment outweighs the risk. And even in failure, the lessons learned warrant a deserved reward.  It was not until this re-examination of my philosophies, had I begun to grasp a greater understanding of mankind.

I recently finished BBC’s “Human Planet” series, which explores the variety of lifestyles man.  Most of the documentary takes place in ‘the wild’, where existence is less of a race than it is a cooperation.  However, what BBC would have you think is that life in these wild places is a dangerous battle where each day man fights to steal food from the earth, as if it was bent on extinguishing humanity.  It is cruel, cold, and unpredictable.  And only the poor, weak, and exiled live beyond the city walls.

They look thrilled.

Much of the commentary contradicted the actual footage.  Example: although the villager, grinning ear to ear, was enjoying his day’s catch of fresh fish, he was, according to BBC, deeply troubled by the unsurmountable stress looming overhead about finding tomorrow’s dinner.  At first, these inconsistencies didn’t catch my attention, but as I watched all 7 installations, I started to see the over-usage of certain negative elements such as fear and threat.  I started to get annoyed and eventually decided to cut short the last episode.  All this ‘triumphing over nature‘ and ‘struggling against earth’ was starting to give me a headache.

What I honestly believe is that these people, in tune with locales much closer to raw wilderness, understand and embody cycles closer to nature.  In this proximity to true models of sustainability, these civilizations have learned to cooperate rather than fight.

I think this requires at least a smidgeon of cooperation.

With that said, I started to wonder why was BBC so bent on making life in the ‘wild’ seem so difficult.  I started to hypothesize a theory of reversal: BBC, and all of us living an urban lifestyle, tend to brutalize life in the wilderness because of the current degree of extensive difficulty within our lives.  If you think about it, we spend on average 40 hours a weeks slaving away just to make ends meet.  A lot of this time is directly subtracted from family, sociality and simple relaxation. Debt is the number one stressor of our modern world.  It has become so paramount that people are working just to stay out of it.  In fact, the US has been dubbed the “credit-card nation”, with over 80% of the population in debt and 20% of that figure without hope of ever breaking even.  Add this to traffic commutes, pollution, disease, contaminated food outbreaks, war, politics, religion, and an array of other stressors and you can see why it’s tempting to head for the hills.

“F@&% it, I’m outta here!”

With all this stress, one would ask why?  If in the name of progress we have created such things as art, science, technology, and ‘civilization’, but have destroyed our happiness, what is the point?  And my answer to why BBC—and the rest of us—continue to believe that living with nature is impossible is because we are in a cultural denial.  Our civilized culture, separate from the culture of the earth, has brought us no closer to true fulfillment than logic does to love.  We continue to put hope into our sciences and technologies and believe that they will free us from our suffering; that one day man will triumph over nature, conquering the forces of earth.

Meanwhile, billions suffer at the hands of a few, while we continue to use outdated technology and repress natural solutions such as free energy (I highly suggest you read up on this if you haven’t already).  We deny the powers of natural healing in support of our ineffective man-made medicines.  We live in an earth that is willing to give us the answers to all of our problems, but we are not listening.  We continue to swim upstream, when floating down would bring us to where we want to be.

Be kind, little one.

It is here, that I made the connection to what my father pointed out to me so many years ago.  The hard way, my path of choice, is a counterintuitive path of difficulty and stubbornness. However, when I completed my journey, I was always satisfied.  I knew that the path I chose was my own personal and creative choice. And I discovered what the worst had to offer, knowing that I could surpass its challenges.  I had survived the unknown and lived to tell the tale.  By recognizing personal motives, I am starting to reconcile my aversions to man’s nature.

We are a young species—just like I am a young man—exploring the extent of our creativity.  We have indeed gone one way, and will surely go the other.  In the end we will find balance and as we grow, we’ll learn to live in harmony.  For now, we are like babies left to feed on our own eating dirt, rocks, and sticks.  Soon we will learn the flavor of greater things, developing our palate and changing our diets.  There is plenty of time to grow.

New York City

On a tiny island with millions of people, I have come to find my home.  An intriguing place, Manhattan offers a world of possibility fueled with lightening fast speeds that can either elevate or destroy you.  Whether you’re searching for enlightenment or fists full of money, NYC can accomodate your progression.  At the same time, it can be your biggest hurdle.

In the epicenter of what many call the modern world, New York City stands as a platform for rapid movement.  Both literally and energetically, everything moves fast here.

Before I came to the East Coast, I was used to a life of open spaces, leisure, and sunshine.  In Los Angeles, life was a task that could be put off until tomorrow.  Procrastination and the settled nature of my ways was tolerated with tones of acceptance and relaxation.  If I missed a week of yoga or sat at home waiting for my next gig, I knew that I could always ‘pick it up’ tomorrow.

This mentality does not exist in New York. If you decide to wait around, life will not only pass you by, but it will beat you up.  The first week in my new abode gave great testament to this.  Low on energy, I spent a lethargic amount of my time in bed.  The move, the city, and other emotional dramas were keeping me unmotivated.  Since school hadn’t begun and I had a week to settle in, I decided to do it slowly.  And boy, was this the wrong thing to do.

I felt like I was going crazy! Energy was flying over my head at a thousand miles per hour.  Walking around on the street, I felt like one of those music videos where everyone is flying by while you’re stuck in slow motion.  I was on a different playing field, separated from the bustling life of everyone else.  My un-productivity was never more apparent and it literally repelled people away from me.  It was as if I existed in an alternate dimension.

Not only was I energetically segregated and ostracized, but things in my life started to collapse.  Money problems arose. Issues with school – a school I had yet to attend – came up.  Trouble with mediation and my yoga practices manifested.  Everything that I was usually able to sustain in Los Angeles was thrown into chaos in New York.  Something had to be done.

I began to break my sloth-like stride.  I got up in the mornings, I read books, I walked around and engaged in conversations, I meditated with fervor and practiced yoga with consistency.  I stopped being lazy and adopted an attitude of action.  Really, I just decided I was going to become a New Yorker.

I know this sounds like a cheesy New York City Council Ad, but what I am explaining is much deeper and probably applies to any place in the world.  Its just that in New York the energetic current was so overwhelming that I was unable to continue using my usual Los Angeles model of energy.

Once I adopted this new form of intense and compact energy, I saw a mergence of fields. It was as if all the puzzle pieces came together at once.  Instead taking an energetic beating, I was now riding the wave of NYC.  Once in motion, I was amazed at the ease and speed of which things came together.  Within a week I had an internship, job opportunities, success in school and a community of yogis to call my own.  Everything fell into place.

The zeal of a city such as New York is a thing to marvel at.  A man-made complex of whirlwind energies capable of rapid evolution and regression is based on the collective energy of motivation, directness, and action.  The megalopolis is a true testament to the collective power of humans.  Used in the correct way, it could propel our world into greater realms of evolution.