What is a church? The question brings to mind a classically white building with a large cross out front to announce a christian inclination to passers-by. To me, a church isn't just a place, it's a representation. It's an environment that is defined by the people who visit it, often described as a place to embrace community, explore our humanity, and communicate with God (All/Universe/Nirvana/One/etc).
The problem up until now has been that these spaces have often been embraced by the mainstream religions, but those who do not choose to follow any particular belief framework have been left without a sacred place to congregate. (Sacred as defined as a an exploration of internal and external realities/perspectives) It is for this reason that the idea of church is changing as we move into a new cultural paradigm. The core attitudes emerging from the youth of today are openness, expression, connection, critical thinking, unity, and freedom. We want a place to celebrate these ideas, but we don't have a clear road map of exactly how to do that.
One such way that new humans are receiving a spiritual fix is through the rave scene. To an outsider, it may seem superficial; just a bunch of young adults on drugs not giving a fuck about anything but themselves, but I assure you it is much, much more than that. The dance floor holds a sacred promise of revitalization and connection that will act as a church for the 21st century.
My church is pretty amazing. You can visit any of its locations and be welcomed with open arms (they're always going to frisk you). I can't put words to how great it feels to walk onto the dance floor after a multi-hour wait and feel the pulse of the people around you who are engaged in a beautiful shared experience. Turn your eyes to the stage and you discover an object of pure and changing beauty. Wonderful colours and representations synced with soul bumping music will have you thinking you've become a synesthete. (Huxley has an interesting take on the connection between aesthetics and spirituality in his essay, Heaven and Hell.
Then you see the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have come together to share in this positive experience. We congregate to rediscover the value of connection, both to our trilateral selves (mind, body, soul) and to our fellow human beings. Together we sing and dance, and we find love, acceptance, and hope. We non-violently express our discontent with the age of separation, and embrace the age of reunion. Our movement is a beautiful rhythm that unites souls through common experience. The dance really is one of my favorite parts of a rave. On a personal level you get to let loose and embrace the freedom the comes from self-expression and connection to one's body. The beating of the bass mixes with the beating of your heart in an entanglement of euphoria. On an external level, it's really cool to dance around a group of strangers, and then to start mingling your dances with theirs, or to share a glance and a smile that says "This is a pretty good time hey?". When I talk about connection at ravers, it's these subtle instances that create a shared experience that communicates a greater common understanding.
Looking for more outright direct connection? Some of the best comedy you'll ever hear awaits you in the coat check line. Sometimes you can have negative experiences too. It's not always happy times. You get the guys who are too macho, and who focus a lot on control and competition. They fail to realize that a rave is not solely personal, but has a large shared component. There will always be people who may not share the same vision of why something is important, but it doesn't matter as long as they're there. Social conditioning built on the back of the evolutionary principle of ideas will result in the right mix, as long as openess is maintained.
Did I mention that our sacraments are the best? They let you connect to your mind and your body in a way you couldn't begin to imagine. Well maybe you can, if you've ever been to a lively Sunday morning sermon The God Chemical. Our medicines allow you to expel your demons and embrace love. No one tells you how to live your life, you discover your meaning through personal reflection. Neurotheology It's focus on positivity is the first step towards the creation of a global dance floor that will see everyone embrace our tribal roots in 21st century style. It's an important part of agric man's transition during the age of reunion, where we forego the emotional separation brought on during our pubescence and embrace possibility and optimism as we move into adulthood.
I hope you'll decide to join me for group therapy on December 6th. The spiritual conductors are two cool cats from Montreal known as Adventure Club. Their bass will make you feel every inch of your body, and bring your mind into rhythm with the universe. It's going to be beautiful.