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Boom Festival 2010

We recently returned from experiencing the alternative reality of music, visionary culture, art and spirit called Boom! And boy does it live up to its name with electronic music blaring for 22 hours a day!…Not really my cup of tea but thankfully there were so many interesting and wonderful things going on it proved to be an extraordinary trip…no drugs required! It was a little like being in India with a surprise, sensory delight or strange encounter around every corner and a palpable atmosphere of mystery and harmony permeating the scene…

The festival was strung out along the shore of a huge and stunning beautiful lake in South East Portugal, not far from the Spanish border. A vast improvement in location from last time when the festival was held on the opposite side of the lake where there are hardly any trees. Here there were trees in abundance, which not only gave much needed shade in the heat, but blessed the scene of this gathering of the tribes with much more intimacy and beauty. The lake was clean and delightfully cool and we and many others spent a great deal of our time in it!…



We camped out amongst the trees in the beautifully serene Healing Area, which was on the outer edge of the festival and acted as a hub for those whose interests veered toward the therapeutic and spiritual as opposed to the purely hedonistic. A dizzying array of therapies and workshops were on offer here in a number of loactions, everything from kirtan chanting, hatha and kundalini yoga, sacred feminines and diamond healings, qi gong, to whirling, heart chakra and healing meditations to sound journeys and sacred sexuality to sweat lodges and firewalking and a plethora of therapies available for folks to sample…




And what bliss to find a raw food restaurant, and our friends Hugo & Ines there to serve us delicious healthy food a short walk away!


There were some remarkable eco structures scattered through the festival made of bamboo, cob and canya…



…and also the dance floor of Groovy Beach (where I did seriously groove for a while in the middle of the night) made of pallets…



The bizarre and wonderful Gamelan temple ingeniously contructed of scrap metal featured every variation on a gong, bell, bowl or cymbal you could imagine…as it rung out a captivating and eerie cacophany of pre programmed chiming sound…


The Drop was an amazing structure of bamboo that featured an area for presentations on themes ranging from the evolution of consciousness and culture to psychedelic mysticism, to social activism etc. We attended a powerful and moving presentation by the Pachamama Alliance called Be the Change: Awakening the Dreamer Within with which we felt alot of resonance…


The Drop also housed a gallery of visionary art which exhibited some truely inspired and amazing paintings…




Amongst all of the the major hubs of activity were restaurants offering all kinds of cuisine, chai shops, juice bars, and stalls of all kinds. My favorite area for a more intimate atmosphere was the Sacred Fire where stalls were clumped in amongst the oak trees and permaculture gardens of herbs, corn and pumpkins graced the ground. Our dear friend Jutta had done a breathtaking job of illuminating the area with her magical lamps which gave such an enchanting warmth to the scene at night…




But the locale where we spent most of our time was the serene Healing Area where I came to do a workshop on Conscious Evolution called “Who am I & Why am I here?” …


Despite the fact that I was unable to show the multimedia presentation I had prepared due to technical problems, it went amazingly well.   It was held in a beautiful rustic elegant structure with a mesmerizing mandala painted on the floor.



About 35 people came and were very attentive despite the music blaring outside. First I led a guided meditation into the mystery of the “who am I?” question which brought us into a the immediacy of a shared space of interconnectivity and expanded consciousness. I think it was clear to everyone that who we all were, beneath all the relative distinctions of gender, nationality, and personal and cultural conditioning, had nothing to do with separation or historical identity but with an ungraspable knowing of Oneness.

Then I dove into the “why am I here?” question…if who we really are is One Being, is One Consciousness then why did we choose to manifest in and as the Many in all our unique individuality? And why is it that we are bringing ourselves to the brink of our own destruction in these times of converging crisis? Is there any purpose to this whole event of manifestation and if there is what is it? When I start speaking about these matters something just takes over and I get totally inspired and thankfully it appeared to be contagious…

I spoke about how our moment of evolutionary crisis is calling us to discover a purpose for human incarnation that far transcends our personal lives. Are we the endpoint of 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution or are we “transitional beings”? Maybe in fact we are just getting started and the future expression of humanity will look back upon us as we do the neanderthals? That is why we need to discover and mould a new spirituality that meets the challenge of our time and does not settle for mere transcendence of this world. For transformation is the task at hand and a full engagement as Spirit-in-action is what is calling us from the depths of that One we already are.


Everyone resonated with this and then I went into what “conscious evolution” really meant.  Unlike the slow grinding process of biological evolution that has unfolded from energy to matter to life to mind, our further evolution as a species is by no means a given. Why? Because evolution is now occurring at the level of consciousness through those self-aware and highly individuated creatures called you and me! And it is not happening through growing another arm or head, it is happening through conscious choice. Do we choose to identify with the habitual structures of ego, “me” and “mine” and things as they have always been, or do we choose for unity, for love, for the new, for evolution? Experiences of higher and deeper states may give us glimpses of our true nature and what we are capable of but that inspiration has to be translated into the transformative work of bringing higher states into realization as permanent traits in our “everyday lives”.  That is the positive challenge for all of us who are awakening to our inherent responsibility for the future.

I then went through a series of examples to illustrate what ego consciousness is and how it manifests…I held up cards with different egoic traits like superiority, pride, cynicism, narcissism, fear, resistance to change etc…and had a bit of fun miming and illustrating them in a way that everyone could recognize in their own experience. As I went through them I put the cards in a trash can. The trash can then served as a very graphic device to symbolise our attachment to ego consciousness meaning the need to see ourselves as separate and “specially unique”. So I picked it up as I spoke, hugged it, insisted my trash can was very different from everyone elses, stuck my head in it to illustrate how real and endless it can all seem (especially when we get into a psychotherapy approach)…I was having some fun with it which everyone enjoyed.


Then I invited everyone to take the leap of recognizing that there was nothing “personal” about the ego (the trash can) since it manifested in all of us and we were all recognizing it right now together. So what would it mean to be willing to put it down and step outside of our habitual conditioning and simply see the machinations of ego…narcissism, self-concern, doubt, fear and compulsive desire…as obsolete programming, that served a function to help us survive and get us to our present state of sophisticated individuation, but now needs to be relinquished to make way for the next stage in our evolutionary unfolding?  What would it really mean, I asked, if enough of us truly took seriously the Boom motif that “We are One” and “Make Change Happen”? Not just change in the outer world but a CHANGE OF CONSCIOUSNESS!! It would mean that we would recognize and accept that we are that ONE and hence are responsible for the evolution of that ONE in time and space as ourselves! That might sound like a “heavy” proposition but once we embrace this passion to transcend ego consciousness for the sake of what we can become, we discover a mighty purpose that endows our humble human life with an energy, dignity and power that is transformative, thrilling and profoundly Life affirming.


So I found being at Boom a fascinating experience on many levels. What was most inspiring to me was that from out of the drug-fuelled fog and hedonism there was a clear thrust of consciousness coming through a large segment of the people in search of deeper answers. Boom is a wild expression of the creativity of the human spirit that brings 30,000 together in a celebration of life, love and unity, but it is also drenched in the narcissism and experience-junkie mentality of our postmodern “progressive” culture. The Bigger Boom is going to reverberate across the glistening lake under the August full moon when we progress beyond our narcissistic infactuation with our subjective inner experience and our outer self-image in the world. When we outgrow our “freedom” to do what we want when we want, for the sake of the real Freedom of embodying the One that we already are, when we reach to embrace a higher moral context that surges forth from within that longs to free us from conflict and collusion with the dream of separation. Why? Because we are Ones we have been waiting for…and who else is there to do it??


  1. Roberta Anderson says:

    Wow, Pete–what a beautiful writeup! I almost felt that I was there myself. Portugal is sounding more and more like a “happening place”! Sounds like your workshop went incredibly well. Congratulations and much love to you and Cynthia.

  2. mark says:

    Beautiful post Pete, you so eloquently describe your passion. I feel so in tune with what you write. I just discovered the Pachamama Alliance site recently and felt very drawn to it. Then about a week ago during a tea ceremony for the new moon, I received a very clear message about our role to manifest the essence we are in spirit into form as Global oneness, a divine web of consciousness. This site has some nice stuff too:
    Nice to hear so loud and clear the calling of your spirit Pete.
    Namaste Brother

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