Las Vegas is held in the grip of the desert, like a secluded oasis. It feels like an isolated playground. Journeying to it through the desert, you feel as if you have left your life behind and entered an alternate reality. “Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is perhaps the most accurate saying associated with a city that I’ve ever encountered. For people who are vacationing here, there is no cross pollination between one’s real world and one’s experiences in Vegas.
I have spent considerable time in this city. Years ago when I was modeling, one of my agencies decided as I was growing into my adult figure, that I did not have the long term potential to be a high fashion runway model. I was not tall enough for a long-term career in runway and unlike high fashion models, I had curves. So, at 16 years old, they decided to push me towards the lingerie and swimsuit market and Las Vegas is a hot spot for that market. Alas, I found myself here again and again for photo shoots and live modeling gigs. Here I am (right) at 16 years old modeling in Las Vegas. Last night, when I arrived at the Venetian, I passed a model that had been hired to stand outside one of the shops in formal wear to entice the men passing by into the store. I exchanged a knowing smile with her. It felt as if I was passing by a previous version of myself… A past life that was lived in this same body. By walking by that life it felt like I was going beyond what was, and fully stepping into the new life I have chosen for myself. Las Vegas is a place that is fun to visit if you’re in the mood for some serious stimulation. But I could never live here. The main hub of the city is ironically called “The Strip”, a dense congregation of Casinos, tourist attractions and colossal hotels. Life in Las Vegas is different off the strip, in the suburbs than it is downtown. But the sheer blast of energy that is the Las Vegas strip bleeds out across the entire city. Las Vegas does everything big. It’s all about the “wow factor”. It packs so much entertainment into every square inch that it is impossible not to get over stimulated.
The dominant negative vibration in Las Vegas is: Debauchery. Debauchery is to indulge oneself in sensual pleasures without inhibition… But sensual pleasures that go against the guidance of one’s own conscience. Sex and raucous entertainment and food and drugs abound here and often in tandem. Vegas is a kind of sensual pandemonium. When a person sinks into debauchery, they lose touch with their own virtue. This city is a perfect vibrational match to people who have lost touch with a sense of their own virtue. This is the actual reason that religious people call Vegas the “devil’s playground” or “the new Sodom and Gomorrah”. Morality has absolutely no dominion here. People fall into debauchery to release pressure and to escape themselves. They want a taste of freedom and feel they can find it no other way than to go somewhere that they can release all inhibition. Morality is a kind of prison. And most people on earth live their lives according to strict moral standards. And even the conscience calls us to deny revelry to aspects of ourselves that are not in alignment with our highest good. But keeping one ‘self in constant check can be exhausting long term. So… Vegas is here to relieve you of that pressure. The bottom line is, people come to Vegas to escape themselves and to escape their lives. The problem is, when one slips into debauchery, they have to live with the consequences no matter where they were geographically at the time. People, who slip into debauchery, meet with financial consequences, health consequences, mental consequences and emotional consequences. Las Vegas is not a get out of jail free pass. It is a pay big to get out of jail pass. Wherever there is debauchery, there is intense suffering to be found.
The dominant positive vibration in Las Vegas is: Indulgence. The average person cannot be uninhibited in day-to-day life as there are social consequences to doing so. What the average person needs is a safe container to be uninhibited and Las Vegas in that container. To the positive side, it is a safe container to break free. Provided that a person is still following the guidance of their own conscience, letting go of morality can be a beautifully liberating thing. Indulgence is a state of allowing. We so seldom allow ourselves to really experience sensual pleasures. And here, a person can literally wallow in pleasures. Las Vegas is quite literally the Disney Land for adults. Any sensual pleasure you can think of is readily available here. Indulgence is not only an allowing state; it is also a state of abundance. When you are constantly reigning yourself in, you’re inhibiting the flow of abundance to you and through you. You experience scarcity instead of abundance. In Vegas, abundance is everywhere. Here, you get to let yourself have and do whatever you want. And that is nothing short of a beautiful thing.
As a lover of theatre, I’ve also always wanted to see the Cirque Du Soleil show “O”. So, I indulged myself and saw it last night. It was amazing. It was like stepping into someone else’s acid trip. Ironically, my own personal sense of enjoyment took us away from Las Vegas yesterday into the mojave desert to the Red Rock Canyon Preserve. We decided to rent a fun little Nissan Z370 sports car for the trip. I have been practicing the art of indulgence on this trip. It’s harder to do than you’d think for a highly conscientious person like myself. I allowed myself to lay in a lavish hot tub today underneath a replica of the statue of David. I allowed myself to eat the foods I really wanted to eat with no consideration for what would be the best food for me to eat (which ironically would still be most people’s idea of complete health freak foods to eat). I allowed myself to wear my favorite chiffon dress around town today. I allowed myself to sleep in… I allowed myself to do a great many things that felt nourishing on a mental, emotional and physical level without compromising my own conscience. And it felt really good.
Las Vegas has a lot to teach about indulgence. It also has a lot to teach about morality and conscience. After all, morality and conscience are not one and the same. On almost every street corner of Las Vegas, confrontational evangelists stand with signs that say, “repent for your sins” with bible verses. They preach to the crowd of people passing by about morality. They manage to impart a great deal of shame to the people who have come here to try to escape the pressure of morality. How little they understand the inner workings of the universe at large.
Morality is about principles, fundamental truths or propositions that serve as the foundation for a system of belief, behavior or chain of reasoning. Morals are principals concerning the rightness and wrongness or goodness and badness of behavior. What is the problem with this? To start with Source or God never wrote a code of ethics and morals in the sky. You may believe a book (like the Bible or the Koran) contains these God given ethics and morals, but you cannot prove that God wrote them. You can only believe God wrote them. Or believe that whoever wrote them, wrote them on behalf of God correctly. Or God forbid believe someone translated the original texts correctly. And the thing is, you can guarantee that even if you believe that a text on morality is the word of God, another group of people definitely does not. In fact they believe they have the word of God. This wouldn’t be a problem if both parties agree on what God said about morality. But guess what? They do not… what then? As much uncertainty as it creates to admit to it, the reality is that people do not agree on what is right or what is wrong.
When people agree upon right and wrong, they often collect into little groups and validate each other’s subjective viewpoint and become more convinced everyone else is wrong until suddenly they are at war and convinced it is perfectly morally right to be at war. Right versus wrong as it applies to morality is a very slippery slope. For example, many Christians believe it is wrong to kill. It is a tenant in their Bible. And yet as we speak soldiers who call themselves Christian kill people in the Middle East and believe it to be morally right to do so. And so do we. We drive around with bumper stickers displaying our support of their efforts overseas. We also believe it is moral to support them. So which is it? Is it moral or immoral to kill? Is it moral or immoral to support those who kill? If so, when is it moral to kill and why? Just ask this question to a group of enough people and watch the fight over morality ensue. Why does this fight ensue? Because the minute we decide a code of conduct is moral, we believe it should be universal. We believe it should be a code of conduct that applies to everyone. In fact, we often assume it is the same for everyone and we’re shocked when we find this isn’t the case. This is one of the most shocking things about traveling the world. The modern concept of morality is dependent upon geographical location.
And guess what? Morals change over time. Just look at a brief overview of history. In Europe it was once considered to be immoral for men and women to have physical contact on the dance floor. They were expected to dance together from opposite sides of the room. In India, marriage between people of different Castes was seen as immoral. In America, it was immoral to say Blast or Wretch or even Gosh. So was educating women. At one point in history it was considered moral to burn widows with their deceased husbands. It was considered moral to stone people to death and to own slaves and the list goes on. Just take a look at history to see how much has changed about our view of morality. You can bet some of what we see as immoral today, will be seen as moral tomorrow and some of what we see as moral today will be seen as immoral tomorrow. Morals are based off of things like personally acquired values, cultural upbringing and religious affiliation. Some of these morals you may have consciously chosen to adhere to. But let me tell you, most of the morals you live by are not yours. Like scaffolding, they are the structure that you built your life upon within the society you live in and many of them do not serve you or society at all. These imprints are inherited. They are imposed on you. They need to be questioned. But questioning our morals makes us very uncomfortable. To do so, we must emotionally confront the consequences we fear we will face if we are wrong or bad.
Morals keep us from being condemned. Condemnation being of course the experience of being completely disapproved of, especially publicly. It is the ultimate form of shame. And it exists to help us avoid the consequences, especially punishments that may be accessory to that disapproval. Growing up in a moral household is an intensely painful experience, seeing as a child must go through the experience of condemnation at the hands of people who see condemnation as a way of loving their child. In this scenario, shame and love become synonymous and self-regulation becomes self-abuse. We, who are negatively judged, grow up to negatively judge unless we intervene in that unconscious process within ourselves.
If we hold too hard to an idea of right versus wrong or good versus bad, we shut our minds to seeing any alternative truth. We shut people with alternative truths out of our lives. Principals are rigid. They do not allow for the flexible flow one must develop in order to move through this life without creating suffering.
Think of conscience like a guiding light. That light is obscured and bent by morals. Morals are like a filter that the conscience is fed through. By questioning your morals and learning to hold the ones you do have loosely, you remove the filter that is obscuring the light of your conscience. You can feel your own inner truth as well as objective truth surfacing. You become a highly guided person who acts according to your internal sense of yes or no but who does not impose that internal yes or no on others. There is a reason that ethics (moral philosophy) is an entire branch of philosophy.
What do you think is right? What do you think is wrong? What do you think is good? What do you think is bad? Open your mind up to alternative views if you haven’t. Remain curious of alternative views and stay open to your own views relative to conscience changing as a result of that curiosity. You can continue to share your way and share how you feel relative to specific subjects without making other people ‘wrong’ and condemning them. A person who has high morals does not just make others wrong, they run the risk of making themselves wrong and living a life riddled with shame and guilt because of it. Any time you live your life according to how you think things should be, and life brings you a scenario where your inner compass says yes, but your morals say no, you will be in a world of torment as a result of self-condemnation.
I suggest that you lay down your moral judgments and instead make a practice of curiosity and conscience. It is the perfect antidote to the Ego’s morality trap. Any time you are confronted with a view or argument that triggers your morality buttons, consciously pretend you are an extraterrestrial with no prior ideas of right or wrong, good or bad. Try to take on their perspective entirely. Let it enter you as if genuinely considering it from their perspective with their background surrounded by their influences. Rigidity is a painful experience within the body. By doing this, you will feel yourself softening. Many times your own view will not change, but your condemnation of the other will. And morality will give way to conscience. You may just be able to find a meeting of minds. Play this game with yourself as well, any time your internal compass says yes when your moral compass says no. Take on the perspective of the one who says no within you and then the one who says yes within you as if you are an extraterrestrial with no prior ideas of right and wrong and explore those two distinct perspectives and the values and needs and desires associated with each of them. Feel your self-condemnation melt away. Question your morals and perhaps your conscience can shine through as a reflection of your true self.