The Mediterranean Sea stretches out into the distance until it meets the edge of the sky. 400 meters out, an ocean swimmer strokes his way lazily across the horizon. The lapping of lazy waves caresses the beach lovingly. And the city-state of Monaco stands behind me, poised with elegant determination overlooking the scene. A collection of aesthetic apartments so densely packed, it seems like they are climbing atop one another. I decided that in conjunction with my Paris workshop, I would accept the invitation to attend the Monaco National Day celebration here.
With enough wealth, one can create a kind of fairy tale bubble that stands untouched by and disconnected from the rest of the world's struggles. Monaco has done that. It is a bubble for the rich and the beautiful. I am told it is one of the safest places to live in the world. Sitting in the opera house last night waiting for Tosca to begin, I made the comment that it is easy to be the safest place in the world when the only people who can afford to live here are wealthy enough to have every single one of their needs met. Unmet needs are the currency of crime. The only unmet needs here in Monaco, are related to intimacy.
Monaco is exquisitely beautiful. Dripping with luxury, it is a constitutional monarchy, which is ruled by Sovereign Prince Albert The Second. This trip has been disorienting. Being here feels like a third life. I have my life at home, my life on the road for my career and then this life… a departure from all reality. I feel as if I have stepped back into the 17th century. Wearing exquisite ball gowns, adhering to formalities, walking the cobble stone streets escorted by a man in a tuxedo, surrounded by people in furs and jewels. Men wearing sashes and medals awarded to them by the monarch. It is actually quite magical, when done for a few days. I love a good excuse to wear the perfect dress. However a life of this and only this would be like honey turned rancid. The gossip around my presence here is strong enough to physically feel when I enter the room. Wealthy people who are concerned only with status, tend to try to keep their lives as clean and in accordance with social approval as possible. And to be frank, it is easier to do with money. Without genuine hardship to entertain, it is as if many live their emotional life through the intrigue and scandal surrounding others. I have brought plenty here it would seem. Like a true American, I lack the capability to act in accordance with reserved etiquette. Some are threatened by it and others find it especially endearing. It is a kind of defiance in me. It’s not that I lack the knowledge regarding how to be formal. It’s that I don’t think it benefits people or the world. The state television interviewed me after I attended the private invitation mass. The anchor asked what it was like for me to attend the event. I said that it was a beautiful tribute to customs and practices and places that will one day be a thing of the past; part of history that few people will ever get the chance to see. The reporter looked shocked. The Monaco Royal family, the Grimaldis are the oldest monarchy in Europe dating back to the 13th century... And from the look on his face, I could see that by saying that, I may as well have told the viewers directly that the empire was about to fall.
Like that finely tailored, red lace dress, I have fully indulged in an experience that is rare, like a vacation straight into to a historical fairy tale with all its ups and downs. Monaco is one of the last vestige of monarchy, which has progressively receded as a form of government over the last couple hundred years. We have evolved beyond it. Regardless of how much I may love some of the individual people who bear titles, it is my opinion that celebrity, status and governorship should not belong to those who are simply born into fortunate circumstances because their relatives claimed a land for theirs. Along the same lines, religion will one day be a thing of the past. We have evolved beyond it. The spiritual dimensions need not be accessed through ritual or priest. The kingdom of heaven is within and it is within every being in this universe. The castles and monuments will soon stand empty, like galleries for visitors. A reminder of how people used to live and customs that used to take place. I’m all for preserving history and custom, if it serves the world. But those practices that do not will be replaced. It is only a matter of time. The universe wills it to so. For nothing can halt the momentum of expansion. I have indulged in this experience with nostalgia from the perspective of watching something that will soon be gone, appreciating it for what it once was. I would celebrate the disappearance of some parts of it, other parts of it I will miss.
The dominant negative vibration of Monaco is: Hierarchy. The vibration of one’s value being assigned and classified according to one’s capacity, authority, position or rank. The toxicity of hierarchy kisses London as well. But to be true, Monaco puts London’s hierarchy to shame. I have never in my life been to a place that is dripping with more of it. Monaco would be a difficult place to be if you are considered to be low on the social ladder. And the thing about Monaco is that those who are on the very top of the ladder in other places around the world are on the very bottom here. Everything is relative. Much of the wealth in Monaco puts the wealth in other places to shame. The wealthiest man in some cities would appear to be a pauper here. As you move into different circles you can literally feel the level of your own social standing rising or falling, depending on whom you are being introduced to. To be honest, unless you are on top of the social ladder, Monaco is a painful place to be, especially if you struggle with Pride and the need to be respected. What has been amusing to watch is how this dominant vibration in Monaco is strong enough that it even has the ability to effect people by proxy… I have been posting instagrams throughout the trip so people can follow along with my daily life here and you would not believe some of the comments and messages I’ve been getting. Some of those who follow me as a teacher have turned their back on me based on this very trip to Monaco because they feel I have turned my back on them by being here. Seeing me interact with monarchy, religion and wealth here has given them the feeling of being separated from me. Those who condemn this kind of life, feel I have gone to the dark side by even agreeing to be part of it. I have reminded them that darkness is a matter of perspective depending on where you stand. I have reminded them of the good that money can do in the world. And I have reminded them that a light that goes into darkness illuminates the dark. But I cannot force them to understand what they have already rejected and I cannot expect them to trust me.
The dominant positive vibration of Monaco is: Superfluity. On the French Riviera, it is the most expensive city in the world in regard to property prices, even more so than Hong Kong, London and New York. Everywhere you look there are Ferraris and Bentleys and designer stores. There is luxury and excess at every turn. Superfluity is all about abundance, but what sets it apart is that it is abundance that is not "needed". It is grandiosity that is not present in response to any apparent lack. To imagine how superfluity is a good thing, you have to imagine a world where having more, does not cause someone to have less. In a world like this, the better it gets the better it gets. There is no limit. Much of it is in the details. Elegant details that make something truly exceptional as opposed to great. If you wanted to just escape the rest of the world and come to a place that is like a permanent French meets Mediterranean fairy tale, this is the place. Monaco is the pinnacle of the high life. Tonight, after visiting the botanical gardens that wind their way through terraces on the side of the cliffs, I am attending one last soirée before exiting the bubble that is Monaco and returning to the real world. We are spending two days in Nice before going home to the states. Already I am not looking forward to returning home. I always feel a bit of heartache when I leave Europe. I miss meeting such cosmopolitan people. There is so much magic in international places. In so many parts of the US, it feels like you are out of touch with the rest of the world. And your information comes through media sources whose stories couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a quiet depth that rises within when you are out of touch with the rest of the world. But there is more inspiration and intellectual stimulation to be found when you are exposed to the rest of the world. In my morning meditation today, I connected to the fast paced current of human conscious that is streaming out from Europe and reaching around the globe. I let myself be taken by it. I let myself ride the current down a thousand paths with the ebb and flow of the focus of the collective. It did what it always does. It put life into perspective. So many of the things that I am facing and so many of the things that I am worried about, no longer matter when compared to what is happening to so many people around the world. The day you laugh out loud is the day you realize that many of your worries would in fact be considered a luxury by many people on this earth. I need to comprehend all walks of life to be truly great in the role I have been made for here on earth. And this trip has added greatly to my comprehension.