Just prior to my mid twenties, to literally escape what was going on while back living with my parents, and now grandfather, I began spending time with friends in Amherst Massachusetts. I would drive from where we lived in New Jersey west of New York City. The sojourns were regular on almost a weekly basis. I would spend three to four days in New Jersey engulfed in music composition and fledgling production, and then drive to Amherst. It was a high school musician buddy of mine that had settled there after attending the esoteric Hampshire College. My buddy was an accomplished hobby bass player, entrepreneur and young business man who had set up a very high-end audiophile stereo component company. We listened to music through the finest reproduction equipment available at the time. Beautiful tube amplifiers, speaker and enclosures of the most forward thinking designers, and the most extravagant direct drive turntables for listening to experimental direct to vinyl disc recordings. My pal’s girlfriend was Brazilian and they were little by little having her siblings come to live in the United States with us.
Things at the time were very bad in Brazil for those lacking financial means. Unfortunately, it appears as though those troubling times have returned for that beautiful and culturally rich country. Our Amherst household was macrobiotic. There was an ongoing exploration into the philosophy of macrobiotics that existed as the philosophy of our collective extended family as a home. Due to one of the Brazilian sisters living with a rare muscular disease, we really ramped up the diet becoming quite strict. It was one of the best things I experienced in my life. I learned of foods, food preparation and nutrition by way of all the amazing meals we would enjoy as a household. What I loved so much was the old-world feel as the sisters and various household members would gather in the kitchen as needed in planning and preparing our meals. It was a beautiful time of family bonding that except for holiday times such as Passover, was virtually nonexistent in my home as a child and teenager. Etched in my mind and cellular memory is the collection of music that started to play every late afternoon as a warmup heading into the dinner plan and prep. I can hear the sound as if I were there now - Djovan, Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ivan Lins, and many others of breathtakingly gorgeous Brazilian music. So often we would end up dancing samba and bossa nova right there in the kitchen and dining room. Many evenings the dining room table would be occupied by the household of extended family and two college renters as well as always having guests drop by for the great tasting superfood meals and inspiring conversation. I knew at the time I was out of my league intellectually, but coming from growing up within my family, I was absolutely devouring the stimulating and forward thinking environment.
I was heavily influenced by way of the social and political groups in and around Amherst. As a child and teenager, I was not an avid reader. Reading and studying started to emerge a few years before I came into discovering meditation. I began to see through so much of the social and cultural paradigms that I was raised within in terms of never questioning the status quo. In Amherst, I began to learn of corporate geo-political strategies in conjunction with various agendas of the United States, Europe, and Japan. This brought me into depths of reading on the Trilateral Commission and The Council On Foreign Relations. I began to understand the nature and design of the United States military industrial complex and its intricate interactive web of how this massive entity serves within effectuating various corporate interests beyond the scope of “national interest”, into personal gain and power. Two of numerous very informative and profoundly eye-opening books that helped me awaken to comprehending these multi-national affairs were The Nicaragua Lectures and later, Confessions Of An Economic Hitman.