The ancient Mayan calendar ended in December 2012. Why it ended at that point has been the cause of much speculation, but some believed it signaled we were entering a new era for the planet.

I thought about this when I traveled to Mexico at the beginning of February this year, first to spend a week working remotely from Mexico City, and then to spend a week visiting some of the Mayan Ruins of Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. I had been wondering since 2012 about the ancient Mayans and what exactly they understood about the meaning of the end of their calendar. I have been an avid reader of modern spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, who espouses the notion that humanity is indeed undergoing a radical shift in consciousness, at least in some smaller sectors of the population and in contrast with the intensification of the collective ego on the planet. I felt it was time for me to try to get a step closer to that ancient wisdom.

I visited four sites: Tonina, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Palenque. The ancient religious sites nestled into the verdant forests of southern Mexico reminded me deeply of Martha’s Vineyard. They have an energy that is soothing and awe-inspiring. They commune with nature and display extraordinary feats of artistic and architectural prowess, evoking thoughts of healing and reminding me that my artistic passion is one of the most important aspects of my life. My visit to these ancient places also served to remind me that the sensibilities I developed on Martha’s Vineyard as a child — a deep love of nature, caring for community, living a moral and balanced life — are the most important treasures I carry with me. That is the gift these Mayan archaeological sites gave me. It made me wonder if these same values and qualities of consciousness aren’t exactly what the world needs right now.

I feel the Vineyard holds a certain energy that is ancient in nature and vitally important for the planet at the moment. In the wind through the trees and the waves lapping the shores, perhaps we can hear the call of the new consciousness that wants to emerge. Perhaps it is on the verge of flourishing, if we listen.

Jonah Lipsky grew up in West Tisbury and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.