Blog entry

dirty purity

song of the day: autumn leaves / Benny Golson version
word of the day: cullion 1, a testicle 2, a base despicable person 3, an orchid

Darlings! How are you? It's a splendid day, here's a toast wishing you and yours a healthy semblence today. Isn't the word "cullion" curious? I love a word that has such disparate definitions, An Orchid or a testicle, or an asshole. You pick, cuz with "cullion" you get it all. I also have to mention here that the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is the only one with two shits in the crowded field of dictionaries. None of the other dictionaries even listed "testicle" as one of the definitions of cullion, and their etymologies always suck. The Shorter Oxford (two volumes) is, in my experience (and I've snooped around a lot over the years) the only dictionary you need once you get it. I got mine for under $100 like ten years ago, you can still get it all this time later for $96.00. It has never disappointed- gives one a sense of the stunning depth of this language, a half million entries in the Shorter Oxford. That's the SHORTER Oxford. You can get the Complete 20 Volume Oxford English Dictionary for about $900, or if you're a big shot, go for the special >Blue Leather Edition of all 20 Volumes, it's only $5,000.

I've been writing new songs of late, wrote one yesterday called 'Dirty Purity'. It's really quite peculiar the way inspiration works. A while back I had a conversation with Ottmar Leibert, and one of the things he said that I loved and has stuck with me was something like 'there's no such thing as purity, all purity is polluted, absolute purity is an illusion'. That's not a quote, but was the direction of what he said. I really loved it. It's so true, and even the illusion of total purity (racial, theological, philosophical, cultural) is a symptom of a pathological absolutism, it is actually a corruption, distortion, or toxicity. The natural tendency of things, whether on a Cosmic, human, or sub-atomic scale, is to intermingle and entwine in an inextricable weave of all four quadrants. Not only is it impossible to completely isolate or insulate an occasion, to do so results in sickness and imbalance. A closed system is either dead or dying. This doens't just apply to exteriors (matter, physical objects, bodies, planets, molecules, etc) but to interiors as well (thought, emotion, psyche, spirit, etc). The individuality of a discrete entity is only possible and only sustained through an infinite set of relationships. Even the discrete entity itself, the Whole (let's say a human being) is comprised entirely of interdependent parts (atoms in relation, molecules in relation, individuated microbioted life forms in relations, colonies of microbiotic life forms working in concert, and so on, as well as with the mind, emotion, and soul, emerging from and always abiding in the context of the collective, respirating the atmospheric conditions of its culture and intersubjective space) Ottmar's thought reminded me of what Vidyuddeva says about clarity and confusion -we think there can only be clarity if there is the total eradication of confusion, but that is confusion. Both of these sentiments fall right in line with sense of things as a human. When we really dig in, and see things just as they are, not as we wish them to be in terms of our categories, "pure" and "dirty", "good" and "evil" do not ultimately remain. They're part of the flux. I know you may be saying "But aren't the four quadrants nothing but categories, isn't the integral model just a very sophisticated map?" Yes, it is. The crucial difference that makes the Integral Map unique is that it is a map that asks you to move beyond the maps. It points at all sorts of things, inside, outside, up, down- but it always comes back to saying that you should actually conduct the experiment. Cognitive apprehension is useful, and is part of the game, but it's important to go beyond that. And Integral continually begs us to not take its word for anything, to not simply convert all the data into yet another elaborate system of parsing reality into bite-sized chunks. It wants us to use the map to get beyond the maps, and once we've done that, use them as convenient, effective tools when appropriate. Nobody denies integral is just a map, it's just the best map I personally know of, and it's precisely because of this unusual facet. Anywya, after Ottmar and I had chatted on the phone, he sent me this Nine Inch Nails album (I like it) and that got me in sort of gritty mood musically, and yesterday I was ruminating in my heart on this false dichotomy of pure / polluted, good / evil, and then I laughed when I started chanting "Dirty Purity". I knew there was a song there, your basic Tantric pop song. I also had a feeling that I wanted to write a simple song with a charge. I get wary of my over-intellectualizing in songs sometimes, it has its place, but only sometimes. It's got to resonate with the gut first. Because of that, before I started writing the song, I decided the chorus could only be two words, 'dirty purity'. I could write verses and stuff, but I wanted the chorus to be simple guts and drive.

The first thing that came up for me when I started writing this song was my wife. To me she is the living embodiment of 'dirty purity', not because of some perversion or ascetism, but because she really gets the complementary, intimate relationship between the muck and grit of incarnation, and how that is truly the Light, the Ecstatic Radiance of Love, and that only by LIVING that truth in the World does the realization grow into the spontaneous expression. it's not merely cognitive for her. my wife has taught me by living example how baby shit in a diaper is the divine light of God. she doesn't talk talk talk yap yap yap all goddamn day about God, Buddha, spirituality like all the blah blah blahs (hey, like what i'm doing right now!), she GETS it intellectually just fine, but that's 2% of the practice. 98% is living as that love in the World, not to show off, not to "evolve" for your own sake. so my wife has been my biggest inspiration, because each day with her and our daughter, i'm face to face with someone who is really going way beyond all the maps, dropping all the philosophical models, and demanding that the practice include everything, especially house cleaning, screaming babies, sleep deprivation, yard work, and not as a sacrifice, as a privilege and celebration of the Mystery. and that is what hit me as Dirty Purity. you get in the fucking trenches of love. for me, that is only possible because i live with a Dakini. left to my own pathetic devices and inclinations, i would resort to the big lie of 'purity'. it's a disease that's not uncommon to Zen practitioners, especially men. we try to live in the world without the messy entanglements of relationships and the messy, ridiculous challenges they bring every day. we don't want to be encumbered, embarrassed, and anchored on Earth where there is all sorts of shitty puzzles banging on your heart and head every day, so we ensconce ourselves in a virtual "cave" and stare at the fucking wall. we say it's for the sake of all beings everywhere, we talk a perfect game of loving and dying for the sake of the Whole, but it's a fucking bypass. It's the oldest trick in the transpersonal book. The last and most dangerous disguise the ego appropriates is the Trans-Egoic. And this is why I love Genpo. He works with the ego, not endlessly trying to destroy it. Cuz you know what? You can't. Fucking forget about Ramana Maharshi, he's literally one in 6 Billion. As long as there is a body that's alive, there is an ego, and forever and a day now Zen and other traditions have sought to kill the ego. You can't kill it. It will ultimately retreat to the most inner recesses of the soul itself and stay there, until the next fucking incarnation, blocking, occluding, and scrambling the important work that might otherwise be occuring in the authentic, real trans-personal domains of our Self. As with everything, it is not an either / or, this / that binary reality. It is the messy miracle of existence which is both the reality of the fucked up, grasping cluthing ego, AND the even more real existence of an awareness which is beyond that, which is not defined or characterized by its impermanent (and miraculous) qualities or characteristics. That is dirty purity to me, and that is what I see my wife unfolding every day with our daughter, our life, and the struggles of being awake in the constant, ferocious white noise of the World and the Human mind. This is why Genpo has an entirely revolutionary approach for a Zen teacher. He STARTS with the ego. He knocks on the front door of the house, and when the ego answers the door (as it always does, even when it's not the ego answering the door, it's STILL the ego answering the door, dressed up as some non-egoic costume called "the soul" or the "trans-temporal self" or whatever) Genpo says "Hi." the ego says "Hi". then, Genpo starts to ask a few questions, with respect and dignity, simply ASKING the ego if we can come into the house through the front door, and walk around a bit. can we have the ego's permission to talk to some of the other aspects of self? the answer is always yes. if you just ASK the ego, it will allow you access to the other parts of self, moving through deeper and deeper aspects of self until finally entrance is gained to Big Heart and Big Mind, the Self which unfolds and expresses as all the other smaller selves, but is not any one of them.

it sounds simple, doesn't it? because it is. but it's entirely radical. Zen, and most esoteric traditions, have long regarded the ego as the enemy, as that which must be destroyed and annihilated before there can be awakening, before there can be realization. but to paraphrase Vid, seeking clarity by thinking we have to obliterate all confusion is just confusion. "the worst kind of non-duality is the non-duality that thinks it's better than non-non-duality". (i thought i heard Genpo say that once, but then i asked him and he said he didn't say it, so i don't know where i got it, maybe Vid said it?)

to me, dirty purity is the way my wife shows up in the World, it's the way Genpo works with the human condition, it's the way Vid teaches about confusion and clarity, and it's what ottmar shared with me. i hate sharing lyrics without music, because it's like watching a movie with no sound, but since i've talked about this song so much today, what the hell.

Dirty Purity

I'm in love
with the homeless girl
who carved a cave
into the World
She crawled out
all covered in blood
and dripped red seeds
into the mud
Filthy deity

Shut up, shut up
Shut up already
with the temple talk
you're freaking me out

What up, what up
What up with the six-limbed Siren
beating it out
of every part of me

Dirty purity
Dirty purity

At first I bought it all
And then I fought it all
Next I forgot it all
But I'm not done
Not at all
With cryptic clarity

Would I, would I
Would I scatter if
I just admit
I'm already dead

Should it, should it
Should it matter if
my mind won't fit
back in my head
friction is sanity is

Dirty purity
Dirty purity

Nothing moves
something switches
Question marks
and crucifixes

Odd how it was
only eyelids
kept me blinded
from the light
in open obscurity

Dirty purity
Dirty purity

Recent Tweets

Upcoming Shows

Stuart is not touring at this time.

Subscribe to Latest Shows from Stuart Davis

In the Press

Davis may be the best songwriter you’ve never heard of.

-Des Moines Register