Blog entry

Love Remembering Itself

song of the day: sooner or later (English Beat)
word of the day: cacophony

last night i put together 50 promo kits to go out to colleges and universities, and while i was stuffing papers into folder and folders into mailers, i watched The Legend Of 1900 for the 2nd or 3rd time. i don't even know the name of the actor who plays 1900 (that's his characters name), but the basic premise of the film is this guy spends his entire life, from birth to death, living aboard a turn of the century ocean liner. his most salient characteristic is being utterly, radically consumed and absorbed in music. in fact even that description falls short, he really IS music, the way in which he exists is musical- one of those rare beings in which the Kosmos- every bit of emotion, thought, physical sensation, the ocean, the world, the stars- are conveyed to and through him as pitch, tone, rhythm, meter, timbre, harmony, melody, consonance, and dissonance. his character is virtuoso pianist, but more notably one of the World's greatest improvisers, or instantaneous composers. i have to wonder how they handled the piano scenes- who played those parts in real life, how did they deal with those shoots? i love the way the actor (sorry, wish i knew his name) portrays the depth, wonder, and ache- all the unspoken concomitants that come with his extraordinary gift. it had a parallel vibe to the kind of character Bjork played in Dancer In The Dark- not as dark and intense, or heavy, but still, i just love these movies where we get to see characters that are fused, or inextricably woven into their genius- they ARE music. these films are always great studies in levels and lines** we see the miracle of this very particular, deep brilliance in one line, and how that asset also becomes a liability when its placed in the context of other areas of life (relationships, balance, etc).

this is actually something ken and i talked about recently at dharmapalooza. it's something virtually every great artist i know of has dealt with (or not!). when a person goes very deeply into one line (creative, contemplative, whatever), that occurs largely at the exclusion or at least imbalance of the other lines. they drill this very deep well in one place, and from that place the World becomes the benefactor of radiant painting, music, architecture, books, on and on. but the people who create these inspired, divine artifacts are often lousy human beings, or miserable human beings. the World will be listening to A Day In The Life for generations to come, but if you listen to Sean Lennon's interviews, he'll tell you Jonh Lennon was a shitty father. you get the idea. part of the trick is that these artists who are so "plugged into" the divine, or higher reaches of Self, or whatever you prefer to call it- they often have no practice, no grounding in place, to adequately hold and sustain that incredible wattage that courses through them, so at best they become seriously imbalance, at worst they self-medicate or burn out, self-destruct. (these are general descriptions i'm making here, there are exceptions of course). traditionally, there's been a romanticized permission granted, some notion that these gifted types were a special case, and because they're so brilliant, they just can't help it, we have to excuse them from the responsibilities and realities normal people are expected to observe, because they're creative- they're in a whole other reality.

well, yes and no. there's no obligation, but there certainly is an opportunity for artists to show up be available and accountable for more than their moment of inspiration and its subsequent artifact (that part is a gift anyway, most of those talents are native and have never even had to be developed deeply, they just unfold as almost given from birth, who knows why). with the emergent integration of all the World's wisdom traditions and empirical methodologies, there's the chance for artists to recognize the ways in which we may be limiting or inhibiting the recognition of Self- the unfolding of Mystery (of course this is true for everyone, not just artists). the privilege of any gift comes with a responsibility of stewarding it in the World. we now know with a great deal of certainty that the synergistic inter-relation of mind, body, and spirit in self, culture, and nature is profound. the details will be explored and discovered for countless generations to come- as continually surprising as our unending evolution itself. but we know plenty now, more than enough to tell us that no quadrant, no line, no state, no type, no level- exists or unfolds independently, and being fully human means including and engaging all aspects of the miraculous Self.

to me, it's simply about Love. Love is our true self, what we were before we were born, what abides all the while we are in a body, and what remains unchanged through the passing of all identities or locations. but it is also all the identities and locations, all the rising and falling. being an artist then isn't just a matter of tapping into that Mystery, or even a matter of expressing it beautifully, it is also very much about being transparent to it- and living AS it- about assuming our natural being.

maybe integral transformative practice is just how we authentically respond to the magnet of our ever-present Self pulling us outward, inward, up, down- simultaneously. i think people can sometimes be intimidated by what they think is the complexity of the model, of the theory. but i heard Andrew Cohen say something one time that i've always appreciated: Simplicity can see complexity, but complexity cannot see simplicity. and i think that's true with this. Love is simple. so, so simple. it just IS, as it is, now, and now again. the transparent clarity of that simple IS may allow of us to witness amazing things, an infinitely-sided jewel called Samsara. then we can be in that dream, working within it, through it, from the authenticity of simple Love, without being lost or en-sleepened by it. integration of mind, body, and spirit in self, culture, and nature is what happens when formless love crawls into form.

**(lines are particular modes or capacities in Wilber's four quadrant model. the four quadrants are: Upper Left / interior individual, Upper Right / exterior individual, Lower Right, exterior collective, and Lower Left, interior collective. within each of these four domains, there are distinct lines or streams of development- capacities which move through their own distinct development. for instance, the upper left quadrant includes emotional, cognitive, and spiritual lines of development- among many others. each line, in each quadrant, moves through levels of development. lines develop at different speeds from each other, and to varied degrees or depths. a person may have a very highly developed spiritual line, but not be as advanced in their moral line, by way of example. this variance in lines of development is often referred to as "Levels and Lines", which simply serves to highlight that we are beings with many, many capacities, and as we've all noticed, being a mathematical genius won't necessarily mean you're a great listener, and so on. and integral approach actually includes Quadrants, Levels, Lines, States, and Types. states including the major waking, dreaming, and deep dreamless sleep (as well as others including altered and non-ordinary states) and types include masculine / feminine.

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