Blog entry

Training For Death Until Death and Birth are two ends of one baton in the circus of Love

Song Of The Day: Rain King / Counting Crows
Word Of The Day: Muerte / Overdosing

Yesterday was remarkable. After flying back from Seattle on Monday night, I crashed hard and slept like a rock. Tuesday, woke up, did some meditation and then recorded an Integral Naked dialogue with E.J. Gold. It was profound. Ever since I read Life In The Labyrinth this dude's work has been a powerful influence on my spiritual practice, art, and overall life. E.J. is an authentic, rare gem; His command of the English language, sense of humor, celebration (and loving critique) of Western culture and spirituality, and unexcelled understanding of navigation the states and their concomitant phenomena after death. American Book Of The Dead is nothing short of a practical manual for Bodhisattva's and those participating in the Work (and play) to free all beings. The can be applied by both those who are dying, and those who remain behind still incarnated. For those passing on, it's a step-by step operation guideline for acquiring a (next) birth of optimum use to the Mystery, the Dharma, Love, the Work, whatever name we give it. Without proper devotion to training (meditation, etc) while still incarnated in this body, in this life, we simply cannot develop the tremendous clarity and equanimity required to successfully manage the between-incarnation domains. The technology and training for these matters (Bardo realms) has been explored in other cultures (see Tibetan Book Of The Dead, Coptic Book Of The Dead, Egyption Book Of The Dead), but there is something singular and ultra-potent in Gold's work. His understanding that the Dharma has moved to the West, coupled with an incredibly sophisticated and cogent teaching on how to train and focus that which transitions between lifetimes constitutes the most essential technology a Bodhisattva can master. Without this basic skill, we are literally adrift in an four quadrant Ocean of distraction, distortion, and decoys. Basic does not mean easy. A person can learn to meditate -literally- in two minutes. It takes decades of daily practice to access and stabilize deeper, wider awareness. This is another great gift of clarity E.J. brings to the spiritual conversation; A sober, frank distinction between states and stages. States (waking, dreaming, deep dreamless, altered states, peak states, etc) are available to anyone at any time regardless of their level of development. States are important and indispensable, but they don't require transformations of consciousness. A five year old can take LSD and have an experience every bit as rich and vivid as Timothy Leary, etc. Stages are a different story. Stages require long term training and development in order to move through, and you can't skip stages of development. We Westerners (and probably people generally all over the World) are prone to mistaking state changes for stage transformation. E.J. very astutely pointed this out.

What I find moving and incredibly promising is a growing population in the West engaged in an authentic spirituality that understands these distinctions. Whether it's with Genpo Roshi's work with Big Mind, or E.J.'s Institute for the Advancement Of The Harmonious Human Being, or any of the members of Integral Spiritual Center, or the myriad disciplines included in the radius of Ken Wilber's astounding Integral Institute. I wouldn't have said this 7 or 8 years ago, but I do believe there is a genuine Integral Spirituality taking root in the World, and its being issued from the West. What do we make of that? Just what it is, the Fourth Turning Of The Wheel. I do experience this collection of teachers and communities as a body -a Sangha coming into being. It's not any one particular tradition or lineage, but as it unfolds it will enrich and deepen each tradition.

We -all practitioners, all workers in the Mystery, every person devoted to Love however we understand it- really only have one thing to do with out existence, and that is wake up for the sake of all beings, every where in the Kosmos. The spontaneous expression of that Love manifests as our efforts to help others awaken , even knowing that every 'other' is actually us, our twins assembled in the dimensionally infinite mirror. Even knowing that there's nothing actually wrong, that nothing needs to be awakened -all is awake- the palpable sense of urgency is total. Our work on our selves is toward this end -each individual, including my self-, is a discrete expression of the Absolute. I'm part of God, and so that part must be taken care of and nurtured to awakening. But I don't work on myself merely in order to attain or acheive some degree of success or realization. It's a paradox. The ever-widening radius of what "I" include in waking up also describes what "I" must give away. Even if we engage in spiritual practice as some exotic ornamental safari for the Ego, it doesn't hold up over the long run. Maybe now, maybe in ten years, maybe in a few more lifetimes, the attempt to hijack Love in the interest of ego aggrandizement and indulgence back fires like a mother fucker. In the end, the only motivation deep enough to sustain us through the inevitable indignities, ridiculous sucker punches, and ecstatic radiations of God, is Love.

In this new, fourth turning of the Wheel, things are different. We are in a position to benefit from a tremendous synthesis of wisdom and technology (inner, outer, individual, collective). That means we are in a position to benefit all beings with our applied devotion to this integration.

We will be stunned, simply STUNNED with how quickly our private lives -these inestimable opportunities of human form- are OVER. You may think I'm fucking with your head, but I'm not, we will be dead, stone cold dead, in a matter of moments. Your death, my death, all death- occurs in the present moment. THIS moment. We are in the moment of our death, right now. It seems weird reading it in a blog, seeing it on a computer, but this is a loving, supportive reminder from your Essential Self: Your phyiscal body is really, truly, about to die. At this moment, in the vehicle of that human body, that human form, we literally occupy one of the most priveleged, useful positions in the entire Kosmos. We are supposed to wake up while in human form and having done so, increase the degree to which we are avaibable and useful to all beings, everywhere. If we imagine we are here to do something else, we have succumb to the allure of decoys. And it is our perrogative -part of the fun of life on Earth- to explore those other options. At the moment of death, it will become radically, simply clear to us (again) how things actually ARE, which rarely correpsonds to the way the frontal structure of our personality wishes they would be, or tries to make them be. Our lives are not are own, period. At the transition point of bodily excarnation, if we have not practiced and developed the awareness that is the Essential Self, we will quite literally black out from the intensity of phenomena in the between-incarnations states of the Bardos. Without the filters and compressors of human form we've grown accostomed to, we are going to utterly, irreversably fucking freak out, and BLOW another incredible opportunity to utilize our humanity as a contribution to the awakening of the Whole. We will promptly be spit back into another lifetime, and presented with another (possibly far more inauspicious) lifetime to fucking get it right. You won't remember this one. Or the one before. Or the one before.

On the other hand, if we devote ourselves sincerely, deeply over years and decades in this lifetime to harnessing the incredible force residing in the essential self to act as a conductor, a magnifying glass, an amplifier, and awaken for the sake of all beings, and from that time forward simply offer ourselves to the Mystery in whatever way, location, or role may be of most use to the greatest support of all beings, then it's a different gig at bodily death, at vehicle transition. We must have acquainted ourselves with all the states, stages, lines, levels, types, and generally as many rooms in the Mansion as possible. If we have journeyed deeply, and understand from repeated, direct experience, the manner in which phenomena (the distorted refracturing of our very own Clear Light) conspires to mislead our available faculties and instruments, we will be able to exit human bodily form, and immediately transition to the Point Of All Places, where we will be ushered (thanks, Mystery) in accordance to our deepest intention, our trained Essential Self, our devotion to Love, into the next Life form or location, where ever it is that we may be of greatest use to all beings.

And that's what it's all about. All this spiritual practice and training is just, merely, simply, so we can be useful. That's it. Useful. The degree to which we prevent or inhibit an integral awakening of mind, body, and spirit in Self, Culture, and Nature is the degree to which we prevent or inhibit God and Love. We really, truly need to train for death, until distincitions between life and death are irrelevent in our engagement of the Work.

After talking with E.J. yesterday, I am so eager and grateful for my opportunity to engage as deeply as possible with the Mystery while I have the treasure of this human vehicle at my disposal.

Recent Tweets

Upcoming Shows

Stuart is not touring at this time.

Subscribe to Latest Shows from Stuart Davis

In the Press

We were blown away by Stuart’s pure genius. Finally a songwriter with something to say. We booked him on the show, calls started coming in “Who was that? Who was that you had on World Cafe?”

-Bruce Warren of WXPN/ World Cafe