Wrapping up this round of posts on the arts with a few more, beginning with these short video clips in which six teachers share their perspectives on the role of art and the artist in society. Teachings of this type have deeply informed my mindful journey back into the world of form and have helped me to glimpse the larger human story embedded in all works of art and creation.
What happens to our sense of ‘me’ after death? Does our consciousness reincarnate in another form to live another life? How should we prepare for our death – and what does that even mean? Insights of the type shared by these six teachers in this video gallery helped me discover a new perspective from which to grapple with such questions about the transformation that is death.
The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter (2017)
Within the sciences there is what's known as 'the hard problem of consciousness' - the missing explanation of how consciousness arises from physical matter, as materialist science claims.
"I hope … to bring the non-dual understanding out of the closet of dogma and esotericism and reformulate it in a way that is accessible to those who seek understanding, peace, fulfilment and friendship beyond boundaries; who do not feel the need to affiliate themselves with any particular group, tradition or religion; and who have become wary of referring to any doctrine, authority or institution at the expense of their own direct experience." -- Rupert Spira, 'The Nature of Consciousness'In this collection of essays, Rupert attempts to persuade the reader that the time has come for humanity to release these old materialist ideas about reality and evolve to new understanding of human consciousness, an understanding he goes on to describe with his usual penetrating insights. I have always found Rupert's meditations especially effective for confronting the illusion of ego; this book offers many of the same kinds of sharp perceptions and, with its essay format, is a handy tool for quick refreshers.
Rupert Spira began his spiritual journey early in life, reading Rumi's poetry at the age of 15. His studies went on to include teachings from Dr. Francis Roles, Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky, Krishnamurti and a number of others (I'd never heard of); his website has a nice bio. Rupert's teachings are also heavily influenced by Francis Lucille (SAND videos).
“Only that which is always with you can be said to be your self and if you look closely and simply at experience, only awareness is always ‘with you’.” --Rupert SpiraWhat's been helpful: I may always have a 'complicated' relationship with Rupert's teachings. My ego thinks of them as 'relentless' because they are very clear, very inescapable and very persuasive rationales on the illusion of ego. It was while meditating in a hypnogogic state to Rupert's series The Light of Pure Knowing, (track #6, if you must know) that the message suddenly sank all the way into my awareness: I needed to experience the 'death' of my ego identity, Laura. Needless to say, it was a challenging next few days.
Rupert's new book, The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter, felt to me like a similar exercise in ego disassembly. Reading the book felt like a practice in accepting that I am not this egoic identity ... whether I wanted to hear it or not! Fortunately, being 'no self' also means I can be 'any self', which brings a wonderful freedom and yet still, the egoic self is hard to let go of. If I feel myself sinking back into old conditioning, this will be a wonderfully effective book for scrubbing away the illusion of the egoic self.
Which brings me to what I will always hold dear about Rupert's teachings; it was while practicing his 'fill-the-body-with-awareness' meditation instruction that I experienced a second profound shift in consciousness, which I wrote about in the post: Re-awakening To The Grateful Dead. Rupert's teachings helped open the door to that experience and for that I am eternally grateful.