Format Gallery

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.

Terence McKenna
'Art & Artists'
"I have great hope now for art produced by the interaction of human beings and computers."
Deepak Chopra
'The Role of the Artist in Society' (excerpts from the documentary 'Mythic Journeys')
"The artist is the social conscience of a society."
Dr. Carol Becker
'Art's Role in Society'

"Society has to be able to observe itself … and what allows a society to do that are the producers of art and culture"

Eckhart Tolle
'On Conceptual Art'

"The moment you give it your complete attention, every little thing is alive and miraculous and beautiful."

Jordan Peterson
'Why You Need Art in Your Life'

"A real piece of art is a window into the transcendent."

Rupert Spira
"'Why Make Art?'
"The purpose of art is to take the senses on a journey back to the source of perception, which is pure awareness."

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Format Gallery

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.

Alan Watts
"A Happy Death"
In this 8-min excerpt from one of his many lectures, Alan invites us to embrace the other half of the natural rhythm that is death.

"You can only die well if you understand this system of waves… that you are just as much the dark space beyond death as you are the light interval called life. These are just two sides of you because 'you' is the total wave. See, you can't have half a wave. Nobody ever saw waves which just had crests and no troughs. So you can't have half a human being who is born but doesn't die; half a thing. That would only be half a thing."

Shakti Maggi
"Nothing Dies, The Endless Kaleidoscope"
Though the video quality is less than ideal, Shakti Maggi's concepts on death and 'reincarnation' (my term, not hers) come through with the loving clarity that is her hallmark in this short 4-min. video.

"The body, it is simply a movement of energy arising from the stillness of your being …[during death, this movement] will be simply receding back into stillness."
"Death: The Essential Teachings"
In this 5-min. video, Adyashanti describes how the process of aging can lead to the wisdom and freedom of letting go.

"But certainly, enlightenment is absolutely intrinsically linked with death. There is no deep lasting liberation without death, without dying before you die, without the psychological self giving way. They're intimately linked; you don't get one without the other. They're absolutely linked together."

Rupert Spira
"What Happens to Awareness After Death"
Rupert explains why we experience different states of awareness and offers a description of 'reincarnation' (my term, not his).

"Remember, the body is an appearance in the mind. So when the body dies, just a particular localization of consciousness disperses… Consciousness doesn’t dissolve."

Terence McKenna
"Life And Death"

A 6-min lecture snippet in which Terence comments on the origins of the body and exploring the after-death space with psychedelics.

"So I think what biology is, is the intrusion into 3-dimensional space and time of hyper-dimensional objects. And the other clue to that, that seems an argument for it, is that we do have this thing called 'the mind' but we can't find it anywhere. It doesn't seem to be anywhere… [at death] I think probably these objects retract back into hyperspace - higher space ... we clothe ourselves in matter but we are not matter and so to actually complete a human cycle of existence, you have to go into death. It's where you came from..."

Eckhart Tolle
"How Will You Experience Death?"
In this short excerpt from a radio interview, Eckhart talks about a choice the consciousness will face after the body's death.

"What is left is simply consciousness. Temporarily, perhaps, it will still have - not a physical form but exist as a separate form … the choice may be there of taking on another body or of removing yourself completely. There are many people now - those who are ripe for realization - if you sense within yourself, you will feel whether or not you want to live again."

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The Nature of Consciousness

The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter (2017)
Rupert Spira

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.

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Rupert Spira

Website, YouTube

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 Spira
What'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.

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