My Experience of My Life Unfolding
In this moment, here is an expression of the qualities that were important to my life unfolding that way it has.
1. Selfing. There is a Buddhist teaching that illuminates a balance point between being selfish and selfless that I came to love. On the one hand if we are not selfish we cannot learn to love and forgive ourselves. On the other hand if we are completely selfless, and give ourselves up to others, we retain no "self" identity that can offer an unique expression of our contribution to the evolution of intelligence. The practice is to find the balance point where you are serving yourself and those around you. "Selfing."
2. Follow/Indulge your curiosity. Ask a lot of questions. Get interested in what goes on with others. Engage with the great unity of the web of life. Bask in the warmth of intimate connections. Experience the quiet peace at the end of a breath. Dance in the fire of creative moments. Engage with love in all its forms.
3. Animating force. I do believe there is a force larger than ourselves that we humans engage with in this life and on this planet. In a sense, co-creating with us. For me it is not a white haired dude sitting on a throne. I instead experience this force flowing though me, available to me and reminding me in my better moments that I am a part of something much larger than just myself.
I have come to believe this presence helps us play a part in creating more complexity and compassion in the Kosmos. And what a dance it is where I create as an individual and as part of a collective. The human experiment is just the latest of its projects. It is unpredictable, creative and fails quite often. You can call this spirit or the sum total of the 8 billion individuals being and doing what they are in each moment. It is a powerful, mysterious, presence in every moment that I have experienced when I have turned my attention to it. When I am in the flow of it, my best creations have come forth and I act towards others as my better angel.
When I have reflected on how change happens, one of the narratives that it is the world that comes closest to my experience is “co-creation.” This story on the face of it points to a larger field of “spirit” that encompasses all things in the Kosmos. Star Wars called it “the force” but whatever you call it is not some anthropomorphic vision of God the father or anything that would approximate human form. Its presence in my experience is indescribable in human words. It is more of a experience you have than anything else.
Recently, I have added to my experience of something larger than myself. This came to me as I was in the “waking up” zone from deep sleep on 5-29-2022. What was shown to me was this...
IF there is a Kosmic force that is engaged with the evolution of all things in the universe, then the unique capacity we have as humans to reflect on our existence allows us to discover (again) that we are part of that larger field of consciousness interconnected with everything else. In this life as David, this mere discover opened access for me to realms that are extraordinary compared to my material existence in this life. This field of possibilities is not directing me in a sense we think of an invisible hand, but rather it is simply present, offering infinite possibilities for me to act on or not in an attempt to increase my own intelligence. What I choose to do in the field is up to me.
You might ask... didn’t I know about this complexity before I was born into this life? My answer would be… perhaps, but the whole point of this passion play for me is some experiment in RELATING. We ‘forget” our wholeness as we enter, although some have memory of it for awhile after birth. Then what is the point you might ask of forgetting?
The closet I can get to in words is this. If my “intelligence” is evolving, then being part of this experiment in forgetting and remembering has to do with my "growing up" in the larger frame of kosmic existence. I believe we are offered the opportunity in this realm to make the most of our separateness as part of a grand experiment in relating. There are advantages to having this experience of separateness that you cannot experience if you are whole. Ultimately if these separate parts of our whole can unify with the “god” field, then the universe as we know will have achieved a higher level of intelligence. One in which what we learn from our separateness is integrated into what is the “whole.”
Here's what it means to me now at age 75. It is up to me how much I want to continue to explore these larger realms as part of my evolution of intelligence as a separate being. IF I choose to embrace this “mission,” I can add my experience to the kosmic archive/record that continues to expand. That could be the point of me still being here.
This exploration does not include any quality of what we might call "judgment" of how well I did. Both judging others and comparing me to them. IF these larger realms are available to me as a result of doing this work, then it’s possible it is not a reward for being good, but simply opportunities to work into an expanded experience of what it means to be human. Sort of like when you are a child, many of the opportunities that will come with adulthood are not available to you yet. You are not judged wanting as a child because you don’t understand them yet. You are just not fully developed enough yet for who you can be in this life.
So, that’s the latest. I have no idea if any of that is true, it just downloaded to me in these early morning waking hours. If I do hold it to be true however, then there is no judgement about when a life can end. In this view, it can end for any reason. Those out of our control and those of our own choice. IF as my mother did was to choose to end it “earlier” than her body clocks expiration date, you may miss some opportunities to grow in those minutes you won’t experience, but isn’t that true of everything in life. You can have no idea what would have happened if you had made different choices. You can only experience the result of the choices you make. And in this Kosmic frame, that could mean that my individual “soul” will pick up where it left up no matter when and how I die in this life. No harm no foul.
This begs the question… how about all those individuals that cause unbelievable suffering for others. Wouldn’t they just go on at death like any soul, taking no responsibility for their actions in this life. The only thing my minimal mind can grasp about this is based on something that happened to me… In the mid-nineties I had a bit of psychological break. In that maelstrom, I experienced the pain of the ones I had impacted as I went through a subtle realm life review. It was like watching a movie "of" me through the perspective of those around me. It was the closet thing to a "hell" realm that I have ever experienced. However, once I burned through that "karma" I was resurrected to continue in this life cleansed of the damage I had caused up to that point.
So, it stands to reason that IF an "evil" person like Hitler experienced the same type of life review, his would go on for a long time as he worked through experiencing the pain of the 80 million people that died as a result of his starting World War Two. However, once completed his soul would be cleansed to try again in his next life, just like mine.
All that being said, this all may just be another one of my stories. We will all find out one day as we pass from the life we inhabit here. I wrote this down for myself as much as anyone else, so when it gets challenging, I am reminded of what might be so. No harm in that I suspect.
4. Standing for something. For some reason I had this strong sense of wanting justice all my life. I hated bullies (even when it was me) and authoritarian thinking of all types. I was super attracted to films that featured some crusader making something right in the world. I would play the scenes over and over again where he/she confronted and defeated the forces of darkness. What I learned from going through own experiences, was to really reflect before I chose to make a stand that might endanger my life.
What I mean by that is that it was far too easy for me to confuse standing up for something with self-righteousness. The question that eventually informed me was,.. IF I was going to put my life on the line, was I doing it for reasons I really believed in. In my experience with the Viet Nam draft for example, I had to decide if I was willing to put my life on the line and take another's life for the stated goals of that unholy war. The answer on that one for me was NO... I will not participate. I found that once the challenging moments came if I wasn't rooted in my true intentions, I was in trouble, blown about by whatever wind happened to moving by.
I suspect that going forward, those of you who come after me are going to be more challenged than my generation was, as we transition from where we are now to whatever is next. Human culture has gone through 6-7 of these transitions, and there is no guarantee that things will get better in the short term.
In the long term however, intelligence has always advanced to more complex and compassionate forms, but that may be of little solace, as the waves sweep you along. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to identify what to do or be as it is happening. That’s why I found it was so important in the quiet time before the wave comes, to get grounded in what was important to me. What stories did I want to live into? If I did that, when the wave arrived I did what was right for me without thinking.
Patterns of Unfolding
My life has played out in pulses of activity that were easy to see as I looked back. Work, family, friends, places I lived, and what I engaged with. Much of it when I got out in the world was shaped by the work I was doing. Back and forth between San Francisco and Hollywood, I would move creating many lives around some new endeavor. I have often admired people (like my siblings) that picked one place and stayed for a longer time. Networks, friends are different because of it. The life I chose was more vagabond in nature, with circles of friends at each stop. There was a certain loneliness in this for me in between chapters, but the curiosity that pushed me to know more and create more often won out over stability.
My adult life unfolded in roughly seven to twelve year cycles. Not sure there was any reason for this, but it happened often enough to notice. Each time the transition came I was asked to stretch (grow) to the next version of myself. Sometimes these transitions were difficult, but each time I ended up discovering/stabilizing a new pattern of living that included more.
My guiding light was to always to follow my curiosity. This was not a brave choice as some have suggested about my eclectic journey, but really a necessity. I found that if I really didn’t feel curious about something, I wasn’t very good at engaging with it. Sometimes that engagement brought big success, money, notoriety etc. and other times these efforts took me into quiet backwaters for seemingly no apparent reason other than to regroup. Either way the test was always… "did I believe I could bring something to the conversation that was unique to me?" Something that in some small way would make it better. I found that when I made it through those unstable transitions there was always something interesting on the other side. Of course the ultimate expression of this is when each of us transitions from this world in death to whatever is next. Truly from flesh into light/energy in its multitude of forms and states.
All that being said, in this life we do inhabit these bodies. Considering the myriad of systems… bones, muscles, blood, brain impulses, energy networks etc., that have to function well, it’s always been a miracle to me that we actually walk around in this world. Whatever you believe about us being something more than that, the fact remains, when we enter these bodies in this life, we step into generations of DNA passed down from our ancestors that form a unique energy signature that we identify with as part of who we are.
For whatever reason, my family on both my Fathers and Mothers sides, suffered from depression and anxiety. I wasn’t aware of the details of this until much later in my life when I finally turned to deal with mine. At that point, I was tired of feeling inadequate and fearful. On the outside, I compensated by becoming this bigger than life guy, seemingly so assured, creative, dynamic etc. And that was true to a point. I could not have done all the things that I have without some juice driving it.
But one of the things that I would constantly deal with is what we call “monkey mind.” This is the internal chatter that would go on in my brain about every little detail of my life. The positive side of this is that I could hold tremendous amounts of information and stories and weave them together into some pattern that made sense to people. Folks often commented in my professional life that I could see the whole picture and the details that it required to bring it forth into the world.
The down side of this was the curse of being able to recall and hold all these stories because they included events that carried some kind of pain and suffering with it. Over the years it was just amazing to me that in the middle of doing something else, a scene from years ago that had some conflict attached to it would surface. Usually these were minor moments and I would wonder why they would come up, but there they were like I was watching them on television.
In this whole picture brain of mine I would constantly check everything to see if I was ok. Was my health good, was I enjoying my work, did I love my relationships. Endlessly checking, so when there really was an issue, I was already mentally and emotionly exhausted.
In the mid-nineties this all came to a head as I mentioned before. I went down a dark rabbit hole where I needed a lot of professional help. It was my first experience taking medications, as I attempted to find better ways to manage this brain drain. These dark periods would come seemingly out of nowhere. When I had the big one in question in the mid-nineties I was at the top of my career at Disney, living in my big house right under the Hollywood sign, a network of friends etc. living the dream so to speak.
And yet, this cloud came over me and came close to paralyzing me. At work I was running a big interactive entertainment team and I was terrified someone would come into my office to ask a question or request I do something. This is a story for later, but I got really good at faking it. This monkey mind issue continues to this day. When I sometimes say I am tired of life, it is because I long for some peace from the chatter. So, it is a double edged sword, as most things in life are. The creative tension between feeling well and happy and the drive to create something of meaning are present in the same moment. Before we get into the stories, I just wanted to note this theme because it shaped and influenced them all.
So, obviously I am not suggesting you follow my example. Each of us has to find meaning in our own way. What mattered to me at particular points in my timeline was often very different from other times. What is included in this exit interview are my best remembrances of the life that I have discovered was richly blessed even in the most challenging moments. They are the stories and the experiences that influenced what I have said so far. I hope in some ways these stories are helpful to your journey.