"Although we need to make many assumptions — as we often do in life, let alone death — there is often a connection drawn between life and waking, and death and dreaming. This connection is specious, but not because it is shallow. It is rather wrong, and yet strikes very near to a profound truth about consciousness, if not the nature of reality itself. (How can we draw a distinction between the two when we are ourselves housed within a bio-mechanical walker? That is a subject for another book to be sure, much as we tried to touch on it in The Immanence of Myth and Apocalyptic Imaginary.)
These epistemological uncertainties aside, death itself is the void of the great unknown. Whatever our conjecture is of that nether region, it is the point beyond the point of no return — the dark side of the moon — a place that is no place, and certainly no story exists there. The world is full of damn near verifiable near-death experiences, but no verifiable death experiences. There is a reason for that.
The so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead is also, more accurately, called the Bardo Thodal. This translates loosely as the “intermediary space.” And Bardos are spaces we are actually quite familiar with. When you are falling asleep, but have not yet hit the bottom of the well — that is a Bardo. When we are coming awake, but the curve of your lovers neck is still at one and the same time the scroll upon which the history of another world is writ in blood — a Bardo.
It is in these spaces that all mythic artists carve out their homes. We may not even know it, making that rote flow a part of an unknown process. Or, like me, you might instead be very conscious of the process, intentionally allowing yourself to almost fall asleep, time and again, with notebook and pen in hand, dredging up symbols and the threads that connect plot, character, and something deeper than that — some archetypical knowledge that does not come from pat books on Jungian symbolism. This reminds me a bit of the plot to the movie “Flatliners,” where med students kill themselves time and again, and then bring themselves back, all so they can unravel some mystery that perches at the brink between life and death, like a gargoyle, part stone and part something else though not quite flesh.”
Party Monster by Randal Roberts
Is the world a dangerous, chaotic place with no inherent purpose, running on automatic like a malfunctioning machine and fundamentally inimical to your happiness?
Or are you surrounded by helpers in a friendly universe that gives you challenges in order to make you smarter and wilder and kinder?
Trick questions! The answers may depend, at least to some degree, on what you believe is true.
Formulate a series of experiments that will allow you to objectively test the hypothesis that the universe is conspiring to help you.
—Rob Brezsny, Pronoia
You think you are in control but the truth of it is that until you have had at least one child or reached the age of around thirty-five your body belongs to the species and is under the control of your selfish genes. Your gene want to pass themselves on and will compel you at every turn to find the most sexually appealing partner and mate with as many as you can if you are a male and until you become pregnant if you are a female. Everything that young people do, the clothes they wear, music, places they go, everything is with sex and mating as its purpose. Your bodies and faces are sexual triggers for the opposite sex (for most anyway). You are never truly free of this until you reach your forties.
Quantum physics says that everything is entirely connected, that underlying all of our physical reality as we understand it is an energy matrix of harmony and order, and honestly in the end one physicist in particular, David Bohm said, we could call it love. The energy that literally underlies as all of physical reality is one of love.
We know who we are. We are the dispossessed, the outcasts, and the outsiders, rebels with a cause who have upturned the mulch of our dead lives and seeded those fertile fields with incendiary visions of our future selves. Having already subverted the norm, we renunciate dominator culture’s status quo of everything and drift happy disconnected - babes in the abyss - wavering in the ambiguity fog of dislocation. Free-floating between old worlds and the new, guided only by the shining paths of mother evolution. We have passed over, we have passed the point of no-return and since there is no turning back, we celebrate the momentum lifting us on the wings of perception, grace, and whatever skills we have earned from surviving the inevitable catastrophe of self. Only when we are over, does our real life begin.