A DEEPER FREEDOM

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Chapter List

Meeting Your Edge                                                            2
Taking Care of Our Opposition                                       4
Dying to Live                                                                       8
Quitting Without Being a Quitter                                  10
Waking Up in the Nightmare                                          12
A Reality-Unlocking Intimacy                                        14
Inviting Our Pain onto the Dancefloor                         17
Gratitude in the Crunch                                                   24
We’re at One Hell of an Edge                                           26
When Familiarity Vanishes                                             30
Signs That Your Shadow is Showing Up                       33
Only the Broken Wave Can Know the Ocean               38
What Happens After We Die?                                          40
Cellular Immortality Ambitions: Cancer Unpacked   42
Elderhood: Off the Freeway                                             45
Fuck Perfection                                                                  48
Greed for the Roses Weds Us to the Thorns                50
Don’t Numb Yourself to Your Numbness                     53
Misogyny on the Hot Seat                                                56
Creativity Unveiled                                                            59
How to Have a Conscious Rant                                        62
Spiritual Dynamite                                                             64
Hope is Nostalgia for the Future                                     69
Boundaries and Holy Ground                                          70
Being Unthreatened by Feeling Threatened               72
Grace: Sacred Intervention                                              74
The Navigation of Turning Points                                  76
All in the Blink of an I                                                        79
Embracing Insecurity Secures Us                                    81
The Meaning of Meaning and Beyond                           83
Aging and Conscious Complaining                                 87
Evaporating Boredom                                                        89
The Ultimate You: God in the Second Person              91
Alignment with What Doesn’t Decline                          96
An Inside Look at Choice                                                  98
Remembering to Remember                                            104
Outgrowing Tribalism                                                       106
No Longer at a Loss About Loss                                       109
The Anatomy of Intuition                                                 111
Elderhood: A Downshifting Upgrade                             117
Not Letting Our Past Colonize Our Future                    118
Meeting the Abyss                                                              120
Feeling Unsafe Versus Being Unsafe                              122
Death and Mystery                                                             124
The Dreamer Is Also Being Dreamt                                126
Magic Remains                                                                    128
The Certainty of Uncertainty                                          130
We Are Not “In” a Body                                                    132
Who Has Room for Emptiness?                                       134
The Future’s Not What It Once Was                               136
The Epicenter of Loss                                                         138
Sacred Detox                                                                        140
Elders Outgrow Growth                                                     142
The Limitations of Limitlessness                                     144
Misspeaking About Misspeaking                                     146
Nothing But Mystery                                                          148
Ordinariness as a Shadow Element                                 151
Prayer and a Deeper Prayer                                              154
Taking the Hand of Elderhood                                         156
Our Final Chapter                                                                158

 

EXCERPT

There’s a heart-aching — sharp, tender, deeper than deep — that both shatters and reassembles us. Such raw beauty accompanies this, such exquisitely painful gratitude.

Infinite is this beauty. Upon its shores we break and spill, again and again emptied of the familiarity that self-centers our days and ways. 

So very soon we are gone, like dreams vanishing before the arising of morning’s habits. Did we leave a mark? Only wing-prints in boundless skies, tracing quickly evaporating goodbyes. Tombstones soon but stardust. Our life is our signature.

Such raw beauty, beauty to die into, beauty both to bow to and to be, beauty that simultaneously outlives us and is us. Beauty that breathes us here, beauty that outlasts every appearance.

Death makes Life worth living fully. Death makes beauty unspeakably obvious. Death makes love unsurpassably important. Death gives all the same opportunity. Death leaves no one out.

Life is, among other things, a Near-Death Experience.

The passing of all things, openly felt, breaks our heart open to what matters most of all. Only through intimacy with dying and Death do we find intimacy with the Deathless.  

Gazing into soft blue sky, dissolving and reappearing in the grace of its vast embrace, making room for all its clouds, whether they are weeping or thundering or dancing.

Beauty beyond beauty continues to strip us bare, revealing that we are more than we can imagine.

This we at essence cannot help but recognize as we die into a deeper Life, becoming personalized clearings for the Beloved. Unparalleled openness, owned by none and belonging to all.    

Avoiding Death deadens us.

Are we not dying to really live, to come fully alive? Dying to stop pretending that we are not pretending? Dying to fully embody the Life we were born to live?

Such dying is but birth, a labor of love, making room for a deeper Life. The tenderest upstart green cracks open the concrete seas upon which we get shipwrecked.

The messy miracle of birth unravels our straitjacketed identity. We both bleed and soar, waves breaking on ever-virgin shore, dying into the Undying. 

Silence is our witness. Silence has seen it all. Silence cradles us. 

Death doesn’t happen to Life. Death serves Life. The beauty of it all, the hyperbole-transcending majesty and wonder of it all, both brings us to our knees and wings us.

We go from survival to living, and from living to being lived, and from being lived to Being, losing everything along the way except what most matters.

Loss breaks open our heart, dissolving its armoring. Loss — the heart of impermanence — gives beauty its true depth.

The fire in the dying poet’s eyes makes ruggedly transparent art of his ravaged face. He cries out, his words the last sigh of a vagabond wave, seafoam dying along some midnight shore. His freedom is in having no choice. His love empties his mind and leaves his body see-through. His final poem is a sadhappy releasing of all that he took and takes to be his. 

And what is his message for us? Let your heart break, let all things awaken you, let your life be beauty in the raw, needing no frame to be art.

And all the words die so, so soon in an avalanche of silence, their sound and meaning and audience gone. But how they danced and gave birth in their bright sliver of a moment! And how we danced and loved and wept and blazed in our brief time! 

The door is, as always, already open. Openness awaiting openness. The invitation that will not go away. We are, all of us, now and ever now, dying to live.

Let us not wait any longer. Let us do what it takes. There are not higher stakes.