Purposeless Existence as the Dance of Kali

There was a strong sense of group consciousness at the intensive this last weekend. It feels good to get have gotten closer to a few people. It seems most all of us have been spiritual seekers for many years. David is very much like all of us in that he was also part of that surge of interest in Eastern meditation systems during the 70s and 80s, and had himself had relationships with some of the same systems and teachers. Eventually he entered into a long phase of intense personal practice which yielded who he is today. So part of this weekend involved learning from him about his more informed experience of this history. This history shows us that spiritual teachers are often subject to causing problems for themselves and others even though they may have received considerable spiritual evolution. This part of why some have been drawn to David, inasmuch as he demands nothing; though he is very obviously blazing with spiritual energy and continually transmitting that, he is never over-imposing. His teaching is colored with a kind of humility that is not always the case among teachers. How refreshing it is to have someone who feels like an intimate friend despite the intuition I have that his life now operates on a higher register - yet one that still encompasses my own.

But let me focus on the content of his spiritual teaching. The over-arching topic of this last weekend's intensives is the relationship of devotion and knowledge, or of emotion and thought, or of subjective intuition and objective experience – or in the language of yoga, bhakti and jnana. I can't begin to relate the myriad of ways David unpacked this topic over many hours with many answers and observations with the participants; but in a very general way the teaching is that characteristic of the interaction of devotion and knowledge is friction between the two, while nonetheless their being symbiotic in generating the insight of non-duality: existence that is one without a second and experienced as unimaginably full, not empty, silence . I will illustrate the nature of his teaching in the context of my own subsequent question to him Wednesday night: “I grasp that knowledge as we are speaking of it leads to silence, but not so much how devotion evolves non-dual insight .. or what the reason is that friction between knowledge and devotion leads to the goal of self-realization.”

David's exposition to us all after my question, as I will paraphrase it as best I can, is sublime: the manifestation of conscious existence is without purpose – it has no goal; consciousness manifested in existence is play (the essence of devotion) arising with “no reason” (to be clear this is not however a belief in “no reason”, as that would be in the domain of knowledge); asking why life appears with all its dualities such as good and evil is a degraded form of inquiry – rather, free from that demanding inquiry insight arises; the mind released from its insistence on a plan, on reasons for existence, receives the insight of non-duality; demanding leads to unpleasantness rather than the bliss existing in the moment – in play there is no demand; not needing to be satisfied is innocence, whereby understanding finds its way into causeless reality. Then David concluded this answer pointing out that his teaching, though it may be a reasonable presentation, is quickly undermined by teaching itself being purposeless play. Got to love it.

Christmas week, before the intensives, was spent with my dear Mother Mary, living now at my sister Gayle's house in Pleasant Hill. Mum is from England where in 1946 she had a baby boy with an American fly-boy at the tender age of 20, so she is 88 this March. This whole period on the left coast was also punctuated by my absorption in the poetry to Divine Mother Kali by Ramprasad, greatly popularized by Ramakrishna in the 1800s. I will quote some in honor of my earthly mother:

This child cries out with melting heart:
"Ma Kali! Ma Kali! Ma Kali!
Only to merge with you
do I desire to transcend death.
Permit me to draw my last breath here and now
on the bank of the inward River Ganga,
standing on the breast of Shiva, my entire being shining with your name.


Nice post. Yes, and it is such a mystery as to the fullness felt in the "without purpose". For me my mind dissolves into that fullness because it can not comprehend the immeasurable breadth of presence....Voila...Bliss. At least that is what it seems like. Actually in the end I have no idea how any of this works...lol. But it sure does feel good. What a wonderful pic of you and your Mum. Absolutely beautiful. Shine on........Namaste! Lynn


I know for me bliss or constant happy intoxication has no reason or purpose. It just is, always is. Its nice you share the talk and such here. I seem to miss everything and the meditations often to. Because of my schedule. Its really nice I can read some stuff here. Thanks!

By ryan

I enjoyed reading this and I love the beauty seen in that dance of purposeless existence and consciousness.

By David N

I am so happy you have written and submitted the sublime knowledge of David's teaching last Wednesday.
The way David expounded upon the difference/no difference, the paradox of the unity of knowledge and devotion, was stunningly brilliant, and I was sorry that I didn't take notes! So thank you so much for this!
You have written from that place where bhakti and Jnana are one...so much devotion in your comments. I look forward to getting to know you in our growing "group consciousness"...oh, and what a wonderful son you are!
Beautiful poem. Namaste.

By Vivian Andrews --