Introduction: Liberation Through Kali’s Fierce Grace - David Spero interview by David Rivers

Introduction: Liberation Through Kali’s Fierce Grace

David Spero

This was to be my first meeting with David Spero. Until this point we had spoken on the telephone and corresponded via e-mail. I was moved to include David’s unique story in this book after reading his own account of a powerful spiritual awakening in his book Beyond the place of laughter and tears in the land of devotion, which I found to be lucid, insightful, and deeply inspiring. 

After undergoing a series of profound spiritual awakenings, he found himself living spontaneously in full awareness of pure nondual consciousness, within which the fathomless energy of Shakti radiated endlessly in an ecstatic mystical condition of cosmic embrace. Remarkably, while in this highly evolved yogic state David suddenly found his nervous system being invaded by an intensely active feminine presence, a presence David refers to as Kali or simply the Mother. This deity-like manifestation usurped the functioning of his psychosomatic apparatus so completely as to obliterate the divine condition of cosmic oneness that he was living in. In a wild, unimaginable, and devastating encounter, David’s nervous system was inundated completely by this cosmic presence, which systematically crushed every concept and state within him, including all spiritual states. Taking him through and finally beyond all states of consciousness and meditative awakenings, into the very source from which all awakening springs, finally leaving him demolished in a stateless state he refers to as spontaneous functioning and primordial innocence

After a colourful bus ride from the California coast into the desert, I arrived in Palm Springs to be picked up from the bus station by Orley, David Spero's partner. A retired professor of law, Orley is a gentle man with a convivial nature, sporting a wry grin and a compassionate twinkle in his eye. He struck me as someone who possesses a kind of natural human wisdom. A little worn out by the bus trip and in need of a shower, I was whisked away in a sporty white Toyota Matrix past the flashy trimmings of the city and into the palm-studded suburbs, where cosy homes and gardens are surrounded by tall rocky mountains and blanketed by the most amazing sapphire blue sky.

As fortune would have it, I arrive just in time to partake of a talk David is giving at his home this weekend. I enter David’s home to find there is nothing in particular to distinguish this as the home of a young Spiritual Master, except perhaps the brass statue of the Divine Mother who is depicted crushing an unsuspecting Shiva underfoot whilst stabbing him in the chest with her spear—an image very fitting to David’s unique spiritual journey. 

David Spero is something of a spiritual enigma. Possessing a clear, sparkling, and deeply insightful mind, he also displays a childlike spontaneity and innocence.  The defining feature of David’s life prior to his awakening was his absolute devotion to the task of penetrating into the very heart of the Divine Reality. Possessing no desire to succeed in worldly undertakings, David gave himself wholeheartedly to a life of meditation and spiritual inquiry.

The “enlightenment gathering” (David’s term for satsang) that day was filled with penetrating insight, humour, and a luminous energy.  Taking the form of a casual gathering of friends in a warm and friendly atmosphere, the whole event had a relaxed quality to it, the kind that made me think of it as being akin to a kind of Taoist spiritual party. A feeling of deep permission to BE filled the room, this unmistakable sense of ease in the atmosphere, I would soon learn, literally floods the vicinity around David.

My first impression of David was that of his total lack of pretense, his freedom from self-protective reservations and barriers. His moods and spontaneous expressions of feeling had a childlike quality to them. Interviewing David was an absolute joy, to say the least, and I might add, something of a roller coaster ride. He didn’t appear to exhibit any set pattern of behaviour or fixed way of being. One moment he would be absolutely self-effacing, declaring himself to be nothing, a nobody, just functioning naturally and spontaneously "like a hummingbird," as he likes to say, and in the very next breath he spoke from the viewpoint of the Godhead, taking claim for the functioning of the whole universe.  While I am no stranger to the paradox of intuitive spiritual understanding, there was something in the sheer force of conviction from which David spoke that brought the subtle philosophical nuances of nonduality squarely in front of me with such a profound living quality that they simply could not be ignored.  

These types of juxtapositions, presented in such innocent self-abandon, caused my head to spin, as I found my mind could form no solid image of David, to which I could point and say “Ah yes, he is like this.” Along with this, my own internal world was constantly shifting in response to David’s chameleon-like ways. One moment I would be in shock, then confused, then suddenly I would be filled with the deepest feeling of Love and simultaneously have the intuition that I was speaking with a Krishna or a Buddha. In these moments I would feel the presence of an immensity of silence—I truly felt awed and humbled—and at the same time I couldn’t help being divinely amused, as David was also childlike, playful, very human, and completely uninhibited. The net result of all this shape-shifting was that my mind suddenly let go of the need to define who David Spero is, and simultaneously I let go of the need to define who I am. In this letting go came great relief and a literal explosion of joy and happiness. Indeed, as my days progressed in David's happy company, I felt a deep peace and joy emerge within my heart. 


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