An avant garde set of improvisational essays, Richard Grossingers The Bardo of Waking Life is a meditation on the Tibetan Buddhist bardo realm which, in popular culture, is viewed as the bridge between lives, the state people enter after death and before rebirth. This book examines waking life and its history and language as if it were a bardo state rather than ultimate reality, and thus seeks a context for life (and dreams), even as it addresses more "mundane issues" including genetic theory, the war in Iraq and George W. Bush's presidency, North Korea, advertising, global warming, Prison Industrial Culture, childhood trauma, even country western music. Written with playfulness and precision, Bardo takes a new, probing approach to all the important questions of creation, destruction, and existence. In these intellectual field notes, Grossinger proves thematically fearless as he crosses quantum mechanics with totemic hexes and draws transcendental insight from the ephemeral space-time we call daily life. If, as Tibetan cosmology holds true, all conditional realms are bardos, then the state we all share is nothing less than the bardo of waking life.
Written with playfulness and precision, The Bardo of Waking Life takes a new, probing approach to all the important questions of creation, destruction, and existence.
Horace Mann Magazine, Fall 2008
From where I sit, The Bardo of Waking Life is full of the real grief of lifes predicament, all the way to the bone. And it is beautiful, and true, the whole cascade of painful, love-soaked delineations. I have glimpsed that coming unimaginable good, not as a vision or an idea, but as a shock of feeling upon waking from a dream like, Oh my God, THIS is possible. And with that, an off-the-chart hope and a terrible fear rose together in me. THIS can happen, and it may not. So how am I to give myself effectively to IT happening? That is my main question.
Robert Simmons, author of The Book of Stones