Susan Libby

Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 in Inspired by Dan

Feb 28th 2006
Meeting Dan Eldon

Imagine your life is going on at a decent pace, interesting, and challenging – but not too… mostly it’s comfortable.

You pour a glass of wine and pick up the art magazine you bought that day – it’s a quiet Saturday night. Art is something you dabble in – you play with digital photography, make some cards – ‘nice’ cards because people like ‘nice’. But in the back of your mind you are thinking of all kinds of contradictions, juxtapositions, seeing the absurd in that days headlines. You don’ t connect it all because you don’t want to get too close to any kind of larger truth – you are still boxed in by ‘nice’.

Anyway, you sip your wine and read an article on Dan Eldon’s art journals. You look at the pages, you go look up the website,, and suddenly it feels like your life just caught fire.

Welcome to the last two weeks of my life. The only comforting thing about it is that I’m not alone – evidently many people share the experience.

The last time this happened to me was in 1996 when I picked up a book entitled A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber, a leading theoretician on integral thought and practice. It woke me up in ways I never imagined and for seven years I immersed myself in his books, discussion groups, listserves – anything so I could learn more. While I no longer study Wilber’s work it continues to inform my life and challenge me intellectually and spiritually.

Now, along comes this kid who’s supposed to have been dead for the past almost thirteen years and shakes it up all over again – only this time it is about Life and Spirit and the most artistic way we can express it.

Somehow these two experiences are related – but how? The urge to change course in life, inspiration, clearer vision on a larger world, a better sense of where ‘I’ might fit in relationship to a global community, better understanding of a creative, evolving universe. These are the obvious and easy to have a chat about and then relegate to that place we all have where we store our dreams and ideals. But there is something else – something around the word ‘integral’ which is the basis of Wilber’s work.

The scholarly academic definition of integral has something to do with the multilevel and multisensory way in which we evolve as human beings. The more aware we become of ourselves as individual and collective evolutionary beings the more we can contribute to how the world can and will evolve. This is a very simplified description for what is a hugely complex world view that will likely change the world. As a lay person my own definition of an integral life is more along the lines of being engaged in practices that urge us to greater expressions of wholeness and a more expanded awareness which in turn informs our lives and the cycle continues in the never ending spiral of life. We are never ‘integral’ beings, but we are practicing on every level of our being to become whole and compassionate people. Dan Eldon, at a very early age, demonstrated this practice artistically, personally, professionally, and, I believe, spiritually whether or not he called it that.

What I think is even more interesting and may demonstrate ‘integral’ even more strongly, is how many people say, when introduced to his work, that “I have met Dan Eldon.” We don’t say we have seen his work or that we love his work – although that is part of the experience. Mostly we say we have met Dan. As a student of body energy and oriental healing traditions and also having an interest in new theories of quantum physics and quantum mechanics this sense of having met Dan makes me want to plow through the reading I’ve done the past ten years for all the hints of an explanation. Whatever we call this phenomenon; soul, spirit, electromagnetic field, morphic resonance, zero point field, or akashic field, it very much appears that Dan lives. He touches directly, personally, and artistically into people’s lives. His presence is strong and it changes us. It touches across what are supposed to be boundaries of age, gender, economics, race; it pulls long forgotten threads of our own lives into new patterns. We are shocked by it.

And he touches across the spectrum of our lives. If we’re young when we meet him we fall in love with him or want to be the adventurer he was. As mothers he breaks our hearts, and as artists he challenges and inspires us. Dan had an awareness that his life was worth recording; that it was sacred and he demands of us that we find that worth in our own lives. Finding it is not enough though, once found we have to create ways to express it which must help others. It is here that one wants to say, ‘why, that little shit – who is he to come in here and tell me I’m not doing enough.’ He gets to do it because we are not doing enough.

All of this gives me a head ache, a heart ache… because I know I’m going to have to bring to fruition my own dream of creating an educational sponsorship program for students in Kenya. I know I’m going to have to go searching for my own larger Truth and it has to be through art. And I know that Dan is not going to go away. His mother, Kathy, says Dan is a noisy spirit, that he was funny and messy and naughty, that he was not perfect. Thank God, because people engaged in integral practice, in creative and transformative lives, are not perfect – they are often exactly what Dan was, messy, naughty, creative, strong, bright lights and I am so glad I have gotten to meet this one. Finally I can say, “Oh! This is what integral looks like!”