Power

To have a view

To hold the viewless view

To stake a claim 

To stand this ground 

To classify and contain

To include to exclude 

To ascend the throne 

To plumb the trench 

To transcend clear sky 

To renounce all this 

To surrender that renunciation’s keep 

To wield even this 

To apologize to exalt oneself 

To forgive to dissolve oneself

As if bestowing a scepter, you said, “Use it well.”

I mused, “Its form keeps dissolving  into itself, so by what  handle do I grasp transference?”

Its other name is intention. Only it is never long itself.

 

Metta with Power for Sheila: The Spell

Phenomena are preceded by the heart,
ruled by the heart,
made of the heart.
If you speak or act 
with a calm, bright heart
then happiness follows you,
like a shadow that never leaves.

Metta

No matter how inconceivable the suffering, whatever arises is cradled in the space of compassion and wisdom. For the ultimate benefit of all beings — as limitless in number as space is vast — I arouse the wish that Sheila know and attain her highest good now. With these very words, these immeasurable thoughts, and this vast and pliant consciousness, I cause Sheila to know and attain her highest good now.

  • May Sheila open to her reality as it is.
  • May Sheila accept her reality as it is.
  • May Sheila see with wisdom into whatever arises.
  • May Sheila be completely healed of anaplasmosis infection.
  • May Sheila’s stomach and intestinal ailments be healed so that she is able to take medications without pain and distress.
  • May whatever good Sheila has gained in this lifetime never be lost.
  • May Sheila dwell in boundless equanimity, free from the clinging that holds some people close, and from the anger that pushes others away.
  • As all beings are heir to their own karma, may Sheila take care of her own happiness and well-being.

Power

Within the next 6 months, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will publicly confess its perpetuation of gross underreporting of Lyme disease incidence and publicize revised statistics that reflect honest population estimates unhampered by political scheming and scientific error. 

Within 2 years, the Infectious Diseases Society of America will publicly admit to the epidemic of chronic Lyme disease in the United States and other countries and, in concert with CDC, begin publicizing the widespread problem of this disease,

Within 18 months, CDC will launch a public awareness program to prevent Lyme disease and tick-borne co-infections. The populaces of the United States and other countries with Lyme cases will be become aware of tick-borne illness, aware of the prevalence of the danger, and cognizant of preventing infection. Tick-borne illness will be recognized as an epidemic.

Within 18 months, CDC will issue, publicize, and compel public and private health care providers to follow a new protocol for anyone who suspects he or she has or soon will have Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. This new protocol will require immediate prescription or administration of effective antibiotics to thwart infection, with no requirement for testing first.

Within 18 months, private insurance, Obamacare insurance, public health departments, and Medicaid will provide financial coverage for IGeneX testing for Lyme disease—or for the most accurate testing at the time for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. 

Within a year, New York State will reverse laws that limit its citizens’ access to medical tests that citizens of other states have access to.

The number of Lyme-literate physicians will steadily increase until, within 3 years, no one who is infected will be forced to travel out of state to attain medical care. 

Within 1 year, insurance companies will be compelled to reimburse Lyme-literate doctors for diagnosing and treating patients with tick-borne illness.

The U.S. Government will within 18 months pass legislation to prioritize and fund research leading to accurate, affordable diagnostic testing for Lyme and other tick-borne illness, and will do likewise to lead to a greater variety of effective treatments to cure these illnesses and infections.

Dedication

I dedicate the merits of these thoughts and forces to the great enlightenment of all beings. May all know peace.

Honeymoon Over: Second Path Begins

It has been more than a month since that shift [stream entry] happened, with its fall from High Equanimity to A&P, and the exhilaration, mood swings, and sudden access to hard and higher (formless) jhanas happened. For the past week, or maybe more, I’ve felt a return to Earth and a lessening of the buzzy, floaty, rippling-out warmth. I’m now paying more attention to workaday life. 

What Remains Now

So what of the shift remains? And what am I still not seeing clearly?

Well, my discipline sucks and I subtend some blind spot with regard to changing basic bad habits and laziness. I need to sleep more, exercise regularly, return my attention to vitamins and minerals, and optimize my diet. I need to meditate more. I actually enjoy all these activities, so why do I procrastinate? I’m not seeing clearly how I get in my own way.

Or is it why? Often “why” doesn’t matter as much as it seems. Like children, we use “why” to prolong a harangue and continue some avoidance. It sounds like I’m talking about daily life and not “practice.” But daily life is practice, isn’t it? So contemplating those contact points with addictions, aversion, and ignorance is in order, I think.

Indecisive Sits

So I sat tonight. I’ve been rather obsessed with working on D’s book the past few nights, so tonight I made a wrenching effort to meditate instead of work. Part of the avoidance of meditation lately, I think, is that my recent sits have been so weird for being fraught with indecision in the middle of the sits. In other words, I have intrusive thoughts, and they are precisely about what the heck I should be doing with the sit. I was certain that it was exploring the samatha jhanas since I tapped such intensely sudden access to higher and harder states. 

But not long after I get a state, I become bored with it, or not exactly bored but . . . I don’t know, maybe just restless and indecisive. So before I know it, I’m practicing insight, but not really getting much out of that, either. I can quickly get to Equanimity (EQ), and whether I’m in 4th samatha jhana or Equanimity is a subtle affair. I could investigate that very boundary, but then I let up and shift. So this lack of stability is rather strange. High EQ stage was tricky but also very easy to sit through. This thing I’m in now is in my face but keeps shifting. Something weird about intention is roiling into view . . .  almost.

I had all these plans to practice with the powers, but I haven’t done that, either, except for a couple of little throws. Suddenly, I am not all that interested again. However, I do keep slipping into metta or the Four Immeasurables and feel really quite intense love, a deep feeling out to everyone I know and beyond. So now it feels like this is the way. It is very healing and it precludes fear.

Another way this volatility takes place is that two-tracked mind I’ve had for weeks. I can feel this deep calm and almost disappearance of the breath and body, yet my discursive mind is rattling on about something on a separate level. This has been really strange and only since the Aug. 8 event. I actually have much more in the way of thinking now than before stream entry. Or is it that I’m just noticing it more?

Race through Lower Jhanas

It takes a good while for my mind to shut up and get down with it. But then, when it does, it seems to skip or race through the lower jhanas and settle into the lower formless ones. While I’m there, it is nice to have something to do (ie, notice the spaciousness or the consciousness), but stabilizing that is wrenching, not exactly peaceful, which is odd. I mean the state is peaceful, but whatever noticing envelops it is not. 

The Nada “Sounds”

Lately, I don’t like opening my eyes, as I usually wanted to do before Aug. 8. I tend to take the breath as object but then shift to sound – that “nada” talked about in Florian’s thread. I can hear so many layers of sound in the quiet that it is astonishing. Tonight, I thought I could hear two faraway birds chirping in vibrating branches somewhere.

Practice Like Crap

So it feels like my practice is crap, despite all that I’ve just written about it that sounds like I know what the hell I’m doing. I do have to admit that this afterglow of jhana states I’m feeling this very minute is really like a drug high – very nice. So it takes a third of my sit to get there, but this glow is so, so wonderful. It seems that it should be a platform for something.

However

And on another level, this surface turmoil is all okay. Maybe that is a change hat has stayed, too: more underlying okayness. I used to worry obsessively about my son, for example, and now several days can go by without our contacting one another, and I’m not imagining he’s been in a wreck or whatnot. My anxiety and fear have dramatically lessened, and my blood pressure is down, much to my doctors’ surprise.

I’m not having fruitions that I can tell, but I think I’m cycling and just not paying attention to the cycles because so absorbed in work.

Discipline

More discipline and deliberate use of correct time slots for correct activities would further development on all fronts, in sum. But I also recognize that, with regard to paths, I’m in an in-between place and that is right where it is most okay to be now.

Comments from Shargrol of the Dharma Overground

“Yup, this is second path. A lot of rewiring takes place, and a lot of dimensions open up, even for people who aren’t prone to jhana. You’re going to get the full jhanic tour, it seems. Tarin’s advice is really good. So is Kenneth’s “riding the jhanic arc” approach – both basically are approaches where you sit in meditation like you are on a tour bus and let the meditation take you where it wants. You may go up into jhana and back down several times in a sit, you might go on a weird ride where you can’t tell how to map it, you might find yourself teasing apart psychological stuff without even planning for it. It is smarter than you. 

“Don’t judge what happens, just judge whether you are making time for practice every day, at least whatever your minimum quality sit is. Lots of subterraining stuff happens in second, and it’s beyond directing. It does its thing. Best wishes for your practice!”

Crazy-Deep Joy

I didn’t formally meditate tonight. Instead I read a lot about the powers, the Bases of Powers, and samatha jhanas. I’m definitely going quickly and deeply to j5, Boundless Space, in my sits. 

I read Daniel’s draft new part on the powers. I started writing out a kind of “spell” for my friend with Lyme disease. It consists of a poetic passage I read in Daniel’s book, where he quotes Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation. (Daniel’s book and Thanissaro’s works have been the greatest influences on my practice.) And it will go on to contain the Four Sublime Intentions cradling her in light. Then I’m going to state specific intentions concerning not her specifically, but the CDC and other organizations, insurance companies, the protocols, the shortage of Lyme-literate doctors, lack of valid testing, and the like.

I feel like I’m exploding with joy tonight, just from all this reading and writing out of the magickal intent. I caught deep equanimity and then somehow that fed back into this intense A&P-like excitement, bliss, uncontainable joy – quite a heady buzz.

All these mood cycles are intense and strange. I do not normally mood-swing like this. Anyway I’m too excited and ecstatic tonight to even write another word here. 

Flood Dark

Tonight I sat on my cushion in the wee hours, while a bit sleepy, which for some unknown reason is my favorite time and prior state for meditation. At first, I had that same sense of the two-track mind that I’ve had for weeks: I was intensely calm, buzzy, flowy; however, my mind was thinking all over the place on a whole other plane –about work, about my dharma buddies, and so on.

That I Stop Fighting This Flood

This went on for a good 5 minutes. I thought that maybe I should stop fighting this flood and just let my mind go on and on, while observing it go on and on. Oddly, this seemed, after a few moments, to stop the discursive thinking. Isn’t it funny that when you think you don’t know what to do you find that, actually, you do know what to do. It is almost perspicuity by body knowledge.

Wild Gorgeous Succession

I then set my intention to set aside discursive thinking and to practice jhana for the benefit of all beings. Usually when I do this intention-setting, I see in my mind’s eye, my friends, the fish, the beasts, the bugs, my darling son, my husband, my mother, my sisters, people who’ve wronged me – all flashing in fairly wild gorgeous succession. Oddly, I was suddenly drawn to repeating the Four Immeasurable Thoughts (metta). This felt extremely powerful, like I didn’t know metta could feel so intense. 

Cause from Effect

Then something like the sense of my father came up. (My father was an extreme alcoholic and drank himself to death by age 45, when I was only 12.) There is a huge knot of primal suffering connecting me to him still. Much of my conventional and psychological life organized itself around him and the hole he left. He is dead, so he usually does not come flashing up in my intention-setting or metta. But this time he did. For a few moments, it crossed my mind that it made no sense to extend metta to my dead father. But then it made perfect sense. It is an energy thing, after all. “He” still exists back in on me. I can heal him back into my general love. Effects influence causes.

Formlessness

After this strange detour, I was sucked down in jhana so quickly and deeply, as I have tended to be since that first fruition I had on August 8, that I don’t get a proper Jhana 1, 2, and 3. Now I’m speeding through even 4 and quickly going to some formless realm. It is super freaky. My body disappears, and I see nothing behind my closed eyelids where I usually see light or patterns. This state feels 

  • vast 
  • cool 
  • black 
  • serene 

But it is so unfamiliar to me that if I pull up out of it just a little and evaluate, I feel somewhat stressed by it. But I can sink back into it, too, and do. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do or experience when I “arrive” at this new formless weirdness. Tonight, toward the end, there was almost the sense that something was emerging out of that vastness, a point, a spark, something. But I’m not sure. Maybe not. Maybe mirage.

Compulsive Jhana

What I’m feeling more sure of is that I need to stop fixating on whether I’m cycling during a sit. In fact, I’m going to set aside vipassana for a while. I’m being pulled really hard now into samatha exploration, including metta, and it just feels like this is what I’m “supposed” to do during this Review phase. I wonder if others have had the same experience.

Integration by Articulation

Two people have mentioned to me that I might already be on the way to second path. That’s disconcerting because I don’t feel like I “reviewed” anything. However, I’m now all over the place, “explaining” the dharma as understood through my recent direct experiences and suddenly realizing cognitively what I’ve realized experientially. Maybe that counts somehow as Review, as intellectual as it seems. I think Richard is correct that thinking these realizations through into articulation is helpful and maybe even necessary for integration. Reading the dharma is suddenly more illuminating than it has ever been before, too. I get it!

I read a post by Tarin about an alternative way of “doing” second path. It involved no noting (which I don’t really do, anyway) but instead simply a letting things unfold organically. Mainly he wrote about “practicing” in daily life as if just already in Equanimity all the time. This makes sense to me. So I’m going to try not looking so hard for new fruitions and cycling during sits. My cycles seem to be lasting weeks to days now, which is much faster than my usual stages, which tend to last 6 to 8 weeks. So I’m going to chill, explore these formless states, ramp up the love practice (which I’ve not done so much of before), and have some fun seeing whether I can cultivate glimmerings of powers.