For whatever reason, I decided to do fire kasina practice, planning to switch over to insight about halfway through. However, what felt like 30 minutes was 60. I never got the Red Dot. I’ve no idea why this kasina practice is no longer working for me as it did back in October. My only viable theory is that I’m racing past first and second jhana and getting stuck in third. The red dot is first jhana; when it spins and does tricks, that is second. I’m getting nothing but murky center right off the bat. A second theory is that I’m getting seduced into the bodily bliss and not tracking the visuals as strongly as possible. This is the case to some extent, but not terribly so anymore. Oh, well!
I should probably leave off this practice until I have more time to dedicate to it, as in big blocks of time that I don’t have now. I have learned a lot about third jhana by doing this practice, though.
After the fire practice, I extinguished the flame and continued sitting in the dark. Boundless Space, j5, was pretty much automatic at that point and amazingly wonderful, in the way that escaping the creepiness of resuming insight practice would be. I tried to turn this platform to insight practice by searching for the other edge of that space. I never really find something as sharp as an edge. Also, finding a definite edge between the space and “myself” proves difficult. It isn’t the skin, for how come I can feel so far into that space? Yet the space itself doesn’t exactly equal me or belong to me. Again, although I’m used to this sense of expanding myself into the space, as I did last path, if I relax then the space, or whatever, moves into “me.” More precisely, everything just moves, and if I pay attention, then I get that the movement isn’t even in neat concentric circles. That has to be an illusion, so the more I let myself see this clearly, the better. All of space-like texture fluctuates and shifts nonconcentrically, assymetrically. What space seems to be can move through the supposed center, the core of me.
Yet forcing that movement of the outermost to the seeming center is another wrong impulse. If I’m really paying attention to this intention, then agency falls away, and there is the magical marionette me, fluidly with the unfolding stream of that there. Months ago the effect was somewhat forced, ironically, creepy, and ratcheted. Now it is smooth, seamless, and oddly calm.
Chakras on the List
I was taking quite seriously what Steph writes above (thanks, Steph!) about noticing the self-identity caught up in the chakras. This made me notice that Daniel seems to be referring to the chakras too here:
Feel the going out into new territory with its confusion, tedium, frustration and creepiness as the thing itself: that which wants it to be known, mapped, predictable, safe, familiar is part of the thing that you need to see as it is: see those patterns in the head, chest, stomach, throat, etc. as more shifting, fresh patterns: that freshness keeps you honest, keeps you really paying attention in that slightly violating, slightly personally-taboo way that really helps in the end.
So that which is having a hard time with transitioning back to insight practice—feel that, look for it, in the chakras. So I did drill down and look. Nothing tense in third tonight, but that dang heart! Yeah, even when I’m not aware that I’m emoting—there is bound up there a sense of myself. I almost take pride in that spot, in the sinking in on itself, the contraction. What the hell is that? It is primarily, I think, a self-perpetuating need to feel the heartfelt in order to convince myself that I exist. When I look at that heart area more closely, I see that it cannot feed on itself at all, really. It is actually sending out heartstrings to individual imagined people, so that, ahhhhh, I don’t exist without you. This is very similar to what X X pointed out to me right before the August path: that subjects and objects create each other.
Dream Walker mentioned several months ago having to “clean out” that heart chakra. I haven’t wanted to clean it out. There is some kind of pride bound up with being able to feel so intensely. Man, I think that this is going to be a hard one to dissolve. I’m not even sure how to do so, since I can’t be the controller even on this, maybe, from one perspective, especially on this. Let it show itself, I guess.
Dream Walker is going to post that list of Derived Materials from the Vissuddimagga—oh, yes, he is! Then we can all sort that bad translation into something that makes sense. Are the chakras on the list?
Nightmares of Black Snakes
As soon as I went to bed, I started having some major fear response, creepy feelings, and then dizziness, as in vertigo. The bed was spinning—flipping, actually. This morning the dizziness continues, so I’m staying in bed. Maybe it is a virus. I was perfectly fine all evening, went for crepes with my son, played a card game with him. This hit very suddenly. Unpleasant.
Had nightmares of thick black snakes crawling horizontally across my visual field, from left to right, as in reading. Also dreamed of wrathful Buddhas with many eyes. Scary shit!
The dizziness has lessened considerably. I’m just wiped out, weak, and shaky. Probably a strange virus, but the timing, suddenness, fear component, and dreams of wrathfuls are a bit interesting. Eric says this: Chakra work can trigger that sort of thing, especially with the lower centers, bringing all kinds of repressed stuff to the surface. Or, it could be a virus. Time will tell.
Yeah, I don’t know much about chakras, but I guess I’m going to find out. So much to study, learn, and apply—I feel that I get going in one vein, and then something else jerks me up, and then I have to change emphases to deal with that. Sometimes this makes me feel that I’m never arriving at any milestone that seems really “reached,” but that’s just the way it is—with all these scattered half attempts. And, overall, I have to be thankful, and am, that I have some time and resources for practicing well and progressing.
I need to go back and listen, but it just occurred to me that in the Powers post-retreat audio posted at firekasina.org there is mention of black snakes (am I making that up?) and some multi-eyed wrathful Buddhist deity that Duncan banished.
This wrathful was bright emerald green and standing on one leg. He was holding some kind of emplements in his laterally outstretched hands. His forehead and expansive belly were covered with eyes.
Both black snakes and these kind of bardo deities can mark a time of tremendous transformation. A little omenous, and these did feel like nightmares, but it is what it is. So be it.