Mr. Clean, Dr. Strange, and the Morning Light Body
This post is a version edited down from one in my private journal, Heartlighted.
Cycles Darkening the Body-Mind This Week
I continue to observe the re-emergent cycling of insight stages. In particular, yesterday I noted disgust with everything and an urge to renounce and quit everything: job, relationships, and even practice. Primal frustration. Of course, I didn’t act on any of that, and I didn’t fuel it into unmindfulness by engaging it and investing it with self-identification. But I did go out for a gourmet burger and one tall Margarita. (Hey, it was Friday night and I survived my annual performance review after a difficult year at my day job!)
In addition, all week I’ve felt ill, with flu-like symptoms: malaise, dizziness, headache, stomach pain, anorexia, runny nose, and, chiefly, intense body aches unrelated to musculature or exercise. However, I found that I was not coming down with the flu, after all. I kept waking in the morning in total well-being, But by close of business every day I was wracked with aches and the other symptoms to the point that I had to take Advil and use heating pads all over. My face began breaking out, as well, which was the final clue, along with the cyclic nature of my symptoms, that I was enduring some kind of intense body detoxification. Most “authorities” online say there is no such thing as yoga-induced detoxification. Those so-called authorities are wrong. The symptoms erupted at the same time every day, the same interval after my new bedtime yin yoga practice.
For purposes of documenting toward my eventual map, I note here also that I’m more than a week into further reduction of the antidepressant Cymbalta. I’ve been at 20 mg for many months, far below the therapeutic dose for depression or anxiety. However, in my experience, attempts to go below 20 mg trigger an intense withdrawal syndrome. I’ve been through it before, in fact twice before: sensations of anxiety, migraine auras, insomnia, the works. This time I bought a milligram scale so that I may be very slow and precise with the milligram reduction to zero, as the drug companies offer no capsule of smaller dosage than 20 mg. Some of my current mood and physical disturbances could be because I went down by 5 mg a couple of weeks ago, meaning I’m now at 15 mg daily. The goal is to get off this drug completely because evidence is now emerging that it causes weight gain. I’m exceedingly tired of being fat, and migraine drugs caused massive rapid weight gain many years ago. Clean slate for the body-mind!
Practice Doldrums All Week and Last Night
Whether an effect or a cause of recent doldrums and feelings of darkness and rebellion, my main practice and its effects have essentially died down. Naturally, this draining of life from the practice has engendered all kinds of speculations, from wondering if I’m being “punished” for my recent rebellion, to wondering if I’m being pointed toward a different venue or emphasis for practice. I’m mindful of the status of these speculations as empty, though, requiring nothing urgent or particular on my part beyond this naturalness of whatever is. And if frustration arises, it arises. I neither reject nor embrace it. I stay with it as experienced but am not invested in it, fooled by it. I do know better:
Mara, come bring your whole fucking army forth, but I will never be fooled again.
I sat in a candlelit Epsom salt bath for about 30 or 40 minutes last night with practice vacancy. Not alarmed, exactly, but restless, I stopped the practice, put on clean pajamas, and sat and thought a while about what practice I need during all this frustration and agitation. I contemplated Tarot, biblio-therapy, dream incubation, reclining meditation in visionary pitch dark, and so on. I decided that I need simple devotion rather than seeking and doing and controlling emphases. So I practiced guru yoga, called in the Four Guests, and recited the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo aloud, the poignancy of some of the phrases jumping out at me and causing pause. It was nice just to sit in the vastness of simplicity, the simplicity of vastness. Then I did a brief yin yoga sequence and crawled up into my bed to sleep.
Dream Incubation Plans as Incubation in Fact
Normally before a dream incubation I will write out the question and make a full ritual out of setting intention, finally placing the sealed writing under my pillow. I was too sleepy for all this, and it was too much “doing” for where I currently am, the nature of the problem. But before falling out, I thought about the real need at this point of practice confusion to incubate a dream, or dreams, that would send a teacher, or teachers, to help me understand what I should being practicing now. I thought about my recent tarot reading with all the figures turned away from the observing “I” and toward a new path. I fell asleep while intending to formulate a dream incubation this weekend. But it turns out that this mere inclination toward intention incubated some dreams.
Dream of Mr. Clean
This dream was not very clear, and I don’t remember any actual dialogue, although I think dialogue happened. I can try to enter jhana later to see if anything more floats up. What was clear was the setting and the teacher.
A man who looks just like the buff bodybuilder Mr. Clean of cleaning solutions logo fame is my teacher, a physical trainer. I am in a brightly lighted gym with him and eyeing with dread some kind of cruel-looking confusing obstacle course. He is talking, but I can’t hear or remember words. He is encouraging me to work gradually up to being able to take that course like a bosslady.
I guess the important point here is that this was a teacher, and the message was to pay a lot of attention to purifying and strengthening the body. Straightforward enough.
Interlude of Morning Light-Emitting Body
Sometime after 8:00 a.m., I awoke and went downstairs for some tart cherry juice and macademia nuts. I was snacking near the kitchen door, which is half glass. Sunlight from the East was shining in, and I was standing partly in the morning light. I happened to look down and noticed light emitting from my chest the same way it did for 2 hours on the way back from the mountains this past October.
Well, that was interesting. I methodically studied the situation. I took off my glasses to make sure this phenomenon wasn’t glare off my glasses. It wasn’t; the light didn’t change at all when I removed them. I considered other sources of natural reflection. My pajamas are black cotton with little dark purple diamond shapes, however, not exactly the most light-reflective fabric. So that explanation didn’t make sense. Next I checked right eye against left. From the right, the light rays went straight out, perpendicular to my body. From the left, the rays were slightly longer and slanted somewhat at an angle from my body.
The light seen from both eyes was white and with a misty, or translucent fog-like, “texture,” rather than being blindingly sharp electric or fire-like in texture-effect. The rays were 4 inches long (yes, I actually got out a ruler for measuring). The arrangement of the little light rays reminded me of bar codes: some of the lines were thicker than others, and all were spaced just as lines are in a bar code. Of course, bar codes are black, not cloud-like white light. The appearance was exactly the same as the last time this happened, except that I think the light rays were longer last time.
I next looked at my hands, and the fingers were also emitting light, both white and the color of my flesh and the rings on my fingers. This also was the case last October.
I stepped back into the middle of the kitchen away from the ambient morning light, and in that place I could no longer see the light coming from my body or fingers. I stepped back closer to the windows, and again the rays appeared. Apparently, a certain amount of ambient light is necessary, for now.
In general, for weeks I’ve been noticing these kinds of rays emitting from lamp shades and other ambient- lighted surfaces, sometimes dramatically emitting long bright rays. I’ve not mentioned it here because I have not been sure that these effects were not just some smeary film on my eyes or just my imagination because I’ve so long paid attention to such details in my practice.
The universe is really messing with me.
Dream of Dr. Strange
I returned to bed to sleep in. I then had a more detailed dream than that of Mr. Clean.
I am in a university walkway, pushing my way through a crowd and entering an old-fashioned classroom theater. Dr. Strange is the central figure before me, before the blackboard, down on the teaching platform. He is wearing a mortar board and scholar’s robes. He is the teacher, a professor. He calls on me, and I feel unprepared to answer. He asks me to recite the talents I was born with. I list all my degrees, honors, and awards. Then he says, “Nice enough for this workaday world, but none of that has taken you to Shambhala, has it?” He waves his hand and somehow I’m now seeing Shambhala, Tibet, as a vision contained and at distance within the classroom. I look at Professor Strange and say, “I want to travel there with you.” He says, “Not so fast.” He continues, “That was just a preview. You’ll need to put those talents you listed more fully to use before you can travel with me.”
Clearly, the events of the night and this morning are conveying to me that my formal practice since June is not the emphasis for me right now. I’m to take or make a side journey Instead, I’m being urged to pay a lot of attention to my body, all levels of embodiment, Nirmanikaya, and to bring the talents I came to Earth with into the arena of conduct. This means scholarship and writing.
Now it is up to me to act on what the teachers have conveyed.