Spooky Visual Dissociation from My Body
What I want to quickly report, since I’m so busy with other projects, are two changes, particularly the second one, which may be into the third day of the first persistent shift I’ve experienced in almost 2 years.
Awareness in Sleep
I reported weeks ago that I’ve been in hypnagogia lasting 90 minutes at a time. More recently, I’ve been having bouts of being aware that I’m in bed all night..The other night, for instance, I was trying to fall asleep and realized I was thirsty. But I was dreaming, I guess, that I was pouring water from a pitcher into my mouth while lying there in bed. I thought, “Mmm, that was so good.” Then I settled in again to sleep when I realized I already was sleeping and had been all night. I knew this to be so only because I realized that it would be impossible for me to pour a pitcher of water into my mouth, without spilling, while lying on my back in bed. So then I awoke, but even then I couldn’t tell the difference between being awake in bed and asleep in bed, except for the impossibility of having poured a pitcher of water into my face. I had been aware like that all night, aware of being in that bed.
Spooky New Dissociation from My Viewed Body
A couple of days ago, a new perceptual change was “in my face,” meaning not subtle but instead at an intensely high dose and suddenly. Since the awakening of July 2015, I’ve not experienced any sudden and dramatic “shift,” but only a continuous deepening, seeping in, of the gains. Now, however, I’m confronting what seems like a radical shift. It hasn’t changed my somatosensory perception; this shift is purely a visual sense sphere change, although what I’m actually seeing hasn’t changed in its truly visual characteristics. Furthermore, nothing in the “object” field has changed in any way. So, in short, this is a change in perception only of my body and only when I’m looking at it.
So here goes: When I look down at parts of my body or at my reflection in the mirror, I’m like a ghost.: My entire body, face, eyes are the field—exactly of the same essence as the field. The whole of everything is of a piece, and the whole field is cognizing itself. My identification with the body in the mirror has completely broken down. I feel dislocated, almost “out of body,” except that I cannot locate a point of view from which to look at that now empty body.
This effect is spooky, really intense, and frankly disconcerting. It is as though “I” have not only no substance, but also no objectifiable location since I’m not in that body. Where am I? Do I exist? Whose awareness is noticing all this? Very little is left of this side since now my own body is over there and disidentified, an empty sack. If this change persists, then I hope I get used to it. Right now if feels like a form of dissociation amounting to depersonalization. I thought everything would remain nondual, but this seems beyond nondual. It seems like death of self. It is not pleasant the way the luminosity shift was, to understate the case. DreamWalker was talking to me last week about what he calls a proprioceptive shift that caused him to be surprised when his hand jumped out and turned doorknobs or typed a message—saying he would think, “Whose hands are those?” He started seeing his body in action as nonspecial, not different from the field. He had this shift beginning after attainment of second path, while somewhere in the middle of the third path. I’ve had that sense, too, at times before now, but it hasn’t been continuous or as extreme as this.
I think proprioception is the wrong word, wrong category of perception. Proprioception is the internal receptive muscle, tissue, ligament, nerve, and vestibular sense of the relationship of body parts/fields to each other and the orientation of the whole body in and over against space. It includes a receptive sense of movement through space and a receptive sense of the effort exerted to achieve that movement. None of that has changed with this shift. So long as I’m not looking at my body with my eyes, there is nothing different now. This shift is therefore not the feeling sense door; it is the visual.
I need to get this straight with DW so that we are using terms with precision. I guess what remains to be discussed with him is whether that sense of exertion in moving through space has changed as an effect attending this visual shift. He speaks of being “surprised’ to find his hands moving, taking action. So my questions are twofold: (1) Does he still feel his hands typing as he has always felt them, and (2) has he lost even the prehension of movement?
In philosophy, prehension is “an interaction of a subject with an event or entity which involves perception but not cognition” (OED). It is “uncognitive apprehension.” I had deep insight on second path into the fact that sense data are merely abstractions. We reduce part of an experiential “event” to parsed subject and objects only after the event. Then we assign them primacy. The deliverances of experience are, however, radically holistic. An event’s extension in time can be said to be more primary. However even an event is an abstraction. In this sense, time, meaning causality itself, has to go if experience is to coincide with inself. In the Dzogchen maps, causality is the last delusion to go, which makes perfect sense. We break down experience within the casual model first; then the causal model itself breaks down, everything synchronizes, and the Fourth Time, timelessness, is realized.
I suspect that my perception has made another leap toward immediately prehending such that my “subjectivity” is not actually an object, whereas one’s unawakened experience of subjectivity is of that subjectivity as object-after-the-fact. (A. H. Almaas is brilliant at elucidating phenomenologically that, before awakening, subjectivity is experienced only as an object, although from no findable outside vantage point.) Okay, so there are no “objects,” Everything is irreducibly “experience” that “precedes” subject-object significances that we assign only retrospectively. But am I losing retrospection itself? Is this purely visual shift eroding the delusion of agency? DW says all shifts do that, but this one feels scarier than all preceding shifts. It is humiliating, in a way, which tells me it will require integation to be nondual and therefore joyous.
My practices leading up to this shift have been to try to blend the felt sense of the body with certain esoteric nondual visionary experiences, as well as to blend in my tuning into the nada sounds with the same. I am noting this recent practice blend here in order to preserve a record of what practice could have done this new damage to visual identification of my body as an object in which my “subjectivity” resides.