Mentors, Group Re-Formation, and Psychic Flashes
Posted here is an excerpt from a much longer entry in my private journal.
Dreams of Two Mentors
I had a dream after I began writing this piece. It was brief and simple. My teacher is walking ahead of me in the dark, but I seem hesitant, with some angst about the intensity into which he is leading me. He stops and looks back over his shoulder at me. He beckons me, saying, “Follow me.” I say, “Okay. Let’s go.” Then he walks out the top of the luminous matrix into Space. Everything pales out.
I had a subsequent dream. I am trying to IM with my bestie in Asheville, but the the computer keeps losing our connection. I am fed up with it and decide to penetrate the screen through meditation. When that doesn’t immediately work, I think, “Oh, I need to add lubrication.” So I fill up a bucket with water, turn on the TV, and pour the water over the TV. My mother materializes on the spot and says I’ve ruined the carpet. I move through the screen and am in Asheville, in a big Victorian home where a party is underway. My bestie opens the door and hugs me, When enter I see every “group” I’ve ever belonged to there. I hug Ira and Paul. I find the DhU (minus Daniel). Finally, I go upstairs. In a room there is a long farm table. People are seated on either side. I sit on one side. At the head of the table sits Daniel. He and I are psychically aware that the other is nervous. In fact we feel the same. We avoid speaking to or looking at each other, and engage in conversation with those immediately next to us. I start talking about how best to deal with the influx of people now asking me for practice advice. Daniel starts talking to the person to his left about the same topic, giving the answers about time management, disclaimers against being a “teacher,” insisting on a specific question, and all those Danielisms. He finally says, “Tell her this.” and gradually we come to look each other in the eye. Then all the others vanish. We are speaking directly and calmly to each other from the two distant ends of the same table.
Psychic Flashes—An Example Involving Group Dispersion
I’m experiencing a lot of psychic flashes—sudden visualizations. For example, a chat channel was becoming too crowded with pre-pathers and strangers for my comfort. The Seattle group and my own vision of a select group were being conflated, and the communications were not appropriate for those on earlier paths. After a certain psychic flash that morning, I decided to put an end to the chaos and wrote everyone as follows:
I’m going to be frank about my thinking, having discussed matters thoroughly with several of you on private channels.
First, this channel is getting crowded, and I don’t think it is skillful or efficient to discuss all layers of practice with those who are working on first and maybe even second path. It is a distraction and can become a sidetrack for them. Second, I dislike Google Hangouts as a medium for the reasons that I stated before. On-the-fly chats that cannot be indexed and easily retrieved are problematic for my purposes. It feels chaotic to me, unfocused for depth. I prefer going to a threaded private forum space that has a chat function. The site I designed more than a year ago has all that, plus “blogging” spaces for members, backups, security.
Because I have to work a full-time job, my spending large amounts of time on every pre-path aspirant who comes along doesn’t scale well, esp. since there are already resources for that out there. So, practically, I need to manage my time if I’m going to complete what I sense is my own mission—a book that is “pragmatic” but goes beyond MCTB. I have to finish this path and write. That is what my intuition tells me I’m supposed to do. My goal is to write something that gets people third and fourth MCTB path and beyond. I don’t mind answering questions, but to protect my energy and all-too-scarce time, I have certain ways and means for answering such questions. I have a website with a form that specifies what I need to know before I can give meaningful advice, or fit my response to the individual, and how the asker should formulate conversation with me for optimal response.
The Innermost Courtyard vision and mission as stated out on that old forum is pretty much the focus I’m still looking for in any group that organically forms and organically continues. I think a small, intimate intensive that focuses on advanced esoteric practices will help us grow. The members bring “specialties” to the mix. For example, Jim has mad skills as a lucid dreamer. My chat with Andrew on here yesterday already impacts the way I will write about the post-AA experience, because he has a nuanced way of stating phenomenological results, and that drew out from me more nuanced ways of communicating what he is currently noticing. So that helps the book, which eventually helps all those currently focused on ordinary insight.
I’m not in SPuDs, as I’m not there in Seattle. Moreover, my own sense of what Pragmatic Dharma is and ideally will become in the short term is under significant revision driven by my being on the upper end of the path. Specifically, I’m going through this major revision of my earlier Pragmatic Dharma “total openness” ethic. Mahamudra and Dzogchen are “completion-stage” esoteric practices. Traditionally, one would have practiced the eight other -yanas decades before ever hoping to have access.
In my own current practice, my teacher has repeatedly had to thwart my mappy proclivities so that I will experience deeply the wisdom of spontaneous presence, or increasingly close approximations thereof. He is actually mappy himself, as is Mahamudra, but the point he is making with me is that mapping territory in the somewhat distant past differs from mapping terrain currently underfoot. This allowing for spontaneity may sound cliche, but actually it is part and parcel of opening the Fourth Time and accomplishing the Spontaneous Presence of a buddha. It is method.
At the upper end of this path, trust in the teacher becomes critical. My teacher has enjoined me to keep my esoteric practices “under wraps.” Truly, I’m not one to be so namby-pamby sounding. But I have to trust that he has sound reasons for what he tells me to do and not do. He says our culture, even that of most diligent practitioners, isn’t yet ripe for a floodgate of esoteric information to open.
I really don’t want expansion of membership at this time I want to go deep with a few select people and build slowly. I’m not in a place as a practitioner or potential mentor where I feel ready to launch a broad “movement.” I felt that Movement drive when I was in the Dharma Underground—the thrill of it all—but things are different now. I went into a virtual cave for almost a year when my former drive to start a group failed. Doing so deepened my perspective.
So, in sum, I’m saying that SPuDs is its own animal. And I think it is best to have Innermost Courtyard be its own animal.
Thanks for listening and reflecting on what I’m saying.
Interestingly, it was the pre-pathers who jumped in to agree with me. So the inclusive channel is closed.
Earlier on the morning that I wrote and sent this message, the psychic flash was that I saw the wrist mala I made years ago. It was on my nightstand. Immediately a vision flashed up of its breaking, the beads scattering. I put it on and wore it to work.
After I sent this message, disassembling the pragmatic group, I went to the restroom, where that mala that I’ve had so long broke. Its “liberated” beads are aquamarine, my birthstone. It is the seer’s stone, representing water’s clarity and mirroring. It is also the stone of the throat chakra, yielding quiet resoluteness in negotiating, teaching, and communicating.
Dream of John the Baptist, John Divine
Some guys from the Seattle Pragmatic Dharma group came to do a weeklong retreat with my teacher. I sat a half day as a guest, to throw my shakipat, as it were. We all went out Friday night for supper, including my teacher.
Table Talk after Retreat
The conversations renewed my former interest in dream incubation, but now as a possible vehicle for deepening and extending sleep lucidity and joining it with perhaps some Charlie Morley lucid dreaming techniques. I’ve long been far from wanting to practice any techniques. My practice deepens just by my drawing breath and sitting quietly without agendas. Often, “techniquing” feels coarse and doing it feels burdensome. Lucidity in dreams has continued to increase without any techniques, but results are documented mainly in my private journal because the dream lucidity is connected with my other esoteric practice.
Also discussed at dinner with my teacher was the intermittent fasting I’ve been doing to loose the weight I gained from Depakote and, to a lesser extent, Cymbalta, both of which I took to treat complex persistent migraine auras. My neurologist put me onto intermittent fasting, too, because it prevents plaque buildup in the brain. I was telling my teacher that I was surprised how much more energy and bliss I experience on days I do not eat. He encouraged me to do a three-week fast and cited Gabriel Cousens’ book Spiritual Nutrition. He spoke about dehydration, too, the need for more water for detox.
All week the two guys and I have been having interesting dreams. I had two lucid dreams featuring one of the guys. Both guys had dreams of my teacher. Finally, last night, after this dinner, I had my own dream featuring the teacher. Part of the background of this dream, I feel, is that the retreat I sat in April with him was just bodily horrible. It was just the most painful retreat I’ve ever sat. I was coming down with a bad cold, couldn’t sleep, and then was made to endure this partnering meditation in which the two paired sangha members gaze into each other’s eyes for what felt to be 15 minutes. The exercise induced an actual panic attack in me. I felt exposed because I was born with crossed eyes, had to wear an eye patch to train my eyes, and was mercilessly tormented by children from nursery school through early elementary school. I wanted to get up from that exercise and blow the retreat. I almost did.
Dream Narrative Featuring John the Baptist
I am standing beside a perfectly round, calm silver lake surrounded by retreat cabins. I’m in a kind of ashram, and a ritual is taking place. I look down into the lake, and all these naked bodies are swimming in the lake, clean and dazzling. I know that I’m expected to disrobe and jump into the lake, too, but I’m petrified. I look down and see that I’m wearing a white terrycloth robe that is untied and somewhat open, but I will not take off the robe, because I do not want to be seen. I look to my left and my teacher appears there. He is looking at the bodies in the lake below us. He has the robes and aspect of John the Baptist. I understand that the ritual is a purification, a submersion of the body in the clear silver mirror of the lake, a baptism into new life. I become lucid, realizing on seeing him that this is a dream situation. This in turn makes me realize that I’m sleeping. I say to this John the Baptist, “I cannot do this right now.” He says, “Why not?” I blurt out, “Because I’m actually asleep and am pretty sure I have bad breath! I have to go brush my teeth!” Mainly I’m ashamed of my body and ashamed to say so to him, so I want an excuse to run away and avoid the whole question of purifying myself bodily. He laughs and laughs at my worry and says, “Silly girl, just take the plunge!”
But before making a decision whether to take the plunge, I woke up from the dream.
At lunch today, one of the retreat guys, who is a major lucid dream practitioner, said the following after I told him this dream: “Thoughts on your dream earlier: Embarrassment about body was a habit that was called out by the dream, and rewiring that will pay off. Pretty much anything you do in a dream that doesn’t kick ass is a signal for room for improvement.”
Now we are talking about lucid dreaming and lucid fasting collaborations.
“John Saw That Number,” by Neko Case