Resistance, not Content, as the Problem: The Lesson of Meta-Anxiety

What follows is an edited and somewhat redacted entry from my current, password-protected practice journal, Lighthearted. People have on occasion asked me for the password to that journal. I expect that it will someday be public, but I’m too close to the sensitive matters in that journal to publish it right now. My wisdom needs to mature some more before I have full clarity on the skillful means concerning publication of that journal. Sorry for the tease. . . .

♥ ♥ ♥

I’ve not been writing about preliminary results of current formal practice because not much has evolved since the shifts beginning at the end of May. My focus has been not on signs and wonders but on my inner life, specifically on ways emotional purification has and has not been keeping pace with the traditional signs and wonders. Sometimes lately I’ve felt defiant, rebellious, and lied to by the traditional texts. I’ve been confused by my teacher’s advice to stop esoteric pratices and simply love others more, for I feel my loving people too much always has been and actually still is the problem, the chief obscuration that will have to dissolve for me to reach buddhahood. How can loving others “more” be the solvent when I do not know, at bottom, the difference between clinging to another and loving him or her?

As an adult child of a severe and abusive alcoholic father, long deceased, I don’t know what loving someone unconditionally truly is. So pouring forth ever greater quantities of fake love is not, as I see it, the answer. A greater quantity of ultimately narcissistic/needy, fear-of-abandonment-based overloving of others is definitely not the prescription. Until I can change the quality of my love from false gaming to true freedom and generosity, I need in relationship to others to practice “loving detachment” and to emphasize learning to love myself and heal past trauma. This work  has not been accomplished, so now I’m attending Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, which I at first found strangely passive, as recounted in the following conversation with my friend Alex.

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Jenny

We have talked more than once about tantra as remediation. Dzogchen as a theory, though, is that you need nothing else besides Dzogchen. And, in fact, dropping into the causal model is pulling even more so out of the timelessness model. So J will normally tell me not to drop out of timelessness into causal. But sometimes he does give me some tantric work.

Alex

Right, but what do you do when you get really pulled out of the timelessness model?

Jenny

Well, I asked him that. Because I’m pulled out not on the cushion, but in the jungle. And he said, “Nothing.” He said, “Continue the cushion practice.” He said eventually the jungle will stop vexing me because of the work done in Trekchod on the cushion.

Alex

Right, right. I think that too, but only in theory, I have not verified that. For thogal and trekchöd are indeed magic, the best magic.

Jenny

But, you see, I’m feeling lately like that isn’t enough. I don’t know if that is because I’m right, or because I’m just in a doubt funk.

Alex

Doubt funk aaaand . . . there is narrative there. I think we mentioned it briefly on the call: disappointment. The narrative being this: “I was told this was all I needed, and shit still happened; hence, this doesn’t work.”

Jenny

Yes. Or hence I’m impatient.

Alex

Yeah, they work together. Impatience arises because there is clinging to the narrative: “This should be flawless.”

Jenny

Which is a codependent trait: Perfectionism. Russell on Awake Network once said something really profound to me. I had said that I thought I had messed up my path somehow. And he said, “You can’t mess it up, Jenny. It is your path.” I took that to mean that whatever happens on the path is the path, that everyone’s path differs. It is not some perfectionist ideal, but whatever is happening in your life.

Alex

Riiiiight. So go back to trust, and Adult Children of Alcoholics will give you more details about the disease, and that is always useful.

Jenny

Yeah. I wonder about that. Because part of me feels that sitting around and talking about our codependency patterns and childhood trauma in a way just keeps it going. Meaning that identifying the problem isn’t necessarily solving it and may in fact be fetishizing it. Why/how does it help to sit in a circle and share the narrative?

Alex

Here’s another question: What happens if you listen to another person’s narrative, within trekchöd? What would happen?

Jenny

What happens is tender compassion and love for that person.

Alex

Right, and that has effects.

Jenny

Ah, okay.

Alex

And it nurtures your love and compassion in a nonaggressive setting. It gets you into the real Mahayana, Or it teaches you to be genuine about love instead of overly emotive.

Jenny

Right, because we don’t cross-talk. We just listen.

Alex

Right. It is super healing. It has a mechanism, a dharmic mechanism if done properly. If the meeting is bad, as in conflictive, then forget it.

Jenny

Yeah, I sometimes feel, “I wish we could actually discuss this.” But discussion would likely lead away from purity and into rhetoric. And the point is not to manhandle anything into being someone else’s solution.

Alex

Right, right.

Jenny

It is fascinating, because in our society we don’t usually really listen. Listen to another person. The meetings are interesting because the power, intimacy, and cohesion is in the silence.

Alex

Yes.

Jenny

There are people in there who have been through worse hell than I, unspeakable hell.

Alex

Listening heals them and you. There is something to listening, something very deep, Space-y, open.

Jenny

Yes. It is interesting that the rules say you are not to hug the person sharing or even hand him or her a tissue.

Alex

Right! That is wonderful.

Jenny

Complete nonmanipulation.

Alex

That’s true love, if you ask me. Emptiness.

Jenny

Yes.

Alex

So there you go: ACA is indeed practice.

Jenny

Yes. Wow, this exchange really clarified that.

♥ ♥ ♥

This is the specific sīla practice I need, not trauma prolonged exposure therapy via mutual gazing (which for me was retraumatizing), not focus on service to others, but precisely this: Become truly self-empowered and truly self-loving. This begins with returning to my own insight and intuition as my primary teacher, to having faith and confidence foremost in my own self-insight.

Recently, anxiety has arisen intensely for the first time since 2014. But, as the dialog below shows, my feeling anxiety is not the problem, as my crushing anxiety or wishing or repressing it away is not the antidote. Practice is to stop holding myself to ideals that are not for me yet realized. The way to realization is radical acceptance and, in particular, self-acceptance in the imperfect here and imperfect now. Not ideals, but reality.

♥ ♥ ♥

Jenny

So would you say that mixed states is restlessness and feeling down at the same time?

I’ve never been diagnosed with bipolar but years ago I voiced to my neurologist that I think I might have some form of it. My diagnosis was “agitated depression,” which is basically restless anxiety-driven depression. But really things have cycled for me from hypomania to depressed mood as long as I can remember. But since I had my first A&P at age 12, I’m not completely clear on whether that cycling was Progress of Insight stages or real psychopathology. Either way, the cycling stopped, although lately I’ve had the first resurgence of anxious preoccupation since stream entry.

Noah

Yeah, it’s similar to what you describe.

Jenny

My bet is that I would not be experiencing anxious preoccupation at all right now had I not gone off Cymbalta. That fact gets back to my point: What is the relationship of medication to awakening? Do buddhas need Prozac? Would we expect a living buddha with diabetes to stop taking insulin? Are the two situations parallel, or is the analogy false? Are mood disorders physical diseases?

Andrew

Well the medical data seems to suggest that sometimes they are.

Jenny

Yes. In my case, a depressive episode comes with as many physical symptoms as mood symptoms, such as inability to sleep and total loss of taste of all food. Food literally has zero taste. It is like eating cardboard, so there is something wrong with taste buds or the brain’s interpretation of the stimulus. This is not a matter of mood and seems to me unlikely to be secondary to mood. 

Early behaviors in a depressive episode are extreme social withdrawal, isolation. I was told I have major depressive disorder and that it is endogenous, not situational. So a brain chemistry imbalance. But how does that neurochemical imbalance come to into being? I think the data shows that a lot of time it is from early trauma.

So if buddhahood releases all trauma, will that fix my brain chems too?

One topic on my mind a lot lately is “What is a buddha?” What are we trying to achieve here? Is it perfection on all axes of being? Maybe this seems like a dumb topic, but, seriously, like Noah, I would choose never to be overtaken by anxiety and depression again to being able to leave a hand imprint in a rock or read others’ minds.

Andrew

Can the human system ever be “perfect?” By this I mean as a biochemical system. Buddhas still age, break down, and die. So the history seems to suggest that it doesn’t fix the body. But as far as never being “overtaken by” those ailments, even if they manifest, seems to be whats pointed at.

Noah

I feel very strongly about medications and awakening, which means (of course) that my opinion must be right. That the thing the Pali canon describes, regardless of what is written elsewhere, necessitates not needing mood stabilizers, likely not attention drugs or antidepressants, either. Alzheimer’s medication, yes.

Andrew

Doctors today don’t know what they are talking about; they definitely didn’t 2500 years ago.

Noah

Sounds good!

#NotMyDharma

Jenny

Okay, a couple of thoughts:

First, on this response from Andrew: “Can the human system ever be ‘perfect?’ By this I mean as a biochemical system. Buddhas still age, break down, and die. So the history seems to suggest that it doesn’t fix the body.”

The big, big end-deal on the path of Togal is to attain the Body of Light. This is, of course, an other-dimensional “embodiment.” So, per the dogma, the biochemical body fails, but that has no effect on the spirit, or the Light Body.

No one really disputes the fact that the biochemical body is subject to old age, disease, death, and decay. But then you make this distinction: “But as far as never being ‘overtaken by’ those ailments, even if they manifest, seems to be whats pointed at.”

What if the manifestation is identical to being “overtaken”? Because in the case of anxiety and depression, that is my point: The manifestation of the biochemical disease is in itself the “being overtaken” by emotional and other symptoms. So your distinction is a false one, and it only begs my original question.

Andrew

Well, doesn’t that seem to indicate a complete “dis-attachment” toward the body. No longer identifying it as “you.” So even if those ailments “overtake” the body, they wont be “overtaking” you.

Jenny

That sounds like dissociation to me. You cannot will yourself into detaching from or getting on top of a severe depression. It takes over your entire organism, like cancer. So long as brain chems are wrong, detachment is not an option.

Andrew

But awareness is unstained.

Jenny

Awareness might or might not be unstained, but depression is a physical illness, and the symptoms arise from biochemical insufficiencies in the brain. The symptoms include, but are not limited to, mood deterioration. Can one be in utter misery, in suicidal depth of misery, and still be “unstained” awareness of that and all else? Does that even make sense as a logic construct?

Are you positing a symptomless depressive illness?

Andrew

I think so [that it does make sense logically]. If there is no identification of those things as problematic, then does the awareness suffer the illness?

No, there will be symptoms, most likely.

Jenny

So dissociation. That’s the answer. I know I am depressed, but I don’t feel it.

Andrew

I don’t Know. I’m guessing here.

Jenny

Or I feel depressed, but depression isn’t, from some sort of meta-perspective, a problem . . . somehow.

Okay. You see the problem I’m having. I don’t think we’d tell a diabetic buddha to stop taking insulin because his shakes and brain fog and low mood shouldn’t be a problem if he or she has unstained awareness. But there is a double standard with mood disorders. Even though in the case of bipolar and in the case of unipolar endogenous depression, the root cause is biochemical. Really I would no more go off Cymbalta than off insulin (if I were diabetic). The only reason I’ve gone off Cymbalta is weight gain, no spiritual “test.” People still tend to treat mental illness as if it were a moral failing, and teachings and teachers who do so, in my view, have zero credibility in this matter unless they both suffered from an endogenous mental illness and, upon reaching enlightenment, found it completely cured. Then, and only then, can I take what they have to say on the matter seriously.
Andrew
Well I agree that one shouldn’t tell one to go off medicine they need. Now a Buddha might not care if they die of diabetes or might not care they feel depressed, but I suspect they would choose to take those drugs. And in this case, what I mean by “care” is to be motivated by suffering.
Jenny
This topic gets more and more confusing. None of us knows what a buddha is, in reality. That in itself is interesting, if not dumbfounding. We are working toward an end we have only vague idealistic notions about. J stated to me that his test of realization is whether one can undergo physical torture with zero reactivity. I am nervous about having arthroscopic surgery under sedation Friday. I cannot imagine undergoing true torture and not reacting to that. What does “reacting” actually mean in the context we are inching toward here?
A lot of what Alex was saying on here the other night made sense to me, in that he pointed to ideals based on the experience of long-term retreat of Eastern full-time yogis, not based on the “jungle” of our mercurial postmodern western lives. And he said our unique karmic situation calls for reformulation of the buddha-dharma. In that reformulation, for example, my now attending the Adult Children of Alcoholics 12-step program is practicing the Dharma.
Andrew
Shinzen has also talked about what he calls “the Syrian test.” Torture.
Jenny
Standard dogma. I’m watching a film clip about H. H. Menri. Just heard him say that when he first became the head of the tradition he used to stay up all night, worrying. Do we have an exemplar who passes the no-worry torture test?
Andrew
Shinzen said he could probably do it. Maybe with a few months training first.
Jenny
With a few months training? But a buddha would already be there, the training done. A teacher who shall remain nameless can have a root canal done without anesthesia because he is a master of concentration and hypnosis. That doesn’t mean he is a buddha. So if it requires training, and if one says “probably” but doesn’t put out, then how can that count? It is conjecture and speculation until proven. And the self-reported root canal story—who was there to verify it? Has the dentist been interviewed? Why are photos taken of UFOs always fuzzy? A lot of what appears in my texts to mark the stages of the esoteric practice is just dogma. Cultural filters. J said something interesting in his last message to me. He said that he pointed me away from the Tibetan texts for a reason. So in a sense he was saying what Alex was saying: that it is going to be different for us in the West, both in method and result.
Noah
Whatever “realistic” is, I’m aiming for “good enough. . . .” On a spuds retreat in May T was talking about anagami versus arahant on a 10 Fetter level. He described [the difference between the two] as similar to dividing a number in half endlessly and never getting to zero. What’s the difference between never suffering  and suffering five minutes, twice a year? When he says [elimination of] suffering in this context, he means negative content, not just nondual awareness.
Andrew
I’m not sure he meant negative content.
Noah
Perhaps he meant only subtle clinging. But Culadasa says he doesn’t have negative emotions. There’s a talk where he says he forgot how anger feels.
Alex

Greetings amigos. Medication. I like medication and practice. It serves a purpose, just like having right conditions for practice. I did like 8 years of tantra without medication and about a year with medication. The 8 years without medication were fruitful, very fruitful, but hard. A year of tantra with medication, was more fruitful still. 

I take Escitalopram, I think in the U.S. this is Lexapro. I still feel emotions, but they don’t drag me down as much. This allows for more productivity without being stressed out and faster serenity when sitting. If, however, I don’t do any of my responsibilities and that affects me somehow, medication wont stop stress. Stress is gone only with sila and view abiding. And Sila happens more often on medication because I am less distracted by heavy emotions. So that’s that.

What is a Buddha? I don’t know yet. I have never met one in person.

As for psychiatric conditions and dharma, I believe some are reversible, and others are irreversible. In fact, again going back to the concept of “freedoms and advantages of the precious human rebirth” as discussed by the Tibetans, such Precious Human Rebirth implies having the mental health to learn and practice the Dharma. In my book, that includes stuff like addiction and maybe even severe depression. If addiction is present, in a hc way, there is no way the dharma will rise in that person, and the same thing I think about people with severe depression, or similar conditions.

Jenny

Dzogchen doctrine and pretty much Tibetan Buddhist doctrine in general is that the only way to be a living buddha is (1) you are born a tulku, or (2) you completed the four stages of the visions. Personally, I see no reason to amend that position unless and until there is some reasonable basis to believe there is another way. I don’t believe Advaita Vedanta leads to the same extent of awakening as Buddhist paths. I also do not believe Theravadin arahatship is equivalent to Dzogchen Togal buddhahood. If there is comparable evidence to the contrary, I’ve not encountered it but would be open to reviewing any that comes forward, esp. if it isn’t just one person.

I also doubt you can tell who is a buddha from how poignant their teachings are. I bet the majority of the best teachers in the world, say the top 5% of teachers, have less than buddhahood. Meanwhile, I think it is also likely that buddhas stay mainly hidden and are rarely seen in the public eye as teachers. J tells this story of a guy who achieved Rainbow Body on the Tibetan plains. He wasn’t a monk. He was a yak poop shoveler. No one had any idea until Rainbow Body how highly realized he was.

Alex
Rainbow body . . . sounds nice. But Buddhas who stay and teach sound nicer to me. I cant say Rainbow body is highest or not. I don’t think it matters. What matters to me is the benefit for one and others.
Jenny

Buddhas teach and render benefit on other planes, not only or chiefly this one.

Alex
I cant speak about that. I’ve read about it, a lot, but I haven’t seen it.
Jenny
I’ve experienced it. Many times. That the retinue and your highest teachers are not necessarily living here on Earth. Experiencing this is the fruit of tantra.
Alex
Right, but how many people know about dharma. Only beings in pure buddha fields? Yeah, I know the lore and I don’t doubt it.
Jenny
I’ve seen them in my bedroom. And felt them.
Alex
I just think we need more help in our realm, a lot more than feeling sacredness.
Jenny
Buddhas are supposedly ideally equipped to judge where and how they are most needed and best utilized. In fact, I think that is a big part of what defines “buddhahood.”
Alex
I think so too.
Jenny

I’m not talking about merely “feeling sacredness.” I’m talking about the advancement of one’s own practice by opening up to the buddha field and receiving teachings from the buddhas from other times and places. It isn’t difficult to do.

Alex
Still, Buddhas in purer realms are one thing. Buddhas like Shakyamuni are another. I don’t think one is higher or lower, but simply different ways of manifesting dharma. Even if you get the full empowerment of the trikaya in your bedroom, I still think that’s one way of dharma transmission, not higher nor lower. But aren’t we speaking of Buddhas in the flesh? Like shakyamuni? Like, how are they like? By the way, I think Shakyamuni was/is identical to buddhas in pure buddha fields. No difference, yet different too.
Jenny

Sure, we can circumscribe this discussion that way. I think what I’m trying to convey is that my connection to the sangha across time and space (and in dreams) has actually been the best teacher, better than my earthbound teachers in terms of felt presence and reliability. Shakyamuni is one of those teachers I’m talking about from across time and space. I don’t separate him out from the buddha fields and categorize him as lesser or other. He’s not currently living in nirmanakaya form, after all, and once a buddha, always a buddha. So to me that includes him in the buddha fields.

Alex
I see. I’ve only experienced dharmakaya aspect of Buddha, perhaps Samboghakaya, but not yet nirmanakaya.
Jenny
It is interesting that Shakyamuni had visions that were bardo-like before his enlightenment.
Alex
That night under the bodhi tree must have been quite a night.
Jenny

Indeed.

You know what’s funny? The anesthesiologist called me today, and I wanted him to promise me they would inject a local anesthetic into my knee before going in with their scalpels. He was curious why, and I had to explain that I had vivid dreams of you all during my colonoscopy, that I was practicing lucidity in sleep, and that I didn’t want to wake up in my surgery and feel all that pain.

Alex

Hahahaha!

Jenny
He was like, “Well, you wouldn’t remember it.” And I said, “That’s even worse, as I’m working on releasing somatic trauma, not getting me some more of it.”
Andrew
Yeah, its weird how they give anti-memory drugs with anesthesia, like doesn’t that say something about how well they think it works?
Jenny
My roommate in grad school was in medical school, and she told me that patients on the OR table feel every bit of the pain. All of it. She said they moan and groan throughout the surgery, in pain. General anesthesia does nothing to block pain. What it does is (1) paralyze you and (2) wipe your memory of the pain. And for that reason, my roommate, now a doctor, will not consent to surgery under general. She gets hers under an epidural block only. She told me that the pain incurred during surgery traumatizes people. Like torture.
Andrew
Yeah, I believe that.
Alex
Ugh.
Andrew
So what did your doctor say to that?
Jenny
He told me that, after they give me sedation/general, then they will inject local anesthetic into the knee cavity before going further. I hope that includes the initial incision, but at least there is that, because a lot of doctors do it only at the very end. I had two nightmares this week that I was aware during the surgery but paralyzed so couldn’t tell them that their anesthesia was shit. Maybe the nightmares will stop now. Yeah, the amnesiac part of the med is CYA! Just memwash you. All clean!
Andrew
Yup.
Jenny

In other news, my practice has been incredibly beautiful for about 2 weeks. As I was looking on last night, I began thinking. I was puzzling again, as I have many times, that no negative state of mind seems to affect the practice. I can be sitting there with doubt, fear, whatever, and the signs and wonders rip anyway. Last night, I suddenly thought that maybe all this doubt and anxiety that has arisen lately is part of the dharmakaya release. That would explain why I lost all my anxiety before, and it stayed gone, but now it is arising so intensely since end of May, when that shift happened.

And that made me think about how on Wednesday I was freaking out about this surgery and the MRI findings. That night, I went online and was reading about pre-op anxiety, and everything I read said, “It is normal.” One article by a surgeon said, “I’m worried only by the patient who does not feel some anxiety; it’s not a haircut!” That made me laugh. And then I noticed that as soon as feeling anxious was normalized for me, and I said to myself, “Okay, so I have pre-op jitters; it is normal,” the anxiety vanished.

Alex
Yeah! that’s prajna.
Andrew
You had meta-anxiety, anxiety about your anxiety.
Alex
Prajna. This is the arising of anxiety = Okay, so I have pre-op jitters; it is normal. This is the ceasing of anxiety = “The anxiety vanished.”
Jenny
Yes, and that is what I learned from this. The larger anxiety was that I should not at my level of practice be anxious. So meta-anxiety. And when I accepted the anxiety, it stopped.
Alex
Wonderful! Which is Trekchod.
Jenny

Yeah. Trekchod via YouAreGonnaDie.com.

Andrew

LOL!

Jenny (Days Later)

Since surgery ended, the esoteric practices have continued in their splendor as long as I can stay awake for them. My recent realization that my emotional, physical, and cognitive state affects practice and results not one iota has struck me as a lesson of some kind.

I noticed this more than a year ago, but I thought I must be missing some connection, that surely if the inner state was “off,” then the efficacy of the practice would respond in some immediately noticeable way, with some change in display or some drying up of signs and wonders. But recently I saw that this is absolutely not true, no matter what my state of mind is, my actions are, etc. Nothing stops the progress, not even a protracted negative state of mind.

I think that the lesson here is akin to what I observed the other day about what Andrew called my meta-anxiety. Anxiety is not a problem; elaborating meta-worry about the anxiety is the problem. Similarly, other states, thoughts, and “negative” emotions that arise are not a problem; nonacceptance of them is. This is key. Resistance, not content, is the problem. Content is just content, the same as post-op knee pain is just pain. Radical acceptance is the practice. This includes forgiveness and self-forgiveness, compassion for myself.

During the earlier stages of my current practice, things were compelling, dazzling, miraculous, and so on. Now they seem more like a teacher of the “inner” “lessons,” even though the lessons are essentially the same as they were during ordinary insight paths. Resistance, not content, is the problem. The spectacle and magick aren’t the point; inevitability and steady presence no matter what is the point. In this, the inner light manifested as outer sign is the teacher and, through its changelessness under whatever inner condition, that outer sign shows the way.

The only thing that keeps me from cutting my arm
Cross hatch, warm bath, Holiday Inn after dark
Signs and wonders: water stain writing the wall
Daniel’s message; blood of the moon on us all

 

Dream Log for September 2017

—-

Date: Mon 28 Aug 2017

Lucidity: No

There was a hot air balloon. I was scrolling through dates and places, perhaps to make an itinerary for traveling in the balloon. 

—-

Date: Tue 29 Aug 2017

Lucidity: No

Poor sleep with hallucinations after 28 drops of Valerian. Saw night sky and stars and planets. Saw ghost tigles and threads as in visions. Woke to see the ceiling rapidly breaking up into dark and light spots that were surprisingly big. Rapid swarm. Finally slept. Had incoherent dreams of traveling to a mountain home where Aunt Judy and Uncle Roland were. Saw photos of Jill and I as children superimposed. Saw photo of Kerry as baby. Saw Paige at one point. Was at a conference table later with Stacey and two additional employees who were hired. One was a black lady named Carol. No one real. Stacey was scolding me for trying to hard at my job. There was an image of a yellow smiley face from the 1970s. It was associated with the mountain home and childhood photos. (Jill and I used to have smiley face cups in the 1970s.)

—-

Date: Fri 01 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

I slept from 3:30 am to 9:15 a.m. I lay still upon waking and know I dreamed entire scenes but all I could retrieve was that I or someone was fueling at a gas station outside Cherokee, where my son Kerry is going to play poker. So car traveling and mountains in the west. Oh, as I was first falling asleep I saw two weird things. The first was a huge purple scribble that scrambled rapidly through a subway station. The other was the head of a white cat that poked through the matrix at me. White cat was in some of my dreams last year. This one was the same cat! She is usually a dream sign to become lucid.

—-

Date: Sat 02 Sep 2017

Lucidity: Yes, faded to clear light

I slept from 1:30 to 4:30 and then from around 5:30 to 12:30. I recall nothing except in the morning hearing the bird totem and checking off that technique on some online chart. At least I am sleeping at night. I’m resolving to straighten out my sleep schedule.

Okay I read some Wallace passages about Atiyoga and then went back to sleep in the afternoon for another 90 minutes. I dreamed of the curmudgeon GOT character named the Hound. I was not part of the scene, nor embodied, nor Jenny identity. I was the same as awareness. But this awareness did start communicating with the hound, without speaking. The hound is a warrior skeptic, but in memory and the dream I had him conflated with the shape-shifter Jaqen H’ghar, who was a religious assassin who collected the faces of those the sect killed. The faces could be worn by him and Arya Stark to display identities.

So my awareness was telling the Hound that he was grumpy because he was traumatized by his brother’s burning his face when they were children but the way was beyond displaying new faces. The way was about taking off his own face. Right before I had fallen asleep, I had remembered what I told the ICY about J’s having no personality but only personality display. As soon as the advice went to the Hound, I became self-aware and the dream scene dissolved. I started moving through layer after layer of awareness to nonconceptual presence. I understood that I had just penetrated my own masks and was now naked awareness. The sleep continued this way until I rose to make coffee.

I’m not used to this anymore. When it happens it isnt easy to know for sure that it has happened.

—-

Date: Sun 03 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No, but did a (failed) reality check in the dream

I slept nearly 11 hours with phase shifted to begin sleep at 4:30 a.m. I used a new lucid/astral hypnosis audio that has binaural beats in the background. I couldn’t really hear the narrator’s words but the reverb was soft and dreamy. I fell asleep immediately. I had no sleep aids but Epsom salt bath.

I woke up midmorning and remembered no dreams. I changed positions after that and fell back asleep until 2:43 p.m.

Then I remembered rather jumbled dreams. I was taking Kerry to some clinic at a hospital campus, red brick. We waited for hours and they made us leave without being seen. It was their fault but I mustered patience and tried to reschedule, but the front desk girl, who was Asian with a short bob haircut, was without affect or bored and couldn’t care less. Finally the two chairs from my bedroom appeared and I gave them to her to resell so she would get us a real appointment. She then sold only one chair to someone and I was sad because she split the pair up. I never cared for those chairs, didn’t want them, but splitting them up seemed wrong.

Next I was in another sort of clinical setting and holding meeting with my sangha, the ICY. We were arguing semantics over some vocabulary words on a worksheet, and this task seemed a threat to the cohesion of the group, splitting us up. We decided not to have vocabulary homework anymore. Good idea!

Then I was driving to another meeting of the sangha, but took another longer route to our meeting place. There was a long winding road through a semi rural neighborhood. Barry was standing by the road with a headdress on of yellow feathers some of which floated off freely into the air.

Then I was suddenly on a shorter route to both Kerry’s clinic and my sangha, but Kurt was driving. I knew he was going to turn left in two more intersections. But I told him to take the first left. I told him it was Allison Street. And as we approached I decided whether the street name should be spelled Alyson or Allison. I decided on Allison and the green street sign said Allison clearly. I glanced away and read it again: Allison. I was trying a reality check but lucidity failed because I read it the same way twice.

Triggers for this dream are that Noah, who is a few years older than Kerry, separated from the chat forum of the sangha  (temporarily). Barry seems a little psychic and is a traditionalist mostly. The yellow feathers are Ratna energy, ruminations and worry. Alyson is one of my authors who was mentioned in an email yesterday, and Kerry was supposed to be a daughter we were going to name Allyson or Allison.

—-

Date: Tue 05 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

I had some wild experiences while doing two lucidity / astral projection audios with hypnotic suggestion, guided meditation visualization of becoming vast awareness, and binaural beats. There were moments when I felt altered but I don’t think I slept. I don’t trust the narrator yet, so some of it was a bit scary.

Past two nights I know I dreamed some scenes with my sangha, but recall was not good. I do remember telling them that the next point on the map was to lie down on their backs and float into these ovens. I could see a row of primitive ovens with doors open and waiting. Maybe because of Jim’s expression “baked in.”

—-

Date: Thu 07 Sep 2017

Lucidity: Yes

I abandoned western methods. I meditated, prayed, and traced the lotus shaped in a red light. Then I felt it in the throat chakra. 30 minutes into hypnagogia I saw a large white number 17. I became lucid and seemed to remember dreaming it recently, maybe even the previous night. The number was important.

—-

Date: Sat 09 Sep 2017

Lucidity: Yes

Afternoon when I went back to bed I quickly dreamed I was in the Village Deli and ordering lunch. I upgraded my side order to soup. They said my total was $60 and I said, “$16?” They said no, $60. I said “No, this is a dream because not even this place would charge that much for soup!” Because I was in Samsaric sleep and realized it, I aborted the dream and woke up. No other successes at night.

—-

Date: Tue 12 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

Yesterday dreamed I was breastfeeding Kerry as a baby and was happy. Today had fragmented dreams. In one part, Kurt was clearing single-handedly a large downed tree from the perimeter of a basin on whose edge we lived.

—-

Date: Fri 15 Sep 2017

Lucidity: Yes

I was in a flooding basement corridor and a steel door was lowering from above. Jim’s voice was shouting out, “There’s the threshold, Jenny!” I became lucid and then woke up. There were many such waking episodes. Toward morning the waking was into a remembered feeling of deep depression, almost suicidal. Hurricane Irma and family strife were perhaps triggers.

—-

Date: Sun 17 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

I had dreams I cannot recall, but I recall seeing a small bedroom with a double bed and telling and showing Kerry that Sharon used to have an equally small bedroom with a double bed and a twin bed. The dream was about comparative wealth.

—-

Date: Tue 19 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No, but successfully incubated (asked for a teacher to come into a dream and teach me)

I was gazing out on a meadow, with tree line in the distance. The scene was cold and late autumn. The grasses and tree leaves were all golden brown, vivid decay, going to seed as the Olds say of the fourth vision. I pulled out my cell phone and started taking photos of the field. I kept moving to a new position to optimize the capture of the lighting.

Then to the left I saw a slope down into an amphitheater. There was a musical concert happening. I knew J was there, even though he was far up toward the front. Nicole and his kids got up and passed me in the aisle as I moved toward him. I sat down in the seat beside him. He was wearing a brown blazer. His hair was long. He kept his gaze on the stage.

I said, “This isn’t my usual music. I like Radiohead.” He said, “Just watch and listen to the show without trying to capture it.” Energy from the third eye and the heart center was transmitted by both of us to the other and received by both of us from the other. I felt deep love for him. I felt safe. I felt seen and held even though he was still just gazing at the show and not touching me or looking at me.

Before sleep I incubated a dream to have a teacher appear and advise me on gaining lucidity in sleep. My teacher in real life is who appeared.

—-

Date: Sun 24 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

I am in some sort of group loosely gathered on a remote site or in a small town. It may be Buddhist Geeks conference. Sian from work is there, and we are discussing some review or marketing plan. She has to abruptly leave and I remember and remark out loud that she has four children and no wonder that she has to leave early. She says actually she has five children. I say that I do not know how she manages life.

After she goes I think how she is not trying to write a book and is not leading an intellectual’s life. I am comparing people and remember I should accept all people as buddhas.

I now overhear some conversation in which one conversant is saying she has academic degrees in three areas. She is a combination of Kathy Durant from House of Cards and Laurel Carrington from Awake Network. I notice that she doesn’t mention these are PhD and MS degrees. I am impressed with what she keeps secret and her humility as a kindness to others.

Now I am at a computer in the hotel lounge for the WiFi. I decide to post to the Dharma Overground and about what people keep secret out of kindness to others, or humility. I have three short posts in mind and I type out the first one although I cannot read the screen, which should have been a reality check.

Then I remember that I am banned from the DhO site and banished from the community. I think about using an alias to keep my identity secret. I remember that it upsets Daniel for me to post stuff that implies he is not fully enlightened. I make sure my text is nonthreatening to him. Then I decide to post under my true identity. I know this will likely fail because I am banned. I see Daniel’s picture showing he is online and vigilant. I click “Post” and wait for my post to be deleted by Daniel.

To the left of me, in the hotel lounge, a portal opens in the wall. It is a dark underground tunnel linking Daniel and me. I almost call out his name and wait for him to emerge. But instead I notice that we can simply feel the other’s presence and communicate telepathically. I let him know that the post is neutral and not personal but to delete it if it is not okay for me to post. There is no answer, but he leaves the post on the site. I post the next two in the same way. The topic is secrecy and openness, how each can be generosity, depending on the situation.

Now I am out of the conference hotel and in a grocery store. I feel my bare feet on the cool floor. It feels so good. I know it is normally against establishment rules to enter barefoot, but we are in some beach town where people enter in their bathing suits. So I try to break the rules inconspicuously by acting natural.

I fill my cart with old fashioned glass bottles of milk. At the cash register is an old man who forgot to bring enough money. He too is barefoot. I pay for my milk and when he isn’t looking I place half my milk in his cart and signal to the cashier that this milk of human kindness belongs to the man. Then I walk out.

—-

Date: Tue 26 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No, but did a (failed) reality check and had a false awakening, so close

I thought I wasn’t asleep when really I was. Then I (falsely) awoke at 9 a.m. I got up, dressed for work, and went to work. But it wasn’t my current job. It was a hybrid between my former job as a freelance copy editor and some ideal job I have dreamed of before. Denise and Sian from my current job were there, though. After a while, I vaguely sensed something was off about this reality. Eventually I did the reality check of trying to push the index finger through the opposite palm. The reality check failed because I couldn’t push my finger through and falsely concluded that I was in the waking reality after all. At 9:00 a.m. I really woke up and was stunned and disoriented to find that that the first awakening was false.

—-

Date: Fri 29 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

There was a house and a party there with various dharma friends and acquaintances. It was some all night party. There were various indoor and outdoor scenes. One was of being in a rowboat on a pond behind the farmhouse where the party was. The clear part was in the morning. I walked into the bright white farmhouse kitchen. Daniel was there facing the sink, maybe washing his hands, or washing dishes as he once told me he does at dinner parties. He turned around and I was standing right in front of him, smiling and lifting an eyebrow as if to say, “Well now what?” I half expected him to brutally cut me off. But he flashed his dimples, said something merely polite, and remained cheerful. We talked about how we were in general. After about 10 minutes he walked away and then left the scene.

—-

Date: Sat 30 Sep 2017

Lucidity: No

I am staying in J’s and Nicole’s home in Boston. The home is big and old with a lot of hardwood paneling and cool wood floor under my feet. J is out traveling a lot. Nicole walks around in a house coat and with her hair all tousled, uncombed.

I am comfortable there except that Nicole is a bit eccentric and disorganized (and therefore like me). The home ambiance is ruined by the fact that it is badly infested by huge Darth Vader cockroaches. Some even fly, and I have to swat them out of my hair. I refrain from killing them, remembering how J once spoke tenderly to a stink bug that landed on him during a Skype call. But then Nicole placed some scones she made on a hallway table and I was disgusted to see them covered with roaches that seemed to be throwing crumbs up with their hind legs and burrowing into the scones for fun. Nicole was fine with all this but I lost my appetite.

On the wide wooden landing I stood while Nicole was in taking a bath. Suddenly my dead father appeared in three dimensional form in front of me. He looked so young, so real. He was dressed in his suit from the 1960s and smiling at me. I was excited but I wondered if he were merely a hologram, because he was in black and white. I said to him, “Daddy, I dream only in color now. You are not real.” Then, although he appeared to be an electronic movie, he stepped off the round disc he was projected from and hugged me. I could feel that I was held by him and that he loved me.

Nicole came out of the bathroom, and the holographic image vanished. J was home from conducting retreats. He was bounding up the stairs. I went into the room to tell him what had happened, careful to step over all the disgusting cockroaches running riot. The couple knew of such hologram experiences and were nonplussed, but I had to convince them that this one could hug and therefore take on solid form. They finally seemed to believe me.