Dream Shopping with Hypnapompic Psychic Event

This post is a somewhat cobbled together and edited few scraps from my private space with friends. It is beyond my energy and inclination to detail the complex web of nexuses and multilateral associations that have been my spiritual fare over the past 9 months. Purity is silence.

I will say just this: My main practice in Dzogchen progressed rapidly for the first year (June 4, 2016, to the end of May 2017). Then the outward signs of both its progress and egress were suspended. The inward psycho-emotional transformation has been nevertheless phenomenal.

I’m in what is known as dharmakaya release. This is the post-awakening gradual self-arising and self-liberation of all karmic traces from all lives, current and past. It becomes tricky, like the ultimate Myst puzzle, because the approach is closer and closer to my deepest, earliest traumas and therefore obscurations of the clear light, our true and deathless state. Much refinement of the trauma narrative happens as the release continues. But as my friend Barry says, those are, in the end, also just narratives. For all of us, they all reduce to fear of death. This post is at the nexus of dream yoga, the release of and from Patriarchy, and practices transforming for me the meaning of death.

Concerning tragic death, my son’s close friend died suddenly and unexpectedly in February. The death had a tremendous impact on me. I began having a nightmare that repeated itself three times over several nights, and I’m not prone to having nightmares. In it, I was looking down at him, as one would look down at a baby in his crib, gazing on him in his open casket.  I was realizing gradually that I was actually his mother and he was dead. The loss I felt was unbearable. Anguish, terror, and rejection shot through all of reality, like an earth shattering scream, like a jolt of black lightning. Then . . . gradually a blindingly bright white light shone into the scene out the corner of my left eye. The light then filled my bedroom, where I realized I was sleeping. The light woke me from the nightmare.

After the third repetition of this dream, and some key support and exchange with my teacher, I had a dream of Vasily, another young man, a longtime dharma friend from the Dharma Underground. He was driving me in my car, and we were laughing with hair blowing around in the wind from the open windows. This dream was affirming life.

The rest of this post documents a remarkable dream a couple of days ago, and an even more remarkable psychic event the morning after.

Directional Confusion in the Dharmakaya Release

Another month has passed. I feel that I have too many dharma practice irons in the fire and keep vacillating from one to another, doing none of them with full, enduring commitment. I could easily commit to one practice, or no practice, but I don’t know how to know which option to choose.

I went through months and months of lucid dreaming and even clear light in deep sleep many nights out of the week, but with the suspension of my main esoteric practice’s results, this too was suspended. Now I am experiencing dharma goal overwhelm, frankly, paired with not knowing how to move forward on any of objectives shifting in the shallows. I think that is why I’ve been so focused lately on finishing the posting out to Jhana Jenny the rest of my old journal: That is something that is a straightforward task, and I know how to do it. J  seems to think I should do nothing. The work is emotional, and it is doing itself. I have been gravitating toward doing deep devotional and compassion practices. I’ve been trying to lead Kory through whatever bardo he may be in.

I can see where and when my remaining obscurations are—boundaries between sleeping and waking. Not practicing something feels counter-intuitive, even if it is just a supplication practice, which really is what I’m practicing. But for many weeks, I did virtually stop practicing because I was getting sick and tired of “dharma,” feeling it to be an artificial device at this point that separates me from life and even from genuine humility and humanness.

J says that what I’m really tasked with doing now is letting go of “patriarchy,” his word. It may seem that I’m getting far afield here from dream and sleep practice, but it is all one topic. My hypnogogic states are awake and wild, generally for 90 minutes after I lie down. But as I slip into sleep proper, right at that perceived boundary, there is often a sharp flash of terror. Then in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, there is a feeling of clinical depression, which I used to suffer from. It is stultifying enough not to know how to work with these boundaries, but it is even more puzzling to consider that nondoing of all practice may indeed actually be the practice available and effective.

And there is no teacher or guide to help me solve it, as teacherlessness is itself the patriarchy test. Even though I still have little surges of impatience, overall for the past year a substratum of just simple patience is setting in. I started studying death practices because I’m gradually accepting that I may die before finishing the path to buddhahood, so I’m treating that as a real possibility, because it is.

I was telling Barry that I had refined my narratives of what my chief obscurations were, and he said at one point something like “those are still just narratives” and “the obscuration for all of us is fear of death.”

I spent hours last night on the cushion with tears streaming after the practices for Kory. I felt deeply what it was to wish for someone else’s liberation and that extended to everyone. It is a deepening of the Bodhisattva motivation naturally. When spaciousness first opens, it is like water let out of a silo into a surrounding lake: there is a new equilibrium of inside/outside. That is this but on a different pathway, heart pathway, as J says.

Tantric Bardos Practices: Smoke and Sparks A-Flying

I’ll describe the sit fully in my regular journal, but several details are germane to the dream I just had. One is that I did a heartfelt practice to guide Kory through the bardo toward a good human rebirth. One is that at one point in the practice, when I was invoking Salgye du Dalma, the space became visually filled with “smoke,” then with darting tiny lights like fast fireflies, and then with a central flame-like flickering light. (This same sequence happened the night before during practice, but I dismissed it as a fluke.) I absorbed the goddess Salgye du Dalma down into my crown chakra and let her descend the chakras. The energy was shockingly intense in third eye, throat, and heart. It stayed in the heart, not descending further for whatever reason.

The other detail is that I wrote out a dream incubation. The spell was to evoke some teacher or teachers to appear within the next three nights’ dreams and point out to me, via signs, how I can bring and stabilize rigpa into sleep and what, in general, I should be doing with my practice now. And immediately came the dream.

Dream of Sleepers in the Holding Environment

I, and sometimes Kurt and I, are traveling to look for a place to retire. I’m keen on retiring so that I can devote my daily life to writing and to dharma. Kurt drives us up the same hill that was in my recent dream about Vasily–the same hill Vasily drove me up, seemingly in Chatham County. I enter a duplex, or townhouse apartment. There are two presumably widowed men living there as roommates. They each have a baby boy about a year old. One of the babies is conked out on the floor, sleeping, and I start to wonder why the baby isn’t in his crib. One of the fathers is holding the other boy, who is starting to fall asleep.

One of the fathers sits in a recliner katy-corner to the couch where I sit talking to the other father. I ask this other father if there is space to rent on the other side of the duplex, but he seemingly cannot focus on me, or doesn’t care about my presence there in the least. He, too, is beginning to fall asleep in sitting position with his sleeping boy held in his arms.

I rise and decide to look around by myself. I open a door past the couch and enter another room. It is filled with smoke and darting lights like fireflies. I remember that I’ve seen these while meditating, but I do not at this time reach lucidity. Then the room becomes the night sky, and the fireflies become white tigles and then stars and galaxies. Again, this reminds me of . . . something about meditating, but I’m busy shopping for retirement, so I back out of the room and close that door.

Suddenly, Kurt and I are in a suburb of Atlanta (where Kory lived and died). We’ve always thought about moving to Atlanta since it is more of real city than Raleigh. We meet a young, pretty dark-haired woman who is going to show us a condo. We begin walking through the lobby of the high-rise, and everyone I pass falls to the carpet and begins sleeping. I think this is strange, and it seems like the pattern is trying to tell me something, but I cannot quite make out what. We continue on, but then I wake up in my bed.

When I woke up in my bedroom, I did not open my eyes. Nor did I try to remember this dream, which floated up as memory only after I came downstairs for coffee. Instead, lying there with my eyes closed, I suddenly felt an intense imperative to guess what time was on my alarm clock across the room. In my mind, still with eyes closed, I saw the red alarm clock numbers: 1:11. I knew with absolutely certainty that it was 1:11. I sat up, opened my eyes, and saw that my alarm clock read 1:11.

Dream Evaluation: Wakeup Call (Literally)

This dream is as much about death as it is about sleep. I had been providing a loving holding environment for Kory in the bardo practice I was doing before I slept. In the dream, the fathers are doing a half-assed job of holding their boys because they themselves are prone to sleeping through daily life. I eventually traveled to Atlanta, where Kory died and where, it so happens, I was born. I have been thinking a lot about my wish to retire, the lifetime that is running out, and how my fear of death is the same barrier as my fear of sleep, which triggers my staying up too late and, after 90-minute lucid hypnagogia, experiencing a flash of terror as I fall into sleep proper. That everyone was dropping to the ground and into sleep in the midst of life was a dream sign that was like death and was trying to wake me up in the dream. The room that turned into visions and then outer space was the dharmakaya of all bardos.

With regard to my dream incubation, the teaching is just a confirmation that I’m making the connections between childhood, death, bardo, and dream lucidity that I should be making. The people’s dropping in their tracks and sleeping was a pointing out. It may have been a dream sign to wake up in the dream, which I failed to do completely. It could be a warning that death comes suddenly in the midst of life. Or it could be a commentary that almost everyone I encounter is asleep instead of awakened, and I need to be awake all the time, even when my body is sleeping.

I just went to Father Google to search for any meaning of 1:11. Here is the first thing that popped:

1:11 or 11:11 is certainly a magical sign. In fact, The Magician card is number 1 in the major arcana of the tarot. When you see repeating 1s it’s like a wakeup call from the mystical realm. Look around and really pay attention to where you are. This is a cosmic confirmation that you’re moving in the right direction. There’s further to go as 1 is the first step, but you can be assured that you are on your path—and things will evolve so you won’t stop here.

Eleven is a master number in numerology, and connotes a spiritual path. It is a confirmation that you are a lightworker, here to uplift human consciousness and restore a sense of oneness and harmony to the world. You’re getting the thumbs up to just be yourself and let your light and magic shine.

I’m taking all this as the sign I incubated. The message is that, although I having been feeling “stuck” in my main practice and releasing my chief obscurations, I’m in fact on the right track. I need simply to relax, trust that the path itself is leading me correctly, and continue the current trajectory.

Postmortem with Andrew

Andrew

That’s a hell of a dream and psychic event.

Jenny

Yeah. I agree. The smoke and firefly lights wigged me out a bit because I remembered that those are signs of inner dissolution when someone is in the Painful Bardo of Dying.

Andrew

Is that covered in Holecek’s book?

Jenny

Yes! This has happened twice as I was invoking Salgye du Dalma, the Bonpo goddess of lucid sleep. Before I crawled into bed after practice, I started Googling like crazy on my phone to see if this meant I was gonna die soon.

Andrew

Yeah . . . good question.

Jenny

Then I paused to reflect that, even if that were the case, I had to be okay with that.

Andrew

Right.

Jenny

Anyway, then I finished Googling. It turns out that this inner dissolution is common in tantric practices. It signifies the dissolution of the Jenny identity to emptiness before becoming the deity.

Andrew

Oh, now that’s interesting.

Jenny

Isn’t, though? I had no idea! So it seems to me that the momentum of everything that has happened the past two practice-dream cycles is toward my continuing tantric sleep and death bardo practices while my other practice is held in suspense until something via this “sidetrack” is resolved. I asked for direction and incubated that request. This dream and 1:11 sign is the message that I’m receiving.

Andrew

So, given that, how are you going to proceed practice-wise?

Jenny

First, I’m definitely going to keep the holding environment for Kory going, as this is for him chiefly but is also helping me with my motherly fear of something horrible happening to Kerry. It is showing me that I can hold this being even though he has passed out of this life. So, as I’m actually experiencing the death of myself to enter the bardo to find him, I’m feeling and coming to certainty that there is continuity beyond this life. This practice will resolve something that needs to be resolved to stabilize lucidity in sleep and move forward in my Dzogchen practice..

Andrew 

Presumably for the duration of his bardo period? Which is 49 days?

Jenny

Yes. He was taken off life support February 25. This is an opportunity for me to sit as the mother of all beings by entering into the death space and bringing love, reassurance, clarity, and guidance. I can feel that this is happening, as I volunteer 100% of my being to this end.

Andrew

Is this a practice that came from Holecek’s book or something just inspired by it?

Jenny

I have talked to friends of mine who suddenly died in much the same way as I’m talking with Kory, and in much the same way as I’m sending love to my friend Teresa’s hour of death in the future, because she has terminal cancer. I read the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the distant past and saw a movie about the 49 days of saying the script aloud to the person. But the Holecek book is comprehensive on all the available practices for the dead, from very simple to elaborate and so complex that only a monastic can do them. So I’m using a combination of practices from Holecek.

Here is what I’m doing:

  1. Thinking lovingly of him while reciting mantra om mani padme hum.
  2. Talking aloud to him to remind him that he has died and not to look back; to be calm and relaxed, to recognize that everything that he is encountering is just the expression of this own mind as in a dream; to slow down and not be distracted but tether his focus to my voice and words; to stay away from any dull alluring colored lights; to move toward the very bright lights even though they may seem too bright, to stay away from the yellow, red, and green lights and instead move toward the bright white or blue light; to choose human parents; to choose a continent with tall buildings and other signs of wealth; to know that if he fully recognizes all he is experiencing now as his own mind then he will be instantly liberated from all suffering.
  3. Practicing tonglen compassion practice wherein I breathe in Kory’s fear and confusion, and breathe out a line of white light I use to connect his disembodied mind to me and my guidance.
  4. Dedicate my practice to the liberation from suffering of all beings and currently especially Kory.

On Sunday evening I add another practice: heartfelt recitation of the King of Aspiration Prayer. This was recommended in Holecek for every week on the day of the week that the person died. Try reciting that aloud sometime and see if you don’t shed tears.

Holecek mentions that the dead person’s mind is 9 times stronger than in embodied life. He is clairvoyant and clairaudiant. They are psychic and can read your mind and heart, as well has hear your voice. The problem is that, for people who have never meditated, it is usually confusing and frightening to suddenly be in a formless state.

Out of confusion and fear, bardo beings get carried away by the visions and sounds in the state, and they basically make the state into a nightmare situation. So they may out of terror jump at the first parents that appear, which are likely not human. Or they may go into a dream cave or dream flower bud to hide from the terrifying visions. The texts say that beings can in this way become stuck in the bardo for eons, until some master volunteers and guides them out.

Andrew

Thats really interesting. I’ve bought the book. Probably going to start reading it later today. Terrifying as well. Really motivates…

Jenny

The other thing is that, although the being’s mind is powerful, it is unstable without a body. He keeps losing focus, which is why you have to talk to him over and over again and remind him how to keep calm and move steadily forward.

Yes, terrifying. but people who have in their lives meditated plenty know what it feels like to be formless. So meditators usually fare much better. Such is the dogma, anyway. Someone who has practiced Togal is said to avoid the bardo altogether and go, at the very least, to Amitabbha’s pure abode, where they will finish the path.

Andrew

Well, we surely had some previous practice to end up where we are now.

Jenny

It is pretty fascinating. It is also fascinating that most everyone around me has absolutely no idea about any of this or his or her own situation. So it is easy from that perspective to see that this life is itself a dream state.

Andrew

Yeah, the sense of others being asleep is interesting.

Jenny

That’s what was happening in my dream last night—everyone dropping into sleep, ignorance.

Anyway, I’m not going to focus on my Dzogchen practice so much right now. I feel that the path itself is showing me that dropping back to these tantric approaches will help me resolve some main obscuration in the bardos so that later my main practice can once again advance. Tantra is, from a Dzogchen view, dropping down into remediation. Where the chief obscuration is, remediation seems like overall optimization.

Andrew

That makes sense.

Jenny

Normally, I might doubt my intuition, but not when the signs are so clearly given upon dream incubation, with a psychic showstopper on waking up afterward. All this is reassuring and motivating. J’s latest interactions with me were all about Diamond Guidance awakening and replacing the teacher (patriarchy). He was saying that, where I am, the path itself will reveal itself to me. All I have to do is not argue. The “work” now is emotional, and doing it while not “doing” it is the supreme paradox.

Andrew

That makes sense. There’s the perspective that all of this is ornamentation and its doing itself anyways. So you may as well let it play itself out.

Jenny

Yeah. My being “stuck” is always a delusion. There is no “stuck” apart from taking it to be the case.

Dark red
Light years
Brought near
Cold gun
Glowing
Night scene
Started remain
Brought fear

Cold wind
Light years
Brought near
Dark gun
Glowing
Night scene

The world’s colliding
A new dividing
The color’s missing
Upon the dark spring