Dreams and Astral Outings: April 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Following are selected and edited entries from a dream log I maintain on a private server with a few Pragmatic Dharma friends who are doing the same. Since the death of Kory and my bardo practices for him, while focusing my practice on stabilizing lucidity throughout all sleep, the more frequent experience has been separation of a second phantom body from my coarse in-bed body, followed by “traveling.” So far, the travels have seemed brief and close to home. I have poor control over induction, with most of this happening spontaneously and, except for the heraldic bodily vibrations that precede OBEs, sporadically. It seems that my various experiences in bardo states since the death of, and thrice-repeated nightmares about, Kory are eradicating my fear of death, which is, for us all, the chief obscuration of the clear light of empty but timeless awareness. 

The first time I left my body this way, I quickly determined to float over to my bedroom mirror to have a look at my “astral” body. I did so. The body is a kind of silvery translucency, with a trailing effect accompanying any movement. My age in the mirror was shifting nonchronologically and was overall undecidable. One of my friends on the private server mentioned that looking at the second body in a mirror fulfills  Don Juan’s Third Gate of Dreaming. That’s a fun fact if ever there were one! I’m not sure “dreaming” is the applicable word, but Don Juan, like the Buddhists, knows every mode of being is dream mode.

These experiences are hyper-real, with an intense sense of my embodiment and five-senses immersion and coherence. Although time can be distorted while out of body, and some of the spatial layout is inverted at times, the physical world is much more consistent and concrete than in a dream. Visually, it presents at a higher sampling rate and therefore vividness and definition than the Waking. Moreover, I am awake-aware the entire time that the second body is separating from the first body. The point of view is consistently in the second body until the bodies collapse into one. No one can be more surprised than I that all the New Age stuff about astral traveling turns out to be true!

Beyond the spectacle and awe, however, what matters, as mentioned, is my now self-confirming hypothesis that traveling beyond physical matter reality dovetails Buddhist Truth aim with the Therapeutic. Eventually, on the path one has to confront fear of death with the reality of the Deathless. This, I feel, is the beginning.

April 4: Almost-Lucid Dream about John and Being on a Conveyor Belt

I fell asleep around 9:30 p.m. for a couple of hours. I had a dream about John.

I am living in an unfamiliar, rather large house. There is is big conveyor belt in the basement, as big as an airport concourse. It is making a racket. Also, Kerry is sitting on the floor in front of the TV, which he has turned up too loud. Kerry keeps changing to different ages, from about 6 to 22 years old. Suddenly, I start realizing something is not right about this reality. I have a few minutes of lucidity and decide to call John . . . just because I can.

I walk to the kitchen, pick up the phone, and fumble around to locate John’s phone number. But I hear John breathing on the line already, clearing his throat and talking to his children on his end. Kerry turns the TV up louder, and I tell him harshly to turn it down. Then John yes, “Jenny, yes, what is it?” Now, because Kerry is being so distracting, I cannot remember why I was calling John. I say, “Oh, you are already there.” He says, “I’m always here.” Now I’m becoming embarrassed because I cannot for the life of me remember what I wanted to ask him. I am struggling for words and then remember it has something to do with sleep and dreams.

During the awkward silence, I feel like I have to make some reason up for calling, so I say, “John there are all these people doing strange things in my dreams.” He says, “Yeah?” And I say, “Yeah. They are taking off their clothes.” John laughs and says, “Well, of course they are!” Kerry is turning up the TV again, and I am almost screaming at him to hush. But then I remember, “Oh, John doesn’t yell at his kids, so I better not yell at Kerry.” But I can barely hear John or think because Kerry is being such a little shit with the noise. Finally, caught in a bind, I tell John, “I will let you get back to your studies now.” He says okay. Then I’m on the conveyor belt in the basement. It is scary because it is going fast and under overhangs that bump my head.

This dream seems to be about my having the impulse the other night to send John a note, but then I didn’t do so because I really had nothing urgent I needed to ask him and he is busy.

The conveyor belt is an interesting dream sign because I had an important dream in 2016 about my karmic connection with Daniel. In that dream I found myself on a conveyor belt at the end, traveling into a storehouse (karmic respository). At the time, in 2016, I had looked up “conveyor belt” in a dream dictionary. It indicated that the symbol means “repeated patterns.” The dream about Daniel was about my breaking our habit-patterned karmic bonds. Because a conveyor belt indicates repetition, from a meta-level it is funny that this sign from the Daniel dream is repeating in this dream of John. 

Also of interest about this dream, as in the last dream, is that I was momentarily lucid and knew something was unreal about the “reality,” but I couldn’t quite establish and maintain full-on dream lucidity. At least I’m noticing in the dreams that something isn’t quite right, so I’m verging on reality checking within the dream.

April 5: Continuous Thread of Awareness through First Sleep

Before I went to bed, I was thinking about Andrew’s reported sense of some subtle thread of awareness through a duration of sleep. I believe I experienced this during my “first sleep” of about 3 hours. There were flashes of images and a sense that I dreamed, even though I couldn’t remember any dream narrative. More distinct was the sense of that thread of awareness through all—subtle and nondiscursive, but there. I woke up and then drank mugwort tea for the first time this night. I fell out as if dead. No dreams. Nothing. Mugwort has the opposite effect on me that it is supposed to. It is great for insomnia and Stupid Sleep, though! I’ll keep it stocked only for that purpose.

April 6: More Alarm Clock Time Weirdness 

All I remember concerning dreams is some vague scenes of Kurt and I touring homes for retirement again. Retirement must really be on my mind!

Something strange happened yet again with my alarm clock and hypnapompia: My alarm clock sounded and I rose at 9 a.m. I went downstairs to make coffee and wondered why Kurt was still home. Then he left and I went upstairs to wash my face and dress for work. Then the alarm clock sounded all over again. It now said, “9:00.” So I guess I got up at 8:00 instead of 9:00? But why did my alarm clock sound at 8:00? I checked my settings and my clock was and is set to sound at 9:00. Is my alarm clock possessed? I’m also sometimes experiencing other time-slicings some days. Weird. And a little disturbing at this point as I feel a little crazy or demented when radical time distortions happen.

April 7: Dream of Virtual Space Becoming Shared Physical Space

I am at a computer screen, an interface to various online dharma communities. Vasily is sometimes sitting beside me and sometimes on the other side of the screen, fluidly and unpredictably passing back and forth across sides, like a bardo body. I accidentally land on the Dharma Overground site. Suddenly, the DhO style of interface goes to the old green and black command-line screens of decades ago, the way the Dharma Underground used to be.

Because of some accidental key combination I execute, the bottom fourth of the black computer screen manifests a physical panel that opens like a window casement. Vasily is beside me again on this side, and I realize that I’m about to have surgery on my MCL because Dr. Summers messed it up when he repaired my meniscus tear. I am thinking that surgery always carries risk and I could die.

The panel that opens in the computer screen is a physical window into a physical scene. I hear Daniel’s voice. Curious, I get down on my knees so that I am eye level with the open computer screen panel. I can see Daniel there, sitting at a bar and enjoying a cocktail. It is as if my panel is part of what is the bar mirror from his point of view. I realize that this is so real that I could reach in and pick up his cocktail and drink from the some cup. I want to say something to him, to reconcile, or reach mutual forgiveness, or something before I possibly die in surgery. I realize that I have the physical power to reach out to him, literally, but I lose the courage to and reflect that he would never be reconciled with me. I settle into the sacred openness of relationship in timeless, silent suspension.

This dream is like another that I had months ago and recorded—Daniel and I were at a Buddhist Geeks conference, on our respective computers in separate hotel lounges. In the wall beside my computer screen, a wormhole to the wall beside Daniel’s computer opened. I think some of the current dream, such as the cocktail bar mirror, was triggered by my reading a book on astral travel before bed, particularly a section on the “Alice in Wonderland effect.” Alice went through the looking glass, like an astral traveler. My college friends nicknamed me Alice back in the 1980s because I played Alice in Wonderland in a piece of in-situ theatre back in the day, and I kept an Alice monologue ready as one of my standard audition pieces.

April 8: Hypnagogia via the School of Dreaming 

I’ve been up all night, sleepless but hours at a time in hypnagogia. I keep forgetting to mention this in my dream logs, but in hynagogia I have periods in which I am seeing the bedroom through my closed eyelids. Seeing through eyelids used to happen often during jhana practice, too, so this isn’t novel, but it is nonetheless weird. I’ve not managed to go out of body or lucidly dream tonight, but I was close on both fronts from the shores of extended hypnagogia.

This return of long-duration hypnagogia confirms that mugwort was killing it, as well as my dream recall, although stupor is opposite what mugwort is touted to do. Conversely, valerian induces outright hallucinations, whereas it is supposed to promote sleep. I learned from Elthea, who works in an herb shop, that valerian does that to her, too, and happens to 1 in 100 people. For now, I’m going to refrain from substances. I may look into ways to improve my memory in general, because older folks have more difficulty with dream recall than younger folks—simply because memory declines with age even in healthy brains. I am, however, drinking Nighty-Night tea with the passion flower. It helps me sleep, but not in the obliterated way mugwort does. . . .

After I woke up and wrote the this account, I fetched a snack and then slept the Stupid Sleep for a few hours. Then I woke up and decided to try following the School of Dreaming guided meditation “Hypnagogia.” I didn’t really expect to fall back asleep, and I felt like I’d be merely wasting my Sunday by going back to bed, but I’m trying to change my attitudes around sleep because this is my central practice now. So I went back to bed and played this same audio that I played last night.

I noticed how many aches and pains I have all over my body. Then I guess I was in some jhanic mode since I saw the violet nimitta, which never really developed into the geometric beginnings of hypnagogia. My body started disappearing, though, along with the nimitta, and I felt as if I were floating, levitating, because I didn’t feel my body. The audio instructs a dream incubation to go to a favorite destination. Both last night and today I chose Sanibel Island, Florida, which has pristine sugar-sand beaches and crystal clear aqua water with sparse gentle waves. It is probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever experienced.

Last night I was definitely in hypnagogia and lost time: I was in and out, and in and out, of hearing the audio. This morning the experience differed. I don’t feel as if I ever slept at all, and I never saw the geometric patterns. In both cases, I failed to project into the Sanabel Island destination. In both instances, I went to other hyper-real places, as usual, from the hypnagogic state. This occurred today even though I never saw the early geometric beginning signs of hypnagogia.

From apparent jhana, I fell through flashes of different places from real life. I was in one running an errand at the credit union and noticing the exquisite raindrops on the sidewalks and windows—extremely real! In another I was back in high school drama class, behind the racks of costumes, where Bill Lickson suddenly pulled me up and kissed me long. . . . All this time I was aware of being in my bed and didn’t feel I was asleep at all, but I guess I was asleep at least some of the time, because the 54-minute audio felt like 25 minutes at most, and I retained lost body sensation of my in-bed body. The thing is, I was aware of all this in real time, omissions and all. The audio was on a timer so that my regular music library wouldn’t start up afterward; when it abruptly ended, the abruptness of silence woke me up out of the state. So now the day. . . .

I think I’m not ready to combine hypnagogia with incubating a specific destination. I think focusing on a specific destination is introducing too much effort and performance pressure. I think I need to let the hypnagogia just rip, with the only goal being to stay with it in awareness. It could be, though, that my intent is weak because I really am undecided where to go and why. This is, now that I think about it, likely the problem.

Oh—I nearly forgot to mention this: The violet nimitta, which always seems to be in front of, or somehow connected with, my physical eyes, changed several times into this strange profile of a directed spotlight of white light. Unlike a nimitta, this light seemed to be on the very border between true eye-consciousness and “inward” dream consciousness. It ushered in the the flashes of drama class and credit union errand. It reminded me of the white peripheral light that woke me up from those three repeated nightmares about Kory being in his casket and my being his mother. The spotlight revolved, too. It seemed to fan out from some black hexagonal lighting unit, but I could barely see that housing.

April 9: Hypnagogia Lasting Hours and Punctuated by Vibrations

I fulfilled bardo practices for Kory, including the King of Aspiration Prayer, and then tantric merging with lucid sleep goddess Salgye du Dalma. I did not this time see the smoke, fireflies, and central “butter lamp flame.” I did, however, see everything in the visual field “roiling” like boiling water. The “bubbles” were large, so almost formation-grade warping.

I had set up the School of Dreaming audio in the hopes that it would play only the 18-minute “Astral Affirmation” track, but after that track played it went straight on to the “Hypnagogia” track and perhaps the beginning of “The Crystal Lake.” I was easily in what I’m about to describe for a full 2 hours. My awareness of the audio went in and out, which in itself is interesting, as this happened many times—my weaving close to the border between waking and sleeping. The narrator of the meditation says this will happen; it is an expected effect.

In bed I made an MP3 audiolog in the early morning hours to prevent losing more memory than I did. So here is what happened:

One detail I forgot to mention in this audio is that I did retry incubating myself into a Sanabel Island, Florida, scene again. This time I had partial success: I flashed in and out of that scene for just a few moments at a time. Even while this was happening, a part of my mind was metacognitively commenting on the experience. The comment to myself was that this inability to ground my mind instead of being swept away to some other scene was just like what Holecek writes about the after-death bardo: Mind is powerful but unstable and is blown about when without a body to ground it.

April 12: Questions of Control versus Drift across Boundaries

Last night I played the School of Dreaming “Hypnagogia” audio, which is 52 minutes long. There are a couple of places in this audio that seem to consistently jar me out of the state, one being in the middle of the meditation, where the narrator again defines “hypnagogia,” which distracted me up out of the state, even though I was so far from the sound to begin with.

I’m gaining insight, I think, just from investigating closely how the flashing visions take me over, and then how the audio returns to my consciousness. I’m trying to zoom in and notice what may be happening at the boundaries. I need to start earlier!

I tried for Sanabel Island, but that place was unstable. To make it more interesting, I added a tikki hut with silk floor pillows, Jim, Andrew, and John. That was more interesting. I think I need the scene to be peopled. Anyway, Sanabel was not strongly present. But, weirdly, I would have the merest half-thought about another place or person, and bam: I would be there. I thought of my mother and suddenly I was in her kitchen with by sister Jill. It was extremely concrete and real. Then. like a flash from there, I was on the Building C lawn at work, next to the silver pi sculpture.

Therefore, one interesting finding is that I have difficulty holding the state, especially when it starts turning from visions behind closed eyelids and into the beginnings of dreams. My mind slaps like a magnet onto whatever mere half-thought passes through and makes that into an entire scene: The dreamer falls into the dream, seduced. I’m unsure whether to continue to try to force a certain scene, modify toward a more interesting scene, or simply allow the hypnagogia to have its way with me. Dzogchen has made me too passive, I feel. I need to incorporate, however much with the usual warnings in mind, the masculine magician. John remarked in 2015 that my dream ego is gullible, led too easily along by others. Time to amp the fierceness!

April 12: Control from the “Other” Side of the Dream-Waking Split

I was exhausted last night from two nights of standing-room-only concerts in Chapel Hill and Durham. I chose the 18-minute “Astral Affirmations,” audio, knowing I would zonk out quickly. I again experienced seeing things in my bedroom through closed eyelids. I later saw white versions of networked tigles and, later still, hundreds of tiny crescent moons that were the color of goldenrod. I don’t remember going into a scene, and barely even tried because so tired, but I did in fact experience the fine vibrations said to precede astral projection.

The audio did vanish from my consciousness (or memory of consciousness?) for a long stretch; however, interestingly, the part of the audio that I wanted to hear again, when it started, pulled me back into my bedroom to hear it. Right after this happened, I had the distinct sense that my “other” awareness, from the dream side, actually pushed me back from that other side. In other words, that other awareness is monitoring everything on this side as much as, or more than, my waking consciousness is able to monitor the submerged (other) awareness. So how do I proceed to facilitate erosion of that illusory boundary between two “awarenesses”?

It was the part of the of the audio discussing the vibrations that I wanted to hear again and returned hearing-consciousness to.

April 15: Brief Experiences of the Decider-Manipulator in Hypnagogia

I downloaded a new School of Dreaming audio called “Mind Awake, Body Asleep,” which is a full 2 hours long. (As an aside, Susannah, who narrates these audios, mentions that the best time to practice with them is in the early morning, 2 hours before normal time to wake up. Doing so would mean I need to enter Stupid Sleep much earlier than I normally go to bed, which is logistically difficult. In general, I need to organize my lifetime better, which is a constant struggle because of my moderate hyperfocus ADD and general aversion to exerting effort all the fucking time since I have to be a project manager at work.)

This audio is a complete, extensive guided meditation to enter sleep with awareness fully intact. As usual, I was crisscrossing between following the narration and being absorbed in hypnagogia. The few remembered highlights are as follows:

  1. One of the times that I came back to hearing the narration from wherever I was, I knew with certainty what she was about to say, and it was to allow the third eye (pineal gland area) to expand. I knew the words in my awareness, and then she said them. So this was some kind of psychic forecasting, or per Daniel Ingram, a spell toward its happening just as it did.
  2. I saw visions. I was aware of them as illusory, but I was more in a dream state than in the first level of hypnagogia where one sees lights projected onto back of eyelids. I saw this cluster of spheres that is common in togal visions. The form is like that of a blackberry. I decided to lift my dream hand, reach out with dream thumb and index finger, and pluck it as if picking a blackberry from its stem. I did so and then revolved it between thumb and finger. I was actually reflecting on this experience while it was happening. One reflection was that, oh, the visions are not just sight-consciousness, but also feeling-consciousness. And the other reflection was that the visions are a dream but just as real as all sense experience in waking life.
  3. After another crossing from Susannah’s voice to hypnagogic vision, I wondered if Kerry were okay, and I was suddenly on the landing between Kerry’s bedroom and mine, concretely embodied. Kerry was standing there with his Bernie tee shirt and tighty whities on, his untrimmed hair an Einsteinian mess. The hallway was dark, but there was an uplight illuminating his face, as if he were holding a candle or flashlight, although I didn’t see or look for the latter, focusing on just his face. We didn’t say anything to each other. It was a silent meeting and recognition, an acknowledgment of union in this alternate dimension.
  4. The last crossing back from the audio to the dream/hypnagogic space was simply Daniel’s face. Specifically, I was face to face, very close to him, at the moment that the photo was being taken of his avatar image on the DhO. I was momentarily surprised that I was face to face with him this far back in time. He couldn’t see me. It was as if I were the camera lens that took his photo back before the DhU formed. He was extremely vivid, concrete, real, and close up. I decided not to engage him further. The dream instantly disappeared.

It seems to me that the thread that unites all these flashes is that of the Decider. I was writing or altering the dream as it was happening. Even so, there was simultaneously a sense of all “just happening,” so agencylessness. This is hard to explain. I was the Doer, yet there was no experience of force or even differentiation of self-will from the scene’s unfolding.

Yet I was definitely modifying the reality in accordance with my preferences and agendas.

Perhaps I should clarify something about No. 2. The hand that I used, my right hand, was an astral-embodied hand, so it was much closer to “real” than any lucid dream, and somatically tied to my sleeping body. It wasn’t an object hand typical of the objectified self of a dream. The point of the touching of the 3D visionary figure seemed to be to invite comparison with the integrated sensory reality of waking life. 

April 16: Astraling My Way out of Creep-Infested Sleep Paralysis

I went to bed 2 hours earlier than usual because a hard rain brought on a migraine. Despite sleepiness and pain, I did the extended practice for Kory, including heartfelt recitation of the King of Aspiration Prayer. This was the 49th day of his bardo in traditional Tibetan terms, so my final practice for him. I played the lengthy “Mind Awake, Body Asleep” training audio. I don’t remember hearing much of the background audio until the very end, when only music and binaural beats are playing, This audio guides several meditations and implants posthypnotic suggestions, such as one that, when a little chime is heard periodically throughout the audio, the listener will think, “I’m dreaming; this is a dream.” Anyway, I was sleepy and fell out. I dreamed I was in my bed sleeping, only something about it wasn’t quite my room.

I am in my bed, on my back, sleeping. I cannot quite place what about the setting is not quite right, but I think maybe the bed is against the wrong wall, the opposite wall. I think, “I’m dreaming; this is a dream.” I think about getting up out of the bed, and I feel I have the choice to, but I’m so tired that I just lie there in the dark. Suddenly I feel like there is an ominous presence to the right of my bed, someone, some mysterious being, in the room with me. I remember that this feeling of an ominous presence can happen during sleep paralysis in the hypnagogic state, according to lucid dreaming and astral projection literature.

I remember not to be scared of sleep paralysis. I think I have the choice to wake all the way up, but I’m so tired and not sure I can move. So I decide to separate from my body and rise up against this ominous presence. I find that my meditation cushion is in bed as a bolster under my knees. I pick it up between my legs and crash it down on the bed three times. This is in defiance of the ominous presence. I’m showing it that I can control the scene and transcend paralysis. I float out of the bed and out on the the stair landing across from Kerry’s bedroom.

Suddenly, I’m standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up into the darkness. I’m feeling like banishing or fighting that presence, as I am worried about its getting to Kerry. I decide to walk up the stairs and turn on the light at the switch at the top. I run my right hand along the wall as I walk up. Surprisingly, I feel a series of light switches. I flip each one up as I pass, but none of them turns the lights on. When I reach the top of the stairs, still in the dark, I reach out my left hand and feel Kerry’s bare chest there. He collapses into my arms, and I feel that he is not breathing. I find that I can pick up and hold my 6 foot, 2 inch, son, so I carry him. I am surprised how calm I am, but it is because I know I’m dreaming, as real as Kerry’s slumped over body feels. I carry him into his small upstairs bathroom, John is there in the bathroom. He is reciting aloud the heart sutra. This recitation banishes the ominous presence. I hear John saying, “Even better, read the eighth sutra; it is about dying.”

Then I wake up. Like the last dream of my reaching out and feeling a 3D visionary figure, this dream proceeded by sense of feeling with my astral or dream hands. Now I’m drinking passion flower tea, about to take a spearmint-eucalyptus Epsom salt bath, and will try to return to sleep. I read that in the astral realm, the spatial relationships are often mixed up, with, for example, the door on the opposite wall from where it should be. The astral realm is susceptible to spatial mirror reversals.

April 22: Insomnia and Image Incorporation from the School of Dreaming

I couldn’t fall asleep until nearly sunrise, perhaps because I ran out of gabapentin. I left the School of Dreaming audios on, so they played back to back. After I slept, interestingly, I had dreams of being on Astral Island with dharma friends, a dragon that is featured in the audio; other imagery from other audios, such as “The Crystal Lake,” entered in. Noah was there on Astral Island, and I was demonstrating that I could psychically read anyone’s Progress of Insight stage-substage out as notation, but because of copyright restrictions, I couldn’t distribute the notation lookup tables in my head. The notations floated in the air, but apparently only I could see them. Of interest is that my spot for trying to assemble friends in a lucid dream has for weeks now been a beach, Sanabel Island.

There was another dream scene. I was transported to a movie theater. Monica from work was there in her pajamas. Everyone was sleeping or about to fall asleep, except me. I was watching the blank (void) cinema screen and waiting for the show to begin. Suddenly my boss popped up in the row in front of me, looking back at me. I instantly played dead, or asleep, so she wouldn’t talk to me or ask me to do some stupid batch work. I dreamed that I met Susannah, who narrates the meditation for the School of Dreaming, sidestage of the screen. There were a few moments of lucidity in this dream, but neither this dream nor the Astral Island one was super clear or detailed as memories. 

Notably, every night now, well into one of the SOD audios, I’m experiencing intense vibrations of my entire body, which is what is said to happen before projecting out of body. Interestingly, I’m noticing that the vibration is strongest and always initiates in the area between small of back and hip, left side. I just Googled “OBE vibrations,” and, sure enough, they are said to occur most noticeably at the L1 lumbar location.

April 23: Impressive “Crystal Lake” Meditation

I took inositol, holy basil, and brain magnesium last night. One or a combo of these substances made me extremely chill, dreamlike, and high. However, I was very different all of yesterday in ways I find difficult to describe. I guess I’ll just say that visually everything was so vivid and high-def as to be obviously unreal. And somatically I felt, and still feel, not bodily located. I am barely here, but everything else is extremely vivid, like a very concrete dream. The body dislocation is beyond what I normally feel. I can feel a vague and broad “region” of space in which I’m, I guess, embodied, but there is no one body and no outline of the various shifting bodies, and the variety of bodies creates an overall effect of being a regional blob of somehow vaguely differentiated-from-the-field embodiment. This feels like an intensification of the shift I had in May 2017. Since I’m going on these supplements, I just want to note that this was all yesterday before I took the supplements, so it is not the supplements that are causing this.

I seem to be doing something other than lucid dreaming work. I’m not sure why, but I’ve drifted into focus on astral projection bodily. I followed the entire “Crystal Lake” meditation last night, without falling into Stupid Sleep for any of it for a change. This is one of the most intense meditations I’ve ever done anywhere at any time. It is profound. I came out of it in tears. It seems like instructions for rainbow body to me, as the end phase of the meditation is merging with the stars and all the celestial beings and turning into traveling light. I felt expanded bodily, like the lake and the sky. I felt like I was floating for most of the meditation. I do not think I was full-on projected like that time I looked in the mirror, but there were brief moments, I think, that were equivalent, and the whole thing was just as impressive, if not more, than any formless jhana I’ve experienced. During the part about the stars, I could actually see stars and galaxies through my closed eyelids. 

April 26: Intense Pre-OBE Vibrations Every Night

I was in sleep debt again last night so couldn’t stay awake for the whole Crystal Lake. But as I crisscrossed in and out, I was interested in what brought me back to the audio. I was lucid whenever I went into sleep paralysis. I tried moving my hands and couldn’t and I thought “Oh, sleep paralysis.” I didn’t freak out that I couldn’t move. I knew what was happening and I remembered that Lucidology says that when one is scared in sleep paralysis to simply change the breathing pattern. Breathing will not be paralyzed. I wasn’t scared, though, so I just breathed deeply for the pleasure of it.

Every time I come back to hearing the audio, I was experiencing intense vibrating of my whole body. This is so strange. The sources I’ve started looking into on astral projection state that this vibration is some kind of friction between the physical state and the astral. They also state that this happens to all of us every night. The difference is that we usually don’t remember leaving our bodies and taking action in the astral or dream realm. Now that I’m observing the vibrations every night, they are intense. 

When I lit a candle for my regular waking practice last night, I was seeing little. Then my candle just spontaneously went out. I lit it again, and it went out again, so I gave up and went to do the sleep practice. Then tonight I was lighting a different candle, and as soon as I got ready to focus on the flame, the candle snuffed itself out. I tried relighting it, but it wouldn’t relight. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was really eerie as experienced. It was as if someone were saying, “No!”

April 27: Out of Body to Hyper-Real Workplace Garden

All I remember from last night was this point at which my astral body suddenly rose from my on-my-back sleep-paralyzed body to perpendicular position and then instantly being in the English garden in front of the fitness center at my workplace. I was so happy to be standing there and gazing on the flowers, which were hyper-real. But then I was so surprised, when I remembered that I had just gone perpendicular to my sleeping body, that I was knocked back into my coarse body, in bed. I remember nothing further.

The rise out of my body happened after I simply relaxed into the intense vibrations.

April 28: Creeping Lucidity during a Nightmare

Running a sleep debt, not only did I fall right into stupid dreamless sleep during “The Crystal Lake,” but I woke up when the next audio, “Astral Island,” began and was shocked but sank again into Stupid Sleep anyway. I was shocked because it felt as though zero time had passed, just a blink of the eye, but here was playing the audio after the one I turned on. I must have cut out for the entire “Crystal Lake” meditation! I reset the audio to the “The Crystal Lake,” but I fell into deep dreamless sleep again. In the morning I woke up and decided to try the Lucidology body-exit techniques, but found it much harder without the SOD audio. I got the vibrations, and felt like I was beginning to rise out when my husband dropped something heavy in the attic above the bedroom and therefore destroyed the session. My whole body was aching all over intensely, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

I dreamed that I am seeing several healers, but no one can help me. My right knee will not heal, and Dr. Summers has told me that my leg will need to be amputated above that knee. He says not to worry because I can get a mechanical leg and that they have greatly improved over the past few years. I start to protest that I do not want only to be able to move, but also to be able to feel and a mechanical leg cannot feel. He replies that there is no other solution, that’s that, and that I need to work with my spiritual advisor to overcome my clinging to bodily feeling. This doesn’t sound very compassionate to me, but Kurt and my mother tell me I really need to comply and that if I were really awakened then I would have no problem letting go of my right leg. I fall into a kind of compliant stupor and also “realize” that my awakening was fake, that I’m still in samsara and my earlier “progress” was pure delusion. So I allow myself to be led along by others.

Kurt is driving me to the hospital and then we are checking into the hospital to have my right leg cut off. The hospital is dilapidated and creepy in the Bates Motel sort of way. I’m shown to my room, and it has a doorway leading to a mirror image room behind it, only the one behind it has no windows. A nurse asks me which room I want for mine and which room is for receiving visitors. I reasoned that I should take the darker back room and let the sunny one be for visitors. Once I settle into the back hospital room and the nurses begin prepping me for surgery, I’m overcome with terror at losing my leg. Kurt is there calling me the Suffering Buddha as he always does, and I start feeling shame on top of the terror because my realization is not there when I need it most. I look around the room. I begin noticing the dreamlike quality of what I’m seeing. I reflect that this hospital is not the nice WakeMed one in Caryland but resembles the madhouse in Chattahoochee, Florida. I become suspicious that everyone around me is counterfeit and nefarious participants in a conspiracy against me.

I start thinking very hard. I start praying, too, asking for John to appear before me and help me. John does not appear before me, but he appears in my memory. He is there in my mind and he reminds me not to be gullible. He tells me my dream ego is being led about by others and I need to cultivate fierceness to awaken fully. Then my little daydream-memory of John and his actual words from 2015 about my dream ego fade.

I tell the nurses to back off and give me a few minutes. They argue that the operating room runs on a schedule and that I need to comply. I tell them, “Tough luck!” I get up out of the bed where they are trying to put me to sleep. I find that I’m floating, and I float to the front room where the windows are and look out of the windows. It is sunny, but this is not Cary, North Carolina. It is Chattahoochee, Florida, the mental institution. I say, “This is not right.” Then I sit on the bed and and bend my right leg to inspect it closely. The knee is swollen and stiff, but it works. I inspect my foot and I remember having had a plantar’s wart, but again I find nothing justifying amputation. I decide this dream is bullshit and I tell everyone I’m not going along with their plan. I wake up.

Some real-world inputs to this dream were that my cousin Dawn messaged me last night that an effort to save her brother’s leg by inserting stints failed and now he faces amputation. Also, Kurt and I watched first episode of second season of Westworld last night. I yawned throughout the show and could barely stay awake for it. There was a scene in which some character grabbed one of the host’s legs and was poised to use it as a club against those closing in on him. I’ve been focused on all these daily exercises the physical therapist assigned me to rehab my knee.

I have been reflecting on the conversation with Jim today over this dream. I tend to think of dreams as esoteric messages, even though Geshe Wangyal says they are not messages but are just samsara. Rob Olds also said even lucid dreams are “just more samsara.” Nonetheless, my dreams seem like messages. At first Jim and I discussed how this dream might be telling me to let go of clinging to the body. But that notion actually was a message conveyed by the confederate hollow characters in the dream. They were preying upon my spirituality to unnecessarily wound me and render me immobile. By contrast, John was the spiritual help I summoned, and he did not instruct me to let go and stop guarding my body. On the contrary, he repeated the 2015 dreamwork advice he gave me to cultivate fierceness and power, and to refuse to be led around by others both in my dreams and in waking life. He said to stop being so gullible.

What does this message have to do with whether or not I become lucid in sleep? What possible adjustment in method does it imply? I fall into a kind of compliant stupor and also “realize” that my awakening was fake, that I’m still in samsara and my earlier “progress” was pure delusion. So I allow myself to be led along by others. My realization wasn’t “fake,” though; those who were discounting my realization were what was fake.

April 29: Semi-Lucid Crystal Formation of Stars and Galaxies

After some failed attempts at astral projections and lucid dreaming last night, I got out of bed. My body was aching, especially my right knee, which I’m trying to rehab per the physical therapist. I ate very little yesterday—just a salad—and was hungry. I went to the kitchen for some cheese and nuts—and Advil. I felt mildly blissful with calm clarity. I was wanting to do flame gazing instead of retry astral projection or lucid dreaming. I went back upstairs, sat in a chair, and lit the candle on my nightstand.

I would normally record this in my regular journal, but I think it is connected to a semi-lucid dream I had in the morning, when I woke and went back to bed with “The Crystal Lake” audio.

I have never seen visions remotely like what I saw. Nor have I seen these kinds of experiences described in texts. Normally, a roundish large “veil” of background light pops open to the side of the candle. This time no veil of light formed. Instead it was as though the luminous “material” that would normally make a flat veil instead started spinning itself into hundreds of “yarns” of light. The background was the pitch black darkness of the bedroom.

Rapidly, the spinning yarns of bright golden light before me started connecting to one another. The connections formed a hyper-dimensional crystal, something that looked like a golden diamond. At the points where separate yarns of light met, at the intersections, were what the Tibetans call thousand-petaled lotuses (what I normally call “starbursts”). These lotuses were rainbow-colored, as if one had gathered up a handful of twinkling multicolored Christmas lights. The whole crystal was multi-dimensional, but these lotuses at the points of the crystal were also multi-dimensional and spinning in a way that was not geometically logical with respect to the multi-dimensionality of the whole crystal. The whole crystaline mandala was about the size of a bread plate. Several times I stopped and rubbed my eyes, thinking my eyes were messed up, but each time I looked, there was this amazing huge crystal formation.

After about 30 or 40 minutes, the crystal vanished. I blew out the candle, crawled in bed, and listened to another SOD audio with no interesting results to report.

I slept in because, as you can undoubtedly deduce, I got little sleep with all the dharmic circus shows going on. When I woke I wanted to get up and start my day, but because of my commitment to sleep practice I decided to listen to “The Crystal Lake” while it was morning, as the SOD team suggests. My concentration was subpar because of body aches and my consequent urge to move. I decided not to sweat it but to just listen without ambition. I felt the vibrations arise at the point in the audio where they normally arise. I just released into them. Then the next part of the audio I heard was at the end, where the narrator brings me back to my bedroom. I figured out that I had “cut out” of listening at my favorite part of the audio. I was shocked because it felt like no time had passed and that I had not slept at all. It was like a part of the audio had just been sliced out.

Then I remembered the dream that took place during that “cutout.”

There are stars and galaxies throughout vast outer space. There is no dream ego, no me. But pervasive awareness knows. The stars begin connecting with all other stars by means of “whiskers” of light that fan out to the side of each star. A complex crystaline stellar geometry draws itself by means of these fine shafts of light. Creation is merged with awareness.

This was a dream. There was no narrative, and there was no me. The witness was the same as the drawer of the geometry of light, which was the same as the stars and light itself. This matches up remarkably with what the SOD guided meditation narrated in the part where I cut out and had this dream. It was not a lucid dream, because there was no remembrance of Jenny as an individual, and there was no notion of dream versus not-dream. It was like lying in the Clear Light: The only “story” was the endlessly self-drawing connections between stars and between whole galaxies.

The resemblance to the crystaline mandala I saw in waking visions is obvious. I don’t know what to make of any of this. As usual, time will tell if any of this has significance to current trajectory.

In just reading something that Andrew wrote about the heart energy, I remembered something I forgot to recount: Right when the crystal disappeared, there was a thunderously sonic-boom kind of explosion at the heart center and out limitlessly. I felt for a second as if I were falling into a cessation-fruition, but it wasn’t that. My head disappeared, and I was in some kind of formless realm; or, rather, I was the formless realm. This experience was so intense and new that at the tail end some exhilarating little fear arose that seemed to stop the experience. Put another way, I experienced something like an anvil dropping on my chest. It sent my awareness out like an endless sonic boom while my head vanished. It was not a cessation, because I never had disconnection from the singularity at the heart center region, but my head-mind distinctly vanished. It was like a decapitation—a cessation of ordinary mind with remainder that was correspondingly limitless.

April 30: Flashes of Spontaneous Astral Projection during Attempts to Nap

I listened to SOD affirmations and then “Mind Awake, Body Asleep.” As usual, I wove in and out of attending, or even registering, the voice and other sounds in my ear. I remember three distinct flashes:

  1. I was feeding myself something like capers with a spoon held in my astral hand. The astral hand suddenly lifted from my coarse body, while I was lying on my back, and started shoveling food into my—I guess—astral mouth, which was located at my physical mouth. When I noticed the difference and illogic of the astral hand action and my physical body, I was pulled all the way back to physical body, and the other evaporated. I reflected that this is the “remembering” the physical plane that seems to need to go away for me to sustain traveling; on the other hand, I’m not sure I’ll remember traveling when I wake up if I don’t keep some connection with the physical plane. By the way, I’ve had this ridiculous “feeding myself” thing happen many times in hypnagogia over the past year and a half. I can actually taste the food. I think I had capers on my salad yesterday. Ridiculousness!
  2. During another outing, I suddenly realized that I was in my astral body, in an upright lotus position, meditating and levitating over my in-bed body, which I was aware of as just beneath me in my bedroom. Again, at the moment of realization that I had gone astral and that my physical body was in bed beneath, the spell was broken and I was conscious in my in-bed body alone. This astral projection had low energy and lacked the clarity of that first one in which I checked out my astral body in the mirror.
  3. In a third outing, I was floating out of my bedroom and down the stairs after a figure wearing my black-and-white cotton robe. As I caught up to it, I made out that it was Kerry, and he was floating ahead of me like an angel. It was like we were playing chase. I wondered for a moment why he would be wearing my robe, and then I was back in bed. This outing had higher clarity than the levitating/meditating one that came before it.

My last observation is that an obstacle that is driving me crazy is hard body pain when I lie still in my bed. This has me so puzzled. I’m not in pain while awake and moving around, but when I’m lying in bed, the aching builds to a fierce crescendo that is nearly unbearable. It is as if every muscle and bone in my body is screaming, and only moving relieves it. In fact the main difference I noticed between being out of body and being in body was that, when I reentered my body, I was reentering a body made of pain. When out, I was light, ghostly, and pain-free.

This concludes April 2018.

Path Death, Ego Death, Resurrection

I’ve been listening to Tom Campbell’s model of reality, My Big Toe, while purging the remodeled master bath and bedroom of old, now unused tools. Finally listening to Campbell is part of my recent rebellion lap around Buddhism and its theories. While cleaning my bedroom, I found an old fortune cookie fortune. It reads, “All things have an end.”

Earlier in the evening, I had decided to pull just one tarot card after sitting. The impulse flashed up as an imperative while I was brushing my teeth. My query formulation for the one-card draw was this, born of my knowledge-access frustrations around my current level of practice: “In the next 3 to 6 months, how should I contemplate and actualize in practice all the messages and signs I’m receiving?”

How My Path Will Actualize in 3 to 6 Months: Death

The card I turned up was major arcana Death. And the words in the manual, echoing almost exactly the fortune cookie fortune I had just found, leaped starkly forth: “All things come to an end.” This card means that a major karmic change is on its way, that nothing I can do will avert its coming, for it is certain, and that I should regard the transition that will be suddenly upon me as beneficial.

The message is to offer no resistance to the major change (an important ending) that is coming, but to meet it head on by shedding outdated beliefs, habits, attitudes, dogmas, and practice paradigms now. Out of this coming major karmic death will arise new life. I am to clear all mental clutter and complicating intellectualizing noise, sit in silence, and listen. The card’s message is to begin now to shed everything that has long been dead in my life. It is funny that this card turns up on a day I was “shedding” tons of material possessions from my bathroom, giving all to Goodwill.  I will receive the message I’m seeking from above by listening from a cleared and clean place.

I think I have drawn the Death card only one other time since I have owned this tarot deck. It is a chilling card to turn up. I decided next night to throw some clarifying cards around it. Death is associated with a hard, intense transition—a shock of loss that will be forced on me and that I need to accept and adjust to, go with instead of against.

What This Reading Is About: Queen of Swords Reversed

This was the hardest card to read in this spread in this spread, but here goes. This card is traditionally about having a strong concentrated mind and communication skills. It is about accepting no bullshit, about rebellion. The queen is disciplined and demanding. The eyes in the raven’s wings are both featured in and attending to the landscape of signs. Thus, we look to the outer world for signs of our inner progress, demanding answers. The card is saying, I think, that my concentration on signs has intensified my inner frustration rather than assuaged it, and I’m communicating that frustration to others, which I have been. It is enjoining quiet and delay of communications.

This card is not, however, in an advice position in this spread. So  it is not necessarily to be taken as advice, but instead is revealing what has been churning in me: that I’m  frustrated with my path, rejecting dogma, and basically putting all this rebellion on display. This queen stands up to bullies and authority figures. She rejects dogma. No bullshit! A companion of mine is pointing my blind spots out to me in a rational, sometimes critical way. Am I’m practicing discriminating wisdom? Will I behead him?

What This Reading Is Not About: Six of Disks Reversed

The Six of Disks appeared in my most recent tarot reading. There it was about manifestation: dreams, vision, and upcoming book. In reverse it indicates a Pandora’s Box: Once something begins manifesting, and escaping, it cannot be put back in a box. The card can indicate ambition and passion. This reading is not about any of this ambition to manifest. I take this to mean that visions, dreamwork, and author collaboration are not meeting with death due to overambition. The Death card is about my frustraton with my path stall-out, period. Good to know!

What to Do: Nine of Swords Reversed

This card features a temple of eternity. It signifies enlightenment. The black and white pillars are reversed from the usual left-to-right order, depending on which side of the threshold you stand. This card is about crossing that threshold but also remaining in the human world. In reverse, this card means “death,” but what appears as death is actually a passage into eternal life. This card, especially in a fourth position as it is here, warns against rushing and overthinking everything. I must remain human and maintain my human relationships, so one foot remains in physical reality, the relative. I need to remain grounded.

Outcome: Judgment

This card signifies resurrection from death, specifically ego death, with a new body, as indicated by the phoenix rising from the flames on the picture. This reading is marking the death of the old path of practice and the rising of a new body. I have been having regular astral body experiences as I gave up on my main practices because they stalled. Perhaps the next few months will extend these themes. Dreamwalker mentioned that when one leaves his or her body, in shamanic terms, the event is “crossing the guardian of death. The arising of the second, body is “resurrection.” 

Postscript: Reinterpretation a Week Later

These cards were thrown right when my now deceased friend Terri unexpectedly entered hospice care after years of suffering uncomplainingly the assaults of cancer and chemo. My query for the tarot was specifically about my own path of practice for the next 3 to 6 months. When I first saw the Death card, however, I instantly thought of Terri. Now that she did in fact die 5 days later, plunging me  into the most profound practices of bardo connection with her for the next 49 days, I am reconsidering that this reading may be about her death and my intermediate-state practices piercing into the reality of death and the unreality of it as some entropic end state. The February to April bardo practice for Kory, Kerry’s friend, opened new terrain of the heart and the paranormal (a second body in which I travel, launching from hypnagogia). So soon I’m doing the practices again for someone who was my best friend in my formative years and someone who had meditated several times a day for two decades. She was the one who coaxed me into taking up meditation in 2010. The life interpenetration with her is profound. In short, if this practice does anything for real, then it has a high chance of success this go around. I know she was and is not afraid, but prepared. She was used to being formless and will remain calm and concentrated. She has a good chance of complete liberation, I’m confident. Maybe the cards are showing more ego death on my part via my complete immersion in her death.