Trauma, Transference, and a Post-Feminist Perspective: To Daniel

27 April 2015

Dear Daniel,

This letter began as part of a reply to your email reply of the same date; however, I believe what I have to say deserves the separate and formal auspices of a letter. I hope you will read this letter when well-rested and attentive. It is important to me that you do. I think it will increase your understanding of where I’m literally coming from and, I hope, may therefore prevent some otherwise potential triggers from firing in the future.


“As one thing to consider which is just one small possible example that illustrates a larger point about recognizing our own personal internal sign-posts, look for clue words and specific issues that you wish to use in emails or online posts during this state and, should you find yourself wanting to use them again, consider that there is a possibility that these terms and their correlation with this stage might aid you in self-diagnosis.”


Yes. Good idea, in general.

My apology, by the way, and just to be clear about this from the outset, covers my last three emails to you, not what I wrote out on the DhO. Keep reading.

You’ve suggested that I look for the key issues and key words in those emails so that I can recognize them when they emerge in the future. Because every bleed-through incident I’ve had has been with you, I suspect that it may be helpful for you to have some background on my issues and key word triggers, as well. You may be less likely to invoke them yourself if you are aware of what they are and why they are triggers for me. This, above all, is the purpose of this letter: to make you more aware of my background and the trauma behind the key metaphors you used at me without the otherwise potential benefit of such awareness.

The key issues and key words for me in those emails, the desperate tone of which I do apologize for, are abandonment, a patriarch’s complete control of his house, and marginalizing to unofficially “influential” space, to hidden private domestic life, a daughter, so to speak, who has tried to clean up some of the accumulated mess in that patriarch’s house, mess accumulated by virtue of a lack of boundaries (rules and enforcement) that protect all the children (community) in that solely owned and patriarch-ruled house.

I’m well aware now, and was semi-aware even as I was writing you those angry/hurt emails, that I’m still reacting to parental abandonment, to my severely alcoholic patriarch, who continually broke my heart by breaking his promises to me to quit drinking and quit the cycle of arbitrary abuse in his household of four daughters and a wife, my mother, who herself was only a few years older than my two half-sisters.

You need to know that I feel a very deep, primal sense of betrayal when I perceive that someone who has set himself up as authority and house owner has broken a promise or has been disloyal to me, has publicly rendered me an illegitimate (unofficial relation), has not parented properly (expressed consistent rules and boundaries for the good of all his children), and has acted in ways that seem like arbitrary power that is not ever to be openly questioned, on pain of constructed banishment.

So, let’s see, here is a list of the trigger words/issues in those email exchanges:

  • There is the patriarchal figure’s house and his absolute authority and ownership over that house (your words, your metaphors, used to curb, contain, and deny my pleas and appeals for public consistency regarding my actual roles therein and to deny my deserving the courtesy of your prior communication to me of the specifics of your upcoming actions on the DhO and DhU, actions meant to respond to request that came from only me in the first place).
  • My marginalization in your house to “behind the scenes” as an ultimately dispensable and banishable guest (a guest is a highly temporary, not familial, relation). If I confront you with the questionable outcomes of your actions and inaction, no matter how unjust the outcomes in my sincere view are, you respond to my sincerity ultimately with the threat of noncare and dismissal of me from your house, despite my many months and hours of labors for your comparative ease and the good of the community. In fact, my role as your guest, and you as owner are what you invoke as “at bottom” and “ultimately” our relationship to each other. Instead of what you could extend me as courtesy and kindness, you drop our discourse down to the level of your right to be punitive and dismissive. This move by you is unfortunate.
  • There are promises, and the patriarch’s seemingly arbitrary reversals and abandonment
  • There are your communications that I’m not to be trusted, even as you break your promises and publicly and privately shame me as unworthy of trust and undeserving of your forgiveness, forgiveness which is a sign of your generosity, not my worth to you.
  • There is my being aggressively reconstructed by you as a submissive penitent (guest only, in the house of the ultimate owner and silencing authority, the one whose money pays for his rights, which he invokes a the sign of disagreement): “My granting you a moderator role publicly in the Underground is my generosity toward and tolerance and forgiveness of you (which you have not deserved) for your moderation (?) actions (?) on the Overground.” I’m not sure what “moderation actions” you mean, by the way, as I never took a single action as a moderator during the many months I was left with moderator controls after I resigned from that role that I didn’t ask for and didn’t ever want.
  • Forgiveness is an extremely aggressive, condescending word and trigger, as is tolerance—the implication being that I’m a sinner, fundamentally flawed and ugly, and undeserving of your courtesy and a presumptive ground of inclusion and friendship. There is your forgiveness of my sins instead of proactive courtesy, and that forgiveness is denoted your overgenerous gift, for which I must demonstrate that I’m grateful, or you may withdraw from me at your pleasure and at any moment, constructively abandoning me, since it is your house and I have no official (legitimate) role there, having not deserved such a role, being fundamentally untrustworthy despite my working like a dog and falling on the sword repeatedly for constructive change for the whole of our family (dharma community). In fact, you say that if I don’t show gratitude for your forgiveness, then I’ll never be trusted again.
  • My public embarrassment and shame when you arbitrarily abandon former promises, for I have hinted or said over many months out on the DhO, “Mark my words, Daniel will clean up this site and the governing language,” even though I’ve not said explicitly, “Daniel and I talk on the phone and email behind the official scenes, and he promised me he will eventually do X,” which is the actual truth and one that I had every right to reveal as such, though I did not, out of respect to you and our private communications. After all, there is a limit to the good that rights alone can do; courtesy counts for a lot, and I’ve asked you for courtesy, not my rights. That you keep invoking your rights says a lot to me about you that I certainly would rather think otherwise.
  • There is arbitrary and confusing power wielded by an emotionally unavailable man and communicatively unavailable man (ie, which means the equivalent of alcoholic patriarch). Arbitrary power means, specifically, that there was sudden public reversal of your intent to reform the DhO, and shortly thereafter the unannounced dropping of four disciplinarians, one anonymous (arbitrary power), down on the marginalized space I alone took the initiative to revive, hidden, as always, behind the scenes.
  • There is the withholding of the daughter’s public legitimacyin relation to the patriarch and his house: “Jenny is [just] the editor of MCTB2,” which lies outside your house, meaning that publicly that you disown and render illegitimate my influencing your thoughts and plans regarding the DhO, while you nevertheless privately seek my counsel on the same—all this being, from a post-feminist scholarship point of view, a patriarchal attempt to marginalize a woman’s thoughts, feelings, advice, voice, and labor to the space of illegitimacy (ie, “she has no official role and cannot be trusted with official authority, even as I privately benefit from her counsel and assistive labor continually). “In fact, I can barely forgive her for protesting that I treat her this way, and if she doesn’t repent, desist, and show gratitude for my generous forgiveness, I’ll without from her the legitimacy and trust she has in fact already earned.”

So, you see, I’m well aware that you are in some respects a father figure to me, your dust jacket rejection of being anyone’s “Daddy” notwithstanding. This reading stems quite well from your own stated “ownership” of your “house,” the DhO/DhU, your own metaphors, which you wield to control me and curb my voice to spaces of illegitimacy. Transference/countertransference, just to be clear.

In terms of enlightenment, you also are a representation of my life’s goal, my development, my growing wisdom. So, unfortunately, sometimes when I’m frustrated with the goal itself, as in Reobservation, that can bleed into my being frustrated with you as the representation of that more realized being I wish I were. I’ve not bled-through with anyone but you, and for months I’ve been contemplating why it is always you. I’ve thought about it a lot, mainly from a Freudian post-feminist perspective, which is one I have deep, scholarly knowledge of and continued reverence for.

Practically speaking, it may also be that we are regularly engaged over this book and you have in fact had a number of conversations with me over improving the DhO. The DhO is important, and the book is important. And we both care a lot about them, really. So just the frequency and intensity of investment on both sides about both of them makes for contact and vedana, at least on my end. 

From this current place of relative calm from which I now write you, with equanimity, I do own and clarify that I stand by my open letter on the DhO as appropriately and sensitively written and edited to comply with the rules on the DhO and to serve a noble cause, a cause I sincerely believe you will look back on one day and recognize that I embodied out of kindness to the community you say you care about and therefore to you. That it took the form of civil protest of your actions/nonactions, does not change the fact that I did it out of love and compassion for you and yours. Someday, if not today, you will understand this about me and what I’ve done, tried to do.

I understand Laurel’s objection that I outed that you insinuated privately that I’m sectarian. Laurel is a more frequent poster on AN, by far, than she is on the DhO. She brings the very different, more polite (pretentious) ethos of AN to the DhO. She also was on the wrong side of the fence when the Bill Glamdring puppet attacked me for days on end, persisting in believing that Bill Glamdring was a real member that should be taken seriously and negotiated with. I was on AN for a while. Laurel lacks situational acuity. But let’s move on; I consider what she thinks a negligible point on your part and, frankly, not worth responding to with more of my time.

Laurel and Katy had no basis whatsoever to red-flag that open letter of mine, for the letter broke none of the rules stated in writing on the site—which, and I guess you missed my intended irony, was actually part of the point of my open protest, that there is a lack of rules, just “openness” as an ideal. Well, I was open to you out on the site, open to all, and there is no written rule against being thus open. In fact, your ideal is the opposite, so I was a champion of your ideal there, Daniel. Please see that much. Please admit that much to yourself privately, if not to me.

Moreover, that letter was incredibly tame compared with frequent fare on the DhO. I believe you know this to be the case. I believe you know you took it personally, not that I did anything wrong or broke any rule in your house. I received no moderator warning, by the way, and didn’t even have a chance to know I’d been charged by these women of breaking a rule stated in the DhO site language. Acting behind the scenes with me, as usual, you told me that they pressed the little red flags. You told me to what end, since I broke no rule? Just to shame me for having a voice and using it? The little red flags should be tied to actual rules, Daniel. I broke no DhO rules, so I still do not understand what problem that letter posed. Care to explain what rule I broke, other than your unofficial one that I not actually take your ideal of openness as real or applicable to my own public expressions but only to everyone else’s?

In fact, in your latest reneging of your earlier promises to reform the DhO, you did use “openness” as your defensively stated ideal, the reason you decided to make a liar out of me on the DhO for my saying you would do otherwise. That letter was a completely “open” letter to show you, both constatively and performatively, the direct consequences of that unstructured, unqualified “openness” you love so much. The young brawly men go unchecked; Jenny gets a slap in the shadow of the woodshed.

Are you beginning to understand? Well, where logic prevails, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, even if I’m constructed just a nonfamilial guest in daring to say so to you here and yet again.

It is still supremely ironic to me that this well-written and restrained letter I wrote from the heart and for all the people, many of whom are frustrated with the DhO culture, would be flagged by the likes of Katy, who attacked Kenneth viciously for many days on end while you were abroad, in front of the whole DhO. It was relentless and very ugly. Kenneth was passive-aggressively dismissive of her attempts to engage him on the issue of paid dharma teaching, just as you have been passive-aggressively unresponsive to my questions about fulfillment of intention to reform the DhO site language and structure. The situation of Daniel-Jenny is in fact analogous to that one of Kenneth-Katy, actually, although the Katy-Kenneth one was a public blowup that was many times more spectacular than anything I’ve ever done on the DhO, especially in engaging there with you.

Did either Kenneth or Katy stop in over four days of nasty mutual attacks in your house to consider that they were hurting you and your moderators? Incidentally, I was hurt too, in the aftermath, when several threads were spawned (none by me) to beg you to make good on your promises to reform the site. Specifically, Claudiu called me out publicly on the thread titled “Moderation” to give him semantic and legal definitions after Kenneth accused Katy of libel. Claudiu also emailed me privately for legal consultations while all unfolded and you were away, blithely engaged in your powers.

So, Jenny, this woman, this Jill-of-all-trades back-office assistant, is continually sought after by the official moderators and the owner-patriarch for her labor, research, writing, editing, and advice. And then she is denied public roles and legitimacy by the patriarch on the basis that she alone, not the patriarch, is unworthy of trust and stands a penitent mere guest at the pleasure of her lord and master (you). Do you begin to see your actions and tropes in the clear light of day? Do you begin to understand how my suppressed and repressed rights for an official role and voice turn in the dark of my heart to resentment of you? Is it any wonder that during a hellish Reobservation stage, after running out of my antidepressants, I might completely renounce you and lash out?

I trust that, as you can read and have a brilliant mind and often tender heart, you are beginning to see how your silencing me, your rendering me merely an invisible and illegitimate assistant, serving in the margins of your “house,” completely at your pleasure and as someone who must repeatedly earn your forgiveness or at least be damned grateful for it—how all this would retrigger in me very deep hurt harkening back to the arbitrary abuse my father inflicted over my childhood’s actual house of four daughters and his very young wife, my mother. 

My father drank a fifth of gin a day. Straight gin! He was emotionally unavailable to me. He drank himself to death by age 45. He would routinely come into my bedroom before I went to school, while sober, and cry in my lap (talk about drama), promising to stop the drinking and arbitrary violence against two of my sisters. Now, what did he issue as the guarantee of his intent to make good on his promise? Why, his paternal love for me: “Jenny, I’m going to stop drinking as of this day, because I love Emily, your sisters, and you.” Daniel, I loved my father with all my heart. And I believed him every single time he cried in my lap, at my feet, and made this promise, every single time sobriety and clear seeing temporarily prevailed. 

Invariably, the very same day he made such promises, sealed with his love for me as guarantee he would keep them, he broke those promises. I remember walking home from school in the rain, holding the hand of my little sister, and missing ballet lessons, because he was home on the family room couch, completely naked, unemployed, drunk, and passed out. He couldn’t even pick his little girls up from school in the rain and get them to ballet.

So promises were broken, repeated, broken, repeated, broken, repeated—to a mere child, who was told by this father that his success in acting well by her and the family depended on how lovable she proved to be. Moreover, he wielded terrible, arbitrary, and unchecked power. Because my older sister was talking on the phone too long one night, for one among many examples, he once took out a pistol and held it to my pet basset hound’s head and told me and my little sister that he would blow the dog’s head off if Judy didn’t get off the phone in five seconds. I think I was 8 or 9 years old, so my sister would have been only 5. Think about it: He would blow our pet’s head off in front of us, his children, if someone else we couldn’t control, my older sister, didn’t immediately do what he said. Talk about traumatic disempowerment!

Other times, my older sister Judy would utter one word of protest at some arbitrary rule Daddy laid down at the dinner table. When she did, he would punch her in the mouth, with his fist. I watched the blood run down her face and the tears and look of betrayal and incomprehension fill her eyes. I think she was 16 during one of these incidents that I’m thinking about right now.

I’m trying to make you understand some context for how your words, metaphors, and other ways of constructing spaces in which to relegate me to unquestioning silence affect me, way beyond what you consciously intend. So, as you ask me to identify the words and issues that are triggers for me, I ask you to be aware of the same. I was likely traumatized by much that happened in my childhood, because of the owner and patriarch of a house in which I was never made to feel loved, secure, and legitimate as a voice and a devoted, obedient daughter.

One of the subtle ways in which my father caused me harm was in not being the adult in our interactions, but the child, and then turning around and being the punitive parent. So, during his morning cries and promises in my lap, I looked at him and realized, “He is out of control.” On some level, I also realized, “This man is a child, and he is asking me, the actual child, to parent him.” That I was made, repeatedly, to see my father as helpless without me, as a child I had to parent, left me in abject terror. I was not secure. Who was going to take care of Jenny if her own father was so helpless that he expected his small child to be morally responsible for whether he quit drinking and lived to see her graduation, her wedding day, her newborn son? And what would happen then to Jenny’s mind and heart if and when he died instead living to those times? What would happen to this little girl, knowing as she did that she was responsible somehow, knowing that she failed to prove sufficiently lovable to guarantee her father’s good will and very life?

Look at my current (old) profile photo on the DhU. I was flipping through a folder of photos of me, and that one arrested my attention for posting in your house well before I wrote those enraged, hurt emails to you. I thought little of it at the time. But in the past 24 hours I’ve really thought, “Why did I post that particular picture?” In that picture, I’m holding my baby sister Jill. I am a child there, but I’m posed as a parent. I parented my parents when I was but a child. This is the subtle and perhaps saddest legacy of my father: That I was never allowed to be a child. I could not even have friends over, ever, because of my shame that my father would be naked on the couch, with empty gin bottles scattered around him. The child of an alcoholic lives out a primordial fear of abandonment, a sense of failing to prove lovable and worthy, a sense of shame. It is so with me.

So Katy has a lot of nerve pressing my little red flag. You have a lot of nerve, too, by the way, holding her out to me as the reason I’m still not to be trusted but publicly shamed and privately shamed and called a guest at your disposal, a temporary and utterly powerless voice that you nonetheless rely on all the time as you please to do the parenting of the community the nurturing of your authorial talents. I am just laughing and shaking my head at the absurdities that abound here, and what a field day I could have, if I chose, in writing a scholarly publication on the subconscious machinations of patriarchy in online spiritual communities that only pretend to be egalitarian while actually being quite constraining and subordinating and exclusive of its most devoted and otherwise legitimate members.

Now, regarding Katy, do you know that people leave the DhO on account of her behavior? Jim Luceno has stated out on the DhU that he will participate in the DhU only so long as Katy is kept out. Now did you give Jim the sectarian shaming that you gave Jenny? Or are we once again applying one standard to the daughter, and a different one to the enlightened sons? Jim left the DhO for two reasons, he has said: 75% because of Katy, and 25% because you failed to do something about Sawfoot. You have still failed to take official action against Sawfoot, but you did arbitrarily delete his metacognition practice thread, even though your doing so is patently against your own ideal of openness to anything that reduces suffering. What rule and official boundary did Sawfoot violate? None. But your power is as absolute and arbitrary as you wish with Sawfoot, as it is with Jenny.

Jim is a very valuable member of this community, and was one of the better posters on the DhO. Sawfoot stayed, and Jim left. This tradeoff is due to your ideal of openness. When will you see that ideals have failings in the practical world? When will you practice the nonidealism and pragmatism that you preach?

I have been mulling over the idea of vetting Bill F. (William Finch) as a candidate member of the DhU. He is tight with Vince Horn, and was asked to teach by the latter. He has an extremely committed practice wherein he practices 3-5 hours a day. He has connections to Kenneth, but is currently into Mahamudra and tantric practice. He is also very into the devotional side of tantra, stating that tantra is not tantra at all without that guru devotion, which he defines as “adoration of the teacher.” DW is very reluctant to consider Bill. You know why? Because Devin distrusts practitioners into the devotional stuff. However, meantime, Jim Luceno sucks the toes of a Sumerian goddess, under the auspices of Western magick, and that is a-okay with DW, just grand.

Are you going to address Jim’s and DW’s “sectarianism”? Or am I alone the sectarian here, even though I would like to include Tibetan Buddhists and Chuck (who is already a member but doesn’t know we are active).

All the continual blowups, as well as the “schisms”—they are the results of your “openness” ideal. The speech acts constituting them are all within the Code of Conduct on the DhO, which is minimal and lacks a coherent, communicated-out reporting and enforcement protocol, despite the template I gave you 9 months ago to address these structural lacks, despite my willingness, in all things, to help you help other to awaken. I have no DhO policy basis on which to complain about Katy’s atrocious behavior on the DhO, and she certainly has no policy basis to complain about my behavior, specifically my open letter pleading with you to reconfirm your intentions regarding DhO reform publicly.

My open and public letter was a plea, a final plea, and it still is, for you to keep your public and private promises to reform the DhO, in part by reconsidering “openness” as an ideal that has outlived its unqualified constructiveness. 

I did not write this letter in anger. I wrote with equanimity and from a place of personal truth that I hope you will come to value someday, as it is sincere and well-meaning toward you.

Fondly and sincerely still yours,


Attentional Nonduality with a Visual Object (“Luminosity”)


Since you got stream entry, has your perceptual experience of, say, a distant cloud changed? Yes or No. If yes, how so?


That question is so fundamentally hard to answer. Okay, let me go look at a cloud real quickly.

Okay, it’s super cloudy, but I got the general gist. So there’s this feeling I get: “Oh, wow, I’m really here, and I was here before but not quite and now here’s this sky, and it’s really here and vivid. It feels like there’s another dimension to it that wasn’t perceived earlier, like I saw the cloud (sky) but didn’t really see it.”

This has been happening with all five sense doors over the past couple months. It is like meaning and dimensionality have just begun oozing out of everything. I’m like, “How have I been missing this this whole time?”

Is that useful?


Maybe. Let’s stick with vision for now.

There’s more color and brightness to things, like high-definition.
You remember all the talks we had with Daniel in the DhU about luminosity?

Kind of.

The brightness, the vividness, the higher definition . . . those are like secondary effects of luminosity and are truly visual. So it is good that you are noticing all that and can articulate that. This part is easy to articulate. The primary effect of luminosity, on the other hand, is a bitch to describe even when one has it and makes a living off using words.
You know, things are just like, right there!
Yeah, hahaha. Vasily, in regular dualistic perception, the object viewed is solid, discrete, and over there. And you are over here, and your awareness over here processes the sight experience such that the object is over there, unto itself, separate.
Yeah, see,  that’s what’s the hard part about that question. It now feels natural for the space to feel unified. It doesn’t feel as much like I’m looking at the sky as that there just is this colored expansion of space and the colors change and the forms change
but things are really the same, if that makes sense. There’s also something to do with creation. Everything’s being created at once. And it is flowy somehow. That’s harder to explain, but I can go into it if you think it’s relevant.
Luminosity happens while looking at an object happens. But the primary effect, as opposed to the secondary effects of clarity, high definition, and color saturation you mentioned, isn’t actually visual. It concerns the “consciousness” part of eye-consciousness.



So, in terms of separate Subject and separate Object . . . you say they are unified and in some sense the spatial demarcation of Subject/Object and the extension aspects differ from what they were before luminosity dawned. Yet the experience, you say, is somehow still “flowy.” 


Like I flow into the sky/cloud . . . in some way.


Specifically, “you” flow out into all this, and the “all this” oozes forth, as well. So the “flowy” aspect of the experience is because, in one sense, there is still an over here and an over there and they are “conversant” with each other dynamically, as it were?


Well, not quite. Maybe there’s some part of that is like that. Yeah, there’s an over here and over there, but they really aren’t that different. They’re merely at different spatial locations, and that’s what I was getting at.




There’s this kind of “just space” that’s colored. There’s something underneath it.


Underneath “just space”? And what is that? What seems to be underneath it?


Awareness. Like something underneath the whole experience is immovable, un-understandable, consistent, and comforting.




“Alive” is what I mean by the “creation” aspect: how these solid things seem to be simultaneous creation somehow. I’m still trying to get a better sense of that, however. All of that isn’t 100% finalized for me.


So, just to summarize thus far—this attentional experience of an object is nondual, in one sense, because, although there is a dynamically fluid interchange of you with yon object, and hence an over there and over here, there is also one unified field that is vast, still, and pervaded by awareness.


Yeah. Exactly.


When I was first experiencing luminosity, I thought that my mind was fused with the distant cloud I gazed on outside my office window. It was as though my mind were over there with, in, or even as the cloud. But weeks and weeks later . . .


Yeah, but I can see how the outflowing isn’t really positive, because that’s still implying mind over here going into over there.


Yes, “flow” might seem to be still implying the unidirectionality of what in Dzogchen is called moving mind, which is the mind that clings to or pushes away objects (via the Three Poisons).

Weeks later, it seemed to me that “awareness” was impersonal, was with/in/as the cloud itself. As is ubiquitously parroted in the prag community, “The cloud is aware where it is.”




However, the overarching truth is that both statements are simultaneously true: Your mind is at the cloud, yet the cloud is always already “processed” into being—without your subjective Perceiver manipulation’s being required.


Right. Which is really what I’m trying to get at: Any feeling of nonduality is just another perception, because this awareness is already awakened.


Very good, Vasily. Well put. That’s really key to next getting to rigpa, which is a whole higher order of magnitude, so to speak, beyond luminosity.

When you gaze on an object, there is a sense of two fluid streams intermingling. Nevertheless, because awareness is omnipervasive, there is paradoxically a sense of stillness and constancy, meaning some “ground” that is no entity yet is emphatically not impermanence.


Yeah. Which is why it feels like the consciousness sensations around my head are kind of flowing into this vast immovable thing, but not flowing into it, because they’re already part of it, just another vibration, wave, color, whatever.

Does that make sense?


Yes. That sounds like Emptiness, which isn’t an entity, as nonetheless known as “one taste” or “one flavor” pervading all diversity of experience equally.

So your experience of your cloud is of bidirectional flow, interchange without clear origin on one side, and at the same time vast stillness because always already nakedly aware. Awareness has no arising, no passing, no contour, no edge, no inside, no outside. Realizing this, you are no longer funneling “out there” into “in here” in order to project “out there” into existence so you can take separate credit for its separate thingness. The default setting is about the ego structure’s need to remain the controller. 


Yeah, that sounds right. I’m like 90% there, I think.

I’m also trying to notice (and this is more so about emptiness) how all thoughts / perceptions, even subtle ones of me needing to do anything, are empty, are just part of this luminous field.


Yeah, okay on thoughts. I tend to address cognitive thoughts last, long after straightforward sense perception. Do you know why?




Because nearly everyone in the various Pragmatic Dharma communities has no more than MCTB second path, even when they think they have fourth path, and why? Because they are fixated on the nonduality of “thought” and cannot describe any change in relatively immediate feeling, seeing, or hearing. If you question them, they will say strange things, like that their perception hasn’t changed but their relationship to their perception has changed. To me and others I know, this “change” sounds merely conceptual and psychological rather than a true unbinding of sensory misperception at its root.

Thought is therefore a dangerous category to become preoccupied with first, because it can so easily stray off into mere conceptualization of nonduality instead of experiential nonduality. I believe this is why Daniel tended to overstate that “sensations” were everything: He was trying to correct for this reification of what we are talking about here.

Addressing “thoughts,” we quickly will get into the weeds and get lost and get stuck.

I’ve spent untold hours with my good friend DW because his map treats thoughts like any other sense door in this respect. But he does know and agree that the Pragmatic folk are fooling themselves in exactly this way.

So . . . this is all very complicated and requires we enter into long discussions about Mahamudra and Dzogchen. All we are doing tonight, though, is dealing with Vasily and luminosity. Put thoughts aside for now on this talk.

Let me say just in passing that “thoughts” are not things even in the most superficial samsaric regard. They have no weight, extension, color, size, or other aspect of space. So dealing with thoughts as if they reside in a space, or relate to space, is a categorical error from the outset. The reintroduction of “thoughts” into the vast luminous field has to be addressed with practices concerning time and impermanence, rather than space, which means we have to get into Mahamudra/Dzogchen. Tonight all I have time/energy for is luminosity. It is 3 a.m., after all.

It sounds to me like you have luminosity. This happened a few months ago?


I feel like I’ve had this for a while. Just the visual high-definition aspect has been getting more obvious over past few months. Actually maybe I got something at a 1-day Dzogchen retreat a couple of months ago.


This is why I wish you all would keep journals, at least for the sake of the unwashed masses who want to  awaken.


That retreat did begin opening up some new territory.


What did KD teach on that retreat?


Thanks for the reminder. Need to restart my journal now that practice is moving again.


Just classic Dzogchen stuff.


Such as . . . ?


Everything is light. Visualize hums burning up the entire field. We did that special Dzogchen breathing for mixing blue and red in each side of the lungs/breathing.


Oh boy! That sounds like some tantra. Is he in Nyingma?


But also some pointing-out meditation, like how Dzogchen true nature is right here.


Delete the self, just hang in the quietness of the foreground of the mind; then you might see the things that are still noisy. Noise . . . that is where it’s still at if you can tune into that.


The ocean is sometimes still, sometimes stormy.


The complete silence of the foreground of the mind leads to opening the background that is awareness.


Except that awareness (rigpa, we are now talking about) has no foreground/background or other edge.


Using the same practice used to examine individual waves teaches you nothing about the whole ocean.


Well, to me, awareness is hard to open because my heart chakra is noisy.


The answer to your heart trouble is relational tantra. And add this mantra: “I release all martyr energies.”


But isn’t heart chakra noise just part of it all? Or am I oversimplifying things?




Vasily, no. Simple is good. Some of us cannot manage an uncomplicated version of simple, apparently. Samsara is self-generated confusion.


So when I can quiet my heart, open it, then I can tune into my thought frequency. Then, quieting that, I can open the background of the mind that is awareness.


Why not just cut right to it?


Well, I have a recipe. That is limited.


Can’t follow directions.


But without a clue, you’re lost.


Open mind. Follow teacher’s pointing-out without trying to second guess or decode it.


I’m not willing to do tantra. So I’m doing it the hard way.


DW, repeat after me: “I release all martyr energies.”

I’m serious. That’s your mantra.


If my heart were fixed, it would be easy.


I release all martyr energies.


Two paths. (1) Fix heart: the way to do that is tantra. (2) Direct path: follow the teacher’s pointing out without question.

Take your choice.


OK, Jenny . . . “I release all martyr energies.”


You know exactly what I mean. You are indulging in the perverse pleasure of punishing yourself.

You deserve to awaken. You deserve a long happy life full of love.

Now, Vasily, my dear. . . .


“I release all martyr energies.”

“I release all martyr energies.”

“I release all martyr energies.”

“I release all martyr energies.”

I’m cool with it.


Okay, Jenny, please continue. I don’t want to keep you too late.


Vasily, when you and I got stream entry at around the same time and met, what was and still is super interesting to me is that you said, and I felt myself, that SE brought with it a persistent feeling of j4.j5, the felt boundless space aspect, in everyday life.

Now, most practitioners apparently don’t get that “package deal” at stream entry.

My hypothesis is that people who get the spaciousness early, at SE as defined by MCTB, will move very quickly to fourth path attainment when exposed to decent instructions.

So, although we cannot be sure about others’ attainments, I am convinced that you and I had similar SE outcomes. And I’m inclined to believe you now, somehow, have gotten luminosity. This impression is not just because of your words, but also because of another level on which I’m feeling into you.

So what I would advise you to do next is this:

Get some conceptual/intellectual understanding of basic Dzogchen terminology—chiefly, rigpa, kunzhi, and tsal. I recommend starting with Tenzin Wangyal’s book The Wonders of the Natural Mind.

Then read the post about luminosity versus rigpa. Learn, conceptually, the difference between luminosity and rigpa from that.

Note that Mahamudra is essentially identical to Dzogchen’s first of two paths: Trekchöd. So do your damnedest to scrape together the dough and time to sit a weeklong Mahamudra retreat next summer. Mahamudra has more structure to it than Dzogchen Trekchöd. So it will be more “pragmatic” in flavor. It is very, very precise and structured.

Now, then, during another talk, we can address taking the mind perspective as opposed to the event perspective. That’s step 1 for you. If you have luminosity, you actually already know what this is. But what I want to see is whether the mind perspective is stable, or whether you can flip back and forth. The answer to that will suggest Step 2.

I love you all. Good night.

The Importance of  Journaling to Practice and as Practice

Dear K—

Regarding your stated difficulty in keeping a practice journal because you feel it reifies practice—in the dharma book I’m writing, I urge practitioners to keep a practice journal even when they don’t feel like writing. Daniel Ingram told me to keep a journal as soon as I met him, that it would be important, and he was right.

I’ve been able to discern and therefore tweak the course of my practice skillfully because I could see larger insight “trends” emerging in and from practice sessions recorded in my journals across months and years.

In addition, often in specific formal practice sessions I will have direct insight—see—but until I am able to transmit that to the page or to others and say, I don’t sense that I have the fruit: wisdom. In fact, often it has been the saying that led in formal practice to the next seeing.  From the perspective of the causal model, I see insight leading to wisdom, and wisdom leading to next insight.

Yes, I agree that it is important to be spontaneously in the moment during formal practice, not conceptualize, let go, and so forth, but then it is important to contemplate what that seeing brings up and forth in your everyday life and in planning your next formal practice.

What do I mean by “planning” next practice? I am thinking mostly about my earlier Theravadin-stage practices, when I was doing vipassana applying the Three Characteristics across Six Sense Spheres, how one characteristic or sense sphere would entail insight suggesting the next sense sphere or characteristic to emphasize in a formal practice session.

But even now—if something is coming up over calendar time as a pattern I wasn’t seeing clearly into before, that can suggest a practice emphasis for me to pursue. Last night offers an example.

Last night I stayed up practicing some esoteric stuff until 5 a.m. I’m now off Cymbalta and past the wicked withdrawal syndrome, and am lately confronting this twinge of anxiety I feel as times, especially before falling asleep. I have a history of phobias around traveling in cars and airplanes, and around everything Kerry in general. Kerry was planning to drive to Charlotte today, and I tend to be especially anxious when he is driving out of town. 

During my esoteric practices, I was tuning in to that “Kerry traveling” anxiety. I had sudden insight into my attachment to Kerry as keen suffering. I saw exactly why my protective love for him is suffering. It is a love that is particularized to him as special beyond everyone else on earth. I contemplated and felt in my heart center and solar plexus how I could not bear the feeling of any harm coming to him. I felt fear because family members of a couple of friends have recently suddenly died, including a son Kerry’s age who was killed in a car accident. This overprotection I feel for Kerry is extreme suffering.

Yesterday, too, one of my authors wrote me on Skype: “To be a mother is to know suffering.” I had stared at that sentence for a long while. This author narrowly escaped being a casualty last week in the Manchester attack that killed so many innocent children. He was telling me he is afraid for his son, who is Kerry’s age and traveling to Berlin.

So last night after contemplating and seeing all this, I saw this tiny booklet I have on daily purification from back when I was practicing in the Gelugpa tradition. Seeing that caused me to read it for the first time in a long time and to remember that phrase “mother sentient beings” and how in Tibetan Buddhism a mother’s love is the template and intensity standard for universal love. The book mentions, in particular, Vajrasattva’s “unbearable compassion.” That is what I feel for my child, particularly when he is confused or blind: unbearable compassion.

I suddenly began to see clearly how to end this surviving anxious preoccupation that is my pet locus of suffering. I saw that expanding that love I have for Kerry to all beings would be to dissolve a boundary that is currently still my identity-view based on super-special attachment and therefore suffering.

Furthermore, I understood the urgency of purification anew, because I understood that I have to extend that love to myself to release guilt, which is the backward-looking form of worry. My worry over Kerry comes from my believing Little Jenny deserves punishment and is unworthy of love. This insight led me to contemplate reviving some practices JC suggested to me for healing Little Jenny, who was abandoned by her parents and who therefore keenly feels hyper-vigilance against losing more family and being banished by peers.

Like Atiśa, who wrote it, I did that purification practice in that little book on the spot, to forgive myself for wrongs I’ve done others, for my shortcomings in being of service. Although I’m normally not one to take vows, I suddenly vowed to the depth of my being to stay. I vowed to stay here until everyone knows the joy of liberation. As I journal my practice over weeks and months, I’ll see what wisdom results from renewed practice emphasis on attachment-as-suffering and on purification as release. Then I’ll see what boundary remains and deal with that. This is all I mean by “planning” practice.

I believe that practice, like any project, should be guided by discernment. Setting intention is a formal part of meditation practice, after all.. That means that practice goals and documentation of which methods lead to which results is important, perhaps even critical. It may not be Zen or Dzogchen of me to say so, but I do say so even while currently being a Dzogchen practitioner. Structure is a tool. The causal model is a tool. As each rung is attained and integrated, you can throw off that bit of scaffolding as just artificial scaffolding, finally just abiding in the natural state (Trekchö). But my view is that abandoning the causal model from the beginning, or even in the middle of the path, is almost always disastrous, or at least unnecessarily inefficient.

People often mistakenly believe that one must first think in order to write. But practiced writers actually write in order to discover what they have seen and think. Thought is not an enemy to be permanently shut down, but to be integrated into the natural state. We are thinking, feeling creatures, after all. Back decades ago when my husband invited others to his Native American–style sweat lodges in North Florida, everyone would take off their clothes, sit in the pitch dark, sweat until there was no felt resistance, and then take turns speaking from the heart. Truth of experience is what matters, you see, however it unfolds, however “its” intention both reflects and informs “ours,” eventually merging.

So my advice is to just write, just as you speak truth from the heart during our retreats. Open your heart and be a hollow conduit for whatever speech-stream flows forth—without planning, organizing, or editing as it flows. Automaticity of writing without identity-investment in the result is in itself profound practice.



Nirodha Samapatti: Attainment at Last


I just had something weird happen during my sit. I lost consciousness while sitting up straight on the floor in a half lotus. It was not a Fruition because those are fast. I lost 30 to 40 minutes at least, with no sense of time or anything during that time out. It was like being “out” for surgery: I was completely and utterly gone—as in a coma, like Daniel said of nirodha samapatti.

I know I lost all that time because I set a timer at the beginning of my sits, and I set this time for one hour. I felt like I was about 20, maybe 25, minutes in. Suddenly, there was a kind of rock-heavy downshift and thud. Then I was out, and the next thing I knew, I was coming up out of it. I looked at the timer and there was three minutes left on it. So there is at least a half an hour I cannot account for and had no residual sense of having had that time pass in some way—not even the way we normally sense time has passed when we’ve slept.

I was doing concentration, but I’m not aware that I got all the way to seventh and eighth. I did not resolve to get NS (I kind of gave up on making resolutions for NS for now, feeling I’m not ready and should focus on resolving for clear fruitions). I normally get very intense afterglows from jhana practice, and I do not feel right now like I’m in a heavier one than usual. The main thing I’m noticing is extra clarity and brightness of mind, like I don’t need to sleep and could work all night or go for a walk in the moonlight. It is as if I have no need for sleep, all fatigue is gone.


Could deep eighth possibly cause this?


No. I’m positive this was nirodha. There is still some consciousness in eighth jhana. It is now 13 hours later and I’m still in the most intense and blissful afterglow I’ve ever experienced. It’s unbelievable.

The shutdown was distinctive, The powering back up was, too. My timer and my burned down candle showed that I was as if in a coma for about 30 minutes, completely gone. No mental activity or sense of time whatsoever in that state. I just vanished for half an hour. Everything feels different now, extremely vivid, clear, and blissful.

I’ve no doubt at all that this was the real deal.

I stayed up till dawn just to fully check out this afterglow and to scour the DhO for Daniel’s comments on claims to NS. I also looked at the language from texts and looked for any possible differential diagnosis.

There is no way that I can think at this point that what happened last night was anything other than the real deal, nirodha samapatti. The shutdown was distinctive; the rise out was distinctive. Three moments of shutdown and the reverse on the way up and out. I had zero consciousness for around 30 minutes (which, oddly, apparently didn’t affect my sitting posture at all, which was upright on a pillow, half lotus). I was completely, utterly gone. And my mobile phone app proves how much time I lost from all mental activity whatsoever. My new votive candle was burned down way past where it should have been if felt time were real time elapsed.

What is odd to me is that I was doing some mahamudra tips for concentration side only, and my usual vibratory stuff was almost nonexistent during the sit. So, apparently, for me to get NS, I have to lean way, way over to the samatha side of things—as in actually not cultivating even 30% vipassana, but none at all since plenty is there.

Also, hilariously, this happens soon after I gave up on its happening and quit with the resolutions after 3 months of steadfastly resolving? Funny how the Dharma does this to me all the time—must give up to get!

So power failure outage, nothing whatsoever in the way of mental anything for 30 minutes, gradual come up and back online, and a delayed-onset stunning afterglow lasting many, many hours.

I now am feeling incredible clarity, like a ton of “psychic gunk” was cleaned out, kind of like you feel the day after doing LSD. Everything is vibrant, extraordinarily clear, and blissfully calm.

Just as advertised, as Daniel says, and I highly recommend it if you can get it.

Postscript Almost 3 Years Later

I’ll never forget this event. It was truly the most stunning sudden event to happen on the path after the stream entry out-of-body and reboot experience. I had been practicing Daniel’s instructions for this attainment for 3 months and casting resolutions. Three changes seemed to make the difference on this night: (1) I leaned all the way toward the samatha side and away from the vipassana aspect, which was already strong; (2) I maintained metacognitive monitoring of how the sit was going past first jhana and in fact all the way up; and (3) I “forgot” about the spells I had been casting for 3 months straight, the forgetting being a common ingredient of most effective spells.

 Jhanas and Insight: Friendly Sparring with Pawel


After stream entry, says Daniel, one is basically in some manner of jhana if drawing breath.


Interesting =)


He and I are both aversive personality types. This means we don’t readily get into the intensely pleasurable states, like second, but prefer the higher refined states that are more neutral-feeling.


So I guess you won’t have anything against 4th path once you shut down half of your brain and rest of it finally “arrives.”


Instead I simply call on the jhana and immediately drop manipulation and just observe what happens.


Do you really “call” on jhana or are “jhana projectors” just getting active and casually start projecting jhanic qualities?


Um, the correct answer is B—”jhana projectors” causally start projecting jhanic qualities! Did I pass the test?

Seriously, though, yes, I know, but it was 4:30 in the morning, at which time I have Super Agency, linguistically speaking! You have indeed identified one area to try to see as more stuff that is “simply happening.” I’m quite attached to my jhanas, baby; I guess there is a reason that, in the fetters model, attachment to the jhanas is the last attachment to go!

It is funny because when I talked to Daniel by phone after path in February, he advised me to call up the jhanas, in order and out of order, and do all sorts of manipulative exercises with them, such as holding a jhana way past the point where I want to move to the next one and then suddenly “let go” into the next one to watch its factors bloom rapidly and therefore clearly. He said, “Your ability to call them up as you now can aids mastery, and mastery is good, although before, when they were sensed to be just “taking over,” you were more tuned into the no-self aspect.”

Lately, I’ve been “just sitting,” meaning I don’t call upon anything. I sit without agenda or expectation. They show up in this way, usually, more deeply, harder, than the other way, with a more intense, long afterglow. Now, however, I’m feeling like I maybe should be working on concentration per mahamudra manual in preparation for the mahamudra retreat July 24, as both Daniel and Bill advised that I strengthen concentration, although Daniel pointed out that “just sitting” doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not concentrated. I think Daniel is talking about moment-to-moment concentration, anyway, which this mahamudra is all about, from one perspective—the mindstream-of-events perspective (the other perspective is the awareness-itself perspective).

Some degree of insight is always going to show up in those jhanas.


Not that I pick on you, but what do you mean by “insight” in this context? You talk about it as it were some substance that was pouring up and filling some sort of path-cup. At least that is my impression. Could you clarify what do you mean by “insight”? For the sake of all living beings.


Sure, hahahaha! All I mean is that jhanas will be vipassana jhanas to some extent, not “pure” samatha jhanas. Daniel says that “at this point” doing pure samatha isn’t likely possible for me, although he invited me to run the experiment and see if I can do it. He said the experiment might be interesting.

When MCTB2 is posted, then it will be clearer what I’m talking about. Daniel has in MCTB2 made the jhanas, generically described, the entire framework for advanced meditation (both samatha and vipassana aspects). He states in MCTB2 that there is always some combination of samatha and vipassana—and vipassana will be quite obviously operative after stream entry, especially.

What do I mean by “vipassana”? Only that the Three Characteristics will show up in the concentration states, breaking “pure” samatha. Reality will show itself, its true nature, as it were, until even that “true nature” is undone and the Three Characteristics vanish for good.

The jhanas have furthered my insight rapidly because they are like little laboratories in which many specific variables are held at bay, or turned away from, which makes what’s left, the isolated variable, easier to see into, to investigate. I’ve had major insight in the Realm of Nothingness, for example, that I think would have taken a lot more time to come across without my having that attainment to Nothingness.

For example, why, when I’m feeling super agencyless do I also have such intense j4.j5 that I barely feel my body?


“Super agencyless”—I do not have that one yet, just normal plain old agencylessness. =(


Perhaps you need to try harder to not try harder!

All I meant was that I was aware of it most of the day, but, yes, there is no “degree” of agencylessness. That wouldn’t make sense. By the way, I’m finding that if I pay attention to whether or not there is agency, I am shifted into being aware directly that there is no agency. Should I be trying, Pawel, to tune into that all day? I mean, I don’t understand from Daniel, how “constantly” screaming obvious the agencylessness is supposed to be. He states in one of his DhO postings listing criteria for 4th path that it “isn’t always in the forefront of attention.”

Does an arahat have a “forefront,” by the way?

In the new criteria for 3rd path, by contrast, he states that agencylessness should be the dominant experience the vast majority of the time. Why the discrepancy?

I need to remember to ask him about this, but I’m trying to stop bugging him, for he has 100 hours of ER shifts to do in eight days.


Why agencylessness and not feeling body would be linked specifically to j4.j5? Body image projection does not have anything to do with “infinite space,” which is just another projection separate from projection of bodies. Have you tried to tweak this body sensation independently of jhanas as its own thing and then deepen it?


First, there is no logical reason that I can think of for why agencylessness would be linked specifically to j4.j5. I’ve just noticed that I tend to be in a pretty strong j4.j5 when I notice a sense of agencylessness as experience. As for not feeling my body, that is part of the definition of Boundless Space as a jhana: No body. It applies to j6 and j7, as well.

No, I haven’t tried that. I can’t do anything “independently of jhanas,” for they are always running, per Daniel—and per experience so far.

Daniel wrote a comment that “vibrating formless realms” refers to oscillating between seventh and eighth jhana. I need to follow up on this marginalia.

Hi, Eric! Did you see where Moses, er Daniel, brought the law down from on high and threw it before swine, er, I mean all DhO beings? He didn’t answer clarifying questions about whether he was talking about criteria for having 3rd at all, or criteria for “late” 3rd. He’ll escape my questioning only so long, for now that this cat is out of the bag, it will certainly have to go into the revised edition.


Yeah, path 3 and 3.5, that make some sense. I would still push 2nd path into 1st and make those two early and mature anagamis into two separate paths, 2nd and 3rd.


There is not a two-phase third path in Daniel’s Revised Four-Path Model or in his Simple Model. Both models are worthless to me. They say almost nothing.

I’m inclined to agree with you Pawel—First Path ought to be Fruition and cycle based. As soon as actual insights/wisdom and walking-around persistent changes in perception start up, that ought to be next (Second?). At some almost-done point, that ought to be Third.

At any rate, Daniel has a bunch of ‘spaining to do.

If one has to have luminosity and agencylessness the “vast majority of the time” to even qualify for 3rd path, then, as DW mentioned, Daniel has lot of filling in of Second Path to do in his model! Currently, Second Path has zero insight listed—just, oh, another path and fruition attained. So friggin’ what!


Settling, Patience, and Letting Go: A Community Project


One thing Daniel told me recently was to practice patience in the face of my recent intense (and distressing) Desire for Deliverance, which went on for almost two months. He tells me to investigate patterns “gently” and mainly just to let my recent (January/February) attainment “settle.” He says the brain can only rewire so fast, and I got stream entry less than a year ago. I said to him, “Then why do I feel like I’ve been doing this for lifetimes?”

What do I mean by “vipassana”? Only that the Three Characteristics will show up in the concentration states, breaking “pure” samatha. Reality will show itself, its true nature, as it were, until even that “true nature” is undone and the Three Characteristics vanish for good.


Jenny, I’ve found myself coming to the same conclusion about patience from an experience that I think stems from a very similar place as your recent Desire for Deliverance, but probably not as intense.  By listening to something Adyashanti has said, and some things that Daniel has said, and some things that I have experienced, it feels like usually the cause is in some notion we are holding on to that either

  1. This can’t be it so I will try and in very subtle ways manipulate this experience, which clearly isn’t even a “thing,” nor does it help.
  2. That we have some notion of what our practice or reality should look like.

I have found useful incredible, incredible honesty about if I’m in any way trying to manipulate reality, as well as the fact that “awareness” doesn’t really care if it’s having a “bad” or “good” time; it’s this weird constructed notion of ourselves that gets really fussy about that. This has helped me remember to (my recent mantra): Chill the fuck out.


Vasily, you have such useful insight. I really appreciate your Zen-inspired perspectives. They are  an often useful antidote to the crazymaking effort-manipulation and refuge-seeking knots we suddenly find ourselves in. I usually actually take perverse pleasure in Desire for Deliverance—I love all the cathartic weeping, praying—”melodharmas,” as Daniel calls them, haha. But when it goes on for 7 weeks? Not so fun anymore.

Upthread, you will see that I sent out strong intention after one of my sits to draw the card that would respond directly to this painfully long Desire for Deliverance. I drew the High Priestess, and that is an emphatically Yin card, one urging passivity, openness, and a “practice” consisting of patience.

I had told Daniel about my drawing the High Priestess, who urges patience. Here is what he wrote, and after reading it, that night I sat and went to High Mastery Equanimity and had the clearest experience of formations to date (I still haven’t posted here my entry for that sit by the way).

Jenny (to Daniel)

Lately, even “watching the motions of attraction and aversion” is taking me nowhere.


Good. There is nowhere to get to but here. That’s the sort of response that drives people nuts, but it is still true. It is also not possible that practice isn’t doing something, even if you can’t see that right now.

I think that you can combine settling, patience and strong concentration. Settling is settling into right now, into this. Patience is allowing that sense of pulling to be embraced now and letting go of something (not a phrase I use lightly, but it seems to apply here). Concentration has to be grounded in this moment, in this plane, in these sensations, so it is also patience, and it is also settling. “Let it settle,” as Christopher Titmuss so wisely said to me one day. I would still be with the settling. That’s what comes to me this early, circadian-ly disrupted morning.

Jenny (to Elizabeth)

I too am looking forward to the dropping of MCTB2. We got really bogged down in the two most difficult chapters of the book—”Equanimity” and “Path and Fruit,” the latter of which includes the “Three Doors” section, which has always driven me bonkers and which caused me to drive Daniel bonkers over my being bonkers about it.


He’s also even more overworked than usual now because three of his colleagues resigned.

We have finished “Equanimity,” which is fantastic and the most important chapter in the whole book. It was worth it that he and I took the time to haggle over every little part of it. We are both very, very happy.

We are almost done with “Path and Fruit,” now that we spent some 15 pages of email struggling with each other over just the No-Self/Suffering door, which is hilarious if you think about it! This one little section generated a ton of exchange with Daniel and exemplifies what a strange and wonderful, if often overwhelming, period in my life this has been—the challenges and opportunities of considering with Daniel every single passage in this book.

We have a chapter to get to on the Vipassana jhana models, which should be a walk in the park in comparison with the foregoing. Then we have another chapter that is a kind of catch-all space for the notation system detail, Nirodha Samapatti, and other advanced practice instructions. This is a brand new chapter.

Daniel’s most off-hand email can cause for me an opening, and did, leading directly to path, to luminosity as persistent shift. He is not my Teacher by his own definition of what a Teacher is (someone sitting with a student in person, on retreat with him). We’ve expressly sought not to make editing some exchange for teaching. Nonetheless, he is my teacher, even if he disclaims me as his student.

In short, what a wonderful period of my life this has been, what a unique opportunity it has been to get to know Daniel personally and to have these conversations. I also feel this morning like expressing high gratitude for this little space, all the people here in the Underground. May I catch up on journals (mine and everyone’s) this weekend.


I remember before my latest shift seeing what I believe to be formations really clearly. I agree with Daniel about the “if you’re seeing formations, enlightenment is close” thing.

Regarding the second part, “The river naturally empties into the ocean.”

Regarding the letting go of something, I find myself contemplating a phrase by T. S. Eliot from Journey of the Magi:

But set down

this set down


In terms of letting go, what has helped me is feeling the suffering of grabbing, holding, and in the same motion of letting a hot coal fall out of our grip, by simply opening our hand—let go.