Paradoxes of Effort and Surrender in Meditation Practice
Just a practice note here–One change since the awakening of July that I’ve been sort of adjusting to is the loss of the “hair on fire” urgency to practice and “get somewhere.” Although it is true, if paradoxical, that before the central processor-subject reference point drops out it helps to try not to try to get somewhere, still that odd prescription makes total sense only
after the attainment comes. In other words, until there is no more reason to try, there will be, on some level, effort to get somewhere. I would say, instead, that total honesty is even more important than total surrender. In fact, direct seeing, fierce honesty, is the surrender.
No More “Hair on Fire” to Practice
At any rate, oddly, without urgency to practice, I seem to have less sense of a direction, of being led on by the “Dharma.” Maybe this is the usual course; maybe this is part of what John means by my now having to sit on the charnel grounds without a map, a light, or a friend. I’ve felt for months that I’m in some kind of holding pen, being kept back and slowed down for who knows what. It is kind of like I’m being tested, but by whom and for what I don’t know. It is just a feeling, intuition.
Some Results of Mahamudra Augmented by Energetic Practices
Oddly, too, I’ve suddenly lost the oomph behind third chakra practice. I feel that that work really has accomplished something, releasing and unwinding a knot of sheer terror, even terror over my own aggression, there in the power center of the body. Calm glowing energy is steady now, and I’m not easily thrown off into contraction, not even momentarily. One of the ways I keep noticing this change is that people will voice some assumption that I must be upset by X circumstance, or they apologize for criticizing me. I just blink, surprised that they would think those reactions “normal” or “default.” It is not that I don’t get mad or irritated at times; it is just that the blissful breath of the whole field is so much “louder” that nothing like that sticks. Well, almost nothing.
Of course, there was still that horror of a plane flight to Tallahassee that I’ve yet to write about, but a few years ago I wouldn’t even have been able to avoid a panic attack during a mild short flight.
Sleep and Dream Yoga
I’m now feeling called to work on sleep and dreams, from both a Buddhist and a Jungian framework, and to me this means that I need to get back to my jhana practice seriously and belt out some steely concentration. I’m even a little annoyed at how dependent I’ve seemed to become on pointing-out. Maybe that goes hand-in-hand with this drive I’ve also suddenly felt the past two weeks to disidentify as a Buddhist (something for another entry). “Buddhism” as construct is suddenly crampy, er empty.
Tonight’s Guru Yoga Practice
Tonight I started with calling in the retinue of masters and so forth, and then did some guru yoga with Padmasambhava as one I was melding with. He started popping up in place of the ideal father figure a couple of months ago, for whatever reason, spontaneously. I “saw” him and knew exactly who it was. He has the scary, fierce eyes; he’s a badass sorcerer. I think it is no accident that at this particular point on my path I am vibing off a compassionate but fierce dharma protector. I’m really descending now, going down into the relative, into the messy messy mess. And I’m carrying sword and staff.
Tonight’s Sloppy Jhana Practice
My jhanas felt sloppy and indistinct, even though, after about 10 minutes I felt effortlessly very concentrated, without distraction. So J2 is still distinct, J3 less so, J4 distinct, J5/J6 indistinguishable from each other, and J7 and J8 unattainable since the flaring of rigpa/mother seems to prevent the turning away that characterizes J7. I’m probably just rusty from lack of deliberate practice, but it is also just very weird to try to bring up these limited states after what has opened is limitlessness.
I sort of wish I could ask Daniel about this, whether he experienced the same thing and what, if anything, to do about it. I guess I’ll have to just practice jhana more and see for myself what can be done. Maybe I will make it off the waitlist into Lee Brasington’s retreat, where I can ask him.
Strange Billowing Warmth during Practice
One interesting effect I noticed tonight during the guru yoga was that a blanket of warmth welled up from where the candles were and covered the whole front of my body. I’ve never felt this happen before. It was fairly intense and broad heat, and I was too far away from the candles for them to serve as explanation. Truly, wonders never cease.