The project is still early in the research, outlining, and drafting stage. It has several times been on hold, moreover, because of the schedule demands of a collaborator. But as plans firm up and execution is further under way, I will reveal more specifics.
The book builds on the Pragmatic Dharma ethos in the sense that it includes a western future-oriented manifesto and a map-driven structure at the top level. It is written in modern, accessible plain English aimed at busy western laypersons. Critical path is a concept borrowed from modern business project management theory. It is the delineation of all the necessary stages and steps toward a project goal, the longest expected duration of each step, and the “dependencies” of the beginning of one step on the completion of some prior step or steps. A critical path yields the shortest possible beginning-to-end representation of the route to a goal. Thus, the book, The Critical Path to Enlightenment: Model, Map, and Method, is a whole-path project management template from zero to Buddhahood.
The concept for this book sprung from a stark lack persisting in the burgeoning western dharma book market: Although countless niche books exist on this or that isolated theory or practice morsel, nothing exists to empower the practitioner to plan the most efficient whole path toward the goal of enlightenment, to document and interpret preliminary results, to diagnose stable attainments, and to confidently navigate the order of stages and levels of meditation practice efficiently.
To illustrate—a friend who is a teacher mentioned to me recently that one of his new students, a beginner, was diving into wrathful deity practice as a first entry to meditation because that student thought a book on the specific practice “sounded cool.” My teacher friend and I laughed, but this situation is the norm rather than specific to this student. The dharma book market is currently a buffet with no defined meal courses governing menus governing, in turn, recipes. Without continuity-of-care whole-path guidance, the practitioner risks misdirection toward the ultimate goal—enlightenment—as well as toward the mastery of the currently alluring practice morsel.
The Critical Path to Enlightenment solves this pervasive problem by delineating in plain modern English a coherent model of enlightenment, a tested syncratic map of the stages and substages of spiritual realization, and diagnostic criteria for the completion of each substage. The practitioner traverses the “critical path” honed for overall efficiency: Model informs map, map drives method, and method drives specific modules of practice and their before-and-after diagnostic criteria.
Although, as summarized, this pragmatism may initially sound dry to meditators who currently labor under the misguided but culturally pervasive notion that meditation is relaxation therapy, its fuller execution departs from other works of Pragmatic Dharma in ways that will inspire all practitioners. Specifically, the pragmatic eclecticism of this book means significant inclusion of Indo-Tibetan-inspired practices, among others, not just Theravadin practices. Additionally, this book addresses psycho-emotional challenges and works with them with meditatively as such.
Perhaps most different from other Pragmatic Dharma works is this book’s explicit commentary on the shifting fulcrum between the “masculine principle” and “feminine principle” as ways of conceptualizing practice approaches as a practitioner advances: The beginning of the path emphasizes the masculine, the middle-to-high path emphasizes the feminine, and the highest end of the path reaches a new extent of masculine-feminine integration by reintroducing the masculine. The aim is wholeness. Specifically, The Critical Path brings into relief the ways current hypermasculine modes of practice and concomitantly patriarchal dharma politics must be balanced by the feminine archetypal principle in individual men and women alike if the dharma is to survive, evolve, and thrive in the West. This book drives what is at stake into fertile open ground.
To achieve its aim as a complete workbook for awakening, The Critical Path to Enlightenment includes illustrations, tables, and templates to support concepts and diagnostic comprehension, retention, and reference. It includes sections on logistical questions, such how to choose and interact fruitfully with a teacher, how to instill daily practice as a habit, and how to approach retreats. Audio recordings of guided meditations are planned to follow.
June saw the continuation of the move away from the sheer wow of traveling in a second phantom body and toward a deeper, more theoretically sound understanding that no body whatsoever is necessary for “traveling,” because traveling has nothing to do with Space and therefore matter. All traveling is time traveling and of mind only.
Eradication of the last vestiges of belief in space and matter, specifically in the sense sphere of sight, will empower coherency between the feeling sense sphere and the seeing, not only in nonphysical matter reality (NPMR), but also in physical matter reality (PMR). To this end of enlarging access to one larger reality, I’ve begun attending lucidly to state ambiguity among waking, hypnagogia, and dreaming. In this way, I’m coming to know that the enlarged NPMR reality is not superspace containing PMR but a coexisting expansion of reality available right here, right now in a PMR unleashed from illusory limitations.
Observations and lessons in NPMR this month seem to be the key to overcoming barriers such as the speed of light constant and dense matter impenetrability. Intuitively, my path forward reveals itself to me.
I think I have something to say, but I’m unsure I know how to say it well enough to justify this entry. Here goes nothing. I got to bed at close to 3 a.m. again because of Kerry-related delays. I did a really good bardo practice for Terri, with lights appearing in midvision (the tantric “butter lamp” dissolution phenomenon) and jhanic-type afterglow bliss lasting till I was asleep. Contrary to my resolution not to listen to SOD audios while falling asleep, I put on my favorite: “I am the dreamer,” whose lines I’m determined to transcribe, as this is probably the most profound guided meditation I’ve ever heard by anyone. I was noticing rigpa, checking rigpa, even though I don’t do so normally anymore. I started sort of thinking about why my being rigpa might not be crossing the threshold into sleep. Basically, when we fall asleep, we are falling into Mother, kunzhi. If there is not sufficient brightness of rigpa to illuminate it, then Stupid Sleep is the result. So goes the theory. Rigpa was strong. In fact, the bardo practice juiced that up to euphoric high-energy add-ons, booster rockets. So I have been puzzled over what the real issue could be with lack of control and stabilization. I’ve been reflecting that the default Dzogchen practice is one of nondoing, allowing, surrendering to whatever arises, and so forth. That practice is conducive to stabilizing nondual unbounded wholeness, UW1, which is the Mother-heavy “vast” version of unbounded wholeness. I’ve also been mulling over how emphatic well-known astral travelers and lucid dreamers are about the criticality of personal intent and laser-like concentration.
I let J know months ago that I feel that results of my main practice have stalled out for a year because I’m being asked to develop knowlege of a cosmological scale and nonphysical compass. This development will require reintroduction of the masculine principle, the Magician, as opposed to the pure potentiality of the Void, the feminine High Priestess.
Whatever shifts what I call unbounded wholeness 1 (UW1) to UW2 in waking reality, a shift which has happened and is for me stable, needs to happen in the nonwaking. Is this just a matter of higher rigpa? Is rigpa still limited by subtle dullness? I don’t think so, at least not in waking reality. But if there is some high I’ve not yet hit but of the same ilk, then how would I know? Well, intuitively, I think the problem must be resolvable without recourse only to rigpa intensification. After all, many people can apparently astral travel and lucid dream who have no realization on the Path of Surrender at all.
So, after 3 years emphatically off this tack, I am now reconsidering concentration practice and individual intent from where I am now on the Path of Surrender. My thinking, as I observed my body-mind relationship while falling into sleep last night, was that I perhaps need to exit my sense of a physical body through the portal that is the central channel. I had the further thought that returning to heavy-duty jhana practice (formless realms j7 and j8 only) may be required, particularly because the more concentrated one becomes, the more completely that the subtle mind is drawn into the central channel, my target.
The thought is that I would rise to j7 and then absorb into the central channel while still awake. I have done so a couple of times while on retreat. I have a hunch that this is the way that what A. H. Almass calls unilocality happens with regard—specifically in this case—to one’s mind taking one’s own subtle body as object to penetrate, debunk, and thereby (paradoxically) “exit.”
Unilocality, after the New Physics description of quantum entanglement, is the notion that the separate particulars of manifestation remain important after realization. Specifically, each particular contains the whole of the unbounded wholeness, quite literally. If clarity is high, and intention is sufficiently particularized, then one with stable UW1 realization can know another’s mind, travel, and effect other experiences ordinarily considered impossible, or at least paranormal. Thus, UW2/unilocality differs from the nondual model of mystical oneness with two inseparable grand aspects (kunzhi and ripa). UW2 is marked, in fact, by a collapse of the spaciousness or vastness that gives kuzhi its positive characteristics of space, stillness, and silence. The collapse leaves all boundless but without the UW1 sense of positive Space. The feeling is bright, clean, clear, immediate, and utterly spaceless. Thus, UW2 is from one point of view indeed a stabilization of the rigpa aspect at high intensification. (I’m currently revising and editing part of my whole-path map that addresses all these distinctions in far more detail than I’m providing in this cursory mention.)
The immediate challenge for me in “traveling” is to find all of outside space, and indeed outer space, in the particularization of myself—namely, the central channel just in front of my spine. The central channel, you see, is an unfindable, always functual portal. That concentration likely is the method to realize unilocality to the extent that “traveling” results comports with the traditional linkage between concentration and siddhis, including traveling, multiplication of consciousness, and even bilocation. Why else would the higher concentration states be called formless realms?
J has typically contrasted concentration with Dzogchen in our conversations. He remarks that he dislikes having to enter into concentration states at all but has to do so in order to teach concentration to meditation novices. He says, “It is not what my deeper intelligence wants to have happen.” I totally get that. I’ve been downright averse to concentration practice for 3 years now myself, and my nickname is Jhana Jenny! But just as one can remain in UW1 for decades, not progressing to UW2 and realization of the Indra’s net–like unlilocality of all particulars vis-à-vis all other particulars, which again differs from classic rigpa/kunzhi nonduality, I think that Dzogchen can lead one to reify “nondoing.” The result can be lack of discriminating wisdom. The result can be imbalance. Eventually, one must grow up from supplicant to shapeshifter.
The usual cautions apply. What I’m stating here applies to a high level of practitioner, mind you. One should not pursue unilocality and siddhis prematurely. Doing so can be and usually is a distraction, at best, and a derailment at worst. UW1 comes first and is the fruition of Buddhist texts. It is difficult to find mentions of what amounts to unilocality and what I call UW2 in the Dzogchen literature, unless you know ahead of time what to look for. By the time unilocality starts showing itself naturally, one has little need of literature, however. Meantime, be honest with yourself. Understand that shortcuts are almost always long cuts.
As I was falling asleep last night, I was intently focused on concentrating all the diffuse energy, all the light in the universe, down into my heart center. Something happens when I do this, but I’m not sure how to describe that something. I think I will need to dig up my old rusty jhana practice and see if it still works. I hypothesize that j7 and j8 are the keys to stabilizing ability to “travel,” which I keep placing in quotation marks because the realization of unilocality is the realization that spacetime, particularly Space, is only an illusion, even though it is scaffolding for UW1.
I once aligned all the formless jhanas in this way:
I say I have no further use for j5 and j6 because they are early pointers to the rigpa and kunzhi aspects of the natural state. By early 2015 I could no longer separate j5 from j6 in my jhana practice: They were indistinguishable, one state, just as rigpa and kunzhi are inseparable.
Also, in Daniel Ingram’s rendition of crosswalks between Progress of Insight stages and jhanas, crosswalks with which I agree, there is embedded the notion of “cycling” endlessly though the insight stages. After MCTB first path, vipassana and samatha are difficult, if not impossible, to experience without bleed-across from each other, according to Daniel, and again I agree. In a sense, then, one is cycling through jhanas until rigpa is opened and stabilized in daily life.
What Daniel characterized as fourth path when last I looked at his model is accurate in my own experience, as well as the experience of others, with a few exceptions. One of the key exceptions is his claim that those who reach MCTB fourth path keep cycling through the POI stages and, by logical extension, the jhanas. As mentioned here several times before, I’m unsure why Daniel is still cycling, or was when I last conversed with him, but I can assure readers that the natural state obliterates the POI stage cycling completely. The harbinger blending of j5 with j6, and the fractalization and stage-desquencing of the POI in third path, are signs of and preparation for the complete ending of cycling among conditioned stages and states. Where you want to end up is the natural state, not stranded on a not-so-merry-go-round of other states. Even MCTB fourth path plus no-cycling doesn’t finish the Path to enlightenment, but it marks the end of fundamental suffering. It is dramatically life-changing. It is also necessary to the realizations and integrations that follow it.
When J talked with me in January, he excitedly was lining up the same pairings I had of formless jhanas with Tibetan aspects of high realization. We had come to the same hypotheses independently, which is reassuring.
I think it is time to dust off my jhana practice and to develop a deeper and more reliable engagement with the central channel absorption by building on method I already know: calling up j7. Taking the central channel as object in j7 is “how to disappear completely.”
A more detailed, methodical, and didactic treatment of these complex matters will appear in my book.
I was very sleep-deprived today because I got too late of a start on practice last night after painting Kerry’s room. Today I was reflecting that I used to have visions in dreams that became lucid all the time but haven’t now for months. Also, my OBE, lucidity, and even dream recall has dried up again.
About an hour ago, I lay down for a nap. I fell asleep quickly and instantly was gazing on my two hands held out in front of me in some kind of weird reverse light—like xray, but color, like the Illumination card in that old Voyager Tarot card deck I own. I was soon noticing the ring on each hand, that the jewel was a tigle. Then the tigles popped off my hands, turned into peaceful mandalas, and then into connected crosses, which started expanding into a net of light. This made me realize I was lucid and, hey, I used to see such things in dreams all the time, many months ago. Then I was undecided whether I were actually asleep or awake. I decided I was asleep. The excitement attending this realization woke me up, so I got nearly zero rest. The experience and realization were worth the lost sleep.
This dream reminded me of how I look at my “astral” hands when I’m out of body, but it also made me think about that instruction in Boundless Vision to concentrate on the lights wrapped around the fingers when the visions are suspended between increase (third vision) and retreat back into the heart (fourth vision). I still have no idea what to make of that instruction.
Just a quick status note—I’m not having outright travels, lucid dreams, or even regular dreams that I can recall lately. The constant, though, is that I’m experiencing the intense vibrations every night when I get in bed, and then some kind of shift in awareness/attention that I don’t yet know how to describe, except to say that it is nonconceptual yet completely aware (of its own being aware). Both the vibrations and the weird awareness state repeat if I get up to go to the bathroom and then go back to sleep. The vibrations are what happen right before the second body separates from the first, but I’m losing consciousness right after the vibrations start to settle down. I then remember nothing.
It is hard to know how to practice or what to emphasize. I really need better recall. Or something. I’m not giving up. I’ll persevere.
I should probably more widely research what should and shouldn’t be done once the intense vibrations begin. Different people say different things. I guess the fact that I get to the vibration every single night, usually several times, is progress, yes?
By the way, I’m not trying to get vibrations. Ever since that first time I left my body and looked at the phantom body in my bedroom mirror, the vibrations just come—nightly. It is as if my mind learned how to get to that stage of astral projection and retains the ability. I just cannot get past the vibrations consistently.
More alarm clock weirdness. I’ve had a migraine all afternoon and evening. After work, I took a bunch of migraine medicine and herbal remedies for nausea. Finally, when none of this worked, I lay down on a heating pad in my bed and listened to “I Am the Dreamer” through flat earbuds I bought for sleep.
I was relaxed and aware the entire time, but I don’t remember parts of the audio, so who knows where I was or in what real state. Nevertheless, it didn’t and doesn’t feel like I ever fell asleep. I was aware the whole time that I was in bed. Toward the end of the 18-minute audio, violent bodily vibrations began, and I thought about how I normally dive off and am lost after this point. I’m hearing the audio, and suddenly I’m seeing the large red numbers on my alarm clock across the room on my dresser. They say 9:02. I know and have known the whole time that my eyelids are closed. Yet I’m seeing out, through my closed physical eyelids.
This is not a dream. I’m not asleep. My point of view had to be upright to see the clock, not reclining on my back in the bed. Yet I knew I was reclining in the bed. It seemed an impossible geometry for me to be both lying down and upright, but I had to have been. I remembered that, when astral traveling, I see through closed eyelids, so I wondered if I were traveling. However, I was not this time aware of being embodied in a phantom body. In other words, I did not look down and see ghostly arms. As I looked at the 9:02 I also knew that was not the right time. It had been 10:01 when I went to lie down. When I realized that the 9:02 was not real time, the 9:02 began warping and wavering, like a shaky mirage. Then I was suddenly not seeing the red numbers through my closed eyelids, but seeing only the ceiling from lying-down perspective in my bed. Now I’m up out of bed, even though “Cosmic Wind” audio started next, and I was getting into it.
I had what felt upon waking as a long but largely irretrievable dream. I lay in bed a full hour upon waking, keeping my eyes closed and body still, to see if the dream would float up in a more continuous and complete form. It never did. It remained a dream that was sliced up into numerous shards and then put in a blender so that none of the pieces could be laid out in sequence for a cohesive narrative.
All I can retrieve is that I am in a vacation house with Kerry, maybe a beach house. It has a big walk-in closet with louvered doors. The louvers are clear and consistent. I am sitting in meditation and begin praying that my guides or buddhas descend and “fix” Kerry so that he will live a life of virtue, service, and path-seeking.
Immediately, numerous happenings ensue, cut up and scrambled events. Two guides suddenly visit us in that closet. Kerry is sitting in the middle of the dark closet, on the floor, not awake and not animated. These two guides are formless, but definitely there. They are psychically “asking” me, without words, if I am sure I want to intervene this way in Kerry’s absolute freedom.
I am suddenly concerned why these beings would be asking this if there were not some heavy risk involved. So I think carefully about my request, wondering if it is too manipulative of someone else’s life (Kerry’s). In the end, though, I decide the request is wholesome. I give these two beings the go-ahead. Then, rapidly, Kerry himself, his being and not his body, is shredding into ribbons. The two beings rearrange the ribbons that make up Kerry and then reconstitute him. This is both awe-inspiring and frightening. It is clear that I am morally responsible for interference that is a heavy shift in constitution of my son’s being and will.
These two formless beings, like aliens from an alien abduction, then similarly cut up the dream so that all I have are these shards, fragments, not anything like the whole true story. They are formless, powerful, and neutral. They may be the same two formless beings that visited me last month and taught me, without words, how to transform things in dreams.
About 3 hours into first sleep, I had a short dream I was driving my red Honda to a T-shaped intersection.
I am driving up to the perpendicular short stroke of the T, on the long vertical stroke, so to speak. I am on an elevated road in some sort of western state, maybe Colorado. When I reach the intersection, I stop my car. I see four cars smashed up, totaled, with human bodies thrown around. Prominent is a purple car that is smashed up and almost flattened. It is in the middle of the intersection. I think that the occupants must surely be dead. All is eerily silent and still.
There is a black car ahead of me, also damaged, and another black car on the left short stroke, also showing front-end damage. To my right and ahead of me, there is a black car stopped parallel to mine. The back seat has been ripped out the back. I can see that a man in a dark suit, in his thirties, has been thrown into a heap.
I exit my car and find myself lucid in the dream. The purple color of the totaled car in the middle of the intersection triggers the lucidity: It is the color of a butterfly in a significant lucid dream I had months ago. I remember this prior lucid dream about the butterfly: how I made it huge, purple, and content to fly to and rest in my open palm.
I also look at my red car, a dream sign in my dreams. Lastly, I notice that the geometry of a four-car crash involving these cars is impossible: The cars are not even touching each other, and the damage to each car doesn’t line up with the damage on any of the other cars.
I recognize that this is a “test dream,” another one surrounding my longstanding phobia about driving on highways and out of town. I also start recalling the dream (or whatever it was) of the two formless entities who performed a shamanic dismemberment-reconstitution of Kerry’s being. Not only am I lucid in this current dream, but I’m remembering earlier lucid and test dreams, and am contemplating current action in light of them.
I pull my cell phone out of my pants pocket to call 911. However, I stop dialing because I hear sirens already approaching. I do wonder who called 911, as there is no one else breathing at the scene. I wonder whether to pray to revive the dead, but I’m cautious because my prayer that Kerry enter the Path resulted in some creepy interactions with the formless beings. I feel defiant toward the formless ones, and I start saying Gautama’s Buddha’s mantra and praying not for revival, but for what is best for all beings’ evolution. Then I decide to wake up from this dream, and I do.
This dream marks for me a new level of dream lucidity. In it, I not only quickly realized it was a dream (alternative reality), and I not only controlled what was happening with some of my thoughts, but I had actual memory of several prior dreams and contemplated my current in-dream choices in light of choices I exercised in those prior “test” dreams and the consequences that followed. I cannot remember a single time in my life in which I remembered earlier dreams from within a current lucid dream!
Tom Campbell writes and often speaks of there being tests administered, often in dreams, to practitioners trying to access nonphysical matter reality (NPMR). The tests are administered to gauge fear and teach lessons so that the practitioner will correct his or her fear. In his model of enlightenment, all negative states are fear-based. Only those dreamers with low or no fear and high unconditional (not exchange-driven) love are permitted reliable, stable access to NPMR and what we think of as siddhis. The test dreams are also teachings.
My test dreams seem consistently to concern either my travel phobias, or my codependent urges to save others from their own hard knocks. DreamWalker raised concerns with me that I permitted shamanic dismemberment of my son Kerry on June 9 without his permission. The danger of this magical intent, if actualized, is immense, because actualization means depriving another (Kerry) of his own free will and consequence feedback loop for learning and growth.
I was concerned for about a day when discussing these matters with DW, but I think that the dream of Kerry was actually a test dream, a nonactualized simulation run as a training program on me, as it were. This current dream was retesting me on my impulse to “save” others from cross-life or intralife lessons they may need to learn on their own. It is not always best to try to “save” others from themselves. My notion of what is helpful ultimately may be wrong. This is what I must thoroughly learn to reduce my own virtue entropy and attain to unconditional, radically accepting, nonmeddling love. When one is is in an abusive codependent relationship, then love means refusing to be a doormat and leaving the entire situation behind as a high-entropy situation for all involved. I have indeed learned to take leave from these kinds of abusive relationships. This lesson forbidding abuse doesn’t apply to Kerry, however. What applies to Kerry is the need for unconditional love without messiah complex projections on my end.
Method last night was this: Before bed I was thinking about my abandoned bottle of Valerian root in the fridge. I went downstairs and looked at the dosage: 28 drops. That dosage, the one time I tried it, keep me awake and in mild hallucinations all night, which is why I abandoned it. I started considering that my reaction to Valerian confirmed that it induces lucid brightness, but just too much so. But since I need more memory power, I decided to microdose Valerian to see if I can find a dose that is a sweet spot. I put just 5 drops in water and drank it, skipping my usual herbal teas. I quickly became heavy with sleepiness and could barely get through my night practices.
But I did the bardo practices for Terri, invocation and chakra tantra with Salgye du Dalma (asking her especially for memory, protection, power, and guidance), and “I Am the Dreamer” audio at a louder volume.
I will continue the Valerian experiments to try to determine the reliability of its effects at a much lower dose than is recommended on the bottle. I’m very sensitive to drugs and substances. Normally I have to do much lower doses than other people for same effects.
The nightly body vibrations remain stable. They tend to start at L1 and then spread throughout the body. It feels like a mobile phone ringing on vibrate setting. I remember no separation from body from last night. After the audio was over, I shut my phone off and fell into deep sleep till the dream occurred close to the 3-hour mark. I think I had some other dream in the second sleep, but It is almost completely irrecoverable. Kerry and I were discussing whether some work could be done in a 40-hour workweek and whether my Jhana Jenny posts were bad publicity. Kerry was saying he would clean up my site if I’d pay him and that he did not think I should change the content (ie, the publicity was good). That’s all I remember, and the visuals are largely absent from memory.
Running a sleep debt because I had to get up early the day before, I took 7 drops of valerian root extract (low alcohol). The only dreams I recall were in the morning, disjointed, and mundane.
First I am in an open grass field in my wedding gown (with the figure that fit in that size 10 gown!). It is an afterparty at sunset, or maybe a reception for a renewal of wedding vows. I see my ex Wayne there and hope we might have a sweet time dancing together while reciting poetic lyrics at each other, as in days of yore. Others are starting to dance, and there are brass instruments playing. I am just slowly walking, dragging my candlelight-white taffeta train behind me, with regal posture and calculated grace.
There is at this point a dropout of dream memory.
I am dressed casually in a shopping mall. It is New Year’s Eve, nighttime. Kurt is with me at times; other times I’m alone. The mall is rather deserted. I wonder why we are choosing to spend the marking of a new beginning at this mall when I do not like the fake glamour confronted in mall shopping.
I enter one shop. It turns into a church. A spiritual leader is handing out liturgies for some of us to follow in a ritual. However, as Jesus multiplied fishes to feed a mass gathering, in this case the texts start vanishing until there is only a single copy, and it is in Tibetan. The leader comes to me in distress. I tell him I can find someone to translate the text, but the person needs to be trustworthy and not distort the truth. I tell him to beware of certain spiritual leaders and fear-mongering organized groups. I take the text for safekeeping and leave.
I go into a sweater shop and admire a blue-and-green sweater; however, it doesn’t fit me, and I don’t buy it.
Now I find myself in a darkened movie theatre in the mall. There are more people now at the mall, in the movie theatre. Kurt is beside me. We are watching a movie of a live New Year’s concert. I know the band playing but cannot think of the band’s name. The movie audience starts clapping and cheering over the music. Kurt says, “Who would have thought that so many people today would enjoy that old band so much!”
“To see or attend a wedding in your dream symbolizes a new beginning or transition in your current life. A wedding reflects your issues about commitment and independence. To wear a wedding dress in your dream indicates that you are evaluating and assessing your personal relationship.”
“To dream of the New Year signifies prosperity, hope, new beginnings and an opportunity to make a fresh start. It also represents the start of some new project or a fresh outlook in life. On a spiritual level, the New Year represents enlightenment or newfound understanding.”
“To dream that you are at the mall symbolizes the choices, decisions, and options you have in your waking life. These choices will help shape who you are as a person. You are trying to establish your sense of self, your role. Alternatively, the dream suggests that you are trying to make a favorable impression. The mall is also symbolic of materialism and the need to keep up with the trends, fads. Consider the type and name of stores that you see in your dreams.”
Both dreams are about time-marking milestones during big transitions (wedding and new year). In the shopping mall dream, there is a contrast between the old Tibetan text that I secured to have authentically translated, and the faddish clothing that didn’t fit me. The message here seems to be about rejecting certain postmodern fear-mongering cults as inauthentic fads that do not fit me.
“To dream that you are watching a movie suggests that you are watching life pass you by. Perhaps you are living vicariously through the actions and decisions of others. Consider also how the movie parallels to situations in your waking life. Observe how the movie characters relate to you.”
The movie characters were simply a band playing uplifting music. In the wedding dress section of the dream, there was a live band; here the band is merely projected and from the 1990s. Not sure what this means, but the mall dream was also concerned about clothes (fads, outer identity), and my wedding dress, like the bands playing, were old (original).
Overall, this dream is expressing my current issues concerning independence and self-determination of what I consider an authentic path of spiritual growth and my role as a spiritual teacher, over against suspicious current fads and fashions.
I was watching Twin Peaks last night and noticing Lucy’s ornate sweater. So that is where the sweater metaphor came from.
I had an intense bardo practice for Teresa, followed by “just sitting” with subtle inclination toward formlessness absorption, followed by “I Am the Dreamer” in bed. The only jhana I’m inclining toward is j7, Nothingness, because j7 aligns with complete absorption into the central channel, which is a portal to NPMR. My body felt like mere fragmented fill patterning, not of surface and contour, but through and through. Then body was gone. I was tired and practice was short. I think I’ll build on this foundation. I was surprised to find that, even though I haven’t done this kind of meditation in years, my mastery of it has progressed behind the scenes anyway.
In bed I noticed that my intentions toward dream, astral, or NPMR access are, when I examine them closely, shaky and indecisive. Without clear, strong intent, says everyone on psi, it won’t happen. Or it will happen with diffuse results and won’t be recalled afterward. The test dreams that I’ve failed make me hesitant about intending anything. But I guess this caution is just a working-through bump, not a persistent fear obstacle. I must coherently focus what I intend, once I figure out what that is, or it will fall apart before even launching. Meantime, I think it best to literally do nothing, or very little, on the Path of Knowledge (POK) end. This is a calculated “giving up,” a waiting for fullness and clarity.
I did experience the intense vibrations and some flashes of going “out” and flashes of Tom Campbell as present. But this outing was super-fast and largely beyond recall after the “sandbox” juncture-point. I had 5 or so instances while listening to “I Am the Dreamer,” of reaching for things, especially my cell phone, and realizing only after I had it in hand that neither it nor my “hand” was my PMR reality. As soon as I realized the nonphysicality, even the subtle form would evaporate and I’d wake up a bit to being in bed and hearing the audio again. Apparently, my mind is not yet “getting it,” but stabilization takes time. I’m being shown how “real,” meaning physical, the less dense nonphysical matter can seem.
I just arose from lying down for about an hour. I was weaving in and out of consciousness, I guess, never really entered good sleep. (I’ve nearly lost the capacity to ever nap.) Quickly, my body began vibrating intensely, and I just relaxed. Suddenly there was a series of flash narratives that don’t make much sense:
Not a very restful nap.
I have been taking Valerian every night. It makes me drowsy and itchy. I’ve not noticed a repeat of the lucidity in correlation. I’m taking about 15 drops an hour before bedtime. Last night I did the bardo pointing-out, only about 10 minutes of “just sitting,” and only about 10 or 15 minutes of candle flame gazing. I was too tired to work up to j7 and cc absorption. I tried telepathically communicating an object to Andrew, first by connecting with him from heart center, then third eye, and then throat chakra. I then “pushed” the size, shape, color, and scent of the intended object, a coniferous pine-smelling tree such as grows in the Northwest. While formulating this image, I thought of a squared hedge at first. Andrew the next morning reported visions of a long, tall hedge. No conifer, but hey, something!
In bed, I listened to “I Am the Dreamer.” The vibrations started up and lasted the duration. I cut in and out of hearing the audio. I noticed early, before I had any sense of cutting out of hearing the audio, that I was seeing through my closed eyelids. I even reached up to confirm that my eyelids were completely closed. (They were.) I could see the entire room in the dark: my bedposts, the faintly illuminated windows, the alarm clock, and so forth. Looking at the ceiling, I found that I could see through the ceiling to constellations of stars, some of which changed to white tigles.
I was focused on reality testing, on whether I were “really” seeing what I “thought” I was seeing. I was indeed seeing through my eyelids as clearly as if I had my physical eyes open. However, the stars didn’t look realistic. They were more like special effects in a movie. The stars were a kind of matrix background. The fact that some of them changed back and forth from stars into tigles suggested to me that the nonphysicality or not-out-there-ness of vision was being stressed by whatever or whoever is apparently teaching me.
Next I entered the side of hypnagogia that is closer to dreaming—the high-res flashing of seeing-in visions. A main one was the sight of two men in a boxing ring, with gloves on, punching each other in the head. I have an aversion to watching boxing or violent sports in the Waking, so it was hard to watch this. It didn’t last long but was vivid. This may have been triggered by Andrew’s recent test dream. In it, two guides showed up and started punching him in the face repeatedly to make him courageous in the face of physical pain. In that dream Andrew suffered a busted lip, which remained in a subsequent dream the same night! These formless teaching thugs are really something! And they travel in pairs, like Jehova’s Witnesses!
An aside—I’ve been watching Twin Peaks: The Return. I’m a huge fan of David Lynch, but, of course, he comes up with the most disturbing visual sequences imaginable. Last night’s surreal sequences involved some spawning of evil into the world during test atomic explosions in the New Mexico desert of 1945. Demons were born from the fallout, and there was a graphic scene of a demon crushing a woman’s skull and then a man’s skull till their brains squirted out. Normally, I cringe and look away, but I remembered that Andrew mentioned that J mentioned that watching horror movies can be good emptiness practice. So I rested into the emptiness of these horrific sequences, which is indeed challenging. Maybe this is behind my seeing through closed eyelids to galaxies and tigle: what’s “real” anyway? Many of my dreams the past few months have been showing me that death is a PMR rule-set constraint, ultimately an illusion brought about to make us more efficient in learning from the current lifetime.
I took some gabapentin, NSAID, and muscle relaxer and went to lie down with my sick headache in my bed after watching 1.5 hours of Tom Campbell’s BATGAP interview. I was listening to “I Am the Dreamer” and lying on a heating pad. Very soon, the vibrations began, even though I was not even in hypnagogia that I could tell. I was relaxing and just letting go of the very difference between being in pain and being free of pain.
I was thinking about the vibrations and wondering what they could be. I began to understand from some deep place that they are a feeling-sense-sphere version of togal visions. Both are simply, as Campbell would put it, data streams that, interestingly, are loudly announcing their ontological status as only data. In fact, I think that the vibrations and the visions are basically virtual training programs. These training programs exist to put on explicit display liminality, the state of being “between,” or rather straddled over, two reality frames at once: PMR and NPMR.
My path is unfolding exactly as it “should” be. There is no reason for me to be angry at the lineage, as I explicitly have been for months. There is no reason to concern myself with whether I finish the most esoteric path before my body dies. What matters is the equanimity, love, and compassion with which I meet x. That’s it.
Anyway, I’m lying there and suddenly I realize (become lucid to the fact from a metalevel) that I’m in an interview for a job. I wonder whether this is precognition of a future that will be actualized, or whether this is some random possibility generator. I’m not attending to the content of what is said in the interview. I’m more interested in identifying what state I’m in. Am I dreaming? Am I awake? Am I daydreaming?
While the interview continues, I start reality checking my state. I’m not hearing “I Am the Dreamer,” but I can tune into it if I choose to. I notice that my body is no longer vibrating. Instead, it is gone, migraine and all! How can I know I’m in bed and feel located there but have no body? And how can I be having a job interview, be reality checking, and be moving in and out of awareness of the FLAC file all simultaneously? I can only conclude that maybe this is what Campbell means when he says you do not need to project another body or be sleeping to “travel.” He says it is more like ability to change channels. That description fits this meta-experience.
From this experience of being “in” several scenarios at the same time, I also understand that all humans can do this and may actually do this but simply lack the metalevel that knows and remembers this multi-channel liminality. I think that metacognition of what is already happening is what is meant by “access to NPMR.” I think part of me is “waking up” on the Path of Knowledge. Time will tell.
Interestingly, when I resumed listening to Campbell’s interview, he was saying that fear is the basis of all reactivity, period, and that once love becomes the intent at the level of Being, then traditionalists will label that experience something like agencylessness. In actuality, we never lose agency, says Campbell. The “decision space” has simply expanded, and the “decision” to be love is made at the level of “who you are” and not at the level of intellectual wagering. Intellectual wagering, wherein you feel good about yourself for choosing love or being helpful, is not love. Love is without such contemplation of how ego will benefit from love and compassion. Love is 100% unconditional, or it is not love at all.
Campbell talks at this point in the interview about how we normally locate the Fear that motivates all negativity, which means most of our reactions all day long, in the subconscious. Then he makes this radical statement after explaining that fear-motivations come from the subconscious: “Once you have a larger consciousness, a larger decision space, then the subconscious disappears.” If taken literally, as I think it is meant to be taken, then being love eradicates dreaming. This eradication of dreaming matches what the buddhist, especially Dzogchen, texts mention as marking progress on the the ultimate path to buddhahood: the Path of Togal Visions. Buddhas do not dream.
The dividing line between sleep and nonsleep is being eroded, perforated, and the vibrations are the transition or interference patterns between separate “channels” or data streams. People who become expert at “traveling” eventually stop experiencing the vibrations as their experience space, or decision space, expands to include several former reality frames at once, naturally. This is the same thing as the disappearance of the subconscious. The disappearance of the subconscious eradicates fear and opens love. So this is how the Path of Knowledge, which enlarges the perspective, connects with the Path of Service. This is also, I believe, how the Togal visions eventually disappear, never to arise again, together with a separate state of dreaming.
Before I fell asleep, I tried to form a single intention for what I wanted to learn. I was divided between asking how my job situation might change and asking what I need to learn to finish my main, laid aside esoteric path.
In response to the first query, I dreamed I was in my office, finishing work on the 607-page book I’m trying to finish. In the dream, I fell asleep at my desk, only to wake up when my boss IM’d me, “Doesn’t it feel good to be almost finished with this book? Great work, Jenny!” I hit the “Ignore” option and didn’t respond to her. I rose to go make some hot tea. In the hall a stranger asked me why Emily’s door was no longer fake wood but transparent glass. I said I had no idea, maybe she was trying to seem transparent. Then I started examining all the office doors down my office hallway. I noticed that they were all rotten, splintered, and chewed on by something like a rat.
In the second dream, I was given one word, in writing. I thought maybe it was a mantra. It was “Wolbe.” I did a Google search, and Rabbi Wolbe was an orthodox jewish rabbi who wrote two volumes on conduct, ethics, and virtue on the path to perfection. He states that a virtuous person keeps a strict schedule, is meticulously organized, rejects secularism, and learns virtue by observing closely all beings and objects in the world as teachers.
With regard to my queries, the first dream is presenting a scenario in which I’m bored and disengaged. The disintegrating doors are warning me about disintegrating energetic boundaries and invasion by others at work. Emily’s glass door seems like the future we are all facing at work: increased scrutiny and lack of privacy. The only solution this dream seemed to present was reinforcement of my boundaries against others in that environment. Implicitly, the dream is saying this environment will only increasingly disintegrate.
I don’t know what to make of the second dream. I hope I’m not being told to read a tome on orthodox Jewish ethics! When I run searches on Wolbe, the main passages that come up are about the cultivation of patience and elimination of feelings of time-pressure. Since 2015 I have been very aware of the remaining obscuration of time-pressure. I worry that I will die before I finish the path, die before I get this book written, and so on. I also feel time-pressure at work and mentally flee to a desire to escape that job and escape mundane career altogether. Wolbe has a formal kabbalah method for cultivating patience. Impatience is a specific type of time-scarcity-related fear and and responsive annoyance.
I have nearly 100% success with dream incubation, always have since I first tried it in 2015. I guess I should use it more frequently and figure out how to expand its possibilities for querying the kosmic database and receiving answers from NPMR.
I came home right after work, exhausted. I ate and lay down for 3 hours, at first listening to “I Am the Dreamer.” I am fairly certain of my status of “sleeping” and “dreaming” for only the second 1.5 hours. During the first 1.5 hours, I kept experiencing bodily vibrations and visions of talking with Vicki and Cecilia at RTI. Even the visions of them where “vibrating.”
Finally, I formulated a query of the state and asked what all the vibrating was about. I received an answer. I think it came through Vicki, but not from Vicki. She said to me, “Vibration is a probability distribution.” She continued: “You are not for sure asleep, and not for sure awake; when you observe and decide, then retroactively it will have been one or the other.” I thought this answer very strange and indicative of Tom Campbell’s manner of explanation. I kept bouncing in and out of state, which I found jolting, and mildly depressive-anxious in feeling-tone. When I finally got to sleep in earnest, in the dream I noticed how comforting the total immersion into escape was, my recognition of just this fact notwithstanding.
I’m getting a feeling of resistance to my efforts to gain an interview. Part of it is that I feel uncertain how much spellcasting is helpful, as opposed to “meddling,” although it is with myself I’m “meddling.” Not sure what form intent should take. I am open to discussion of this issue. Apparently, my intention-wielding is weak because I’m unsure what I want, even when it comes to what I think I’ve formerly been clear about wanting. I’m ambivalent at a deeper level than I’ve ever noticed before this month. I know from my time studying with Daniel, that ambivalence is disastrous in casting for results.
Interestingly, I continue to experience stretches of time at night wherein I’m lucid but not quite sure after reality checking whether I’m dreaming, in hypnagogia, or awake. The state I find myself in has characteristics of all three states. If I’m actually in some sleep stage during these episodes, which is likely the case, then my lucidity is sufficiently strong that I’m cutting through the dream-like quality of the dream. The states lately are all “cut up” and rapid flashes, so any narrative is something I’m constructing from scrambled scraps in the morning. However, this also seems to be a new level of clarity, because it is what we really do all or most the time: take the scraps of our dreams and rearrange them and fill in for narrative sense. The rapid flashing reminds me of hypnagogia, of course—the end that is closer to dreaming.
I’m in heavy contemplation much of the time now of the sense that I can easily “let go” of my somatic body sense to “travel,” whereas vision as the instrumentation marking off Space is fucking difficult to let go of. This is something Buddhist and Togal texts actually do address: Subtle duality remains, even for those with realization, for the sense of sight.
Sight is the sense sphere that the Dzogchenpas associate with the Mother/matrix (kunzhi) aspect Space. Togal visions arise and retreat to eradicate some remaining subtle out-there-ness in (PMR) vision. Now I know what is meant by all these texts, because in “traveling” or other psi adventures, I can close my eyes, and without even sleeping or entering hypnagogia, feel that I’m out of my body or no-body, which is not that surprising, because since stream entry, or shortly thereafter, I have had access to the formless jhanas.
But, if I’m awake, then I cannot open my physical eyes and see through the illusoriness of Space. On the contrary, I “see” distance between objects, and between my general point-of-view location and theirs, despite nondual sight-consciousness (what Daniel usually means by the attainment “luminosity”). There is subtle belief in Space as “real” and therefore inherent distance, unsolvable difference, and impenetrable matter. Now, conversely, if I fall asleep, enter hypnagogia, or relax meditatively in bed, I can open my nonphysical eyes, seeing through my closed physical eyelids, and then there is perfect coherency with the body’s being gone from the coarse body in bed (being, in other words, in NPMR). In fact, what the body feels in astral, the nonphysical eyes see.
It is important to understand that NPMR includes and pervades, as opposed to transcends, the subset PMR, which is governed by a rule set that makes us believe we really exist in spacetime. “NPMR” is therefore the maximally enlarged reality Tom Campbell means for us to open. It is only subsetted PMR, the constrained rule set of the unenlightened, that harbors some distorting hardening-off of the visual object or field. This hardening has to be softened, and NPMR is the perfect learning lab within which to practice softening.
Campbell mentions in an interview that, for novices, sleep and dreaming are often associated with traveling because “letting go” of the physical (PMR) senses is difficult except when one is falling asleep. Sleep, however, is unnecessary and nonoptimal for “traveling.” Even meditation is unnecessary after a while, although deep concentration is usually necessary at first. Deep concentration means (1) stilling the mind to nonconceptuality, yet (2) forming strong specific intent about what one wants to do, where, with whom, and why. Again, the ultimate goal is for dreaming and meditation, as special states, to cease. These requirements are in fact part of the definition of buddhahood.
In that interview, Campbell gives more specifics—do’s and don’ts—about OBE traveling than he seems to in My Big TOE. The interviewer asks him, for example, how, since the data in NPMR is “untagged,” one can know whether an entity that is encountered is a “real” entity or the dreamer/traveler’s projection. Campbell says this is a good question, because it is true that the whole AUM consciousness system is ultimately generating the data, and the data is indeed “untagged.” He says that for novices it is very difficult or impossible to know, that it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time spent in NPMR before one gains a strong sense of the difference between projected imagination and other beings. He does provide this helpful clue, though: If the entity is a real being, that you make contact with and learn from, then that entity will be accessible again merely by your thinking about that entity and intending renewed contact.
One reason that it is crucial to be fearless before entering NPMR is that fear projects monsters. True, entities with bad intent do exist in NPMR subrealities, but they are almost wholly confined to fringe, nearly lawless reality systems that Campbell mostly avoids. These loose-rule-set systems are chaotic and rough; it is extremely rare for a being to be destroyed in NPMR, but it can happen sometimes in these harsh environments, although even there true destruction of a being is rare. Meanwhile, the AUM itself is love. There is nothing ultimately to fear. People who project fear about other beings in NPRM (astral or other planes) will encounter those beings precisely because they are generating the monster data and then freaking out in reaction. Beware of teachers and spiritual groups that rely on scare tactics while passing the plate or signing you up for their lessons.
Persons fearful of other beings in NPMR should stay home in PMR. They are increasing their own entropy instead of raising their consciousness every time they make it out. In Campbell’s model, all personal choices, which are what matter, come down to Fear versus Love. Fear accounts for the many unenlightened astral traveling texts and websites that warn everyone of risks of being raped or infected with schizophrenia in astral realms. Campbell says all this widely published fear is nonsense. I agree. I do recommend, for efficiency, that people take the Path of Surrender as far as they can in PMR before entering into the Path of Knowledge. Fear, however, has no place or benefit in any of this.
Last night, thinking about my initial contacts with Dream Tom and my problem of incoherence between traveling body and traveling vision, I relaxed deeply in bed and formed the intent to reach Tom again in NPMR. My motivation was to receive confirming and clarifying lessons on my subtle problem with vision.
Lo and behold, Tom appeared! Moreover, he was with me in a college classroom setting with a long black pointer that he was pointing at the blackboard, on which appeared numerous symbols and equations I couldn’t understand. There were many flashes and more “learning without words.”
At one point a sequence happened that was exceptionally clear and reminded me of the time that I reached out with astral fingers and plucked a tigle figure from the visual field to find that it was coherent with feeling and not just sight.
This time, I was telling Tom I had a migraine, which I actually did before going to bed. Two yellow elliptical pills suddenly appear in midspace between Tom and me. He says to reach out and take them. I reach out and am surprised how solid the tablets are in my fingers. I bring them to mouth and swallow. As soon as I do, the sequence replays, from the beginning. Tom says to reach out and take the yellow pills. This time, I can see them, but it is as if I have no stably embodied line-of-sight perspective from which to grab them with my fingers in midspace. My phantom hands and fingers could grab, if my phantom sight were integrated with the direction and coordinates of the pills and with a stable perspective embodied opposite the pills. I cannot manage to grab the pills this time.
Tom was showing me, through rerun simulations, that the feeling-body as a hologram needs to be coherent with seeing, such that I know with zero doubt that seeing space and matter is an illusory experience and therefore poses no barrier even in PMR: Bilocation is possible; passing through dense matter is possible. Moreover, some remaining subtle boundary between feeling and seeing must collapse for a consistent rule set to usefully organize the data in both PMR and NPMR: Sense-sphere integration is useful in the nonphysical; sense-sphere permeability is useful in the physical. The first supports astral traveling in NPMR; the latter supports bilocation, psychokinesis, and the like in PMR. Ultimately, seeing-in must be realized as seeing-out in both NPMR and PMR reality sets.
This lesson delivered experiential confirmation of what challenges must be overcome.
“It’s all data,” says Tom Campbell. What he is referring to is the realization of emptiness, through and through. And I believe this is why someone who has finished third vision is said to be able to pass through matter and have all the lower siddhis. This is my working hypothesis.
This concludes June 2018.
When you turn the lights down low
Lemon color, honey glow
You feel it coming right through you
The color of your mind
You feel it coming right through you
It’s on the other side