Suffering and Identity
Illness as Practice
The past few days I have been sick with some weird kind of cold that has affected my eyes, causing them to burn, itch, and water. I haven’t been able to read or work on MCTB2. Then yesterday I got a migraine on top of the cold, fever, and sore throat misery, and then I spilled coffee on the delicate skin between thumb and index. I sat and watched the blisters form there and the feel the pain come online. I watched the suffering rise in full poignancy after the pain.
Lately I’m noticing with regard to suffering and identity that suffering is one of the supremely strong identifications that convince me of myself, my centrality. If I look at this hard and long enough, that layer of suffering will fall off. It is very interesting how this happens.
Dream of Cycling Cue Not in the Game
One of the weird dreams I had during this illness was not even a full-on dream. It was in that hypnagogic liminal space. I was rising through jhanas while trying to fall asleep. I suddenly had this vision of a pool table, with all the colored balls scattered across the table, awaiting the smack of the cue ball to land each in its proper pocket. The cue ball, however, was not in that field of green felt. Strangely, it was rolling around the rail of the pool table, around and around. I knew I was that cue ball, but I would not get in the game, in the field. Suddenly this elastic belt, like a bungee cord flew out of the side pocket, wrapped itself around me, the cue ball, and snapped me back and down into the dark hole. As soon as this happened, I, Jenny, was popped back into the awareness of my body fields, lying in my bed, and there was Dream Walker’s voice booming “PRESENCE!” Then there were some oscillations between the pool table and the presence lying in bed. These oscillations were exactly like those I experienced while watching that luminous tree on the corporate campus, the preview of the luminosity shift.
Earlier that day, DW and I had chatted about exploration of the boundaries involved with this new spatial bubble I feel I’m in much of the time. He had said, if I remember correctly, that instead of looking for a spatial boundary I could think of just “presence” and my identifications with that. That can be “vipassanized.”
So that makes two dharma friends who showed up in my dreams to “teach” me when I was too sick to do waking meditation. Maybe that is why he is called DreamWalker.
As soon as I had a way, through Nick, of finding long-lost Tommy, Tommy was there posting that he wanted to return to the DhO.