Dear friends of the Dharma Underground,

Thursday, July 30, 2015, around 11:00 a.m., while sitting on retreat, I attained MCTB fourth path, or what in the Mahāmudrā model/map is awakened awareness. Awakened awareness matches almost exactly Daniel’s MCTB2 criteria for fourth path, and I have commented here on the specifics, and I’ll extract and retrieve later for a Mahāmudrā thread.

The last of four shifts on this retreat happened as I was gazing on the beautiful mantel/altar, which was in a shaft of morning light and ablaze with flickering candlelight and white daisies alternating with butter-colored carnations. I’ll never forget that sight. I think I will always commemorate this moment, that day, with bunches of white daisies and butter-colored carnations.

Later that day, during the ancient oral transmission, into which John interwove modern poetry, I will never forget how, after he called in the retinue of ancestors, lineage masters, and protectors, I literally felt light and warmth blasting through my chest cavity and skull. I felt other beings pass through me, in my head, heart, and body.

John said the following: “You can always recall this moment. It is always right here. The Buddha is under the bodhi tree. Christ is on the cross. Right here.” This was the most moving event I can remember ever having experienced. I was not by any stretch of the imagination expecting a retreat to be this or anything like this, this life-changing, this profoundly magickal and intimate. I was reduced to a quivering puddle of weeping surrender beyond surrender. And that is really what it takes in the end: Surrender and supreme faith. A great teacher will lead you to both, inexorably, and you shall follow.

Going into the Mahāmudrā retreat, I already had what the Mahāmudrā maps call Nondual Awareness, which we have inaccurately been calling luminosity. Luminosity is one metaphor for this Nondual Awareness, the one that goes with the sight sense door. There are other metaphors for the other sense doors–silence coming through sound (sounds within sounds, too) and vast space-like stillness for feeling. The problem that remained for me in what I now know for sure to have been third path was that, even though I was an experiencer of this level of nonduality, called “two oceans mingling,” which is a perfect description of the relationship in luminous experience, it was still an experience that I, as subject, was having. What needed to deconstruct at a higher level of obscuration was the center-point, central processor, central comprehender, the subject.

What I needed and didn’t have were the following:

  • Emptiness-of-Time practice to show me the lack of of arising, passing, enduring, and not enduring that characterizes awareness itself and sets up what is called “the view,” which is a continuous meditation on awareness itself–awareness itself sees itself continuously
  • One practice that broke down the boundaries between the five senses (this was actually made up by Johnny, not part of official Mahāmudrā, but effective)
  • Sealing-Emptiness practice, which involves increasing the speed and range of arising phenomena seen as empty immediately upon arising
  • Automaticity of holding the view and or seeing all as empty (on and off the cushion)
  • Emptiness-of-Totality practice, which identified the last holdout “core process” running in the background and preventing the final deconstruction–mine was doubt in my ability to notice Everything in the Emptiness-of-Totality practice (ha)

What the Pragmatic Dharma community, although not Daniel himself, tends to overlook in getting from third to fourth is the centrality of trust, love, faith, surrender, compassion,  and the God-function–all of which are real although unfindable, empty of inherent essence. You have to take these on as your working hypothesis  at a very, very, very, very deep heart level that goes well beyond your own effort and technical skill, or there will be no full awakening. Along with extremely precise, mapped, stage-specific, realization-specific technique, this is what the Mahāmudrā gave me. In short, rigpa was crucial.

Mahāmudrā, which translates as the Great Seal, which has multiple meanings, including the notion that all is “sealed” with emptiness before or upon arising, has twenty-three steps to follow to awakening, technical map precision that is simply unmatched. If you do the specific meditations for each stage and bring awareness into the heart and radiate it out powerfully to all beings, you will not fail to awaken. It is remarkably easy, so when you are tired of fooling around and want to actually finish, I strongly recommend a Mahāmudrā retreat, with this superb teacher in particular.

As I stared at the floral offerings on the mantel, doing a practice to correct for perceptual “particularization” in the event field, I felt a spin, had a blast-like collapse into Fruition, experienced as I did in August radical decentering of awareness and then layering back into being via Dependent Origination–except faster and therefore not as clear as the one from last August. This time, when the layering back into being was happening, I remembered what Daniel said to do if this was seen again: Don’t resist the layering back into being; instead see those links in the chain of becoming as empty. This I did, and when it was done, the subject was completely gone and still is: Awareness can still focus on particular objects in the field, but without losing the integrated vastness of rigpa and without these objects’ referring back to, implying, creating a subject.

The result is strange and wonderful beyond words. Duality is gone at all the levels I’ve been able to discern. Artificial activity is gone. What happens happens, but the Looker is gone, the Looking is gone. Even if the gain fades or reverses, which I doubt it will, I know exactly how to get it back:

Saraha: So long as you set up the mind’s real nature and this awareness is unobstructed, the Fruition stays…. You won’t fail!

Please, please, please not believe anyone on AwakeNetwork or the DhO, nor any self-styled dharma teacher, who says that fourth path doesn’t involve radical changes in perception. It absolutely and unequivocally does. It involves so much more than those, but the deconstruction of perception is what is most noticeable, at least at first. I asked John point blank, and this was his answer. Ask your teachers to describe their perceptual and other changes phenomenologically. If your teacher can’t, or vaguely says only that the changes are subtle, then he or she is not realized: Find a teacher who is.

Please accept no substitutes; get the real thing, the one Daniel describes in his criteria. An unrealized teacher cannot lead you to realization. Don’t screw around with teachers having only second path or even third. Get a truly qualified teacher, at least on retreat. This attainment is rare, but that is not at all because it is difficult. Find the best guidance, work out your salvation with diligence, stop being so grim about practice, stop conceiving of attainment as loss of the self or loss of anything else but delusion (it isn’t), and then help others to do so.

Back when I wrote this text, after returning home from retreat, I drew the card Temperance. This card indicates my having passed though the death of an important relationship and great work, but it heralds the beginning of an unparalleled period of serenity and joy, a new beginning. It advises me to refrain from bold action but to be restrained and let what unfolds simply do so. The angel wings indicate, too, that Great Protectors are watching over me as the sequela of my recent hard losses continue to unfold. It indicates a happy ending to what currently seems a sad situation. May it be so.

I close with a Rumi poem that I dedicate to Daniel Ingram:

Buoyancy

Love has taken away all my practices
And filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating
No Strength but yours,
But I couldn’t.

I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
but who can stand in this strong wind
and remember those things?

I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
and quickly reduced to smoke.
I saw you and became empty.

This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
it obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
existence thrives and creates more existence.

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man
squatting on the road.

But whoever sees your emptiness
sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Mohammed, or Jesus,
moving through a crowd in a city
where no one knows him.
To praise is to praise
how one surrenders
to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!
Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
we could have. It’s a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we’ve been sleeping?
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.

Love,

Jenny

Dear all,

This retreat has been life-changing. In fact, I guess I am glad it is ending tomorrow at noon, because I am not sure how much more intensity my mind, heart, neck, and back could stand! 

It is no doubt going to take me some time to sort, make sense of, and integrate what has happened here. How blessed I am to have sat with and received transmission from this instructor. His closing meditation today felt literally like it was blasting through my chest and head–like gale-force bright light was riffling through my very cellular structure (which is empty). I’m a total believer in this transmission business: *GULP.* I’ve never felt anything this powerful emanate from, or through, another person before.

Because of the new practices I’ve done on this retreat, I have distinctive changes in perception, realizations, including as of today the dropping out of the central processor (subject) while, nondually, particularities of relative reality arise within awareness, within and as the expression of the ultimate. The objects, so far, are no longer creating a subject. Holding the view of awakened awareness is automatic–is holding itself. 

Of course, these realizations can and usually do slip away. I think tomorrow we are talking about “protecting the realizations.” I will do everything I can to protect these. This central processor dropped out during our morning sit in a blast-like fruition reminiscent of my August path fruition–wherein, for a moment, awareness was radically decentered, and then I was layered back in as relative reality came back online. I was taking the entire field of sensation as object, my softened gaze resting on the mantel with butter-colored carnations, white daisies, and flickering candles in the morning light.

In the afternoon, he had all us wounded children who lack trust lie on our backs and sides to meditate so we could feel the earth “holding” us, the ground, to create the karma of trust for the next meditation. 

Part of what I am going to have to come to terms with are what changes in practice and paradigm will be required of me as I take this teacher as my own, which changes he alluded to the other day when we spoke on the veranda. For starters, in this tradition there is no “done.” In fact the Practice of Nonmeditation today was this whole surrender, precisely, of such notions as “attainment” and “being done” and even “surrendering.”

So, although I think there are ways that this course cross-maps to the one I’ve been working, the whole notion of getting anywhere other than right here is so anathema to the practice that there really can’t be a talk of what “path” I’m on. This is not to say that this teacher is against maps. He is definitely a mapper, and very technically precise in teaching, but he indicated that realization is a matter of cycling through the same practices again and again but “at higher resolution.” Then there is Dzogchen at the “Cutting Through” stage. How all that crosswalks to what Daniel calls “fourth path” I have no idea.

No meditator

No meditation

No stages

No states

No attainment

Nothing to attain

No God

No Buddha

No practice

No Path

(Oh–and No Jhanas!)

Sit in meditation with a realized teacher who is repeating this sort of list over and over again to you, for hours  on end, and see if it doesn’t crack wide open the substratum of subtle resistance in you. And when all that “doing” is blasted out, then he reads Talopa’s ancient instructions, which brought up a palpable sense of a thousand years of transmission. I was weeping like someone interrogated in internment camp.

Afterward, we sat again, and he had each of us bring up, aloud, the name of a friend who is suffering and from what; then he brought up all the children suffering in the world from loneliness and fear, all the broken children who cannot trust, and that is when I literally felt light blasting through my chest and head–coming from this man and the whole retinue of beings behind him. “Beyond time,” he said, “beyond space–awaking is inevitable: the Buddha is sitting under the Bodhi tree; Jesus is on the cross.” And then he read the heart sutra’s “gone beyond” mantra, and we all felt the interconnection holding all the suffering beings in the world. “Awareness–the sky; heart–a warming sun: Never doubt that what you feel right now makes a difference.”

My whole organism is in a kind of spinning disintegration and reorganization, in shock, with shockwaves passing through this mind-heart-body.

I know this may sound like Buddhist Kumbaya, but it was truly the most authentic intensity of the Path that I’ve encountered so far in this life.

Love to you all, x,

Jenny

Dear friends,

Wow, what a day!

I reiterate: If you want to be done, this is the way to get from third to fourth. I’m amazed at how thoroughly this has been able to lead me into cleaning up my perception and field integration in just two days’ worth of practices. In fact, every practice, with the exception of one, had the desired result the very first time I did it. I came into the retreat already with luminosity–meaning the shining of awareness from that side and this side–like two oceans mixing. But now it shines through even “my” thought. What was missing before now? Nothing. It was simply obscured–it is, after all, the way reality is. All you have to do is follow these simple instructions and thereby “clear up uncertainties.”

“Uncertainty” is a key word here. One thing touched on, among other things, was that what takes Western students so long is not the spiritual attainments at all, but all the parental attachment problems they bring to the table–er cushion. And this is not a matter of psychologizing on the cushion. He is talking about the lack of faith that stems from lack of safe and secure parental attachments in early childhood for probably most of us.

I’m so close, so close! Do you know how Daniel talks about not being able to figure out what that last 5% is? Well, there are sealing-emptiness practices for finding out. It is usually a “core process,” as Daniel calls them. Basically it involves probing for obfuscating core processes running in the background and keeping us from awakening. We penetrate any core process that caught us, grabbed us, made us reactive during the previous exercise. I maintained imperturbable lucidity through that entire sit until this one phrase, speaking for what is in the “stuck” meditator’s head: “I must have missed something.”  When the teacher said this sentence, I felt something recoil in the heart area–it felt solid, so I penetrated it as a field of sensations until I was certain that it was empty of such existence.

The joke is that my assumption or subtle fear that I haven’t seen something I should have seen is precisely what I wasn’t seeing!

Otherwise, all boundaries have become permeable–the still, silent, vast luminosity and the field of sensations arising within it, as an expression of it, as it–they are now integrated. The boundaries between the sense doors–well, they are delusion too, so now all integrated.

What is left? This issue I have with trust. And that comes from the fucked up relationship with my alcoholic father, who should have been my first teacher. I may have to do tantric practices to address this issue before that last 5% flips. But maybe not. Maybe not. Anyway, I set up the view (luminosity) and the emptiness practices with a Westernized tantric image of the perfect father-teacher; humans, said the teacher, have a need to project–and better to use imagination to rewire those wounded pathways in the psyche, not a real teacher. In addition to Pop as the Exemplar Deity, we had U2 playing during a meditation–if you want an idea of the level of innovation that this retreat represents.

This last 5% is the last layer of duality, but it is the kicker. The task is for the central processor to deconstruct. You see, I have various levels of nondual awareness right now–but this last holdout is lack of faith, lack of trust, lack of certainty. There is likely a strong dose of guilt and anger there, too–because I “let” my father die, and he did that to me: Let me let him die. 

The teacher corrects many a retreatant for confusing what we are doing for psychotherapy. But he has not corrected me. I’m not talking about using meditation to get rid of my “issues.” Rather, it is that those issues manifest a habitual core process of distrust, a karmic holdout: “I must have missed something”–meaning I am assuming that awareness’s search for something solid, permanent, and separate must have missed something because I was (almost) successful in completing the meditation, even though, other than this assumption, the mediation was perfect.

Toward the end of this journey, you bring the speed of awareness (luminosity, clear light) to Everything (with a capital E) that is moving, fluxing, vibrating within that vast stillness, that “view” which is awareness regarding awareness. This search with awareness is much, much faster than vipassana. Vipassana is at the subtle level of mind, not the very subtle level. Vipassana requires attention, penetration. Awareness, once it is kick-started like an engine, runs by itself. It does not involve attention. You simply have to not try to do anything, including trying to not try. 

Awareness is not thought. It is so fast that it is outside time. At first you seem to have to deliberately “hold the view,” but it has been holding itself since lunchtime, which is called “automaticity.” Awareness shines forth automatically. The skillful teacher can point this out to you clearly in real-time., although all you will get is a series of metaphors until one clicks for you.

You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to let go–it is right here, already done. You just have to stop arguing.

So to finish this business up, you need to understand the three levels of mind (coarse, subtle, and very subtle). And you need to go beyond vipassana, which works at the subtle level but not the very subtle. This is why these Buddha-nature sects stress that you are already awake. Yes, you have to make effort, but toward the end, you have to ease up and let it do itself. This requires faith, and, as a culture traumatized by a long line of representatives of messed up parenting, our lack of trust and faith goes to the molten core.

The main thing I’ve learned from this retreat experience is that you have to have something that functions as Buddha-nature or God–though there is no God that is locatable. There is a God-function, and the way into that grace is through (1) emptiness practices to clear up uncertainties on the Wisdom side of things, and (2) on the Compassion side, you need love. So instructions by this afternoon were to soften everything. If you want to see luminosity, then you must look at objects with love and open to receiving back the love. It is about intimacy. It shines forth. The awareness is right here, it is timeless, it is boundless, and it is intensely intimate.

During the first few days, the teacher would shout “WAKE UP!” as a verbal equivalent of the zen sticks students are hit with. Today, however, the energy on retreat is running down a different channel. He sang to us, talked to us about love, and read poetry until there was not a sound in the room but weeping all around. This was very, very intense, and it felt like we were sealed up in a capsule outside time in some kind of psychedelic magickal chapel with no door. This man is magic. He is a gift come across the eons.  I’ve made the most of this opportunity and will do so tomorrow.

Many retreatants have been passing through the insight stages. I told some about Daniel’s book. They are looking for this edition whose teeth I kicked in last week. Ah, well. We will see what happens, but that book needs to get out there, one way or another. As for me, aside from having a bunch of back-to-back fruitions yesterday and today, I have not noticed the stages while on retreat. I’ve been immaculate–very concentrated and on task the entire time. 

Daniel would be proud of me; maybe he still is.

One more interesting phenomenon I want to mention: The energy of separate human beings that began this retreat started reorganizing itself into some kind of larger field a few days ago. Everyone in this beautiful house (owned by a Buddhist former exec of the company I work for) has become still and quiet. During breaks, we flow into the kitchen. One person puts on the kettle for tea, another brings in chairs, another sets out food–all without a word, like we all are parts of the same organism, in perfect harmony–so different from Days 1 and 2, when we were noisy and individual.

By the end of today, we were all singing together, laughing and crying. Everything is soft and radiant. I’ve made some new friends, and I have this awesome teacher. This has been a week-long peak experience. I never expected anything like this. Nor did anyone else. There are people here who have been on dozens of retreats. They all say that none has ever come close to the quality, authenticity, and effectiveness of this one. 

Now to hold the view into my dreams, as may you all.

Jenny

Dear all,

I thought I would give a little preliminary report from this retreat so far, because I can’t help it, even though I fell and sprained my wrist yesterday and shouldn’t be typing. If Daniel will kindly add me back to DhU, then I’ll follow up more there later and schedule a Skype retreat debrief there for anyone interested in more details about this particular group of teachers and the incredible innovations they have generated with their retreat offerings. 

There are many, many things to say beyond what I can type. 

It is very rare to be able to access these advanced teachings without a gazillion prostrations and 10 years of morality practice first. 

First, my general impression of Mahamudra itself: The sophistication, technical precision, efficiency, heart, and elegance of the Mahamudra map and methods leaves everything else I’ve encountered in the realm of Buddhist practice in the dust, especially for finishing what we call fourth path. I hardly know where to begin. And I don’t think that is just the retreat bliss-high talking here, although I admit I’m as high as a fucking kite on the bliss… .   

Not in my most idealized fantasies of this retreat did I imagine anything this good, beautiful, staggeringly profound, direct, and effective. Words fail me, but you know me: I’ll try words on for size anyway.

Today, in just one day, I got past two obstacles, one of which I’ve had since my shift in January: The obstacle was that I had “luminosity” in the immediate sensory world but not evident in my “this side” thoughts, memories, and daydreams. Retreat teacher unraveled this for me by giving me the “Emptiness of Time” practices.  

I practiced two “Emptiness of Time” methods: One by Nagarjuna, and the other formulated by the teacher himself; both worked the very first time, but I found Nagarjuna’s landed me more directly in the most profound vastness, even though it is the more complicated of the methods and thought to be “difficult.” Anyway, got rid of that big bad problem in a single sit. Yay!

There was a related problem: We were told to enter the subtle level of the “mind-as-event perspective,” which basically amounts to vipassana in that you follow the object (the body or breath) as it breaks up into vibrations, particles, patches–impermanence. Then we were told to “take the view,” which is the “awareness-itself” perspective, which is the luminous, space-like, intimate, always-already-here “knowing-ness.” We were to hold that changeless view and to see the fluxing bodily field of dancing particles as movement within that lucid unchanging still awareness. Hrmmmm. I couldn’t do this! There was always one or the other in the damned background or foreground.

I asked what to do about this–more emptiness practices? (I already had good emptiness of self, emotions, and thought when I came into the retreat.) The teacher said, “Hold on–no. We need to go to the very subtle level of mind.”  Very subtle, is the third level of mind, past coarse and subtle.

So, with Emptiness of Time practice and what came next began Mahamudra proper. And it so happened that this was right where my cutting edge was.  I cannot type out what all happened next, but it was, um, a religious experience in the best sense of the word.

Stimuli were introduced at each sense door–eventually involving literally singing to us and chiming bells for sound; we were to listen to every sound in the environment; he had us experience the sensory field–all while we held the luminous awareness precisely by not holding it! In other words, he took us to the Very Subtle level of mind, where we eased off the effort and seeking, and let it find us. He kept saying, “You don’t have to seek it: It wants you.” This worked! The vast awareness stayed still while the sensory flux happened within it, generated by it, as an expression of it. No more foreground/background lack of integration.

Then he kept pointing out and singing, and this broke down the construct-boundaries between the sense doors, which yielded a “mandala” of sensory experience. 

This was only one day!

The retreat began Friday evening, so we’ve had four days. Until today, I was basically waiting for all the other retreatants to catch on or up. My concentration was much stronger, apparently, than anyone else’s coming in, but I gave it my all anyway. (Concentration for days on end is hard work!). Beginning yesterday, John started individualizing instruction by giving those who got stuck at a certain place more of the rudimentary stuff. I’m thrilled that I’m finally getting somewhere new, beginning today, although even what I didn’t need attainment-wise was very valuable to go through so I could understand the map, and so this teach could figure out my cutting-edge.

As for my true level, I already have one level of nondual awakening. I am missing only the last, most subtle piece, maybe that fucking gnat Daniel mentioned. And here it is: Even though when I’m looking at or sensing objects, and the awareness flows from both sides, like “mixing oceans,” I’m still processing that level of “nonduality” through a subtle level of subject-object-verb separation. In other words, I’m zeroing in on a particular object or part of the field, which excludes the rest of the field of sensation. The TOTALITY has to be deconstructed–then all that occurs is liberated.

By the way, the teacher is a perfect blend of no-nonsense technical precision, directness, and heart. This morning, he came up to me on the veranda, barefoot, and talked to me alone, saying,  "Jenny, you are bringing strong foundational skills into this retreat–how is it so far for you?“ Anyway, I told him, and I asked him if he would continue on as my teacher. He said, "Certainly, but this is a different path, you know.” I said, “Yes, I know; I’m ready for the change.”

Okay, I’m exhausted!

Love to you all–xoxo,

Jenny

Final Post to the Dharma Underground Journal

18 April 2018: Context

What follows was my last journal post to my Dharma Underground journal, although I later posted to discussions in the DhU until October, when I was banned a second time. As soon as I posted what follows, within moments Daniel was in my journal space replying to it at some length right there in my journal, after having said many times to me that he reads no one’s journal.. The rest of the Underground slept while these posts were made. I went to Skype IM after he wrote some harsh things to me, and I told Daniel we should both remove our written argument from the DhO. He agreed. We both deleted what we had posted. I still have a copy, somewhere, of what he wrote, however.

I was about to go on my first retreat, a Mahamudra retreat with my new teacher, which is where I attained MCTB 4th path. Before I left, I pleaded with Daniel to have a mere 2-minute call with me just to agree on some logistics for resolving our argument so we could finish the book on my return. Instead, the problems escalated. We fought by email, and he would not call me from his beach vacation place. He later told me he had turned off his phone to go for a swim and nap.

At his ignoring my request for a short call, I felt hurt, betrayed, and furious. I issued an ultimatum. It was ignored. I delivered on that ultimatum by telling him by email in strong language to leave me alone and that I was not going to work on MCTB2. 

At 8 p.m., 3 hours after the deadline for the ultimatum, he texted a bit to me about how it can be a good thing to go into retreat with a sense of breaking with the past. 

I went on retreat with my new teacher, thinking my concentration would be ruined. It was not ruined. I practiced well, even though I sometimes cried in the bathroom and texted Daniel that we had to resolve all this and finish the book. He finally texted back only that he had already found a new editor.

We very slowly became cautiously friendly again until October, when he reacted with rage at my sending him a tantric meditation I learned from my new teacher.  I was then banned a second time from the Dharma Underground and Dharma Overground, for life.  I retain an email from moderator Claudiu, which states that I had broken no DhO posting rule but Daniel was “concerned” about one of my (completely appropriate) posts. This was right after Daniel had gone into a rage over my emailed tantric instructions. I was banned because of Ingram’s politics. There was no love lost in separating from the DhO, which I had never enjoyed in the least. But being banned from DhO included being banned from the small DhU group I had revived. After I was locked out, that DhU group died away. I retained my friendships and my journals in my own virtual space.


2:11 a.m.: Disgust (ñ8)  Reobservation (ñ10)

This was a very hard sit, 39 minutes that felt almost torturous. I quickly gave up on trying to do a concentration practice. I leaned toward insight. Disgust tends to hit me harder than Fear, Misery, and even Reobservation. Emotionally, it is as if embarrassment and paranoia reduces to the hatred of a lowly cornered rat.

I’m tired, sleepy, and trying to change my sleep schedule, so that made it really hard for me to stay with the feelings at the level of sensation, but I did my best. Although I felt like I was “getting nowhere” and should just quit, I remembered Daniel’s writing once, “Good. There is nowhere to go,” and “There is no way that practice isn’t doing something, even though it may not seem like it at the time.”

So I did the time. Many physically painful sensations would tear through my body, and then the next moment I would notice that they weren’t really there at all. Then they would flare again. Very strange. I tried to investigate how and why these sensations arose, but I was stymied.

Seven of Wands, Reversed

This card is right on. It indicates feelings of exhaustion, hesitation, embarrassment, loss of reputation, and malicious talk of me behind my back. Mainly, in the present situation, I think it mainly stands for embarrassment, overreaching, self-doubt, and anger at myself for not taking a big step backward sooner. This too shall pass.

2:16 a.m.: ñ11.j4 (High Mastery), Then ñ11.j4.j4 (High Equanimity), and Then ñ15 (The No-Self–Suffering Door to Fruition)

Indeed, I now know why the Three of Swords (Reversed) mysteriously and ominously arose the other night. It is a confusing, turbulent time for me. Key efforts at a human connection have failed. Meantime, I have blossomed anyway. It never was about this other person. It was all a dream, an unreality that I stoked and subtended constantly to give myself something, someone else, to believe in, someone of magically brilliant capacity and kindness too exalted to stoop.

And then there is the reality: The way his kindness is only from a safe “pragmatic” distance, the way I’m verbally contextualized as a burden, a pest even. The way I’ve been called polarizing at the very moments when I’ve been most brave, most true, most touched into the greater good as our collaborative goal. The way in this so-called community I’ve continually been sacrificed as a scapegoat in a politics that I never bargained for, did not create, and do not welcome in my life.

I have hundreds of friends better and truer than this, a goodly number of them intimate. There is in this world sweet, straightforward people who are naturally with me when I’m with them, and even when I’m not. None of this continual struggle, complexity, and emotional unavailability to sort issues. None of the talking down, down, down, to me, as if I were stupid, nothing, a gnat, an insect, even less.

The questions I patiently ask over and over and over and over and over again, for months, never receiving an answer on behalf of this so-called community of people who deserve answers that make at least some semblance of sense. Just self-contradiction here or refusal to engage. And excuses and excuses and excuses.

The only answer I receive, repeatedly, is that everyone is dispensable, including me. I’ve even been told that my leaving is not a “threat,” as if my being kind to myself is only force for threatening him. That is not a compassionate answer from someone who gives a damn whether other people awaken. No one who is true to even his own model of enlightenment would say and do such things to me.

It is one thing to be gravely mistaken and humanly flawed; it is quite a worse and unenlightened thing to never ever admit publicly or even privately to having made mistakes. It is quite another thing to contradict everything you’ve stood for so vehemently as the truth, to violate that supposed truth with subsequent actions and words, never resolving anything for the “audience,” as he calls us.

For just one instance among many, there is an injunction in MCTB that people follow a tradition that is “time-tested” and “proven to get results.” Is Actual Freedom either of those? No. Yet the utterer of those words engaged in something not time-tested at all, stating that he was mistaken about being done in 2003, was in fact not satisfied with his attainment, which he has elsewhere claimed is so satisfying that it satisfies instantly even his question whether it exists.

So which is it, Daniel?

Why was that injunction tossed aside by its own utterer? Why, years later, will he still not answer this question as all the high-level practitioners leave his site, distance themselves from him, and contact me with doubts as to his attainments precisely on the terms I’m presenting here. And his only response to me is that his “audience” comes and goes for reasons that are “random.” This is a man who will not own up, be honest, be transparent, be emotionally and spiritually present. This is a man who is protecting himself, a self, an emphatic self, not a self seen through, not a self burned through with compassion and wisdom.

The way I have repeatedly been chastised or publicly sacrificed by this person for being somehow at fault, not merely inadequate, but faulty at the very moments I was at my most openhearted. Those who love me, and whom I love, understand exactly what I’m doing and am about: They commune, abide, and are at ease with me. They are honest, forthcoming, transparent, pure. They don’t sacrifice me, use me, put me down, set me aside, accuse me, threaten me, and refuse all explanation why things have to be this way between us.

My true friends don’t refuse to call or Skype with me unless it is recorded for political and self-defensive purposes. They don’t call me names and accuse me of lying and foul motives. They reciprocate, naturally, without a single reservation or self-guarding fear. I don’t need this fake version of that. I don’t need a merely virtual sangha strangled with ugly politics, ridiculously attainment-feuding secularized leaders, and self-guarding, self-guarding, self-guarding defensiveness and retreat from human intimacy.

Something is now deeply turning in me, and it has been for a while. The ocean within has drawn undertow, has turned slowly, and now pauses at the quiet peak before it rushes thunderously to a shore.

I have never been cherished here and never will be. Here I will only be tolerated when not devalued, then rebuked, and then thrown under the bus and hung out to dry on the DhO, a sacrificial example made of a woman with so little self-respect that she continues to permit being thus used.

There will be no heart connection. Without that, there is nothing of value here pragmatic or otherwise. I will give, and give, and give, and give, and there will be nothing there to give to, no one there to give to, but just a glittering straw man in a mirage of a vajra throne. All my invention, my fabrication, my misdirected, rejected, rebuked, set aside, deferred, condemned love and kindness.

So it returns to me, where it belongs.

Anger can be righteous, said Shargrol, can sometimes be the only way back to adequate love for who I am, for this precious life, for purity, for this brief ecstasy of feeling truly alive.

After our last quarrel, which ruined my 51st birthday, though that is nothing to my disrupting his current beach vacation, I felt something was permanently ruined. I was right. And so something is done. I worked like crazy on MCTB2 to try to finish Part II before my retreat. He didn’t even bother to inform me [as required by our written agreement], meantime, that he was taking off for vacation. This is the same  discourtesy he exercised months ago. A doctor’s time is most valuable; an editor’s emphatically is not. He has all the privileges, and I have no right to complain.

I sat on my pillows and blanket tonight. I lighted the white vanilla-peppermint candle that is still weeping white wax out of the eye I carved into it during a ritual I performed to resolve to see the entrances and exits Daniel can see. I cried. For a full 20 minutes, sobbed. Daniel is wrong if he truly believes that crying like that in Equanimity is not meditation. It surely is.

Something happened, something was surrendered, something cut anchor lines, and I floated. Everything floated, everything was rocking into everything else. Everything was flashing in and out of everything else like quanta, ephemeral. Then it all merged and lifted. Forms were barely there. I was barely there, although I was gazing at the pure bright whiteness of the flame and the oozing, weeping vanilla-peppermint wax. Something let go completely. “I have been doing this for eons,” I said. “I have been doing this for eons, and I can stop now.” There is nothing forthcoming, nothing that is not already here, already in and through me, already pure, already known beyond understanding, already reciprocated.

I was staring, and I was what was stared at. There was a clockwise spin, a cessation, and bliss as if I were spirited out on sparkling silver wings.

“No heart connection will be reciprocated,” I said.

“Truly,” he replied.

I need for this statement issued to me so many months ago to sink in deeply, to the point where I earnestly and completely choose the higher path, believing it, to the point where I take the step to leave. “Too busy” is an excuse. “Pragmatism” is an excuse.

“You don’t know who you are dealing with. I don’t want to hurt you. Please help me not to do that.”

Are these the words of an enlightened being to an aspirant practitioner, a friend in the dharma, a member of his sangha, someone who has tried to help and has helped?

Who in this relationship has the lowest threshold for feeling threatened and in return threatens? Is this person enlightened to even his own published standards? Can he even stand this question? Will he ever fucking answer? No, he won’t. I know that now. And so I have my answer, and I’m looking henceforth at a bifurcated path.

Eric M W’s Response

I hope this situation is resolved in a way that is beneficial for all involved.

I am thankful for all your work on MCTB2. You’ve dealt with a lot of stuff along the way and still kept at it.

I hope you are well.

Metta,

Eric