Another Lucid Dream

Last night before bedtime, I saw a tiny bug of some sort crawling through the carpet. I’ve been exhausted lately, and after work today I took a nap. I had tried to keep up the “I am dreaming” view all day, but I was more slack today than yesterday because work is nuts right now and I need an excuse.

This was a strange nap. I immediately saw that bug crawling through the carpet fibers again. Then I thought, “Wait – am I back in time? Because I already experienced this.” That is when I knew I was dreaming! Excited, I opened my eyes, but I had a Mindfold on and quickly fell back asleep. 

I continued to sleep but with full awareness that I was in my bed in my bedroom and that I was sleeping. The seamlessness between sleep experience and waking reality was reminiscent of the several weeks of lucid sleeping I had after last year’s Mahamudra awakening. Unfortunately, that part of the attainment faded away, but ever since then, I’ve been fascinated with dreams and the possibilities for all-night dharma practice that sleep offers.

Palpable Medicine Buddha Magick

Yesterday I went to the local Tibetan center for the first time since December 2012, when I left partly because I was incredulous about anything smacking of magick. There were plenty of additional reasons I left, just to be clear. Nowadays, having realization, I say, “Yay for the Tibetans, for they have the mother lode of magick!”

Dream Context

This event I sat yesterday was a an elaborate two-hour Medicine Buddha puja with five visiting monks and Geshe-la from the center, who, by the way, I long ago knew to be psychic. In fact, I have to consider Geshe-la one of my early teachers, for back in 2011 I had a dream in which I saw myself sleeping in the bed and saw him robed, barefoot, and floating a few feet above the bedpost to look down on me.

I also have a connection with the lapis-colored Medicine Buddha. In 2011, I had an extraordinarily clear dream in which I was walking a dirt path to a white gazebo, only I never arrived any closer for all the walking. In the white gazebo was the lapis Lord of Medicine, floating in lotus position a bit above the floor of the gazebo. We communicated without speaking. His eyes told me to keep walking the path, so I did, despite my lack of progress. Then it started raining what looked like dogflower blossoms, which are a traditional symbol of the crucifix on which Christ died. They filled the landscape with pure white.

The Healing Ritual

Yesterday, the monks chanted the whole ritual in Tibetan, so it wasn’t one of the usual ones that the laypersons participate in by speaking the evocations in English. Geshe told us to just take it in by saying mantras or visualizing the Medicine Buddha above our heads. 

Rigpa was blazing. At times I did the visualization. At a certain point, the Medicine Buddha, as light, descended into my crown and down into my subtle heart. I sat, in essence, as the Medicine Buddha. Then I started visualizing each of my friends who is disturbed by physical disease or mental affliction. I took up each, one at a time, holding him or her in that light.

I felt and saw each friend, and I could feel in my body and mind exactly what flavor and extent of anguish each suffered. I practiced tonglen for each, taking that pain into myself and breathing out peace, white light, and joy to them.

I almost forgot to care for myself, but I focused at the end on my migraine disease and, as I did during the empowerment a month ago, I thought briefly of these three small plantar warts on my left foot, which I have had and been unable to make go away for years. I felt purification flow through me, head to feet.

Altered State and Loss of Time 

As soon as I had walked into the gompa yesterday, I felt an extraordinary level of awareness and energy. When the chanting began, I was soon in some kind of altered state that warped my sense of duration: The event was two hours by clock time, but it felt like 30 minutes at most. Chunks of time had slipped away. 

At one point during the bizarre quadraphonic chanting, everything became extraordinarily altered, the way it did in March when I entered that hypnagogic state while John was pointing out, after which he had said to me, “Sometimes you have to just get out of the way.” 

In this scene yesterday I was saying to myself, “This is a dream, this is a dream, this is a dream.” Everything was extra-vivid and extra-translucent, like a dream. Awareness was everywhere, without reference point or origin, but it was also blasting out in all directions from my own heart center, which was turning up the blaze of the entire field. The field fed “my” fire, and my heart fed the forest fire ripping through the field, ripping through my heart-mind.

Strangely Attractive Generosity in the Aftermath

After the puja was over, with unsurpassable clarity of mind and heart, and with zero tiredness, I went into the library to look at the center’s dharma books. In my peripheral vision, I saw Geshe exiting the gompa and making a beeline for me. I turned, and he was standing there, looking into my eyes. He said, “Thank you very much for coming.” Out of pure reflex, my hands swiftly came together at heart center and I bowed a little toward him, and said, “Thank you!” Geshe spoke to no one else. He left.

I went to a restaurant once I was back in my community, to eat supper. Then some unusual things happened. I was standing in line, and this man who appeared to be in some kind of Jewish garb, followed me around and kept trying to talk to me. Finally, he said, “Do you want to sit with me and talk.” I’m shy, and I thought this was strange. I had decided before entering the restaurant that I was going to sit outside and enjoy the spring air, so I politely declined and walked outside with my food.

I sat at a picnic table, and suddenly this good-looking man, who was there with his wife and child, and was at the table right next to me, said, “Are you eating alone? Will you come sit with us and talk?”

This blew my mind! No strangers ever ask me to sit with them and commune, and here it occurred twice in a row, in the same setting! 

 A girl who worked for the restaurant heard the man offer me a place at his table. She dropped her broom, ran inside, and brought out a big chocolate cake, which she gave to him, saying, “This is on the house because no act of kindness should go unnoticed.” The wife looked at me and said, “What does it say about society that kindness is so rare that it needs to be rewarded?” I replied to her, “Maybe the kindest way to take things in this case it to think of that cake not as a reward for your kindness, but as the girl’s own kindness.”

Later, when I was leaving a liquor store with some liqueur, a woman saw me hesitate while backing my car out. She ran over to me and asked if she could direct me out so that this other car wouldn’t hit me. It was unnecessary, for the car was stopped, but she insisted repeatedly until I accepted the kindness. 

Before bed, I looked at the bottom of my foot. The plantar warts appeared to be nearly gone. That’s good, because I have more dirt path to walk before I arrive at the place where the Medicine Buddha sits perfectly suspended beyond space, beyond time, beyond all illusion of distance and separateness.

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,

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

Profound Insight into the Falseness of Causality

Blowaway sit with my workplace sangha today at lunchtime! Very different from all recent sits, past few months. The afterglow was literally stunning, too. I couldn’t move for a while. I couldn’t go with the others upstairs to get lunch. When I finally did, and had a fascinating conversation with my empathic friend Aparna, I afterward could barely recall all that passed and that I “saw.” I’ll do my best.

Phased-In and Phased-Out Voicing of Insight

I want to preface my record by saying this: When insights break through what might otherwise be on the samatha side of jhana, they are in some sense “voiced” as linguistic-conceptual thoughts. Yes, this perhaps is a kind of presence to “watch” to see whether it appears to oppose an other.

However, there is a different experiential quality to these “thoughts” when they are compared to the full-on linear declarative sentences we (or I) normally think in. The thoughts shift sides, when sides are noticed, and shimmer, phasing in and out of discursive sense. When they are  phased “out,” I don’t know what you would call that or them, because they are all still there somehow, the insights, but, but, but . . . what? What can you say of such thoughts?

I had this intention weeks ago to set aside Fridays for metta/brahmaviharas practice. But what I intend and predict, and what meditation in fact does, are often two different things. My first observation is that, emotionally, I feel so relieved that “meditation” has “taken over” again. At the same time, as anyone reading will soon see, I found I could call up the insight stages, which I’ve never been able to do to anything like this extent before. So . . . both no-self and mastery intensified over my former meditative baseline.

Manifold Cause-and-Effect (ñ2.j1.j2)

As soon as the beginning chime rang, I dropped right into some highly altered state, but then I entertained a thought, “Dang, that was fast!” I then dutifully noted/noticed that I was commenting on my more “properly” high meditative experience. Oh, boy. And with that thought, the “trouble” truly began. . . .

I was trying to establish first jhana properly, and did; however, my breathing was disruptively jerky, quite noticeably so. The entire sit was about noticing very, very subtle levels of cause-and-effect, such as the following:

  1. My commenting on my more properly meditative experience and
  2. How that comment is a new experience and
  3. How my noting/noticing the pattern comprising No. 1 and No. 2 becomes yet another new experience

Yet here is the real kicker: All that time that I was rolling through the cause and effect, the jhanas were shifting in some sort of background, without my personal help or effort at all!

So then I noticed this. Background/foreground became prominent as yet another thought, and meditation, the experience, therefore had its way with me. In other words, that entire background/foreground fabrication moved to the foreground. That left a new background as contrast, opposing other. Then another duality of background/foreground was encapsulated and moved to the foreground. And on and on and on and on.

This is Cause-and-Effect, and I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced this stage, which I usually disdain as “low,” this subtly, this clearly, with this much insight. Yeah, I saw it in a much coarser way a long time ago, but this? Never before.

For whatever reason, and I should probably try to figure out that reason, contemplate it, and I guess no time like the present—as soon as I saw that

  1. The arrow of time was reinstated, and
  2. The foreground/backdrop split could not be penetrated or bested—

I understood that there would always be me, and there would always be other and its not caring, that every duality penetrated with insight would reify another background/foreground split. Argh!

At this point, facing this realization, I felt intense Fear arise, gargantuan Fear. There is something bloody awful, terrifying, about the fact that this divide is indeed a divide and that it hides out so mischievously in that ever-shuffled-off background.

Where is God? Why is there no f’n help for this matter? I know that there is help in this very unfolding, but why we humans run away from the door to salvation I’ll never understand. Well, maybe if this knot ever untangles, then I’ll understand, when I no longer personally need to.

Absolute Necessity of Synchronization

I remembered what Daniel said in Chapel Hill about letting the breath just be however it is. Okay. So be it, you jerky breath.

I shifted to second jhana with that arising of Fear, rapturous Fear, thrilling Fear, somehow divine Fear. Suddenly, as soon as this shift happened, my usual bright lavender-colored nimitta popped up. A week or two (or three?) ago, this nimitta presented for once as still, expanded, and stable. Not today. It was “blooming” and “unblooming,” alternating violet and negative silver/black.

There is something so intimate about a visual nimitta, so almost personal in its dawning and abiding. I am naked and gazing into its violet sky-mirror intelligence. Is it surface or depth?  I began to wonder “who,” or which side, controlled that nimitta’s current presentation. I intended to find out what I could do to change it—make it still, make it spread, bring it closer—but somehow I just quickly got lost in the nimitta itself. I was swallowed by it; nevertheless, it would give forth to me its opposition to me at the same time, or perhaps different time. There was something eerily like eighth jhana about all this—about the surface/depth and simultaneous/discontinuous instantiation.

And oh I did strongly sense that time is a key. All this must synchronize along the dimension we think of as time. This is the current insight bright line of Cause-and-Effect: Synchronization must happen, somehow, and thoroughly.

The violet nimitta is luminous. Nevertheless, background/foreground is not synchronized—not permanently. Time is currently comprehended as linear, even if as paradoxically so, conceptually speaking, and conceptually is the only way I’m speaking, of course.

Ability to Call Up the Ñanas

I stopped calling up the jhanas and started calling up the ñanas, which I found I could easily do. I called up Misery, Desire for Deliverance (which was seemingly bottomless in its anguish and longing), and Reobservation. During all of these, the nimitta had vanished.

Then I called up fourth jhana and Equanimity simultaneously. Wow! Such sudden broad brilliant violet nimitta behind closed eyes! A very richly absorbed yet still somehow moving state/stage. Violet changed over to white light at times. Amazing. I experienced a momentary (very fast) discontinuity and bliss envelopment. I’m not sure if this was a fruition, but maybe. (I’m trying to be conservative, honest, and real.)

After a while, I called up the formless realms—upon calling up fifth, the nimitta vanished again, and all turned to felt space. Boundless Consciousness was the same sort of mirror my nimitta was, but formless. Eighth was amazing, a very easy drop-off/in.

Then the bell rudely rang before I could do anything from P8JP.

After remaining there as long as I could without being rude, I opened my eyes and was in such an altered state, with so heavy an afterglow, that I could not speak to my companions or move. They started for the door and stairs up to the cafe. I didn’t.

Wisdom of the Empath Aparna

When I finally joined them at the lunch table, Aparna up and declared that I have too much energy—wind element, but I’m fat because of too much water element. Hahahaha, man, I love this woman: She lets you have it straight between the eyes but gently nonetheless. My excess wind/energy is what causes me to be so dysregulated. She is an empath and can feel and balance others’ chakras, and energy channels.

She told me to try to fix my sleeping patterns to address my excess wind/energy, that this was the root of many problems with me: my refusal to align my cycles with the sun. She said the water problem would likely take care of itself if I would address the wind problem consistently. She said to rise with the sun and lay off the electronic devices and engagement with other people when the sun goes down. She reported on how holy and beautiful mornings are, with the birds singing. She advised that I enter my jhanas and make resolutions to do this. Boy, that is a tall order since nighttime is my playtime.

Aparna is Indian. She is a most lovely, grounded, soothing woman to be around, with such mesmerizingly comfortingly fluid hand gestures, deep brown lake depths for eyes. She is like reaching liminal states while dozing on your favorite old overstuffed couch covered with a goose-down comforter while the scent of baking gingerbread wafts over you from a faraway, otherwise forgotten kitchen hearth. . . .

I told her about Daniel’s feeling toxic for weeks after his fire retreat, asking if that was a problem with the elements’ not being balanced. She said probably, particularly if it went on and on; however, she said that likely the main problem was that he opened all his chakras completely. That means that when he came back his sensitivity would have been exquisite. She said, “If you are in an emergency room, even subtle disturbances in others will flood in with all kinds of accrued extraneous energies, and they magnify each other, so it isn’t really a wonder that he would have felt completely poisoned by the illness energies.” Then she told me that she cannot go into hospitals at all because, again, she is an empath. She says that even getting near a hospital in the parking lot, floods her with pain, suffering, and madness energies. She can feel and sometimes see auras; she can “manipulate” chakras but doesn’t do so usually and never without permission: “When you do such things, you are leaving the human realm and stepping into the Divine, so you had better have respect.”

We talked a bit about Emptiness and the No-Self/True-Self paradoxes. She said, “Emptiness doesn’t work intuitively for me as path, Jenny, but that is just path.” And then I told her what Daniel said to me recently about how, one attains the nondual shift, the Three Characteristics just vanish. She said, “Well, of course they do. When you are on the other side of this divide, the so-called side of no-sides, then you see that there are many paths to that awakening.” And then she added, “That is why this group is so important: We are bringing in perspectives from different paths and appreciating them; my preferring the path of God and not Emptiness is only Path, not result.”

Aparna, in closing, mentioned that Dennis the Menace cartoon we’ve all seen—where his mother asks him to get some milk from the refrigerator, and he heads there but meanders through every side room in the house along the way, playing with toy trains and whatnot, looping and looping, taking detours, before arriving at the refrigerator door, opening it, and grasping the dang milk.

I said, “ah, as Edward Albee wrote, ‘Sometimes you have to go a long way out of the way to come back a short distance correctly.'” And I pointed out how Wilhelm Reich blamed Jesus Christ’s death on the fact that humans, if you show them the door to salvation, will run the other way. She laughed, and said, “Yes. So that indirection is our individuated paths. Don’t mistake any particular strand of that variance along the way for nonduality.”

Chat with DreamWalker

Jenny

I had really profound insights yesterday, thick and fast, in clear Cause and Effect stage. Clear view of the problem. New territory. 15 hours later, A&P starting.

DreamWalker

Clear view of the problem . . . the or a?

I have never really got clarity during review of the first 3 nanas

Jenny

Clear view of the problem on the temporal axis after luminosity is attained. Clear view of why luminosity ain’t complete nonduality. There are probably other reasons—my guess.

To me, this series of insights was very profound.

DreamWalker

Is it really a problem?

Jenny

Yes. It is obviously dual at a more fundamental level than I have before seen.

DreamWalker

Which part? What would make it not a problem?

Jenny

Everything has to synchronize. Time needs to be seen though completely.

DreamWalker

OK . . . just wondering what the Solution to the “problem” would look like.

Thought about the background is another thought . . . yes.

Jenny

I don’t know how to solve the problem, or I would solve it. But I know that all has to synchronize. Somehow. I Saw this directly. I saw the nature of the problem directly, and, as in AA, maybe the first step is to admit that you have a problem.

I Think emptiness-of-time practices may help. Or maybe just continuing to practice as I have been until the breakthroughs run dry. One thing I do know—which will sound obvious—you have to see this directly for yourself. Secondhand insight isn’t insight, although it can help, or seem to help meantime. So even though I’ve read Daniel’s bits about “synchronization” over and over again, and I did get what he meant, now I really, really, really get it. I understand the nature of the problem. I have watched the process of confusion perpetuate itself.

DreamWalker

Ya . . . some self-reference in the time stream . . . kinda what leads you to agencylessness . . . but even more.

Jenny

The C&E insight is beyond the insight that thoughts about thoughts’ background are thoughts. It is some fundamental problem with backgrounding, some succession, arrow-of-time problem.

That it keeps being reified.

That we keep reifying an “it,” a “background,” reinstating the split.

DreamWalker

Hmm . . . describe the background.

Jenny

I will make a new DhU post to discuss all this for the benefit of the group and us.

Short answer is that background is functional, not constative, and therefore is itself  the inability to be described. It is whatever was previously invisible as the other side of a split, until it was encapsulated as part of a dual pair that is now foreground, where it stops being background, functionally, which instantiates a new background, unseen.

Linear causality is a fundamental structural split. It involves time, the arrow of time. It is an error.

Postscript 2.5 Years Later

The sit in the insight stage of Cause and Effect was one of the most profoundly insightful sits of my entire path. I saw distinctly, before I ever encountered Dzogchen or Mahamudra, how the illusory arrow of time would keep generating background/foreground polarities. So this sit confirmed what I saw on the second MCTB path: That Enlightenment would necessitate a complete closure of a gaping aporia within the supposed “now.” Time would have to cease. Causality would have to cease. Background/foreground would collapse. This happens at buddhahood. It is only at the very end, buddhahood, which is far past MCTB Fourth Path, that the mystery of agency resolves itself completely.