Dreamwork and Enlightenment

Before I record my latest dream sequence, I want to spend a few words on the subject of dreamwork as a path facet.

Western Non-Buddhist Resources for Awakening

A large part of my current practice has nothing to do with Buddhism, at least not directly. But neither is it a “separate axis of development” as Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha would argue. It is refining and stabilizing rigpa, after all, and it is taking town the boundary between the waking dream and nighttime dreams. I think western psychology has many tools to offer dharma practice as it is developing in the West for westerners. Buddhahood means all the boundaries have been dismantled, including the one that makes sleep and dreams beyond recall, awareness, and redirection.

I’m approaching my dream integration practice from two different angles: Jungian-Senoi and lucid dreaming literature. That topic deserves its own article, perhaps, when it has ripened in my mind, so let’s wait on it or else I’ll never get to recounting the remarkable dream I had this morning.

Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual and Dream Incubation

I do want to highly recommend this quirky manual for one of the two approaches, however: The Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual: A Step-by-Step Introduction to Working With Dreams:

https://www.amazon.com/Jungian-Senoi-Dreamwork-Manual-Step—Step/dp/0918572061/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1467222683&sr=8-3&keywords=The+Jungian-Senoi+Dreamwork+Manual.

I carry this big nutty manual nearly everywhere I go. I recommend it highly. One of my favorite techniques in this book is called dream incubation. It involves carefully formulating a specific question and then asking for a dream to come forth and answer the question. I’ve been stunned at how consistently well and quickly this method works. I incorporate my own touches, including meditation, prayer, ritual, tantra, and tarot.

I threw these cards right after the weekend retreat of March 27 and 28, which emphasized nonduality through work with the body. I was ecstatic after sitting with my teacher again after so many months. Something at this brief but sweet retreat happened–not a new shift, but a certainty that crystallized and sank down into me that the door on Ingram, MCTB2, all Buddhist forums, and high-maintenance people of all sorts, but especially former dharma friends, is now shut. 

Or, more properly, I’ve walked through this gate: http://jhanajenny.com/post/141579935947/gate-crucifixion-tarot

I’m precisely where I’m supposed to be, with the teacher  best for my development, and with the very few private dharma relationships that can fuel me rather than drain me energetically. My focus is wholesomely on simplifying my life, putting all the busy-ness I can aside, and nurturing my own life and practice. This is not the time to start a community, write a book, or chase after anything or anyone. Those impulses were my attempt to escape the reality of all that has passed and is passing.

Image of spread is here: http://jhanajenny.com/post/142258612762/enlightenment-arrogance-shapeshifter

Inner State: Nine of Swords

Ah, yes! The Nine of Swords follows the Eight of Swords, which is the gateless gate I mentioned, the one I felt I had passed through during this weekend.

The painting by Marie White is of the Temple of Eternity, so emptiness of time. It contains the four elements, a water veil, a sun above and beyond the invisible but functional line of the horizon, and a “this side” where we live. This card represents enlightenment, the highest state of a human being with intent. 

White’s painting shows the dark and light pillars in reversed positions, indicating that the other side of the view may be this side, here on earth, in time, in the relative. The air represents the pressure of challenge, and this leads us to evolution.

The card represents spiritual realization and the end of a long separation. It is the most appropriate card in the deck to represent my inner state after sitting this retreat.

Outer World: King of Wands Reversed

This card has come up often during the whole legal dispute. This time is it in the position of outer world, other person. In reverse it is a card of righteous indignation, arrogance, and inability to embody the power behind those energies skillfully. 

Advice: Queen of Wands

This card is of me in my current situation. It is a full-bodied feminine power. It is a nagual, a shapeshifter, a shaman, a witch. A complement to the King of Wands, the sun god, which marks my outer world, she is the dark, the inner, the flame in the temple of my own body. She is the dark forest and the dark night I must traverse alone. She wears a shard of obsidian near her third eye. It is both a weapon and a mirror. It is myself that she is showing me. This is a card advising me to re-create myself though the imagination and embodied power.

I have a formidable backlog of entries to add to this new online journal, but I may as well begin recording current pathwork here so as to reap the considerable practice benefits I do from journaling, as well as to avoid adding yet more to the backlog. More than a month ago, I quit journaling, which has detrimentally cut my sense of path directionality and coherence. In short, I’ve felt adrift. I’ve felt that way probably most of my earlier path, as evidenced by my 2014-2015 online practice journal, but across the continually saying so, the path arcs coherently.

Spiral toward the Corpses Littering Charnel Grounds

But the path spirals, too. My teacher John seems to be beckoning me onward and inward toward a new and deeper, lonesome Dark Night of the Soul, or charnel ground, as he puts it. 

During the 6 months that I have been working with him, we’ve had to keep revisiting my longtime psychological issues: codependency, in western psychology terms; being the Helper, in Almaas’s spiritual enneagram terms, which means I need to thoroughly accept and integrate with Holy Will. Paradoxically, it means I need to better embody power that burns cleanly, intensely, quietly, uninterruptedly.

Even though the group of teachers John is in sharply (and correctly) distinguishes western psychotherapeutic work from dharma practice, they also assert that, especially for western students of the dharma, psychological barriers to practice are eventually going to emerge. They have, yet again, so here I am, and there they are. Now the hard yet naturally unfolding work begins of metabolizing all that “stuff” until it is integral, nondual. 

Where Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha Falls Off the Map

This embodiment practice is the work that MCTB and MCTB2 fail to cover because Daniel, my ex-friend and author, has so far been unable or unwilling to do it. Merely misappropriating the traditional Theravadin definition of arahat to lop off all emotional work, which is what MCTB has done, denies the adage that “they shall know ye by your fruits,” fruits being conduct. 

MCTB relegates psychodynamics to the term axis of development, and renders this axis some kind of extra or marginal pursuit, inessential to enlightenment. Wrong!

Hear this: It is not enough to correct dualistic misperception! One must metabolize those earliest scarred-over wounds of his or her individual psyche to open the heart-mind out into the interconnected field of humanity, to the sangha. Unless and until this work reaches fruition, no enlightenment. Sorry! 

For there is still core fear and self-guarding at the physio-energetic level, where abiding ultimate bodhichitta must be perfectly nondual with the perceptual attainment; until then, the correction of dualistic misperception is not even wisdom. Instead it is being appropriated, dangerously, to actually widen the core spit, to dissociate from oneself, which marks also an unwillingness to be vulnerable with others. No vulnerability, no intimacy; no intimacy, no nondual integration with the field.

We are all  mashups of schizoid shutdown and hysterical impingement. Bring this mashup to the path. “Get down in the mess,” of human relationships, as John says. Sort it, feel deeply into that most potent suffering, allow it to purify.

Bring it home.

Toward Realization of the Nirmanakaya

Far beyond what MCTB offers, I’m now working, in other words, toward realization of the nirmanakaya, embodiment of a buddha. This is a higher realization than that of the dharmakaya. Everything flows from the relative, the particular, the bodily energetic field–currently stuffed with scars. This integrative work introduces a vast toolbox, including tools such as Chöd

tantric practice to work with integrating “demons,” dreamwork toward lucid awakened awareness throughout sleep, and completely opening energetic karma-conditioned centers in the body, such as the solar plexus, third chakra, from which one should feel the bright flow of power.

Dreamwork Instructions

Last session John told me to revive my journal and to record my dreams, paying attention specifically to how the ego-I moves through the dreamscape, for this will tell me during daily life when and how I’m obscured from awakened awareness, asleep.

Sangha I See and Don’t Hear

My dreams the past few nights have been fragmented, so I remember only bits and pieces of what is some otherwise suppressed story. I remember a distinct fragment that was of my sitting with my longtime dear friend Ira at a bar. It was noisy, I think, so we didn’t talk but were still communicating somehow over my sense of loss. He laid his hand, open palm upward, on the bar. I placed my hand in his there, and he held it. It was enough.

Dreams of a Heart Continually Drawn Forth and Filled

The past few nights I’ve been waking many times  in apparent hypnagogia. It feels wondrous–no body, or rather a purely vibratory body free of aches and encumbrances, spacious beyond locating and blissful. In these states I remember that I have distinctly dreamed over and over again the drawing and filling in of a heart shape. There is no sense of an ego-I moving through the dream at all; the heart simply draws and fills in itself, automatically, over and over again, like an infinite-loop gif.