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.
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.