I had a lovely day today. I finally caught up on my sleep, although I’m a bit stressed about how much paperwork and work-work I’m behind on. I’m also beginning to miss some of the things I did before I spent almost all my spare time on MCTB2. I need to work in more exercise, sleep, and that is about it without compromising the Prime Directive.
I’m also grateful to have had this opportunity to work on this edition. I’ve learned so much from Daniel as a result, and I have enjoyed getting to know him personally.
Perceptual Shift Endures (So Far)
Anyway, I had presence and enough of a break today to really notice just how changed perception really is—how so much more of what used to be me, side with me, seems to inhere in objects, vivifying them and making them direct, one with apprehension.
Music is something I feel almost tactilely now, somehow because distance is a fiction of the past. The sound actually has texture, feeling. The snow and little licks of green grass that poke through glisten with aliveness. I stood at twilight and stared down at them for some long, quiet minutes. Meanwhile, my body and body field have that intense sort of “gone” feeling characteristic of Boundless Space (j5). One way that I know I got a path is that this constant Boundless Space feeling has not been this strong since right after my first path.
At the end of our recent call, which was about an hour long, I talked to Daniel briefly about this shift. He had heard from Tommy [while they were on the kasina retreat in Scotland] that I thought I got another path. I told him that the shift came days before the cession-fruition. He stated that, yeah, it is a somewhat academic question whether shifts bring about the path fruition, or vice-versa.
I told him my new hobby was staring, and he laughed the laugh of the knowing. I mentioned that the night beforehand I figured out that the jhanas were no longer driving, that I was the driver now or nothing happened. I told him I can call them up, even out of order. He was excited about that, and said, “Although the other way was good for showing no-self, this is great for moving into mastery, and mastery is good.” He went on to explain that mastering the states and stages can help even everyday life, for one can even delay or move fast through a specific stage to accommodate life demands. I told him that I suddenly found myself able to spout the dharma and meditation advice like never before. I gave some example. He said, “Nice!”
So all that grief he gave me, sneering at my first-path claim—well, none of that this time, surprisingly. Thank goodness. So much for the hazing. . . .
Daniel suggested that I practice jhanas by trying to hold to one as long as possible, resisting the urge to bail out to the next one. Then, when I can’t hold back any longer, let fly rapidly into the next jhana. He said that this way I would be able to observe the new jhana intensely and suddenly “bloom,” that I would learn a lot of detail about the jhanas this way.
He also suggested calling up the stages of insight and intensifying them. For instance, call up Fear and see just how terrifying I can make it. He explained that when one is controlling the intense Fear, so to speak, it becomes so much less debilitating when it arises during cycling.
I’m recording all this here so that I don’t forget.
Tonight I simply moved up the jhanas. Third (j3) was notable tonight, very clear, whereas I usually have a hard time discerning third. The coolness, the wider focus, the out-of-phase aspect, and nausea were there. Nausea is my main sign of Disgust, so there is definitely the sense now that the stages and states go on at the same time and relate to each other.
I usually miss Second these days, but I learned from the MCTB2 draft that the key to Second (j2) is really tuning in to the pleasure. This works.
Fourth (j4) was grand. Fifth (j5) was amazing, really rich, deep, and stable. Sixth, Consciousness (j6), is very interesting, but there is something disconcerting about it.
Seventh (j7) I get by tuning into the areas of spaciousness where nothing seems to be going on. I also deliberately narrow my focus. Oddly, Nothingness does have characteristics. There is even a sense of change or sparkle in the blackness. One odd thing tonight was that a candle I had lit suddenly flared up while I was in Nothingness. I opened my eyes, and the experience of being so bodiless and far gone was impressive. I blew out the candle and returned to my sit.
I think I touched in on Eighth (j8), Neither Perception Nor Yet Nonperception. Wow, that is a weird one, and I really want to nail it and spend some time there! My Seventh and Eighth are shaky and unstable. I’ll have to work some more on them.
I tried for Pure Land 1 and even fruition. Neither happened. An hour is just not long enough for a sit anymore.
I’ve learned from this new ability to call up the states by number that they are scripted, fabricated—like everything else.
The afterglow is amazing, and it was hard to come back to reality. I’m too blissed out to sleep or write with effort enough to make results interesting. Ah, well!