Nothing to attain
This sounds very much like my experience in 2012. Obviously people have this experience at different times, but when it really permeated for me it was paired with, or was a fall out of, what some people call the insight into anatta, which is the experience of everything’s being exactly where it is, with no receiver hanging off. This is very different from seeing
the emptiness of self, but is seeing
the not-empty self as enlightenment itself. I wonder if that makes more sense now. If it feels a little or a lot like dying, then we shared the same experience. I think all of this is much more in line with my own perspective currently.
As you can see, my dream and Clear Light sleep practice fell off even further in the first quarter of 2019. This entry covering 4 months is shorter than former ones were for a single month. I was no longer deliberately practicing sleep yoga by this time, and as Garchen Rinpoche and others state, sleep practice is the most difficult of practices, requiring intense persistent effort. I was during this period still under intense pressure at a job I only increasingly wanted to end so that I could pour my remaining life into teaching and writing the Dharma.
During this time, tensions also persisted, or escalated, between John and me over poor or nonexistent communications, finally resulting in a sharp break-off and a silent stalemate beginning late April and lasting 6 months. The dream of February 2, given below, was the harbinger of the loss. At the time, I thought the break-off was permanent, and I was deeply shocked and confused over what still seems its inexplicability. This said, there was some inner misalignment that propelled me toward the break, some need to touch bottom with my own two feet and stand alone. In truth, although fraught with loss, the period brought on a new opening consisting of a pure confidence that has nothing to do with pride. All pride is, after all, only an inverted expression of shame, and for the first time I was experiencing completely shame-free confidence. Often dependencies must be shed before a new level of awakening will open, or at least I’ve found that to be the case.
My formal sitting practice and the more personal details of this period are in my password-protected journal. As wisdom matures, I find that I keep more and more private, for multiple reasons and mostly by intuitions that lead me further afield from expressive drives.
I came home 4 hours early with a severe migraine (Day 2). I took a handful of pills and fell asleep. I had this weird dream that I was short of breath and lacked enough breath to coherently tell my mother, Kurt, Jill, and others that I was dying and to get me to the hospital. Finally, Kurt realized what I was trying to say and drove me, but at some point he got out of the car to switch seats with me. I was forced to try to drive to the hospital myself, but I lacked oxygen and kept falling unconscious at the wheel. I kept thinking and then losing the thought that this was a dream and that all I needed to do was fully realize that fact to reach lucidity. I pulled the car over and got out of the car and started crawling on the ground to the passenger side, forcing Kurt to resume driving. He didn’t understand that I was really in trouble and needed help.
I think this dream was triggered by my looking up the symptoms of meningitis this morning after my severe headache went on into Day 2. I was hospitalized with meningitis in the 1990s. One of the symptoms I read this morning was “shortness of breath.”
To dream that you are suffocating signifies that you are feeling smothered or oppressed by some situation or relationship. Something or someone is holding you back.
To dream that you are trying to catch your breath or that you are out of breath indicates that you are experiencing some anxiety, tension, or fear concerning a new situation in your waking life.
To dream that you cannot breathe indicates that you are feeling exhausted.
Most interesting about this dream was that I knew that I needed to become lucid, and knew that I was trying to, but didn’t because I kept passing out or becoming confused.
Later note on psi: Andrew informed me the next day that he had a bad headache the night before the morning I had this dream.
I had many fragmented dreams last night, some featuring authors and pressure from Julie/Sian to find authors to sign. But the one part I remember clearly was being in an unfamiliar house, sitting in the back of the house on the floor, and waiting for John to arrive and lead an Open Ground retreat. He finally came in, and I was shocked because his head and beard were white and he was shuffling like an old man. Instead of sitting and beginning the retreat, he mumbled that he was sick and went into a back room. After about 10 dream minutes, as everyone was giving up and rising to leave, I went to the bedroom where John was and knocked on the door and entered. John was slumped on the bed and saying “Jenny, I can no longer teach; I’m sick.” I said, “Oh, that’s nonsense, John.” I continued with “Just take some time off to heal, and then you can return.” He then pulled out a flat pint flask of clear alcohol and started swigging it. He was letting me know by this action that he was an alcoholic and addict but had been hiding it for years.
In a later part of dreaming, after the SAS authors bit, I was standing at the bottom of a hill and looking up at it. It was covered with graves and headstones. Fog covered the hill but was illuminated by sunrise, which gave the whole scene an ethereal peach-colored cast. This scene seemed somehow connected to the scene with John.
I slept from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. I was both asleep and awake. I was aware of my body, my bed, the bedroom, my heating pad, and aches and pains the whole time.
I am in a conference room in a large resort in Nosara, except that I’m not fully there, not embodied. I can see the scene from a vantage point slightly above the room at an angle. I cannot touch anything, only see, as my body isn’t embodied physically in the location. It is as if I were remote viewing. The room has a palatial window to right of where John sits, white walls, and a white marble floor. John is supposed to be leading a retreat, but I don’t see anyone with him. He is sitting by the grand window in white. The distant ocean, dark, can be seen through the window, its undulating surface sparkling in the daylight. His hair is long and tied back with a white ribbon, eighteenth-century style. He is playing a sad melody on a cello propped up between his legs. I speak his name, but he doesn’t see me, hear me, or reply.
I wonder why John cannot hear me. Then I register my North Carolina body in bed, aching. I understand that the problem is that I’m not physically located in Nosara, not one of the admitted retreatants. But I know that I’m dreaming, so I begin a little game with myself. I practice intent to touch my bare feet down in Nosara and take embodied form there. This then happens, but I am not in the white room with John. I’m standing outside, down in the dark. My feet and toes are digging into cold wet sand, and the dark ocean is lapping about my legs. I remember that some woman was murdered in late 2018 outside a resort in Costa Rica. There is a thrill running through me of daring, danger, and rebellion. I begin running fast toward land, half afraid and half exhilarated, and I eventually reach dry coarse sand. I can feel it with my feet, but I can see nothing but darkness. I search the horizon for any relieving light from the resort, from the high room in which John is playing the cello. But there is only ink-black darkness, no reference points in this darkness. I wake up.
The following quotes are from the Dream Moods dictionary:
“The cello is a large instrument held between the legs that makes beautiful music. Sensual or creative achievements. The violin and the cello in dreams are popularly thought to resemble the female body, To dream of a cello represents feeling that nobody cares about you.”
“A beach in your dream symbolizes the meeting between your two states of mind. The sand is symbolic of the rational and mental processes, while the water signifies the irrational, unsteady, and emotional aspects.”
“The beach is also a place of transition between the spiritual and the physical matter reality.”
These kinds of dreams are still not as frequent as Stupid Sleep, but they are increasing in frequency. They are neither Clear Light sleep, nor merely lucid dreams, but something in-between: It is as if my consciousness is divided between my bedroom situation and the dream situation. Each situation is a lucid extension of the other situation.
The Nosara situation became increasingly lucid in that I remembered that I should be able to control the dream and did, at least to the extent of controlling my embodiment in the dream. However, I didn’t control entry to the room John was in. In fact, so long as I was feeling textures, I couldn’t see, whereas at the outset, I had no body or sense feeling, but I could see everything. This in some way reminds me of the dreams in which Tom Campbell gave me lessons involving reaching out for a vision and touching it for full-on simulation. At the time, I understood these lessons as pointing to NPMR as the training ground for integrating some remaining separation between the sense spheres—not in daily life, but in some more ultimate way concerning the larger NPMR and what we call siddhis.
[This dream was prescient on multiple levels. Some dreams you remember for life. This was one of those for me.]
I sat in retreat with John today. During a meditation he led, he referred to himself as a poet and a cellist, sly private reference to my recent dream and email to him in which I referred to him as the dream cellist and poet, respectively.
Then there was this psychic component that John dropped ever so nonchalantly. John was sitting next to the door after the retreat ended. He was conversing with Michael. I was standing as another point in the triangle, listening. John told Michael that his kids were loving the Waldorf school, that they needed a school with soul because both of them have artistic temperaments. Then John said, “Bodhi has started taking cello lessons.” Then Michael replied, “Oh, you play the cello, don’t you, John? John said, “Not yet, but I have been wanting to learn to play the cello.” I said, “Cello?” And John gave me a level look and said, “Yes, cello.” Then he rose to exit. He gave me a deep hug and a kiss on the cheek; then he was gone.
I slept well, although I woke up every few hours. I gave up on waiting for Kerry to come home around 2:30 a.m. and fell asleep immediately to my new School of Dreaming audio, “Ocean of Dreams.” I didn’t rise for the day until 1:30 p.m. I feel productive today. The sun is out after 10 days of darkness, freezing temps, and continuous rain. I fixed a problem with my business email setup whereby Outlook was failing to save emails to a Sent folder and was failing to sync with Outlook.com Web mail. I also began decluttering the house, which I will continue to do. Little things like a completely ordered, clean, and comforting home seem especially important when my workplace situation is so out of control, volatile, unpredictable.
Now for the chopped up dream. This dream happened, I am sure, as a coherent story. But when I woke up, it was all just bits and pieces, so that is all I have. I will try to put the pieces back into something like a post-hoc narrative form.
I am a shop owner on a hilly avenue in a town. I think it is Asheville, but sometimes it is like my hilly hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, near Florida State University, where I used to buy hippie jewelry in the hip thrift stores in the late 1980s. I am having some kind of problem with a business partner, and I’m being evicted or moved. I go to pick out a new storefront, but I need a partner. I think about asking my bestie Robyn, who lives in Asheville, to go into business with me.
I go outside to the hilly, sunny avenue. I walk back down whence I came and into a shop selling New Age articles and Buddhist articles. I go to the glass case counter, and there is a woman who informs me that I am not welcome in the store, that it is owned by Daniel, who will no longer speak to me or endure my presence. I tell her that I understand, but I would like to buy some dangling earrings and ask if Daniel will relent just a little. She then pulls out a tray of earrings on black velvet. There is a note written by Daniel and lying on the velvet, saying, “These are to remain hidden and accessible only to Jenny, who otherwise must leave the premises.” I pick out some silver dangling earrings from the tray, pay the price, and walk out.
Once I am back on the street, I see Ira and Daniel in another shop. They have some strange markings on their respective foreheads. On Daniel, it looks like some thin short horns are beginning to grow out of his forehead. On Ira, it looks like he is mimicking this look by having drawn a mustache on his forehead with some black makeup. I am puzzled. I continue walking and see Renae, who suddenly and completely unexpectedly died at age 49 while coming down with a cold. I call out, “Renae! Why and how did you die so young while in apparent perfect health?” Renae morphs into her younger body from the late 1980s. She doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She is now young and doesn’t know that she is going to die prematurely or has done so. I ask her why Ira and Daniel have these markings on their foreheads, but she just looks blank at my question, so I walk out of this shop.
Back out on the Avenue, I see that thousands of people are pouring out of shops into the street for some kind of rally and March. I suppose that it must be for Bernie’s new presidential campaign. Kerry walks up beside me, and he tells me of his and Ana’s plans to have mustaches tattooed to their foreheads. I plead with Kerry not to do so and ask what this sign means. Kerry says, “It is just the cool thing now to have this marking.” I again plead with him not to have permanent markings like this added to his face, but he hustles past me, through the crowd, to go to the tattoo shop. I go back into the storefront I’ve chosen. I find debris and broken glass on the floor, but I begin mentally planning for this space to be a dharma center, with or without a partner.
This is obviously a dream about my office being moved at work, if I’m even still there when the move is scheduled, in April. It is about my desire to devote myself to the dharma and not knowing what my immediate future will be regarding such a vocation.
“To see the horns of an animal in your dream represents conflict and confrontation. You are at odds with someone.”
“If you dream that you or someone is wearing a fake mustache, then it indicates that you are trying to draw attention away from a minor issue or problem. . . . To dream that you shave off your mustache denotes that you are revealing your true self. You no longer have to hide under some disguise or some shield. Alternatively, the dream means that you are trying to reestablish your reputation, by renouncing your previous activities.”
“Dreaming that everyone has a mustache indicates that you are suspicious or untrusting of others.”
As far as I can discern, I was dreaming of foreheads because I was practicing last night with a blue scented palm wax candle that was themed for third eye chakra. Daniel’s growing demon horns in this area and my loved ones’ mimicking that seems to suggest that even good people are following wrong path by going along with the crowd.
This is just a note to document that, most nights, when I first fall asleep or am on the sleep end of hypnagogia, some part of me is making decisions to complete tasks, and then my hands or eyes complete the task, and then I realize that my hands or vision are not the waking world physical real things. For example, the other night, I was at the grocery store and over an open frozen foods case. I reached in and started moving frozen meat aside to look for the right cut/weight. Then I was surprised that my hands were not real, physical, even though I sort of knew all along that I was sleeping, or nearly.
Last night I was falling asleep while Kerry was driving back from Chapel hill at 2 a.m. As I drifted off, I decided to simultaneously check on Kerry and sleep, to see whether I could pull that off. Suddenly, my vision was at my bedroom window and looking through the slats of the blinds. I saw a flashing light, as on an emergency vehicle. Then suddenly I was out of the room and at a place where an accident was being responded to. It didn’t involve Kerry. So then I was back in bed sleeping, assured that he was okay.
There was this interesting moment last night when I realized that I didn’t need to stay awake for Kerry out of some kind of hypervigilance predicated on superstition that my abstaining from sleep somehow keeps him safe. If, when I’m asleep, I’m not completely sunk into unawareness, then there is no difference that my remaining without rest makes. This whole thing—often my family thinks it is really just an extension of my former travel phobias. But it really has more to do with the time, at age 19, that I was sleeping and my mother fell, had a grand mal seizure, turned blue, and stopped breathing. That event, when I was a freshman in college, began my sleep issues.
So last night (Wednesday night) Kerry was running late again to get home because a tournament was ongoing. I fell asleep as with the last time, but this time I don’t remember any dreams or outings. I had earbuds in, listening to binaural beats promoting Stupid Sleep. Interestingly, I saw a white light in, I guess, dreamtime, as is often the case nowadays. The white light was by my bedroom window and moved as if down our street, like car lights. This woke me. I sat up in bed. The very next moment a similar light made a similar motion in PMR. I pulled out my earbuds and heard Kerry’s car door slam and his horn sound from his locking the car door. I looked at the clock. I was after 3 a.m. I went to the window to verify that he had just returned. He had. Kurt tried to blow this off as my hearing him come down the street, but I had earbuds in and was listening to beats.
In short, I was awakened by a dream of car lights sweeping my room by my window. Then I woke, sat up, and that very thing happened immediately. It was Kerry, just as in the dream moments beforehand.
I am continuing to work on purifying the auric fields and clearing karmic “contracts.” I’m focused on codependency and empowerment. Last night, I had a lot of dreaming that was lucid. Nothing really in the way of a story happened. I saw red light, then an orange light, and then a yellow light. I recognized (remembered) that these were the colors that I saw during my recent clairvoyance practices. It seemed that, for a long time, there were just those three colors. No story, no scenery, no seer.
Then, in the lower right-hand side of the field, I saw it—that drop with the multiple rainbow rings. At first, I forgot that I was asleep. I saw the figure, and practice just started up. But then I remembered. Oh—I’m asleep! For a moment, the sight faded. But then I thought through the theory that the Dream and the Waking are of the same essence. At that conclusion, it reappeared, clear as day, and I resumed practice—only there was no embodied “I,” just the experience of looking.
I’m beginning to be aware of and remember that most of the night I’m in some sort of hypnagogia-like state. There is no story as in a dream. There are these brief intentions, mundane, and I’m suddenly in a second body and performing the intended action. Last night I was putting drops in my eyes and typing on my laptop. There is an exhilaration in the freedom I experience in this weightless body—how I can instantaneously be elsewhere, doing whatever. However, I’m not completely, concretely embodied as I was that first time I rose out of my body and saw the second body in the mirror. The body is now more kinesthetic sense and action than thing. Also, I don’t lose connection with the fact that I’m asleep in bed. So it is more of a split view than a true OBE. I’m not sure why this is happening. I’m not doing any sleep practice or intention-setting anymore. And I have no idea what, if anything, more this is leading to.
I’m extremely sleepy every morning. I started arising a half hour earlier so I can drink coffee without rushing around. After coffee I go all day, but man, that first half hour is tough.
I dreamed I was at some vague conference, maybe a retreat. I got in a freight elevator, and then other people followed me in. The door closed. We erratically went up and down, up and down. Then the elevator cord was cut and we were in free fall, falling a long long time, with our solar plexuses up in our mouths. I looked at my companions on the ride. They were terrified and screaming that we were plunging to our death. I yelled over to them, “This is a dream! Say it with me and believe it. This cannot kill us.” Just as we were about to hit bottom, the others I was with managed to become lucid and knew the Deathless. We landed softly, as if the cable had never been cut. I woke.
After DreamWalker called me, I lay down for a nap, with earbuds in for binaural beats for “Sleep.” I was 10 minutes in when suddenly I saw in the center of my visual field what looked like a cut-in-half drop, with the two halves not quite put back together edge-to-edge to form a perfect sphere. I stared at it, understanding that this was happening in hypnagogia, although there were no other hypnagogia visuals, just this one. I maintained gaze on it. Then it grew bigger, with a large white light center, and pale rings around it.
Inside it I recognized Mary, the mother of Jesus. I could see her holding a baby, and Joseph, angels, and wise men flanked. It was a manger scene, but realistic. It is very hard to describe the nature of the images. They were both realistic, yet were like post-image retinal flashes. Then I saw the scene in which that angel comes to Mary and tells her she is with child. Then I saw Joseph and Mary walking with the donkey. The light was stable, but these scenes and the figures in them were constantly moving. I was very sure of what I was seeing.
I was so stunned that I couldn’t sink into sleep or even stay in whatever this state was. I sat up and came downstairs to type this account. I am not sure whether my eyes were closed or open when I “saw” all this.
In his book, Zen and the Brain, James H. Austin cites speculation that regular meditation develops a specialized skill of “freezing the hypnagogic process at later and later stages” of the onset of sleep, initially in the alpha wave stage and later in theta.”
This concludes January through April 2018.
. . . In a shack as remote as a mansion
You escape into a place where nothing moves
And I’ve been locked out, and I know we’re through
But I can’t begin to face up to the truth
I wait so long for the walls to crack
But I know that I will one day have you back
And the hills are as soft as a pillow
And they cast a shadow on my bed
And the view when I look through my window
Is an altarpiece I’m praying to for the living and the dead