The Path to Naturalness: Toward Essence Mahamudra

Last night I had another squirmy, uncomfortable sit with poor concentration. Not sure what’s up with all the restlessness and boredom with practice.

Tonight I sat an hour. Nothing remarkable, no great afterglow. I seem to have a highly babbling discursive mind through fourth jhana. Thoroughgoing focus kicks in with the formless realms, but even these were not spectacular tonight. I’m looking at the pattern and trying to think hard about what the dharma is trying to “tell” me. Why am I so bored with practice, even though I look forward to it during the day? And I don’t bore easily ever, over anything. Well, I could try practicing earlier in the day to see if that helps.

I was reading from Clarifying the Natural State today and remarking that the map of insight there has the practitioner become increasingly nonjudgmental among experiences and quite beyond “meditation moods,” whatever those are. Maybe I simply need to do some other kind of practice for a while. Or maybe I need to stop meditating and explore independence through renunciation. I saw a calendared item at the local Shambhala center for some weird sadhana terma ritual, and I was drawn to that.

So the themes remain as follows:

  • Boredom
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of magic
  • Disenchantment
  • Aloneness
  • Independence
  • Defiance
  • Loneliness
  • Hopelessness
  • Purification
  • Morality
  • Frustration
  • Intellect
  • Leadership
  • Authority

What would appeal to me now is to stop meditating and do some kind of devotional practice, something physical, like prostrations, something purifying, something extreme. It is as though I need to break something in me to move forward. I don’t have a teacher. I haven’t seemed to need one. In Clarifying, there are all these passages about feeling obscured and the advice is severe: offer your master all your worldly possessions, offer him your body. Yet it sort of makes some kind of odd sense, as if there is something so hardheaded about whatever it is that is obscured, what will not let me progress past this funk. Like I need to kick the Crystal Palace I’ve constructed until my foot is a bloody mess and I can feel again.

“Continue your practice while bringing forth an even deeper weariness and renunciation, devotion, pure perception, and compassion. . . . Take care not to stray into intellectual analysis, thoughtless calm, savoring a meditative experience, or hankering after the ensuing certainty.”

This statement seems to be saying that I need to learn to just abide with all the unease. So long as some experiences are special, and others are ”shit,” I’m not going to awaken. Dammit! The meditation moods have to dissolve. The mind must be free of arising and passing. Simplicity must dawn.

So I’m wondering what I should and shouldn’t be doing leading up to the Mahamudra retreat at the end of July. Even this question is likely error. Just how far do I have to take this, and how fast? Can I really just sit and expect nothing? What a joke! Yet here it is, in the highest teaching.

I drew the Page of Swords, reversed. This is yet another card indicating that someone is moving behind my back, likely to do me harm. This one involves scandal and gossip, lies told about me. Gotta love how paranoid-making this deck is!


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