Super/Natural: A Choice between Magick and Enlightenment

The Sorceress by John William Waterhouse, 1913

The following conversation is a somewhat edited excerpt from my current (private) practice journal. –Jenny

Jenny

I’m not even documenting my practice in Heartlighted anymore.

DreamWalker

Well if nothing is happening. . . . “This page left blank intentionally.”

Jenny

I feel that something interior has to work itself out and take me to a new level of nongrasping, naturalness. Something is “happening,” but not what you would think. It is a release of the spectacular, the special, the magickal. It is a letting go of magick and pointed intention as any part of the goal, which is enlightenment.

DreamWalker

What’s the boundary that keeps the special and normal from merging?

Jenny

See, that is a mechanical question. At this level of practice, I’m done with analysis of mechanisms. In other words, here is the mechanism, haha: The boundary is that between will and naturalness.

DreamWalker

Okie-dokie. . . .

Jenny

My practices, including visions and dreams that are sought, feel highly artificial now.

DreamWalker

Let the effortlessly natural mix with the naturally effortless. . . . 

Jenny

Just let be.

For I’m sitting in the stupid bathtub, surrounded by lit candles, and wondering what is supposed to happen next and why whatever that is isn’t actually happening . . . analyzing. 

DreamWalker

LOL!

Jenny

Desire is being burned out of me.

DreamWalker

Hmm . . . okay.

Jenny

Desire for the next stage

Desire for a teacher to cling to

Desire for magickal powers

Desire not to desire all of the above, because all that is not “enlightenment,” which is what I chiefly and rightly desire . . .

DreamWalker

That don’t sound like too much fun.

Jenny

Desire for “fun”. . . .  That desire for the supernatural wow factor is the boundary. Desire for beautiful novel visions and spectacular lucid dreams is the boundary. Desire is the self-alienated state of nonpresence.

DreamWalker

Ah, I see. . . . 

Jenny

So how the fuck is the thing supposed to sync with itself if I’m desiring (a thus future) synchronization? And so begins and circulates ever to its own beginning this practice level’s Analysis Trap.

Now, truly, this desire has, most of the time, been exceedingly subtle. But I now have to acknowledge that it has been operative since the inception of my main current practice. And when the insight-stage cycling reemerged around Thanksgiving Day, it was because I proceeded from that subtlety to plunging down the rabbit hole of experimenting with magical transmissions, astral traveling, and similar feats of identity solidification. If I were already fully enlightened, those actions wouldn’t introduce errors, but I’m not, so they do.

DreamWalker

Desire is at the attention level rather than the awareness level of mind, right?

Jenny

I don’t know that desire is attention to the exclusion of awareness. Awareness and attention are not opposed but stably interpenetrating for me in everyday life. You are taking some split that is more fundamental and dragging it back under a duality subframework that has already been resolved for me by an earlier level of practice.

At my current practice level, your question is too much mechanization of my experience for me to work out. Desire is simply desire. It is the fundamental state of all imperfection and alienation, which I believe is what Gautama Buddha taught. If I am desiring a preliminary result of completion practice, then I’m living in the future, which I cannot. This split is what keeps time segmented, linear. In other words, I have not brought the Fourth Time (timeless time) online. This is the point: I believe that the final boundary is Time.

DreamWalker

What is grasping?

Jenny

Desire on steroids.

DreamWalker

Desire is grasping? Nah. . . . Grasping is patterns.

Jenny

Desire-feeling that amounts to personal neediness, narcissism, is grasping.

DreamWalker

Programmed patterns of desire and grasping are directing attention.

Jenny

Yes, fair enough. But even in my attention to particulars, there is awareness in its usual breadth and clarity. Maybe it is just not complete, which accords with doctrine since rigpa cannot be at full measure until third vision has reached culmination.

The funny thing, given this understanding of the need for rigpa to come to full measure, is that I currently intuit that I need to pull back on the rigpa pole and reemphasize the Essence, the Mother, Emptiness pole. And I’m sensing on the periphery of my mind that this return to emptiness practice will be through body-based modalities.

DreamWalker

Perhaps you are needing more karmic release.

Jenny

Well, that release happens on its own in the causal dimension. So nothing to do with anything I do at this point here. You are searching for a comfortingly mechanistically distancing label, such as “patterns,’ for what is experienced nonmechanistically and naturally as a feeling of lacking. But, yes, if you like, grasping is desire that is patterned into identity and its sustaining identification processes.

My higher-level counterpoint is that analyzing things mechanistically is one of the key forms of grasping that has to go at this level, for me, for you, for everyone. Maybe not at your current level, but at this level. We are both saying that I have to work with the narcissistic wound, the feeling of lacking, the feeling of being incomplete.

DreamWalker

Sounds good to me. How do you do that?

Jenny

Not sure.

DreamWalker

Exemplar tantra?

Jenny

Probably some bodily reengagement with Trekchö, but this is a question for the teacher. And, at least for motivating theoretical context, probably understanding deeply what Almaas is pointing out. Trekchö feels natural; all other, including my main “special” practice, is now feeling fake. Think about it: I’m sitting and cultivating the conditions for some extraordinary states, getting high on the jhanas that unfold as a result, but all this feels strangely wrong.

It is like when you are making love and suddenly see yourself and your partner as two mindless bog frogs humping mere flesh-form mechanistically and you feel your naturalness as a higher-level human being peel off and evaporate. There is a split there, a loss of authenticity when humping is divorced from agape.

DreamWalker

Hmm. . . .  Wonder if J’s Gonna recommend a trip to R for you.

Jenny

Doubt that. J doesn’t have time to answer me until late March, anyway.

DreamWalker

Does that nonresponse make you feel abandoned?

Jenny

I’m not exactly emotionally spinning about it, because I trust J’s good heart, implicitly and always. I know his plate is full to overflowing. However, the motivation-analyzing thought-habit does sometimes arise, “Hmm, is he cutting me off on this plane? Why?” So sometimes I wonder if it is intentional even if I don’t question the basic total goodness of the motives behind any such intention of his.

No, I don’t feel abandoned by J, just sometimes a fleeting twinge of impatience at having to wait, which is good fodder for practice. Nothing like the depth and extent I felt with Daniel, which was Kalpa-Extensive Abandonment as High Betrayal. A twinge is just enough to wonder, have that thought-form arise, and see it evaporate.

I experience the same sort of twinge with my family, but it is more difficult with them because they are not sane, whereas J is the exemplar of sanity. I’m looking at them and their defensiveness as the setting that is expected from all family members when we meet, a collective, mutually reinforcing neuroticism. Then I feel myself start to be entrained by their energy and crazymaking. So I stop. I go silent. I disengage. I watch them continue to be obnoxious, but I ground my own energy as though slamming a stake through the center of the Earth. I’m there, and my twinge of defensiveness melts into feeling sad for them. This is genuine sadness, a love-compassion that, right now, I cannot respond to with speech or action in a way that will help them. I cannot fix this burning world, despite my longing to, my desire. 

I tried to explain all this to Kurt. And all he said was reductive: “All that is because you feel holier than thou.” So I had to stop right there, stop with him, too. Shut my mouth. Same thing: not defend territory but generate the entirety of space in silence. And if a gulf gapes open between us meantime, then that gulf is a matter of Time, linear time, mean time indeed.

All I have to do, haha, is overcome Time.

DreamWalker

Right. . . .

Jenny

Not to be understood even by my husband: This central lack in me is not being understood, not being known even by my closest loved ones.

DreamWalker

It’s lonely.

Jenny

This is the wound that alienates us from ourselves across a gulf of defense mechanisms. And it is the boundary that is keeping me from enlightenment.

DreamWalker

I’ve got that wound . . . not being seen.

Jenny

Right. It is common as rain. But I’m figuring it out. This being unable to share even the most precious thing I’ve found: the path to liberation. It hurts.

DreamWalker

Well, spontaneous perfection in action sounds pretty good.

Jenny

If I knew what that was like. But I understand now what I didn’t even a month ago: that my chronic retreat to solitude is about this. I find it very hard to be around people since the Mahamudra awakening. It is easier at work because at work everything is superficial, transactional, polite. But with my family it is difficult. With my friends, close ones who aren’t spiritual, it is hard. With dharma folk who I see as spinning and not getting through gates that ought to be easier to cross . . . hard. It is like being on this other side and the deep gulf that divides is horrifying. Because I cannot help them. And they think they don’t even want or need help. So where is the boundary between holier than thou and effective compassion? Hard.

Bunch of psychological stuff coming up as though now is second path at a deeper level. What is prominent is mental echo, past tense itself as personal patterning. That boundary is a gap in time, and it has to close. That is why J keeps telling me to hold these people in my heart outside of time. To see them as the buddhas they will be but now.

DreamWalker

Ahh. . . .

Jenny

But I’ve not quite figured out how. Maybe J can specify the practice. I’m not good at it yet.

About your telling me that maybe N should skip Mahamudra and go directly into Dzogchen, tell me who you know that got awake awareness by starting with Dzogchen.

DreamWalker

Who?

Jenny

One person.

DreamWalker

Who is that?

Jenny

I’m asking you.

DreamWalker

Tibetans?

Jenny

Unverifiable.

DreamWalker

Totally.

Jenny

Dzogchen begins after MCTB 4th path. So how does one use a method whose prerequisite is 4th path to get 4th path? How does one actually practice Trekcho? Out of the blue? With no ground realization? What is the instruction for that?

DreamWalker

No idea how it is done.

Jenny

Okay, LOL! So why did you say that Dzogchen and skipping Mahamudra might be better for N?

Oh my. This bird thing is a bit off from exemplar tantra. I cannot tell from N’s writing where he is “seeing” all this. Is it during a sit? Is it out in front of him with eyes open? Is it behind closed eyes in his imagination? Is he really flying through the actual sky, circling in for a landing at Amazon?

He seems to be caught up in an entire story, narrative that is not part of the meditation instructions.

You aren’t feeding him shamanism stuff are you?

DreamWalker

Who me? Nooooooop.

Jenny

Gooooood.

DreamWalker

LOL! No more than I feed you.

Jenny

Because we are not practicing shamanism. We are practicing tantra.

Don’t confuse your spewing with my swallowing.

DreamWalker

Tom Campbell’s My Big TOE!

Jenny

That book isn’t going after what I’m after.

DreamWalker

Well . . . kind of. Speculation. But simulation as holographic universes, and the bounding egg cracking. . . . 

Jenny

Does Campbell have nondual enlightenment? If he did, he would write about that.

DreamWalker

Yes. He is nonduality. 

Jenny

But told from the objective side of things because he is a scientist. Campbell is a buddha? Monroe isn’t.

DreamWalker

But his model is for basics of understanding the theory of everything.

Jenny

That stuff doesn’t matter until after buddhahood. It is a distraction.

DreamWalker

Monroe wasn’t in life.

Jenny

Lots of people can be open in weird ways without being enlightened.

DreamWalker

Right. Apparently, Monroe continued after death.

Jenny

Unverifiable? LOL!

DreamWalker

Unless you visit him.

Jenny

SIGH. LOL!

My current theory is that focus on magick subtends duality. Hence, magick’s being a hindrance, a major one. Western magick users will try to tell you that what they are doing leads to the same end, enlightenment. Not true. Because it objectifies at the level of mode: The self via intent versus the world as the manipulated.

So best to lay off all that, which is essentially what I wrote on that post Daniel deleted because, deep down, Daniel knows it is true and feels threatened by his own approach to that truth. Because magick is for control, just like the Overlord’s Delete button is, a major detour back up own ass. It is a tool of the deluded identity structures, a toolbox filled with defense mechanisms. 

It is best to put away your tool and wait for marriage.

In N’s case, he has publicly claimed a mental illness. So another reason not to pump magick into him. Tantra can be dangerous, after all, and requires prior stabilization to avoid danger.

The reason I logged on is because there is something in the back of my mind, something about the four visions mapping to the four vipassana jhanas and therefore to the four paths. So Dzogchen really is the fifth path, the echo that is the formless realms. 

I’m thinking more and more about this. Because fourth vision ends in what? Cessation and fruition.

And there is something creepy about third vision, with the wrathfuls and intensity. Fourth vision is Equanimity. It is like shedding the jhana factors as one moves to j4 and the formless realms.

DreamWalker

Magick at the level of attention traps you. Thus cycling.

Jenny

Even if you have awake awareness, maybe especially then, magick is a trap. The only place where it is not a trap is buddhahood. This thing about needing naturalness to permeate all “attainments” is predominant. So it goes around again: I’m back to looking at Sid’s Suffering 101.

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