Dream of Advancing Text and Opening Door
I woke about 20 minutes before my alarm was to go off this morning. Luxuriating in the hypnopompic/hypnagogic liminality, as usual, I formed the intention to drift back into dreaming, first asking that the retinue show me something I need to know.
Almost immediately, I was dreaming. There was a printed manuscript. I could see that it was in Times New Roman font, but I couldn’t or didn’t read the words. The manuscript kept jumping closer, then closer, then closer to my face, as if insisting on my attention.
Then my viewpoint was in the hallway of what seemed a hospital ward, or psychiatric ward. I was facing a very broad, thick heavy door–like a door to an operating room or to where dangerous patients were kept, a door meant to keep unauthorized personnel out. The door was painted a dull brick red, like the color of dried blood, and had a little square window at eye level. Just as the manuscript had continually hopped closer to me, this door keep perpetually opening, opening, opening, opening, opening. It was beckoning me, inviting me to enter that otherwise forbidden territory.
Then I awoke.
Right after the jhana practice with the vision of the baby, and after the tarot card reading, I crawled into bed and went through my usual statements of intention to remember my dreams and to become lucid in the dreams.
Soon I was in that hypnagogic liminality between waking and sleeping. Suddenly, as clear as can be, an image of a figure in a black robe and a black bird mask appeared. He was draped top to bottom in black, and he held a cane or staff, like this: http://jhanajenny.com/post/141070787372/plague-doctor-image
Like the baby I saw during jhana, it persisted–not by repeating but by staying. It was looking above my right shoulder, or would have been if I had stood facing it.
This vision infused me with a strong, sort of thrilling creepiness. It was so familiar! But where had I seen it? I vowed not to forget the image and went on into sleep.
The next morning, as soon as I woke, I recalled the image exactly. I think it is unusual to remember dreams that happen right upon falling asleep. I had followed the birdman into dream space, but I don’t recall any actual dreams. It is more like I recall the fact of dreaming, without remembering the content.
This afternoon I told DreamWalker about the vision; he and I searched images on the Web, and I quickly found precisely the figure in my vision. It was a plague doctor from the Plague, the Black Death. The bird masks held lemon balm, spices, rose petals and such to beat back the stench of rotting corpses. At the time, it was believed that the Plague was brought by evil spirits, so the doctors were made on purpose to look creepy.
Strange. On my birthday, too.
I have a formidable backlog of entries to add to this new online journal, but I may as well begin recording current pathwork here so as to reap the considerable practice benefits I do from journaling, as well as to avoid adding yet more to the backlog. More than a month ago, I quit journaling, which has detrimentally cut my sense of path directionality and coherence. In short, I’ve felt adrift. I’ve felt that way probably most of my earlier path, as evidenced by my 2014-2015 online practice journal, but across the continually saying so, the path arcs coherently.
Spiral toward the Corpses Littering Charnel Grounds
But the path spirals, too. My teacher John seems to be beckoning me onward and inward toward a new and deeper, lonesome Dark Night of the Soul, or charnel ground, as he puts it.
During the 6 months that I have been working with him, we’ve had to keep revisiting my longtime psychological issues: codependency, in western psychology terms; being the Helper, in Almaas’s spiritual enneagram terms, which means I need to thoroughly accept and integrate with Holy Will. Paradoxically, it means I need to better embody power that burns cleanly, intensely, quietly, uninterruptedly.
Even though the group of teachers John is in sharply (and correctly) distinguishes western psychotherapeutic work from dharma practice, they also assert that, especially for western students of the dharma, psychological barriers to practice are eventually going to emerge. They have, yet again, so here I am, and there they are. Now the hard yet naturally unfolding work begins of metabolizing all that “stuff” until it is integral, nondual.
Where Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha Falls Off the Map
This embodiment practice is the work that MCTB and MCTB2 fail to cover because Daniel, my ex-friend and author, has so far been unable or unwilling to do it. Merely misappropriating the traditional Theravadin definition of arahat to lop off all emotional work, which is what MCTB has done, denies the adage that “they shall know ye by your fruits,” fruits being conduct.
MCTB relegates psychodynamics to the term axis of development, and renders this axis some kind of extra or marginal pursuit, inessential to enlightenment. Wrong!
Hear this: It is not enough to correct dualistic misperception! One must metabolize those earliest scarred-over wounds of his or her individual psyche to open the heart-mind out into the interconnected field of humanity, to the sangha. Unless and until this work reaches fruition, no enlightenment. Sorry!
For there is still core fear and self-guarding at the physio-energetic level, where abiding ultimate bodhichitta must be perfectly nondual with the perceptual attainment; until then, the correction of dualistic misperception is not even wisdom. Instead it is being appropriated, dangerously, to actually widen the core spit, to dissociate from oneself, which marks also an unwillingness to be vulnerable with others. No vulnerability, no intimacy; no intimacy, no nondual integration with the field.
We are all mashups of schizoid shutdown and hysterical impingement. Bring this mashup to the path. “Get down in the mess,” of human relationships, as John says. Sort it, feel deeply into that most potent suffering, allow it to purify.
Bring it home.
Toward Realization of the Nirmanakaya
Far beyond what MCTB offers, I’m now working, in other words, toward realization of the nirmanakaya, embodiment of a buddha. This is a higher realization than that of the dharmakaya. Everything flows from the relative, the particular, the bodily energetic field–currently stuffed with scars. This integrative work introduces a vast toolbox, including tools such as Chöd
tantric practice to work with integrating “demons,” dreamwork toward lucid awakened awareness throughout sleep, and completely opening energetic karma-conditioned centers in the body, such as the solar plexus, third chakra, from which one should feel the bright flow of power.
Last session John told me to revive my journal and to record my dreams, paying attention specifically to how the ego-I moves through the dreamscape, for this will tell me during daily life when and how I’m obscured from awakened awareness, asleep.
Sangha I See and Don’t Hear
My dreams the past few nights have been fragmented, so I remember only bits and pieces of what is some otherwise suppressed story. I remember a distinct fragment that was of my sitting with my longtime dear friend Ira at a bar. It was noisy, I think, so we didn’t talk but were still communicating somehow over my sense of loss. He laid his hand, open palm upward, on the bar. I placed my hand in his there, and he held it. It was enough.
Dreams of a Heart Continually Drawn Forth and Filled
The past few nights I’ve been waking many times in apparent hypnagogia. It feels wondrous–no body, or rather a purely vibratory body free of aches and encumbrances, spacious beyond locating and blissful. In these states I remember that I have distinctly dreamed over and over again the drawing and filling in of a heart shape. There is no sense of an ego-I moving through the dream at all; the heart simply draws and fills in itself, automatically, over and over again, like an infinite-loop gif.