The Breath as Radiance

I just sat with my workplace sangha, which is more and more becoming a real sangha, as Barry has started sharing his fictional story based on the Elephant Path. 

This post is pouring out faster than I can set it down.

Questions Are Remarks

This practice was for novices and was on the breath.

But what is a novice? And what is the breath? Always the questions.

The breath these days for me can be anything from cascading vividly visionary unfoldings to tantric visitations with Padmasambhava. It can be chakras suddenly recognizing themselves and opening, visionary eyes opening, energetic connections with others coming online, and more. All this is the breath.

If I sit and relax into the coarse literal breath, any one or several of these experience may unfold. When the stop bell rings, I may be surprised to find my heart still a white-hot fire and my face quenched with tears. Whole universes may have passed before me, through me, as the breath.

So don’t misuse the term one-pointed. Don’t be the masculine practitioner hemmed in by foregone conclusions about how reality works, what the breath is. You truly never know. The trick is to keep asking, asking, asking. To ask is to open the heart and the body of sensation. The mind will follow; you need do nothing for, to, or with the “mind.”

Breath Is the Manifest Multiverse of Potentiality

The breath is light. And light is all. Light was the first self-division, the first self therefore, all of manifestation from out of the nought that was posited post hoc. Lucifer was the lord of light, so the beautiful tragic fall into division is a matter of light, of throwing darkness into relief, into background, into source-function.

So you see, or shall come to see, nought has properties, oddly enough: not findable properties, mind you, but dark matter properties, so to speak: what must be so, at least functionally, for there to be this spontaneous manifestation of all that we normally think is solid, selfsame phenomena.

Lilith, Adam, and Eve Are the Trinity

There are Two Truths, we Buddhists like to say: the conventional reality of manifest thingness, and the empty darkness of source-function. The problem is, however, that there are really Three Truths, because there are none. What mediates the Two Truths, depolarizes them, deconstructs the first and remaining duality? Light does! Light is the meaning-bearer: It illuminates all otherness; it gives even darkness its property-ness, which is none other than unfindable source-functionality. In the beginning there was light. The light is the Magician born to the High Priestess, to Lilith, who would not lie under Adam for all the world. The light is Infant Consciousness, the Male Principle, each of us, rig pa.

Eve was fully formed and married to Adam in manifest light. But Lilith, O Lilith.  Hers is the unspeakable myth, the voiceless truth. She lay under no one and gave birth only to her own unsired demons. She fell into division without help, without a partner, without love. She was banished from Paradise. She lies fallow outside the gates east of Eden.

We children of light had to invent Lilith post hoc out of the clay we call darkness and emptiness. In the beginning there was the Word. She has to exist, you see. We posit her. We posit emptiness-of-inherent-existence. We posit the light that allows us to posit whatever we need to, always in retrospect. We posit a source behind the source. It must be so.

The great mystery of the Feminine Principle is that it is both untouched fruitless womb and all-potentiating tomb, moment by moment by moment by moment by moment. In the emptiness of the Three Times, if we awaken, we give birth to Lilith. It is a mad, mad mission to reach back beyond time to put her invisible form into manifest archetypal threads, but here you go.

Only the Question Awakens

There are at least two schools of thought on how to relate to the nimittas that tend to arise when concentration enters automaticity. One school says these lights are distractions, to ignore them as so much delusion and “return to the breath.” Thanissaro is in this camp. The other school entertains some elaborate theories on what these lights mean as positive signs of progress regarding staying with the breath.

What exactly is a distraction? The Feminine voiceless voice asks you. There is no answer to give, only response, only now. Response is whatever arises for you as the question. Always, always, always there is the question. Keep letting it ask. Allow it to ask. Allow the heart to open, for the openness of heart is Lilith herself and, ultimately, the dawning of actual Eve. In the beginning there was light, except that, well, how do we describe the beginningless and the endless?

Lilith is the High Priestess, not the Empress who is Eve. Lilith has a dark shrouded hollow where where Eve presents a face. Lilith lies with no one, not even the Magician. But unless we posit her, we do not exist. And unless we posit her, we cannot be free from the selves we fabricate to swaddle us in protective delusion, in our tapestry of inherited ancestral trauma, in our gloriously tragic tale of egoic maintenance.

People can have all kinds of theories. People can debate them until the elephant in the room comes home by long scenic route. Here is one more theory, then: It matters little how you are told to relate to the weird and wondrous phenomena that can arise in meditation. It matters infinitely more that you allow yourself, trust yourself, to respond to those phenomena. There is no patriarch, no authority, no teacher, no Buddha. There is only the question and moment-by-moment response that is the questioning itself.

My first mentor, Daniel Ingram, wrote elsewhere, I suddenly realize, of all that I’m saying here. He brought it forth, yes, as a different Daniel-flavored tray of metaphors, different myths, different figurally contingent polarities. But we are saying the same thing. He taught me to prize above all else that in this lifetime I can practice well. And practicing well, when it comes to surrendering into the unfindable, is, paradoxically, truly where it’s at.

Unbounded Wholeness Analyzed

I had a phone conversation with DreamWalker last night, and I want to make a few notes, clarifications of my experience.

What It Means to Lose the Centralized Subject

First, about the central processor’s dropping out last July for good – I mentioned to DreamWalker that, when I told John that my roaming my body fields endlessly had stopped, John had said that was because seeking had ended. DreamWalker said tonight, “I think there is more to it than that.” DW said that he thinks the dropping-out is a shutdown of the fight-or-flight system. 

I think there is something to DreamWalker’s observation. I think that the roaming is seeking, yes, but it is not so much desire per se as a kind of hyper-vigilance, which is fear. Right before stream entry, I had profound insight into the way that my body creates objects and objects create the embodied subject. The constant roaming of attention is in order to keep all this going, to keep matching a particularized section of the body with a particularized section of the field. One Subject : One Object. This compulsion begins in very early childhood as a survival mechanism. It is root delusion, ignorance of our true nature and identification of limited constructs as “self.”

How would I discuss this in a book? Well, I will discuss it within a larger discourse on the Four Noble Truths. Enough said about that for now.

What Loss of Subject-Object Perception Means for Emotional Reactivity

But this is not just about perception gone over to apperception. It is also about feeling, emotion, reactivity. I explained to DW that now if I’m “worried” about my son’s driving back from Ohio at 4 a.m., then the worried thought-articulation goes through me and my speech may convey my habitual words of caution and protest; however, no emotion accompanies these habitual acts. It is as if the habitual script is waxed floss pulled through my brain and disposed of immediately: there is nothing for it to grab onto. 

This whole erosion of emotional reactivity has been just that: a slow erosion. It wasn’t sudden in the way the deconstruction of perception was July 30, 2015. It was a deepening, until one day I noticed that one experience was valued essentially like any other. This isn’t just a philosophical conclusion; it is an actual change in emotional processing. Actually, the emotions aren’t processed, because they don’t even arise, for there is nothing for them to hook onto sufficient even to arise. Empty thoughts, empty words born of habit. That is all.

This is so odd, now that I think about it analytically, but true. I can think worry, I can speak worry, but I’m not feeling it. It is sunk into and drowned by the vast depth of field before it can even arise. 

I suspect that, after some more time, even the worry-thought and the worry-words will just stop. After all, I pay a lot of energy into them with no return on that kind of investment. More and more, I’ve simply withdrawn.

I’d like to find a cave, one with a reading light and a nearby mango tree.

The Vast Expanse beyond the Visual Sense Sphere

Secondly, my main descriptor of the July awakening is “vast.” John links space with the visual sense door; however, DW is correct again when he says that it seems to him that the vast expanse I’m always on about is less about anything visual and more proprioceptive mechanosensation. In other words, the vastness I mean, when I try hard to analyze it, which is hard to do, vastness being vast and all, concerns my sense of body fields, bodily interior, and movement through space. Because some delusional boundary has dissolved that was between my interior and surface, between the body fields themselves, and between space and any of this – the result is this extremely expansive unboundedness. 

Why is this so clear to DW, who says the center has not dropped out for him, while it has been so difficult for me to figure out and articulate? Well, again, because vastness tends to drown analysis, because to analyze means to break things down to explain how they contribute to a whole. But the experience isn’t the analysis: The experience is vast. The experience is whole. The experience is all. 

DreamWalker, when he is frustrated with my lack of articulation says, “Yes, Jenny, everything is everything . . . so helpful.”

If one wants to teach or write, one must try to work up words from the perspective of one who does not yet have the realization. One must describe all the colors of the rainbow to one born blind.

Rigpa as (Visual Field) Luminosity

One other reason it has been so hard is that I do have the visual unbinding too: This is actually the sense of vivid directness that we call luminosity (rig pa). My mind is fused to yon juniper bush on which I gaze. Conversely, yon juniper bush is as aware as it is manifest over there, and that there awareness is this here awareness simultaneously. The time it takes to perceive has dropped out. This can seem like spatial bridging, or vastness, but it is not really about space so much as it really is about immediacy. A time-consuming centralized perceptual process has stopped with regard to any “object.”

Even though here we are talking about rigpa, Infant Consciousness, rather than Mother Consciousness, and this realization is one separate from Mother-Space vastness, I think if you are following my words faithfully, you easily can discern why this opening of awareness while seeing would also effect a kind of relative vastness: Delusional locational  polarization of awareness has deconstructed. So even though the focus may be on one object, such as the juniper bush outside my office, and even though there is still a subject on some metalevel who is having a wondrous nondual experience, the locational polarization of subject and object has dissolved – while one is engaged in vision – into “two oceans mingling.”

So, DreamWalker, I have a new theory: Mother is chiefly the unbinding of proprioceptive mechanosensation, and Infant (rig pa) is the directness, intimacy, of the visual field.

Difficulty in Analyzing Unbounded Wholeness

Yikes. This is actually a really good analysis, a breaking-things-down for the sake of discussion.

But here is the thing: When you put these two together – visual awareness and spatial awareness – then you have the infant lying in the arms of the mother. And that inseparable union is so very vast yet direct and intimate that one might be forgiven, especially if these shifts come in quick succession, for being unable and even unwilling to analyze this unbounded wholeness.

Thank you, DreamWalker. 

I’m too sleepy to write about hearing. Maybe tomorrow.

Sweet-Spotting the Sweetness

I just finished a 45-minute Sunday-night sit, or rather Monday morning because it is past 1:30 a.m.

This sit was rather involved because I spent a while lying on my back and resting behind all organs, into the ground, and then noticing that the boundary between body and ground was open. It sounds strange to say so, but I wasn’t sure about rigpa. I wasn’t dull or sleepy, and the ceiling became almost ultraviolet transparency, but It is hard to feel the reach of rigpa somehow in this position. As soon as I sat up, it was definitely flaring.

I let awareness rest into the first, root, chakra. Later I rested into the third chakra, which I already worked on for months. The highlight of this sit, though, was the second, sacral, chakra–called Svadhisthana, which means sweetness. I learned this meditation on the recent embodiment retreat, and at that time focus on this chakra was a bit like being tickled or hitting the funny bone. There is a fluttering, like a delicate flower, and then it shuts again. However the last time I did this meditation, and again tonight, it stayed open with fewer closings. It was sweet, all right, and warm. Like the head and the palate, it could spread open. And when the Infant Consciousness is found there, the subtle primordial body, that is for me rigpa blazing.

It is a little strange that this chakra would require opening. It is the center for sensual pleasure, sexuality, intimacy, connection, creativity, and feeling–and those are proclivities for me. Anyway, the subtle body is what is surfaced by resting into the layers surrounding the chakra. Here it is vulnerability–sweet, liquid, delicate, and warm.