Relationship Ruin and Its Purification

I guess I’m in a Review phase now (ñ16.j1 or ñ16.j2), having just finished this intense cycle that culminated in a pretty impressive Equanimity drift-reverie while I was in Nothingness and then a clear cessation, return, bliss wave, and reset.

Fruition Out of Formless Realms May 3

During the DhU Hangout of May 4, I said that this cessation seemed to happen in Nothingness as I fixated on a pocket of what seemed more properly nothing than the attributes and motion of Nothingness. Daniel replied that more likely I detuned from even something already as detuned as Nothingness, touched into Neither Perception nor Yet Nonperception briefly, came out to the post-eighth junction point, and then had the fruition. This seems accurate.

At any rate, I recognize that it was an end-of-cycle fruition because of the reverie, the complete forgetfulness, the complete collapse to utter Gone, the emergence somewhere else, the rolling in of the bliss wave, and the sense of lock-in and reset.

Cycling since then has been very fast, a matter of hours instead of days, and light. Last night’s practice was unremarkable—just the usual jhanas, formlessness. I felt too neutral and flat. I also did not have much in the way of afterglow as I usually do.

I tried to sleep, for I was very tired and it was exceptionally late after meditation, but nothing doing. So I reflected, as follows.

Cyclical Arising of Traumatic Content and Related Bleed-Through

For months after the August 8 path [stream entry], I suffered the harrowing stuff springing up with the tragedies that marked my childhood and the senseless responsibility I feel for the death of my father. It is truly ridiculous that this happened, because I came to terms with all that decades ago, and it is not as if those old stories render me dysfunctional or weak; probably the contrary. And besides, in the South, whose daddy isn’t a drunk? Yet there it all was, coming up after that August path, after decades lying dormant, when I was supposed to be chasing insight, not “wallowing” in “psychological stuff.” This period was marked by interpersonal strife because of my emotional volatility and therefore bleed-through and transference.

And then all that suddenly died down midway between August and January. At that point there seemed to be a minor shift, and practice became much less about any emotional history and much more about spaciousness, the formless realms, and my growing confidence as a meditator. I was, in fact, so happy that I felt no urgency to be awake! I told my family that I had never been happier in my life!

Until this cycle, that is, which began mid-April, or maybe in fact earlier, maybe even in March. Then the exact same upsurge of memories and complexes traceable to my father repeated. The same emotional volatility, the same bleed-through with the same person. Yet again. And this time I’m really furious to see that I’ve learned nothing from the last time, that, if anything, this time was even worse. Resolutions didn’t help—even when I was editing the very MCTB2 chapter that gives the No-Bleed-Through Policy and Resolution.

How many times will I have to process this same “stuff”? What has to happen? Is it a matter of brute force just to hang on and limit the bleed-through? Can nothing be processed on out or finally heal? This unprocessible blockage is senseless, except, of course, that it just is what it is.

To make things worse, I feel that because this psychological “stuff” demands my attention, I’m somehow an inadequate practitioner, or at least an inappropriately distracted one. Exorcising my father’s ghost is not “path-worthy.” I’m therefore filled with doubt about my ability to awaken in this lifetime. I’m defeated. Yet if I simply ignore it, that doesn’t seem to help but only worsens the return of the repressed.

Still, this is just a mirage-like barrier, not the bright fluid truth seeping across the sands of time to write a prophetic hieroglyphic. It is a block of my own stubborn making. My own.

Zen and the Art of Cyclic Self-Maintenance

The question becomes, and indeed last night became, “Can I just stop punishing myself?” Can I just stop? Here I am asking the question that itself is the very tangle and complication that Vasily speaks of. Do I really need to process anything at all? Can I just stop? Is there a letting go just for the blind will that it be so? Well, yes, but goddammit no. I have never experienced a “letting go” that wasn’t automatic only upon some seeing-more-profoundly-than-ever-before.

DW asked me the other day, “You finished a big cycle, so what did you see? What selfing process did you delete?” I relate better to the “seeing” language than to the “deleting” language, so let me consider only that: What did I see in this last cycle? Have I learned anything at all yet? Or was this another senseless Dark Night like the first, whose lesson is only how through-the-center pain really is?

This cycle was marked by an A&P Event that was a vision of drinking my own tears, as in a tantric ritual of sorts, before an altar, and then exploding into white orchid petals. The Reobservation stage that followed had me torching and loudly renouncing people and places related to the dharma.

This cycle was burning bridges.

This cycle was cutting ancient dependencies by poisoning my connection to a friend.

This cycle was the enactment of the fantasy of purification.

What does it mean—any of it?

Nothing.

Prayer for Purification after Relationship Ruin

So it was that last night, after a mediocre meditation session, I lay awake pondering all these things in my heart. I was almost certainly in a brief Desire for Deliverance, ñ16.j2.ñ9.j3.j3. I suddenly got up out of bed and knelt down in triangulated moonlight and prayed. I wept and prayed for forgiveness. I grew up a Christian until my twenties, when I renounced all that to be nothing at all. As I prayed last night to a God the Father and to Jesus Christ, very directly and personally, I’ve never in my entire life experienced that kind of connection with anyone’s “God.”

Then when I lay back down and as I was finally drifting off to sleep, I thought, “I’m losing my fucking mind.”

Now ñ16.j2 (ñ11.j3.j4 through ñ11.j4.j7)

At the Sufjan Stevens concert in Durham tonight, I was distinctly aware of the mini-dark-night. Sit in the middle of the night was equanimous. I rose to Nothingness, but then my son came into the house, clanking along with all his belongings in from Chapel Hill for the summer, and booming sociably with his baritone voice.

(Sufjan was magnificient. What a treat that show was, and very different.)

Sweet Scented Candles Snuffed Out

I meditated by first lighting a sweet green candle tonight, which is always good for observing third. Interestingly, with my eyes open the candle was surrounded by a round haze, and the haze and the candle flame itself kept changing tints. The flame would be red while the haze was blue. The the flame would be bluish while the haze was purple. At the end of the sit, I lifted my left hand to signal that the flame should go out. It went out (but it was nearly under wax anyway, so don’t be all excited—I sure wasn’t).

I’m fine. Something feels ruined. But it is fine.

Weird and Turbulent at Rest

Oddly, after experiencing several nights of unprecedented impenetrably solid concentration, last night’s sit was just very difficult for almost the whole hour. It started with extremely fast fine vibrations. 

Soon Fear arose–free-floating fear not clearly connected with any object of fear. So it seemed that at least I was going to clearly see and be able to investigate the cycling that is supposed to occur after Path. Interestingly, earlier in the day I drove on the Interstate with no fear, and do so is normally a phobia for me, so to have free-floating fear arise so clearly during a formal sit, connected with no apparent object, does strike me as a call up of the Stages of Insight (Review, cycling). Also, since the event of August 8, I’ve totally lost the sense of contraction around the heart that is associated with all strong emotions. This was the first time I felt this in more than a week, which is interesting.

Misery stage is harder for me to pinpoint, but after Fear there was not emotional Misery but physical Misery – uncomfortable, with sevel jolts of migraine-like ice pick pain through my head, crawling scalp, hyper-awareness of this body and its failings.

Disgust stage arises as physical nausea for me lately, and it did again at this point into the sit.

Desire for Deliverance arose, I guess, as desire for fruition. And then, interestingly, this evolved into
desire to stop desiring fruition.

Reobservation stage I did not see.

Equanimity stage – maybe I had a few moments of Low Equanimity during the final minutes of the sit.

I’m not experiencing post-SE fruitions that I can tell, but I don’t think it is helpful for me to continue to hyperfocus on this fact. I feel so different from the way that I did before the event, both perceptually and emotionally by the way, that I don’t care what anyone calls it or whether it is vetted as stream entry. If it wasn’t stream entry, and I still think it was, then it was nonetheless what I have most needed. So I think that I now should bring more nonresistence to my sits and tweak the way I’m “looking for ” fruitions.

I feel floaty, with smeared-out boundaries; gone is the contraction in chest or heart that I formerly identified with as myself.

[Postscript – Actually, many months later I figured out that I had been experiencing “fruitions” (cessations), many in a row during a certain phase (Review phase is the norm), only to have them cease again until another Review phase. The reason I missed that these blips were fruitions is that they lacked the staggeringly profound aftermath that the stream entry one had. The takeaway I want for others is not to chase after Review fruitions as proof of a path. What matters about any experience is the wisdom you gain from it, the insight into reality. I will go down to the mat in maintaining that cessations in themselves are to be completely disregarded.]