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.

Dream of the Secret Path to the Rainbow Heart

Lost and Mapless

I am in my car, driving up Old Chapel Hill Road toward Chapel Hill, trying to get somewhere, but I’m not sure where. I pass the right turn onto Airport Boulevard, which leads to the airline terminals. I know that coming up on my right will be Aviation Parkway. But I do not want either of those two clearly visible routes. What I’m looking for is between those two roads, but that is all I know except that I’ve never before seen a road between those two turn-offs.

I am frustrated as I drive, because not only do I lack a navigator and map, but I am not even sure of the the name of the turn-off I’m looking for. It is a secret route; it appears only if one can remember its name, which I cannot quite do. I know it starts with an O. So is it Osolo?  Is it Orca? Is it Ochre? No. I am thinking that maybe I should turn onto Airport Boulevard after all, that maybe the path I’m looking for is a V-off or a service road. Or maybe I can abandon my car and, since there is no one and nothing to help me, walk through the dark woods alone on foot in the hope of finding it.

Letting Go and Recollection of Lucidity as Path

As soon as I give up and start to backtrack, the name of the path I seek occurs to me: Ösel. It means luminous clarity, as well as rang rig pa, which means reflexive apperception. It is generally included in the Six Yogas of Naropa. The sign of the road appears, and I turn right onto this secret route. The route dead ends at what appears to be a horse farm that has been transformed into some kind of testing track for various vehicles. 

My Confrontation with My Teacher

There is a tight, U-shaped, circular way to turn around. I go around it and pause at this window where apparently people can order smoothies. A woman there asks me if I want refreshment. (This woman was Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, the badass warrior princess who tries to rescue her abused and traumatized brother, whom their father first rejected and abandoned cruelly.) I tell her that my organic mango lassi recipe is superior to anything she is offering and so I must politely decline. 

I drive up a little further, park, and exit my car. I start walking back toward the track and under the shade of some oaks, where John is sitting at a picnic table, across from a student who resembles Sam in Game of Thrones. Sam is a character who was traumatized by his father, is overweight, and has low self-esteem. I quietly nod hello to John, who is teaching this student.

The student is saying that he is experiencing intense fear and misery from meditation. John is launching into some advice, but I interrupt John and Sam: “You need to read MCTB before you do anything else.” Sam says, “What’s MCTB?” I reply: “Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, but unfortunately the really clear, beautiful, and complete second edition is being held hostage by its lead author, with whom I collaborated on it, all because he refuses to give me even a factual editorial acknowledgment for my 800 hours of work that amounted to authorship.” 

John starts to contradict me about the usefulness of MCTB2, and I again interrupt him, asking, “John, have you even read this book so as to understand the insight stages, particularly the Knowledges of Suffering?” He says no. I apologize for interrupting him, say I will let him get back to teaching, but I also write out the title of the book on two scraps of paper and tell both of them “Read It!”

Dream Outtake of the Sectarianism Scene of my Youth

Suddenly I’m back in the little Lutheran church of my childhood. I left this church after a fist fight almost broke out over abandoning the old red hymnals for the new green ones that altered the familiar melodies and harmonies unacceptably. But this time everyone is chanting in Tibetan out of the red hymnals. Everyone except me. I hold a drab green book that contains Theravadin meditation instructions in plain English. I start reading these aloud, shouting with my one voice over the din of the old Tibetan obfuscations.

Now I’m back under the shade over the picnic table, staring into John’s eyes over the title MCTB2 that I wrote on the scrap of paper. I bow slightly to John with my hands folded at heart center, as if transmitting the knowledge of the red-versus-green-book dream outtake, turn, and walk back past the refreshment window to a rack of trinkets that is set up under a shade tree in the clay and sparse grass. 

Two Heart-Shaped Lockets for Sale

I see two heart-shaped lockets. I decide to pay the price for one. But which? The patterns of the hearts are similar: both have an image of a key engraved on the heart, but in different positions. Undecided, I look at John, who is still teaching at the picnic table, out of earshot. He turns and glances at me, as if knowing that I’m staring at him. I turn back to the two hearts, and the one on my right now is giving off intensely saturated rainbow colors. This is the one, then, that I will buy. 

I go to the refreshment window and pay. I test the locket first to make sure that it will open without an actual (missing) key. It does. The woman says the key is included as image in the design itself, the heart and the key to opening it are the same. The locket is placed in a long rectangular velvet box and given to me for my safekeeping.

Dream Outtake about Two Authors Named “Cushion”

Suddenly, I’m back at the rack of dharma merchandise, but now my colleague Sian, our acquistions editor at work, is standing beside me and asking a question about one of my authors, whose name is apparently Cushion. She says there are two Cushions and asks which one is my author. I say, “Oh, come on! What is the chance of there being two ‘Cushions’ as authors?” I’m annoyed and tell her that both are probably mine because of how well she does her job and therefore how overloaded with developmental editing work I am. 

She turns ghostly pale at my words and vanishes. Ahhhh!

Subject Perspective Gone but Self-Powered Game On

Now the sense of an “I,” an ego, is gone. There is only a race of some kind between three vehicles. They are not going around the track, however, but toward Old Chapel Hill Road, toward home. One is a large old V8 truck, I think. One is a car. The third is a rickety cart without shock absorbers, which is powered by this blonde woman’s own legs and feet. Yes, she is peddling under her own power. 

Although he is not visible now, I hear John’s voice saying, “Jenny, this is not a race.” Although I, too, am not there in first or third person, I hear my voice respond, “Yes, it is, John, regardless of what purpose or lack of purpose you declare, for I will give the one who reaches Chapel Hill Road first, most efficiently, the olden rainbow-light open-heart locket I paid for with my own resources.”

The blonde woman moving forward under her own power in the claptrap-vehicle-for-one reaches Old Chapel Hill Road first. The magical rainbow locket is hers to keep. 

So say I, and so it shall be.

Concentration on Fluidity

I just had a wonderful sit: 12 minutes of concentration and then 12 minutes or so of a form of King of Samadhi called Clear Light Body.

Concentration on Energy and Grounding

I began the first 12 minutes by feeling the whole body energetically on the in-breath, and concentrating on the stability of gravity, dropping into the ground, on the out-breath. This practice is effortlessly engaging.  At one point, I had a flash memory of Reggie Ray’s saying to send the energy of the body all the way down into the center of the earth – actual grounding. I found this variation at least as interesting as focusing on the ground as holding and stabiltiy, the way John instructs. It was pleasurable to feel the energy coursing along sinews of the body during inhale, and then to feel it blasting down into the earth on exhale. Rapturous is the momentum of continual arising and release. 

At a certain point, I dropped the focus on the breath altogether and focused on continual releasing into gravity. Then vipassana arose: I started noticing how my body simultaneously had weight and did not have weight but floated, as it were. You see, there was no solid substrate beneath my body at all. It is all energy: body and ground. This can be clearly experienced as truth if one simply notices.

Thai Forest Relationship between Samatha and Vipassana

I’ve always preferred concentration practices that use movement and give me something to do. Concentration does not have to be on something that seems “solid,” nor does one have to artificially solidify the object and the body to stillness. The Burmese separate samatha and vipassana into two separate practices; however, the truth is that, if one is any good at concentration, then solidity will break up and insights will arise soon enough anyway. The Thai Forest masters did samatha and vipassana in tandem, in the same sit, but even if that oscillation isn’t deliberately set upon, it will happen anyway. 

Tibetan Elephant Path as Mixture of Samatha and Vipassana

I keep having this argument with one of my dharma friends because he insists that the Tibetan Elephant Path is concentration only. Then he says nonsensical things like “all nine stages are simply to gain access concentration, no jhanas,” and “the Elephant Path is the whole path.” Both of these statements are dead wrong. Why would there be nine entire stages to getting access concentration alone, which is a very low level of accomplishment? And what is the access to if not to liberating insight, vipassana, which this person denies plays any part in the Elephant Path. I’ve sat in retreat with many absolute novices who experienced Arising-and-Passing-Away (A&P) phenomena on the second or third sit per Elephant Path concentration. It is therefore quite evident that the Elephant Path encompasses samatha, vipassana, and a fluid movement back and forth between the two. It is therefore correct, if too cryptic for my own taste as far as maps go.

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, Second Edition

Interestingly, Dan Ingram, in draft MCTB2, moves completely away from the Burmese tradition in this regard, as beloved as that tradition is to him. He restructured MCTB to yoke everything – vipassana and samatha – under the jhanas as map. This is, he said to me, really how he’s always thought of things. It is also how I experienced and experience them. Having one simple map – the jhanas – as one in which to elucidate the 16 ñāṇas (cyclic insight stages), concentration states, and the dynamics between them is a welcome improvement over the division into two separate practices. He also no longer recommends “dry” vipassana, which is vipassana without the easeful lubrication of the concentration states (samatha jhanas).

Clear Light Body

Well, I put off finishing this post so long that I now don’t remember anything about the specific CLB meditation session, except that it was wonderful. This is a King of Samadhi practice, which means that it is done from the natural state, groundless ground, the vast expanse of awareness. Rigpa-Mother goes (how can it not at this point), and inside that the practitioner takes the body as a whole as concentration object. The body is visualized as a glass floating in space and filled with light. This is a deeply healing, blissful meditation that obliterates any acute pain in my body, including my migraines. It is not vipassana; instead, it is a concentration practice from within the vast awareness. You have to have awakened awareness and, as a state, groundless ground to practice it.

My Book versus Ingram’s

My book will one-up Ingram’s unification of samatha and vipassana by bringing in awareness practices sometime shortly after what he calls stream entry, or first path. I reject his four-path model, and even he rejects it in the narrative of what actually happened to him along his path. Why hold onto an inadequate model of awakening? Why work within four paths borrowed from Theravadin traditions when the ten fetters that define each path in that tradition are rejected as impossible? 

Actually, Ingram is wrong on both counts, for the four paths as distinct stages with definable characteristics and signs breaks down into nonsense right after stream entry. No one can say convincingly what second path is, and his book says only that another cycle of the insight stages has happened and that a lot of emotional stuff comes up on second path. So? A lot of emotional stuff comes up right after any new realization, cyclically, as the being is trying to integrate realization with individuation and actualization. 

What he calls third path is really a mess: He and his favorite teacher speak jokingly of Twelfth Path because Third to Fourth contains innumerable cycles and no clear aha! In fact, what happens in that territory is a bunch of aborted half cycles, and stages out of order. There is a clear sense of cycles within larger cycles. It becomes so very complex that Daniel has created a complex notation system for pinning down stage and substage daily. Why? What good does it do to keep dwelling in the misery of noticing stage progressions that go nowhere new?

Enter awareness practices. The someplace new needs to throw off the shackles of states and stages emphatically. So soon after MCTB second path, I advocate a move to Indo-Tibetan essence practices. I’m absolutely convinced that this makes the most sense, is the most pragmatic and efficient path. I would say more, or could, but wait for the book.

Chamomile and Moroccan Rose Throat Chakra Candle 

This is a throat chakra candle from the hippie mart. The scent is chamomile and Moroccan Rose. The throat chakra is involved in lucid dreaming, which I have started to cultivate with some success. In addition to reading scientific lucid dreaming manuals and Tibetan dream yoga texts, I have also ordered a big fat Jungian dream manual for classic interpretation. The main objective in dream interpretation is to notice how the ego is moving through the dream, how lucid awareness (rigpa) becomes obscured, for this is will hint at how it becomes obscured during the day. I tend to be led around by others in my dreams, gullible, too ready to help without questioning the price.

James Blake’s “ I Need a Forest Fire”

 

“At one point during the bizarre quadraphonic chanting, everything became extraordinarily altered, the way it did in March when I entered that hypnagogic state while my teacher was pointing out, after which he had said to me, ‘Sometimes you have to just get out of the way.’ In this scene yesterday I was saying to myself, “This is a dream, this is a dream, this is a dream.” Everything was extra-vivid and extra-translucent, like a dream. Awareness was everywhere, without reference point or origin, but it was also blasting out in all directions from my own heart center, which was turning up the blaze of the entire field. The field fed ‘my’ fire, and my heart fed the forest fire ripping through the field, ripping through my heart-mind.”