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.
Jenny’s Dakini Own Sign
Months ago, DreamWalker and I had a conversation in which he suggested that, as I fell asleep, I should ask to see my Higher Self, which exists, in DreamWalker’s theory, outside this “simulation,” which is a kind of hologram, a dream among many dreams, as stated in the post “Dreams of Dissolution.”
Two nights in a row, I did so and had the exact same dream of this picture each time.
DreamWalker made me this picture for this blog (thank you, DW!). Each Dzogchen Dakini shows a sign as part of her transmission. I reckon this will be mine.
Dream of Being Wounded by a Dirty Rat
My dream this morning was that I was young again (youthful body) and in the double bed with my little sister back home, trying to sleep at night. However, my sister and I could not sleep because these three large brown rats were scampering all over the room, destroying my binders, writings, and more. They were running back and forth on the dresser. I could see them in the dark somehow, and they made a lot of noise.
I was anxious because of the rats, both for myself and out of protective feelings for my sister. I thought about the Black Death, the Bubonic Plague, which was thought to be spread by rats. I thought about calling out for my mother, but I knew she wouldn’t believe me and that she would tell us to just go to sleep. Defeated, I turned on my left side (in theory, sleeping on this side puts the masculine side forward, whereas the Buddha died on his other side, putting the feminine forward, which helps dreams become lucid). I directed effort at ignoring the rats and my fear.
But then a fourth rat was felt burrowing under my legs, in the bed! This was just too much! I moved to jump up out of the bed, but not before that rat bit me! He bit me on the inside of my leg at knee height. Now, what is interesting about the location of this wound is that it is precisely where I have been experiencing pain from something I strained while meditating in a half lotus position a couple of months ago. I mean it is the exact location and exact size of the pain!
Later in the dream, during the day, I went around showing everyone the wound – my parents, my future husband, my teachers at school. No one at first believed I was wounded by a rat, but I pointed to the distinct tiny teeth imprints, which were very visually clear in the dream.
My brother-in-law Buck, who died this past February, showed up in the dream with a fleet of three silver Volkswagen Beetles. (Note all the traveling I’ve been doing in my dreams for many months now.) He alone believed me, was attuned to me. He gave me one of the Beetles so I could drive away from my hometown to someplace where I could sleep without rats.
Then I was in Chapel Hill, sitting outside with an old Selectric typewriter from the 1980s, typing a note to Daniel. It was only about five lines and looked like a poem. I couldn’t read it, which should have prompted me to become lucid. I was graduate school age at that point in the dream. It was a perfect spring day, cloudless, like it is at present.
I loathe rodents, especially rats, fear and loathe them. I associate them with nocturnal nefarious destruction of property, such as my meditation binder and writings in the dream; biting; and disease transmission. Interestingly, I recently had a hypnagogic vision of a Plague doctor in typical black robe and bird mask (deception): “Hypnagogic Vision of a Plague Doctor.” Of course, the Plague is thought to have been spread by rats.
Daniel is a medical doctor, and I was writing to him near the end of the dream. The Plague doctor vision happened on my birthday this year. Last year, Daniel and I had a four-day fight (four rats?) that began on and ruined my birthday, an event which felt like a betrayal. I remember losing sleep during that fight and walking around Duke Chapel and Duke Gardens with my son during one of the days of that fight, feeling grateful that my son wasn’t contaminated (plagued?) with the family curse (alcoholism).
Dreams about rats are common, I’ve read. They typically symbolize deceit and betrayal, especially if they bite, which this one did. I’m not sure why there were four rats instead of just one. Three were boisterous; the fourth was sneakier, silent, invading the bed.
The initial setting was the room I slept in with my little sister when my father would fight with my mother in the kitchen while drunk. I used to be terrified that he would hit my mother. Sometimes my sister and I hid under the bed, in fear that he would come after us, too. He never did, although he did occasionally hit my sister Judy, who looked like his own mother, who abandoned him when he was nearly dying as a child from scarlet fever. Ah, intergenerational suffering. It spreads like the Plague.
My later showing everyone my wound in the dream, including my high school drama teacher, was an attempt to have my feelings validated, as my mother would not have validated my fears if I had called out to her in the bedroom scene.
The note to Daniel seemed to be a communication from the past, Chapel Hill, where we both attended school during the same years, to now (perfect spring day). It was an attempt to prevent suffering by forewarning. But I could not read it to edit the communication, and I awoke before it reached its recipient, who was in form completely absent from the dream.
My teacher has instructed me to notice how my ego moves through my dreams. I tend to be gullible and let others lead me along into situations I should resist. I also tend to get hurt by assuming the Helper role, which is my personality type in the Almaas enneagram. This unquestioning other-directedness is a “cloud,” a lack of clarity, lack of lucidity (rigpa). Eventually, rigpa needs to be 24/7, as we say, meaning awareness is lucid in dreams, and even in deep sleep, not just during the day. The ego that moved through this rat dream was seeking validation that she was a victim. This is another nudge that I need to be willing to be more assertive and independent, even aggressive when I need to be during the day, instead of identifying with the victim pole of the victim-perpetrator duality.
I had a tense situation at work the past week and a half. Although I tried to be assertive, my boss seemed to misinterpret it as defensiveness. I didn’t feel defensive or invested in editorial decisions. I was just expressing that I was in a Catch-22 because the process was so murky and I’m held responsible for delays. Anyway, I really didn’t succeed at response.
Thursday, my teacher and I talked about the way my gains have recently deepened with respect to emotional reactivity. He said that I’m in a temporary phase where reactivity has greatly diminished, but I’m “just there,” in situations, in a state of “unknowing.” Eventually, he said, I’ll know how to respond and do so.
My dream ego was also trying to prevent the spread of the suffering into the future, too, but her communications to the Other miscarried. I need to be alert during the day to falling into the role of Helper and blanketly agreeing to do things for others when it is their stuff causing them chaos and should remain theirs.
This retreat has been life-changing. In fact, I guess I am glad it is ending tomorrow at noon, because I am not sure how much more intensity my mind, heart, neck, and back could stand!
It is no doubt going to take me some time to sort, make sense of, and integrate what has happened here. How blessed I am to have sat with and received transmission from this instructor. His closing meditation today felt literally like it was blasting through my chest and head–like gale-force bright light was riffling through my very cellular structure (which is empty). I’m a total believer in this transmission business: *GULP.* I’ve never felt anything this powerful emanate from, or through, another person before.
Because of the new practices I’ve done on this retreat, I have distinctive changes in perception, realizations, including as of today the dropping out of the central processor (subject) while, nondually, particularities of relative reality arise within awareness, within and as the expression of the ultimate. The objects, so far, are no longer creating a subject. Holding the view of awakened awareness is automatic–is holding itself.
Of course, these realizations can and usually do slip away. I think tomorrow we are talking about “protecting the realizations.” I will do everything I can to protect these. This central processor dropped out during our morning sit in a blast-like fruition reminiscent of my August path fruition–wherein, for a moment, awareness was radically decentered, and then I was layered back in as relative reality came back online. I was taking the entire field of sensation as object, my softened gaze resting on the mantel with butter-colored carnations, white daisies, and flickering candles in the morning light.
In the afternoon, he had all us wounded children who lack trust lie on our backs and sides to meditate so we could feel the earth “holding” us, the ground, to create the karma of trust for the next meditation.
Part of what I am going to have to come to terms with are what changes in practice and paradigm will be required of me as I take this teacher as my own, which changes he alluded to the other day when we spoke on the veranda. For starters, in this tradition there is no “done.” In fact the Practice of Nonmeditation today was this whole surrender, precisely, of such notions as “attainment” and “being done” and even “surrendering.”
So, although I think there are ways that this course cross-maps to the one I’ve been working, the whole notion of getting anywhere other than right here is so anathema to the practice that there really can’t be a talk of what “path” I’m on. This is not to say that this teacher is against maps. He is definitely a mapper, and very technically precise in teaching, but he indicated that realization is a matter of cycling through the same practices again and again but “at higher resolution.” Then there is Dzogchen at the “Cutting Through” stage. How all that crosswalks to what Daniel calls “fourth path” I have no idea.
Nothing to attain
(Oh–and No Jhanas!)
Sit in meditation with a realized teacher who is repeating this sort of list over and over again to you, for hours on end, and see if it doesn’t crack wide open the substratum of subtle resistance in you. And when all that “doing” is blasted out, then he reads Talopa’s ancient instructions, which brought up a palpable sense of a thousand years of transmission. I was weeping like someone interrogated in internment camp.
Afterward, we sat again, and he had each of us bring up, aloud, the name of a friend who is suffering and from what; then he brought up all the children suffering in the world from loneliness and fear, all the broken children who cannot trust, and that is when I literally felt light blasting through my chest and head–coming from this man and the whole retinue of beings behind him. “Beyond time,” he said, “beyond space–awaking is inevitable: the Buddha is sitting under the Bodhi tree; Jesus is on the cross.” And then he read the heart sutra’s “gone beyond” mantra, and we all felt the interconnection holding all the suffering beings in the world. “Awareness–the sky; heart–a warming sun: Never doubt that what you feel right now makes a difference.”
My whole organism is in a kind of spinning disintegration and reorganization, in shock, with shockwaves passing through this mind-heart-body.
I know this may sound like Buddhist Kumbaya, but it was truly the most authentic intensity of the Path that I’ve encountered so far in this life.
Love to you all, x,