going deeper

Recently, I felt a calling to take up puzzles again. There’s a noticeable shift in awareness when I’m working on a puzzle. My dreams are more resonant, and I feel like I’ve worked things out upon awakening. I sense that the puzzles have also been helpful in shifting my perspective on Life to more of an aerial view.

This perspective becomes clearer when I trust my inner compass to guide my understanding about Life. I especially like the words/phrases below; although their meanings may be intellectually abstract, the experience they point to is becoming more Real and concrete for me.

What do these words mean for you?

  • Voice Within
  • Deeper Conscience
  • Deeper Nature
  • Higher Purpose
  • Deeper Knowledge Within
  • Higher Vantage Point
  • Power and Presence of Knowledge
  • Natural Resonance
  • Empathy Felt at a Deeper Level

I extracted the above words from an essay called Forgiveness, by Marshall Vian Summers, excerpt below:

The choice really is a choice for the individual as to what voice within themselves they will listen to. Will they listen to the power and presence of Knowledge that God has placed within them to guide them, to protect them and to lead them to a greater life? Or will they listen to the voice of their own personal mind that seeks to protect itself above all things that will meet its needs first, regardless of the consequences for other peoples?

This is not an ideological debate. It is not an intellectual problem. It is more fundamental than this. It is a question of whether you will follow your deeper conscience or your own fear and insecurity. If you see that your deeper nature is beyond your mind, then you will not become so identified with your ideas, your beliefs or your prejudices, and you will be much more reserved in judging, condemning or dismissing others.

This kind of self-awareness is so very important because when people are denied recognition of their deeper nature, their thinking becomes aberrant. They identify with their thoughts and their possessions, and their ability to recognize others and to experience compassion is limited or destroyed altogether.

From the standpoint of having a higher purpose, you realize that everyone is teaching you the value of Knowledge. Both their successes and their failures are showing you the importance of adhering to this deeper Knowledge within yourself. Why would you condemn others when they are teaching you the results of not following Knowledge within yourself? When people are making every kind of error and experiencing the consequences of these errors, why would you condemn them when they are showing you the results of your own temptation to deny the power, presence and guidance of Knowledge within yourself?

From a higher vantage point, from the perspective of recognizing that you have a higher purpose in life, you will see these things. Perhaps you could not see them before, but you will see them clearly now. You will see that life is teaching you that there is only Knowledge or the substitutes for Knowledge. There is only being true to your deeper nature, or there is betrayal in all directions.

Here you must understand that not everything that happens is beneficial. If you try to make everything wonderful and beneficial, you will be dishonest, and dishonesty leads to great errors and great difficulties. And so your evaluation must be based upon a deeper awareness within yourself that is not really ideological in nature. It is more of a natural resonance. It is beyond the intellect. It is the empathy you feel with people at a deeper level.

the thief in the night

Of the many dreams I’ve recorded in my journals, this one is the most unforgettable, disturbingly real, frightful, and misunderstood.

Why am I compelled to blog about this now, on this day, six years later?

I don’t know …….

But here goes:

It is the evening of March 28, 2013. I am attending a 7-day Silent Retreat at The Garrison Institute, in Garrison, NY. Once a Capuchin monastery, and at one time inhabited solely by Wappinger Nation of Native Americans, it remains a profoundly sacred site.

This retreat was facilitated by my guru, Adyashanti, an American born spiritual teacher of Zen Buddhist lineage; however, he remains unaffiliated with any religious point of view, belief system, or doctrine, remaining true and open to what is found within all of us.

My week-long lodging is a third floor room which is shared with a lovely young woman named Nicole. We meet and greet on arrival, and remain silent for the remainder of the week.

Our shared room consists of two single beds on opposite walls, a sink, small desk, chair, and a window with very small closet space.

The schedule for the retreat is rigorous. With 6 daily 40-minute meditation hall sessions, meals in the dining hall with 300 attendees (in total silence), and regular evening dharma talks given by Adya.

It’s the time of year around traditional Easter and Passover celebrations, and Adya’s talks for the retreat is titled: “Jesus, The Revolutionary Mystic”.

So it’s day 3 of the retreat. The evening dharma talk ends. Lights out at 10 pm sharp. I’m tossing and turning in the starchy white sheets.

Lying there, I am unexpectedly aware of a HUGE PRESENCE in the room. This presence FILLS THE ENTIRE ROOM.

Immediately, I’m overcome with a sense of PRIMAL FEAR.

I am aware of two GIANT HANDS gathering and pulling on the sheets.

I am PARALYZED in FEAR. I sense the hands are going to take hold of me.

The sheets are quickly being wrapped around me, encasing me like a mummy.

The two GIANT HANDS slide beneath my now mummified body and LIFT my physical body out of the bed. I’m held up at the ceiling in the corner of the room, wrapped up tightly in the sheet, facing down into the room.

From my aerial view, I witness my roommate in her bed sleeping.

I make desperate attempts to SCREAM to my roommate,

HELP ME PLEASE …. HELP ME PLEASE ….. WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING ME?

But I have NO VOICE, just guttural sounds come out of my mouth.

I am unaware how I’m placed back in my bed. But I fall into a DREAMING sleep. In the sleep dream, I’m alone in the room. I go outside into the hall and ask a woman, “What happened to Domenica?”. I am referring to my roommate who is missing from her bed. The woman responds, “She had to leave the room because she couldn’t sleep with all the noise.”

I awoke at 5 o’clock AM, fully aware and remembering the TERROR I experienced. Of note, my roommate is still in her bed sleeping.

I rise to find my way into the dimly lit silent hallway, into the bathroom stall, and proceed to sob uncontrollably. Deep wailing, like I’d lost a child.

When I was able to compose myself, I was still too terrified to return to my bedroom, so I ventured into the hallway Sitting Room. There I was able to make myself a hot cup of tea to ease my still trembling body. I was accompanied by a lone gentleman, and in silence I felt consoled and safe simply by his tall, gentle presence. A bald, slim, over 6-foot tall gentle giant. I will never forget his calming presence.

I was finally able to compose myself after the 7:30 AM meditation sitting. However, I remained haunted by this experience throughout the entire retreat.

At retreat end, when silence broke, my roommate and I embraced. She explained to me that my cries that night were terrifying to her, and she was tempted to assist me, but she had the intuitive wisdom to know that whatever it was that I was experiencing was necessary, and that she should not intervene.

I have contemplated many interpretations for this lucid dream/astral projection/out of body experience/God-knows-whatever it was ……..

My present understanding rests in the simple fact that our physical existence in this material world is a mere copy of REALITY observing Itself.

But we’ve lost the knowledge of REALITY.

So when we’re about to confront IT (reality), which was the purpose of the retreat, the primal gut reaction is FEAR.

Perhaps, as our human Being spiritually matures, the fear lessens?

Apparently, I was not ready 6 years ago.

Maybe I’m getting closer……….

photo: The Perth Mummy, Takherheb

Mercury retrograde

A good time to reflect on where you “are”

Last night’s Sleep Dream:

The street is a sloping downward hill, and I am witnessing some passengers in a small (red?) vehicle slowly rolling BACKWARDS down the hill.

I perceive that they are attempting to slow the car by using the brakes (there’s a loud screeching sound of the brakes) so they don’t go flying down the hill backwards.

As I witness this, I am concerned, thinking, Wow, the brakes are barely working.

Then I observe the dog. A sweet mid-sized mutt, white with brown/black spots.

The dog is sitting on the street, and I realize he is leashed to the front of the vehicle, his back facing the car, and he is either being dragged down the hill with the car or he is purposely slowing down the roll by his body weight.

The dog does not appear distressed at all; however, I am infuriated and appalled at the sight of this.

Determined, angry, I decide to go put a stop to this. I must catch up with them and reprimand these people for dragging this dog down the hill backwards!

But first, I must grab my pocketbook. As I go to gather it up, there are two identical bags on the ground. Which one is mine? I rummage through the contents of each to see which is mine.

End of dream ……..

There ARE SO MANY SYMBOLIC indications in this dream. But the one that resonates for me is the Mercury retrograde in our present astrological configuration. A sense of either being “pulled” backward or willingly “reflecting” backward. In the “awake” dream, I am also experiencing a deep calling to look back, reflect on where I’ve been to discern where I’m “going”, both personally and collectively.

I’m working on a new website, called TheYogaofDreaming. I hope to soon have a community forum to share our dreams …..

the endless sky

My head is always in the clouds

contemplating

dreaming

imagining

in awe

do the clouds take the shape of our thoughts?

I recall when Mom was in the very beginning stages of dementia (what is medically accepted to be dementia, an MRI scan showing shrinkage in the brain matter).

She awoke in terror early morning hours, called up to me from her bedroom downstairs.

“Janet, please come down here.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Something happened, please come down,” she was crying.

I ran downstairs.

Shaking, horrified, “Janet, something terrible happened.”

“Calm down, RoRo, (Mom’s nickname), it’s okay. Tell me what happened.”

“I woke up, and I was in another world. It was terrifying. I can’t explain it. It was like ….. a completely other world.”

“Okay, maybe it was a dream. It’s okay now, everything is okay.”

“No, it was not a dream. I know you don’t believe me, but it was real, and I was so scared, I don’t know how to explain it,” still shaking and still crying. “It wasn’t this world. It was a completely different place. I’ve never been so scared in my whole life.

I held her hands and reassured her again and again, that she was safe now, everything was okay, and that I was there for her.

But I will never forget the terror on her face. Kind of like the terror I felt years prior when I had my own out-of-body experience. But that story for another time ……

If we could even glimpse the enormity of LIFE, from our little mind’s limited view, yes, it would be terrifying, I imagine. And then maybe, after the initial fear subsides, maybe it could even be mind-blowing orgasmic, unspeakable?

Of course, we DON’T KNOW. Which leads me to trust, intuit, sense that there must be purpose to having this “veil”, this ignorance, these limited beliefs we hold about time, reality, about LIFE.

I can attest to the scariness of seeing through the illusive qualities of this world. It is disconcerting at first. All that you believed to be true ….. puff, gone.  When you “see” something that you’ve always believed is impossible. I’ve had my share of seeing through. I’ve experienced consciousness from different perspectives.

But these were only tiny glimpses of the potentiality of it ALL.

I remain humbly in awe.

 

 

 

 

There is never more or less of life

There’s a poignant recollection that comes to my mind after completing the last chapter of The Most Important Thing (Adyashanti).

Many years ago, I had attended my Aunt Dolly’s funeral service. One of her closest and beloved nieces, Wendy, who happened to be a devout born-again Christian, was conversing with me about Aunt Dolly. When Wendy mentioned how happy she was that Aunt Dolly was in ‘heaven’ I felt compelled to say, “No, I think she’s right here, right next to me, in the very fabric of my sweater.”

Wendy did not reply, and from her expression I sensed she had no idea what I meant.

At that time, neither did I exactly know what I meant, but something deep within me knew it was true, and I felt obliged to express it in that moment.

This week, I’ve been thinking about my mom who died 5 months ago. I’ve been feeling her. This feeling of mom brings on emotions that come from so many conditioned responses to my own memories; sadness, guilt, disappointment, and even joy and deep love.

But more important than the emotions that arise, I notice how my perception of life as always present has enhanced my ability to feel mom.

It has been such a reward to have read this book which acknowledges this feeling I’ve always sensed but have not found the words for:

“If you have ever been with someone who is dying, you know that the changing of the form, the moment of death, is discernable. Even if in that moment when it happens you have your eyes closed, you know; it is a powerful moment.

It is an honor to be present when someone passes, as it is a profoundly deep and moving experience, but death is experienced differently when we know that life does not disappear as the form disappears.

This is why people can lose a loved one and suddenly feel their loved one everywhere.
We think of that as a poetic experience – the human imagination projecting the memory of somebody we’ve loved – and as something we do with our mind and our ideas, but there is also a reality to it beyond the ideas.

That person always was life, and although the form life took has disappeared, the life itself is everywhere.

To feel that someone is everywhere is not merely a romantic comfort created by those who are grieving. It touches a fundamental reality; the forms change, and there is a definitive moment of the changing of the form, but there is no more and no less life.

This is why when we awaken, when we are realized, we know there is no birth or death in some essential sense; there is the changing of forms, but not the beginning and the end of one’s existence. So in Zen, when they say the real reason for the whole spiritual endeavor is to resolve the Great Matter of birth, life, and death, they mean it.

As long as we are caught in the realm of acceptance and rejection, believing and disbelieving, we are living in a world of abstraction. That is what spiritual teachers mean- at least it is what I mean – by saying we are living in a dream. Therefore, believing or disbelieving is not the point.

The real instinct for enlightenment or awakening or God comes from a kind of dissatisfaction – from no longer wanting to live an abstracted life, no longer wanting your life to continue to contribute to the world of sorrow, and paying attention to the desire to have a rich and deep experience of being instead of one created by what you believe. This is the real enlightenment impulse.

Trust the quiet spaces within, because they are the ultimate sutras of existence”.

The Most Important Thing, Adyashanti, (bold, italics supplied by me)
PHOTO CREDIT: “Angel Wings” taken by my dear friend, Annette Adams

 

 

 

 

Ode to Opossum

On my front porch stoop, I sit
cold February day, but sun-lit

Petting Goldie, my feral cat
she’s behaving strangely, I can sense that

Lady, can’t you see?
she urges me

Below the stoop to the left, I glance
to view a dead opossum, by chance

Innards half eaten, and frozen stiff
a raccoon, or a coyote, I wonder if

His spirit still there?
does he sense that I care?

I fetch the shovel to carry away
the petrified corpse, now free from affray

Far behind the house I choose the plot
frozen leaves and branches, I clear a slot

I make a blanket with sticks and dried leaves
to cover his corpse that no longer grieves

Now you are free from the body cage-jail
I honor my dead friend with the prehensile tail

It has been such an interesting week. I have had so many synchronistic occurrences, and I’m noticing more and more how every single thought manifests itself through form (a body). I recognize more deeply how Father Time veils our wisdom, hiding the reality that it’s actually all occurring simultaneously. I think I’m learning something new, but it’s actually what I know already. Thankfully, my dream time opens up my mind again, at least while I’m in deep sleep. But damn, that illusive “time” covers it over with ignorance when my morning alarm goes off.

It has become obvious to me the meaninglessness of the labels we get stuck to. But they’re sooooo energetically sticky, like Superglue.

Vegan/ Carnivore
White/ Black
Nationalist/Globalist
Christian/Jew
Left/Right
Straight/Gay
Theist/Atheist
Human/Alien
Elite/Blue collar

We get stuck to the label, and then BELIEVE IN the label, and the mind closes up!
None of it is true. We don’t even know what consciousness IS.

“You can’t be open-minded when you label yourself with anything!” Freedom Fighters Florida

oh my sacred dream time

“Enlightenment is not seeing everything through the distortion called egoic state of consciousness. That’s why it’s called natural state;  It’s perception without a lens. Ultimately that’s what enlightenment is: Perception without distortion.” Adyashanti

The dream state is a lustrous gem

here’s where all of the distortions are revealed

In perfect living color, form and sound

Because in TIME

I only see through the lens of my perceptions (distortions)

But when sleep time comes, the TIME perceptions dissolve

Now I can see through it all

My dreams show me what I know in a way I can’t really comprehend
It would be too jarring for my indoctrinated left-sided brain
So my dream time gives me truths incognito

I am learning to unlock the symbolic coding

and it’s beginning to shine crystal clear

OH MY SACRED DREAM TIME