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

Peace

The only moments that I feel truly at ease, peaceful, maybe even blissful (Ananda) is when I remember (re-know) the Truth (Sat) about the illusive quality of perception in the “world”.

What you believe, so shall you perceive. That’s about as close as one can get to a spiritual truth.

All the anxiety, indecision, depression, angst, fear …. yes, it’s real because I can FEEL it.

But when I crack open my knowing heart, and remember the Truth of I AM, or GOD IS, or disbelieve the separation (duality), a soft wave of peacefulness returns to the center of the chest.

“When a teacher of God first learns that he or she is the dreamer of the dream they are still attached to the dream and are tempted to use their growing awareness of Reality to change the dream to suit their individual dream figure desires instead of to awaken. This is an attempt at a compromise where the dreamer tries to have the power of the dreamer while still being a figure in the dream, but in the end this will fail because a dream is not real; it will always leave the dreamer feeling empty, and seeking for wholeness. Only awakening from the dream will make the dreamer feel whole again. Through awakening the dreamer’s experience of the dream does improve, but only because the dreamer realizes that it is a dream.

The Holy Instant, in Which the teacher of God steps out of time for a moment to be with God, is the greatest tool that he or she has to undo the dream of time. In that Instant time is over; there is no dream. The more a teacher of God practices the Holy Instant, and lives in the present with the Presence of the Holy Spirit, the less time means to him or her. The dream recedes in value and importance, and the experience of the Holy Instant becomes more compelling to the teacher of God than anything in time.

In essence, time is the dreamer living the one instant of not-God/undoing not-God over and over again, but in the midst of time this takes so many forms it is almost impossible to see. The teacher of God, however, begins to see it the more he or she experiences the Holy Instant. They begin to see the nothingness of the dream, and how silly it is to give it weight and to take it seriously. All that has happened is a thought that can never be reality. There is really nothing to forgive because nothing real has happened. God is.” A Course in Miracles

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