Antero's practice journal

Awakening of an office monk


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Flow

Non-meditation is penetration daily life and sleep in a way not experienced before. The energy volume is constantly increasing and the luminosity and self-sustaining aspects are spontaneouly coming to the forefront of the experience. Subtle bubbles seems to be breaking.

On the cushion the cycle of Guru yoga, tummo, Guru yoga has become uninterrupted flow of awakened awareness, feeding itself and gathering momentum. Bliss, sacredness, softness and intensity are reaching record levels during the practice, manifesting themselves in unexpected ways. At times the forms and colors spontaneously appear superimposed over the view of the room tinted with rainbow colors, even before switching to the gazing part. The gaze is continuous, effortless and bright deepdive into the heartspace.

Dreams are often bright, trembling with hidden meaning and sometimes exploding into clouds of colored particles. At times I find myself spontaneously gazing geometric patterns in a dream.

Mainokset


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Sadness

That moment of seeing myself from other person’s viewpoint, inadequate.

Hi sadness. it has been a long while since we last met. I did not recognize you at first. You seem somehow different from what I remembered. Nowadays less of that contraction, thought loops, lack of energy,  heavin
ess, blaming, self pity, tears and all that. You are more of that intensity, sense of pressure to the open space that overwhelms. With a painful edge to it.

Please come on in, let’s catch up. Little embarrassed to ask though, please don’t stay for too long


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Oscillations

During the past months, I have been through the most inspiring and the most frustrating phases of my practice so far. Both of the extremities have been bleeding into my daily life.

Despite the intensity and various difficulties of the work environment, all the work related issues have been forgotten the moment I have closed the door of the office behind me. Even the periods of dark night, when I was still cycling through the stages of insight, were mostly quite manageable.

This spring it was different and the stress at work had slowly worked it’s way into the system, making me lose the lightness of being and become tense and contracted in various subtle ways. There was a lack of satisfaction in life and meditative experiences became unstable off the cushion. A lot of unpleasantness was happening in the throat and head areas and I oftern found myself in a state of anti-flow, out of synch, self-conscious and tired. At times even the motor functions seemed to be affected and I became clumsy. I had great difficulties in communicating clearly, struggling to find right words and expressions, not able to recall names for things. I listened to myself speak and felt inauthentic, like an impostor, disgusted of what I was hearing. I lacked confidence and felt emotionally raw. The emotional turbulence and reactivity, although probably not even apparent to the people around me, made me want to find again that calm centre that is unaffected by wordly problems. I even started using meditation as a way of escaping difficult situations, something I have not been aware of doing for many years.

Releasing all effort, completely dropping the gazing practices, emphasizing compassion  and simplifying and shortening the formal practice seemed to bring some relief.

On the other hand, I have been experiencing a shift off the cusion, a perspective more subtle, previously only available during formal meditation sessions or glimpsed briefly during the day. Suddenly all difficult things were easy. There was a view of softness and sacredness in which the ’external’ world and body sensations were united in a vivid play of light, like a colorful unreal cathedral of immense proportions, no longer out there (at least cutting through the gross layers of out-thereness), a fully embodied simulation. Arising thoughts were clear translucent flashes overlaid on the sensory experience and the difference between a visualization and the ”real” world hardly noticeable. Everyday objects and routines became not only a source of delight but also a gate to this refined way of being, flow of translucent ordinariness.

The fluctuations seem to be settling for the time being. Now it is so self evident, the built-in transparency of the cascade of sensations, flood of luminosity that spontaneously clears boundaries and conceptual obstacles of the ordinary mind. So hard to believe that it has been hidden in plain sight all the time.


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A Rupture

I first noticed it when I was reading a document at work. A canyon of white light appeared on the sheet of paper, blurring part of the text and made reading difficult. It was accompanied with the kind of boiling quality to seeing that I have learned to associate with liveliness of the awakened perspective.

It remained even when I lifted my gaze and looked around, although it was harder to spot when the background was not monocromatic. Soon it changed location to the far right portion of my view, a narrow string of light roughly shaped like a semicircle. Had held a football at my arms lenght, it would have followed it’s outline pretty nicely except for the bend. It was bright white with shimmering and shifting edges of rainbow colors, slowly changing it’s shape and edge color, like something alive. It remained at right edge of my view for 15 minutes regardless of what I did, even if closed my right eye.

There was curiosity and interest, this was a new phenomena for me, but it also seemed to bring a new flavour to the awakened perspective. It was like a crack on the surface of a mirror, rupturing the illusion and revealing that the three dimensional reality that I thought I was inhabiting was just based on moving colors on the surface of the eye.


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Hypgagogic State

As sometimes happens when falling asleep, I was startled by something just when the hypnagogic images were transformed into full blown virtual reality. The dream protagonist was gliding down an escalator as the simulation was exploded into a swarm of moving clouds of color in dark space.

I have a feeling that by maintaining the distinterested gaze of leaving-it-alone, I could easily get deeper.


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Two hour gazing

This morning I sat for about two hours. Unprecedented amount of colors and hues, all kind of movement and stillness of various forms of light. As a new feature, whenever I reacted to a wave of bliss with smiling, a nicely arranged group of really fine bright horizontal geometric waveforms, sine lines of light, flashed across the canvas forming a kind of net.

After some time I started to sense details, some kind of structures behind the veils of light. At several occasion circular objects formed and hovered in one place for several seconds. Even the slightest interest or movement of the eyes would scare them away. They were either completely dark spots or bright white with fuzzy edges.

Seeing everything as spontaneous manifestation of my own buddha nature helped to keep the mind from engaging with the visions, letting go of subtle following, expecting, scripting.


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Visual Processes

On the cushion, gazing is more stable with little need to blink, colors and forms slowly developing brighter. During the day, the unification of the senses continues to develop to something more translucent.

Closing my eyes when going to sleep, colors similar to sitting practice often start to emerge and move around. The insides of the eyelids become a living canvas and it is hard to believe that the eyes are not fully open. This effect seems somehow connected with those moments when in formal four lamps meditation the mental process of seeing is cut off and despite having the eye open, I see only blackness. Very hard to believe that the eyes are open. It seems to me that high activity of the visual field with the eyelids closed can prevent the normal cutting of of visual processes when going asleep and on the other hand, the visual processes can be cut off with the eyes wide open if the brain happens to interpret the visual stimulation as unimportant.

Recently I accidentally came across Ganzfeld effect or perceptual deprivation, phenomenon that is caused by uniform stimulation field. Brain starts to amplify neural noise, that is interpreted by visual cortex, giving rise to hallucinations. It is easy to find instructions in Youtube, so I made DIY goggles from ping-pong ball halves, watching diffuse red light while white noise was playing in my earphones. The experiment produced some visual imagery in the form of moving colors and shapes, buth they were less interesting than my normal gazing practice and no hallucinations occured.

Dreams have once again become brighter, lively and easy to recall. Sometimes after waking up I remember meditating in dreams or seeing colors and shapes. The connection between the gazing practice and dreams has become more evident. Lately the colored canvas is sometimes activated when falling asleep, producing accelerating swirling forms or a kind of slowdown version of Star Wars hyperdrive effect that eventually transforms itself into recognizable objects and dream characters as the hypnagogic state develops further.