Antero's practice journal

Awakening of an office monk

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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.

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Last night I became aware of visions in a dream. I was lying on my back on the floor watching space filled with moving colors and little rainbows. The energy of the practice was was very bodily and made by me slide across the room. The visual show was a lot more interesting than in my regular sitting practice.

Strange dreams and occasional lucid ones have been more prevalent recently and a new quality of fluidity is coloring the daytime experience.

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Gazing develops

The sitting practice has developed on two fronts. On one hand there is a greater degree of trusting the process, letting go and as a result the energy coursing in the body, sense perceptions and especially the visions are more seamlessly integrated in the view of unbouded wholeness. On the other hand the actual physical gazing technique has improved and this seems unfold the visions faster. Positioning of the eyes when doing the gazing technique causes some strain in the eyes and that felt like a distraction in the beginning so I did not apply it before. I am still working on finding that delicate balance between intense focus of applying the four lamps and letting everything be as it is.

The colors have been intensifying and have become more stable and the view deepens faster and more reliably. Some new effects have started to appear in addition to the old rolling disco clouds and flashes, like a surprisingly bright whitish area much bigger than thigles. If thigles are planets of the night sky, this one is the size of a moon in comparison. The edges of this liquid light ripples when shining on a canvas of colors, or more like a reflection of a full moon on surface of a multicolored liquid. Unlike previously, today it was not stationary and round but irregular in shape and frantically trying to swim across the horizon like a very bad swimmer in a hurry, it’s transparent inner structure clearly visile and moving.

At times there is deeper space, slowing down of movement, everything becoming tranquil, purified and clear. Just some small groups of white thigles swimming to the surface and then submerging again.

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Note to self:

In future, please notice when off the cushion practice becomes a routine without freshness from the lack of plenitude, from partializing aspects of experience (both unpleasant and pleasant noes), from boundaries created within the unbounded wholeness, from the subtle sense of dissatisfactoriness and neediness, from the subtle sense of restlessness, from layers of contraction in space, from being separate from guru Kuntu Zangpo, being separate from the universe, being separate from the three buddha bodies.

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Guru yoga, Tummo and Four Lamps Meditation

There was nice warmth during Tummo. Today was one those days when the colors were brighter and it seemed like I was seeing a new layer made up of tigles, like tiny transparent lenses hanging in the air, visible only when illuminated by the shifting lights. I can see them only partially, I guess I need to wait for the glow to intensify some more. Sense of wonder.

There has been a lot of unpleasantness off the cushion, feeling of self consciousness, like I am playing a some role during the day and there is a fear that others will notice it. Flow and naturalness taken away by the harsh energy and a tendency to contract the space. Apparently thoughts no longer have real power to distract, they are fragments that can barely fly, it is more of a question of seeing the real nature of this heavy energy that becomes separate from unbounded wholeness. Intensity of the experience is increasing and it calls for deeper level of letting go. Another one of those cycles to clean up the system.