Dream – Looking for the Ultimate Unknown with the Wrong Tools

Fish at Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, Thailand

I had a dream last night. I should have got up and gone into the other room and dictated it into my phone recorder so it was fresh, but I still remember much of it. It was short. There were a couple more short dreams that followed, but I cannot remember them at all right now.

In the dream, I’m watching some people beside me that are looking for the moon. It is pitch black and we start to see a bright but blurry object shining through what might be clouds. It gets bright and moves around a bit – and then it’s very bright and round shaped and staying in one place. They are oohing and ahhing. I look at them and I realize, they are shining a very bright flashlight to look for the moon.

They found what they thought was the moon, but it was created by the beam of the bright flashlight they were using, showing up on the clouds.

In my dream, I realized the meaning of what was going on… and I slowly came to realize that it was a dream.

The moon represents the unknown. It’s largely unexplored. We’ve landed there only once. A few people have gone up and been close to it – but there was only one landing.

This parallels the mystery surrounding Buddha and enlightenment. It is a mystery that many in the world would like to reach – to find, to experience. It’s as hard as getting to the moon apparently. It isn’t even seen clearly, because most people are using mechanical means, traditional 1 + 1 = 2 type approaches to reaching nirvana. It’s like using a flashlight to find the moon – it doesn’t make sense, and it won’t lead us to the true result. It is taught that way, and people try to follow it that way.

Problem is – it cannot be found like that – you will get nowhere.

It’s extremely hard (it is impossible) to talk about something as nebulous as nirvana – in terms we’re accustomed to hearing – and teach people to ‘get there’ by doing this, this, this then that.

Also, this dream relates to the abhinnas. I created some posts about abhinna a short while ago to start to talk about the very strange, multi-dimensional experiences (for lack of a better phrase) that can be had after someone begins getting into jhana realms. I know nobody else talking about these phenomena, but they clearly (to me) exist, and deserve a lot more exploration if we’re to find out much more about them.

In a way, the moon also was a metaphor for abhinna. People were using traditional methods for years to assess, to test, to experiment with extrasensory perception, seeing the future, hearing sounds very distant, and other “supernatural” occurrences. That isn’t the way to approach the topic – the dream was telling me.

The way to approach it is through jhana 4…  The dream was saying that the way to blowing the entire thing open – was through meditation… like I’ve done in the past.

So, this dream didn’t come out of anywhere. I have been thinking for years about continuing the journey that meditation started in my mind… and the idea that so few people have ever reached nirvana or even jhana or abhinna – has been on my mind quite a bit. I want to ignore the topic – and I do my best to do so, but it is always there in the back of my mind. It reminds me constantly that I experienced jhana and abhinna, and it won’t go away for good.

I know that it isn’t going away. It’s been 13 years since I started getting into jhana… about 12 since I had abhinna  – divine eye and knowing others minds. The memory of the experience, the profundity of it all, is not likely going away in the next 12-13 years either. Probably it is never going away. It feels like I am being gently urged to continue the whole process. To what end – is anyone’s guess. I try hard to involve myself in many other things. I try hard to be the old Vern that I was before I started seeing jhana levels. I try so hard to forget it all and yet, it’s right there all the time.

Sometimes I wish it would just disappear and leave me alone.

Other times I wish I had the motivation to go forward with it and see what happens.

I just don’t have it…

yet?

 

Thich Nhat Hanh on “What is Nirvana?”

This is something that I’ve considered for a while. Why I didn’t come straight to Thich Nhat Hanh for his view – I don’t know. I don’t really think about using Youtube for everything, but you know – it’s getting to the point where just about everything can be found there. It’s nice to watch a video of him -after reading 20+ books of his over the years, and seeing the occasional VHS video of him years ago.

At 5:40 he says something that hit me pretty well… All views are wrong views…

And I believe that, and yet never said it that way. I find when I watch this man he says a lot of things that are true – and yet, I never thought to put them into words… and that’s part of what makes it very interesting to watch him.

Here is the video below – basically he says that nirvana is the cessation of – the extinction of – suffering…

Nibbana, Nirvana, or Hypnotic State? 5-23-09

sat 23 may 09

Without writing a book about this… i want to mention it i guess because if at some point nibbana comes despite my not chasing it – there should be a path or a succession of things that happened that others can look at to help them realize they too are on the same path…

i don’t appear to be ready for anything to happen… i swear at the dog outside to shut up… I get frustrated when the computer – a logical device, acts so illogically.

I see myself as if i’m beside – and looking on during these times. I’m watching myself act through it… the body is angry.

Anyway… so, saturday i was shooting dean’s welcome video for his sites. in the palm grove next to wat tum sang phet.

I was looking at the camera ready to start part of the monologue when I had a moment of awakening… of experiencing the moment – but, it was a state unlike any other I’ve had… I’ve not been hypnotized – but maybe this is what hypnotism is like?

I was staring at the camera… and the world changed. The camera was the center of focus and everything around in the peripheral field of view changed to be a little blurred, and then sparkly… as I realized that i slipped into another state I started to be aware of the sparkly as vibrations… i was watching the vibration of everything – moving at cellular level or – however you wish to say… as if alive… even the dead leaves on the dirt… everything moved… appeared to sparkle like stars…

the background grew a little more bright I think – not dark like a night sky…

there was no thought… no emotion… and just this watching of things as they twinkled…

it was a feeling not too unlike eggata – one pointedness of mind… where the mind gets so focused on an object that the object is the sole focus. This time it was the camera – just for having been in the center of the field of view at that time – possibly.

was the mind just ready at that time to focus…?

was the activity i had done for an hour – talking to the camera about dean’s sites so relaxing and gradually focusing the mind that it was prepared to focus instantly like that?

there was this idea that if i let go – immersed myself in the experience that that would be ‘it’ – that would be the total awakening…

I let go a little and felt another change – my body wasn’t felt and it was moving increasingly toward a 100% experience outside of me – outside the ego… I grabbed back at the ego – at this ego-filled self and found enough that the process stopped expanding and taking me deeper… then i just stayed in a similar state as before and watched it for a little while… finally choosing – as I nearly always did – to end it…  not giving it any special attention to continue on… not grasping at it at all…

in hindsight – this putting it off when it comes… putting off spontaneous jhana states and other states when they come might just be responsible for urging the process on further…

anyway – another cool experience as i look back on it…

The state of the mind now – is same as it has been for a while… i can work when i choose to work. when i have nothing going on – and am not responding to anything – the mind reverts to blankness… no thought… no emotion… no anything.

Always there is this bit of knowledge in my head somewhere that says… if you let it all go – that will be it… nibbana will find you…

And so it feels like I’ve known that for so many years… but now it’s even harder to ignore as I experience states like this one the other day that spontaneously arise… similar to, and yet different from states that occur during jhana and other experiences.

If anyone is having or has had a similar experience, please write me… I don’t know anyone personally that has had this. Thanks…  ( AimforAwesome [{ @ ]} gmail. c o m )

Glowing Head | Strange Dream

This dream occurred on 5-1-2008.

[This page last updated: 8 March 2019]

Yesterday I lay on the floor in my room after having done some exercise outside. It’s hot here in Thailand, some days hover close to 40 degrees Celcius. I think that’s 97 degrees F. Not sure exactly, but it’s warm, I know that!

So I was laying on my back, arms to the side. The mind was in the state for meditating and so I tried to watch the breath for a while – forcing myself to watch the breath. As has been the case lately, it’s a hopeless exercise because I can’t get there to be a ‘me’ or ‘self’ to watch the breath. It’s strangely absent.

I tried about 10 minutes – repeatedly trying and trying. It just wasn’t going to happen.

Instead, I then focused on just relaxing the body and not thinking anything – letting thought stop, mind stop.

A numbness came – the limbs first and then the body was absent. Just felt like there was no body. I was aware of sounds, but nothing of body. Mind was still.

In that state, I drifted off to sleep for a few minutes. I had a short dream. It was very short. Saying it was 5 seconds – is probably exaggerating. It might have been 2 seconds.

The dream was very short – one scene. It was of two hands holding a head that was glowing – though already I forget what colors – I believe orange – but, no matter I think. It was glowing as if on fire… as if a magic fire inside the head. The head was neither man nor woman… it was just a head. It was being handed down by two hands – one on either side of the head. And it was set into my head. It was absorbed into my head.

The feeling as it came into my head was one of thanks – of gratitude that something – someone – something – offered me this gift… whatever it was. There was no idea about what it was – though now, awake – I could think of some. No point really. It was a very unique dream and lasted just seconds. I awoke and remembered it for a few minutes. My head was light. My mind replaying the scene and searching for the feeling inside.

The feeling was just ‘thanks’.

So, that was my strange dream. Today is my 42nd birthday. I’ll sit here in a few minutes, I’m in that thoughtless state…

🙂

What is the Point of Nirvana? 9-27-07

Meditation history (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format

9-27-07 Today I climbed the steps at the mountain at Wat Tham Suea again. A Thai boy of 8 years old kept up with me as we sort of raced to the top from steps 300 to 1200. At maybe 30 steps away from the top he was exhausted and had to stop to rest. I stopped a little ahead of him and waited for him to catch up so he could be the “winner”. I stayed at the top for a couple hours, at times sitting… and other times standing and walking around… I decided to climb into the rocks that the monk showed me the other day. (Video link at bottom of page). There were a few too many people at the top of the mountain and I thought I’d try that quiet spot in the rocks.

As I climbed over through the jagged limestone rocks someone called out in Thai, “Tum Mai Dai kup”. I called back, “mai chai, die kup”. (You cannot do that) and I responded, “Not true, I can do this”… To which he didn’t respond. I’m sure he was concerned about my safety as the rock peaks are treacherously sharp.

I reached the place and folded my long-sleeved shirt underneath me. I took off my shirt because I wasn’t visible from the Chedi observation area and it was quite warm in the sun.

I sat about an hour and the mind was very calm. The body, while still “there” felt very relaxed and comfortable. As I sat I realized that some questions were on my mind.

WHY MEDITATE to reach nirvana? What good is it? Is there a point? Is it a good thing?

I decided to study that question in the state I was in… attention and concentration came quickly and I reasoned out an answer within maybe 30 minutes.

There really is no point to any of it. Yeah, surprisingly that’s the conclusion that I came to. There’s much too much to write about it – but, I’ll create a video or at least some audio to explain how I came to that conclusion.

Here are the 3 files that explain all of it… The first is my history of meditation – what happened in the past and what exactly I did. What the jhanas were about, and why I stopped meditating for about 9 years.

Meditation history – (7.1Mb) MP3 audio format – not edited, but maybe should have been a little bit…

This next file is a video I took in mid-September where I was unsure what I’m doing by restarting meditation. I am not sure WHY meditation or reaching nirvana is a good goal. What is the reality of it? I couldn’t reason it out that well here, but I had a lot of questions about “WHY”.

WHY? Video (24Mb)

The file above explains what the thought process was at the top of the mountain as I asked myself “WHY” in the relaxed, concentrated state of mind… and the answers that I reached…

The last file, another MP3 audio file looks at why I believe there’s no point in reaching enlightenment, and what I’ve learned by having jhana come… how the mind and ego have changed…

Enlightenment, no point… Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

I don’t believe thatmeditating at this point is a good thing for me. For others, it may be… If you meditate and you reach a point where you are relaxing the mind and you are not going into jhana much or at all you may find meditation very relaxing and a positive thing to do and keep up with.

I found it to be a life changing experience. The changes that came over me 9 years ago were devastating to my marriage at the time… they destroyed the ego for a time… They gave me a glimpse into nirvana and what happens when the mind stops thinking and reacting emotionally. I understood what it means to lose the ego… to find equanimity… peace… bliss…

For me, the changes that took place, and that I believe will take place again if I continue to meditate are too radical for me to take lightly. I had to really ask myself – what is the point of this…? I had to ask myself, if you really reach nirvana – WHAT THEN? Nirvana seems a very real possibility in my mind right now, considering all I’ve experienced recently… The process seems to have picked up where it left off.

Nirvana has been said to be a permanent change in the mind… a letting go to the point that there is no longer suffering because the mind doesn’t attach to anything…

That’s why I needed to question – what good is that state?

My answers are in this recording… enjoy… if you have any questions, send to:

aimforawesome@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to answer…

🙂 Vern

Video link (2nd time posted):
Secret meditation spot up Wat Tum Sua mountain – A monk shows me how to get there…
14.7Mb in size >

Enlightenment, Jhana Levels – Comments 9-11-07

I haven’t read many accounts of jhana and how the Buddhists view jhana. What I’ve read up until today seemed to be telling me that jhana was necessary in order to reach enlightenment. While glancing through Buddhadassa Bhikku’s book, “Handbook for Mankind” I learned otherwise. It says explicitly that insight is necessary in order to reach liberation… Insight can be had two ways:

1.) Meditation and jhana states. or,
2.) The natural method of introspection which is what most people use since jhanas seem rather elusive to most people.

For me – jhana came rather easily… not without effort, but within a couple months I was experiencing jhana 1-4 rather often.  A couple months after that I had spent time in all the jhanas.  I knew little of Buddhism and didn’t care to know much about it. I was experimenting with my meditation. I wanted to take the bare minimum physical activities: mindfulness and meditation on the breath and see where it led.  Where it led was in a track that mirrors the levels of jhana that I read today in Bhante Vimalaramsi’s Dhamma talk in 2006 in Joshua Tree, California.

To say I’m surprised is an understatement. My meditation was an experiment really. I wanted to take as little of the religion of Buddhism into my meditation and mindfulness experiment. I wanted to do what the Buddha was said to have done. I wanted to see if religionless meditation and enlightenment was possible.  I was pretty clueless when jhana started coming. I hadn’t read of anyone’s jhana experiences and so I had nothing to compare to. I had asked Theravadin monks in Florida where I lived what they could tell me about these experiences – were they normal or was I losing it?  I didn’t get an answer. They were completely unfamiliar with the states of jhana. Living in Thailand for 3 years now and seeing very few monks practicing meditation at the maybe hundreds of temples I’ve visited, I understand that Thai monks don’t really use meditation much as a tool.

So – as I sat and focused on the breath I started reaching these jhana states… I’ll provide video or audio here shortly – describing the states as best I can. They defy words really, but I’ll give it my best. You won’t have a 5% understanding of what the state was really like, but at least you’ll see 5%!  They are so hard to put into words – impossible really.

In 2004 I went to see the Australian abbot at Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap, in the northeast (Isaan or e-sarn) region of Thailand to see what he thought. As I talked to him and he asked me many qualifying questions… he said that it sounded like I was experiencing what all the monks at Wat Pah were trying to reach… levels of jhana…

He gave me a couple pamphlets and invited me to stay at the wat for as long as i wished – but the desire wasn’t there and I left the next morning.  As I read the pamphlets, wow, yes, it seemed that I’d had all of the jhana states as Buddhists believe them to exist.

Today as I read through the vivid description of jhanas by Bhante Vimalaramsi I couldn’t believe that FINALLY I was reading a very similar account of my own jhana experiences. It was really cool to see it after so many years – and knowing, “wow, someone else believes this is how it happens”.  Not only did the levels correspond very well to what happened to me, but some other things he said were RIGHT ON and what I believed from the start about meditation.

One of the things he said was that in order to progress in meditation and in jhana is to just note every experience and let it go. Everything must be let go. There’s nothing else to do during the states except watch, note, and let them go like every other piece of mind-candy that appears.  Other Buddhists seem to teach that certain ideas need to be focused on while in jhana.  I don’t think so – because I didn’t, and it appears that I’ve seen all of the 8 jhanas… It was just nice to see someone else collaborate my belief. Better still that he’s a well-respected Buddhist monk.

Well, I could write about this all night. I’m sure I’ll get some audio up here and comment directly on the statements he made and make my own comments sometime.

🙂