Posts tagged #enlightenment

Dream Yoga: I'm Starting Out

Dream yoga is a process of gaining lucidity in one's night-time dreams in order to gain lucidity in all of life - to realize at a deep level that our waking life is a dream, too.

I've decided to start doing it because recently I've gotten way serious about awakening.

I finally admitted to myself that more than money, more than fame, more than romance, more than kids or accolades or whatever - I want to be enlightened.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

A deep desire for enlightenment is a pretty heavy thing to have to admit to oneself.

Especially when oneself intimately knows one's own fondness for cigarettes and erotic fiction and silken beds and a mega-hot, wildly brilliant man who reminds one of a young David Bowie crossed with William Blake crossed with Lord Byron and who is just about as utterly irresistible and fully crazy-making as that chimera sounds.

Knowing all that makes one kind of feel like maybe one is way too damn lazy and selfish and lustful to ever get enlightened.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5CLmflrwIA

But then there it is - again and again, the longing that never goes away.  The longing to wake up and be free. And also, as I learn more about Vajrayana Buddhism - I realize more fully that my essential approach to life and all of my interests have always been groping in the direction of that philosophy.

Which, internet friends, I have to tell you is kind of something majorly intense to realize.  I mean, it's starting to gradually feel like my whole life and all of my various fascinations all make sense and fit together.

Of Nag Champa and Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Indeed, my life-long fascinations can all be summed up by one beautiful word that I'm kind of embarrassed even to use because it conjures naughty and pretentious pseudo-Kama Sutra images in everyone's mind: tantra.

Just saying it makes me twitch a little bit as I think of David Deida's voice echoing in new age retreat center auditoriums with wall-to-wall carpet and a bunch of dudes eager to learn how to fuck better.  And I love David Deida and I also love guys interested in learning how to fuck better. But you know what I mean. There's just more to life.

Yet the Very Important Thing I've grokked recently which makes the otherwise-cloying word tantra so very beautiful to me now is that "tantra" doesn't just connote "slow sex with Nag Champa wafting from the dresser and kirtan on the stereo" (as nice as that may be!) - rather, it signifies the full use of the human imaginal capacity to generate awakening and love in a way that's rapid, direct and all-embracing.

And that's like, whoah.

So crucial for - just freaking everything.  That's even better than the most Nag-Champa-redolent, bone-shaking orgasm in the world.

Getting Over Myself

So.  I'll try to get over my embarrassment and just keep saying the word until it's okay with me and with you and until it no longer makes us think of musky French ticklers and jasmine-scented lube bubbling on David Deida's thighs.  Tantra, tantra, tantra.  I love tantra.

Dream yoga happens to be a really cool aspect of tantra. So I'm getting serious about it as part of my over-all "serious about awakening" thing which also includes my brahma-vihara practice and my year of celibacy (2013, baby) and my moving towards full time veganism via the kale diet.

I'm basing my work off of this wonderful book: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep.

As with all habits, I do a better job of maintaining them if I blog about them. So I'll be letting you know just how my progress with retaining memory of my dreams and gaining lucidity is going.  And I'll be the first one to tell you when I manage to dream-travel to ancient Tibet and have a nice long talk with Shantideva.

 

image: [wonderlane]

Posted on January 24, 2013 and filed under Dream Yoga.

Surrender Your Addiction to Suffering - Part 3

 

This is the third post in a series on Surrendering Your Addiction to Suffering.  You can read the first post here (wherein I give an overview of the nine commitments necessary to the process) about the and the second post (about the first commitment) here. Today we're talking about the second commitment in surrendering your addiction to suffering:

 

2) Understand that these judgments, though voiced by your own internal monologue, represent the distorted perceptions of a spiritual dis-ease and not “the truth”

 

The Buddha (one of my favorite dudes, along with Jesus, Byron Katie and Lao Tse) said that ignorance is the primary affliction of the human mind.  The two other afflictions he noted, desire and hate, are secondary manifestations of that ignorance.  The ignorance that makes us suffer isn't a lack of knowledge in the conventional sense -- instead, it's a fundamental misperception about the nature of who we are and how reality works.

 

Our misperception leads us to think that we're discrete, solitary individuals separate from the whole of existence.  We identify with the contents of our mind and emotion and mistake the aggregate of those contents to be "me." Once we've made that basic mistake, we have the sense, at a fundamental level, that it's "me against the world." Even if we're generally happy-go-lucky people, the moment something goes not-according-to-plan in a big way (we lose a job we depended on for our security; a relationship goes sour; a loved one dies; we get ill; we get old... on and on) we feel attacked.

 

This feeling of being attacked by things not matching up with our internal picture of how life should treat us is a symptom of our misperception that we're basically separate from the rest of life. We resent the people and situations that appear to be battling us (i.e., we experience hate) and we long for whatever circumstances we think would make it all better (i.e., we desire).

 

In the absence of the fundamental mistake of thinking we're a separate "me" we would be unable to see anything as going against us (because there would be no "us" for "it" to go "against") and we'd be unable to wish for anything other than what's already present in our lives (because we wouldn't be able to perceive ourselves as lacking anything -- you can't lack something if you are everything).

 

Ignorance, desire and hate are the dangerous trio that make up the spiritual disease of addiction to suffering, which we ordinary humans are all afflicted with to some extent or another.

 

Sometimes I think that Jesus said we must become as little children in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven because very little children don't yet have a sense of themselves as discrete individuals; they don't hate; and while they sure make a fuss about getting fed and having their diapers changed, they don't desire in the sense that they don't mentally attach themselves to specific stories about what life should look like.

 

Enlightenment (or "entering the Kingdom of Heaven" in the Christian tradition-- a Kingdom which, by the way, Jesus adamantly stated could be found here on earth) is the state of consciousness in which one is totally free from the disease of addiction.  It's the condition of being free from ignorance, hate and desire.  Far from being a boring condition (some folks imagine desire-less-ness as a kind of numbness) it's actually a profoundly vivid state of joy, abounding love, and deep fulfillment.

 

I've long been putting in my petition to get hit with the enlightenment bolt, but until that happens in order to stay remotely sane I have to focus on letting go of my ignorance, hate and desire to the best of my ability. The second commitment in this process reminds me that my mind's stream of negative judgments just aren't the truth.  They're the product of my fundamental confusion about who I am and what life is doing. This commitment represents my willingness to be humble and to be aware.

 

When I keep this commitment at the forefront of my awareness I find that a bit of air and spaciousness comes into the dark, foetid chambers of my mind and makes room for truth and love to come in.

 

If you'd like some help on getting to spaciousness around your suffering, you might want to check out my low-cost life coaching.

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

Image by Dalbera. Borrowed from Flickr under Creative Commons licensing.

How to Get Enlightened Without Really Trying + Glam Rock!

I've decided that each week I'll publish five-week-old newsletter broadcasts here on the blog so no one who stops by has to miss out on our previous fun (every week on Thursday I send out three sparkly free gems from around the web-- books, albums, videos-- and updates about AYL doings).
If you want to get the freshest gems and updates, you'll still have to subscribe here, but if you don't mind waiting, you can read the older stuff without signing up.

How to Get Enlightened Without Really Trying + Glam Rock!

My two major goals in life are to achieve Unconditional Love Consciousness and to become very glittery.  Unsurprisingly, then, I spend a lot of time seeking out enlightened teachers and glam rockers.
What follows are some thought-provoking and glittery-rockin' gems I've been enjoying his week.
The Gems
This is a book that's oft-quoted in some of the far out circles that I run in, and so I tracked it down this week and have been digging in.  Bayman is an independent scholar and I love that about him-- he draws freely on his own spiritual insight as the disciple of a Sufi teacher in order to elucidate connections between Sufism (the mystical branch of Islam) and other mystic traditions.  The work is not just informative-- it's also inspiring and very calming.
(free youtube video series)

I love to watch my youtube gurus like some little old ladies love to watch their network soap opera stories.  Adyashanti is one of my very favorites.  He's much less well-known than Eckart Tolle, but in many ways he's more lucid and accessible.  Adya (as he's fondly called) was just a young California dude who practiced Zen meditation who one day decided to give up "practicing" meditation as he had been taught and experienced a series of profound awakenings. The first few times I listened to him I thought he was "boring"-- and then gradually I got hooked.  He's stating basic nondual truths with such purity and clarity that it's thrilling.
(download the full album for free)

I first met Dan Koshute (aka Dazzeltine) at a Hare Krishna kirtan in the university district of Pittsburgh. I thought to myself, "That man reminds me of Marc Bolan, the legendary elfish glam rocker." Well ladies and gentlemen, this thought of mine is evidence that all that chanting really has brought me into psychic-bliss-cosmic-consciousness because I was dead-on in my intuition.  Dan really is a glam rocker the likes of which we mortals have not seen since the Marc Bolan / David Bowie era.  Check out this album artwork! Check out this album! It's psychedelic sexy sparkle joy. For free!
THE UPDATES
My services as a creativity consultant + loving friend via skype are now available to you as a gift. Read all about it right here.
I've already had one taker so far in the form of the marvelous Abigail Amalton (@silentinfinite) who tweeted right afterward: "Amazing skype session with @carolynhoney - super inspired. Truly, we can all be supported 100% by love: no need to play to the gatekeepers!"
Check out Abigail's incredible art work.
Also, I'm trying to get an online gift circle forum into motion.  Come make me less lonely over here. Come share your gifts and receive, too.
So there are my offerings to you this week, wondrous creatures. Feel free to write to me to let me know how you like this stuff (or don't). Also, if you do like it, please invite your friends to sign up for the letter right here.