Sunday, July 9, 2023

The Narcissist Archetype (part two)

 This is the second chapter regarding Narcissism aka the Hasnamuss type of Gurdjieff.  I am using the term "Covert Narcissist" (CN) for this type, because this more easily distinguishes the CN from other uses of words that do not adequately differentiate the basis idea from other uses of the same word.  I would use "Hasnamuss", because G used the word much more precisely, but I prefer to use "Covert Narcissist" because G concentrated much more on the Political, Religious, and Economic ones who were big players in planetary history.  I wish to concentrate on the "Petty Tyrant" ones that Castaneda wrote about and who may have derived the teachings from "Don Juan" (who may or may not be a real person or who may be a fictional composite of various teachers that Castaneda studied with at various times in his life).

Following G's lead, I wish to remain very practical and to have people become sensitized to this "archetype" for various reasons, mainly to make human life easier, less stressful, and safer to live.  As one evolves spiritually, one tends to become prosperous, happy, and more aware.  The very success of what one will has done will make one more attractive to CNs, who will want to "get" whatever it is that is making one thrive.  CNs are predatory, covert, and disguised as something else.  They learned to survive their childhood by evolving their "strategy" and got relatively good at this.  The habit formations or tendencies that predispose them to form this strategy are probably more than one lifetime old.  When faced with challenges, they will tend to default to this strategy as a "natural" inclination.  I put natural in quotes, because it is not natural for Buddha Nature to behave this way, since BN only knows how to lovingly accept everything as it is, be creatively skillful, and flow with intuitive wisdom.  BN will never violate conscience or move out of integrity with itself, once deeply realized.

Because CN is an archetype, it is not the same kind of typing as in other systems.  There are people who embody this archetype more or less perfectly, while other people only embody some of its traits.  There is also a part of everyone who is like this archetype.  It is ultimately an inner pattern deeply related to the nature of the conventional ego.  In this sense, it corresponds somewhat to the shadow side of ourselves, our hidden blind spot that prevents us from fully and easily growing on the path, our dominant negative trait and its defenses from being fully acknowledged and released (which G called our "chief feature" which in turn fed our "false personality" which in turn our conventional ego personality is built around.  What this means is that individuals who embody this archetype will be hard for us to see and believe.  We will be fooled by them until we are sensitized to their traits and also how they hook into the parts of ourselves that we are unconscious of and give these people the power to influence us.

The CN is well defended against change.  So much so that Ramani warns people to not try to change them, but to get out from their grip on our lives.  Zheung is more helpful, since she is aware of the necessity to have some interaction with them, since there are many situations where it is almost impossible to avoid them.  When people figure out that someone is a CN, they often make the mistake of confronting them with what they are doing.  This alerts the CN that you know and they will punish you for learning what you did.  When this happens, they might do what is called "gas lighting" (which is in reference to a movie where a person convinces another person to not believe in their own experience by undermining a person's "basic trust" in themselves and what they feel is true, something we need in order to fully live our lives and become life effective good people).  The dual self system of the CN will have the mask part present someone who is "objective, considerate, and open minded" (but has sensitive feelings that one hurt in them because one lacked empathy), while the core self is actively undermining one, systematically invalidating various points, making one question and doubt oneself too much, attacking what one cherishes about oneself the most, imputing bad motives that one does not have, pretending that they know better and see through one, being an authority that can interpret one better than one can, putting one down with a critical tone, misinterpreting and twisting words that one says to make what one says appear ugly and horrible, and then often saying bald bad statements and false stories of things that one does not "remember" doing (because they never happened) and even imputing that one conveniently forgot about these fictitious events because one's ego and that because one is the real narcissist.  They "flip it" back on one and can be so persuasive and convincing by the sheer force of their angry emotion from their core (which the mask self may deny that they have even when they are shouting and raging at one).

The details of this CV pattern is something that G did not go into within any depth in his writings, not in the depth that I feel is necessary to get a full handle on the CN and become sensitized to their presence and how to neutralize their affect on one and one's friends.  G wanted to figure out this pattern for oneself and did form groups that would discuss the writings that went into this.  One does need to study this pattern both intellectually and then through experience and observation.  Even having this writing is not enough by itself.

There is also a need to do a parallel self study and notice how the person is affecting one, how the person is hooking into one, how the person is probing one for information, how one unwittingly gives them the information they want to undermine us by how free we are with our stories of our past, and our stories of our weaknesses, strengths, our triumphs and failures, and our hopes and fears.  All this will be used against one at the right time.  They will test to see what information brings up one's fears, worries, and doubts, and can use these to threaten one, undermine one, or attack one.  Meanwhile, the CN will speak in generalities and present a fictitious mask to hide behind, and make up a story with a lot of detail which is a substitute for honest sharing.  They may change their name as a way of hiding their past.  They might travel from place to place when they are found out by the locals, and only return when people have forgotten what they did or emotionally moved on.  They may make an insincere apology to make people believe they have changed, and hook into our willingness to "forgive and forget" (the Sufis recommend to "forgive and remember" instead, so we do not fall for the same trick twice).

For a loose set of character traits to understand the CN, there are 9 basic traits (G had 7 mentioned in his writings, I am expanding on them):

(1) being critical, skeptical, and invalidating.  They will be believe one's innocence and suspect that one is hiding the real fault or defending it.

(2) giving to get, love bombing (in the beginning), putting pressure on one to believe that they are "too good to be true", presenting oneself as an expert or already successful.  They want to give a very good "first impression" so that when they undermine one, have bursts of temper, and hurt one, then one will try to get their real self back or try to recover the former self that one might confuse with their real self.

(3) competitive, trying to up one, trying to be the knowing authority, seducing one with some deal that makes them get what they want from one, bait and switch, and doing some kind of marketing push to have one "buy" something.  They feel entitled to success and do not believe that they have to work to succeed, unless their "story" pretend that they believe in hard work.

(4) making up story, generating emotional drama, playing victim to make people feel guilty, giving a sob story to get empathy.  This may contradict their story about how great they are, but if this is pointed out then they will say it is because people do not see their natural greatness and do not let them succeed.

(5) flat affect or overt over acting an emotion to see if you buy it, unless it is anger.  They disconnect from how they feel.  They might use some drug to further disconnect from how they feel.  They will not be empathic to how others feel.  If one is emotional, then it is always a problem one has.  One is labeled as "childish" or emotionally out of control.  If one is suffering, it is because one is neurotic.  They are the sane ones and they are emotionally in control.  This may contradict their own emotional dramas, but when this is pointed out, they deserve to feel their emotions and it is one's fault for how they feel.

(6) paranoid scanning and probing.  This takes the place of real empathy.  They are constantly checking how one reacts to see what they can get away with.  They are forming a chart of one's weaknesses and faults to know what will sting and hurt one.  If they make a wrong assumption about what hurts one, they will remember this and try something else.  Putting others on the defensive and making them squirm makes them feel safer.

(7) playing dodge ball and hit and run, forming a moving target and never letting oneself get pinned down.  They will twist words that one says while never getting pinned down on what they mean.  They will counter attack and make it about one, rather than acknowledge their contradictions.  They will minimize any faults that they have or blame some illness, limitation or handicap that makes them how they are, and accuse one of being empathic to their faults or understanding.  Meanwhile they will magnify one's faults and make them so big that one looks horrible in their story and deserves to be punished or feel ashamed that such a glaring fault is allowed to run amok in society.

(8) always needing to be in control, trying to dominate, commanding others and bossing them around, denying any fault or even denying what is obvious, like shouting that one is not shouting, deliberately misrepresenting and exaggerating to get more effect, saying "you always" and "you never", and making any small issue into a really big one until one backs down and lets them get away with "death by a thousand little cuts".  Enjoying one's suffering because it makes them feel better than one is.  Dominating through intimidating outbursts.  Conditioning people to walk on eggshells and make them docile, obedient, and compliant, accusing one of being insensitive, not empathic, angry, and cruel if one does not.  Threatening to tell others or make one look bad, or make up hurtful lies if one does not obey or back down.  Hammering down until one caves in.  Making sure that asserting oneself is going to cost one.  Either/or black and white thinking.  They are always right and one is always wrong.  One is always unfair if one asserts oneself and they are always right in pushing for what they think they need.  Targeting one person while leaving others relatively alone or compartmentalizing relations so that no one knows what is happening in other places.  Pretending in public that they are innocent while making one look crazy.

(9) pretending, passive aggressive, not following through on any agreements, saying one thing to get one off their back and doing the opposite of what they said that they would do, changing the rules, never intending to really commit to anything, but agreeing in order to hold the other person to what they committed to.  They can seem very understanding at this point and everything may even seem resolved, but nothing is resolved.

Some people may have a few of these traits, yet a CN will cycle through these stances in a kind of strange dance with one, and lock into the one's that are "working" in the moment.  In a way, they are their own shadow side, since they have two selves, one hiding behind the other.  In this sense, this type is strangely a little more aware than others, but only within a limited frame of reference.  They are always struggling in survival mode.  They are always trying to gain the advantage, even when normal others are not perceiving any need to struggle at all.  There is a demonic element in this that is usually related to some betrayal or wound that haunts their past.  One can feel this icky, nightmarish, and hostile energy exuded from them at times.  There is an event called the "unmasking" when one sees this.  It wakes one up from a peaceful complacency into what G called "the terror of the situation".  It is like suddenly noticing an angry dog showing its fangs and not seeming very rational or sane, and looks like it could bite one at any time.  One will get nervous and instinctively anxious (our instincts usually do not get fooled by CNs, but may not know how to tell one what is happening).  It will feel like trauma to feel this, but it is a natural reaction.  How one processes this will determine how one awakens to a higher and more peaceful life on Earth, how one makes sense of everything.  One looks at all this square in the eye and grows up and goes beyond this.

I plan to write more about this in the next chapter.

The Narcissist Archetype

I wanted to share some information regarding a certain type of individual who is the outer cause of a lot of suffering in the world.  The name for such an individual is a "Narcissist".  This type has also been previous called "the Psychopath", "the Sociopath", and "the Hasnamuss".  The term "Narcissist", as well as the other terms, with the exception of the term "Hasnamuss" (from Gurdjieff), needs to first be clarified, as the terms are not used consistently in literature and in several models of psychotherapy and spirituality.

For instance, in the literature of Greek mythology, the character of Narcissus is a person who falls in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.  This became the archetype for the idea of a Narcissist and became linked with any person who is preoccupied with themselves to the point where they are not aware of others except as "echoes" (in the Greek story, Echo is a being who falls in love with Narcissus and ends up only being an Echo of him) of themselves.  In other words, they project their unconscious contents on other people and do not really see other people as they truly are.

Later on, Freud wrote about "primary narcissism" where children tend to naturally be preoccupied with themselves and their own needs, and only later on in life begin to experience other people as different from themselves and as distinct individuals.

The terms "Psychopath" and "Sociopath" came later on and referred to a person who does not socialize the way normal people do and is only concerned with their own fulfillment and does not care about the feeling of others, and is even willing to exploit people and even kill them if they get in their way.  They do not feel a need to play by the rules of society, do not need to be polite, kind, and considerate of others, but will often pretend to be so that they can prey on others to get what they want from them.  The term from Christianity "wolves in sheep's clothing" comes from this kind of awareness, with sheep being the docile members of society who are willing to follow ordinary social rules, be a basically good responsible human being, and fulfill one's religious and social duties, and treat their neighbor the way that they want to be treated.  The wolf in sheep's clothing is a person who disguises themselves to fit into society, but who preys on the ordinary "sheep" that normal people are.

This "wolf" type sometimes calls normal people "sheeple", implying that they are blind followers of a dogmatic religion.  Whether or not this label is appropriate of the nature of the religion, most normal people have a kind of conventional religion and believe in being good people, taking care of family and friends, and have some sense of responsibility to what they understand as "God" or a "Higher Power".  This conventional level of spirituality is important and does help people to get along with each other.  This conventional level of spirituality is what Gurdjieff would say is the "Exoteric Circle" of humankind.  When one goes deeper and understands spirituality psychologically, then one becomes a member of the Mesoteric Circle.  When one awakens directly to an awareness of the spiritual dimension of life, one then becomes a member of the Esoteric Circle of humanity.

This wolf in sheep's clothing type of person is more in alignment with how the terms Psychopath, Sociopath, Narcissist, and Hasnamuss is used.  The first two terms are often used for certain types of criminals and does not fully fit the archetype that I am choosing to write about here.  It would be, however, possible to say that all Psychopaths and Sociopaths are Narcissists, but not the other way around.

The term "Hasnamuss" is actually more precise than the term "Narcissist" with Gurdjieff mentioning for different kinds of Hasnamuss individuals.  The Hasnamuss type, too, is mentioned along with a typing system that includes the Good Householder, the Lunatic (Fanatic), and the Tramp (a Dysfunctional Being who is not able to live in society and hold down an ordinary job, or master certain basic responsibilities).  This typing system is not the only system of types of people that Gurdjieff taught about.  This particular one was related to which people could be "candidates" for spiritual work in the "Fourth Way", the path that Gurdjieff taught people was possible to grow within.  This path is the path through "consciousness" and involves centering in consciousness and developing your mental, emotional, and physical sides of your being simultaneously, rather than one at a time.  This would be different from the path of a philosopher who just develops his mind, a devotee of Bhakti Yoga or Christian Contemplative Prayer who just develops emotionally and, hopefully, through love, and a Hatha Yogi or Tai Chi practitioner who just develops physically.

According to this system of typing, only the Good Householder has a real chance to develop themselves in the Fourth Way.  It is because they have already become "life effective".  They know how to be conventionally responsible, hold down a job, and how to be in a mature loving relationship with a married partner.  In Freud's terms, they know how "to love and to work" (this is what Freud said the goal of psychotherapy, to produce what may be called a Good Householder in G's terms).

The reason why G gave the teaching of these four types is because he did not want people to waste too much of their time on three types that were not already Good Householders.  A Lunatic or Fanatic has "false values" that are strongly fixated in them and very hard to change, and this type does not want to change them, but instead to convert you to their religious or political cult.  They are false, because following what they are fanatical about will make you less life effective.  A fanatical religion or political party will make people less able to function as normal, law abiding, and peaceful citizens.  The normal citizen or Good Householder is the basic unit of a healthy and functioning society.  The crystallization of these false and extreme values prevents them from being able to "do the Work".

The Lunatic or Fanatic does have a theoretical chance to grow along the lines of the Fourth Way or any advanced model of human spiritual growth, and sometimes a skillful therapist who organizes a healing group within some program can gradually help these people become functional and even mature citizens.  But it takes a lot of energy to do so and most Good Householders who find and commitment to a Higher Growth Path cannot afford the time and energy to help these people.  They often need all their energy to help each other within the Higher Growth Groups, both spiritually and economically.  G was a very practical down to Earth teacher who wanted people to use their time wisely on what was possible, and to avoid what was practically impossible.

The Tramp type does not have any values.  They have a certain kind of laziness that does not want to be responsible.  They find fulfilling the requirements of ordinary life, holding a job, and learning to keep one's agreements with their married partner, learning how to talk with a person, understand them, resolve issues with them, and function within a committed relationship (again, Freud's "to love and to work") to be a chore that they do not want to do.  They do not like to be told what to do.  They do not want to "pull their own weight".  They do not care if their lack of self responsibility makes them a burden on others.  They are happy to be taken care of and taken into a household, but when they do so they do not do the "little things" that make a household work, like doing their share of the chores, even when they are fully capable of this.

When G said that the Tramp has "no values", the Tramp will probably say that they do.  Everyone values something.  Tramps value no one making them do anything and resist nearly all chores.  A mental set of "values" that one thinks that one believes that one has is not what G is saying that they do not have.  For something to be a "real value", it has to energize you to act.  If you value kindness, then you will immediately move into action when someone drops their groceries in the parking lot outside the grocery store and help the person.  If you value a craft, you do the craft well even if you do not get paid for it.  A real value is part of you and will motivate you to do things naturally.  Thus a Good Householder wants to have a job, take care of their own needs and the needs of others, especially their family and their friends.  Even if there is a part of themselves that is like the Tramp, a part of themselves that resists getting up in the morning and going to work, they will do so anyway, because they value the job and getting paid well for good work.  It allows them to truly love and care for the people that they care about.

There are also some forms of clinical mental illness where a person ends up having no values and become like a "vegetable".  These people are relegated into wards where they are given their basic physical needs.  Sometimes these people get healed enough so that they make some strides to become Good Householders or High Functioning People who are able to live in the world as Good Householders.  Sometimes a good therapist working under the right conditions and with a good program can transform a number of these types into functioning adults and good citizens.  But again, it takes a lot of time and energy that GH's within the 4th Way or some other growth system do not usually have.  G's advice is to let them go and let them find their own way.  Sometimes the suffering involved in trying to survive in modern life does make a few of them rise up to becoming a responsible adult.

This leads to the Hasnamuss type who is different than the Good Householder, the Fanatic, and the Tramp.  What makes this type different is that this type is predatory.  This type actively targets Good Householders to exploit them, to at least take away their hard earned money that they need to pay their bills, take care of their family and friends, and keep their life on track.  This type is more intelligent than the Fanatic and Tramp.  They do not target these types, though some of the criminal Hasnamuss types will enlist the Fanatics and use them to do their bidding.  In a similar way, they can sometimes exploit the Tramp by threatening them, punishing them, and forcing them to do things.  The Hasnamuss type does not have a "conscience", which to G was a sacred organ that when activated can guide use to fully develop ourselves into a mature and balanced individual who lives from their mind, heart, and body in a living functional unity.

There are different sub-types of this Hasnamuss type.  One is called the "covert narcissist" which I am going to concentrate this writeup upon.  The other sub-types, like the Grandiose Narcissist, are more overt and more obvious.  My feeling is that these subtypes will be rarer as human history unfolds and societies learn to purge themselves of these sub-types.  At present, they can only really be found in "niches of power" in the corporate world (as CEOs and despotic managers, or in any entrenched position of power), the religious world (as leaders who generally do not mind commanding people into a holy war or the killing of "unbelievers"), or the political world (who can be tyrants and poison their rivals).  In general, even these more obvious sub-types are still "covert" in the sense that they are pretending to be someone they are not.  They may present themselves as some kind of savior, hero, and reformer who is willing to "do what it takes" and make "the hard choices" that is needed to make life on Earth work.  Where you can identify this type is that they like the feeling of having people get tortured by them or even killed by them, and it gives them a feeling of power to have these things done to people by them or by people who are under their power.

The first trait of this type is that they have "two selves".  One is the presenting self that is their mask or disguise.  The other is their "core self" which has their "real feelings" (though in higher teachings, everyone has Buddha Nature, and their "core" is ultimately not real either).  The core self is like the ordinary self of the Good Householder and is as real as the ordinary self of the Good Householder.  This mask is necessary to prey upon Good Householder, who they pretend to be like.  They do not hold the values of the Good Householder at all, but will pretend to.

In order to maintain the mask, the Covert Narcissist (CN) will lie.  What many researchers have found is that this lying is different from the lying that Good Householders sometimes lapse into.  Good Householders have some capacity to self correct.  When they recognize they have lied, they regret it, self correct, and return back to their integrity.  There are also pressures that tempt a Good Householder to lie, like lying on an application to get a job that they feel that they need to get food on the table to feed their children and pay their bills.  In other words, the lying arises from a conflict of values that is always energizing the Good Householder to act.  When they get less confused about the value conflict, they will self correct and clarify the confusion, and become even more solid citizens of whatever society they are in.

The CN will lie as part of their way of functioning.  They may seem to tell the truth in that their mask self must present a story close enough to social truth to be believable to the Good Householders around them.  They will look and see if you are "buying their story" and they will make up a cover story for what they are doing from their core which is sizing people up to see if they are exploitable.  The lying is often "gratuitous" in that the lie often seems completely unnecessary.  It is "unnecessary" in the sense that a Good Householder, when under certain pressure and certain temptation can understand why it might be tempting to lie, will feel it is unnecessary.  In other words, GHs, when trying to understand others, will refer to their own bank of experiences and try to make sense of why a person might lie and want to lie, and will not find any reason which makes the CN lying even remotely necessary.  This is often the initial lies of the CN fall below the radar of a GH and are believed because they automatically believe the mask self is who the CN really is.

The lies of CN are not consistent.  The pressure of the two selves makes it almost impossible to be consistent.  GHs will find the contradictions confusing and when they point out the confusion, the CN will DARVO the GH.  They will Deny, Attack the GH, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender.  They will plead Victim and try to make the GH feel guilty and can very often get the GH to apologize, with the GH often confused about he or she has done wrong.

The goal of the lying is "power over" the GH so that they can control and manipulate him or her.  The goal of power over is to secure "narcissistic supply", which can be as tangible as getting money or getting praise, or as weird as "getting negative attention in terms of people getting upset or worried around them when they feel they are "under the thumb" of a CN.  Because a CN does not have an internal feeling of self worth in their core, they rely on getting this from the outside, by feeling superior to others by being the one in control and dominant, or by getting people to believe their mask and getting praise for what they present.  They like to feel people squirm under their grip, because it validates that they are superior and they are the ones who are really in control.  If they feel that they can kill a person and get away with it, then they must be superior to the people that they can kill.

I want to go deeper into the CN in a later writeup and this one is only an introduction.  The Hasnamuss is mentioned by G in the context of the three other types, because they, too, do not have a realistic chance to really use the Work to evolve themselves into a Higher Mature Being.  Theoretically, everyone does, including the CN.  But it takes a lot of time and energy, and G also felt that the ordinary suffering of normal life can help break down the crystallized attitudes of the CN, the Tramp, and the Fanatic, but that it takes more suffering than usual for this to happen and it takes a very special kind of help to also be present as well.  This is way beyond the capacity of the usual GHs that are involved in the Work.

What makes the CN more dangerous is that the other types are not pretending to be other than what they are.  Most Fanatics know that they are Fanatics, they just believe that they are Fanatics for the Right Cause and everyone else is wrong.  They have the wrongly formed values that they are fixated on and this fixation takes a lot of energy to break down.  It takes a lot of suffering under the right conditions to break free of this fixation.

In a similar way, the Tramp can suffer in such a way that they come to a place where they must "value their life" and "step up" to take care of themselves.  This value, being energized inside themselves, can become a nucleus to develop the "pearl of enlightenment" around.

But the CN can form a mask and present themselves as a GH or even an advanced individual in the Work.  They are good enough liars to fool people and know how to punish and banish people who figure out their lie.  They are, in short, dangerous to the Work and actively like hunting people in the Work as a kind of food that they can feed off of.  Therefore groups need to learn how to filter out this type in order to "make progress in the Work".  They also need to filter out this type from their life, because they are not merely harmful for people in the Work, but can even destroy an entire society or cause one country to invade another country, or to wipe out people of another race or religion.  They know how to condition people to a kind of hatred and anger, and how to direct this anger in others to hurt other people.

To be able to filter out these people, it is important to understand this type very thoroughly so that one can see through the mask.  And when the person is "unmasked", they will attack your awareness until you do not see what you saw or impair you so that no one will believe you.  There is something demonic about this type and sometimes these people are "possessed entities" or "oppressed by entities" or may even be an entity itself who has found its way into a human birth.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

How Strange Fear Is (through Tenabah c2018)

Attention on any object.
Then shuttling between eye
that sees and what is seen.
Then falling into the seeing.
Seer nowhere found.

Spaciousness without center,
like a fertile field,
abundantly growing
a rich variety of plants,
noticing everything that is arising,
never looking
from one plant to another.

[note: "never looking from one plant to another" = not entering into subject-verb-object mental structuring of what is seen, but staying in unitary awareness]

Going beyond,

the narrow world
of dualistic struggle.

Soaring high above

every battlefield.

Going higher

than any bird,
yet being intangible
like a wind
that cannot be held.

Turbulent wind,

chanting and howling
through trees,
no struggle,
just the whole forest

making a symphony.

[note: the interdependent co-arising with its tapestry of creative forces shaping each moment and not really polarizing into the struggle of isolated selves]

How strange fear is,

wanting to run away
from everything,
and sometimes
even succeeding,
until the bush
rustles again.

When fear is fixated,

its constant attention
on what is feared,
makes sure the specter
that makes it shiver
is never far away.

Waiting in anxious anticipation,

it makes the next moment
like the last,
the waiting worse
than the coming of doom,
after imagination rules
the real king
seems very ordinary.

It is possible to end

fear's dark trance,
and no longer walk
in its shadow,
rising high into the Sun
through love and devotion,
the dark shadows
of the distant valley
are forgotten.

What fears dying,

already knows
that it will die.
Accepting this,
it is possible
to rise from its ashes,

and be forever free.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Third Eye Breathing

Third Eye Breathing
through Tenabah, c2012

1. Place your inner attention at the Third Eye Point, the
space between the eyebrows and slightly upwards.

2. With a kind of peripheral awareness, notice your
inhale and exhale.

3. Gently intend and allow your inhale to become
deep, slow, and full, expanding the rib cage in the
front, the back, the sides, downwards towards the
belly, and upwards toward the shoulders, but never

4. Gently intend and allow your exhale to become soft,
slow, and smooth, gently deflating the expansion that
happened during the inhale.

5. Imagine and feel that the air is filled with luminous
energy and breathe this in on the inhale.

6. On the exhale, feel like you are giving permission to
the energy to heal you and change you.

7. Inhale receiving, exhale allowing.

8. Inhale accepting, exhale letting go.

9. Inhale flowing into exhale with no pauses.

10. On the exhale, feel the you are mentally directing
the energy gathered by the inhale into the Third Eye

11. Feel like you are gently pumping energy to this
Point and feeding this Point that energy it needs to
activate, open, and evolve.

12. Try to do at least 100 breaths at a time.

13. When doing Third Eye Breathing, do not dwell on
any negative thought.

14. Notice anything negative, angry, sad, or fearful,
and do not identify with it, instead see it as impersonal
phenomena arising inside you.

15. Instead of feeling "I am angry", for instance, feel
"Anger is arising within me".

16. Feel the difference between watching a
phenomena impersonally and identifying with the
phenomena personally, sourcing the phenomena in
your identity, owning it, and claiming it.

17. Nonidentification with thoughts, emotions, and
sensations that are negative, have the mark of
suffering, and are unpleasant or painful is very
important for Third Eye Breathing, because thought
energy has greater power to manifest in your lives
when we focus there.

18. Cultivate the feeling that ordinary life, the material
world, is an illusion, a dream, and/or a manifestation of
consciousness.  This is how life appears to a fully
awakened Third Eye.

19. If possible, look at a mandala of an enlightened
being and visualize a light going from Third Eye to
Third Eye with the enlightened being in the picture. 
Choose one that you feel affinity with.

20. It is also possible to simply do this completely
through visualization.

21. If possible, chant the mantra that invokes the
presence of this enlightened being and mentally chant
this.  This will also keep the mind from wandering into
negative thoughts.

22. Trust and allow the energies flowing into you to do
whatever healing, mentally, emotionally, and physically
that is needed.

23. Notice when the primary focus of attention has
fallen below the Third Eye and gently return it there. 
Keep everything else within the peripheral awareness
and allow it to be there without identifying with it.

Monday, July 2, 2012


About 12/21/2012

There has been a lot mentioned, pro and con, about the Winter Solstice of 2012 that is approximately on 12/21/2012 CE.  There are several positions about what is going to happen before, during, and after this day.  The positions range from the scientific materialist skeptical view that nothing in particular is going to happen on this day, and that it is just another day like any other day, to an apocalyptic and catastrophic end of the world with or without a possible rebirth into a better world.  Central to many views of the Winter Solstice as being special is the Mayan Calendar and the work of Jose Arguelles in decoding the Mayan Calendar to come up with this date.  Even on this level, there are even more possible positions, about the viability of his analysis of the Mayans and ancient history in general.  Some historians do come from a kind of modern view of ancient history that humans were more primitive, more barbaric, and less advanced than we are in the 21st century, even though some of the drone bombings, water board torturing, lashing ropes around enemies and pulling them around with trucks until they die, to scraping their skin off with surgical knives, to making toy butterflies that blow up children, to putting a whole race into ovens during World War II, dipping whole families in an acid pool where they are slowly and painfully digested for days, and making a whole church out of the bones of designated heretics would outdo any primitive barbarism that I have found in my historical studies.

My sense is that the extreme apocalyptic view and the scientific materialism view somehow play off of each other.  The former pushes a perception of the future that is so extreme that it is easier to debunk by the other extreme.  My feeling is more of the kind that "there is usually something historical and real to the myths and traditions of the ancient world".  It may not be a complete validation of everything that they believe as they believed it, but it is usually a validation that something happened that was interpreted within the framework of their beliefs, myths, and histories.

To set a few things straight, Jose Arguelles did not merely study the Mayan Calendar, but a very wide range of ancient time markers, including the Hindu Yuga system, the Buddhist Kalachakra system, the Incan calendar, the Taoist I Ching Calendar, and very possibly the Druid Celtic Stonehenge Calendar.  With the possible exception of the last calendar, I seemed have been within two years of every location that Jose Arguelles studied in his quest to understand the ancient calendars and what they could mean.  I did see some of the very same ruins and do especially remember the Mayan ones when I was in Yucatan.  I remember my 

Spanish teacher in the 4th and 5th grade talking about the ruins and even organizing a field trip to visit the Aztec ones that were nearby.  She shared a story about how modern archeologists found a Mayan mural that showed a lot of stars.  Their comment was "look at these primitive ignorant people, making up stars that do not exist", but then were shocked when a more advanced telescope was invented and found the very stars that the Mayans put on the mural and which could not be seen with the naked eye.  Then there was the archeologist who found an Anastazi calendar of spirals which recorded a wide number of celestial events with elegant simplicity.  The archeologist was dismissed by her professional association because, "If they were able to make the calendar that you assume that they did, they would have had to have known calculus, but they were too stupid for this and therefore they could not have done this."  I could go on and on with stories like this, where some possible fairly advanced technology, whether calendar building or acid based batteries in Egypt, or even sonic levitation using chanting and sacred geometry in Tibet (sketched with notes in a journal of a British visitor to Tibet in the early 19th century), there is evidence of cultures which were very advanced (or the remnants of highly advanced cultures in artifacts left in other cultures that remembered them) and not as primitive as modern archeology imagines.

I found when I was studying Taoism that this religion was based on 4 of 5 books that came from Lemuria, and that the further back in time you went the more advanced the knowledge was.  It seemed to have downspiralled over time.  I found later on that this was a common process in history when an advanced culture is destroyed and the immigrants from this culture only partially save what they can take with them.  Because the new culture does not have the infrastructure to sustain the same level of knowledge, much later on dies with the first immigrants, only a small portion gets sustained from generation to generation, with some of the knowledge lost with each succeeding generation until the advanced knowledge and the infrastructure of the new culture find a level that matches (then social evolution goes forward again in the usual way).  The books of Lemuria become the basis of the I Ching, the Tai Chi, acupuncture, geomancy, and herbalism (Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM).  It becomes the foundation for Chinese science which evolved gunpowder, the compass, ships capable of trans-ocean travel, and spaghetti.  The fifth book that was lost, arrived in Hawaii, was called "the book of surgery", and is now woven into the shamanic healing traditions of the Kahuna.  It was apparently about a form of surgery that did not involve cutting people open, but used chanting, splints, and herbs.  I got a chance to study and share a little with one of the healers of this tradition.  This person did validate my own healing path and did confirm my deductions from Chinese history.  John Blofeld, a British scholar who eventually became a Buddhist, found that the the Taoist calendar with its predictions was very accurate when it came to weather and the farmers in the village he stayed in used it in their planting and harvesting.  He commented that it was so accurate that it was almost as if the weather obeyed the calendar.

Then I found a Tibetan text that mentions the parathyroid gland long before western civilization discovered it.  Another person found that there were special Tibetan singing bowls, usually in pairs, that were brought out for specific healings and for specific glands.  When one European researcher amplified the sounds of different body organs, the ones that were used for healing the specific gland matched the healthy sound of the organ.  They were helping heal those organs by a sophisticated rhythm entrainment process that a few cutting edge sound healers are just beginning to emulate.

The Hopi and other tribes carry what are called the "memories".  They are considered a sacred trust and are passed down from generation to generation.  They talk about us being in the 4th world and are in transition into the 5th world.  They talk about the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd worlds, what happened to them, and why they collapsed.  In one of the previous worlds, there are descriptions of saucer like flying ships and visitors from the stars.  African tribes have a similar transmission of memories, often passed from shaman to shaman, and talk about visitors from the "dog star" (Sirius) teaching the first shaman in their lineage.

I found that one particular author named Graham Hancock to have cataloged much of this information.  He started out as an investigative journalist and keeps this discipline in his study of ancient cultures, tries to document everything well, and together with his wife and professional photographer travels the world and does his own research, while at the same time studying whatever research others have done.  What he finds is that all these little bits that I have bumped into my whole life add up to a large picture.

It seems that a vast number of these cultures marked a vast array of celestial events with great precision, and marked many events that would be useless merely for navigating the oceans or planting and harvesting.  What he found was that many of them charted a great cycle that was related to the Earth/Sun traveling across the entire galaxy and came approximately back to the same point.  This would usually be marked with an alignment of Earth, the Sun, Sirius, and Galactic Center.  It also seemed to be related to some kind of wave emanation energy that would radiate from Galactic Center and do a kind of quantum-genetic download of information that would help the next phase of evolution.  The calendars seem to key into events within this larger time cycle.  It is like a galactic astrology.  Like regular astrology, the "prophecies" are not rigid and fatalistic.  They give an awareness of the energies shaping the events and what our choices could be to use these energies well.  There is a difference between unconsciously reacting to these energies and consciously working with these energies.

It seemed that at the heart of the spiritual life of many civilizations is how consciously working with these energies was very key to keep the civilization in alignment with an optimal path of growth and that not all these civilizations were able to sustain this level indefinitely.  They met challenges that led to their own eventual demise.  Some of them apparently saw this was going to happen and left traces of their knowledge that could survive for thousands of years and be decoded when another civilization reached a sufficient level to understand what they left behind.

In the Buddhist Kalachakra system, there is a similar calendar that has been passed down through the Gelupa sect (the sect of the Dalai Lama) and which has been a hidden and secret tradition for a long time.  The current Dalai Lama has now initiated many people of different cultures into its practice.  Although it is not core to my own work in this lifetime, the bindu system, visualizing points of light in the body and chanting certain seed syllables (in order to move energies and shift hormonal chemistry) are similar to the Tumo practice that I do.  The Kalachakra system is actually a little more complex than the bindu mixing that I was trained in.  Part of this path is that the energies of the cosmos, recorded in a kind of esoteric astrology, affect the bindus and, in their turn, the bindus help us to be more directly sensitive to their energies, more able to use them, and even conduct them to others for their own healing and growth.  It is about "using the physical body as a basis for enlightenment".  It seems that there are echoes of similar practices in other traditions, like the ancient Egyptian ones that were later transmitted to the Greek Mystery schools, one of which Plato belonged to, and chronicles in his writing called Timaeus (and some in Critas).  When you add the writings of Plato with that of Plotinus and Pythagoras, you get a very advanced system of meditation.  There is also the Jewish Qabalah which has a similar set of correspondences.  I prefer the Buddhist system for a few reasons, one is that the knowledge seems to have arrived in modern times relatively intact.  The other systems have more spinning around them.  Some of them even have "blinds" false statements placed in them to confuse people who are not initiated properly into the mysteries.  There is apparently a code that helps one to know which statements to remove.  Some of the other traditions, too, were so persecuted by orthodox religions that very little of what they may have actually taught survives.  When viewed from the Buddhist Kalachakra teachings, it seems there is enough left to acknowledge there was once a system of similar meditation training within those traditions, but there is sometimes not enough of some systems left to actually follow.  Occasionally I have found some enclaves that have reconstructed and enlivened these traditions into a viable practice that gets results.

Jose Arguelles focused on the Mayan calendar but also integrated the other calendars that he studied.  I think that he did a good job of this.  There are a number of scholars, both mystical and materialist, that have questioned his analysis.  But I believe his analysis because he was able to predict the "harmonic convergence" with his analysis, an event which already has passed.  I could feel, during that day, a cool energy move into my crown chakra, and did notice that after this event that people's experiences were more synchronized.  For instance, I found that for over one week, everyone who came in had somehow hurt their right shoulder and it had a partly physical synchronicity cause and an emotional cause, with the latter being key to process for healing.  On an inspiration, I called a healer I knew on the other coast of the US and asked her if she had a lot of people with right shoulder issues, and she was shocked and said, "How did you know?".  What I found interesting is that this collective synchronous sense has been stronger since that convergence day, and now it is woven into, "background awareness".  It seems a precursor to a greater level of harmony among people that wants to manifest.  The backlash of this is that interpersonal tension is also felt more acutely.  It is part of a law about how emotional process works.  I call it the "law of opposites" that when something wants to happen, then all the opposite energies rise up to oppose it.  These energies rise up to be cleared or we can get stuck in them.  If we process what arises, then we can manifest the desired outcome.  Every change has a resisting force, a kind of inertia, to be overcome.  This same inertia is what makes the new pattern establish itself and in a sense become resistance to what will wants to appear next.

Part of the Mayan calendar is to map out cycles of 13 days that form a kind of growth cycle.  There are several interlocking cycles behind the calendar.  This is different from what Arguelles called the "time is money" calendars of the modern world.  It seems many ancient calendars were into cycles and patterns of growth, and that astrology is really about this kind of awareness too.  This is an interesting and big subject, but I can only touch upon this here and mention it in passing to other subjects.

In the Kalachakra teachings, there are two calculations that dominate, one where the key year is 2024 and the other is 2027.  When I was doing my own studies, I found that by assuming and correcting them to 2012, they line up very well with the Mayan Calendar, and also by correcting THE HOLY SCIENCE by Yukteswar from 1800 to 1812, this also aligns the Hindu yuga system with the Mayan calendar (to be fair, Yukteswar's 1800s number was a general figure that was expressly less precise than 1812).  When these three calendars are in alignment, then an interesting timescape is mapped.

The yuga of science (dwarpara yuga) starts in 1812, with most of the scientists in known history being born after this time.  The "shadow" or "orb" of the dark (kali) yuga is cast for 200 years and ends in 2012.  After the solstice of 2012 is crossed, the period of time called "the Bodhisattvas and Dakinis of the Earth" happens (Lotus Sutra).  This is where more and more people on Earth awaken to enlightenment in a kind of general collective awakening.  It will be similar to the Great Dakini period in Tibetan Buddhism where more females got enlightened near the same time than in any other time period (about 1,000 years ago), thanks to White Tara incarnating as Machig Labron, thanks to Yeshe Tsogyal, Mandarava, Sukhasiddhi, Vajrayogini, and many others.  While the Great Dakini period was more localized, the "Earth period" will be more grass roots, global, and collective.  The Earth period is a transitional time period between the Pisces Era and Aquarian Era, the interzone between these ages (In a Nova PBS special called "Magnetic Storm", there is a small segment covering the interzones between the ages and how the magnetism is in a kind of flux before a pole shift, the magnetic field of the Earth is undergoing a fair amount of change as we speak, with one airport realigning its runway to match the new magnetic north).  This period is roughly 500 years long.  In the Kalachakra teachings it is divided into 5 periods of 100 years each.  Each period has its own challenges.  The first one is entitled "the war of all against all".  This is where humankind divides itself into all kinds of competing factions and struggles against itself.  Behind all these factions is the separative logic of the ego that is secretly at war with anything that is not itself.  In that time, what is shared is that the secret of giving humankind the best chance of growth and healing is to see the "other" as an manifestation of Buddha nature, rather than as an enemy or stranger, to meet in love and compassion, to realize it is worth the risk to do so, and trust the process of healing the disease of separateness.  The last 100 year period has a dogmatic religious prophet representing an authoritarian god, as a kind of synthesis of all dogmatic religions, and who gets the arrogance to attack Shamballah, the spiritual crown chakra of the Earth.  A battle happens and this being is defeated, and then on the Winter Solstice of 2512 CE, world peace begins to appear on Earth, at last.

The Kalachakra predictions are mainly symbolic and allegorical.  The leader who invades Shamballah is probably not literal, but probably represents the dogmatic religions of this time period or any time period.  It is a symbol of any spirituality that is not based on direct personal experience, but which obeys an external authority and is willing to kill, convert, and repress others in the name of this religion.  The crown chakra represents the wisdom of enlightenment itself and how, because it is based on direct experience, is very real and able to withstand and overcome the forces of literal external dogma.

The intermediate 300 years are phases where there is a mixture of processes happening.  These parallel the natural awakenings that happen in meditation practice within each person, and relate to overcoming the three poisons of the mind of addictive craving, judgmental negativity, and obscuring delusion.  The last 100 years is about the subtle ego sense itself that holds the three poisons together.  The first 100 years is about the outer effects of the ego in terms of karmas, earthquakes, wars, poverty, disease, tidal waves, political power struggles, and misery.  The natural disasters have to do with the five elements of earth, fire, air, water, and space being out of balance.  As the energies of life work on the Earth, they will try to bring the biosphere back into alignment and will cause periodic earthquakes and tidal waves.  While none of these natural disasters are necessary and there is not a fatalistic prophecy that any of them have to happen, there is a generalized probability sense that many kinds of disasters will happen and, indeed, have already happened.  If you took the last 10 years of news and wrote a summary of all the wars, famines, plagues, tidal waves, earthquakes, disease outbreaks, and political power struggles, it would sound very apocalyptic.  It is about as good and as bad as it gets in this transitional time.  Humankind has not yet evolved to the point where it can notice and take responsibility for how it has imbalanced the biosphere.  When it does, it can reshape and heal the world back into a viable system where earthquakes and tidal waves will be rarer.  The balancing gestures of life will not need to be as drastic.

There are three other things worth mentioning about 12/21/2012.  One is that, in the larger timescape, there are extraterrestrials, very advanced beings from other worlds, that are part of this history and who have been a part of this history.  They were responsible for the Mayan murals have stars that are invisible to the eye and for much shamanic knowledge.  They are mentioned in ancient texts often.  With the Mayans describing their teacher as having fallen down from the sky.  Even in Buddhism, the Buddha himself comes from the Tushita star system and incarnates to teach humankind the dharma.  More than one sacred text or tribal memory lineage mentions them.  Millions of humans have seen them, tried to photograph them with all kinds of cameras.  Crop circles are drawn by the ETs and contain messages that align with these calendars and their messages.  Government military people got "lucky" and shot some out of the sky.  Some of the technologies we have were reverse engineered from a few shot down craft, including, I suspect, the gyroscopic mechanisms in the cell phones and ipads (which have way more capability than what they are used for).  I think there is more about them, like zero point energy power sources, that could eventually help humankind out of this barbaric time period.  It seems that there is something like the Star Trek prime directive, but instead of meeting only civilizations that achieve warp drive, it is about whether or not zero point energy is attained.  We have already done so, but the governments are blocking its implementation.  Their power base is founded on fossil fuel resource control and zpe would end this completely.  Part of how this time period is designed is that humans will need to link collectively with each other, forming a kind of direct democracy, or consensus nonviolent anarchy, and create a world without oppressive rulers.  It is partly this stimulus, this social evolution pressure, that makes the Bodhisattvas and Dakinis of the Earth appear and gently take over the guidance of the species.  At one point, and not for the first time, ET and human interaction will be re-established.  If people are wondering why it does not happen now, it is simply not quite the right time.  The ETs that really matter are not interested in the norepresentative governments of the Earth, but in the regular people and their lives.  They do not want to get shot down again and dissected.  They are making small incursions into history when it is useful.  They do not want to stop our own self empowerment by taking over.  They are working with a lot more beings below the usual social radar, even as we speak.

Two is that we are already in the alignment of the 12/21/2012 Winter Solstice, inside its orb.  The energies are already present and will move into deeper and deeper alignment as it approaches this day.  It is actually 3.5 days starting around noon of 12/20/2012 and ending in 12/23/2012.  The sky will look a little bluer.  Some prophecies talk about 3 days of darkness.  I do not think it is literal, except for maybe a wobble in the very high northern latitudes (and the southern equivalent).  There will be a feeling of fresh energy like the feeling after a good cleansing rain.  The energy will feel a little lighter.  There will still be many of the challenges that are happening for humans now, but they will feel more workable.

The energies, being "sung by the Sun to the Earth" (the other messages from Sirius and Galactic Center are being sung through the Sun, related to how magnetic waves use each other as carrier waves) to stimulate quantum, genetic, and consciousness shifts.  There are things that we can do to receive these inputs more deeply, that have to with visualizing a radiant dot of white light at the third eye point and doing deep, slow, connected, and full breathing without strain while gently and mentally intoning "Om" (this is the simplest and will give a feeling of what is possible, there are a number of other bindu exercises that are part of a system of teachings).  It is also worthwhile to become vegan in terms of diet and to do some herbal detoxing so that the interstitial fluids that the cells float in is clean enough for an even deeper detox.  It is also important so that the hormone system works in a less confused way through the body.  Although it seems that there are powerful hallucinogens or entheogens that seem to temporarily boost one to this level, mainly serotonin flooders, they may be too imbalancing to be useful in the long run or on a regular basis.  It seems that it takes about 3 to 6 months for the serotonin to normalize after their use, assuming one is at a certain level of health.  There are other brain chemicals which also are affected.  I would recommend tonic herbs, like Ginseng, that when embedded in a healing process can bring the brain chemistry to a new level of functioning that can be sustained.  There are some new challenges related to all this because of environmental pollution, but you do the best you can.

Three is that nothing I have written here has to happen and what I share is not dogma.  Life is always greater than our extrapolations and premonitions.  In the Kalachakra teachings, the prophecies are given with ways to avoid all of them happening and even compressing time so that the challenges are met with and dealt with earlier.  The only thing that I believe with absolute certainty is that me and everyone is Buddha nature, because that is my ongoing direct experience of everyone.  When what I share is written down, it is just words, one view among many.  I am writing so that people can feel at peace with the unfold of life and this time period.  I do feel that crossing the 12/21/2012 marker is significant, but not catastrophic.  We will still need to master meditation, learn what it means to truly love each other, and open up to the wonder of being alive.  Having shared this, my sense is that all the changes are proceeding as the general predictions expected, with the exception that there is more sorrow, disease, and poverty than was expected at this time juncture.  There is a saying in the Pure Land sect, one the sects that chants to call down the healing and blessing power of Amida Buddha, that goes, "The greater the karma, the greater the grace that comes to heal it."

Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh

I wanted to share some thought of encouragement to support the process that we are all moving through as we move through the 12/21/2012 time marker and beyond. In terms of a single thought, with only five words, this is the most positive and powerful one that I know of. "Om" is the universal frequency. When resounded we tune into the universal energy field that permeates all of creation. It is the unified field of Einstein manifesting as all that is and unifying all that is. It means that separation is an illusion and that we are always one with each other within this unified field. "Namo" means to invoke, to call upon, to entrust into, to surrender to and allow, to open up to and be changed by. "Amida Buddha" is the name for the Buddha of Infinite Love and LIght and also the name for the Buddha of Health, Physical Regeneration, Long Life, and even Physical Immortality. "Amida" is a fusion of these two aspects and therefore means a Grace and Blessing Energy that can heal life on Earth and transform it into a Pure Land. Amida Buddha is a Dhyani Buddha or Archetypal Buddha, beyond the genders of male and female, and both male and female at the same time. The female aspect is called Pandaravasini, or Queen of Fire, and represents the enlightened or subtle aspect of the fire element. The corresponding wisdom is called the "wisdom of pure perception" which is the capacity to see everything as it is, without the coloration of mental interpretation of any kind, seeing everything as a manifestation of primal luminosity. It is like removing all the colored windows of mental interpretation and looking directly at the light itself. Amida Buddha is sometimes designated as "he" because of Dharmakara, who was a Bodhisattva on another planet who made the 48 promises of what he would gift if people called upon him. He merged with Amida Buddha and became a Nirmanakaya emanation of its energy. He worked hard at transmuting energy for many vast numbers of lifetimes to create a "mercy seat", a place where all karma could be burned away completely and liberation easily attained. Because of his attitude of being gracious and his pure dedication, he merged with the aspect of our inner being that has the same attitude, the Amida Buddha within us, and brought this energy into dynamic aliveness so that by chanting the name "Amida Buddha" we can access this energy source and let us transform our lives completely and totally. "Hreeh" is the seed vibration of this energy family, represents "karma burning" and "the compassion that dissolves all karma completely". It is a symbol for an awakened conscience that understands karma very deeply. It is able to feel deep repentance and remorse so thoroughly that the root of karma is wiped out. It is able to forgive so totally that the karma of others is wiped out. When visualized and chanted, this single syllable becomes the whole mantra, and when vibrated into the cells of our body evolves our body into a light body. What is required from us is only a small amount of sincerity, since love is nonviolent and does not violate free choice ever. To the degree that we sincerely allow ourselves to be transformed is the degree that it is so. In the tradition, you chant long enough until the chant is sincere. When it is sincere, then we are transformed. We first attain mental peace and faith, then realization, and then even light body. It takes roughly one million repetitions to become enlightened and one billion to become a light body. Deep concentrated sincerity can accelerate this.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Parmitayana Path

I wrote this for a friend who asked for a summary:

Pranidhana is the 8th stage of the Mahayana Buddhist path. This path is sometimes called "Bodhisattvayana" (a path of loving service to all the sentient beings still in sorrow) and Parmitayana (the path of cultivating the natural virtues of latent within the Buddha nature of each sentient being). They unfold from the initial opening of "dana parmita" (selfless giving which already implies a letting go characteristic of pranidhana) which can be translated as "openness, giving, curiosity, and wonder". It grows through ksanti parmita which can be translated as "patience, endurance, and humility" where we let go of more and more ego. It focuses through virya parmita which can be translated as "energy, devotion, and commitment". It organizes through sila parmita ("ethical idealism, karma containment, and natural discipline"). It is centered in meditation practice in dhyana parmita. It is understood in prajna parmita (intuitive wisdom, direct experience, and transcending conceptual knowing). It is further refined by upaya parmita (skillful means, remedial meditations, and spontaneous creative interaction). It is finally directly felt in pranidhana ("letting go, surrender, and flowing with divine wisdom energy). This pranidhana is grounded in bali parmita (faith, trust, and power to do miracles). It enters its natural sangha (community) in "dharma megha samadhi" where all the bodhisattvas and dakinis who have gone before one (in surrender) are felt as massive cloud of witnesses surrounding one in a visionary living experience. This surrender is integrated in enlightenment or Buddhahood, and then fully activated, awakened, and actualized, and lived within a Mahasiddha. As one unfolds on this path, one element becomes the primary focus in approximately this successive order, though it is really one energy maturing through its own natural growth process. Each one has the virtue of the one before it already within itself. Pranidhana has the energy of openness, humility, devotion, ethical idealism, meditation, illumination, and creativity within itself, just as the ones that are further along the path have pranidhana within them. The 8th stage is where there is only one religion, since every religion really teaches this one virtue. The meditation practices and prayer practices may differ. The ethical ideals and disciplines may differ. The belief systems may differ. But each and everyone of them will have a kind of deep surrender to a divine energy that is intuitively and directly felt. Those who reach this state will suddenly see how there are many saints of every tradition who embodied pranidhana and who inspire others to do the same. Because the surrender makes them more transparent to the Divine, people sometimes feel the divine energy channel through them into the world. This energy blesses, heals, calms, and illuminates and raises the life condition of the sentient being who surrenders to this action beyond the grip of adverse karmas (usually stage by stage, not all at once, but all at once is possible when people are truly ready to lay their burden down). The 8th stage is also where you can see in visions the mahasangha in visitations. These events usually happen when the "surrender is strong" when one is on top of one's process and in the flow. It seems each stage has a relative conditional level of learning and an integration of this learning (like in Buddhahood). In the relative level of learning, we do or do not do (sila parmita), but when integrated we naturally do all the time in a spontaneous unselfconscious activity (with occasional errors since it is not yet perfect until the mahasiddha stage).

I like this model because it is based on a pattern of psychological growth. It shows that getting flashes of sudden enlightenment (prajna parmita) in Zen Buddhism is only part of the process and why the way beyond sorrow in the 4th noble truth is the eightfold path which defines a new way of life. You enter the stream of this way of life and grow in a different direction. You renounce worldly success which has a very superficial terminus of growth and is too externally focused to really cultivate these inner virtues and usually does not value them. When one travels far down the parmitayana road, one can the world as being essentially very immature, raw, and unrefined, yet the seed of Buddha nature is still there. The Lotus arises from this mud and the mud has its place.