Destiny

Destiny

I’m one of those people who believes in destiny. I know it’s not logical. Maybe it’s a crutch for living in an uncertain world. I believe in it because I believe that the future draws us on as long as we have strength to move forward and overcome the obstacles set before us. Who decides our destiny? I’m not sure. Maybe there is some unconscious part of our brain that does. Maybe it’s God.

For a long time I was very convinced that not only did I have a destiny but I knew the script of my life in detail. Throughout my late 20’s and into my mid-30’s I was absolutely convinced that I knew what was going to happen, what I was supposed to do. (This is probably the opposite of most people that age. I always do things backwards.) When that script seemed not to pan out I developed more and more distorted thinking. I alternatively blamed people for my failures and decided that I was too deeply misunderstood and that there would be some moment when everything would turn around and I would be entirely vindicated. None of these things happened. Life went on.

At some point, around age 33 or so, I decided to give up on my script. I moved to a new state and got a new job. I was distracted for a while — too busy to worry about the old script and what I had once thought I was going to be. It only took about a year or so, though, before things settled down. I got into therapy at this point to deal with my anxiety. I learned how to identify and process my feelings. I recognized that there was nothing really wrong with what I had wanted to achieve. The problem was my anxiety and depression over not achieving it yet. And I just couldn’t give up on the idea that I had a destiny. But maybe it wasn’t going to turn out exactly how I’d planned.

My best friend took his own life — convinced that he was a failure in life. He had a conviction of his own life that never matched the reality. Was that his destiny or was it that he had so let others’ expectations of him overshadow his own predisposition that he tried to achieve a destiny that was never his? I’ll never know.

My dream this time was about destiny. I was running down a dark tunnel holding a candle. I held my hand in front of it to keep it blowing out. The tunnel seemed like an old storm drain tunnel. The floor was wet. The candle cast a flickering glow on the walls made of stone. I had the sense that I was alone and that I was running toward something. Maybe I was just trying to get out of the tunnel.

I came to a gate barring the way forward — nearly slammed into it. In frustration I pawed at it, looking for a way through. I felt a low door in it. The door opened and I crawled through the water. Standing I dropped the candle into the water. All went black.

Cursing I ran on into the complete and total blackness. I had the sense of running through empty space. I could see nothing. I only heard the splashes of my feet in the water. I called out into the darkness — “show me the way. Give me a light.”

I felt a response as if to say, “the way forward is the future. It is not for you to see.”

“But how will I know the way?” I answered.

“Continue forward,” it said. “There are no turns. No choices.”

I ran faster and from deep within me I felt a voice say one word: “Trust.”

I relaxed a little but was still tense, peering to see what lay ahead.

“Trust,” it said again.

I realized I didn’t need the candle and, fearlessly, I continued on, trusting in the future.

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Spirit of Love

Spirit of Love

I had time for a longer meditation and had a different kind of dream, short but amazing.

As I closed my eyes, I began to breathe deeply, rooting down and lifting up. I felt up and down my spine with my breath. I tried to sense each chakra but didn’t feel much. They seemed dormant.

I relaxed and breathed.

I felt the prana building and moving in my body. I imagined it flowing up my front and down my spine, faster and faster, building energy.

No dreams came.

Still the energy built.

I had gotten used to the idea that in a meditation dream I would be transported somewhere else and maybe even become another person or being altogether. I let go of that thought and focused on the energy moving through me.

Very suddenly my heart started beating faster and the energy seemed to link up between point on my spine and focus a beam of energy into my 3rd eye (the space on my forehead). From there a beam of power lanced out from the 3rd eye. I was conscious of being able to see “through” reality into some other dimension or perhaps I was even making a hole or a summoning signal.

In any case, I could see that a hole had opened up where my 3rd eye was focused.

I wondered what it could mean. What was I looking at? Could I look into people’s minds? Was it like Superman’s X-ray vision?

Then out of the hole came a being.

The being seemed insubstantial like a spirit. It was white and had a face. It seemed to be female but did not have much in the way of female anatomy. Rather it had a feminine sort of face, with eyes and a mouth but not human eyes or human mouth. Long tendrils flowed from its head and these waved as if they were not subject to gravity. Its features were made of light and dark patches like a grainy black and white photo of a person. Her face was expressionless, maybe curious like a little bird. She hovered there directly in front of me where the hole from my 3rd eye had penetrated into her realm (presumably). The beam from my eye had disappeared.

She seemed to want or expect something, and, at first I was afraid, but then I realized that she only wanted to connect. She extended what seemed to be a tube — like a tube made out of mist — from her middle (the part of her below her head at least), and I realized that I was also expected to extend something. Not an appendage of course but something less tangible, a conduit of energy.

As she floated there my heart beat faster, my hands began to sweat, energy was roaring through me, ready for some sort of release. She wanted to absorb — or be absorbed — into my chakra. To merge. To become one. I felt so much energy flowing that I might burst. It was as if she were the anode and I the cathode. Lightning and the ground. Longing to be united. Building. Building.

I went through my chakras, feeling energy coursing through them. The root one she did not want. The second one seemed to offend her. I was about to try the third when I had it. I knew who she was. I knew what to do. I opened my Heart Chakra, focusing the energy into my chest, and her tube went through me as if I were not there and connected to it. Then the being herself, insubstantial as she was, followed, merging into my body, sinking in, becoming part of me.

As we connected and merged, I felt a massive release and my entire body relaxed like a massive electrical discharge from a short circuit causing a circuit breaker to flip. I become one with the love spirit, and I was suffused with feelings of love so deep and pure I cannot describe it. It was like seeing your beloved after a long absence. Like looking into your newborn child’s face. Like home.

After that I felt as if I were done and opened my eyes.

Kundalini

I only had a 15 minute meditation today. No time for dreams. The last few days have been intense to it helps to have a break.

I have been reading about my experiences and I’ve come to understand that what I’m experiencing is sometimes called a “Kundalini” awakening. Kundalini is Sanskrit for “coiled one” and refers to the “coiled” energy at the base of the spine. Kundalini awakening means awakening the energy there. This energy has the power to transform your life, creating a kind of “rebirth”. A lot of people seem to focus on the supernatural kinds of powers that Kundalini awakening can give you. I’m not convinced of that. It seems to me that there is plenty of natural power ready to be tapped. The power over one’s identity, emotions, compassion, peacefulness, daily joy, sex life, and so on are most important.

In today’s meditation, I focused on breathing into my chakras — locations along the spine that are supposed to be nexi of energy and on my prana which really means “energy” but in my case I’m focusing on the cycle of energy coming up the front and down the back of my torso. There are spinal powers present in these locations that the ancient yogis learned to control and identify.

A Long Meditation

A Long Meditation

I’m a little confused about what all these dreams mean. They might mean nothing. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes a dream is just a dream. Zen masters warn against putting too much significance on what happens during meditation. As far as I can tell, nothing happened in real life yesterday out of the ordinary.

I was thinking about the star on my morning commute — about following it. I looked up and saw the word “star” and a five pointed star on the back of a semi directly in front of me. A sign? Or did I unconsciously see the sign and it reminded me? What are the odds of that happening?

I have enough skepticism that I did not follow the semi and got off at my exit as planned.

I meditated for an hour this morning. Of course, I didn’t know that till I opened my eyes at the end. As I closed my eyes and the music played I found it difficult to settle down. There was so much on my mind. So many unanswered questions. I tried to let go of expectations, let go of cravings, let go of yesterday and tomorrow.

All was silent and dark for a while. I thought — this is the end of the dreams. No more.

But it was not to be. I found myself climbing a mountain at dawn. It was one of the mountains like we have here on the East Coast — short and hill-like, easily climbed.

As I made it to the summit, I stopped and gazed out at the horizon spread before me. The sun rose, beaming its light across the waking landscape, and began its climb into the sky. As I stood still, the sun began to rise faster, as if somebody had pressed the fast-forward button. In what felt like seconds, the sun sank and it was night again. As the stars appeared above me in marvelous blues and purples, I stood motionless gazing at the horizon. The stars began to move overhead faster than the sun had set until they were blurred lines pinwheeling overhead. The whole world was changing but I was motionless, frozen in my stance.

Soon the day and night began to interchange so quickly that they appeared to blur into one another. The clouds shot overhead like bullets.

Years seemed to pass, then centuries, millennia. The Earth changed its shape. Mountains rose and fell. The mountain was on crumbled into dust, leaving me floating in mid-air, motionless.

The sun became red, expanded and engulfed the Earth, but time moved so quickly now that it was hardly noticeable as it blew off its outer shell and shrank back. The planets whirled about the dwarf star the Sun had become and I floated completely still in interplanetary space.

Time accelerated more and now the solar system itself broke apart as the sun blackened. The galaxy collided with another. Stars flicked into existence and blew out in a fraction of a second. The galaxy itself fell apart. Light streamed out into the universe, lost in the ever expanding void. Subatomic particles decayed, heat dissipated never to beĀ  reclaimed. Entropy relentlessly chipped away at the universe of things, making it the universe of void and stray radiation. Eventually, trillions of trillions of years had passed and the universe was nothing but black void, dead, cold, lifeless.

Still I floated, body-less in space. Countless years passed. I felt the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum, a fire of intense energy burning forever beneath the deadness. I knew I was waiting for something to happen.

A new universe flared to life, quantum energy roaring into the void, pushing the old one away like a sapling from a tree stump. Light and heat burst into existence from nothing. I watched as the baby universe took its first steps and then I vanished.

I found myself on a beach. I was lying in the sand, the water lapping about me. Opening my eyes, I was met by blue sky.

I was naked and my body was not the body I had before. I was strong, muscular, my skin perfectly unblemished.

I rose from the sand and looked around. I was on some sort of island. There were trees laden with fruit. Looking down the beach, a short distance from my was a young woman. Like me, she was unclothed. He skin was flawless like mine, her body strong and toned. She had hair of dark blonde.

She and I looked at each other, like old friends seeing each other after a long time. On the beach we grasped hands and danced with pure joy, whirling and whooping, running down the sandy shore, careless and free.

The Whale

The Whale

Religious imagery continues again today with a reference to Jonah and the Whale.

I found myself back on the boat today but things had changed. Now the star was directly overhead. The wind had died and the boat rocked gently back and forth. I dropped anchor. The boat was bathed in a pool of light from the star, like a beam directed from beyond the cosmos.

I had a fishing rod with me and dropped the line over the side. Almost immediately a fish grabbed it and, yanking on the rod, pulled me into the ocean.

I sank beneath the waves, dropping through the gloom like a bag of sand. I felt no fear. As the light above bathed the surface, below as nothing but darkness. As the starlit night gave way to the total blackness, I felt a rush from the side.

A huge whale, speeding through the sea like a torpedo, came towards me and, opening its massive jaws, swallowed me whole, and it swam away from the boat.

I curled inside its body like an infant inside its mother.

At once, it rose to the surface of the water and in a great heave jetting me out its body. I emerged as nothing but a spray of water, falling back to the ocean, merging, and then reforming into a human form.

My Meeting with the Star

My Meeting with the Star

Meditation dreams are, from my perspective, exploration of the unconscious mind. Through symbolism, they can bring to the surface thoughts, ideas, feelings, and beliefs that we tend to ignore in our day to day life either because they are uncomfortable, the emotional baggage they bring up is painful, society says they are foolish or wrong, or our own logic tears them down before they can have a chance to coalesce. I’m a firm believer in the idea that a great deal goes on in our minds that we are normally unaware of. Science backs me up on this.

When we “think” about our problems and try to come to solutions, we often lead ourselves into logical contradictions because we are not thinking holistically. We pick up one option, examine it, think about its pros and cons, convince ourselves it’s right or wrong and then drop it, pick up another and do the same, often sinking into a frustrating back and forth of indecision and confusion. Consider choosing a career or whether to start/end a relationship, there are so many choices these days that our thinking minds are overwhelmed and the information we have is never good enough to make those choices logically. When the consequences are great for making the right or wrong decision, it can be incredibly frustrating. Some of us deal with this by making decisions too quickly based on superficial logic and end up in situations we didn’t plan for like quitting our job to start an online business only to realize we have no business experience and no business plan and, after a while, no money. Others deal with this by putting decisions off forever or until somebody makes the decision for us like putting off asking somebody out until they are taken by someone else. Thinking is a useful tool, to be sure, but only when we recognize its limitations for decision making.

While thinking is a form of judgement, a way of categorizing or evaluating choices, meditation brings us to a form of perception without judgement. In meditation, we can perceive our inner world, our situation, our feelings and thoughts, as if they belong to another person, or, I think more correctly, as if they are merely objects making up a universe. We can grasp the whole instead of the parts and see things through the lens of symbols, imagery, and pure awareness. Sometimes spiritual and religious imagery can have profound meaning in our inner lives when seen in the right context and also change our outward attitudes to those images as well when we encounter them internally, in a safe space, rather than in a place like a church, mosque, or temple where we are often beset by anxieties unrelated to our spiritual understanding.

This long preamble is necessary because in my last meditation dream I met God and I don’t want to give the impression that meeting God in a meditation dream is like meeting him on the road to Damascus or seeing him in a tortilla. I’m going to leave it at that.

I begin the music and close my eyes. No yellow squares this time. I sit up straight and begin to allow myself to relax into the music. The soft flutes waft over me, pulling me deeper into my mind. The outer world falls ways and I find myself back on the ocean with the boat and the star. This time, however, the boat, steady on its course now, does not hold me and I fly up into the starry sky and into space. Faster and faster, like a rocket, I enter orbit about the Earth. The sun rises above the curve of the planet, rays swallowing the night below, while above the stars shine still. I am moving even faster now, circling the planet again and again as I rise higher. I see the Earth and then the Sun shrink into distance as I fly out at superluminal speeds.

I rise above the plane of the Milky Way, its white hot center, gleaming with millions of stars circling the central black hole, shining out into the void. The Milky Way too shrinks and I fly through untold billions of galaxies. I sense the ripple of space and time itself, the flux of gravitation bending the universe. Further out, I see many universes now, infinite cosmi of possibility stretching beyond comprehension. A feeling of profound bliss comes over me. It feels like heaven, just floating in the infinite.

Thinking of heaven, I become aware then of a great eye, the eye of a giant and I am aware of myself, a tiny ant, floating towards it. I then perceive great hands (but not like human hands), white like snow making a kind of bowl for me to float into. At first I am afraid that this is a monster come to swat me but somehow I know that this being means me no harm and I allow myself to come to rest in its enormous hands.

The being is silent, brilliant white and seeming to have both a human-like shape and no shape at all. At once I realize that this being is God.

Floating in its presence, I come to a second understanding. I say to it, “you are the star.” It is not a question but a statement. God says nothing, needs to say nothing, for in its presence all things are known. Tears flow down my cheeks (in real life) as the profound emotion of this realization washes over me. I realize that the star has always been there guiding me through all time, even as I have existed as a sentient being for all time both before my birth and after my death.

Quickly, the emotion fades, and I dwell there for a time, feeling safe and at peace. After a time, I reluctantly decide that my time there is done and I must return to the world. God’s hands release me, and I fly back to Earth.

Fluttering my eyes open, the music ends.

The Boat, the Ocean, and the Star

The Boat, the Ocean, and the Star

This meditation journal chronicles the experiences I have during meditation. These experiences are personal. I share them realizing they may not always make sense to others.

I’ve started meditating again after many years hiatus. The last time I did serious meditation was around 2007-8. Since then it’s been an on-and-off, 5 minute affair. I guess meditating is like riding a bicycle though. I didn’t forget and it wasn’t like starting over. I have done a lot of Yoga with Adriene the last couple years, which probably helps.

One thing that is different this time is that I’m meditating to music (Pandora) and it’s creating some amazing meditation dreams. I’ve never had meditation dreams before. My meditation sessions have always been a quiet blankness. I wanted to keep a chronicle of my experiences and like most people my age, can’t do it privately but must broadcast it to the ether. So here is the first one which I call the Boat, the Ocean, and the Star.

I begin the music playing and choose to focus on a yellow square on my computer screen. Google “yellow square” and there are literally thousands to choose from! I pick one that is large and simple. As I drop into meditation, I notice that the color of the square seems to change, the edges become brighter and more yellow while the center is paler. I wonder if this is how my visual cortex processes edges (by making them more intense) or if it’s my optic nerve blind-spot blocking out part of the image in one or the other eye. Eventually, it become distracting and I close my eyes.

Eyes closed I sink deeper into the calm blackness. The music changes and I hear water. All around me now is a vast ocean, calmly rippling, no land in sight. Overhead is a blue-black sky full of stars twinkling. No clouds, no heavy waves, just peace and a gentle stillness on the water. The stars reflect off the water. There is no moon to light the waves and I have no lantern. I hear nothing but water. The wind is calm, barely a zephyr.

I am in a small wooden boat. In the center is a mast with a white triangular sail. The sail is rippling slightly in the breeze but not propelling the boat much. There is nothing in the boat. In fact, I’m conscious of not actually being in the boat myself. It’s as if I’m a disembodied consciousness floating above the boat.

Aft is a tiller, a small wooden handle leading to a rudder. I can move the tiller with my mind. The boat is not moving fast but has enough momentum to change course. Fore is a pointed prow, like a compass needle indicating the boat’s heading to the far off horizon.

I become concerned that, in control of the tiller, I do not know which way the boat is supposed to be going. Yet, somehow I know I must steer the boat or it will drift into danger and loss. I don’t feel any anxiety in this peaceful place. Instead, it is a kind of knowing, a conviction so powerful it must be acted upon. I feel as if the boat has been off course for a long time, drifting where the ocean currents will it.

Off to the right of the boat, about 30 degrees above the horizon, a star shines brighter than the others. It is so bright, like Sirius, that is dominates its place in the sky. The Star, I call it, welcomes me though it does not change, but simply twinkles its quiet presence. I recognize this star as my guide through the vast ocean, like the Star that guided the wise men to the infant Christ. Patient, ever waiting, the Star cannot pull the boat to itself. It simply points the way.

I turn the tiller and the boat turns. I steer it so that the point on the prow points toward the star. I am aware that the star has been waiting a long time for me to steer the boat. Though it points the way to my destiny, I must play my part. As the waves roll and the wind slips over the swells, the boat inches forward, my mind steadying the tiller.