Total hours of spiritual practice: 50
It feels as though the appropriate place to start is with a break down of the map I will be following for said consciousness work. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am focused purely on concentration meditation at this stage.
My aim is generalized consciousness work, which will entail flirting with many practices from different beliefs, religions, and cultures. However, to get the ball rolling I’ve decided to nest the foundation of my practice in Theravada Buddhism.
To my understanding, there are roughly 3 approaches you can take with Theravada. As there are 3 practices ( Morality, Concentration, and Insight ), and morality is non-negotiable ( From my subjective position ), the 3 choices are as follows. Build a foundation in concentration ( Accessing the jhanas ) as a sort of lubricant for the roller coaster of suffering that comes from insight practice ( Wet insight ). Go straight into insight practice without first cultivating a concentration practice ( Dry insight ). Or, for the talented practitioner, the cultivation of both practices simultaneously ( Damp Insight ??? ).
As I am on no particular time restraint, nor do I have any urge or desire to reach any specific goals pertaining to enlightenment. I have decided that the development of a concrete concentration practice would be a beneficial and satisfying place to start. Mainly due to the enticing promises of bliss, rapture, formless states and dare I say it… Siddhis. Of course, taking into consideration the benefits it will bring to my insight practice in the future.
It’s worth mentioning that I am being driven strongly by curiosity, which it seems to me is not always the common motive for someone pursuing enlightenment. From my encounters, there seems to be a common theme of suffering that propels many practitioners. While it would be downright dishonest for me to claim I do not suffer. My curiosity has been the driving force in my life ever since I decided to see what would happen If I stuck my head In an egg as a little sperm. Only in my childhood, did adverse experiences begin to impress themselves upon my psyche. Leading to annoying complexes that I watch “myself” act out on a daily basis, followed by the suffering they present. While both are constituents of my drive, curiosity is primary and suffering is secondary. I believe this is important because everything I’ve ever approached from a place of fear ( suffering ) has reflected that as it played out. You may get to the same destination, but the journey is a hell of a lot bumpier.
As a very broad overview of my map, which as all wise men will point out, is not the territory. This is what I plan to do…
I will maintain my concentration practice for roughly 250 hours at 6 hours a day. Although near the end of this period I will be doing a retreat or two in an attempt to escape the distractions that I can already feel damping the intensity of practice (social interactions and the maintenance of my conventional reality). I hope to have at least reached access concentration by this point ( My definition: Sustained, prolonged attention to the object of concentration ). These first 250 hours will also be accompanied by deep research ( down the rabbit hole type ) on the domains of practice that will follow, providing a conceptual framework of the work ahead.
Somewhere during this first 250 hours I will integrate a Kriya yoga practice. I have explored Kriya in the past and experienced interesting results. I have already integrated stretching and Pranayama as a precursor to my concentration sittings. But proper Kriya seems an appropriate addition to add the dimension of energy work.
At 250 hours I will transition to insight practice with sprinklings of self-enquiry and contemplative exercises. During this period I plan to play around with tools like fasting, breath work, deprivation tanks, isolation, silence, etc. to amplify the foundational practices.
Once I feel as though I have established a very strong basis in insight and self-enquiry, I will begin tinkering with psychedelics ( If I still have the desire to ). While they present miraculous opportunities for deep insights, I am hesitant of their use. I am extremely sensitive to them and often find myself verging more on the side of psychological instability when I push my consciousness expansion too far, too fast. As Carl Jung once wrote…
“Is the LSD drug you’re referring to mescaline? It has indeed very curious effects, of which I know far too little. I don’t know either what it’s psychotherapeutic value with neurotic or psychotic patients is. I only know there is no point in wishing to know more of the collective unconscious than one gets through dreams and intuition. The more you know of it, the greater and heavier becomes your moral burden, because the unconscious contents transform themselves into your individual tasks and duties as soon as they become conscious. Do you want to increase loneliness and misunderstanding? Do you want to find more and more complications and increasing responsibilities? You get enough of it.
If I once could say that I had done everything I know I had to do, then perhaps I should realise a legitimate need to take mescaline. If I should take it now I would not be at all sure that I had not taken it out of idle curiosity. I should hate the thought that I had touched on the sphere where the paint is made that colours the world, where the light is created that makes shine the splendour of the dawn, the lines and shapes of all form, the sound that fills the orbit, the thought that illuminates the darkness of the void. There are some impoverished creatures perhaps, for whom mescaline would be a heaven sent gift without a counter poison, but I am profoundly mistrustful of the pure “gifts of the gods”, you pay very dearly for them.
This is not the point at all, to know of or about the unconscious, nor does the story end here. On the contrary, it is how and where you begin the real quest. If you are too unconscious, it is a great relief to know a bit of the collective unconscious. But it soon becomes dangerous to know more, because one does not learn at the same time how to balance it through a conscious equivalent. That is the mistake Aldous Huxley makes, he does not know that he is in the role of Zauberlehrling, sorcerer’s apprentice, who learned from his master how to call the ghosts, but did not know how to get rid of them again.’e the splendour of the dawn, the lines and shapes of all form, the sound that fills the orbit, the thought that illuminates the darkness of the void. There are some impoverished creatures perhaps, for whom mescaline would be a heaven sent gift without a counter poison, but I am profoundly mistrustful of the pure “gifts of the gods”, you pay very dearly for them.This is not the point at all, to know of or about the unconscious, nor does the story end here. On the contrary, it is how and where you begin the real quest. If you are too unconscious, it is a great relief to know a bit of the collective unconscious. But it soon becomes dangerous to know more, because one does not learn at the same time how to balance it through a conscious equivalent. That is the mistake Aldous Huxley makes, he does not know that he is in the role of Zauberlehrling, sorcerer’s apprentice, who learned from his master how to call the ghosts, but did not know how to get rid of them again.”
The above will makes up the bulk of what I have planned so far. However, I’m deeply interested in all the forms of mysticism around the globe. As my research progresses I hope to be able to diversify my practices from both a utilitarian and exploratory standpoint.
I am also currently having one reiki session per week with a talented practitioner ( according to my estimation ). Although I’m still uncertain on how energy work functions, and frequently get bogged down by an aspect of my psyche that clings to rationality, using cognitive bias as an explanation for many subjective phenomena. I find these types of consciousness work very difficult to dissect, given their metaphysical nature. However, I will make more of an effort to explore and document these domains in the near future. It is hard for me to leave it out entirely, given the experiences I have had with this avenue. I’m sure the unconditional compassion radiated by the practitioner has a large part to play. I will continue doing this for as long as it is readily accessible.
As a final note, this is a very rough and vague draft. Therefore I am almost certain it will change in accordance with the territory that presents itself in coming times and my ever-developing understanding of this work.