Most Tibetan sadhanas are anu-yoga style Namdrol once said.
On p.174 in The Crystal and the Way of Light it says "Anuyoga is only found in Nyingmapa school."
heart wrote:I think you should be as creative and inventive as you feel you need to be in this situation. Creativity is needed Vajrayana and that includes Dzogchen. No point in doing visualizations if you don't engage and overpower your mind with them.
it is quite amazing but "Ah" is like flipping a switch for me. Trying to do any practice without it seems much harder to "overpower your mind," as you put it.
I see what you are saying, but it's funny how much nuance there is to my particular grievances, I suppose. It seems to take an extraordinary amount of words for me to explain my situation precisely...
If you want to read more (below), feel free. Don't feel obligated. I am sick of hearing myself talk and don't think anymore is necessary. Only wrote all this out (below) to explain more precisely... again, it's not necessary, only if you are interested.
As I've said before, possibly even on this thread (so don't think I'm suddenly changing my story on you here), I don't find it difficult at all to pass a certain point where sitting is possible for long periods of time and my mind is pretty much turned off, for lack of a better description. I don't visualize the Tibetan syllables. I visualize briefly an abstract version of them and quickly blur them into balls of light. I then just have a tendency to kind of flip back and forth between the central visualization with the spinning and an overall image of myself as the deity. This just happens naturally. Ideas tend to float up here and there; with Tara practice I see myself as Tara sending lights and benefitting beings and in wrathful deity practice I see the flames are burning away negativities and certain negative things in my life will briefly come to mind, in which case I usually just burn up the ideas quickly and then go back to the central spinning visualization. I just let these ideas happen and go back to visualizing the central spinning. I don't try to really "overpower" my mind because I think of these thoughts arising as the natural "speech" quality. To silence it seems you would be on your way to formless absorption.
I do have a limit of how many hours I can sit doing this kind of meditation, though, which is apparently due to the "wisdom energy" which is perceived as frustration to me. This is what I was told when I asked about it and then somewhat later I heard Pema Chodron talking about her experience with the same exact problem which she called "dakini bliss" and I recognized exactly what she was talking about. I have not worked with this enough to see how it can be perceived as non-frustration, though, because I am not eager to do another 3-day retreat and become frustrated by disappointment of not even being able to achieve that level of frustration again, which is ironic, but which is what I suspect will happen. Pema Chodron said as soon as Trungpa called it "dakini bliss" she felt it and didn't try to resist it anymore and then it simply went away.
The fact is, I had a very significant experience (to me, anyway) which I have just typed out and then deleted because I think sharing experiences is viewed as bragging or breaking samaya, so I'll just keep it to myself. I've already shared it with my teacher(s). The fact that I did have this experience which then resulted in utter frustration and which does not really seem
to have made much of a difference in my behavior/outlook is probably a big part of the frustration you see expressed here
. I can plainly see how others might read this and say, "wow, that's pathetic. You get a little taste and give up!" And I don't disagree with that feeling at all. The frustration has caused me to become lazy and perhaps even a bit afraid of stirring up that extreme level of frustration again through practice. I think this really might be the ego collapsing, but it feels like you're on the brink of insanity when it happens. I don't relish the idea of facing that alone on a weekend retreat when I have a stack of work waiting for me at the office on monday.
I don't have the luxury to do much about this situation, really. I have a wife that wants to always go on vacation when I can get a few days off work and I make almost no money and am in debt up to my eyeballs, so I can't really pay for a weeklong retreat somewhere with professional 'babysitters' to make sure I don't go crazy and then take another week off to recuperate from whatever insanity I unleash upon myself before returning to work. So, there are a lot of obstacles in my life which practice isn't really helping in any way. Rather, it seems like practice is highlighting these obstacles and making them seem much more unpleasant.
All of these reasons is why I started this thread. I felt like I should just try to improve my relative existence and focus on getting myself out of this hole rather than trying to do some practice and not worrying about it. This was the advice of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, for example. He had students worrying about paying the bills and he was taking food and going outside to feed the birds with it and inviting people over and feeding them when they didn't have the money to feed themselves. When his students expressed concern, he said, "Give. Don't worry, just give." And the moral of the story was that, as the visitors increased, so did his students and as his students increased the donations poured in and everything worked out. Chagdud Tulku always gave credit to Red Tara for taking care of him.
I don't know what to make of my situation, really. I have had good intentions for so long, but my practice stinks and my relative situation isn't really improving. I know others have it so much worse than me out there for sure. There is also something that is... not really hypocritical, but... while renouncing samsara, I have moments where I just have to indulge my desires, even ones that seem negative. I think perhaps understanding Tantra better might be the right thing for me. I don't really try to practice "the path of transformation," but I think I should. Instead I have "an attitude of renounciation" as if nothing is really that important (which is truly how I feel) and try to be mindful and experience things as one taste. But, I think learning to transform desire and feel myself as the deity might be just the ticket for me... so I am reading Lama Yeshe's "Introduction To Tantra" now and trying to fill in whatever blanks I am still missing. I don't really have a thorough understanding of Tantra and it really seems that this might be a most useful tool for me.
Anyway, like I said, I'm going to get back to practice and not worry about it. I am not going to treat my career as a second-rate concern any longer, though. I am going to work hard at my career to get myself out of this rut so that hopefully I will have more luxury to practice. In the past, I have reasoned that suffering is what inspires us to practice because if our lives are are too good and filled with luxury and entertainment, then we will get lazy about practice. Well, look at me now. The only difference is I'm poor.
I'm just going to try to dedicate a half hour to sitting practice in the morning and again at night. I have done this in the past and I absolutely KNOW that I will become rushing and frustrated about it when I am running late or just plain don't want to do it, but oh well. When I feel this way I will try to incorprate the drawing/painting into the practice (as I mentioned earlier) to develop bodhicitta.
heart wrote:This When Tara shines like an wild emerald sun in your mind you will feel close to the natural state.
This has definitely happened and that is part of the reason I have had this frustrated feeling about practice. Having some major breakthroughs did not seem to really change my reality very much or make practice easier.
heart wrote:You should take whatever practice you do to the limit and that is your responsibility not your teachers.
Yes, good to remember. Occasionally, frustration has caused me to feel somewhat resentful or doubting of my teachers. Even while it happens, I know this is a major no-no, but the emotions arise and I can not simply deny they have arisen. I try to analyze the thoughts rather than indulge them and make sure never to act on the feelings by expressing them. Then, when that feeling has passed, I try to apologize silently and with real regret prior to my next tun. Nothing feels more hypocritical than to have been in a really bad place for a few days with thoughts of blame arising and then returning to your altar with pictures of your teachers on it and being like, "hey guys, let's be friends now..."
Okay, and now I think I've explained everything as much as possible and I am back on track again anyway, now, so again I would like to express that I don't intend on writing anymore in this thread and that I hope it is somehow overall a positive experience for everyone despite the negative emotions expressed.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron