Description of the realm of ‘dread, trance, and emptiness’

The dark night of the soul is the journey from:
Illusion -> Illumination -> Union.
During the ‘Illumination -> Union’ phase,
There are different bardo realms of experience to be passed through.

Here I’ll describe the bardo I am presently going through,
Which is of ‘Dread-Trance-Emptiness’.
The ‘dread-trance-emptiness’ bardo,
Has a lot of chaos, confusion, and disorganization
There is deep exhaustion,
In my ability to ‘be/become’ anything.

Like the king is unable to act anymore.
He is just a passive witness to his collapsing kingdom,
Which is falling into evermore chaos-confusion-randomness.
He has even lost interest/desire in it to keep it going,
And is simply now a passive spectator,
Of the spectacle of his kingdom falling into chaos,
And getting reabsorbed by all its surrounding forces.

‘Neglect’ and ‘Withdrawal’ of anything causes death of that thing.
So the process is very much like the process of conscious ego death.

This paradoxically feels like a descent and ascent at the same time.
The plunge into the depths is also the ascent to the heights.
To see everything from above is to see everything from below, and vice versa.

There is a process of passive purgation,
Of a journey into the purgatory playing/unfolding itself out.
I abide in this space passively,
In a ‘continuous falling’ into it.
It is like being in a kayak on a river current.
You cannot stop moving,
But you can influence the kayak with your paddles.

There is again a paradox here, that:
It seems deeply personal and yet so deeply impersonal at the same time.
Passions emerge, actions happen,
But the emptiness of all of it pervades my being.
Almost no experience is riveting enough,
To make me lose sight of the emptiness in the background.

I feel if I pass through all this madness,
I might bottom out and emerge on the other side.
This feels more like a time-energy thing,
Rather than a defined spatial thing,
Where there is a definite distance to cover.

The loss of identity,
Causes a fall into the shadows underneath.
Like sinking into the ground of chaos-filth,
From which the trees of identity spawn and return to.

This is a place where will/action are heavily suspended,
(Hanged man tarot archetype),
And one must mostly only abide/allow.
The only freedoms I have are to resist or allow.
And resistance hurts anyways,
So there is no actual freedom at all.

This archetypal chaotic dream madness (which is also the creative ground),
From which identities/egos in the world spawn,
Resembles the ’12th house’ described in astrology.
It is like the state of ‘dreaming and imagination’.
Waking > Dream > Sleep is what we ordinarily think.
But I think in the spiritual ascension path,
It is the reverse.
Being awake in ‘Sleep’ = Prajna (direct insight),
Being awake in ‘Dream’ = Vigyana (special meta knowledge),
Being awake in ‘Waking’ = Gyana (knowledge)
I feel like my awareness of emptiness is me being awake in the dream world/space/bardos.

This underground/underworld,
Feels like falling into a bottomless pit,
Where there is an infinite fall,
And where I am always in the center in spite of the continuously falling.
Only the scenery continuously keeps changing.
Sometimes I fall through clouds of scintillating mist,
Other times I fall through clouds made of acid.

The only way to communicate or share this experience with others,
Is through imaginative symbolic expressions.
A person going through a similar experience would probably instantly relate.
For others it may be a bit of a stretch to imagine/see.

VR analogy for Turiya

In Vedanta,
There are the following different states of consciousness:
# Turiya
# Deep sleep = Turiya + Deep sleep
# Dreaming = Turiya + Deep sleep + Dreaming
# Waking = Turiya + Deep sleep + Dreaming + Waking

Turiya is not really a state,
But it is the transcendent reality,
That underlies all the 3 states,
Of waking, dreaming, sleeping.

A great way to experientially imagine this,
Is to take the analogy of a VR headset.
You are Turiya.
You first wear the VR headset ‘switched off’ on your head first = Deep sleep
Say the VR headset cycles through these 3 states of:
# Being switched off = Deep sleep
# Movie mode = Dream
# ‘First person’ avatar game mode = Waking
Let’s imagine there are 2 screens on the VR:
# The screen closer to your eye is the movie screen.
# The screen farther away from your eye is the game screen.

The 2 can play simultaneously also, but generally,
When the game screen is switched on,
The movie screen turns translucent,
And serves as a sort of AR (augmented reality) for the game screen.

Imagine you forgot you were wearing this headset,
And got immersed into the game screen appearance,
Then you will believe the game world shown on it is the ground reality.
Supposing you snapped out of the trance,
And realized you were wearing the headset,
This real you that woke up to this is ‘Turiya’.
The VR headset still cycles between being switched off, movie mode, and game mode.
However now the real you is awake behind all of these states.

Imagine trying to convince another avatar in the game mode,
That he is actually another person like you wearing the headset.
How would you go about it?
Whatever he points to in that VR game world,
And even his avatar body, would have nothing to do with what you are trying to point at.

Similarly the other implication of this analogy would be that:
If you went to deep sleep in the game mode for the other players,
It means your headset is in its turned off state.
The real you wearing the headset is still awake.
However, since your headset is switched off, you would receive no information from the VR game world.
Other players would find you motionless/asleep/dead.
And even if they waved at you from within the game,
You would not receive that.
But however the real you, is still awake,
Just observing the blankness of the switched off screen.
This real you that is transcendent of the VR headset and its simulated worlds = Turiya.

Sleep and Time

Sleep is the ultimate rejuvenator.
Every day you get around 7 hours (+-),
And it is non-negotiable.
If you use up 2 hours in the afternoon,
Then you get 2 less in the night.
Sleep is not something you can do.
You fall into it,
So there is no control.

It is like a gas station,
That allows only 1 refill per day for your vehicle.
Or like an ATM machine,
That dispenses a fixed amount to you everyday.
Or like your phone data plan,
Where you get 1gb/day and if you use it up early,
Then you would have extremely low speed until the next refill.

Sleep-Wake is a cycle.
It just goes round and round.
Time is all about cycles.
To be free from cyclic existence is to be free of time.

Look at your analog watch/clock,
Isn’t it a circle, with the hands going round and round?
The earth’s rotation gives day and night.
The moon’s phasing gives you a month
The cycles of the solar system give you your lifetime (84-120 years?)
The solar system, the arrangement of the sun, moon, and earth,
Work like a potters wheel,
Structuring life energy here into forms.

Time is an aspect/dimension of existence.
There are dimensions of existence beyond time.
When your vision has not grasped these cycles,
You think you are going somewhere,
But actually you are going round and round.
Like driving a car along a mobius strip.

Transcendence is when one rides the cycles of time,
Vs. being trapped in the cycles of time.

Clarity and Complexity

I had a dream in the afternoon where I just felt so sure/assured/totally confident about one small thing.
And this kept on playing again and again in my mind like a loop, and then I woke up.
So this sent me back to the drawing board to contemplate on the nature of life/reality/god/self.

I wanted to structure what happened to me in a larger context/perspective.
I do this all the time, start from scratch and create a new fabric of meaning.
It is a kind of primordial creativity, that I really enjoy giving expression.
So here is my articulation of my thought process.

In the dream there was an immense feeling of certainty for an extremely narrow idea, and it kept on repeating until I woke up.
I think, this is a case of: “clarity + simplicity”
Whereas, for phenomena like mystical experiences of profound certitude, it would be a case of: “clarity + complexity”
Both of the above can also be seen as:
Simple order/harmony/integration —–vs—- Complex order/harmony/integration
An old Nokia 3100 phone (from the early 2000s) —-vs—- An IPhone XS today
Both the devices can work great, be fully functional, and integrated in their design. But what a difference there is, in their complexity!
So this would be a good analogy for: my looping simplistic certitude dream vs. a revelation of profound implications felt in the waking state.

My experience of reality nowadays

I experience reality nowadays as a “changing/shifting ocean of sensation”.
In this ocean, various waves arise, from various apparent centers of consciousness that get formed, and various potentials are then available for various thoughts/feelings/emotions from these centers.
Another way to put it would be, my experience is like the movie “waking life”, i.e. like an endless moving lucid dream.
Another analogy would be, my experience is like a movie that is playing all the time, and I alternately engage with it in various ways, and then disengage in various ways, to come back and engage with…and so on.
I do not have much enduring identity day to day.
And my sadhana/effort is to return whatever remnant identity is there to the ocean.
I feel like I am a witness, that witnesses the whole changing ocean of relationship, where an “apparent I” and an “apparent world” appears and keeps shifting.
It always feels real in the moment, just like a dream feels real, but I also know that everything can change from my own memory of that happening a zillion times.

My experience is like the mantra AUM along with the pause.
Pause = the recharge of inspiration/energy.
Drawing the formless/unmanifest to form/manifest potential.
Expression in form/manifest.
Aaaaaa = Waking
Uuuuuu = Dreaming
mmmmmm = Sleep
Pause = the recharge of energy.
…and so on.

Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous system


There is downward energy flow = para-sympathetic nervous system(psns) = sleep(surrender, rest, relaxation)
And upward energy flow = sympathetic nervous system(sns) = doing (includes all attention, consciousness, thinking, moving)
These are 2 energy flow directions.

The self/ego (conventional) = sns (it is an identification with a certain activity of ‘doing’/verb).
When satisfied or exhausted – psns takes over and sleep happens.
Highest sns/Lowest psns = highest waking point(waking)
Low sns/High psns = dreaming
Highest psns/Lowest sns = deepest sleep point(deep sleep)

sns = pingala = male = doing = solar = order = anti-entropy = motivation = seeking = waking/dreaming = left brain
psns = ida = female = relaxing = moon = chaos = entropy = de-pression = assimilating = sleep = right brain
sushumna = harmonizing = transparent = transcendent pov = neither wake nor sleep = turiya = corpus callosum(brain)