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December 2015

"Developing the capacity for clear light dreams is similar to developing the capacity of abiding in the non-dual presence of rigpa during the day. In the beginning, rigpa and thought seem different, so that in the experience of rigpa there is no thought, and if thought arises we are distracted and lose rigpa. But when stabliity in rigpa is developed, thought simply arises and dissolves without in the least obscuring rigpa; the practitioner remains in non-dual awareness."

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, p. 63.


Focusing on my breath, belly tightening uncomfortably inhaling, thoughts wandering, unable to hold concentration on the soft exhale at my nostrils, I was trying to meditate again yesterday morning when I spontaneously began to make humming noises, long steady tones as I breathed out, alternating between mid and low tones. Breathing in, then hmmmmmm as the air went out, in again, then HMMMMM breathing out again, repeating like that. I didn't judge the noise or try to stop it because that wasn't how I was 'supposed to be meditating', instead I let what was happening happen, and I was amused that my body had taken to singing. I found the strong vibrations that humming caused in my chest easily deepened my concentration. It was in that state of absorption that the following daydream arose spontaneously and played out vividly as I continued to hum:

I found myself hiking purposefully above the timberline of a very steep, sharp, rocky, and mostly dry mountain. I was anxiously walking in the lead of a party who were some distance behind me. I could hear them but I was pressing on. I was looking for something when I rounded an unusually large boulder, bigger than me, eight or ten feet high, that looked out of place, like a gigantic egg shaped river stone with rough texture. Around that boulder, along and to the left of the path, was an unmistakeable cave opening, wide, dark, and about my height. I went in and immediately, as if I was already familiar with the place, took down from a high shelf, and from behind a small rock covering it, a small object that was just taller than my hand and about as wide as my palm. It was parchment of some sort, a scroll, shaped like a little torah, dressed in a dark blue cloth cover.

As soon as I had taken down the scroll, I heard a noise from further in and looked up to notice a light, what seemed to be an opening through the mountain, and a noise like the roar of the ocean meeting the shore. I automatically tucked the scroll safely away, deep in the chest pocket of my jacket, and began walking toward the noise. In a very few steps I was outdoors on an open flat, high above an ocean, with huge breakers hitting rocks below me. The moment was beautiful, breathtaking, awesome, fulfilling; a kind of peak reward.

I eventually turned around to a dark narrow cave entrance. My iPhone flashlight only confused my view, showing me many passages instead of one, no light came through from the other side. I was confused because the walk had seemed so short and now I didn't know which way to go to return and I feared getting lost inside a labyrinth of tunnels. I looked up and saw the ridge I had crossed under, the rock that separated me from my starting point. It was menacingly tall and sharp but I decided that since the walk through the cave had been short, I should be able to get back to my starting place reasonably fast. I climbed the jagged ridge slowly and just made it over the top as it was getting dark. I scrambled down the other side over sharp boulders until it became too dark to manage the decent safely. I found a sheltered spot down amongst the boulders and practiced a familiar meditation using a humming noise on the in and out breaths - high pitched on one exhale, lower on the next, then higher again. I knew it would be 8 to 12 hours until it was light but in this meditative state the time flew and I only once felt the presence of an animal who was more soothed by and curious about my sounds than any kind of threat.

When it was light enough, I got on top of a tall rock formation and easily spotted the camp of my climbing party who I saw were burning a small fire. I clambered down as I was very hungry and cold and, to many relieved welcomes, I was warmed up and fed. When the leader heard my story of the cave and the climb, he did not believe it. I suddenly remembered the scroll in my pocket, which I produced with a flourish and the entire tenor of the group changed. This object had so casually come into my possession that I never thought it would so drastically change the energy around me. The leader lifted the scroll from my hands with such deliberate reverence, observed by everyone with such awe, that only then did it occur to me that there had been any significance to my ordeal. The entire company walked the trail, forward and backward, for quite some time, covering high and low paths, but no cave entrance was ever found.

Back in the studio my meditation timer app beeped, I stopped humming, looked up, rang a bell, and wished my fellow meditators a good day.







Humming while meditating has really quieted down my thoughts.

Like water, ice, and steam,
Sentient, unaware, and inert
Are all made of the same stuff.





For a day everything functions, everyone does their job, all connections are made, all expectations are met, more or less, all mouths fed, all stories told, all hearts listened to, all voices heard, all grievances soothed, and even when things did not go as planned the alternatives worked out better, were more appreciated, were accepted with gratitude for the lessons taught, and the anxious frame, the tired frame, the nervous frame, and the frame that doesn't like to travel, the worrier, the fretter, and the scenario planner, were all noted equally, and then there was sleep.

The best of all possible outcomes


Flow beyond words


Waves engulf my gestures and I'm washed away.



No insights to report today, only sun, sea, and sand.

Always available where the wave meets the shore.


practicing first
effort then release,
marking the sand
letting go
into the waves

North Shore



The kind of day present in every moment.