Sun Letters
Chronologically listed for June-July-August, 2003

Subject: Re: Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 20:57:05 -0700

Dear R.M.: I'm very happy to hear from you. I must have written to you from your website, as I can't find a copy of my original letter. So please excuse any repetitions. I find you suggested exercises very inspirational, and as I probably mentioned there are ways they intersect with ones I already practice, plus add important new insights. The 'breath of fire' of course relates to 'bhastrika,' and I checked Iyengar's book to discover a variant he suggests, where the nostrils are slightly pinched shut. I tried this and it works very well because the abdominal muscles have to work harder (a better 'toning') and also the nostrils seem to receive more prana energy. The second exercise, jalandhara and mulabandha, also relates to the 'orgasmic reflex' that W. Reich discovered - I'm now going to order his books, which I have not read in years. I find that uttering "Ma" with the 'j and m' in a series of exhales duplicates not only the Reichian reflex but also a reflex I've been working with that is the final outcome of a prolonged bout of crying by a two-year-old (I'm exploring an early traumatic episode in my own life when I lost my mother forever at that age). I see a parallel between moving into higher and higher states of awakening and a series of regressions back thu childhood, infancy, the embryo, zygote to the moment of conception. This may all be just metaphor, but I have found it useful. Also, I must confess, I have recently, after a 22-year entheogen and 'herb' fast, discovered the goddess La Pastora in Salvia Divinorum. The four or five times I've encountered her in the past months have been extremely grace- filled. She totally dissolved me for a few moments of total freedom once, and then -- well, it's truly indescribable. One foot in the yogas and one in the Archaic Revival culture I think is the balance point I can work with. Again, many many thanks, Ramon (Ray) Sender R. M. wrote:


My Dear Friend and fellow Traveler,

 Thank you for the info and your insights.

 In regards to your recent adventures I can only say that I have traveled many paths, and I have confirmed at least to my own satisfaction the truth of an ancient Taoist saying:

 "The path from which you can fall - Is Not The Way."



Ramon (Ray) Sender wrote:

Yes, that is truth. But I would only comment that sometimes we can accept the Grace of a temporary dissolving into THAT while still conscious in order to bring a roadmap back with us. La Pastora seems to allow that.

Below this note I attach a rough beginning to a new essay. I would be very grateful for any thoughts you might have regarding this 'plateau' effect that is so predominant in the human species.

By the way, many many thanks for the "eee-vam" mantram. It has been proving very helpful. I identify it, for my own use, with the name of the primordial feminine 'Eve/Eva,' which also equates harmoniously with La Pastora, the shepherdess (who is also a garden goddess). It has helped me sort out six levels of the mulabandha contraction.

Sincerely -- and thank you for the Taoist quote. I'm a great admirer of the Taoist teachings.

Ramon (Ray) Sender


The Problem of The Eudaemony Plateau Effect (first draft of the opening argument)

 How much bliss can you tolerate? A young girl always asked this question to newcomers at the commune where I lived in the mid-sixites. Although at first glance this may seem unanswerable, the fact is that it uncovers an interesting fact. I think most of us have grown accustomed to remaining satisfied with some or other level of eudaemony -- well-being -- and when we hit that level, we tend either to fall asleep or drift. Drifting I would describe as turning to a task or a distraction of some sort -- switching on the TV or going to the fridge. We reach a plateau of good feeling that we unconsciously identify as all there is to feel -- a glass ceiling to potential fulfillment (Of course individual bliss toleration levels differ.). The most extreme example is when we go to sleep at night. We lie in bed and wait to 'become sleepy.' What does this phrase actually mean? For me, I feel a warmth begin in the 'hara' region just below the navel, and this warmth is very comforting and blissful, so much so that I 'snuggle' up to it as if I was a bear cub next to big Mama Bear, and lose consciousness. I have reached my eudaemony tolerance level as a conscious being, and fall asleep. The same can occur in meditative states, and various paths have evolved various techniques for keeping the meditator awake, from the Zen master's crack across your shoulders to the Tibetan technique of tying a strand of your hair to the branch of a tree above your head -- or some adequate substitute. Recently I've been trying a different approach, and that it is to duplicate the sounds of deep sleep while still awake and see if I can 'trick' the body into a sleep state while remaining conscious.


R.M. wrote:

My Dear Friend,

The Taoist saying I quoted is like a precursor to the Zen koan. One needs to spend sometime with it - before it cracks open.

I liked your essay.However, it is my experience that once one enters The River- The current then carries you along. RM


Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 23:23:33

(sent to three Buddhist scholars, who did not reply)

I have been for some time trying to find someone knowledgeable who could answer several questions that I have regarding the depiction of the Buddha. I notice that quite a few books on the iconography are listed on the webiste, but other than finding an excellent library, I thought perhaps you might be in touch with someone who might be able to answer the following:

One: what are the significance of the three wrinkles in the Buddha's neck?

Two: sometimes a pearl-like drop is displayed on the center edge of the Buddha's upper eyelid. What does this mean?

Three: Occasionally, the Buddha's mouth seems to be 'pursed' in a manner that makes me wonder if perhaps he is performing some variant of the Kechari Mudra, where the tongue is reversed backwards in the mouth.

Four: On one recent Akshobhya Buddha thangka I have seen reproduced, it seems as if his tongue is slightly protruding (see attached) which brings to mind the quote from Hermann Hesse's 'Siddartha':

 "Siddartha sat absorbed, his eyes staring as if directed at a distant goal, the tip of his tongue showing a little between his teeth."

Sorry to intrude! But thank you in advance if you can point me to some answers!



Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 00:44:40 -0700 To: J.H.

Hi, J! Just some recent stuff that I've been thinking about and doing... Hope all goes well at your end of the continent. I hear summer has not yet arrived -- how strange!

 We went tonight to City Lights to hear Diana di Prima read, and the crush was so intense that I went downstairs to browse the books, and found a great book of Tibetan thangkas "Buddha: Radiant Awakening" (edited by Jackie Menzie and pub'd by ArtAsia New South Wales. It included one of the Akshobhya Buddha with his tongue tip protruding between his lips. I'm really stoked, because that's my original fun meditation exercise upon awakening in the AM! I attach a close-up of the face, and then a one with redrawn lip lines. Reminds me of that quote in Hesse's "Siddartha" that I added to my Poohbear essay:

 "Siddartha sat absorbed, his eyes staring as if directed at a distant goal, the tip of his tongue showing a little between his teeth."

 I also attach a diag