I was telling her today of how I used to have several serious mental illnesses as a teen – manic depression, anorexia, social phobia’s, anxiety, severe neurosis, a feeling of thoughts being uncomfortable and out of control, and general extreme discomfort at being alive. I told her of the intense discipline I put myself through, at it’s peak meditating from 5 to 12 hours a day for 6 months out of the year for two years, with a 9 and an 11 week solitary meditation retreat as two major transformative highlights of that time. After the 11 week retreat, most of my mental illnesses had permanently vanished or become no longer troublesome. It was incredibly difficult hard work, the likes of which most people would not bear for 15 minutes. I know a few people who have put in a great deal more sustained effort than I, and I’ve seen profound results in them. Not sure why I’m bringing that story up – I guess that kind of thing is on my mind a lot. You know some world famous teachers I respect said I had a rare ability to further in meditation practice, and some others mentioned a rare ability with chi-kung. I know I can combine the various levels – the much more difficult and extremely subtle levels of awareness that come available from shamata/vipassana meditation, the power of kundalini and the transpersonal sensitivities of chi-kung healing. Lately I’ve been waking up still doing chi-kung – apparently all night – or still maintaining some quiet mindfulness of the electric fan and my thoughts. Anyone can do that, with enough rigorous effort. Where it gets more subtle and not available to anyone is catching thoughts at their root so repeatedly and generally that the sense of a central watcher diffuses, and then perceptions get more and more vivid, until it is more accurate to say that perceptions are self aware. I’m familiar with that, momentarily, and I’ve had months where that was regular experience – vision and even thoughts arose as seen, instead of were perceived by the subject. That is a necessary and deep stage of the post-meditation experience – a stage I’ve often and unsuccessfully tried to re-capture and stabilize. It’s fucking difficult, and extremely rare. Even in very large meditation communities of serious and disciplined practitioners, only a very small minority will ever have that experience for more than a few moments, and fewer will stabilize it and have that throughout the day and the night. I’ve done it, so I can do it.