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    1. #1
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      The Black Hole Project -- potential dream task

      hello. i have this idea involving lucid dreaming called the black hole project. it involves the concepts of fear, death, surrender, and enlightenment. it should be pretty cool and i would be excited to get some lucid dreamers on board to test it out. (in the flesh, i am working with buddhists, but they are just learning to lucid dream.) this could be a dream task of the month, or just an ongoing dream project.

      below is the idea posted in-line. it looks nicer as a word document, and if you would like the word documents, just send me an email and i can reply with the three attachments.

      -j



      The Black Hole Project

      In the study of historical accounts of enlightenment, there is often the case of a punctuated experience of death which immediately precedes the birth into an irreversible and effortless state of enlightenment (i.e., the direct yet ineffable realization of the true nature of the self, of no-self, of emptiness, of the Absolute.) This death—which could be thought of as the death of the self, of the persistent illusion of separateness, of insatiable desire, of ego, or of rigid ego-identification—presents itself symbolically as a sort of black hole or void which must be consciously surrendered to and entered.

      Usually this phenomenon has occurred spontaneously and (seemingly) at random to the individual, without regard to their current spiritual development. But what if the death of enlightenment could be consciously precipitated? And where could be more apropos to grapple with death than the bardo realm of our nightly dreams? Where better to awaken to the formless truth than in the formless non-physical dream world? Yes!

      And so goes the Black Hole Project, in which a black hole is summoned within a lucid dream, consciously approached, and then ultimately surrendered to. But not just any old black hole will do. It must be the black hole of your own death, which resides at the center of your being. Scary, yes; but it shouldn’t hurt a bit. This project takes the interconnectedness of death and enlightenment to the safe and startlingly real playground of the dreamworld, where we can finally mess around with it in a significant way.

      Now this is where it gets tricky, because at first glance it might seem like the goal of this project is enlightenment, which instantly invokes the dreaded paradox of enlightenment. But while the notion of enlightenment may indeed be the impetus of this project and what draws it forward, the actual goal is simply to increase a person’s capacity to surrender. This is harmless and invokes no impossible task of wanting to not-want. And the wonderful thing is, because the state of true and full surrender is already enlightenment itself, you win no matter what—black hole or no black hole. Best case scenario, you win what is on the other side of the black hole’s event horizon; worst case scenario, you win an ever-greater capacity for surrender, plus a useful familiarity with the subtle realm of dream and death.

      The thing is though, this very important concept of surrender can be so abstract and irrelevant in daily life that it’s difficult to practice seriously. But the Black Hole Project gives the practice of surrender new consequence and urgency. It re-frames the concept of surrender in the new context of a clear and approachable project. And it lets you know when you’re doing it right: Just watch your reaction to fear. Notice if it triggers mindfulness (lucidity), and see if you let this mindfulness inform your surrender. The next real try is only twelve hours away.

      It seems that the strongest criticism that could be made about this project is that ego will not kill ego, and thus the plan is already sabotaged in that you-the-ego will never willingly summon nor go through the black hole of death. And while the ego is indeed problematic in this general way, the central concept of surrender sidesteps this problem. All you really have to ever do is to surrender to what presents itself, with absolutely no expectation. And while the most direct path would be to summon a black hole in a dream, you could as well just simply wait for a nightmare to naturally present itself. (The nightmare then acts as a threshold guardian, beyond which lies the black hole. This will be presented as an essential strategy.) Another thing working in our favor is that the ego has a less tyrannical hold on us during the dream state. It is this attenuation of ego which permits usually suppressed material to bubble up from the unconscious into dreams.

      So basically, the Black Hole Project sits you in front of your own death and asks you to practice smiling calmly. And this is the most appealing aspect of the project: It emphasizes the reality of death and weakens its unfortunate taboo. Sure, effortless and irreversible enlightenment sounds nice. It may even pan out. But preparation for the inevitability of bodily death is always a solid plan. Finally we can open the gift of death, but without getting killed and having to start over again.

      The beauty of the Black Hole Project is that the entire time, you’re winning: You gain familiarity with the workings of the subtle realm of dream and death, and you deepen your capacity for true and full surrender. You learn what surrender feels like when done correctly. So even if the black hole in your dream remains elusive or unapproachable, when it does finally appear at bodily death, your familiarity with the concept will lend you a calm gracefullness and much better odds at getting it right this time.





      The Black Hole Project
      Questions and Answers

      What is the Black Hole Project?
      The Black Hole Project uses lucid dreaming to play around with concepts such as death, enlightenment, fear, surrender, and the true nature of the self. There’s also a black hole in there somewhere. The idea is to explore, confront, and ultimately move beyond our fears. You could say that permanent and effortless enlightenment is the goal, but formally the goal is to develop our capacity for intelligent surrender.

      What do you mean by “enlightenment”?
      It’s a tricky word because it tries to describe the indescribable. But what it points to is basically what could be called the absolute truth of everything. Often, this absolute truth is couched in terms of the nature of self—knowing who you are beyond name and form. “Enlightenment” refers to this direct contact with the absolute formless truth, which then lends a constant and effortless grace to the way a person relates to the world of form. And while enlightenment does then seem to be some sort of attribute that a person has or does not have, it would be more accurate to think of the person as simply the open generous space in which enlightenment has been allowed to flower.

      “Enlightenment” in this context does not necessarily refer to happiness (which comes and goes), but it does give a background of peacefulness to everyday life. This peacefulness is rooted in the absolute truth, which could be wrestled into words as the following: “What is true in me cannot be killed, not because it is strong, but because it is beyond the creation and destruction of time.” At any rate, it’s supposed to be pretty cool.

      What do you mean by “surrender”?
      In this context, “surrender” means to accept and respond to a given situation by recognizing the truth behind it. And so, the way it is used here, the word does not mean to simply give up. When the deep truth of a situation is understood, sometimes the correct response is action, sometimes the inaction of letting it be. Recognizing the truth or suchness of a situation is achieved by mentally stepping back from the situation and witnessing it. In the dream world, this would take the form of stepping back from the dream and thus triggering lucidity. In general, surrender of this type is a fairly wise way to deal with life.

      Why would the Black Hole Project be important or interesting to me?
      First and foremost: “Fear guards great treasure.” I don’t know who first noticed this, but it’s a very useful observation. When you combine this with the understanding that fear always points to the false self—or rather that this false self is composed solely of fear—the fears in your life can then be viewed as a teacher that always points out the falseness of your sense of self, leading you towards the great treasure of enlightenment (which is knowing the truth behind this false self).

      This is where the ‘black hole’ thing fits in. You see, there is a sort of black hole at the very core of each person. It is the secret formlessness which supports the outer form of the body. And when your body dies, you are pulled in to this black hole (which perhaps seems like a tunnel at first). If you resist due to fear, you lose the game and have to try again later via another birth and death, which includes having to go to high school all over again. (This alone should convince you of this project’s personal import to you.) However, if you are able to surrender to this fearful unknown and unknowable black hole of death, you win. Technically, the prize is a surprise; it has to be, as this is the nature of unknowable things. But as you can probably guess, it’s the whole freedom-n-peace of enlightenment.

      Here might be a useful way to look at this: You are trapped in a strange game. In this game you are forced to enter a living body, and then you are forced to exit said body. You are going to die. If you do it right, you win. And so it seems like a good idea to get a little practice in early. On its most practical level, this is exactly what the Black Hole Project gives you: Every step of the way familiarizes you with what true surrender actually feels like when properly done. On another level, this project offers you the potential for direct personal understanding of the nature of the self, of who you truly are beyond your name and form (the enlightenment thing again). In other words, the Black Hole Project makes enlightenment much more accessible.

      So what is this ‘black hole’ again?
      The black hole is the true eventuality of your own personal death. It is the still point of emptiness from which all is born and into which all dies. It is the agent of transformation which takes you from the hum-drum egoic duality of self and other, and delivers you into the ineffable non-dual truth of oneness. It is the void. It is an unknowable singularity, no matter how many words and concepts are thrown at it.

      What are the prerequisites to trying out this Black Hole Project?
      You should know how to lucid dream, and to be able to do it now and then. Otherwise it will be a little difficult to work with your most potent fears within a dream. You should also have a somewhat compelling interest in the concepts of death, enlightenment, fear, surrender, and the true nature of the self.

      What’s the game plan?
      The basic idea is to use the dream-world as a place to safely explore the relationship between death and enlightenment. Within a lucid dream, the dreamer is to summon the black hole of their own personal death, and then surrender to it. Alternatively, the lucid dreamer summons a fearful situation and then surrenders to that. You are to allow your nightmare monster to kill you. However, if this still too much to ask, you can dialog with your monster until you are ready.

      How long will it take?
      You could have success on your first try. For some people, that’s all they need. It’s not a complicated process; you just allow yourself to die. But to completely let go of all certainty and security may be a tall order for some, and thus they would have to keep trying, working with their fears as they come up during the day and during your dreams.

      If I do this stuff, will I really die?
      Yes. Well, just kidding, sort of. First of all, keep in mind that this is dreamland we are talking about; your body is safe and warm in bed; no worries. But really, one day your body will indeed die. (Maybe on a Wednesday, for example.) And when this happens, your experience with the Black Hole Project will allow you to approach that situation with more grace and calm.



      The Black Hole Project
      Strategies of Approach

      The following are the three main strategies with which to approach the Black Hole Project. And while only the first two strategies will provide the opportunity for completion of this project, the third strategy is no waste of time. Keep in mind that with each step of this project you are already winning because it is all centered on developing your capacity to surrender, which is the great key to handling life and death more gracefully.

      strategy one
      Inside of a lucid dream, request the black hole of your own personal death to present itself. Then surrender to its pull and consciously allow it to draw you into its unknowable and terrifying vortex of death. Game over; you win.

      Okay, the basic idea here is that this scenario should provide a punctuated and genuine death of the personal self, and you should wake up feeling fresh and permanently enlightened. But actually, because of both the basic unknowable nature of the whole death-thing and the total acceptance of true surrender, you really cannot formally expect anything from this scenario. You cannot expect a rebirth into enlightenment or to even to be reborn. In other words, you have to be genuinely ready to die, to be ready to give up everything in your current life, to be ready to totally quit the game. This is also because your nightmares can read your mind. And so if “death” is what you’re stuck on, your dream will be sure to thoroughly threaten you with the real thing. Keep in mind though that this is the dream world we’re talking about, so bodily death isn’t actually a possibility. (But it will seem like it is in the dream.)

      strategy two
      If this first strategy is just too direct and/or the black hole is not forthcoming, let us try the slightly more indirect method of using our fears to precipitate the black hole of death. Fear always points to the false self; they are one and the same. Another way to think about it is that fear always points to the truth by hiding it. That’s its job.

      So, inside of a lucid dream, request a nightmare about your worst fear. Alternatively, just wait until you have a fearful dream, and then become lucid. As fear is wrapped up in distracting emotional drama, keeping your cool calm lucidity could take some practice. (See strategy three.) Then surrender to your fear and consciously give it your full permission to kill you in your dream. The black hole should then present itself as part of this death experience. Surrender to the void. You win.

      The basic idea here is that fear is a powerful agent of transformation. It can transform you (read: kill you), but if you resist this transformation, you corrupt the process by adding another layer of fear. This step backwards cancels your step forwards, but at least you have gained some useful experience which you can apply to the next try, which is only as far away as the next night or nap. Instead of transforming you, fear can also transform itself. If this transformation is towards harmless benevolence, you can then pass this threshold of fear and add a feather to your cap. Granted this is not the end of the project, but it is a significant step along your journey, and is often a necessary prerequisite to entering the final cave of terror—the black hole of your own death.

      As you pursue this strategy, be sure to incorporate the fears in your waking life into your practice. When you come across a fearful situation, check to see if you are dreaming. And whether it turns out you are dreaming or not, let this reality check activate your capacity as a mindful witness to the fear. Of course, the physical world of waking life does not offer the same opportunities for directly confronting your fear, as there are physical consequences. So while your specific agenda is radically different in the waking world, its still good place to practice.

      strategy three
      If strategy two is still asking too much, then try just simply staying with your fear while inside a lucid dream. Work with minor fears first, perhaps summoning them or perhaps waiting for them to come naturally. Feel the fear inside you and let it be there. Then progress to a dialog with your fear, perhaps asking tricky zen-like questions like: “What is your true face?” or “Who are you really?” Things could shift in different ways at this point. The object of fear could transform into a helpful ally who councils you regarding the next step you need to take on this path. Or it could transform into an even more frightening monster, just to see if you’ve really gotten the point. It might even try to transform you, but if you resist our of fear, it just doesn’t count. If you are able to surrender, have now moved up to “strategy two”.

      The basic idea here is that fear is only a threshold guardian. It is guarding a great treasure (which is ultimately, but not immediately: the truth, the face of god, the nature of self, the real meaning of emptiness, your own enlightenment.) Another way to look at it is that fear is actually protecting you from this truth which threatens to shatter your world; it only allows the ones who are ready—who understand the truly insubstantial nature of fear—to pass the threshold.

      Practice with crossing this threshold should give you the tools you need to complete this project with one of the first two strategies. As you pursue this strategy in your dreamworld, be sure to use the waking world as a place for practice (as mentioned in the second strategy).

    2. #2
      Night Stalker <span class='glow_000000'>Baron Samedi</span>'s Avatar
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      Sounds fun. I didn't read through the whole thing, though, to be honest with you.

      I have done things similar to this. I create a black hole after smashing into the sun as a giant mudball planet the same size as the sun. I went into the black hole as Pan after merging with Zeus.

      I tried to kill buddha, but it didn't work, so I morphed into the Hawaiian demigod, Kamapua'a, and swallowed him.

      I also killed myself in a dream with a sword, then I went into the Void for a few seconds.

      But, going into a black hole, that is symbolic of my own death, damn, that is pretty heavy. I want to try it, but not right now.
      ya gwan fok wid de Baron? ye gotta nodda ting comin. (Formerly known as Baking Nomad.)

    3. #3
      Member Blazeingcxh's Avatar
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      I didn't read it all either, but correct me if i'm wrong,You want me ,when i get lucid,to bring about a sitoution were i am willingly going to die and stay calm?(tell me if i got it right)
      If i understood this right i'll give it a shot and report back.

    4. #4
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      confirmation

      yes, thats it. summon the black hole of your own personal death and then surrender to its deadly pull. give it full permission to kill you, and then see whats left.

      -j

      p.s. i will be doing a dream workshop in a remote location, and will thus be out of contact for this coming week.

    5. #5
      Member lemmefly's Avatar
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      I love the whole idea. Flying into a black hole has been one of my lucid dream goals for a while, but not necessarily with the expectation of it killing me and my whole notion of self, but rather just to see what happens.

      The first question that comes to my mind obviously is : "Have you already tried this??" (and if yes, with what results?)

      The only valid objection I see is really that you probably can't have the full effect as long as some part of you still knows that you can't really die and will wake up safely no matter what.

      However, the experience will probably be very useful and interesting nonetheless, and I see no reason not to give it a shot, so I will definitely try to remember doing this in my next LD.

    6. #6
      Member Blazeingcxh's Avatar
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      then i'll do it.

    7. #7
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      reply to lemmefly

      hello. i am back to reply to your message...

      here are a couple of fine points: the idea isnt really to fly into the black hole. the idea is to surrender to its natural pull. this is key. surrender is very important, and with surrender there is no expectation. you do not expect it to kill you. sure, this is in the back of your mind. but actually all you really do is surrender to it. allow it. if it pulls you in, cool. if it does not pull you in, cool. just see what happens, with no expectation.

      to answer your question: yes i have tried it. i cant really tell you all of what has been involved in that for me, bc that would corrupt this whole experiement and its idea of "no expectation"...

      but i can say that in my earlier attempts there were some funny and telling manifestations of the black hole. always in my childhood home... and being either the fireplace, the oven, or the heating duct near the baseboards of the house. interesting, bc these share the symbol of fire, which is a symbol for transformation (which is a polite word for death).

      so, yeah, anyway... please let me know how it goes for you. i can sometimes help when people get stuck in certain places. but i bet you will do just fine.

      -j

    8. #8
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      did everyone die in the black hole?

      i ask bc the thread has died... and i just want to be sure you are still alive. maybe you are now enlightened, and are just dealing with that?

      -j

    9. #9
      Vespa-driving burnout Johnbronze's Avatar
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      I have been ripped to shreds by a monster once in a dream, but i felt nothing but air (like a breeze). And i let it kill me too, i was young and fet up with these kinds of dreams where a monster is lurking in your house, so i decided that was the only way the dream would end. It didn't hurt or anything, but sent chills down my real world spine as i remembered my imaginary one being torn in two.
      ".. and if all else fails, there's always mescaline."

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