Doctor Strange, the movie: serious Asura-bait

by Daniel Ingram

If you haven't seen the movie Doctor Strange and you like cartoonish action adventure movies, I highly recommend it. Not only are the graphics off the charts good, but the themes are perennially arising in spiritual practice.

What was so strangely compelling for me specifically about the movie was the numerous curious parallels, which I list in no particular order:

  • Many of the visuals were very much like those I experienced during my retreat in 2012 at the Tower of Hallbar (see The glowing amber fire-like energy that they drew the circles and energetic shields was just like one of the more common colors that I used to draw similar shapes, one of which Duncan saw.  The time-bending wheel that projected off his hand in green with sacred geometric patterns was uncannily similar to the spinning patterns I was conjuring off my hand towards the end of the retreat.
  • That raises questions of temporal magick, which I have been thinking about a lot recently. One small insight from that recent cogitation: patience is skillful fourth-dimensional logistics.
  • The battle scenes were uncannily similar to many of the standard battle scenes I have in my dreams, including the possibility of launching into a travel from them, the flying, some of the modes of combat, the energy blazing off their hands, the shifts between places and realms through self-created gates, the phase issues that they got into when traveling in which they had partial but not complete ability to move through various physical objects without interacting with them, the ability to warp space and circumstances around them, and the final reluctant standoff and truce achieved the the end between Dr Strange and Dormammu: all the stock themes of my frequent wizard combat dreams.
  • These wizard combat aspects and the temptations of power in general play right to my more Asuric tendencies and inclinations, for better or worse, and the karmic implications of that realm's  aspects are currently a hot topic in my life.
  • The theme of Steven Strange and Christine Palmer oscillating back and forth between the world of emergency medicine and the world of meditation and magick, with the odd paradigmatic tensions that can create, as well as the theme of progress, as they both learn to adapt and grow in paradigmatic flexibility to various degrees and learn to roll with the strangeness, as it were.
  • The themes of innovation, exploration, and feeling out of one's depth and yet somehow achieving things that one never thought one possibly could when it comes to meditation, astral travel, energetics, and magick.
  • The movie explored the perennial tensions between medicine and meditation regarding which is most needed in this world, realizing that they both complement each other and yet at times cause conflicts with each other, particularly in terms of money, time, renunciation, responsibility, personal healing vs healing the world, and social acceptance vs rejection in the two worlds. These are themes I wrestle with every single day, and working to craft some dynamic balance between them that does both well and honors the paradigms and limitations of both defines a large part of what I think of as the cutting edge of my practice.
  • I hope that my February retreat will help me find a bit more wisdom regarding some of these curious aspects of this life.

Second post

by Daniel Ingram

Well, I clearly am not that diligent about keeping an online practice journal. I do keep written journals at home, but somehow sharing all the little details online doesn't seem that interesting to me. However, I just thought I would give a brief update here anyway in general terms.

Sitting is mostly maintenance, just getting by. I sit, stages and states occur. There is no structure the vast majority of the time, just the various cycles cycling through as they do on their own.

I am considering a retreat for about 17 days in February, likely will be a mix of unstructured practice and elemental work, likely focusing on Water.

Most of my free time these days is dedicated to trying to strip my life down, sell my property, downsize, eliminate debt and entangling financial obligations such that I can work substantially less and have more time for things like the dharma, travel, music, exercise, and friendship: may this go well.

May all beings be happy and peaceful.

First Post: An Experiment in Online Practice Journals

by Daniel Ingram

My practice recently had a lot to do with community and communication at Buddhist Geeks 2013, where there were lots of opportunities to meet fascinating and diverse practitioners and hear about what they were into and what benefits they got out of that, as well as practice and explore what it is like to talk about this stuff rapid-fire with lots of people nearly all day long.

In my sitting practice I just sit and see what happens, as that is plenty interesting at this point. I am also beginning again to re-explore the world of intention and how that intersects with this wide interconnected web of causality at various levels and doing more metta and equanimity practices related to that, as they complement and balance each other nicely.