Hi Rich,

We did some good work on Sunday, and I want to support the direction you are going – as well as to give a disclaimer to the nature of advice.  Whoever you talk to – can only speak from their experience.  I was drawn to Shinzen because of his vast understanding of all religions & their practices, his clarity – and his practical way of leading me to my own experience.  But you will be drawn to your own teachers, and more than anything I think or recommend, I want to encourage you to trust your own instincts.  Thus if someone arrives on the scene with a totally different approach – and it feels clear & good – that may well be indication of a path you might want to follow.

I was speaking of how Joseph Goldstein recommended getting grounded deep experiential understanding through any one path – before taking on others – to avoid always staying on the surface and not getting to the depth of experience.  But I happen to blend many paths & traditions in my day-to-day life – vipassana, native american, dreams, jhanas, intuition, shamanism, etc. etc. - and I just happened to stumble upon a long term training with a great teacher along the way – but I was having dreams & visions long before I met him and continue to follow them now.

The gazing I recommended, for example, comes from a totally different teaching/direction than anything I’ve ever mentioned or talked about in public.  (And I do also believe it’s rather intuitive as I was doing the mirror practice & the work with actors before I’d learned of the gazing practice – thus I was rather good at it having developed the muscles elsewhere.)  And my suggestion of gazing as an exercise for you, came from that moment of ‘dropping in’ you/we had during our interaction in the discussion period.  (The people I know who do the ‘gazing’ practice would call that “waking down”  :)   It’s all just words, so take them lightly and follow the experience.)

And I close with commending you on your earnest openness to discovering the truth.
Steph