Claylimo's blog thread


Welcome to my blog thread.

This is the intro I made in the intro thread to get a little bit of an understanding of me but below that I share more about my current practice:

Interest in dreams… well, before recently, not at all.

Recently I was on a retreat and saw the power of dreams.

During the retreat I fell asleep while meditating yet I maintained awareness while still meditating. Then, I woke up while meditating too, all while maintaining awareness. I realized that maybe I could do this same thing while falling asleep. So that night I was able to immediately enter that state and fall asleep while being aware. What appeared was disturbing violent and sexual dreams but also the Flinstones. I could see the mind and dreams as separate objects. Was able to sustain that for 20-30 mins before actually falling asleep. This happened during the rest of the retreat too. Was able to observe which breath I fell asleep on.

A few days following the retreat while deep in a meditation I investigated the context surrounding the disturbing violent dream and had a massive cry-my-eyes-out session after unearthing 20 year old sadness.

I’m still able to fall asleep while being aware given the right conditions. I write down a 10 min review of my day noting any situations I reacted to anything, then meditate for 10 mins before going to bed. Then it is like I decide to fall asleep then am aware. I’ve had purifications during the night too as am able to guide the mind to forgotten memories that contain the unpleasant stuff.

I like what Andrew says in his book: follow the fear.

Everything he said about being a spiritual warrior sang to my heart too. Thank you, Andrew :pray:

For now I’m now just using this practice as a tool to investigate memories and understanding my own mind better to be both more aware and skillful.

About me more generally:
Grew up in NY, Canada and MN and have lived many other places since then.
Currently living in the Bay Area and moving into the Nyingma Institute (Berkeley, CA) in January.
Meditator 6+ years although within the last year going full speed following The Mind Illuminated with guidance of my amazing friend Tucker Peck who coincidentally is on one of the podcasts here. I have a very dedicated and determined practice.
I work in tech although I have a feeling my life will go in an even more spiritual way of life after living at the Nyingma Institute. I’m pretty interested in just living a simple life, honestly.

Summary of my current daily practice:

a. Dream journal
b. then, either qigong, or neuroptimal (a neurofeedback machine)
c. then, 2 hour sitting following TMI

Why qigong?
Specifically to increase body awareness. Low body and sensory clarity has been, in general, an issue for me.

Why neuroptimal?
Seems to help. Honestly not sure if it has a long term benefit though.

Evening (still tuning this but it’s a start)
a. an hour before bed an alarm goes off to signal that I need to turn off electronics and prepare for bed
b. then, journal - writing where I reacted to things during the day and how I can be more skillful
c. then, journal - writing down things I’m grateful are or about good things in the world
d. then, go to bed, try induction techniques

Why journal before bed?
While a dream journal is great for increasing memory recall of dreams but I want to increase memory recall of emotional events in general rather than forgetting them. It also seems to have a side effect of me thinking through how I feel about things more clearly during the day.
And writing gratitude directly afterward is a nice positive ointment to soften things after having reviewed possibly negative experiences.

Day practice
Paying attention to body sensations, often in the upper torso area (parasympathetic nervous system area)
A lot of it is simply slowing down, allowing the body to feel feelings instead of trying to avoid
Paying attention to how I feel all the time
If I notice day dreaming, I’ll switch attention to the upper torso
If I feel in a haze, I pay attention more directly to sense experience, e.g., the pressure of sitting on a chair or the temperature on the front or back of my body

Past random things and thoughts:

Finders Course:
was very beneficial to help me break the idea of how I was previously practicing meditation. IMO it is more focused on certain types of states or experiences and may lead to spiritual bypass so people can maintain their states. I didn’t transition during the course. Recommended if you are a skeptic around awakening. Although if you have a strong distrust of Jeffery Martin, probably not a good idea.

This brings fear and unpleasant experiences to the foreground. It destabilizes my sitting practice about 2 weeks though. There are insights gleaned without purging too. I recommend it if you are open to it.

Transcranial neuromodulation unfocused ultrasound (brain zapping):
This seemed to be helpful. it was over the span of a week. it was placed on areas of the brain related to spatial awareness. I got zapped immediately after a 10-day meditation retreat.

And lastly…

I’ve included all of my practices to provide a greater context. Dreaming is another piece of the puzzle. It provides greater emotional awareness, greater memory recall and a faster feedback loop of how unconscious mind is processing (or in some cases not process) emotional information.

I’ve barely started with the dream practices (a month) so really right now I’m trying to establish some vague base line and see where it goes.

I would say at the moment I’m largely focusing on understanding or releasing emotional layers. While there are certainly deeper insights to be had, the mind is less sticky by dealing with all white noise coming from unresolved, buried and ignored feelings.


I have little time to read since I’m doing so many practices but my main observations related to dreams are:

  • memory fragments - can be used as bread crumbs to find heavy emotional imprints that can be released, either during the dream or investigated in a sit
  • choppy fast dream chatter - generally not useful, like a firehouse of gibberish dreams that are hard to make sense of (at least right now), noticed during WILD
  • general dreams - can be deconstructed afterward, insight into behavior or feelings

I’ve ordered a number of books that I might have time to read, otherwise I’m very slowly growing through the content in Andrew’s book(s) and podcast/webinars/etc.

Notes from 3-day Tucker/Taft retreat in Berkeley

bliss equanimity, very pleasant

Friday night dreams
Woke up in the middle of the dream. One of the dream techniques when this happens is to repeat and replay the mind in this waking state but with a slight modification where you add the detail that you recognize you’re dreaming - this leads to lucidity in the dream after going back to sleep. So I did this and had lucidity, but the interesting part is that there were 2 dreams where something was ‘stuck’ or broken in the dream.
FIrst dream - the computer wouldn’t boot up, so in the dream I made it so the machine would turn on. I felt happiness after this happened
Second dream - a car kept getting into an accident and crashing. In the dream I repaired the car then stored it in my garage. IN the morning I was reflecting on this dream and it caused me to cry. So… purification in a dream, neat

feel like I don’t know what I was doing / how to meditate/ etc, very choppy, ended up doing a lot of body scanning toward the end

Saturday night
Dreamt that a spider was crawling so I woke up and did the same thing I mentioned earlier and when I returned to the dream I put the spider outside. And that felt mildly nice even now when thinking about it. I think it would’ve been interesting to instead lift the spider on my hand and look it in the eyes instead… but only because I want to be curious about what’s bother rather than putting it outside - putting a spider outside is how I might deal with it in real life and to me it is still humane way to deal with it.

release emotion associated with loneliness - even had content and memories around. It is similar to how I’ve navigated the unconscious stream of thoughts from dreams. More clarity and understanding of loneliness and how it came to be. Seeing all the dots connected together. Crying.

More clarity, more feeling, and more random dream stuff.


Thanks for posting your experiences. What type of meditation were you practicing while on retreat?
And can you explain more about what helped you break the way you were practicing meditation and why that was beneficial…your old way of meditating and your current way of meditating etc?



I practice what is taught in The Mind Illuminated (TMI) which is samatha-vipassana. During the weekend retreat I was in stage 8 according to their stage model. Mostly practicing choiceless attention. Or, watching the gone/vanishing moments of phenomenon, e.g., noticing the gaps in sound.

What broke my old way of meditating was basically seeing that there was more than one way to do it but also to find a technique that really works and feels like a good fit then go 1000% on it. Finders Course helps to demonstrate this idea of technique matching since we were basically trying a new technique nearly every week and seeing how we respond to it. For example, doing noting really messed me up, where as doing something like body scanning, or ascension (vaguely similar to trascendental meditation) felt actually helpful.

After Finders Course I stuck to doing Ascension for about 9 months before starting TMI which felt like a better fit because it felt more organized and linear. Ascension is also somewhat organized and linear too but didn’t have a strong online presence/community in the same way TMI does. And coincidentally after starting TMI I moved two blocks away from Tucker Peck who had studied under Culadasa which helped to solidify TMI as the right direction to go. Also seeing the vital role of a teacher and having someone to talk to for a mere 5-10 mins each week about practice to get unstuck.

Finders Course helped to show me that awakening was possible for me (and everyone really). I had a few random and very brief nondual and equanimous states that helped me to put a lot of faith into the dharma.

My old way of meditation had very little guidance and direction, no teacher, no sangha and there was a lot of fumbling around. I also was very protective and closed off about my meditation practice. Very sensitive to feedback or criticism. I never really knew if I was doing the right thing. My own stubbornness around thinking I knew best got in the way. Yet, now having faith in myself, the dharma, a teacher and the process has eliminated the majority of doubt.


Notes from last night:

Last night was a cluster fuck, I got lucid and then I had a negative though loop turn on so I thought maybe I could manifest that into a dream being and see if I could deal with it similar to how I’ve used the Feeding Your Demon technique (click for the technique).

I had also read somewhere on this site about dream yoga and how to get familiar and to get comfortable with things I’m afraid of in a dream. So instead of jumping directly to the feeding your demons technique, I decided to have a lot of curiosity around the being… to get close to it, touch it and walk around it. When I did this, I yelled and my whole body bounced in bed into some weird position… tried to stay with whatever feeling seemed to be releasing then burped, coughed and yelled some more over the span of 30-60 mins. The ego came on and offline a few times (in deeper sleep states the ego is suppressed). It felt more like an exorcism. Also similar to how I might respond to aya/shrooms.


The exorcism-like dreams persisted for about 2 weeks although one only reached the same intensity as the one mentioned above. It shifted once I read in Andrew’s book that if I’m afraid in a dream then I’m not truly lucid. So then when I started to feel fear or intense feelings I would remind myself it was a dream and I would still get the purification but without the body reacting in the way that it previously did. I also tried getting into deeper stages of sleep too where this was more accessible. It seems to have also set off a cascade of purifications both at night and during the day with this new way of looking. There is at times also increased clarity about the breakdown of feelings, e.g., like which feeling is blocking which feeling.

My understanding is that this is a relatively normal process where there will be periods of purifications with varying degrees of intensity than it will cycle back to more pleasant meditations… which then allows for more unpleasantness and purifications to float to the surface starting the process all over again. It is like an engine.

In rare cases though, a thought/intention were physically incapacitating though which led me to not follow through with an action.

Also, as of Jan 1st, I am now a resident of the Nyingma Institute. I spoke with one of their staff (who has heard of Andrew) and she has said there have been dream yoga retreats here in the past (!) so maybe there will be one of those in the future here too. The lama who lives here has also done a 3 year retreat.


I’d like to know more about the Nyingma institute. Why did you choose to live there? My wife was raised in that tradition and I am familiar with many of the rituals and practices associated with this oldest of the Tibetan schools.

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To be honest… it was pretty random. I was looking for a dharma community to live in and this is what I found. I don’t know much about Nyingma in general but intending to learn what I can while living here. Two of the most significant practices I’ve done are derived from Tibetan practices - dream yoga and feeding your demon (also known as chöd meditation).

I am specifically looking to live in a place with more serious practitioners without having to become a monk too. It seems so far the serious ones are the long term residents of NI.

I’ve moved to a new place almost every year, I would also like to find a place where I can live long term, and maybe this is it. I really want this to be it.


Great Blog! Thank you for sharing your practice. Your honesty is inspiring as you work through the beauty and challenges of practice. Wishing you well on your journey!


Wow, thanks for sharing, what a rich background you bring my friend. What you share is inspirational. Night Club will benefit a great deal from your participation. I do quite a bit in the Bay Area, a gig at 1440 this summer, (Santa Rosa this very weekend), Esalen in March. So perhaps we can meet someday. Maybe look at the book Already Free, by Bruce Tift, for working with emotional layers. Brilliant stuff IMO.

Welcome to our club.


@Andrew thank you for sharing about 1440, I didn’t know about that! I am deciding whether I want to do it. I feel more inclined to schedule 1-on-1 sessions with you though. The book Already Free has just arrived in the mail, thank you.

The reason I started to go full speed with meditation is because of love.

I had been meditating for about 4 years then I met and dated a woman from (yes, online dating for mindfulness works!) for 1.5 years. She was very advanced in her own practice and one day she asked me “Do you love yourself?” and I said “Yes.” Of course, I couldn’t say no to a question like that. That’s not something I’d want admit. The relationship was actually doomed from get go. I had entered the relationship with her for selfish reasons both for sex and getting what “I” want, and ultimately had the attitude that I’d never meet someone worth dating. Previously I’d had a string of short relationships less than 3 month relationships. Despite this we continued.

She said she wouldn’t date someone who didn’t have a serious practice or hadn’t done the Finders Course. Finders Course - the enlightenment bootcamp. So I thought, oh, I’ll do the Finders Course and I’ll be enlightened and I won’t need her anymore and I’ll be happy. So I took the Finders Course. Although I didn’t become “enlightened” I did have some interesting experiences. Also didn’t end up happier. The relationship continued.

So, I did ayahuasca and it made me feel open and loving… then we decided to move in with each other. That feeling slowly faded and felt like I was back where I started. After 2 months of living together I started looking for a new place to live.

Around this time is when I met Tucker Peck. He was coincidentally looking for a place. I found him by looking for people who might want a dharma house on the Facebook housing groups - the Bay Area housing is quite a mess, there’s a number of FB groups dedicated for trying to find housing/roommates. And also coincidentally I had just started practicing TMI which Tucker is one of the few authorized teachers for. While we didn’t move in with each other we did end up 2 blocks away from each other.

After moving out, the relationship with the woman rapidly declined and we official broke up. At the end of the relationship there was relief then soon loneliness hit.

I realized I could not be in a relationship with someone until there was some resolution regarding love and my historical unhealthy habit patterns. This was the fuel. To be able to love both myself and another human being.

Tucker’s guidance acted like a rumble strip and guard rail to keep me on the road and to stay on the path.

After Labor Day I spoke with a female friend and she said to me “I love you!” then she told me to say it back to her. I did and I felt love. It was beautiful.

In the beginning of November I attended an ayahuasca retreat and after drinking the medicine I fell in love and felt love toward one the helpers at the ceremony. I inevitably told her this was my experience which was educational because I could see how my mind got tied up with the feeling of love making it seem out of reach (that took many days to deconstruct). I’ve noticed also previously in practice that I feel I don’t deserve love or joy or bliss.

Like a scratch and sniff sticker I have scratched the surface of love.

My practice went to 75 mins a day, then 75 mins twice a day, went a handful of Tucker’s 3-day retreats, did a solo 3-day retreat, change the sit to once a day for 2 hours, solo 10-day, solo 3-day, then a group 10-day. Then had the crazy dream yoga experiences mentioned earlier this thread and now we’re at the present. Soon doing a solo 9-day retreat at the Nyingma Institute with Michael Taft for the phone interviews. The more the layers come off the more I see how much work there is to do. The more freedom appears the more it seems desirable and the only way forward.

As for love… I believe it is closer than it has ever been and may even be accessible right now under the right conditions.

For better or worse, trying to find a loving partner is taking second place to spiritual practice. Perhaps I could meet with someone with a similar level of motivation for or inclination toward practice. The right woman will appear when the time is right.

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I changed my mind about going to the Multiversity event in June. If anyone else is attending, shoot me a message/whatever :slight_smile:
I’ll likely be taking a Lyft from Sunnyvale (or Berkeley) to the location since I do not have a vehicle.