Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross

Toggle
Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/9/20 10:23 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross An Eternal Now 3/9/20 12:07 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/9/20 12:20 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/10/20 1:12 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross agnostic 3/10/20 12:02 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/11/20 1:58 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/12/20 3:55 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/13/20 6:36 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/13/20 1:28 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/13/20 1:19 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Ni Nurta 3/10/20 1:27 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/11/20 1:59 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/13/20 1:41 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/14/20 3:26 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/14/20 6:33 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Ni Nurta 3/14/20 8:04 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/15/20 7:16 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Chris Marti 3/15/20 8:26 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/15/20 9:20 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Chris Marti 3/15/20 9:55 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Mike Smirnoff 3/15/20 9:57 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/16/20 7:32 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/16/20 8:19 PM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross terry 3/13/20 1:25 AM
RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross Tim Farrington 3/27/20 8:36 AM
Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/9/20 10:23 AM
Hi all,

I wanted to know similarities and differences between:


1) Dzogchen/Mahamudra
2) Vedanta (this is vast but let's say teachings of Ramana Maharishi and teaching of Aham Brahma Asmi -- there's an Indian book I can cite but it's in Hindi and likely not read by any here -- but I wish I could cite it here. Edit: On second thoughts, let me add an old text for which there is a translation available -- it's called Vedanta Sara -- a translation to English by Ballantyne is available online.)
3) Teachings of St. John of Cross on Union with God and Ladder of Love

All are buzzing in my heart at the same time. I believe I'm having some Union with God experience in my heart (probably not physical heart) but I'm not sure. At other times, it's awareness of awareness and then awareness of outside world experience. And still other times, it's an experience of a self that just experiences -- a pure self kind of experience (though I don't have any experience of it being eternal). And at still other times there's the experience of a self which is not uttering "I".

Ingram says in his book and I'm paraphrasing (correct me if I'm wrong): He reluctantly admits that different paths can lead to different end points. So, do these paths lead to different end points or the same end point?

I'll also add a 

0) Theravada: let's say, Ingram style. A discussion of end-point IngramTheravada style can be found, I think in the Revised 4 Path model section, where Technical 4th Path is talked about.

Of course, I know there's the concept of Samma-sambuddho vs. Arahatship in Mahayana vs. Thervada (which I don't quite understand either).

Any ideas/ramblings/thoughts/discussions welcome. Thank you!

Mike. 

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/9/20 12:07 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Hi, not sure if you're aware of this map http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2007/03/thusnesss-six-stages-of-experience.html

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/9/20 12:20 PM as a reply to An Eternal Now.
No, I wasn't aware. Many thank you's for pointing this out!


Mike.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/10/20 1:12 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Further additions to the above:

As I let go of all my fears (the last remaining ones being: what if I don't attain Nibbana, what is the truth of re-birth, what if I'm reborn, what about the remainder of my life, and letting go of Nibbana itself), what I find is God sitting right in the center of my heart. There's a feeling of "All done, nothing remaining to be done. God's been found. Was right here." Rest of bodily functions, thoughts, emotions, urges, all seem to be just bodily processes right now, which just take the path of laws of nature. And there's a feeling of no more need of any more meditation practices.


Again, would appreciate it if some one would help me make sense out of all this.


Mike.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/10/20 1:27 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Imho there is at least as much personal touch from people who wrote texts and places/times in which they wrote them as there is tradition which merely influenced these people in the same way, from contact with other people. In other words when reading about traditions other than words you get snippets of their souls or perhaps even coordinates to their souls which allows you to connect to them directly.

There is story of Amitābha who created his pure abode sukhāvatī for all who merely think of his name and it just works.

Differences between various types of enlightened people like eg. Arhat vs Buddha is that the latter understands that Dharma is something that needs to be created, not merely something that already exists and that need to be attained. I would also argue Buddhas have much easier time experiencing other people pure abode / dharmas exactly because they know how to register dharmas and thus where to look for them. This include all dharmas, not merely those that are supposed to be enlightened so all souls in general, including of beings which are not what we would call sentient.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/10/20 12:02 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
All done, nothing remaining to be done.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/11/20 1:58 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
More additions to this:


Every possible idea and every possible thought is now being let go of (or turned over to the Universe).

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/11/20 1:59 PM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Thanks for your thoughts, Ni Nurta.

I learned something ... meaning what you wrote hit me somewhere ... exactly how, I don't know how to express in words ... something non-conceptual (or my lack of conceptual skills) ...

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/12/20 3:55 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
And now, various papancas (Madhupindaka Sutta, Majjhima Nikaya or Concept and Reality by Nanananda), all seem to be ending in G (God). And there seems a G established in the heart.


Papancas still exist ...

Edit:

Plot thickens. There are times when I observe all these papancas, mind feels tired and wants to rest in cessation (whether this happens or not I don't know)

An architecture for life seems to be coming up:

1. Various papancas ending in God (this is my way of wanting to live life by God's will, not my will -- and this is my way of living life without an "I", without greed, aversion, delusion. Goal would be that the papanca does not start itself and as soon as "I" comes it gets united with God. As they say, unite self will and God's will. Beyond that, I'm rambling.
2. Other papancas exist not ending in God but going that way and I'd want them to go that way.
3. At some times, I want to sit in my heart, resting (with myself or with God)
4. At other times, I want to rest in cessation (whether it happens is anybody's guess) 
5. Most papancas will (I think) leave other than those fundamental ones responsible for maintaining life, whatever it becomes/looks like.
6. More learning may happen in life.
7. Various life processes will happen: work, family, friends, basic life stuff.
8. At the end of life, I'd want to end in final cessation (whether this will happen or not is all up for grabs!)

I think I'll shut up, coz this seems to be changing every day! I'll report back in a few days.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/13/20 6:36 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
I might have found some way of making some sense out of what I wrote above using Theravada Buddhist language. *As always, all thoughts welcome, all criticism welcome*


This sub-post can be titled Animittam Cetosamadhi/ Cula Sunnata from Majjhima Nikaya.


I'm typing here some commentary of Nanananda from Page 91-92 of his book Concept and reality:

```
As this place of Migara's mother is empty of elephants, cows, horses and mares, empty of gold and silver, empty of assemblages of men and women, and there is only this that is not emptiness, that is to say, the oneness grounded on the order of monks even so Ananda, a monk not attending to the perception of village, not attending to the perception of human beings, attends to the oneness grounded on the perception of forest. His mind is satisfied with, pleased with, set on, and freed in, the perception of the forest. He comprehends thus `The disturbances that might be resulting from the perception of the village do not exist here; the disturbances that might be resulting from the perception of human beings do not exist here. There is only this degree of disturbance, that is to say, the oneness grounded in the perception of the forest. He regards that which is not there as empty of it. But in regard to what remains there, he comprehends. `This is' because it is. Thus, Ananda, this comes to be for him a true, unperverted and pure descent into emptiness

In much the same manner as above, the Buddha describes how a monk gradually and by stages attains perception of earth as the objective of meditative absorption , perception of infinite space, perception of nothingness ... perception of neither perception nor non perception and the mental concentration based on the signless (animittam cetosamadhi). At that last stage, he knows he is only experiencing those forms of disturbances arising from the body endowed with the six sense sphrees due to the fact that he is living. Then again he reflects on the mental concentration of the signless and his mind delights and abides therein. He now beings to reflect thus: (pali) "This concentration of mind that is signless is effected and thought out. But whatever is effected and thought out that is impermanent and liable to cease. Even as he knows and sees thus, his mind is released from cankers of sense pleasures, of becoming and ignorance. In freedom, he has the knowledge that he is freed and he comprehends that he has attained the Goal. He introspects and finds that while those disturbances that might arise from the three cankers are no longer there, he is still subject to whatever disturbances might arise from his body with its six sense spheres due to the fact that he is alive. Accordingly he determines the fact of voidness, being faithful to the findings of his introspection.
'''

The above is the description of Nanananda. This book Concept and Reality can be downloaded from archive.org. Now I don't know what this animittam cetosamadhi is. But I'm making an assumption here that it is just pure awareness of whatever is happening. I've been able to reach it (I think) via at least 4 methods: 

1. Follow Mahasi style method (with tinge of Goenka as I describe in my post "End of in-breath") and then after equanimity, when I asked for Nibbana, I entered this state.
2. Say exactly as Nanananda says, get to neither perception nor yet non perception, emerge from it, and we aer in a pure awareness kind of state
3. The instructions of Loch Kelly here:
https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/glimpse-mindfulness/
The part of Eye of awareness
4.  When reading Ramana Maharshi, I get into some pure awareness state somehow
5. Using Culadasa's methods on still point and emptiness.

Here Nanananda says, at this point he knows he's experiencing only those forms of disturbances arising from the body endowed with the six sense spheres due toe the fact that he is living. I've had this kind of thought process occur I think by use of the above 5 methods.

Now, from animittam cetosamadhi, Nanananda talks about method of how to get insight into it: he talks about it being created and thought out, thus impermanent, etc. What I did was I saw thoughts about the self being self referential. Then I saw this pure awareness looking at itself. Then I saw just the awareness looking out. And realized it is just awareness and beyond that, awareness is just a word. One can create conditions to live in it for ones who life time (go off to the Himalayas) but it seems likely it will end at death (or maybe not, but the fact of the matter here is that it shows clearly how we create thoughts of eternity in the mind and the point of this practice is to show I think that these thoughts of eternity are just thoughts -- whether eternity exists, that's beyond the point. Edit: similarly, whether annihilation exists that's beyond the point -- I think the point is to see how the mind creates views around it. I personally have had to work much more with eternity than annihilation -- coz my views coming out of birth are based on an eternal soul). 

In short, awareness is just awareness.

At this point Nananda says, "Even as he knows this and sees thus, his mind is released ...." 

So there's no question of reaching fruition here in this sutta. Mind seems to be released from cankers without reaching fruition just by the whole above mentioned process.

For me, I don't know about cankers gone (whole subject is rather controversial -- traditional theravadin's will say sensual desire is complete gone whereas Ingram says that is a wrong limited emotional range model and that what Ingram says makes sense to me).

What has happened for me personally is that after seeing awareness as awareness, some analysis around it, at some point, I was willing to let go of Nibbana, found God in the center of my heart, and  I'm happy to just live by the will of God (to put it more correctly, align my will with the will of God). This simple beautiful statement made sense to me for a long time but it sunk in deeper after the above experience of pure awareness and noting that it is something that can last a life time and that any thoughts of eternity around it are just thoughts and views. This is likely just a cultural thing -- this is the language that makes sense to me. I live hence forth, what cankers gone means, I don't know, but what I know is that body still exists, life processes still exist, but live it in a good way with whatever happens : that is, live by aligning my will with God's will.

But yes, still no fruition, and if it has happened at any point (this is possible it has happened momentarily and I've not registered it as fruition -- there are a few occasions which I can think of but I don't know) ... and this question still bothers me, but what has happened is that I find my mind at ease with the idea of letting go of this question of fruition.

Beyond that I don't know. I hope it's truth speaking, not Mara speaking! I'll give it many months to see what this has done to my mind.

So, this is my analysis. Any thoughts welcome as always.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/13/20 1:19 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Further additions to the above:

As I let go of all my fears (the last remaining ones being: what if I don't attain Nibbana, what is the truth of re-birth, what if I'm reborn, what about the remainder of my life, and letting go of Nibbana itself), what I find is God sitting right in the center of my heart. There's a feeling of "All done, nothing remaining to be done. God's been found. Was right here." Rest of bodily functions, thoughts, emotions, urges, all seem to be just bodily processes right now, which just take the path of laws of nature. And there's a feeling of no more need of any more meditation practices.


Again, would appreciate it if some one would help me make sense out of all this.


Mike.

aloha mike,

   Now, why on earth would you want to make sense ot of all this?

   Now more than ever you need the discipline of practice.

   Hold on to your seat.

terry



from "the essential rumi," trans barks:



The Sunrise Ruby


In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/13/20 1:25 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Imho there is at least as much personal touch from people who wrote texts and places/times in which they wrote them as there is tradition which merely influenced these people in the same way, from contact with other people. In other words when reading about traditions other than words you get snippets of their souls or perhaps even coordinates to their souls which allows you to connect to them directly.

There is story of Amitābha who created his pure abode sukhāvatī for all who merely think of his name and it just works.

Differences between various types of enlightened people like eg. Arhat vs Buddha is that the latter understands that Dharma is something that needs to be created, not merely something that already exists and that need to be attained. I would also argue Buddhas have much easier time experiencing other people pure abode / dharmas exactly because they know how to register dharmas and thus where to look for them. This include all dharmas, not merely those that are supposed to be enlightened so all souls in general, including of beings which are not what we would call sentient.

all dharmas are conditioned...

dharma with a capital D implies the absolute, unconditioned, undiscriminated dharma, which is not created and has no origin or support...


"the one mind is rootless and foundationless..."


t

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/13/20 1:28 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
More additions to this:


Every possible idea and every possible thought is now being let go of (or turned over to the Universe).


from "through the looking glass" by lewis carroll:


"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/13/20 1:41 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Thanks for your thoughts, Ni Nurta.

I learned something ... meaning what you wrote hit me somewhere ... exactly how, I don't know how to express in words ... something non-conceptual (or my lack of conceptual skills) ...



from "through the looking glass" by lewis carroll:


'It seems very pretty,' she said when she had finished it, 'but it's rather hard to understand!' (You see she didn't like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn't make it out at all.) "Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don't exactly know what they are!"

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/14/20 3:26 AM as a reply to terry.
Thanks Terry for your thoughts!
Question still remains: where am I on the path?!
I try to not let it bother me much but it remains.

Mike. 

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/14/20 6:33 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Thanks Terry for your thoughts!
Question still remains: where am I on the path?!
I try to not let it bother me much but it remains.

Mike. 


If you have to ask, you aren't on it.

t


from "the matrix":


Neo: 
Do you know what that means?

Oracle:
It means know thy self. I wanna tell you a little secret, being the one is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/14/20 8:04 PM as a reply to terry.
terry:
Oracle:
It means know thy self. I wanna tell you a little secret, being the one is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.

I love it emoticon

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/15/20 7:16 AM as a reply to terry.
Noted your view, that "if I still have to ask, I'm not there."

Here's a thought experiment:

Consider an arahat who does not know that he is an arahat (such arahat's exist per Ingram's book and per Angana Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya). Now, according to what you say, to this arahat, the question of whether he is an arahat should never arise because if it arose, that implies, he is not there, that is, he is not an arahat. Now consider such an arahat is listening to a Dhamma talk.  According to your reasoning, to such an Arahat, still, the question of whether he is an Arahat or not will not arise.


Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Just pointing out what your statement implies.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/15/20 8:26 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Think not thinking.

emoticon

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/15/20 9:20 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
?
I don't understand.
When I meditate, few hours a day, I make sure I'm not thinking (or when thinking during those times, get off the thinking).

After that, some times, I type up some thoughts here (which come after the meditation or some which came during).

So, what exactly are you suggesting?

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/15/20 9:55 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
I was using a Zen expression (from Dogen) to suggest that you may be overthinking things.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/15/20 9:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Ah, I see. That's probably true! 


Mike.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/16/20 7:32 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Noted your view, that "if I still have to ask, I'm not there."

Here's a thought experiment:

Consider an arahat who does not know that he is an arahat (such arahat's exist per Ingram's book and per Angana Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya). Now, according to what you say, to this arahat, the question of whether he is an arahat should never arise because if it arose, that implies, he is not there, that is, he is not an arahat. Now consider such an arahat is listening to a Dhamma talk.  According to your reasoning, to such an Arahat, still, the question of whether he is an Arahat or not will not arise.


Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Just pointing out what your statement implies.

   I don't see how you arrive at that implication. 

   The presence of doubt implies the answer: there is no attainment. When you have arrived somewhere, the sense of there being a there there will be there.

   Which reminds me of a zen story. The master asked a monk if he had been to the top of the holy mountain. The monk replied that he had. The master asked the monk "was there was anyone there." The monk replied "there was not." The master said, "and to think I doubted this fellow." The monk retorted, "if I hadn't been there, how would I have known there was no one there?"


terry

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/16/20 8:19 PM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Noted your view, that "if I still have to ask, I'm not there."

Here's a thought experiment:

Consider an arahat who does not know that he is an arahat (such arahat's exist per Ingram's book and per Angana Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya). Now, according to what you say, to this arahat, the question of whether he is an arahat should never arise because if it arose, that implies, he is not there, that is, he is not an arahat. Now consider such an arahat is listening to a Dhamma talk.  According to your reasoning, to such an Arahat, still, the question of whether he is an Arahat or not will not arise.


Whether this is true or not, I don't know. Just pointing out what your statement implies.

from "hafiz - thirty poems" trans john murray


LXXIV


(Since reason is of no use to the lover, he must abandon himself to
chance and to impulse. It lies in himself whether he shall prove
to be of the chosen few who may achieve that perfect union which
they seek.)


KNOWING love's ocean is a shoreless sea,
What help is there? - abandon life, and founder.

Bring wine; don't scare us with Reason's prohibition:
That magistrate has no jurisdiction here.

When you give your heart to love you make the moment lucky:
No need of auguries to perform good deeds.

Ask your own eye whose is the murderous glance;
0 friend, this is not Fate's crime, nor the stars'.

Pure eyes discern him like the crescent moon:
But not all eyes have scope to see that splendour.

Seize the chance offered by the drunkard's road:
Like the clue on the treasure-track, not all can find it.

You are not moved, witnessing Hafiz' tears ?
I cannot understand that heart, harder than stone.

RE: Dzogchen/Vedanta/St. John of Cross
Answer
3/27/20 8:36 AM as a reply to Mike Smirnoff.
Mike Smirnoff:
Hi all,

I wanted to know similarities and differences between:


1) Dzogchen/Mahamudra
2) Vedanta (this is vast but let's say teachings of Ramana Maharishi and teaching of Aham Brahma Asmi -- there's an Indian book I can cite but it's in Hindi and likely not read by any here -- but I wish I could cite it here. Edit: On second thoughts, let me add an old text for which there is a translation available -- it's called Vedanta Sara -- a translation to English by Ballantyne is available online.)
3) Teachings of St. John of Cross on Union with God and Ladder of Love


Hi Mike,

You certainly came to the right place to talk about the translations and cross-mappings between Dzogchen/Mahamudra, Vedanta, and John of the Cross, in the lingua franca of MCTB! I am in the John X lineage myself, cleared to do the dishes in the monastery kitchen, and have spent a lot of the time over the years in recurrent work on trying to reframe what I know of that path into the vipssana mapping(s) that Daniel Ingram offers in MCTB. It seems like you may have your grounding in some kind of God-language (you seem pointed pretty deeply toward "Thy will be done" as a rough sketch of the fruits of all this labor), and are fearless enough (and, I would suppose, advanced enough in the fundamental Dark Night schooling of "God taking away our notions of 'God'") to consider a wide variety of approaches that are pretty much guaranteed to bring you relatively quickly to a point where you would be burned as a heretic for most of the so-called Christian era. So let's thank God with all due paradoxical humility that we live in a time when we are less likely to die for considering the fathomless abyss in which soul and God dissolve, or even just saying the wrong damn thing. (The general shut-down of the Christian contemplative tradition, in the west at least, post-Reformation, when faced with dungeons and pyres for "praying wrong", is one of the main reasons that turning east for meditative nuance, specifics, techniques, maps, and sheer breathing of fresh air, has been such an obvious move for so many of us on the way.)

You mentioned John of the Cross's Ladder of Love specifically, which is right at the end of The Dark Night, Book II, chapters 19-20. He is riffing on the line in his "Dark Night" poem that goes "by the secret ladder, disguised": "The secrecy of this ascent is evident since ordinarily the losing and annihilation of the self, which brings the most profit to a man, will be considered the worst for him . . ." (DN, II, 18:4) The ladder riff is actually the furthest consideration of the entirety of the path to union with God that you will find in either the Dark Night or The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, which are both structured as extended exegeses of the dark night poem and are both spectacularly unfinished. The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love both manage to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, for those who like their maps that way. I'm not sure whether you're "moving on" from John X language, or considering his specific path among other options, or what, so I won't presume to offer any more here, but I did want to put the blip on the radar since you mentioned John X specifically. And as always, it comes down to practice, practice, practice, the basics of time spent in the fire of the living flame, ever more effortful and specific efforts at the effortless. God bless you, amigo, and, to paraphrase Meister Eckhart, may God take you beyond 'God'.