Suddenly Vajradhara is gone, a blind spot in my visualization. Vajravarahi dancing in the foreground -- Kalu Rinpoche above -- Shakyamuni to my left and Chenrezig to my right -- but in the middle, nothing comes into focus and stays there. And my butter lamp went out before I was done, today. Felt empty (not in the good sense!) and ominous. I chide myself for superstition -- it's just what it is: a candle that went out.
For a while Vajradhara was the most vivid, dependable figure in the tree. Now, for the moment, he's gone. I'm trying too hard with him, for some reason. Or maybe I just need a good picture to stare at.
Mahakala is there, though, beneath the tree, in compensation. I take the protectors -- since I'm very vague about what they're doing in the whole setup -- to express the ferocity with which I need to pursue my practice and defend the time devoted to it. So easy to let the mundane world come cranking in on that time -- I feel that I have to be in some ways unreasonable in order to preserve it.
A couple days I didn't practice. It distressed me so much -- put me so much off-balance -- that now I think no extra time or mental space I might purchase by playing hookey is worth it. There's no way to back out of this -- "out" is forward, now.