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Posted by Sam Webster on January 01, 2001 @ 10:35 PM
from the om-on-the-range dept.
One of the most useful practices to come out of the Dzog Chen view of the ground as sheer openness is the process of 'Self-Liberation.' What follows is a short exposition of the process and a method for employing it.
Have you ever been having a great time, riding high on good feelings when bad news comes and bums you out? Or the inverse of this: being depressed when suddenly something happens that lifts your spirits? In that moment of change you experienced the phenomenon of liberation. What makes it self-liberation is when you can do this consciously. What is going on is that since all forms are essentially openness, liberating a feeling, a thought, or a sensation is returning it to that open state. When this happened as above, when your mood was dashed or lifted, the mood that passed was opened out while the new mood entered into your consciousness. When you do this intentionally, there is no need to replace the old state with a new one. Rather, you permit your awareness to return to its natural uncontrived state which is content free, lucent and joyous.
This is the most important notion in the process of self-liberation. What we are being liberated from is the contents of our consciousness. Not that we are striving to not think or feel or sense, but rather that we do not grasp after our thoughts, distracting ourselves from what is going on, or Qabalistically speaking, getting caught up in our Netzachian dreams. What we are being liberated into is the experience of the mind in its true nature which is content free, thus open; unclouded by form, thus radiant; not clinging, thus feeling pleasure. This state of pleasure-radiance-openness is both the goal and the guide to the process of self-liberation. This tripartite state is actually one thing but when experienced through the human mind, we divide its singular, non-dual nature into the three characteristics of pleasure, radiance, and openness which correspond to the three parts of embodied existence, body, speech (or energy) and mind, respectively.
To get there we need to learn to relax, but we need to understand how. The Tibetans talk about this in terms of View, Meditation, and Action. First, we must understand the View. Here this is the understanding that the nature of the mind is pleasure-radiance-openness. Given that hypothesis we then practice experiencing this state through Meditative techniques, which will be given shortly. Lastly, once the View has been stabilized through Meditative practice, which is to say that you have convinced yourself of the View experientially, it is then put into Action by applying the technique learned in meditation in life outside of meditative practice.
So, for the moment I must ask you to accept the working hypothesis that the nature of the mind is pleasure-radiance-openess so that we can create an experimental design that can help us verify the theory, i.e., a meditative practice. First, unless you are a Buddha, one who dwells permanently in the state of pure pleasure-radiance-openness, there will be in your body some degree of dis-pleasure or pain; in your speech some impediment to your expression, or said in another way, one very accessible to magick-users, some block to your energy; in your mind some thought that is not passing away, even if it is only your thoughts about this teaching. Which ever is the strongest or most immediate, put your attention there. What ever it is that you are attending to, give it room. If it is a physical sensation or emotional feeling, relax around it, let it dissipate and dilute itself across a wider area, loosing its intensity. If it is a block in your energy, let it unravel like a knot being loosed. If it is a thought, let it dissolve into sheer openness.
At this stage of practice, you may not be able to make the focus of your attention to completely dissipate, particularly if it is strong physical pain. But to the extent that you have been successful in liberating some small bit of either body, energy or mind, notice that you also feel some increase in the other two qualities. If you liberated a thought, notice the increase of pleasure in your body and radiance in your energy. If you focused on a knot in your energy, notice the increase in the expansive peace in your mind and the added pleasure in your body. If it was sensation that you liberated, note your increased energy and clarity of mind.
Keep practicing this. Every time you do this you will feel better, have more energy and greater mental lucidity. You also develop greater capacity for doing this, and are able to liberate progressively greater portions of the focus of your attention into its true nature. Anything that is not pleasure or radiance or openness is at the same time closedness of mind, dimming of energy and dulling or paining of sensation. When unfurled like a flower blooming, all three qualities are strengthened.
When I do this I go into what ever happens to be most immediate to me, whether a sensation or my energy or my mind and crank it open. As the other two qualities collaterally increase, I may shift my attention to where ever the next strongest block appears, and liberate that bit of clinging, and then on to the next item that comes up. As I do this my mind becomes clearer, my energy stronger, my sense of pleasure and well-being becomes greater. I follow this trail of liberation until I am in the state of lucent, radiant, bliss, as much as I can stand at the time. It gets better the more I do this, as my capacity for pleasure, free energy, and open mindedness increases.
The Dzog Chen Master Namkai Norbu Rimpoche teaches that the process of self-liberation has three stages of development. First one must attend to such phenomenon as to be liberated and exert effort to liberate it. With increased capacity, the process of liberation becomes effortless, but still requires attention to the process for it to work. Finally, the act of liberating the phenomenon arises at the same moment as the phenomenon, spontaneously, liberating it.
So, I invite you to practice in this manner and share your experience with this community on-line.
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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
In terms of sharing, I think it interesting that, something that I've arrived at on my own (not from a book) achieves the same end but by a very different technique. (Rather than post the whole thing, I'll just give a link.)
Also, my conclusions are just that. I make no apologies.
by <Alobar> on Monday January 01, @11:46PM
Nicely put, Sam.
I have been doing my own version of this for some time now. At first I ameliorated body aches (arthritis, bursitis) with herbs (mainly Kava Kava) so I could focus on blocks which I felt were more immediatly detrimental (bad temper when things did not go my way, etc.). As I relaxed my tenseness (type A personality traits) and have been able to maintain openness & curiosity & joy of living even when circustances did not fit in with my plans, I have been able to perceive the open ground nature of all particular moments.
As I have become more & more successful at releasing the bummer tensions of particular moments, I have begun to explore applying the same techniques to old physical blocks. I use far less Kava Kava than I did a few years back. The pains & stifnesses arise when the weather turns cold & damp, but I no longer (for the most part) feel the need to address the pains with medication.
My life is otherwise in balance far more than before, so I have more joy/energy/focus to direct at the bodily aches. I am now able to spread out the sensations & release them. Not permanently (as yet) but for a while. Even when I do feel the pains, they no longer distress me so or crush good moods. I can live with my aches better. And I can spread them out & release them more. Focus, then release of blocks. Then I have more energized enthusiasm for the other fascets of my life.
I find it interesting how different people/cultures/Paths come up with similar techniques for accomplishing similar goals.
Thank you for this post.
Very well put!
In adition when you realise that what we call reality is actually made up of accepted lies, you reach another form of self liberation. And start making reality yourself and the fun part is watching others dance to your tune.
Happy New Year to all!
In satan's Name
by <inominandum> on Tuesday January 09, @09:10AM
Really nice to see someone who understands dzogchen post something to a thelemic list. Speaking as someone who comes at things more from the Buddhist/Bon side than the thelemic, I have been unhappy with some of the Thelemic Dharma mixes that I have seen.
Those that have found they do similar things should not be surprised. Dzogchen is the practice of experiencing the natural state, and despite what the Tibetans may think, no-one has a copywrite on it.
Thanks, Sam, for a most excellent introduction to Dzog Chen. I had the good fortune to be able to study with Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in the early '90s, and I was quite impressed with his abilities.
The one book of his that I most highly recommend is The Cycle of Day and Night. I find that just reading it will induce a self-liberated state for hours or days. YMMV.
Other books by Namkhai Norbu
Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis
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