Nature of the mind
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Walking the Talk Empty Walking the Talk

Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:43 pm
A while back Eleonora replied in a post, "I think that at some point the conceptual structure becomes clear, but then you have to walk the talk, or embody the teachings. Yet, we also know that the one that " has to walk the talk" is not a solid entity, it's a construct of the this apparent contradiction presses the stop button of the whole mechanism. In that space ( this is how it works for me) there's no doubt, no concepts, there is true freedom..."

In another post she wrote, "our love for the light feeds our practice. It's the light itself that is overflowing...these days I don't feel like I have to ( or can volitionally) identify with the light or try to integrate it with life ( when I try that, I get tight and stuck); it's more like letting the light flow and overflow. Meditation is a bit like tunning a harp, then, letting the wind play it. Sounds a bit vague, I know, but it has to do with letting go of the controller."

I really appreciate what she wrote. We all want to do this. Our posts here I think are to share our attempts at it, our struggles and successes, and to both inspire and to ask for inspiration and help. So here goes.

Now, I haven't read The Divine Comedy yet, and don't know anything about it, but to me, all my efforts and struggles in this practice are like a divine comedy:
  • my small self recognizes itself as a small self and is trying very hard to let go of effort and get out of the way
  • this effort itself is most/all of what it must let go of, and is in itself the way that the small self is solidified
  • but without any effort, I worry I'd be right back to where I was before I even knew what needed to be done
  • at the same time, the awareness I seek is unavoidable, there is always awareness, just of what?
  • I'm trying hard to stay in the present moment, but really there's never been a way to leave it in the first place

So many teachers speak of releasing effort, including Rinpoche. He equates effort with the conceptual mind, and with blocking. He contrasts looking vs actually seeing, trying to listen vs hearing, blocking vs allowing. He mentions resting in the connection, not using effort, which would be more thoughts, more of an obstacle. He speaks of zhine practice progressing from effortful to natural to ultimate (merged with all aspects of our life).

He's said, "When I let go of that pain identity, which I'm not, then I am the energy, I am the value, I am love, I am. So if I am, then I can manifest who I am, without any effort. I can spontaneously manifest from who I am without losing any energy.
Sometimes it is better not to speak, not to act. But sometimes you should. How can you know? Who you are not should not speak, act, manifest. Who you are should speak, act, manifest.
If it comes from that right source, with right energy, with right quality, then I don't drain myself, I gain energy."

In this video, Effort and Rest Practice of Dzogchen 3 Precious Pills: says, "Effort is the exit, and resting is the door." And mentions Releasing, Resting, Realizing.

Even in a Sleep Yoga class he wrote, "Sleep yoga is not about staying awake or putting in effort. It is about bringing the practice into the natural process of falling asleep, merging with our exhaustion, and allowing ourselves to rest and fall asleep."

Maybe it's reframing it all as just being aware, especially aware of when I'm not aware, and just trusting the process and that the outcome will arrive when it does?

I need to resolve this tension (or realize it doesn't exist) between:
-letting go into the moment (where I do genuinely feel joy, peace, and even sometimes laughter)
-getting things done that I think I need to get done, and solve problems I think I need to solve

Related may be some balance or juggling act between identifying as the witness to all experience and at the same time engaging with your life. I found this account of two experiences Alan Watts had very interesting:
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Fri Jan 07, 2022 3:45 pm
The idea should be stay freely in the nature of the mind and integrate this beatitude and conciousness in the normal life.
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Fri Jan 07, 2022 7:19 pm
Ah, but let's say life has much going on, work, family, various problem coming up demanding attention, etc. Let's say in the midst of all this, suddenly, thankfully, you realize you're not in or aware of the nature of mind. OK, now what? You may simply note it, and hopefully get yourself back there quickly, OK. Now, this happens again a minute later, and again and again, and over many days. Is there some next step, or remedy? Some formal practice to focus on, different understanding or method to be worked out first? Or is it just time and the building up of a habit.

If it is simply the building of a habit and/or dismantling of previous bad habits, what is the way to speed this along? Or, is even the effort of trying to speed it along itself more of the same bad habit?

I can predictably do some specific activities very present, very aware. I can take a mindful walk alone, and if I'm very careful, I can avoid getting lost in thought or reaction during that walk, or most of it. If I'm lucky.

But also predictably, while in conversation with someone, especially on some involved topic, or solving some work problem on the computer, I'm almost hopelessly not present. With great effort I can maintain awareness for a few minutes during some involved activity, but always I'm eventually gone. Luckily, when I'm on the top of my game, I very soon remember, and give it another go, for example even during the same conversation. But it's in starts and stops till the day is over. Then I look back on it, and wow... so much in and out, sometimes pinging in and out of awareness every single minute. And that's a good day, on a bad day, I might not notice I've been unaware the whole time, till the day is almost over.

Maybe this is just what it is. It will get better if and when it gets better. Maybe if I'm unsatisfied with how I'm doing, that itself is being to caught up with myself and "identity".

But, if there's some better understanding or technique I'm missing, or some mistake I'm making, I would be most grateful to have it uncovered. Is there a limit to where one arrives unless one goes on long retreats or lives in a monastery? Maybe. But still, if there's a way I can do better in my present life and circumstances, I would be most interested.

If this can be viewed as a game, I wonder if there's maybe some completely different way to play it.
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Fri Jan 07, 2022 9:16 pm
All of us have the same problem and pose the same questions. Probably rimpoche would say abite, dissolve and continue. Probably he would say everything you are talking about is vision, abite, dissolve and continue.

Often I try to be aware where I abite. Do I abite the mind or the vacuity/awearness? When I abite the mind there are all the problems, questions, etc you are posing. It's a labyrint. If I abite the vacuity/awarness all theses things aren't important. Often they never appear and if they appear I don't care. To pose this question it's very helpful to me. Rimpoche aften says to get used to abite this "body of vacuity/awarness" instead to abite the body/ speach/ mind of suffering. It helps very much to me to retourn to the presence of the sensation. For example if I'm cutting a piece of wood I pose the attention to the sensation of the tools that are cutting. I I play I pose the attention to the sound. Without any judgment.

When, rarely, I have the feeling I'm abiting the " body of vacuity/ awerness everything is very natural and clear, very clear.

Anytiime there is confusion, too many words, noise, we are in the body of suffering.

Doas it helps?
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:13 pm
It helps very much to me to retourn to the presence of the sensation. For example if I'm cutting a piece of wood I pose the attention to the sensation of the tools that are cutting. I I play I pose the attention to the sound. Without any judgment.
I agree. Sometimes I can for example try to feel the keys as I type this, for sure. And even focusing on breath may be used. Though as I've previously mentioned, I think you can land in a trap where you get good at being aware of the breath while still lost in thought.

When, rarely, I have the feeling I'm abiting the " body of vacuity/ awerness everything is very natural and clear, very clear.
I agree here also very much. There's also a strong connection for me between this extreme clear, present feeling, and being in a very lucid dream. Everything is very crisp.

There's another book Rinpoche wrote, Wonders of the Natural Mind that I am now recalling. It's pretty intense in some ways, very different read to me than his other books I've often quoted here. It also shares more of his early life than other books of his I read. I'll include the contents here to help explain:
1. My Life and Experiences of the Teaching 17
2. Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche and the History of Bon 41
3. The Bon Doctrine 47
4. Bonpo Dzogchen 50
5. How and Why to Practice 63
6. Zhine: Calm Abiding in Tranquility 79
7. Nyamshag: Contemplation 90
8. Integration 99
9. Kunzhi: The Base of Everything 117
10. Ma: The Mother 121
11. Bu: The Son 129
12. Tsal: Energy 135
13. Od-nga: The Five Pure Lights 145
14. Trikaya: The Three Dimensions 157
15. Trekcho and Thogel 165
16. Sutra and Dzogchen 177
17. Bardo: Death and Other Intermediate States 182
Appendices 201
I: The First Cycle: The Nine Ways 201
II: The Second Cycle: The Four Portals and the Fifth, the Treasury 207
III: Concerning the Zhang Zhung Nyan Gyud 208

I have yet to determine if what is described within can be practiced well without direct contact with a teacher, though I hope so. The audience for this book I feel is very different from his other books. If any have interest, may the excerpts I've posted please inspire people to buy his books, and receive this wisdom. I'll post here some excerpts from the Integration chapter which I feel is very relevant to this conversation. Again, please check out the book if you are interested, much more is written there about this.

Great importance is given in Dzogchen to the integration of the state of presence,
developed through zhine and then strengthened through contemplation, with all
the activities of body, voice, and mind in daily life
This integration is very important in Dzogchen. If we compare the time we
spend in formal practice with the amount of time we pass not practicing, it is
easy to understand that if we limit our practice to formal meditation sessions
without integrating our practice in all the activities of our daily life, it will take
very many formal sessions to gain realization.

Integrating contemplation with daily life turns our whole life into practice and
can lead to the attainment of realization in one single lifetime. Integration means
the coordination of presence with the movement of energy and consists of the
application of the pure wisdom of contemplation to our senses, to our body,
voice, mind, and actions in every moment of our life by remaining present in the
primordial state and imbuing all the activities of body, voice, and mind in daily
life with awareness.
Integrating Presence with Actions
The way to do this is explained in great detail in the Bonpo Ati system of
Dzogchen meditation, where the disciple is told to integrate first with virtuous
actions, then neutral actions and finally nonvirtuous actions. In this way one
makes all activities expressions of contemplative awareness; they become aids to
spiritual development and so virtuous in the true sense.
Initially we try to integrate the state of contemplation with activities of the
body, which are easiest, then with activities of speech, and finally with activities
of the mind, which are the most difficult.
It is best to start with simple physical movements; for example, at the end of a
session of meditation practice, while still in the state of presence, we might try to
move our hand or arm, or to move an object like a cup, and see if we manage to
remain in the state of contemplation during that movement: we must try to
maintain the same condition of presence in the movement as in the calm, relaxed
state. We can try to practice in this way for a week or so, training in making
small, slow movements, until we notice that these slight movements are no
longer a cause of distraction. Then we can see if we can integrate presence with
greater movements: we can try to stand up while maintaining presence, then
integrate presence with the act of walking. Next we can try to integrate with a
virtuous activity such as performing prostrations, an activity that is slow and
calm. Once we realize that these activities do not distract us from the state of
presence, then we can try more energetic virtuous movements, for example,
circumambulating stupas. Then, once we have integrated with virtuous actions
such as these, we can attempt to integrate the state of presence with neutral
actions: for example, eating slowly, with awareness. Once we can integrate with
slow movements, we can try to integrate with faster movements such as running,
jumping, swimming, and dancing. But first it is necessary to do all the preceding
work, otherwise just going dancing in a disco, thinking we are remaining in
presence when in fact we are completely distracted, is meaningless and can even
be harmful.
When we notice we can integrate with these neutral movements, we must turn
to nonvirtuous actions...
The same applies to the voice. At first we should try to integrate the state of
presence with the virtuous activities of the voice we normally perform after a
practice session such as reciting mantras and chanting. When we notice these do
not distract us, we can try to integrate with neutral activities such as singing
ordinary songs or having ordinary conversations. Once we have integrated these,
we can try to integrate with the four negative actions.
Many Westerners are disturbed by the idea that we practice integration with
negative states, worrying that we seem to be justifying the harm our negativity
does to others by merely changing our inner state rather than really doing
something about the wrongs we commit by working to prevent them or
compensating for them. But the point of integrating with negative states is not to
justify wrong action. It is, rather, the best way to minimize harm and, ultimately,
to overcome negativity. If we all mastered the practice of integration, there
would be no harm or injury since we would all be in the nondual state and when
we are in the nondual state we cannot cause harm.
It is also important to integrate presence with external sounds. When we start
to practice zhine, even sounds like bird songs and children's cries can distract us,
but once we have developed our practice, these can no longer draw us away
from presence. Now we can try to integrate presence with the sounds around us.
Finally, we should try to apply presence to the activities of the mind. Again,
we should start with virtuous activities, such as doing guru yoga, purification,
and Tantric visualization and transformation, and see whether these movements
of the mind can distract us from contemplation. Once we are aware that we
remain in the state of presence, we can experiment integrating neutral actions
such as thinking of going out for a walk or calling someone to arrange to do
something. Finally, we pass to nonvirtuous actions, for example, getting angry
with someone.
However, it is important to ascertain that we really do integrate presence with
actions and do not simply think we are present while, in fact, we are distracted
by actions. We must be aware that there is continuity of presence. This
awareness that makes sure there is continuity of presence is like a secret helper
who checks whether or not there is presence. It is called dren she (dran shes) and
is a kind of mindfulness.
Concerning integration with the movements of the mind; according to the
Zhang Zhung Nyan Gyud there are 84,000 thoughts or movements of the mind
every day; however, it is not the number of thoughts that arise that is important,
but how we deal with them. There is actually only one way to deal with them,
and that is not to be distracted by them. This can be done in three ways: by
remaining in presence; by not following after them or creating more thoughts
(such as the thought not to follow them); and by not allowing them to influence
us (in this case it is not a matter of not following the thoughts but of not allowing
the thoughts themselves to lead us away). In this way, all our 84,000 movements
of thought, whether gross or subtle, and our passions are no longer like an
ordinary person's; they are different in quality and serve for our practice.
So far we have talked about integrating presence with the body, voice, mind,
and actions, in all the various aspects, virtuous, neutral and, nonvirtuous. What
then is left? There are emotional states, such as shyness or sadness. For example,
when we feel shy we can try to integrate completely with this condition and so
discover there is no real shyness. Then there are the moments when we feel
unhappy: it is also important to integrate this condition. If we can integrate with
sadness, entering into it completely, we discover there is no sadness: if we can
keep awareness in sadness, this helps very much in ordinary life situations as
well as helping our practice. However, it is important to bear in mind that merely
overcoming states of sadness is not the purpose of practice.

Of great importance for our practice is the state of startled awareness called
hedewa. We can have moments of such awareness in daily life if someone
nearby shouts suddenly, or when we vomit. These moments of startled
awareness are very important for our practice. When these things happen in
normal life, we do not usually manage to maintain selfawareness, but for our
practice it is very important to remain in the state of presence and awareness in
these situations, because they momentarily cut through the layer of conceptual
mind and reveal a fresher state of consciousness.
Integrating Presence with Circumstances and Passions
We must be capable of integrating with all circumstances in all situations. In
Dzogchen there is nothing to renounce; we must integrate with the negative as
well as the positive. To be able to do this is to be a true Dzogchen practitioner.
But we must realize that being free to do everything also means being free not to
do things; otherwise, if we feel we have to do everything, this becomes another
form of conditioning.

In order to attain complete realization, we must integrate with everything
around us in the external world, but we must not stop at this point. It is very
important to integrate with our passions. If we get angry, we must learn to
integrate the anger, otherwise we simply start doing all the things we usually do
when we are conditioned by anger. If this happens, the energy of the anger is of
no use whatsoever to our practice. Likewise, we must integrate all the emotional
states of joy and sadness, doubt and expectations, all the emotional obstacles,
and everything in the waking state and the sleeping state. Finally, at the moment
of death, we must integrate with death itself. This is the ultimate integration and
is the attainment of realization.

Again, please believe me, this is only a small excerpt, but I believe I've conveyed the basic outline. It's very systematic, very thorough, but it also seems leave room for error and self-delusion if you're not careful, or without guidance of a teacher. Some part of me wishes for something more direct, immediate, some clear realization or experience I can have and then I'd just do it all automatically, but this may just be laziness and selfishness. Maybe even if conceptually you've understood a good amount, often you still need to systematically reprogram yourself if you want a very deep change. Please add your comments. At any rate, I may try to dig into this book again and see what I can put into practice.

Thank you for reading.
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Sat Jan 08, 2022 6:36 pm
I read this book constantly since 6 months
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

Sat Jan 08, 2022 11:30 pm
Ah, very cool. I think it's definitely a book one could keep coming back to as a reference for a long time, especially if they wanted to follow a Dzogchen path in traditional sense.

It's interesting to me. There are teachers and paths that are very systematic and have many practices one does over many years, including years of preparatory practices. There are others where there are few or even one practice that you do for many years but go deeper and deeper into it. And still others where the only practice, if it can be viewed as such, is just to know, just to be aware, just to be. There's views where you practice your whole life. There's other views where in the end there is no practice, it is just what you are now. There are paths where you simply dwell on a question such as "Who Am I?".

I remember one meditation teacher saying something like, "There are many paths up the mountain. But if you keep changing paths you will never get to the top."

I want to share this old article by Jack Kornfield I've always found very interesting:

To be clear. I know the teachings of Rinpoche have made a huge positive change in my life, already. I am very lucky, and I am grateful. I'm actually helping them currently with converting some of Rinpoche's old videos into podcasts. I realize that the Fivefold Teachings may in and of themselves perfectly summarize the full essence and point of whatever it is I'm looking for if I only go deep enough and learn to hang out there long enough. For me, maybe to my detriment, I feel that the way for me to go deeper into something is to look at it from as many angles as I can and relate it to as many other things as I can. And of course to keep practicing.
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Walking the Talk Empty Re: Walking the Talk

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