envelope

Releasing Emotional Reactions 6


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Today we are going to the practice of the third of the three methods, ways of releasing emotional reactions, and I am going to give a bit of background first.

All of the great contemplative traditions have at some point one or more practices which are extremely simple, and one can call them the practice of direct awareness or the practice of presence. In the Christian tradition, it is one of the advanced form of prayer, which is silent prayer often described as “unspoken communion with God.” I am sure there are similar practices within Judaism, but I am not familiar with them.

In Buddhism, they have this kind of practice in the Theravadan tradition. In Zen, it’s called shikantaza. In the Tibetan tradition, there are six or seven that I know of: the Great Seal, The Great Middle Way, Great Perfection, inseparability of samsara and nirvana, one flavor. Pacification and cutting are actually two more. And I’ve had training in a number of those.

In the Tibetan tradition, there is a lot of secrecy around these. A lot of mystery. You know, the “secret instructions” which almost always turn out to be things you’ve already heard. It’s very disappointing. You think you are going to get something that is finally going to make a difference. And it’s terrible.

With Rinpoche, you’d finally get to this point in your practice, you’d get the secret instruction, and you’d find that it’s actually probably one of the first things he told you. And I noticed in translating for him that in almost every first meeting with somebody, he’d find some way to sneak these instructions in. Though ninety percent of the people have no idea of what they were receiving. And part of the mystery and the secrecy is that in a sense, they are self-secret, in that when you first hear these instructions, they don’t sound like very much unless you already have a certain level of experience, of understanding or context. And then they can truly open the world to you.

This was vividly illustrated for me when, in the three year retreat, the head of the Kagyu order, His Holiness Karmapa, came to visit us for a morning. And he gave us a teaching. Now Karmapa, the Sixteenth Karmapa was a very powerful individual—an extraordinary presence. And while capable of great subtlety, subtlety wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when you were interacting with him. And he gave us instructions on the nature of mind, which experientially were roughly equivalent to being picked up by the back of your neck and thrown against the wall. And then he would say, “Did you get it?” And then he would pick you up, and throw you again. I mean, we were just seated around, but that’s what it felt like.

Afterwards, digesting this experience, I reflected, “What did he actually say?” Well, it could be boiled down to: “Thoughts come and thoughts go.” Now, that sounds like, “this is deep?” Yeah, thoughts come and thoughts go. But how many of you are wrestling with thoughts in meditation? A number of you are probably thinking, “Thoughts come, all right, but they don’t go.” [Laughter]


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In that simple sentence, there is the key to freedom. A thought comes: “I’m angry.” And when that thought arises, frequently we don’t recognize it as a thought. It becomes a fact. So now we’re angry. And all kinds of things follow from that, usually not very helpful things. But all of you have enough experience in your meditation to know that if you sit, and the thought “I’m angry” arises, and you do absolutely nothing, it wanders around and then it goes. So thoughts come, and thoughts go. That’s one of the doors to freedom—if you live it. It’s not enough to understand it intellectually. One has to live it. So this method of practice is very much about living with the direct, or living the direct experience of mind just as it is.


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The three traditions of this form of training with which I am familiar are the Great Middle Way, the Great Seal, and the Great Completion (which some of you will know as Madhyamika, Mahamudra, and Dzogchen (Mahadzanga). And if you look in our chant booklets on page 31, you see these three approaches are characterized in one sentence each in the second stanza:Free from mental constructions, it is called the Great Seal. Free from extremes, it is called the Great Middle Way. Because everything is complete here, it is also called the Great Completion. May I gain the confidence that in understanding one, I know them all. Now, there is a great deal of confusion rampant about these practices.

A year and a half or so ago, I had the good fortune to do a three week retreat with Kelung Rinpoche, a relatively young Nyingma lama who lives in Seattle. And the retreat was very significant for me. And towards the end of the retreat I was with Kelung Rinpoche, and was discussing what I had come to understand. As he was going through this, he was sort of sitting there going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” and then I said, “And this really helps me to understand why generating goodness and clearing away unwholesome action,” which is the stock phrase in the Tibetan tradition; it refers to a certain genre of practices, “why this is so important.”

And he just woke up and said “Oh, good!” And I said, “Why do you say that?” And he said, “There are so many people, they get the pointing out instructions and they think they can do dzogchen (Great Completion). And they think they don’t need any of that stuff, and they just don’t understand anything at all. I am so glad to hear you say that, Ken.”


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And that fact is that in order to practice with mind directly you need to be pretty clear and really have a pretty solid basis in resting attention. And there is a lot of other stuff: like assimilating quite deeply things like death and impermanence, and karma, and so forth. In other words, you got to clear out a lot of the underbrush. So, I know that some of you…for some of you this is your first substantial retreat experience, and I respect your courage and willingness to jump into something like this. It’s really very wonderful.

But when you work with the techniques that I’m going to describe today, you may find yourself a little bit lost in confusion. And if that’s the case, that’s fine. It happens to everyone. Some of you have been practicing for a while. You may also find yourselves a bit lost in confusion. I won’t accept excuses from you. [Laughter] And my hope is that through our work today, you can get some appreciation of what the whole thing is really about, which now can help inform the practice of resting in attention, resting with the breath.

You see in Buddhism we have a wonderful array of approaches and practices. And these methods are very, very powerful. Every effective method has its pitfall. And this is why it is important to understand the method, understand the intention of the method, and to understand one’s own intention in practice, so all of this can be in alignment. And the fact is that some practices work better with some people, or, some people work better with some practices than others. This became very clear in the three year retreat. And we had some notable examples in Tibetan history.


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Many of you know of Milarepa, the eleventh to twelfth-century hermit who lived with nothing but a cotton cloth at very high altitudes in the Himalayas year-round. Well, when he first started practice, he was introduced to the Dzogchen teachings with a very highly regarded Dzogchen teacher at the time. And he went absolutely nowhere. And it wasn’t until he started working with Marpa, who put him through all kinds of hell, that he began to get any traction in his practice.

And another person from roughly the same era, a little bit earlier is the founder of the Shangpa tradition which was the tradition I received through Kalu Rinpoche, an individual by the name of Trungpa Nalgor. And I think sometime in his 30s or early 40s, he studied Dzogchen and became proficient, but it didn’t answer his deep spiritual questions. And then he turned to a Mahamudra teacher of the time. And that didn’t answer his spiritual questions. So at what for a Tibetan is a very ripe old age of 57, he undertook what was an extremely arduous and dangerous journey to India and studied with 150 teachers, the most important of whom are Niguma and Sukhasiddhi and Majo Dharmahula. And from Niguma and Sukhasiddhi he received profound instructions which did answer his spiritual questions.


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So I think we should take note of this and not really be concerned with getting the highest teaching or the most secret teaching or the best teaching or whatever. But to seek out the methods and the teachings which we can actually use. That’s been very important for me. I’ve been trained, oh, somewhere between 150 to 200 different practices of meditation, different kinds. At the end of the retreat, the question was, “Okay, Rinpoche, what do we do? We’ve got all of this stuff, which ones do we practice?” Rinpoche’s reply was, “Well, sure you’ve got a lot of techniques, that’s part of the purpose of the three year retreat, expose you to a lot, but let’s be realistic. Out of all of those things there are probably five which you have some connection with.” And we all went, “ Mmm-hmm, that’s about right.” He said, “And of those five, there’s one you are not so enthusiastic about. And then you look at those four, maybe there’s another one. And so you come down to one or two practices. And then you go very, very deep with those.


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Ken: Now, one of the approaches in Buddhism, and it’s a very important part of practice, is the observation of ethics. And the reason it is a very important practice…

Student: [Inaudible]

Ken: Ethics. Morality. It’s very important. My thumbnail on this, many of you are familiar with:

If you encounter a situation, and you know what the right thing to do is, and it’s going to cost you something to do it, but you do it anyway, how long do you think about it afterwards?

Student: Not long.

Ken: What if you don’t do it?

Student: All the time.

Ken: Okay. And this is the fundamental reason why ethics is important, because it leaves your mind clear. However, the human tendency is to make a thing out of anything. And so some people get really, really uptight about pure morality. “This is the path: you have to be absolutely pure in your morality.” And they fall into a trap right there. And I think all of you at one time or another—most of us have—have fallen into that trap to a greater or lesser extent. We miss the actual point.


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Another tendency, another aspect of practice is that we come up with a way of doing things, you know. And this can easily become a sort of formulaic approach to practice. And you find this actually in all traditions of Buddhism.

A colleague of mine was working very hard to set up an “expert shell” for vipassana so that you could just call in and describe your meditation—press the buttons for your meditation experience, and then you get your right next instruction. He really…he thought this really could be done. We find the same tendency in the Tibetan tradition with the graded path, you know: you do this, you do this, you do this, you do this, you do this, everything will turn out alright. It never does. And even in the Zen tradition Rinzai you have this whole sequence of koans, and people go through those koans and they are very, very good at responding to koans. The only problem is their practice. So relying on a formulaic approach, relying on procedures can be helpful, but it’s not the whole thing.

Then we have something we inherit from the Indian tradition: logic and reasoning, philosophy. And there have been a lot of reaction to this in the course of Buddhist history. And being able to reason clearly and being able to analyze things, some basic philosophy, is very helpful for cutting through a lot of confusion that we tend to wrap ourselves up in concepts. But again, people make a thing out of it. And we get these horrifically abstruse studies of epistemology from eighth and ninth century India. I mean, they are quite brilliant. But they are totally irrelevant to practice. And one of the previous Karmapas shut down the college at the monastery because he just saw that it wasn’t helping anybody.

And then there’s the approach that everything can be solved through ritual. Now ritual is a very powerful method for training attention. And being able to perform it precisely, exactly—it’s a method for training attention, training mindfulness. But then again, people make a thing out of it, and it has to be done absolutely right. I had this quite…the problem with this quite vividly illustrated in the three year retreat, when a person was doing something on the shrine and it wasn’t quite right, and I pointed it out to him, and the next thing I knew a glass bowl was sailing past my head. [Laughter] Fortunately, it hit the wall and not me. And I thought, “Oh, maybe it’s not quite as important as I thought it was.”


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Student: At least you were in attention so it didn’t hit you.

Ken: I was very glad it didn’t hit me.

And the same thing with behavior. I’ve run into a number of people who feel if they can just behave the right way, everything will turn out the right way. The problem with this is figuring out what the right way to behave is.

[Ken reads:]
The rain was pelting down. Aga Akil, the most sanctimonious man in town was running for shelter. “How dare you flee from God’s bounty,” thundered Nasrudin at him. “The liquid from heaven! As a devout man you should know that rain is a blessing for all creations.”

The Aga was anxious to maintain his reputation. “I had not thought of it in that way,” he muttered, and slackening his pace he arrived home soaked through. Of course, he caught a chill.

Soon afterwards, as he sat wrapped in his blankets at his window, he spied Nasrudin pelting through the rain and challenged him, “Why are you running away from divine blessings, Nasrudin? How dare you spurn the blessings which it contains?” “Ah,” said Nasrudin, “You don’t seem to realize that I do not want to defile it with my feet.”
[Laughter] So much for behaving the right way!


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Another approach is the use of symbol. Symbols are extraordinarily powerful. And they cut through the operation of the intellect and appeal directly to the emotional or to even deeper levels in us so that something can just happen. But taking, making the symbol into a thing—and it happens all of the time—it becomes an object of worship, an object of fixation, this misses the point again. We find this very, very much in Jungian work, where everything is a symbol. And sometimes you get lost between the symbols and reality.

Another very powerful technique, used in Tibetan tradition anyway, is identification with an ideal. And it’s a way of inspiring and evoking, coming from a deeper place. But once again, this can become a thing and induce a fixation.

And finally there’s energy transformation techniques where you could use various physical or meditative methods to generate or transform the energies of body into states of attention and experiences of bliss, and so forth. You find this very often in yoga circles. And people become fixated on the energy and miss the point that the real purpose of the energy is to be able to drive the attention, so you can actually be more present.

So these are all legitimate practices, and important practices, or forms of practice. But each of them—whenever it becomes an object of fixation—actually works against what we are trying to do. And the key point here, and the theme for today is, no fixation.

Jamgung Kongtrul the Great, in one of the texts that I studied, put it very simply: “Where there is fixation, there is error.” Error: where you are straying from the path. So the technique we’re going to do today is about no fixation at all. There is only one way to do that: do absolutely nothing. Which is not as easy as it sounds. So I’m going to give you a method.


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I’m being more generous than Kelung Rinpoche was, because when we did this three week retreat the only meditation instruction he said was “Go and do nothing.” It was very helpful. So maybe I’m not being as generous as he was.

First, this again, as I said yesterday, it’s a five step process. [laughter]

Student: Do nothing, do nothing, do nothing, do nothing, do nothing.

Ken: Not quite. [Laughter] I just like five this week. Next week it will be three or seven or something like that. You’d better hope I don’t fall in love with thirteen. Okay.

First, identify a reactive behavior, and ask, “Why do I do this?” Now, you are going to have to ask “Why?” repeatedly. So, for instance, one person always blasted her husband whenever she arrived home from work. It was kind of a ritual. Not a very constructive one, but there it was. So, why do I do this? “Because I’m angry with him.” “Why are you angry with him?” And you just keep going. Now, why questions are tricky. Just keep asking that why and at some point you are going to say, “I don’t know.” You won’t know why you are doing it. That’s the nature of reactive patterns. Because there is no intention in reactive patterns. They are just a reaction. And you go, “I don’t know.” At that point, there’s going to be a feeling.

Student: A what?

Ken: A feeling. An emotion. You may or may not be able to name it. It doesn’t matter. There’s going to be a feeling right there. Now, it may, when you first do this, it may only be there fleetingly. And you’ll either suppress it in the body or you’ll blank out or something will happen. And then you go through the process again. But as you go through this again and again, you will begin to be able to recognize it. And once you start recognizing it, that’s what you are going to be working with.


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Now, the second way into this—the second step—you have this reactive behavior and just imagine not doing it. That reactive behavior exists in order to take you away from that feeling. So when you imagine not doing it, that feeling is going to be there again. And stay with it. There will be a feeling right there. Enter into the feeling: this is where you need some capacity in attention, of course. And in the same way that in response to Molly’s question I lead you through an exercise with desire, just moving into, being the desire, it’s the same kind of thing.

You just be the feeling. No separation whatsoever. Just let yourself be that feeling. Now when you do this, you are going to find the feeling is like a multi-colored display, with threads, and images, and all kinds of stuff over the place. And the first impulse almost always is too try to sort it out, try to understand it, and if we can’t understand it, at least explain it. Don’t do any of that stuff. Just experience it all. Don’t try to sort it out. Don’t try to make sense of it. Don’t try to explain it. Just be in the experience. And in the beginning it may seem like a little thing, but as you move deeper and deeper, all kinds of other facets and things like that, and what we are talking about is all of the different reactions associated with that; it’s the same as the second step in the other two. And you just be in all of that. Open to the different shades and hues as fully as possible. And as you do this, the feeling will become more distinct. It’ll be easier to say, “ah, this is it.” Because you are progressively moving into a closer relationship with it.


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Then bring up the feeling deliberately. Feelings are varied; they don’t like this part.

Student: Is this step three?

Ken: This is step three. Correct.

You bring up the feeling deliberately. Now what almost always happens when you start evoking these feelings deliberately, intentionally, is they run and hide. So you evoke the feeling and [Ken snaps fingers], it goes.

Because the whole idea here is that for that reactive pattern to operate, you are meant to be out of attention. Then it can run; it can do it’s thing. Like Nasrudin and the fox. He got the fox to go to sleep, then he could do his thing. That’s this. Dissipate attention, you go to sleep, and the feeling and the whole reactive pattern gets to run.

But if you are in attention, it’s like, “nope.” [Laughter] So you are gong to have to do this repeatedly. You invoke the feeling, and at first it’s going to be a little flash.

Then rest. And then some time later, evoke it again. And little by little, you’ll find you can evoke it at will. Now, already your relationship with this feeling is now changed significantly. This is what it comes down to, like the OK Corral, you know. “You and me, this town is not big enough for the two of us.” [Laughter] And so you are going to meet it. And it’s been running and hiding. You’ve tracked it down in the saloon, you’ve tracked it down in the brothel, and other places. “We are going to have to have this out.”

When you can evoke the feeling at will (you are going to be doing not only in your meditation but here, between meditation sessions and away from here, in your life), evoke—this is very important—the feeling, and experience the world through the feeling in awareness.

Student: [Unintelligible]

Ken: Evoke the feeling, and experience the world through the feeling in awareness. In other words, you don’t get lost in it. But you are actually experiencing, though you are more awake now, how the feeling presents the world to you. Now this is really very disturbing.

Student: Could you give an example?

Ken: In the three year retreat, on one occasion I wasn’t feeling particularly well. And as we gathered in the temple for our evening ritual, I looked at the other six guys in the retreat and I knew—I was the lead chanter that day; it was my turn, and I knew they were all out to get me. And at the same time, I knew this wasn’t true. That’s the kind of experience. You are actually experiencing the way your reactive patterns present the world to you. But you are awake in it, so you know that isn’t how it is. But it’s how the experience arises. But of course, as soon as you lose attention, then “They are out to get me,” and you act, react accordingly. You know, as Andy Grove says, “Paranoia is helpful.” It’s in this step that you begin to see the way the feeling projects a certain world.

Student: Projects?


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Ken: …a certain world. Now, when you can hold all of that…that is, you have the feeling and the world it projects all in attention, and you are living it and not asleep in it, then, this is the fifth step, then look at what experiences all of this.

Student: What?

Ken: Look at what experiences all of this. And everything will go empty, because when you look at that, you will see nothing. And then open to the totality of your experience. In looking that way, you cut through the subjective fixation, and you experience non-separation from experience. And you just rest right there.

Now, one of the difficulties with this kind of instruction is that it’s laid out like this, and it all sounds perhaps challenging, but neat. You know? But when you do it, it is not neat. It is a mess. Okay. What I’ve just described for you is a very, very profound way which takes you directly to experiencing non-separation. Please don’t think it’s going to work magically as soon as you try it. Each of these steps is likely to present its own challenge. And that’s what you work with.

At this level of practice, the instructions always sound very simple. Go back to His Holiness,

Thoughts come, and thoughts go. Look as soon as the thought arises. Relax. Look again. When the thought arises, relax.
Sounds so simple.

 


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Much of our practice is about clearing stuff out of the way so that the simplicity of mind itself, which is our human heritage, which is present in all of us, can simply express itself. It doesn’t have all of the stuff in the way. And then things become quite naturally. As you progress in practice, you will find that situations which formerly were difficult for you, you just see directly what to do. You don’t necessarily have to figure it out. You just see directly. And as your practice matures more, you are able to do that. And it seems so natural. It’s like, “Oh, that’s the natural thing to do,” and you just do it. And you may find other people saying, “How did you know how to do that?” So as you move deeper and deeper into your own experience, things become more and more natural. But you won’t notice that, because they are natural. As the Chinese saying says: “When the shoe fits, you aren’t aware of it.” What you will notice is when you don’t know what to do or when your perception wasn’t accurate. That’s a big mess for you.

And I think this is why Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Dharma practice is one insult after another.” [Laughter] Because as your practice deepens, you notice…you tend to notice not what you do that is appropriate, because that just seems obvious and natural, but where you are out of synch with what is. So we all have to start somewhere. And when you try this technique or any other technique, you are going to run into bumps. Every one of those bumps helps to point you to the right effort. So it takes a while to appreciate that, but it’s actually true. For this reason, make very, very deep effort. Make the deepest and strongest effort that you are capable of, but don’t fight experience either. And understanding how to do that is the mystery of practice. We have a few minutes for questions.


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Student: Could you go over the five steps again?

Ken: Sure.

Step one: Identify a reactive behavior, and ask “Why am I doing this?” or “Why do I do this?” until you arrive at “I don’t know” and there’s a feeling right there. That’s step one.

Step two: You can ask yourself “When I don’t do this, if I don’t do this reactive behavior, what do I have to experience?” And the feeling will be right there. Enter into it completely. So step one is identifying it, step two is entering into it and experiencing it as completely as you can.

Step three: Once you’ve identified it, and you know the experience, then evoke it intentionally.

Step four is to experience the world through the feeling.

Step five is to look at what experiences the feeling and the world.

Okay. Steve?


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Steve: In doing these, this is actually a question for all three of them. If you go your five steps and you, you circle back around, do you pick another one of your bad behaviors, or do you stick with the first one?

Ken: Probably….

Steve: In one sitting.

Ken: In one sitting, I would probably work with just one. What I am trying to do here is help you get enough experiential understanding of how the technique works. To break up a reactive pattern usually requires work over a period of weeks, months, to really break one up. Pardon?

Steve: That’s too bad.

Ken: Yes, it is. But that’s the way things are. [Laughter] And because many of you have been making one kind of effort or another, before you came here, you may actually experience something breaking up right here. And you will know when it breaks up, because the situations that trigger that reactive pattern won’t trigger it any more. It’s just…it’s like something’s gone. And you’re feeling open and able to move in a way that you couldn’t before. So there is a very palpable difference.

And if in your practice you find everything suddenly opens up and everything falls away, then for goodness sakes, just rest there. This is what I meant yesterday about don’t flog a dead horse. Just rest there. Practice resting right in presence. That also deepens your practice.

Kampa Tsultrim was a great person for teaching insight. And he emphasized this point. You ask the question, it directs your attention, and rest in that shift. Don’t keep asking the question, because that just churns up the mind. So when things open up, rest. Be right there. Practice being right there. Okay. Josephine?


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Josephine: [Unintelligible] is it possible that it occurs under the right conditions, you know [unintelligible] the right conditions for a person’s particular pattern, that kind of preparation can help. Do you think that’s true?

Ken: Well, they don’t have to be extreme conditions.

Josephine: Not in formal practice. I’m talking about experiences that occur in life that trigger—

Ken: What we do in practice is develop momentum, momentum in attention. And once there is some continuity of attention—continuity of momentum—then increasingly whatever we encounter fuels the attention. And I know you’ve heard stories that a person is sweeping his bamboo hut he hears the ricochet of the pebble. [Ken snaps his finger]—his mind opens.

Or, the case of Naropa. He was…they came to a small creek. And Tilopa said, “If I really had a student, he would make a bridge so I wouldn’t have to get my feet wet.” And so Naropa of course immediately lay down and straddled the creek. And Tilopa started walking across but in the middle, he just started jumping up and down on Naropa’s back. There’s Naropa hanging on for dear life, and eventually one of his hands just slips a little bit, and the very tip of Tilopa’s toe touched the water. And immediately Tilopa grabbed him and said, “How dare you let me get my foot wet!” And Naropa’s mind opened. [Laughter] But…I mean, that’s the range.

Student: Right. But [unintelligible]. In the historical perspective, when [unintelligible] as you might read them, then the experience that it is evoking, because for me it’s very important to recognize where those experiences happen.

Ken: There isn’t a rhyme or reason. This is my chaotic theory of awakening. There are many, many layers of programming and conditioning. We have thought or thinking; we have reactive emotions; we have values; we have beliefs; we have perceptual frameworks.

There are five or six right there. In the beginning we think they are all continuous. But they aren’t. There are gaps. There are gaps between thoughts; there are gaps between emotions; there are gaps in our values; there are gaps in our beliefs and there are even gaps in the perceptual framework. Because we don’t always experience things in terms of subject-object perception. There are gaps. All that has to happen is for all of those for gaps to line up. [Ken snaps his fingers] And that’s there. But is there any rhyme or reason to that? No. No. And so what we do in practice is we open those gaps as much as we can. We keep…we create conditions so those gaps are a little more open. And that increases the probability of them opening up all the way to what we are. And when that happens, that’s it.

Student: [Unintelligible]

Ken: [Laughter] Obviously, I’m not answering your question.

Student: Well, for example, let’s get…

Ken: Down and dirty. Okay.

Student: In the practice of Mahamudra.

Ken: Right.

Student: And there is [unintelligible]

Ken: Yes.

Student: I’ve always wondered what the hell they are talking about there. Because until now…now that I understand [unintelligible]. Not that I didn’t attempt in my own way all of those instructions, but without the…without this kind of instruction which brings it alive, in the reality of the experience, you can’t grasp the instruction. So you know if you’re…

Ken: So what’s your question?

Student: [Unintelligible]

Ken: The sources?

Student: [Unintelligible] Your integration of those with…

Ken: Okay, for your purposes, Josephine, when I went through all of those lists of things. I was going through the nine yanas.

Josephine: Okay.

Ken: You didn’t recognize that? [Laughter]

Josephine: I wasn’t there.

Ken: Okay. That’s what I was describing: was what is known as the nine yanas. Okay. Now I understand your question, thank you.


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Molly?

Molly: [Unintelligible]

Ken: Yes, I think you are going to be better with, “What experiences?” rather than “Where?”. All you do is ask the question. As soon as you ask the question, there is going to be a shift. Rest in the shift. Don’t think about…don’t try to answer the question. Just ask the question that produces the shift. Rest in the shift.

Molly: Is it the same [unintelligible] that you get from asking that question?

Ken: Yes. Yeah.

Molly: Another question is when you do number one, you’ve identified [unintelligible] it seems like it’s related to, “Why am I angry?” because we put the sugar on the table. Why did we put the sugar on the table?

Ken: Yes, but there you are looking for the sequence, his behavior.

Molly: Right.

Ken: You look at what’s happening in you. It’s not about him.

Molly: So right there you [unintelligible]

Ken: No, no, no, no, no. No, no. I’m really glad you asked that, Molly. That’s great. No, no.

“Why am I angry?” Why do you care that he put the sugar on the table? Why do you care? “Because I want things to be this way!” Right? “Why do I want things to be this way?” “Because that’s how I was brought up and I’m really attached to that.” “Why are you attached to it?” “I don’t know.” [Laughter] Is that clear? Good. Thank you for bringing that up. That’s good.


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Ken: Okay. Dave?

Dave: In your book you talk about the dissolution of patterns [unintelligible] death. The dissolution of the elements. Is that true in this case?

Ken: Yes. Mary Anne.

Mary Anne: A couple of questions. First step. If we are [unintelligible]. And second step of imagining not doing this. With those two steps, can I do them together?

Ken: Yeah.

Mary Anne: To get the feeling…

Ken: The first step is to identify the feeling. The second is to immerse yourself in the feeling. And one of the ways to do that is just imagine stopping doing the reactive behavior. The feeling is going to be right there. Because you’ve identified it. And now you immerse it, so the second step is really immersing yourself in the feeling.

Mary Anne: And then, I’ve been working on a specific issue. This, and so I feel that the intensity of the feeling that I had in the beginning is way less now than it was, but I know that that’s just the skin of the onion that has come off. And that there’s parts of it—so you would say, “Don’t flog the dead horse”, but I don’t know if…

Ken: You haven’t, you haven’t, the horse isn’t dead. He’s…he’s just, he’s on the other side of the field. Now you got to ride him. You’ve got to catch him and ride him.

Mary Anne: So even though the intensity of the feeling is not there, as it was—

Ken: Jump in.

Mary Anne: Jump in. Keep jumping in. Keep asking that.

Ken: Jump right into the feeling. You may be surprised how intense it gets. Yeah. Peggy?

Peggy: When you say moving into the second after the “I don’t know”, imagine not doing it and [unintelligible]. Are we entering into the feeling of not knowing?

Ken: No. You are entering into the feeling itself. That’s just a method of putting you in touch with the feeling. Okay? For instance, when anything upsets—when something upsetting happens, then some people like, clean their house. So, what if I don’t clean? All of the upset is right there.

Peggy: Pardon?

Ken: The upset is right there. So it is simply a way of moving into the feeling. And then just experience that as completely as you are able to. Pat?

Pat: [Unintelligible]. It’s more about identifying the sensations rather than trying to figure out what it is?

Ken: Yes. Definitely.

Pat: So don’t waste time.

Ken: Don’t waste time trying to label it. It’s a palpable feeling. You may or may not be able to name it. But you’re experiencing it. That’s what’s important. Okay.

We’ve gone over, quite a bit over, but I think it was important to have these clarifications. Let’s stop here, and take a ten minute break?