Mornings are cooler these days as the mountainside turns to yellow. The shift has been accompanied by a visit from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, with his profound Dzogchen teachings from the Bon Tradition. According to Dzogchen, the “Great Perfection,” the natural state of our mind is spaciousness, and everything that occurs in our mind arises from and returns to that space. So in order to recognize the nature of mind, we simply need to learn to recognize this spaciousness and rest in it. That’s spaciousness, not spaciness!
In follow-up program with Rinpoche’s senior student Alejandro Chaoul, a few of us were introduced to the tsa-lung practice, a vigorous and extremely powerful form of Tibetan yoga. After all these years of practicing Ashtanga yoga, finally I have a glimpse into the mechanics of how working with the body leads to uncovering of the nature of mind. It’s true that we do the same work in the Ashtanga practice, but just a simple awareness of this process shifts the thing into a whole new dimension. Awareness of how the energies of the body can be purified through the manipulation of breath and movement helps to bring the process to an entirely new level. The key is in the awareness. We can learn to watch the shifts in our own development as arising from and dissolving into space, much like the seasons arise and fall away again, in a never ending dance of great perfection.