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Dharma Diagnostic Clinic, aka "What was that?"

Dzogchen awakening?! Please help . . .

As you can see it's been a long time since I posted.

My path had been running hot and cold since then. Until 6 months ago when I gave up drinking and accepted my addictions as completely incompatible with the spiritual life. A force entered my consciousness and it has been a fast and furious ride since then. 

I know I am on the path. The synchronicities and signs are amazing, miraculous, constant. I am so grateful. I have so much faith in the triple gem and frankly in myself. If I follow the 5 precepts and continue to study and practice the dharma my life will unfold as it should. Simple.

I am writing because a couple of weeks ago something happened to me. I recently began reading about Tibetan Buddhism whereas I had mostly been studying and practicing in the Theravada tradition, starting with MCTB and including my retreat last year practicing the Jhanas in silence with Tina Rasmussen and Stephen Snyder (which was awesome). 

But something guided me to "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." There is a chapter in there on Dzogchen. There were also some tantric visualizations I tried. 

And this passage, which I recite in my mind constantly now:

Profound and tranquil, free from complexity
Uncompounded, luminous clarity
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas
This is the depth of the mind of the Victorious Ones
In this there is no thing to be removed
Nor anything that needs to be added
It is merely the Immaculate 
Looking naturally at itself.

I read this passage and memorized it and as I was reciting it in meditation my mind just grabbed it and ran. And I wound up experiencing a very profound awakening. It is an egoless unity consciousness that creates an intense experience of bliss in my body. "I" feel as though I have, at times, left my body. My ego looks very small from this perspective and I have great insight into the mechanics of its delusions. I think I have identified this experience as that of "Rigpa," basically intrinsic buddha-mind in the Dzogchen tradition. 

But what is perhaps most significant is that I haven't left this state in weeks. It comes and goes in waves and is sometimes not very dramatic, but it is always there! I can simply rest in this pure mind beyond my ego. It is truly remarkable. As I write this I am amazed at how real and immediate the experience is, how simple it is, how solidly it has entered my life and the lack of doubt surrounding its nature and essence. It is quite simply beyond the conceptual possibility of doubt. 

Back when this started taking hold I remembered a famous American Dzogchen teacher named Lama Surya Das and just had a feeling that a retreat would be available. Lo and behold there is a retreat starting next week 1 hour north of me. Retreats all over the country and this one just happens to be here . . . now. These sorts of coincidences are happening so frequently now in my life that I have become used to them. Anyway, the point is that I will be very honest and open with him. Hopefully he can give me some good guidance because I'm not in beginner territory anymore and I feel I need a teacher. 

However, in the meantime I was hoping for some guidance from the community here. Any maps, concepts, traditions are welcome. The more the merrier. 

I have had intense experiences with meditation before. I experienced some blissful states while practicing the jhanas, very strong access concentration, but never quite managed first jhana (I don't think). I've experienced bliss before and a dramatic quieting of the mind. I've experienced rapture and intense revelations of wisdom . . .

But this is something different. It feels . . . solid, mature, perhaps even permanent. I can enter this state at will, instantly (as long as I've been meditating a bit within the last couple of days) . . . the more I meditate the more powerful it becomes.

This state seems more real to me than my "normal" consciousness. When I meditate too long with it my brain feels like it's becoming pressurized. One night after a particularly intense meditation experience I wound up with a pretty bad headache . . .

Honestly, the best comparison I can give is to that of an acid trip. Same sense of disidentification, same fascinating insights into the nature of reality, same intense sense of unity, same joyous freedom. But I haven't done drugs in YEARS and have never had a flashback. This is not that. But the similarites are a bit striking.

It's stable, it's profound, it's wonderful. It's sober and mature. But what is it? Any takers?

-Adam

Thank you to everyone in this community who has selflessly guided us along this path. Thank you to Daniel for his wonderfully illuminating book. Thank you to all the enlightened masters throughout eternity who have revealed the magic of reality out of compassion for suffering beings. I can hardly believe my good fortune. May it be shared.