Cutting through Samsara
and entering Nirvana, Part 3:
Twist and Shout!
Jigme Lingpa, talks about distinguishing between samsara and nirvana in his famous book, Yeshe Lama. Rushen or korde rushen has the meaning of separating or distinguishing samsara and nirvana. This is the basic training of natural perfection, also known as dzogchen. Jigme Lingpa quoted in italics.
Rushen of body
How to do the rushen of body is explained in the root tantra:
With the body, in motion or reclining,
Or twisting and turning, perform yoga postures,
Stretch and bend the limbs
And put the body through its paces.
Just as you conceive it, physically enact
The behaviour of the six kinds of mythic beings.
Accordingly, in order to revert the physical, vocal and mental activity initiated by karma and natural propensity, and in the future to halt it entirely, go to a place where it is certain that no one will intrude and where you cannot be seen or heard... Then say to yourself, ”I am here for the sake of all sentient beings to separate, distinguish and define samsara and nirvana physically, energetically and mentally, so that in the future I need not return to samsara.”
After generating bodhi-mind in that way, strip naked and... Then, run and jump, twist and turn, stretch and bend and, in brief, move your body in whatever way comes to mind – but without purpose or design.
Rushen of Speech
Then, similarly, in order to pull apart and define samsara and nirvana in speech... Chatter, nonsensically to yourself and speak various languages randomly.
Twist and Shout!
First a reminder: Please remember that yours truly is not an adept of the orthodox dzogchen-tradition.
What we have in the previous quotes is something very interesting when done in action. My interpretation of distinguishing samsara and nirvana by bodily and verbal means is as follows.
Basically, what the great master Jigme Lingpa is saying here is for one to allow the samsaric tensions be released, shaked, vibrated, shouted or voiced by physical means. When this is done, samsara is automatically released and nirvana, open natural awareness reveals itself.
What the master suggests here, in effect is no different than what ancient tribes have done when singing and dancing around the fire. The effect is the same when people of today sing and dance to different rhythmical music at concerts. Recently I witnessed a growd dancing to a wonderful Korean electronic dance group. The thoughtless and clear minds of both these, dancers and musicians were noticeable. The drummer spent long times in the thoughtless state, fervently beating his drums! All these people surely experienced the effect of this, whether they knew to call it with the proper technical term known in dzogchen or other schools.
Several years ago I came to spontaneously think that shaking the body briskly is a wonderful way to release tensions, both physical and mental. When one begins to shake the body, soon the shaking takes on it's own and there is no need to continue it anymore as it does itself. This is a natural mechanism of the human nervous system, animals have it and use it too.
In yoga, spontaneous physical shaking, trembling, jumping, moving, shouting and voicing in a non-rhythmical non-composed manner, is called by the term ”spontaneous kundalini kriya” or just ”physical kriya”. To some people this begins by itself, often to their surprise, while to others this doesn't start spontaneously at all. However, the nervous systems of all men have this ability to shake off what doesn't belong there. It's just spontaneous shaking and voicing which naturally covers areas of physical and psychic blocks in the bodymind that seek for a release.
This mechanism may be consciously stopped at anytime. This has nothing to do with going into a hypnosis or a trance. One is perfectly aware and conscious of this happening.
Dr. David Berceli, founder of the TRE-system has done wonderful scientific research and fieldwork with this principle. TRE refers to ”trauma releasing exercises”. In TRE some simple exercises and stretches are used to get the natural trauma releasing mechanism working which then takes on on it's own. His organisation has educated hundreds of TRE-instructors worldwide. What they do is no different to what Jigme Lingpa is suggesting or what is done by those with physical kriyas. However, the theoretical explanation and the meaning of it varies.
Rushen-practice in the Open Heart-style
In the beginning of a Rushen-session, sit quietly for a moment, let your breath calm down and relax. After a moment, chant Machig Labdron's guru mantra 4 or 8 times aloud. After this initial contact with the master, stand up, lie on your back or take a position that you feel like taking. Allow physical shaking and/or spontaneous voicing to begin. Let it happen naturally on it's own. Don't manipulate the natural chaotic pattern of the shaking or shouting. Don't try to release tensions, the inbuilt mechanism takes care of this on its own. Allow it to happen. When the body wishes to take a new position, allow it to happen. You will see that the natural stress releasing mechanism goes through all the tensions in logical manner. Just observe this, as you would observe thoughts or emotions come up and go by in open awareness meditation (ati yoga).
Continue for 20-30-40 minutes in one session. After a shaking session, lie down and rest for 5-10 minutes. You might feel very tired after the first couple of sessions but this tiredness goes away eventually. Then sit up and practice Ati-meditation. This Rushen-practice may also be done as a preparation for Tibetan Heart Yoga-session.
The way how the body shakes goes in periods. It may be very slow and calm while on the other hand it might be very fast, aggressive and uptempo. Allow it to be as it comes, don't change it. Yet know that it can be stopped at any time.
What is very important is to be able to observe objectively. This is a basic skill of meditators. However, if you are a beginner, know that sometimes strong emotions can come up. If this happens your body might shake aggressively, you might shout in fear, you might start crying and so on. Something like this that you didn't expect to happen, might happen. It's totally OK. It's subconscious tensions, stresses and traumas, samsaric bodymind content releasing itself. However, if you feel it's too much, you can stop the session at any time. If you feel uncomfortable to return to Rushen-practice, do it in a group or with a friend. You can also do this eyes open which will help you to stay ”here”, instead of getting lost in emotions or memories. In general, one can have eyes open or closed whichever is preferred.
The main reason why this is done is to shake off samsaric mindstuff from our bodymind in order to recognise our natural knowing awareness. It's that simple. Doing this has other benefits as well. Your physical fitness can become better, your sleep becomes deeper and more restful, your overall vitality becomes enhanced and of course you'll just feel fresh and clear after doing these sessions, both physically and mentally. This is because the knots of your dualistic mind are loosened or untied. Rushen (outer) combined with tantric practice, such as Tibetan Heart Yoga, which is called ”inner rushen” by Jigme Lingpa, does the same thing, emphasizing more the inner aspects of our dualistic conditioning. The general purpose of all of this is to cut through samsara and enter nirvana. Use it and enjoy it!
Pau doing yoga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq0IE0ntbks
Spontaneous movements may develop to ”deity embodiment” as demonstrated in several videos by Pauliina:
Thank you for reading,
- Kim Katami, 29.5.2016