The True-Self: Impersonal and Individual.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Apr 12, 2011
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“When life flows through us in such a pure and powerful way, utterly beyond any preconception or idea that we may have, we have found our true life.”

“…When we abandon the idea that what we ‘really’ are is a centralized self corresponding to our ideas, we discover ourselves as the unceasing, ever-changing kaleidoscope of experience that arises as our life. So we discover that we are, in each moment, a truly individual phenomenon, not limited even (or especially) by any notion of a continuous or coherent ‘self…’

At this point, we begin to sense that our experience, and thus our immediate life, is ultimately not about us nor is it for us. We begin to sense that we are vessels or vehicles for something much larger—in fact, reality itself, in all its vastness—and that our lives are unfolding rather completely independently of our own personal sense of ‘self,’ with its various hopes and fears, its ambitions and agendas. We begin to realize, in other words, that our life is ultimately not a personal phenomena at all.

Ironically enough, the realization that our life is not a personal phenomena marks the birth of our true individuality…

This realization, of course, can only occur when any self-conscious “I,” even any sense of ‘me’ being me, has ceased, if only for a moment. When it does occur, this realization is accompanied by a very powerful and life-changing awareness. Undeniably and astoundingly, we discover that, when life flows through us in such a pure and powerful way, utterly beyond any preconception or idea that we may have, we have found our true life.” ~from Touching Enlightenment With The Body by Reggie Ray

Change is the only constant. It is in the unsettling or unexpected moments of “our” life that we realize the inevitable and unavoidable truth that we are not other than life. In fact, we are an example of life.

If we have the courage to move beyond “our” interpretation of life, and rest in a direct experience of the eternally unfolding present moment, there we will find our True-Self. It is the impersonal and individual awareness—the enlightened mind—underlying this eternal revolution. ~from Life Is Verbing by Ben Riggs


Dr. Reggie Ray currently resides in Crestone, Colorado, where he is Spiritual Director of the Dharma Ocean Foundation, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the practice, study and preservation of the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the practice lineage he embodied.

The Dharma Ocean Foundation has an online media store where you can download “theme-based affordable bundles of talks, as well as complete program recordings.” Right now they are offering a free MP3 or PDF download, a talk from Reggie Ray entitled, “Emotional Awakening.” Click here for this free download.

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About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist & Christian spirituality for Elephant Journal, and The Web of Enlightenment. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter. He also teaches at Explore Yoga. Click here to listen to my podcast.


26 Responses to “The True-Self: Impersonal and Individual.”

  1. TamingAuthor says:

    Astoundingly wrong. Buddhism in the West has been so altered that it no longer resembles anything taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni — then or now. Those ideas that are easiest to cling to will always become the ideas most loudly proclaimed in Samsara. If not, more would have achieved liberation.

    Does it matter? I am beginning to think not. Those who truly desire liberation will find it … most likely in the bardo stages …. and those who hunger and thirst for samsara will cling to wrong views. There is a reason the bramble bush patch is filled with suffering souls.

    Am always curious about how people come to embrace the Reggie Ray's of the world. Always wonder what triggers, what karmic imprints, draw them to the message. Fun to sort out but perhaps not all that valuable to most people, who concentrate on seeking that which provides the most comfort.

    Rambling… I am beginning to think that Buddhism in the West is indeed "comfort food." It is no longer seen as a real discipline and challenge but rather a kind of teddy bear we can take to bed, a sweet bite of comfort food so that we can sleep at night. Am I too harsh in my analysis?

  2. Joe A. says:

    I'd much sooner embrace Reggie Ray than a bitter pedant like TamingAuthor, one that pontificates on — nay, shrieks about — the lack of "true" dhamma in someone else's teaching. Pfffffth!

  3. BenRiggs says:

    Surely you are not suggesting that Reggie Ray is without lineage?

  4. TamingAuthor says:

    Padma, that was the point. The mainstream does not uphold (or even teach) Buddhism and the result is something quite different. It becomes a version of western pop psychology. Or comfort food.

    I agree there are a few teachers who are authentic lineage holders — my evaluation is more on the quality of their work than official status. Trungpa was legitimate. Sogyal Rinpoche teaches valid concepts. Kenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche is excellent. Am not too familiar with Geshe Kelsang Gyatso but some of his writing reflects a deep understanding. There are others but it seems they are the exception rather than the rule. Would be interested in hearing about the teachers you found.

  5. Jay N says:

    The realm of the absolute is timeless, beyond time. The relative world of form evolves, yet they are not two. If Buddhism had to rely on the harshly pedantic hollering head school of fundamentalist religion, a la FOX TV, then I suspect it would have died off long ago. Instead it has managed to stay vital and relevant precisely because what it points to is timeless, and Embodiment is the expression of the veracity of any practice. We look around and see for ourselves.

  6. TamingAuthor says:

    That makes perfect sense and, if anything, verifies my objection.

    I met Trungpa in 1973 when he first came to Boulder. His hosts, acquaintances of mine, were psych grad students at CU. The people who founded Naropa, with Trungpa, integrated western psychology into the curriculum. To this day, one finds this to be the case. This is where one finds the western psych views (contrary to Buddhism) tainting what is delivered at Naropa, and eventually, after Trungpa's passing, at Shambhala. This was the open door to alteration with views of materialism and, of course, comfort food (a must in Boulder).

    The quality of instruction at Shambhala after Trungpa passed plummeted with perhaps the exception of Pema Chodron, who, of course, is not in Boulder but now in Canada. (Where Waylon's mom also takes part in the Shambhala community.)

    The Boulder community was a major challenge, and in many ways a disappointment, for Trungpa. The stories of the problems and shortcomings of the Shambhala community are, of course, legendary. And they, unfortunately, tarnish the reputation of a teacher of considerable merit.

    I can see that bias and emotion are filtering out my words so there is not even the slightest understanding of what I am writing. So be it.

  7. […] Chapter 3-a: The True-Self: Impersonal and Individual. […]

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