In Rigpa, Nothing Sticks

Rigpa is a Tibetan Dzogchen word for naked awareness – pure consciousness. It is the very nature of mind. It is cognisant emptiness. It’s what we are. Thoughts arise in the naked awareness of mind, and they are noted and let be. Naked awareness does not get sticky, clinging to thoughts and governing our lives.

The criticism from ordinary mind (that which holds on to thoughts) is that this approach lacks sensitivity. People immediately say, “Oh, so you do nothing!” In the modern world we are taught to be sensitive and value our feelings, and therefore we can become over-sensitive. This is fuel for ego fixation – for an ‘I’ fixation – and is the breeding ground for hope and fear. We feel the need either to defend our ideas or become hostile, and in our righteousness, we are quick to take offence. Ordinary mind is controlled by the collective ideas that are in fashion at any given moment: this control causes more confusion and is unsettling because it disrupts our natural knowingness.

There may be moment of selflessness – of genuine heroism – but that is only because we don’t have time to think of ourselves in that instant. That spontaneity is rigpa, but as it’s not combined with continuous practice, it is not a stable presence in everyday life.

In rigpa , everything is noted but not grasped. Pure consciousness is clarity and, in clarity, whatever is seen as beneficial is expressed in compassionate activity, and then dropped. It is dropped because we do not want any clutter from a previous moment to influence this moment. We remain in naked awareness. Not sticky awareness! 😀

Of course, as we are not enlightened, we will have a residue of attitude, and a way of dealing with things but, through practice, we refine seeing.

This is what spiritual investigation is all about … refining seeing. In refining seeing, we are liberated into the dynamic expression of compassion. How that is expressed is a matter of personal skill and experience. Maybe we can do nothing but listen; at least listening will not make a situation worse!

Stick at nothing to be free.

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