Deep healing

8 mins & a video

An old friend of mine, a naturopath, has had a lot of success in healing people simply by telling them — confidently — to drop down into their hearts and feel they’re experiencing their own pure, peaceful natures, the restorative power of their own deep clear light awareness. He has been healing people like this for years, sometimes from intractable mental and physical problems that other medicines and therapies have not been able to touch.

beautiful heartExtraordinary, really, and it speaks to me of the importance of being direct and confident in our spiritual or meditation practice as well, not beating about the bush but heading straight for the source. So I thought I’d say a few things about that, starting with a little background.

The journey into the heart

We can travel all the way to enlightenment by learning to absorb deeply into our heart chakra, such that we manifest our own clear light mind. In fact, it is the only way to do it. As Buddha Shakyamuni says:

If you realize your own mind you will become a Buddha. You should not seek Buddhahood elsewhere.

As the saying goes, the most important journey we will ever make is the journey into our heart.

It is inspiring to understand that inside us, at all times, is this indestructible potential for lasting happiness, healing, and freedom from all suffering. It is called our Buddha nature. Everyone has it.

There are different ways of talking about this potential – in The New Eight Steps to Happiness, Geshe Kelsang says our compassion is our Buddha nature or Buddha seed because it is our compassion that will grow into enlightenment.

Elsewhere he says that our very subtle mind and body are our Buddha nature because these are the substantial causes of the mind and body of an enlightened being (rather as a rose seed is the substantial cause of a rose bush). In other words, we already have the actual ingredients for enlightenment inside us; nothing needs to be added, we just need to grow it.

Sometimes our Buddha nature refers to the emptiness of our clear light mind, which allows for everything and anything to appear and exist.

Through any of these explanations, we can understand that our mind is not set in concrete, however much it may seem like that some days; but can heal, purify, and transform completely. This means that we ourselves are also not at all fixed, but can and will one day become completely different people.

Whatever has happened up to now, if we go on this spiritual journey our future will be an entirely better story. We will end up completely free and blissful, day and night, life  radiate loveafter life, and able to bring others to the same state.

The goal …

The goal of Buddhist meditation is to use Tantric technology to deliberately manifest our very subtle mind of great bliss and use it to realize its perceived object, the emptiness of all phenomena. This bliss radiates eternally to all living beings as compassion, blessing them with mental peace. It mixes with the true nature of all phenomena, emptiness, like water mixing with water.

So cultivating bliss and emptiness, compassion and wisdom, are the way to go and the way to grow! And we also impute ourselves on this bliss and emptiness with correct imagination, thinking “This is me”, to attain enlightenment as fast as possible, even in this one short life.

Here is an illuminating extract from the teachings by Gen-la Khyenrab at the recent International Kadampa Festival in Portugal:

… is within reach already

Modern Buddhism emphasizes bringing this goal, or result, into the path. In other words, rather than laboriously working our way through all the stages of the path in a dualistic fashion — wherein we are over here all restricted and the realizations are light years away over there all transcendent — we can dip into them every day. Bathe in them, even.

Then we don’t have to wait forever to have them.

Try this for a moment if you like …

Gently close your eyes and imagine you drop from your head into your heart chakra (in the center of your chest cavity). Feel that your cloud-like distractions and worries have dissolved into an empty-like space in your heart, an inner light, like an infinite clear sky — just imagine. Feel your way into that peace, and think “This peace, however slight or relative, is my indestructible Buddha nature, my potential for lasting peace and mental freedom. It is who I really am.” It is also tuned into the enlightenment of all Buddhas. I can trust it. Believe that everything has dissolved away into the emptiness of this mind because nothing is as solid or as concrete as you thought. Bathe in that for a few moments or longer.

(By the way, if you’re not a Buddhist you can still do this — tuning into whatever holy or divine being works for you.)

reflection emptiness 2

So we dive or drop into our hearts and simply imagine, based on whatever understanding we have so far, that we are experiencing that bliss and wisdom right now. This is not make-believe going nowhere – as Gen-la Khyenrab says in that video above, imagination functions. All our thoughts are paths leading somewhere. Everything starts in the imagination. Then we can do all our step-by-step meditations in that context, not in the context of being an ordinary, deluded, inherently miserable person.

For the point is, the limited self we normally see and relate to doesn’t even exist; so there is really not much point in practicing Dharma, or meditation, in the context of that self, while believing in that self and buying into its limitations. It is far more effective and enjoyable to learn to practice in the context of feeling blissful, believing in and buying into the adamantine purity and goodness of our root mind. I mentioned this a bit before in an article where I explained how I like to meditate “backwards”, as it were.  

emptiness reflection 2I don’t think it matters how vague this bliss and emptiness are to begin with, it is still worth getting started. If we don’t take a few moments each day to dive in — to imagine dissolving ourselves and everything else away into this bliss and emptiness — our ordinary appearances and conceptions will for sure overpower us. We will go round continuing to assume that we are ordinary, others are ordinary, this world is ordinary. These ideas are not true, and both they and their objects are false hallucinations projected by the impure minds of self-grasping and ordinary conceptions. But they are so convincing and so deceptive that we can spend years lost in them.

I have met a lot of people who stop practicing meditation because they get immersed in appearances, too closely involved in the external situation as Geshe Kelsang puts it, like a dog with a bone; and in the “real” busyness of ordinary life simply forget to journey within. Only years later, when they come back to a meditation class or retreat, they realize, “I forgot who I really was! I forgot this alternative existed.” I think this scenario is something to watch out for because we are all subject to forgetfulness.

Healing ourselves, healing others

Now that we know that there’s an alternative to samsaric selves, places, and enjoyments, I think we owe it to ourselves not to forget. We can take a little time daily to taste the restorative, healing power of our own peaceful mind, for then we can regularly observe for ourselves that the neurotic or unlovable or unloving version of ourself doesn’t actually exist. So we’ll know for ourselves that we may as well stop right now trying to make that self we normally see happy or to solve its hallucinatory issues because it’s literally a fool’s game.

We can dive into our heart and experience the deeply healing power of truth, versus pandering to the barely existing but psychotropic projections that our ignorant mind takes to be concrete reality. We can let go of the thought and the labels “self”, “mine”, and “other”. “Stop grasping at labels” as Venerable Geshe Kelsang said in his Universal Compassion oral teachings. After all, everything is unfindable upon analysis. Everything is mere name. So why not rename ourselves?

No one is forcing us to keep grasping at a concrete reality that is not there. Believe me, no one needs us to be doing this.

Just as one drowning person cannot save another, however fervently he or she may wish to, so we cannot help others much if we are drowning ourselves. We need to be on at least some dry patch of reality.

I think that most of us could probably do with more confidence and directness in our approach to meditation. Bringing the result into the path is hallmark of our tradition, starting from the outset of our practice. We don’t need to skirt around the bliss and emptiness that is reality; we need to go for it as soon as possible — why not right now? We can trust it, take refuge in it. Then we can sort out our issues within the perspective of infinite space and freedom — and this process becomes so much more enjoyable, not to mention effective!

wings of a birdDharma teachings are not intended to make us all hung up on what is inherently wrong with us – there is nothing inherently nor permanently wrong with us, our problems and delusions are ephemeral clouds in the sky. (Check out these articles for more tips on how to overcome our faults and delusions without buying into them.)

We are not working our way up to blissful non-dualistic wholeness from a distant ordinary place, an OTHER place, a place of inherent lack. We are realizing that this is who we already are from one perspective, and we just need to gain this perspective. This is the quickest path to transformation.

Practicing as if no one is watching

And, by the way, while we’re working on getting enlightened we don’t need to prove anything to ourselves or to anyone else. Thinking that we do is just another elaboration, another ego game. It is another way we distance ourselves from our own wellbeing and reify our painful, limited sense of self by feeling alternately proud and/or bad about it. I personally like to practice as if no one is watching.

If you have time, check Part Two and Part Three of this article, including some tips and tricks for getting quickly into our heart. Meanwhile, over to you … was this helpful or not? Anything to add?

Related articles

Enlightenment is reality 

Meditating “backwards”

Bringing the result into the path 

Start where you are 

Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

33 thoughts on “Deep healing”

  1. It really caught my attention and I love it that you said you don’t think it matters how vague this bliss and emptiness is to begin with, and that it is still worth getting started. (I find the whole article very helpful). I spend time each morning trying to mix my mind with bliss and emptiness, but usually feel it is some rather unattainable goal (pie in the sky?). I just love the view that it is still worth “getting started”. What else can we do, and the more familiar we become with not buying into the crunchy ordinariness of the world, the better everything will be. Good reminder not to spend years being lost in ordinariness! I find your articles most helpful and interesting. Thank you.

    1. I’m really glad to hear this. Yeah, we just gotta get with the bliss and emptiness, there is no future in ordinariness. Also planting potent seeds each day for success 🙂

  2. Are you visiting Satasota? I drove by the NKT
    center,yesterday,and thought of you,and safety harbor days…ive not attended,since,but often think of Jamkar,and the gang of smart people….ive immersed myself,in living,to help others,donating worktime, love ,and compassionate generosity(also,hosting long distance touring cyclists,at my nova scotia retreat house…)
    I do mingle,with the pema chodron crowd,
    somewhat,and enjoy life,as never before…
    Its been a long ,struggling time,reaching this period ,in my life,and it seems real and valid.
    ♡ to you, dearest!

  3. Lovely essay, love this teaching, however despite years of practice, very difficult for me to do. I like to imagine Geshela is there with a step ladder in meditation, and I just have to walk down, but still very difficult.

    1. Maybe reframe it to yourself as *not* very difficult — that is an ordinary conception which will block your ability to do it. Imagine you can already do it instead, and see if that helps.

  4. Beautiful teaching. My golden nugget for today is “we have bliss already and can realize enlightment right now.” This reinforces my commitment to meditate every day, uncovering that peaceful heart before I take on what the day has to offer. Thank you again Luna for your beautiful and clear writing. You and Dharma are my gift.

  5. Thanks for this, it’s very clear and deep, and I found it beautiful to read. And necessary. I’ll be reading it again.

  6. You just made me realize that the Buddha nature that I normally relate to was just my private peaceful space in my heart when you said “It is also tuned into the enlightenment of all Buddhas.” I have a very good feeling about how this insight will transform my practice, and my life! ‘imagination functions’ and ‘adamantine purity and goodness of our root mind’ (they are adamant!) are other phrases I will remember well from this article.. and ‘ stop grasping at labels’!

    I do have a question as well. You said “Sometimes our Buddha nature refers to the emptiness of our clear light mind, which allows for everything and anything to appear and exist.” Hmm, could you say a bit more on this? Did you mean emptiness (of our clear light mind) allows for everything and anything to appear and exist? Or did you mean that clear light mind allows for everything and anything to appear and exist, and the emptiness of this clear light mind is our Buddha nature. Why cant we simply say “emptiness allows for everything and anything to appear and exist”?

    Thank you for your patience with me!
    Love, Yona.

    1. Because our clear light mind is empty it is not fixed and anything can appear. Emptiness does allow for everything and anything, and it is our mind that creates reality. Those two are like two sides of the same coin.

      1. I have been training in the fact that my Buddha nature is also tuned into the enlightenment of all Buddhas. I usually relate to Buddha nature as being around the heart center (even though I understand its non-local) and it takes me to body mandala practice. However, self-generation practice is no longer a Buddha nature practice right? At that point, you are not thinking of your Buddha nature?

          1. Ohhhh.. I apologize for being slow, this is the first time I am clarifying this in my mind. I always thought Buddha seed and Buddha nature were synonymous. For a Buddha, the Buddha seed has ripened (so I believe I can say a Buddha no longer has Buddha seed) but he or she STILL continues to have Buddha nature.

  7. I really liked the part about trusting in bliss and emptiness, taking refuge in it, and “going for it.” I’d love to hear more about how to do that when you’re just starting out with Tantra, for example. Thank you for these wonderful articles. They’ve helped me.

  8. Your articles are always helpful Luna,reminding,helping,guiding me further along the path to my goal.
    Thank you 😊❤️

  9. Lately I’ve been deep into my ordinary life. Thank you for this reminder. Beautiful.

  10. How beautiful this teaching is. For me the golden nugget was “our ability to go right to our hearts and to acknowledge and own the bliss and emptiness that is ours and available each day.” As I said before I have heard most of these thoughts before from my wonderful teacher Kadam Morten in New York City, but it is your gift of writing that illuminates these teachings and more than anything, reinforces them in my heart. What a beautiful way to start my day.
    Thank you.

    1. 37 years ago almost to the day, my new college friend Morten and I went to our first meditation class. And we have been sharing our thoughts ever since 😊

  11. How wonderful. Easy to know that this is coming from your own personal experience of Geshe La’s teachings. ♥️

  12. Hello L,

    I don’t see the link for the video with Gen-la in your email. However it is on your internet page. I’m not sure this is what you intended to.

    Guènyin 🤔


  13. This is such beautiful and profound advice. I have definitely felt the pain of being lost in the head and in the world of ordinaryness and solidity. I feel I misunderstood what it means to be a bodhisattva. I was trying to make life look like the bodhisattva’s path rather than life taking its own shape naturally emerging from a deepening connection with my own peace first. Sometimes I find the sadhana and teachings a bit information heavy and intellectual. Any advice for how to connect to sadhana from the heart rather than the intellect would be very much appreciated as iv lost my motivation for formal practice as of late. Thank you for your continued illumination of the more subtler points of geshe-Las teachings luna. You’re a real ray of light in dark times ❤

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. As for the prayers, I sometimes do them after i’ve generated the minds, then they express beautifully what is in my heart. Whenever we do them, the main thing is to do them with blessings — not in a dry way requesting blessings from afar. I write about that somewhere on the blog …

      Went and found some hopefully helpful articles:

      Meanwhile, I was thinking this might be a great question also for you to ask the good folks on the Kadampa FB group pages because it is a very common question, how to connect to sadhanas from our heart rather than our head.

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