(An exquisite offering by student Tim Hinkle while recently on retreat in Northern California with Rinpoche)
To be human in these times is to have a backlog of unmet, unloved issues (“bananas, German sausages, beautiful monsters”) within us. Whether we want to be happy, healthy citizens of samsara or we aspire to dissolve our karma for corporeality altogether into the subtle elements and ultimately the rainbow body of light, there is no way to get “there” without essence love. By this I mean the ongoing unification of the warmth and clarity of the heart with the totality of our somatic expression. We start in the clouds, utterly divorced from this earthy body. Modern culture gives us countless convincing reasons to avoid intimate vulnerability with our body and capitalists are all too willing to sell us deeper and more efficient estrangement from ourselves. Yet, your body never stops aching for your attention, love, and presence.
Woven into the body’s cellular matrix are all our past unmet hurts and joys—this body is the world of 10,000 joys and sorrows, or as the 3rd Karmapa Rangjung Dorje put it, “This body is the alaya.”
To know the present moment, let alone the dynamic display of the fourth time arising in/as embodiment—the subtle five elements in ceaseless unborn play, we must bring essence love together with soma. In all likelihood, the experience will not be pleasant. Your soma will not be impressed by your sudden change of heart. It remembers the decades of abandonment and dissociation. You will meet numbness, confusion, tightness, trauma, and pain on the way to joy. You will want to turn back, and you will—countless times. You will retreat into fantasy and the mediocrity of concept. Come back. Come back. Come home.
You will meet yourself, and who you are will surprise you. The shallowness of a mentally imagined identity cannot compare to the liquid flow of unplanned embodied being. The soma, unconstrained and unburdened of abandonment, is so close to your true nature. You cannot bypass it. In any case, some purely mental rigpa would prove to be a dry and arid wasteland that would make the samsaric lives of your relatives and high school friends seem utterly compelling by comparison.
The good news/bad news is: there is no arriving. What fun would that be anyway? You will not arrive at some static place called a healthy subtle body or a wisdom subtle body. This is not something you can check off your to-do list. To be in the flow of essence love means never arriving. Destinations are a fantasy of the immature dualistic mind. So, take this out for a spin:
there is no arriving
Walk a mile or 500 in these shoes. You are not a thing. You are this mysterious unceasing flow of awareness, manifesting as warmth and tenderness that exists without reason or condition. This warmth lives in/as your heart and, if unshackled, will pervade every square inch of your world. It is in fact your world. But now, there remains a gap between our anxious conceptual mind and this warm presence. The only way to bridge it is by feeling everything.
Good luck ~ Tim
These spontaneous words came forth when heart, soma, and awareness joined in lucid tenderness. They are inspired by the generous and timely teachings of Tsoknyi Rinpoche, who has the integrity to feel everything.