Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

dzogchentoday-paul Baffier

Written by Paul Baffier

Paul, translator from Tibetan into English and French. He was trained at INALCO and Rangjung Yeshe Institute.

Blog | Dzogchen Meditation | Dzogchen practice | Dzogchen retreats | The Dzogchen Journey

In this article “Making a Mountain out of a Molehill”, Paul the indoor yogi discovers the joys of solitude in a mountain retreat…or not.

Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

Ah, peace at last!

Here I am, I’ve reached the top of the mountain of (shhh! the place must remain secret) and… nobody!

A real miracle these days.

And in total silence. The ultimate luxury.

Solitude at last.

I enter the cave. My cave.

At last I can begin my retreat away from all the hassle, the crowds, the noise and the worries. Alone in the silence of my mind.

I unpack my gear (a few reserves of food, some chocolate, a small beer – just the essentials for a Belgian indoor yogi like me), and off I go!

I get into my posture – back straight, legs crossed, gaze up – and formulate a few wishes (which I hope will be profound, altruistic and universal, yes, yes!) so that this practice of contemplation will be beneficial to all those who cross its path… and even to those who don’t cross it.

I plunge into concentration. The minutes stop.

 

 ” I remain in the yoga of clarity-luminosity free from adhering,

I maintain the natural state of natural manifestation,

I maintain the natural state of unaltered natural manifestation,

I discover my own face, the immensity without reference,

I have instructions on the natural liberation of passions ! “

The problem is that after a while, a voice behind me says:

“Hey mate, do you want a doughnut?”

I jump out of my skin, and despite my super intense concentration, I find myself at the entrance to the cave, ready to rush back down the mountain without getting my chocolate back.

Although… no, I don’t.

With my heart pounding, I gather all my courage and head back into the cave.

I look around in the dim light… hoping that someone (yes someone) is playing a joke on me.

I can’t see a thing.

The cave is small and I can easily walk around it. I feel the walls, examine the cracks. Nothing at all. Not a soul to be seen.

A joke in my mind, then?

It must be.

dzogchentoday-Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

I calm myself down (positive mental self-commentary, encouragement, wishes, recalling the lives of the masters of the past – who didn’t have chocolate) and sit down: back to practice.

I get into my posture – legs crossed, back straight, eyes brave – and say out loud (just in case) various protective formulas (you never know) to make sure everything goes well.

Breathe in…

Silence…

Concentration… The minutes stop.

“So, does he want the doughnut or not?”

This time it is a different voice, accompanied by laughter.

A cold sweat runs down my back.

There’s nothing behind me, I know it, I know it.

“He’s not fast, this one. For all we know, we’ll still be here in a thousand years!”

“And the doughnuts will turn to stone!” Laughter.

I can’t move because there’s nothing around me, nothing to look at.

Tetanized, but not completely unfocused. Concentrated enough to refocus.

I let the fear go where it wants to go. I don’t try to suppress it or calm myself down (I don’t even open the beer). No, I let the fear do its thing in this state. If my mind wants to be afraid (after all, it’s normal, I’m alone in a cave with voices – what could be more normal?), I let it happen in the midst of concentration.

And I don’t pay any more attention to the voices.

“He’s a tough one, he’s acting indifferent! As if we didn’t know he likes doughnuts! Ahah!”

“Hey Paul, do you want some whipped cream on it?”

Crap. The voices know my name.

Either I’ve gone mad in an hour (it’s the altitude sickness, the lack of oxygen, the delirium, the deprivation of a flat and Belgian fries), or… what?

The answer comes suddenly.

This isn’t my cave. No, it was someone else’s cave. Someone who is not human, but who is here, in his house, and I’m actually in his house.

“Not in his house, but in ours! Now he’s got it!” Laughter.

“What took the little guy so long?” Squeals of delight.

“Not fast, our intrepid cast!”

“He’s so slow, his meditation must be a plow!” They burst into laughter.

 

The spirits of this place are having a great time. But I can tell from their comments that this isn’t their first time, and that they’ve frightened many a flat yogi before me…

This spark of lucidity rekindles the glow of concentration within me. I straighten upend remember the instructions of Sera Khandro, who was also challenged by spirits. Her song suddenly comes back to me:

“In the solitary mountain retreat of boundless luminosity,

I dwell in yoga where the cycle and its beyond appear as ornaments,

I maintain the natural state free from the grasp of fear and hope,

I meet my own face, the genuine clarity-luminosity,

I have instructions on the natural liberation from appearances!

In the solitary mountain retreat of natural clarity without grasping,

I remain in the yoga of clarity-luminosity free from adhering,

I maintain the natural state of natural manifestation,

I maintain the natural state of unaltered natural manifestation,

I discover my own face, the immensity without reference,

I have instructions on the natural liberation of the passions!” 

dzogchentoday-Making a Mountain out of a Molehill

Then, when the state is recalled by the invocation, the voices and laughter dissolve into an intense light that fills the whole cave making the darkness, the walls, the beer and the chocolate disappear.

And in this light, so natural, so alive, it’s impossible to find the illusion of being alone.

Not even the silence.

To read Sera Khandro’s song in full (in another translation), click HERE.

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