Structure

The Radiant Mind Course

Nine months

Workshops

There are three 3-day workshops in the Radiant Mind Course; an opening workshop, mid-course workshop and completing workshop. In 2014, these workshops will be offered in Portland, OR, USA.

In the opening workshop you will:

  • Create a sense of community with other participants and develop a common focus.
  • Be introduced to the structure of the course and the work you’ll do over the next 9 months.
  • Be introduced to the experience of unconditioned awareness.
  • Gain a direct experience of the flavor of this work.

In the mid-course and completing workshops you will…

  • Deepen your understanding of nondual presence.
  • Continue to gain skills in resting in unconditioned awareness and sharing this with others.
  • Learn how to dissolve subtle intellectual constructions about the nondual state.
  • Learn how to create an accepting, non-judgmental space around strong emotions.

In the completing workshop you will…

  • Refine your skills in using speech and silence to bring this experience to others.
  • Be given opportunities to facilitate this work.
  • Fully enjoy the paradoxical dimensions of Radiant Mind.

Readings and audio resources

You will be working with the Sounds True Radiant Mind course material. These consist of a book and set of 7 CDs. This material will be complemented with some additional practices. You will work with a particular theme each two to three weeks. The study materials are transformational in their own right. They directly open up new possibilities for living fully in the moment and give you new ways for accessing unconditioned awareness. They also give you a set of reference materials through which you can refresh your experience of unconditioned awareness.

Guided meditations

The audio CDs also include 6 guided meditations. These meditations let you sit back and be transported into profound states of nondual awareness.

Explorations

Every two or three weeks you will also receive a set of experiential contemplations and inquiries. Altogether there are 50 explorations. The exercises are varied. Some are designed to deepen your understanding of your conditioning; your desires, needs, preferences, and so on. Other exercises recondition you conditioned mind, in order to make it more pliable and less fixated. Another set directly lead you into the unconditioned mind by dissolving your fixations. Some exercises are completed by yourself, and others with course participants, partners, colleagues and friends.

Contemplative practice

This course attracts people with varying degrees of experience in meditation or contemplation, from beginners through to teachers of meditation. If you are new to contemplation, this dimension of the course will we help you design a contemplative practice—one that suits your lifestyle and commitments. If you’re an experienced meditator we will help you to refine, enhance or reinvigorate your practice, so that it leads more directly to the experience of the unconditioned mind. If you wish we can also support you in exploring how you can share your meditative experience with others. The practice we introduce is very simple and doesn’t conflict with other practices.

In this practice you also explore the experience of «shared meditation» with a partner on the phone. This can be a very powerful experience. We also introduce some adaptations to the basic practice that help you to deconstruct each other’s identification with the thinking process. The practice of contemplation continues throughout the course.

Nondual inquiry

A major focus in the course will be the use of nondual inquiry and deconstructive dialogue. These are forms of inquiry that lead us from structured to an unstructured state of consciousness. We can ask questions like “What is this?”, “Where am I?”, “Am I moving forwards or backwards?”, “Am I moving at all?”, “Is there something special I should be doing?”, “Who am I?” These questions are like koans. You will gain skills in using these and many other keys that unlock the conceptual mind, and take you into unconditioned awareness.

Individual sessions

Every two or three weeks you will have a private 30 minute session with your Radiant Mind mentor. In these sessions you receive personal coaching in the life issues you are dealing with, and in the practices of the course. The individual sessions give you opportunities to work with concerns of a more personal nature. In some of these calls we also do some role playing in order for you to gain skills in sharing or facilitating this work with others.

Conference calls

Every two or three weeks you will also participate in a conference call with other members of your learning group. The instructor will also participate in these calls. The conference calls are made through a toll-free hub using the highest quality telephony available. In these calls you:

  • Continue the work we opened up in the workshops.
  • Clarify questions and queries that arise in the experiential exercises.
  • Create a shared and nourishing contemplative environment.
  • Experience the unconditioned mind in a globally dispersed setting.
  • Give you opportunities to explore nondual deconstruction.

Small group meetings

Participants come together in person or by Skype connection every three weeks or so. These meetings are very fruitful in grounding nondual awareness in the projects and challenges of people’s lives. In these meeting people share their experiences and work together in creating the nondual field of awareness.

Click here to download the Radiant Mind Course PDF brochure.

The power of engagement

All of these opportunities and resources are offered to each participant. It is up to each person to discover what supports and inspires them, and how they can engage whole-heartedly in a practice that works for them. Participants who find ways to really engage with each other and with the material in the course receive benefits which keep deepening and expanding throughout the 9 months. The themes explored in the course include:

  • The unconditioned mind
  • Contemplative practice
  • Obstacles to experiencing the unconditioned mind
  • Observing fixations
  • Natural release and the practice of noninterference
  • Pure listening and speaking
  • Complete in the here and now
  • Achieving inner peace
  • Broadening the river of life
  • Working with koans
  • Resting in healing-bliss
  • Dissolving fixations
  • The final cleaning: checking the purity of the unconditioned mind
  • Dancing in the paradoxes of nondual awareness

The unconditioned mind

Whether we realize it or not, the unconditioned mind is the ultimate goal of all human endeavors. Why? Because when we rest in the unconditioned mind, there is absolutely nothing more that we need. There’s no where further to go. The Radiant Mind course directs people to the experience of the unconditioned mind as a way of transcending our suffering and healing us from the psychological wounds of our past.

The experience of the unconditioned mind is a very precise experience. It’s the only experience that is totally open and without any structure. This is why it is sometimes called “contentless wisdom.” The experience of the unconditioned mind can also be spoken about in terms of its depth and durability. By the depth of the experience, we mean the extent to which the unconditioned pervades or infuses our conditioned existence. By duration, we mean how long we can rest in this state.

You will find this Project to be particularly dynamic and engaging. We begin by giving you an opportunity to identify your assumptions and preconceptions about the unconditioned mind, and how it is cultivated.

Contemplative practice

In this course the capacity to feel at home and comfortable with contemplative experience is an important part of healing. An important component of this course is the development and management of a regular contemplative practice.

Contemplation covers a wide range of practices and experiences. It includes deeply inspecting the nature of our experience, going beyond identification with thoughts and feelings, and sharing our inner peace and clarity with others. We can contemplate with our eyes open or closed, by ourselves or in a group. We can be in a state of contemplation even when we are relating with other people.

For participants who are new to contemplation, we will coach you in designing and maintaining a regular contemplative practice that is suited to your lifestyle and commitments. You will learn how to anticipate the obstacles that may arise, and gain support for your practice from your family and co-participants in the course.

If you’re already an experienced meditator this Project will give you the opportunity to identify where your contemplation has become sporadic, flat, uninspired, habitual or obligatory. You will design ways to reinvigorate and enhance your practice. We can also help you to design and implement opportunities to share you experience in meditation with communities that are important to you.

The development and refinement of a contemplative practice will continue in the background through the Course. We will offer ongoing guidance and coaching in this area.

Obstacles to experiencing the unconditioned mind

When we are deeply identified with our conditioned way of being—initial access to the unconditioned mind can be obscure and obstructed. The most common psychological phenomena that hinder access to the unconditioned mind are:

  • Our attachment to suffering
  • The habitual need to be doing something
  • The need to know—what is happening and where we are
  • The need to creating meaning
  • Fearful projections about the unconditioned mind

In this Project you explore what hinders you in accessing the unconditioned mind. For example, you’ll identify the behaviors that keep you busy. In doing so you’ll also open up the possibility of simply being present to what is, without needing to move incessantly towards a self-prescribed goal. You will become a skillful observer of how you create and recreate fixed points of reference. You will explore the experience of living from a more open and fluid identity. In doing so you’ll also open up the possibility of simply being present to what is, without needing to move incessantly towards a self-prescribed goal. In observing what blocks access to the unconditioned mind you will also realize that there is nothing to block!

Observing fixations

This Project gives you the vital skill of observing the presence of attachment and aversion, as these arise in real-time. Observing our fixations can be as simple as seeing what is in front of us. Once we know how to recognize them, fixations become apparent just as effortlessly as the sights and sounds that present themselves to us in everyday life. We offer you a simple set of lenses through which to observe your own and others fixations. You will explore your attachment to, and rejection of different feelings and sensations, and different thoughts, beliefs and values.

Fixations also manifest in our bodies and nervous systems. They determine where we move and how we hold our bodies. Our preferences draw us into some situations, and hold us there, and repel us from others. In this Project you learn how to use your own body as a sensitive instrument for detecting the presence of cognitive, emotional and behavioral reactions. You will learn how to feel the presence of fixations by tuning into the movement of subtle energies in your body. You will learn to read the physical expression of moods and emotions such as embarrassment, pride, fear, excitement and boredom.

Natural release and the practice of noninterference

In many Asian spiritual traditions healing occurs through the practice of noninterference. When we let things be, as they are, contracted emotions can often dissipate more quickly than if we meddle and interfere. The ability to let things be, without judgment or reflection, is an important component of Radiant Mind. It is a highly respectful and expeditious way of working with people. We simply create space around a problem, let it run its course and dissipate of its own accord.

In nature everything moves through a natural cycle of development and dissolution. This is also true of feelings and emotions, as it is in nature. In Radiant Mind you learn to tune into the points where problems and heavy emotions begin to dissolve by themselves. By recognizing this process you can assist others in returning to a point of equilibrium and balance. You’ll recognize the seed of harmony that lies at the heart of every conflict.

This Project introduces you to the power of noninterference: the practice of just letting things be.

Pure listening and speaking

When we listen through a screen of judgments and assessments we distort the natural flow of people’s experience. Pure listening is a quality of being that nondual therapists bring to their interpersonal relationships. It’s a type of listening that neither adds to, nor takes away from what is being communicated. This listening is pure because we hear without any interference. There is no static. We “get things” exactly as they are. When we listen with this purity, we “listen from nothing.” We are like a clear mirror, receiving exactly what is communicated—nothing more and nothing less.

When we listen from nothing, we hear everything! We are in an equal and intimate contact with ourselves and the people with whom we are in communication. Communication arises as a beautifully coordinated display of non-manipulative speaking and listening. This is the only form of communication that can take us beyond our conditioned identities, into an experience of the unconditioned mind.

In the course, pure listening is developed in two phases. In the first phase you learn how to listen in silence, without judging and assessing—you just listen. You will complete a set of exercises designed to refine your listening by filtering out the tendencies to positively and negatively appraise what people are saying or doing. In the second phase you learn how to introduce speech from you own side. You learn how to listen and speak from nothing.

Complete in the here and now

In order to rest in the unconditioned mind and remain fully open to the every changing modulations of the here-and-now, we need to be free of the burdens of guilt, regret, worry and anxiety. We need to be complete with the past and fearless about the future. We need to live in a state of on-going completion, in which the past lives in the past, and not in the present. We become more interested in increasing the quality of the present moment, rather than processing problems.

When an action is complete, we’re free to move on and fully encounter the next moment. In this way we keep the present moment fresh and alive. We don’t need to go back and rectify situations where we have left ourselves or others incomplete. At the end of each day there’s nothing to process or mull over.

There are different ways to be achieve completion and be in the here and now. In this Project you will complete various exercises that will root you more deeply in the immediacy of the moment.

You learn how to:

  • Transcend your conditioning by connecting with the unconditioned   mind.
  • Clean up the past, in the present.
  • Discover a desireless way of being.
  • Tune into the future consequences of our actions as you’re   doing them, and adjust your actions accordingly.

Design your conversations so that you remain complete in the present moment.

Achieving inner peace

One of the greatest contributions we can offer others is the experience of our own serenity. This is particularly precious when people are feeling agitated or distressed. When we’re unperturbed and totally at ease we radiate an inner peace and composure that sooths and nourishes.

The time-honored wisdom of Asia’s contemplative traditions recommends that initial access to the unconditioned mind can be greatly enhanced by slowing our thinking down so that we feel peaceful and serene. In Radiant Mind, when someone’s thoughts are racy or disturbed, a crucial step is to help someone slow down and discover a place where there is more composure and less urgency. We don’t need to eliminate thoughts completely. We just need to arrive at the point where thoughts can float through awareness without producing any disturbance.

The most direct and effective way to slow down our thinking is to give ourselves nothing to think about! This is logical. If we have nothing to think about we have fewer thoughts. And thinking about nothing also reveals the unconditioned mind.

In this Project you will explore the practice of serenity inside and outside of your meditation practice. You will work with friends, partners and clients to lead them to state of deep calm and acceptance by deenergizing the thinking process. You’ll learn how to calibrate the level of cognitive input you provide as you skillfully introduce people to inner peace.

Broadening the river of life

In nondual traditions the nature of the spiritual path changes from one of avoiding suffering and pursuing pleasure to one of expanding our capacity to be present to everything that human life can produce—open to the fully force and richness of our conditioned existence. We progressively increase our capacity to receive all experiences without fear or addiction. We don’t automatically try to avoid difficult situations and seek out agreeable ones. We become more tolerant and more accepting. We discover how to face life with more balance and equanimity.

We accept that suffering still happens for us at this point on our path. We cut through the fantasy that something is wrong when we suffer. We stop making a problem out of having problems! We accept the basic structure and patterns of our experience—our life circumstances, not in a defeatist way, but with dignity and grace. We welcome what is as a gateway to the unconditioned mind.

This Project creates a focused opportunity to observe how you attempt to avoid or dilute different experiences, of pain and pleasure. You will expand you capacity to remain present and functional in the face of intensely pleasurable and unpleasant experiences. You will be given guidance and opportunities to assist those around you—friends, partners, clients—to expand their capacity to experience pleasure and pain, without resistance.

Working with koans

Koan practice is usually associated with formal Zen Buddhist practice. But koans arise naturally in our minds when our experience of the conditioned mind expands to include unconditioned awareness. When our familiar points of reference dissolve, questions arise such as: What is this? Where am I? Am I moving forwards or backwards? Am I moving at all? Is there something special I should be doing? Who am I? These questions are all koans because each one of them is a key that can unlock the conceptual mind, and take us into the unknown.

In Radiant Mind, we use these naturally arising koans as tools for deconstructing our habitual ways of thinking. The silences that punctuate nondual presence often give birth to a gentle cascade of natural koans. By letting our thoughts ride on these koan-type questions, fixed ideas about who we are, and what we are doing, can dissolve into the infinite expanse of unconditioned awareness.

This Project introduces you to natural koans—the questions that arise spontaneously in Radiant Mind interactions. You will learn how to leverage their capacity to reveal the unconditioned mind. Your contemplative practice will also be extended to include a dimension of koan-work. You will be guided in this work, through to the completion of the course.

Resting in healing-bliss

In Sanskrit there are many words for bliss. Most of them have a spiritual association. Why? It’s very simple. In a culture that practices yoga and meditation there is a lot of bliss around.

Nondual presence also produces experiences of deep bliss, joy and rapture. They arise in the slipstream of the unconditioned mind. They occur like clockwork when our thinking slows down and we move into more subtle states of consciousness. These experiences can be profoundly healing, especially for people who deprive themselves of pleasure. They are medicine for the mind and the soul. They sooth our minds and repair the damage done to our nervous system by pain and trauma. We recognized their healing power and let people rest in these experiences for as long as they arise.

This Project gives you an opportunity to explore the landscape and tonality of healing-bliss in your own and others’ experience. You will distinguish different types of bliss. You’ll learn to support people’s immersion in healing-bliss, work with any attachment to these experiences, and smoothly move them into total openness.

Dissolving fixations

A unique feature of the Radiant Mind course is the use of conversations that directly reveal the unconditioned mind. These conversations are rarely encountered in daily discourse. We call them deconstructive conversations. They can be spoken and silent. Deconstructive conversations dismantle the foundations of our conceptual constructions, and thereby allow us to experience the unstructured mind. They penetrate the seeming reality of feelings, emotions and sensations in a way that dissolves their existence.

This Project takes you inside the structure of deconstructive conversations. We begin by introducing you to the traditional methods for deconstructing rigid beliefs and frozen emotions. You will have an opportunity to introduce them in your own practice. You will then explore how they can be adapted for use in a therapeutic setting. You will learn how to identify the core concept on which an emotional construction is built. Having identified the core concept, you will learn how to inquire into the existence of the reality behind the concept, and dissolve the painful feelings associated with fixed ways of thinking. You will understand the wisdom of the Heart Sutra, when it says “there is no suffering.” You’ll experience how suffering dissolves when it’s examined by the mind that rests in unconditionality.

The final cleaning: checking the purity of the unconditioned mind

The quality and purity of the unconditioned experience can be verified by asking “checking questions.” We can direct these questions to ourselves, and to our others. Normally we only ask these questions when someone is in a fairly open and spacious state of being. These questions reveal whether a person is resting in a structured or unstructured state. An example of a “checking question” is: Can you enhance this experience? If we discover the presence of conceptual residues within the experience of the unconditioned mind, we may choose to go one step further, into the fully unconditioned state or enjoy the feeling of peace and serenity that arises when our thoughts dissolve.

In this Project you will learn to detect residual conceptual structures and dissolve these using checking questions.

Dancing in the paradoxes of nondual awareness

In the West we have a long-standing habit of being very earnest and serious about our psychological and spiritual development. We feel compelled to communicate without any hint of inconsistency or inner contradiction. This habit comes from our Greek philosophical heritage.

In contrast, Eastern sages move fluidly and confidently in the paradoxical domain without any trace of self-consciousness or distress. They know, from their experience, that paradox and contradiction are inevitable when we enter the space of unconditioned awareness. As such they welcome paradox because it points to the reality that cannot be captured by our thoughts.

If we let go of our need for conceptual consistency these paradoxical thought-forms can lead us directly into the unconditioned mind. They can also produce an explosion of hilarity and laughter that shatters the seriousness and releases the energy that get tied up in maintaining a rigid image of ourselves and others.
This Project will teach you how to dance in the paradoxical logic of nondual awareness. Many people think that this can’t be taught, but it can be. You will learn how to use paradox as a springboard for entering the unconditioned mind. You’ll become confident in knowing when (and when not) to use paradox and contradiction.

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