Words by: Brian Russo
“Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” We all recognize the words of this famous song sung by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Her mellifluous rainbow voice sings about a place that allows her to fulfill her dreams. When she sings this song, she is far away from living her ideal life and is weighed down with worry. She wants to go somewhere over the rainbow to escape from her troubles. We can easily picture ourselves in her slippers, also wanting our dreams to come true just by finding some magical space. This dilemma brings up two questions: “What is over the rainbow?” and “How do we get there?” The concise answer is that our nature is love and that we already are over the rainbow. Yet it is a journey to realize that love is our natural state precisely because the journey makes us explore the color spectrum of our being more fully. How we manifest our love for the world while we learn how to journey through the rainbow more fully colors the story of our lives.
We can start our journey by acknowledging that ‘over the rainbow’ is a different place for all of us. We know the rainbow is way up high and where blue birds fly, yet what it really is and what that means for each of us is an unfolding mystery. For now, we can begin by imagining that somewhere over the rainbow is where our goals are achieved and where we live our dreams. Many of us have similar general goals in life and for the states of being we desire, but we have very different ways of thinking about how to achieve these goals. Many people idealize somewhere over the rainbow as place where life’s problems are permanently solved and everything goes their way. While this is just an idea of what is over the rainbow, many people run with that idea. Since they have made their goals into such an ideal, they can never quite reach them. Or, if they do reach them, they find new goals to achieve. In either case, they are chasing rainbows. “Chasing rainbows’ refers to trying to achieve something impossible or impractical. It is pointless to chase an actual rainbow because it does not have a beginning or end and is always perceived a certain distance from us. So, the analogy of chasing rainbows is perfect for the mind that is constantly grasping desires or running from aversions. In the grasping state of mind, we chase rainbows even though chasing them makes them disappear to our vision!
The grasping state of being originates in not accepting reality as it is. This is not to say we shouldn’t change the conditions in our life. On the contrary, we should accept the responsibility to be in harmony with all things. But we have to recognize that the harmony we seek is within us. We do not have to look outside of us to be inherently content in our very being. Yet the grasping mind is always trying to get somewhere over the rainbow in search of contentment. With this mindset, we become preoccupied with thinking about what its like over the rainbow or working to get there that we can’t appreciate the rainbow that is present in each moment. The grasping mind chases one rainbow after another as no one thing satisfies its never-ending search for contentment. When we realize the nature of this grasping, we can recognize that it traps us in a cycle of suffering.
Dropping the grasping mind and exiting the cycle of suffering is difficult because fuel for our desires is so readily available. Whether it is a physical or mental longing, we seem to always find a way to get more then want more. I admit that it is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “If I only had more money I would be content” or “If I had this relationship, I’d be happy then.” But what is implicit in this way of thinking is that a quick fix will suddenly make everything permanently better. Most people prefer to chase the quick fix for an easy way out because the actual way out requires greater discipline. Millions of lottery tickets are bought with the expectation of escaping one’s problems. But rather than being seen as problems, one’s unsatisfactory conditions and challenging circumstances should be seen as teachers and opportunities. Grasping at the quick fix causes us to miss the lessons we need to learn. These lessons help us to realize that we can be content simply by abiding in the present moment. In this moment, we can simply be present, without the thought of lacking something. The grasping mind meets it end in knowing that we ultimately lack nothing. It is only when we think and act from a place of lacking that we empower the grasping mind. It is important to reiterate that we can break the cycle of suffering right now in the present moment. We do not have to repeat the actions that lead to unsatisfactory conditions. Having let go of what obscures our being, the clarity of our mind is revealed. We no longer feel we are lacking anything and create the patterns of abundance and peace in our being.
Already being over the rainbow and trying to go over the rainbow appears to be a contradiction. We resolve it by knowing that the process and result of going over the rainbow are two sides of the same coin. This resolution is being the bliss to allow the bliss to flow through us more fully. Living in the present moment is where we can always align with our rainbow being. The present moment is where we can effortlessly be in our rainbow state of being while simultaneously striving to achieve our goals. We can be content while striving but also simply rest in the present moment without trying striving for anything. This way of being is an important foundation because it shows us that the rainbow state of being is always available to us amidst the suffering of the external world. We can bring the peace of rainbow being with us when we are accomplishing our goals. When we are in rainbow being while striving, we do not need to let our striving for the result make us miss out on being content with how the process of our goal unfolds. It is striving without the grasping mentality of acquiring something tangible or even achieving an intangible quality. This way of striving chases rainbows playfully, like a child playing tag. The child is content with running around as love of play and joy is the purpose. The child has outcomes in mind but is not so fixated on it that the game is no longer fun. In contrast, the grasping mind chases the rainbows like a dog trying to catch his own tail! So, when our striving becomes a form of playing, we unfold the colors of our rainbow being. Also, we learn that our goals are achieved more easily when they are joyfully performed from a place of equanimity. We are not caught up in feeling unsatisfactory until the goal is met. The goal does not take us out of the joy and purpose of our being because the purpose of the goal shines through in the beautiful way we carry it out. The bliss of our rainbow being pours out through the process. I always want to develop my rainbow being further but not with the mindset of “I need more” I’m not looking for more. There is an infinite amount to experience. But what I am looking for is to deepen my capacity to love and create with the capacity that is already present within my heart. I’m expanding the love and light of my being with the fuel of love and light. The bliss of our rainbow being pours out through the process.
I am content with my rainbow being while also striving to paint the colors of my rainbow in the outside world. I don’t let the fact that I haven’t fully realized my dreams get in the way of appreciating how my rainbow is unfolding every moment. The rainbow I chase is finding the most expeditious ways to help others in realizing their own rainbow being. I rejoice in the beauty of the process that gives my story its color. Being in right relation with all beings and spreading as much love and light as I can is what is over my rainbow. I want to take the part I was born to play. I feel like the universe is guiding me to do what is best for myself and others and I am not afraid to write it. Deep down, we all dream to live with love and creatively express our unique being. Ultimately, what is over the rainbow for us all is the higher self we are trying to manifest in our current state of being. Our higher self unfolds our purpose. Rainbow being is the bridge between who we are and what we are destined to become. Love is the choice we can make every moment to take us further into the heart of our journey.
Radiating The Rainbow Being
We do not need to go anywhere but here and now to experience our rainbow being. The name rainbow being signifies the infinite colors of our self that shine through creation. Similar to our physical body and mind, the rainbow is a phenomena made possible through light, water and consciousness. The rainbow and our own existence are impermanent in physical form but the underlying nature of both is eternal.
The rainbow is like the truth of our being because it cannot be grasped by the hand but it can be felt by the heart. It is precisely because the rainbow is beyond grasping that it is so beautiful. It cannot be taken away because there is nothing to take away. Like the rainbow, we can never lose our true nature. The rainbow brings us to the realization that we need not grasp at our true nature because it isn’t going anywhere. It is here to shine from within us!
A good analogy for the rainbow body is light being refracted through two prisms. When white light comes in contact with the first prism, it is bent or refracted into the seven colors of the rainbow. Yet when the seven colors of the rainbow are refracted through the second prism, the white light is reemitted. We are like this white light, an eternal spark of the source that splits into many colors to know itself in an infinite variety of ways. We are only distinct insofar as to how our awareness incarnates which causes us to relate to reality in particular way. But essentially we are inseparable from source as we are all ultimately of the source. In life, we can get lost in the relative illusion of it all and forget that we are the white light. But this possibility of ignorance is a necessary circumstance that enables us to journey back to the white light in the first place! It is through our journey that we not only remember we are that which is “Just that,” and bring beauty to the unfolding expression of the source itself! We bring forth this beauty when we abide in the light of the source and become a channel for our higher self and the highest good of all beings. Returning to the light as the light in the rainbow body is an expression of our pure love for source because it is the pure love of source reflected back to itself. Cultivating rainbow body in every aspect of our life lets our colors shine forth from within. Through the knowledge and action of love, we will all attain the rainbow body and celebrate the source in its infinite and eternal expression.
By consciously emanating loving kindness, we bring the greater whole into harmony through our being. Only by loving our self first will we be able to love the whole more fully. Through this way of being, our love grows and multiplies the unconditional love of unity consciousness. Rainbow being is a process of allowing. When we want to feel the rainbow –and I’m not talking about eating skittles here—we open fully to allow it to activate within us. We call forth our light of love to shine bright for the benefits of all beings. This illumination allows us to be in good relation with everyone including our self.
Sacred Geometry of the Rainbow Being
Rainbow being can also be understood through the principles of sacred geometry. First, we need to consider the basic geometry at play in the formation of an actual rainbow. The rainbow is due to a certain triangular arrangement between the sun, the moisture in the air, and an observer. When light is dispersed into shades of the color spectrum through contact with water droplets, the droplets act like prisms. The light rays bends at the surface of the droplets, which reflect at the back of the droplets and then refract back out into the air. The angle or degree at which we view the rainbow relative to the sun’s rays determines the colors we see.
Just as the rainbow arises from a triangular arrangement, our being is brought to light by the triangular arrangement of three fires: the blue fire of will, the red fire of love’s wisdom and the yellow fire of active intelligence. This truth is passed down by the Venerbale Dhyani Ywahoo, holder of the ancestral ywahoo lineage in the Cherokee tradition. She teaches us that we are weaving our own dream and determining our own reality through these fires. The blue fire is our will, the intention that causes to be. The red fire is love’s wisdom which manifests compassion. The yellow fire is active intelligence, the means to actualize and realize a healthy community and abundant land. Dhyani Ywahoo tells us that during meditation, we can visualize a triangle in our sacrum within which burn the three sacred fires. The triangle is especially appropriate to visualize the fires in because the sacrum is a large triangular bone at the base of the spin. These three fires ascend within the spine from the sacrum, which is also known as the sacred bone. The ascension of these fires is also known as kundalini awakening, a powerful experience where we activate the energies of our light body.
Dhyani Ywahoo tells us that we can activate the fires within our sacrum by picturing two spirals of light, a double helix dancing within the spine. She says that one spiral descends from heaven and enters through the head while the other spiral ascends through Earth and rises through the base of spine. This meditation practice, which is also combined with sound and breathe work is the key to activating our merkaba.
The merkaba is commonly defined as our light body vehicle. We can visualize it like two interpenetrating tetrahedrons of spiraling light similar to a three dimensional Star of David. Activating the merkaba body allows us to travel outside of our physical body and journey in different times and dimensions. The merkaba can be better understood by analyzing each part of its name. Spiritual visionary Drunvalo Malchizadek states “Mer meant a kind of light that rotated within itself. Ka meant spirit, in this case referring to the human spirit. And Ba meant the human body — though it also could mean the concept of Reality that spirit holds.” There are many facets to the diamond of our rainbow being, but the merkaba is the energetic template itself that allows us to explore all the sides of ourself.
Rainbow Body Revealed
I hiked with my friend Lina on a perfect October day. She told me to smile like everything in my life was perfect. I beamed, completely at peace with the eternal nature of my spirit. I never forget what that smile felt like. It taught me that I can bring the energy of my rainbow being anywhere at anytime. My rainbow being shows me the unfolding of my life’s purpose. I am blessed in this life to experience the colors that Maria brings to my rainbow. We shared a time that foreshadowed my first rainbow body experiences at Salem Willows. We stood by the water’s edge and gazed at the immense blue cloudless sky. Maria’s eyes grew wide as she looked out in complete astonishment. She kept asking me if I could see it but I saw nothing but a picturesque view. So, I asked her what she saw and she told me that she saw everything pixelated, like microscopic orbs of vibrating light reflecting the color of the landscape. I was amazed, but was not able to perceive what she described. Later that day, I read about a Buddhist practice known as Dzogchen. I come across the symbol of Dzogchen, a circular rainbow surrounding the Tibetan syllable “A”. I read that as a whole, the symbol represents rigpa, which means knowledge. Rigpa has two aspects, namely ka dag and lhun grub. The “A” represents ka dag, the primordial purity that is the basic undefiled nature of all beings. Ka dag corresponds with the sound “Ah”. The circular rainbow, or thigle represents lhun grub, the spontaneous presence and process of everything. I also read thigle are infinitesimal orbs of light that compose all of reality. The natural formation of the thigle are infused with the primordial purity itself. I am shocked to read this because it sounds exactly like what Maria had described! When I told her about it, she confirmed that this is in fact what she had experienced. Little Grandmother Kiesha Crowther is the only other person I have hear of who have seen the thigle. She described them as ‘dots of many colors’. I was overjoyed that Maria could also have this experience because to see the thigle is to see reality as it truly is and to know the source all things. Little did I know, I was about to experience my rainbow being firsthand!
After that weekend, I had a few experiences that took me deeply into my rainbow being. I remember the night of December 5th as vividly as if I am back there now. I lie down in my bed and visualize the rainbow with the intention of feeling its energies. I imagine my awareness spiraling through the colors and seeing the rainbow from ever angle. I notice that small areas around my body begin to feel like they have masses of orbs spiraling in them. The energies rapidly spread out to course through my entire physical body. I become lighter and lighter as my vibration is raised higher and higher. Then, blast off. The rock boosters kick in and I feel my energetic body stand up vertically in my bed. All of my body begins to vibrate with extreme intensity and I feel white and golden light spiraling and cascading through me. I feel that I am moving closer toward the center of the source that is causing me to have such a luminous experience. The pressure on my entire being is beyond anything I’d ever experienced. The g-force is incredible. I feel like I’m moving faster than the speed of light yet completely still at the same time. What a balance of opposites! I mentally hesitate about whether I can handle such a high level of vibration. That is all it takes for my peak experience to plateau. The intensity completely switches off and I am taken into the “0 g” of free-fall. I wish I had the discipline to remain rooted in the sensation of love rather than indulge the worry that I could not handle the intensity of the vibration. But then I feel the gratitude again and enjoy the sensation of complete peace that ecstatically vibrates through me. It is so beautiful to just let go of everything and bask in the glow of the rainbow feeling. I may not have gotten further into the extremely high vibration of source but that is because I experienced exactly what was meant to happen. Minutes after it had begun, I was back in my body, grinning from ear to ear, remembering the beautiful tones that sang out through the whole journey! I experience that same rainbow feeling the next night but quickly fell back into my body. The night after that, I was able to walk right out of my physical body with my energetic rainbow body and move around my house. I flew around and found myself underwater, swimming with strange sea creatures. The sensation of being in that place was so different from any dream I had ever had. Another time I traveled out of body, I asked to experience the presence of the divine. I saw the colors of the rainbow dance before my eyes like flashes of lightening. Violet flashed most brightly. My entire being shook intensely as enormous amount of energy coursed through my body. The sound I heard was extremely loud and pulsed in time with the energies I felt. It sounded like a might whooshing gust of wind. Like my other experience, I could not handle the intensity and found myself back in my body. We are always in the presence of the divine but knowing this presence in its multitude of forms is truly awesome.
A couple of weeks after my initial experiences of rainbow being, Maria participates in a shamanic ceremony in Columbia. She has a vision that begins with an old man showing her the rainbow that is dancing in her eyes. She is filled with light as she looks up and sees a rainbow belt around the sun and another around the moon. Three rainbow bodies appear to her and send her their vibration of love and light. Then she sees my rainbow body sitting across from her rainbow body. She sees these rainbow bodies as glowing metallic pulsating layers of color around a human form. All of the colors are vibrating at different frequencies. We are sitting in lotus position and holding hands as our eyes meet in an eternal embrace. This is the last image she has before the vision ends and the bliss remains. I cry when she tells me. This cosmic moment is the very same circumstance as when we first recognized our connection: Sitting across from each other in silence, holding hands and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. We thank the universe for the blessing of seeing our connection in so many ways and the beauty of the journey we are just beginning. I am overjoyed to share the message that we can all shine the colors of our souls through opening our hearts to rainbow being.
Manifesting Rainbow Being
Knowing our rainbow being lies within allows us to shine our rainbow outward. When we allow our loving light inside us to overflow, our being becomes the bridge between the spiritual and material. This bridge brings our higher purpose down into our daily routine. On the journey of deepening our resonance with our rainbow being, every step is an interdependent and uniquely important part of our journey. There is no boundary line between the magical and mundane. The state of unity consciousness can be maintained in meditation but also as one goes about their daily routine. All steps on the path are just as sacred as the steps on the summits. Rainbow being balances the demands of the material world with the stability of our spiritual essence. When we infuse the boundless of our being with all we create, we invite miracles into every moment. Each loving act brightens the light of our being. The more our thought, speech and mind align to reflect rainbow being, the faster we anchor our dreams into reality. Bringing love into every movement of our mind and heart is the key to deepening the colors of the rainbow being we already are. When we are aware, we can’t help but manifest love because it our natural state. Through love, we remain in deep appreciation yet strive effortlessly to know the colors of the rainbow more fully. When we can resonate at this vibration, we brighten the light of our love for the benefit of all beings.
Overcoming Obstacles to Manifesting Rainbow Being
The light of source is an undiminished eternally perfect reality. To align with our higher self and purpose we need to clear all the obstacles that have been limiting us from achieving our destiny. We begin by saying aloud the permission statement: “From the Lord God of my being, I give myself the permission to do the work I came here to do today.” This permission is a sacred agreement to surrender any resistance we have to unifying our field and stepping into the higher levels of cosmic consciousness that reconnects us to source.
The suffering of the world teaches us many lessons we need to transform. But we have to let go of the patterns when we have learned what they had to teach us about ourselves. If we wake up thinking that we will go through the same routine today that we did yesterday we’ll just robotically repeat our behaviors. But when we bring awareness to each new moment, we can recognize our patterns and shift them. Oaths of lack, need and self-denial fade away as we resolve to let go of all that does not serve us. When we identify with our guilt from doing unloving actions we shut out the light of our being. Recognize that we no longer need to hold onto these patterns because they are not our true nature.
The Hawaiian practice of Ho’ponopono helps us to cleanse our light body through four powerful phrases: I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you and thank you. These words of love, gratitude and forgiveness help us to recognize and let go of what no longer serves us and align with what does serve us. The vibration of these words resonate with our higher self to open the space within that unfolds the perfection of creation in our being. We do not need to become stuck in what we do not want. We just need to affirm how we want to shine the light of our vision and how we want our world to be weaved into reality.
We strengthen our ability to overcome obstacles when we resonate with the light and wholeness of our rainbow being in every moment. This beautiful way of being is where we can go beyond what we thought was possible and flow effortlessly with what we want to cultivate and create. Our rainbow being inspires us to remove what does not serve us because we know the light within is eager to shine. We see that when we are in harmony with our higher self, our path unfolds before us. In our rainbow being, we manifest the dream that is our higher purpose. Though we may face many challenges in the material world, the divine within us does not lack the ability to overcome them. Every moment is a chance to strengthen our ability to overcome obstacles when we resonate with the light and wholeness of our rainbow being. This beautiful way of being is where we can go beyond what we thought was possible and flow effortlessly with what we want to cultivate and create. We are pebbles in the pond and the work we do ripples out for the benefit of all beings!
Affirmations to Manifest the Rainbow Being
We are powerful beings that can harness the power of our hearts and minds to generate the states we imagine. One affirmation I like to shine my rainbow being is: “I am a rainbow being shining my light of unconditional love forever”. Our affirmations are decrees from our higher selves. We decree to unfold our infinite potential by virtue of our infinite light being. This decree is a prayer that the source instantly puts into motion. We do not pray from a mindset of achieving an outcome but from a place of thanking the source for already making it so. We do not attract what is ideal to be or have in life by focusing on the lack of it. At its root, the feeling of lacking arises from the belief that our being is inherently without what it needs. But we already have access to the higher vibration of our natural state. Affirmations help us move back into the vibrational proximity of our higher self. We need to allow our awareness to focus on the joy that is already there. We manifest our rainbow being when we create the feeling of already having it. In this way, like attracts like and we amplify what we already inherently possess. We know that it is not about having joy once a certain outcome is achieved, it is the limitless joy and freedom of creation present throughout. When we resonate with the feeling of already having what we seek on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level to draw in more of the same.
For example, if you want to become more loving, you could smile at everyone you meet. It may seem contrived at first, but after a while you’ll find that you resonate more and more with that positive vibration that you are sending out to others. Becoming financially abundant is another example of how you can manifest what we you now rather than let it remain somewhere over the rainbow. You could saying “I’m financially abundant” to anchor this feeling into your being, but your empty wallet could contradict this statement and cause you to not resonate with an abundant state of being. Instead, you could say, “I’m getting richer everyday”. This affirmation is easier for you to believe and resonate with and will more readily bring financial abundance into your life. This is not an attitude of entitlement. I am not suggesting that we don’t have to work to get what we want and need. But I am suggesting a shift in perception that changes the paradigm of how we think and feel to get what we want.
The passive way in which we recollect a memory is an example of how we can change how we think and feel to get us what we want. If you become anxious about ‘losing’ the memory, you flood your mind with the thought off trying to remember it. This pattern of thinking obscures the memory even more! But, if you just allow your mind to be clear and peaceful, it is more likely than not that the memory will be recalled. So, by intentionally resonating with completeness even when there is a small feeling of incompleteness, we invite completeness into our lives.
‘Stop and smell the roses’ also touches upon the paradigm shift we need to make in evolving our perception. This phrase reminds us to recognize the completeness of everything while still striving effortlessly on our journey through life to know completeness in its infinite variety of forms. Yet we do not need to ‘stop’. We can just flow with the liberating beauty of our being and creating. Through this perception, we see that we don’t need to go somewhere over the rainbow because the beauty of the rainbow is right in front of us. Knowing that everything is an unfolding process in the great cycle makes each moment profoundly unique and significant. The rainbow shows us this truth as well because it appears as a circle –a symbol of the cycle– when seen from a certain angle in the sky. Our rainbow being is like this circle because its nature is to be in harmony with the cycles of life.
Dzogchen & The Rainbow Body
What is enlightenment? The essence of enlightenment is right in the word itself. We become light. We become luminous. In-light-in-ment (ment means result of action). On our journey, we physically realize enlightenment during our lifetime when we achieve the rainbow body. By attaining the rainbow body, one’s form literally dissolves back into the source of the light from which it emanated. One’s body shrinks and transforms into light. Most of the time a smaller version of the body remains behind. In more advanced beings, only hair and nails, which are composed of dead cells, are left behind. Thousands of Tibetan Buddhist masters along with many other sages have achieved the rainbow body at the end of their life by experientially realizing and ultimately becoming the pure primordial awareness of the source itself. This knowing and being allows for complete freedom. Some masters such as Padmasambhava realized a higher type of rainbow body without dying and remain as living light beings. The attainment of the rainbow body is typically accompanied by the appearance of lights and rainbows. You might think I’m chasing rainbows here but attaining the rainbow body is a completely real practice and attainable in one’s lifetime. The rainbow body is not only possible, but it is the vehicle of our total liberation.
Residing in a rainbow state of being creates the conditions for the rainbow body to manifest. We illuminate our rainbow being by cultivating love in every thought and action. Dzogchen is one of the most definitive practices to attaining the rainbow body in this lifetime. It is the most ancient and direct stream of wisdom within the Buddhist tradition of Tibet. It is also an abbreviation of the Tibetan word Dzogpachenpo. ‘Dzogpa’ means ‘complete’, or ‘the end’; ‘chenpo’ means ‘great’. The term has widely been translated as “Great Perfection”. However, we are not to understand that “Great Perfection” implies a perfection that we strive to attain or a journey towards a goal of Great Perfection. This is not the meaning of Dzogchen. Rather, Dzogchen refers to the state of our primordial nature which is self perfected. It needs no ‘perfecting’ because it has always been perfect. Every instant and step upon our entire path is taken as an interconnected entity of equal importance. Each moment deepens the process of our perfection as our path unfolds.
“Dzogchen” is also a term for the clear light: the natural, eternal, formless awareness, the rootless root of all things. Specifically, we can understand Dzogchen to be an interdependent unity of the essence, nature and compassionate energy of the source. The ‘essence’ is completely empty as it is primordial pure void which is free of defilements. Its nature is cognizant and gives rise to the manifestation all appearances. This cognizance is ‘spontaneously present’ indicating that it is the nature out of which all the phenomena of samsara (the cycle of rebirth) and nirvana (state of transcending the samsaric cycle) arise, and into which they are all absorbed. Just as the sky and sunlight are indivisible, so the empty essence and cognizant nature are always a unity. This inseparability or unity is called ‘compassionate energy’. This energy is described as unconfined, unobstructed and all pervasive. Compassionate energy has three qualities itself: the wisdom that knows, loving and caring compassion and the ability to liberate and protect all beings.
Comprehending the nature of primordial awareness is the root of our practice.
Being in harmony with all beings is the flower. The two fundamental aspects of Dzogchen practice are Trekchö and Tögal. These two practices help us to both understand and come into right relationship with the universe. Trekchö is translated as ‘thoroughly cutting through’ (resistance, stubbornness, toughness and closedness), or ‘breakthrough’. The practice of trekchö reveals the view of primordial purity beyond conceptual elaboration. In trekchö, we cut the cords of samskaras, the samsaric patterns that obscure us from being in harmony with all beings. We know which cords to cut by listening to our higher self. This witness to the contents of our awareness instructs us to remove everything that is not love and light. Though we still may have cords to cut, doing the trekchö practice puts us in a deep state of union with source on a conscious level. It is this homecoming with our true identity that makes it easy to cut away anything that does not raise our vibration.
The practice of Tögal can be undertaken once one has gained stability in the practice of Trekchö. Tögal is translated as ‘direct crossing’, ‘the direct approach’ or ‘leapover’. This practice brings the realization of ‘spontaneous presence which totally dissolves the karma of the practitioner. In this practice, and we balance our karma through purifying our body, speech and mind until there are no more cords left to cut. The resolution of this “cutting through” is that we dissolve the energetic tensions that bind us to any karma whatsoever.
Trekchö attunes us to feel that we are the universe but with the practice of Tögal, we become the universe. We can experience our being through the multifaceted awareness of the universe itself. Taking the form of the rainbow body is the culmination of the practice. One finally dissolves back into the universe through turning one’s body into light. Total freedom and liberation are attained.
The practices of Trekchö and Tögal are known experientially but it is helpful to know how they help us realize enlightenment on an intellectual level. Enlightenment is the realization of the three kayas —dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya— in this lifetime. These three kayas are enlightenment: the united body of Buddha’s being. It is important to keep in mind that the Buddha taught that one is not enlightened but that one is enlightenment. Buddha said, “If you see me as a Buddha, you will never see the Buddha”. He meant that when we idealize the Buddha, we alienate ourselves from our own Buddha nature. The Gyalwang Drukpa says that we should not see Buddha as a Buddha because the real Buddha is the reality state of our own life. When we lift the veil of our own obscuring perception, we will recognize that we have been Buddha all along and can be nothing but Buddha. We are fully enlightened only when our body, speech and mind can constantly abide in the pure awareness of our highest self.
Understanding the interrelation of the kayas is key to the Dzogchen practice. Dharmakaya is the formless body that corresponds with one’s essence. Sambhokaya is the energetic body that corresponds with our cognizant and spontaneously present nature (literally means the bliss body or enjoyment body of the Buddha). Nirmanakaya is the form body; the physical aspect of the enlightened being that corresponds with compassionate energy. As you will recall, essence, cognizant nature and compassionate energy are the unity that is the Great Perfection. One’s body, speech and mind also correspond to dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya respectively. Enlightenment results when these three bodies are harmoniously aligned. One can also think of the empty dharmakaya as the clear sky, the cognizant nature of sambhokaya as the light of the sun and the compassion energy of nirmanakaya as the sun’s rays that shine to sustain life.
In understanding the interrelation of the kayas, we begin with the dharmakaya, the most fundamental of the three kayas. The dharmakaya is the essence beyond subject-object duality. We can also call the dharmakaya “The Absolute” or “The Void” but cannot define it with our conceptual mind as it has no measure, dimension, thought or emotion. There is no need to try and pin it down as there is no thing to pin down. Accepting this truth will allow us to go beyond the intellect to stop grasping at ideas of what we think enlightenment is and simply live it. Through stillness of mind and openness of heart, we enter this space that transcends both inside and outside of us. This primordial purity can be pointed out right now in the space between two thoughts. This silence is the space that allows for thoughts to arise yet it is never separate from thought because thought is impermanent and ultimately empty. The rising and falling of thoughts show that they are momentary, while thinking itself as a property of consciousness is eternal. A thought is like putting a strand of hair into a fire. The hair’s temporary nature is revealed when the flames of the fire consume it. The dharmakaya is like the fire in that it burns away anything that obscures its primordial purity without any action ever taking place. It just is this pure incorruptible source that is without obscuration. The great Rinpoche Urgyen speaks to this fact, stating, “All karma and obscurations are momentary and not inherent to the primordial dharmakaya … There is nothing in this world more precious than dharmakaya. If our minds did not have this great capacity to recognize dharmakaya in a single moment, it would be quite pointless to train in it. A single instant of recognition can completely dispel the darkness of ignorance. Dharmakaya is not created by our meditation practice; it is already, primordially, present.” Even though we are of the Dharmakaya, we are constantly fabricating its naturalness. It is not that thinking is ‘bad’; it’s just that our dualistic thought patterns are constantly at odds with what is. We are always thinking, “Now I’m meditating, now I’m distracted, now I’m forgetting” and in doing so we do not leave it alone in unfabricated naturalness. Nevertheless, the Dharmakaya is perfect and undiminished by the delusory thoughts or action due to it is empty.
The gnostic teachings, meaning teachings from direct experience of truth, describe the inter-relation of the kayas like the layers of an onion. The dharmakaya is the heart and the innermost layer. Like a fractal, it is present in every layer of the onion as well as the skin. It is around it; it is within it. As the Gnostics say, “It is everything that gives the possibility of an onion to be. Each layer of the onion exists because of the space, because of the other layers, because of the atoms, molecules, fluids, and—significantly—because of the constant process of death, birth, and sacrifice: the ability for things to change. Each thing is sustained because other things died —were sacrificed— in order to give life. So, the existence of this cycle of things, and the space it happens within is Bhava, ‘becoming.’ That onion is in a constant process of change. It is not stagnant; it is constantly changing.”
There is a lot of becoming going on but how do we unbecome? How can we reside in this essence of dharmakaya that is already within us? Because the dharmakaya itself is the empty, passive and indeterminate state of liberation, it cannot manifest itself directly as the medium for liberation. However, the dharmakaya gives rise to the sambhokaya, which in turn gives rise to the nirmanakaya. This unfoldment creates the conditions for liberation and allows the beautiful display of creation in its infinite forms. But within this infinite variety of form, is the: the beginningless cycle of life, death and rebirth. Samsara is intimately related to the Bhavachakra, the wheel or cycle of becoming. The Bhavachakra is a symbolic representation of the world systems and dimensions throughout which exist many types of beings. Dharmakaya’s manifestation of the sambhokaya and subsequently the nirmankaya is the beauty of the bhavachakra. This beauty is the unfolding of the kayas in energetic and physical form that allows for creation and liberation to take place.
There is an important distinction between the bhavachakra and samsara. One can be on the wheel of becoming without being mired in the cycle of samsara. Bhava occurs in cycles but implies movement, activity and the potential to change. But Samsara, which means “cycle, cyclic, repetitious, life, course, going, wandering,” does not imply the possibility of dramatic change. When we are led about by the delusion, we reside in ignorance, the cog that makes the cycle of samsara spin. Yet the samsaric cycle is interdependent with the perfection of the three kayas. It is has a part to play in the unfolding of this reality. This cycle is necessary as new beings are constantly arising to explore and create within the source from which they came. There are so many beings arising and becoming bound by karma that samsara is essentially an endless cycle. Though it is has no beginning, samsara has an ending. Samasara occurs along the journey until there is realization of how to stop repeating its patterns in body, speech, and mind.
Individuals who cease samsaric activity no longer need to wander. They have found liberation within themselves. These practitioners embrace the sacramental nature of all things. They observe the universe and in observing everything that is happening the way that it is they accept it. One might say that this is difficult, but to even say this gives rise to the illusion that it should be difficult and then we put distance between ourselves and what is. Everything is part of a sacred continuum. The suffering and atrocities are put on our path because they are produced by karma and are meant to awaken us to rebalance in what is ultimately real. Plus, these negatives are a natural result of the polarities of our world and a consequence of infinite possibility. We can still reside in peace while there is not peace in the external world. Yet, we realize other beings and our planet as extensions of ourselves, so we strive to alleviate all suffering. But we do not have to suffer while we walk this path. Maintaining our equanimity in this noble pursuit embodies the very virtue of liberation in action! It is through the power of love that our consciousness evolves to experiences the unlimited potential open to it. When we live within our heart, we feel apathy, inertia and distrust vanish. Feeling the peace, joy, love, flow and truth of the heart is the home space where connection with the purity of source takes place. We get to choose each moment. We can always decide what we are going to do with the experience in front of us. The habit of the ego mind is to push us in the drama and fear, but when we remain clear, the door to the home space is open. Everyone will eventually get the message and attain the rainbow body. Everybody makes it. It is just a question of when.
In Nirmanakaya, there are a countless variety of forms becoming in the physical world. Samsaric activity occurs in the realm of form when we do not fully reflect the clear light of love that is compassionate energy. As mentioned, samsara is also present as a teacher that puts us on the path of self-illumination. Ultimately, there is no distinction between nirvana and samsara because everything is the clear light. The relative distinction only exists within the confines of dualistic mental perception. This perception causes us to think that we are not of the clear light. But this type of thinking is the seed of delusion that obscures our knowing of the light which we already are. Simply abiding in the pure light where all dualistic perceptions drop away is enough to remind us that we are beings of light and love ourselves.
We become masters of our Sambhokaya when we attain self-liberation by seeing reality as it is and being in harmony with all beings. Rimpoche Urgyen speak of this mastery, stating, “Once you recognize your essence to be primordial purity, the thoughts that arise from yourself dissolve back into yourself, within the expanse of your nature. They do not go anywhere else. This is what is meant by self-arising self-liberation. If you do not know your essence, then what arises from yourself does not dissolve within yourself. Rather than being liberated, it goes astray into the six realms of samsara.” We can think of this self-arising liberation he speaks of as being flawless. We could not put any defilement on it because it is like a mirror that only reflects primordial purity. But if we do not have this attainment, our consciousness becomes trapped within samsara. We cannot achieve liberation until all karma has been purified. The activity of meditation alone is not sufficient for the total liberation of our Sambhokaya. Liberation itself is more important than meditation. Chögyal Namkhai Norbu recalls this truth when he tells us of someone who asked the famous Dzogchen Master Yungtön Dorje Pel what his practice consisted of. Master Yungtön replied with the negative “mepa” or “there isn’t.” Then his startled questioner asked again, “Then you don’t meditate?,” to which the Master replied, “And when am I ever distracted?” This is the essence of samaya in Dzogchen teaching: not to meditate or to practice something with the mind and yet never to be distracted, for one remains uninterruptedly in the self-perfection of the single state of rigpa or knowledge. This story enlightens us about the effortless abiding in the view of non-distraction from rigpa. Master Yungtön shows us what a master does. He tells us how to look. He points out reality as it is. He does not think, “First I have to get rid of this terrible dualistic mind to be enlightened.” Instead, he recognizes what most of us overlook, which is that enlightenment is in the ordinary state. It is right under our nose. It is not something we have to imagine or project. It is not far away in the future. It is not something new. These actions just take us away from being present to the basic state of wakefulness that’s already there. Abiding in our pure being this moment is sufficient for liberation!
The rainbow body is the highest state of enlightenment of the sambhogakaya. This completely purified bliss energy body is a bridge between the formless body of the dharmakaya and the form body of the nirmanakaya. It is related to communication as it is both the channel and the guiding intelligence behind spirit in form. In the sambhokaya, one can act as an energetic mediator between the form and formless. When our nirmanakaya is resonating with the rainbow-like energy of sambhokaya, we feel the bliss of being our higher self and radiate compassionate energy for the sake of love that is the Great Perfection. We are at home in our rainbow being when love colors every thought, speech, and action.
Beginner Rainbow Body Practice
The five-pointed meditation posture is beneficial to maintain in the rainbow body practice. In this position, the legs are crossed, the hands are folded in the lap with palms up one on top of the other, the spine is straight but not rigid, the headed is tilted down slightly to straighten the neck, and the eyes are relaxed and half open. Let the breathing be natural. Try not to swallow and keep the tip of the tongue in the groove on the top of your mouth. The object of concentration can be placed so that the eyes can look straight ahead, neither up nor down. The object can be physical, or an image held in the mind. The mandala is a very advanced object of concentration. A mandala is a complex image representing a three-dimensional projection. There is a rainbow body mandala that we can concentrate on that represents the teachings of the rainbow body practice. One can focus on the rainbow body mandala with the aim to embody it fully and attain the rainbow body state.
The object of concentration I use is the Dzogchen symbol. This symbol is a circular rainbow surrounding the Tibetan syllable “A.” As a whole, the symbol represents rigpa, or knowledge. Rigpa has two aspects, namely ka dag and lhun grub. The “A” represents ka dag, the primordial purity that is the basic undefiled nature of all beings. Ka dag corresponds with the sound “Ah”. The circular rainbow, or thigle represents lhun grub and it is the spontaneous presence and process of everything. Also, thigle are infinitesimal orbs of light that compose all of reality. The natural formation of thigle are infused with the primordial purity itself. Therefore, the Dzogchen symbol is not just any object of concentration; it is the representation of reality as it is. When we focus on this symbol, we are realizing the purity of our natural being. We do not try to identify with the symbol or project anything on it. Simply by staying focused on the object of concentration, the boundary between it and us dissolves and we realize inherent oneness. The rainbow surrounds the white light emanating from our heart like a torus as we connect to the source of our being. The ability to steadily abide with our object of concentration is what ultimately enables us to form our energy body in any realm of the universe we want. In this form we are in-form-ation accessing the information of the universe. When we know we ultimately are the source, we realize that we can leave our physical form anytime to explore the subtler dimension of our being.
Toning the syllable “Ah” while we visualize the Dzogchen symbol helps us to achieve a state where we can actually feel the thigle of our energetic body. The “A” is the primordial purity that causes the thigle to arise. So, toning “Ah” attunes us to the vibration of the thigle. I feel the thigle like masses of spiraling orbs that rapidly spread out to course through my entire physical body. When we know how to manipulate the thigle, we can place our consciousness in our energy body and travel outside our physical body. The realization that thigles exist on an energetic level and do not stop at physical boundaries helps us overcome the obstacle that we are only our physical body. Toning “Ah” can also help us hold our concentration to allow us to come into our energetic body more easily. The “Ah” is the supreme syllable because it opens up our heart center.
In many cultures, we see this syllable’s sacredness in holy words such as amen, aum, Allah etc. We can mentally tone “Ah” audibly when we are focusing on the Dzogchen symbol. Toning aloud is perfectly fine but the silence of mental toning is suited for the practice of traveling out of our body. We can realize this transition in a meditative pose or lying down. Our physical bodies are asleep but are consciousness is free to do what it pleases. When lying down, one can visualize onself standing upright. This change in perspective frees the conceptual mind from the physical orientation of lying down. Therefore, it is easier for the out of body transition to occur through disassociated with one’s physical form. There are infinite places and vibrations to explore through all of our senses. The most valuable experiences give us what we need to live our purpose in our physical form more fully. We do not travel out of body to escape the realities of incarnate life but to know the light and learn how to share the light. This practice of rainbow being is intended for the benefit of all being. The greatest success is achieved when we keep this intention in mind, heart and soul. Whatever form your practice takes, it is most important to be your own guide. Live in a way that allows you to rely on yourself. If you can live like this, your practice will be pure.