mental qualities

hiatus fucking over.shittyexe

Common experiences of lesbians who don’t know they’re lesbians yet

 Out of curiosity, I recently googled “Am I lesbian quiz”. Half the “Are You a Lesbian” quizzes just asked outright, “Are you attracted to women?” as though that isn’t the very answer a questioning lesbian is trying to figure out. The other half marked me as heterosexual for things like owning more nail varnish than dogs. I hope this list will give you more nuanced ideas to think about as you explore your identity.

These experiences are all really common among - but not universal or exclusive to - people who later realize they’re lesbians and find a comfortable home in the lesbian label and community.

It’s mostly stuff that I and other lesbians I know have wished we knew when we were first coming to grips with our lesbian identities, because the fact is it takes a long time to discover how common a lot of these experiences are among lesbians, and not knowing what to look for when trying to figure out if you’re a lesbian can be hard.

‘Attraction’ to men

  • Deciding which guys to be attracted to – not to date, but to be attracted to – based on how well they match a mental list of attractive qualities
  • Only developing attraction to a guy after a female friend expresses attraction to him
  • Getting jealous of a specific female friend’s relationships with guys and assuming you must be attracted to the guys she’s with (even if you never really noticed them before she was interested in them)
  • Picking a guy at random to be attracted to
  • Choosing to be attracted to a guy at all, not just choosing to act on it but flipping your attraction on like a switch – that’s a common lesbian thing
  • Having such high standards that literally no guy meets them – and feeling no spark of attraction to any guy who doesn’t meet them
  • Only/mostly being into guys who are gnc in some way
  • Only/mostly being attracted to unattainable, disinterested, or fictional guys or guys you never or rarely interact with
  • Being deeply uncomfortable and losing all interest in these unattainable guys if they ever indicate they might reciprocate
  • Reading your anxiety/discomfort/nervousness/combativeness around men as attraction to them
  • Reading a desire to be attractive to men as attraction to them
  • Having a lot of your ‘guy’ crushes later turn out to be trans women

Relationships with men

  • Dreading what feels like an inevitable domestic future with a man
  • Or looking forward to an idealized version of it that resembles literally no m/f relationship you’ve ever seen in your life, never being able to picture any man you’ve actually met in that image

  • Being repulsed by the dynamics of most/all real life m/f relationships you’ve seen and/or regularly feeling like “maybe it works for them but I never want my relationship to be like that”

  • Thinking you’re commitmentphobic because no relationship, no matter how great the guy, feels quite right and you drag your feet when it comes time to escalate it

  • Going along with escalation because it seems like the 'appropriate time’ or bc the guy wants it so bad, even if you personally aren’t quite ready to say I love you or have labels or move in together etc.

  • Or jumping ahead and trying to rush to the ‘comfortably settled’ part of relationships with guys, trying to make a relationship a done deal without investing time into emotional closeness
  • Feeling like you have to have relationships with guys and/or let them get serious in order to prove something, maybe something nebulous you can’t identify

  • Only having online relationships with guys; preferring not to look at the guys you’re interacting with online; choosing not to meet up with a guy even if you seem very into him and he reciprocates and meeting up is totally realistic
  • Getting a boyfriend mostly so other people know you have a boyfriend and not really being interested in him romantically/sexually
  • Wishing your boyfriend was more like your female friends
  • Wishing your boyfriend was less interested in romance and/or sex with you and that you could just hang out as pals
  • Thinking you’re really in love with a guy but being able to get over him in such record time that you pretend to be more affected than you are so your friends don’t think you’re heartless
  • After a breakup, missing having a boyfriend more than you miss the specific guy you were with
  • Worrying that you’re broken inside and unable to really love anyone

Sex with men

  • Having sex not out of desire for the physical pleasure or emotional closeness but because you like feeling wanted
  • OR: preferring to 'be a tease’ to feel wanted but feeling like following through is a chore
  • Only being comfortable with sex with men if there’s an extreme power imbalance and your desires aren’t centred
  • Using sex with men as a form of self-harm
  • Feeling numb or dissociating or crying during/after sex with men (even if you don’t understand that reaction and think you’re fine and crying etc for no reason)
  • Being bored with sex with men/not understanding what the big deal is that makes other women want it
  • Doing it anyway out of obligation or a desire to be a good sport/do something nice for him
  • Never/rarely having sexual fantasies about specific men, preferring to leave them as undetailed as possible or not thinking about men at all while fantasizing
  • Having to make a concerted effort to fantasize about the guy you’re “attracted” to

Early interest in women

  • Not recognizing past/current crushes on women until you’ve come to grips with your attraction to women
  • Being unusually competitive, shy, or eager to impress specific women when you’re not that way with anyone else
  • Wanting to kiss your female best friend on the mouth for literally any reason (”to practice for boys” included)
  • Getting butterflies or feeling like you can’t get close enough when cuddling with a close female friend
  • Looking at a close female friend and feeling something in your chest clench up and being overwhelmed with love for her - love you may read as platonic
  • Having had strong and abiding feelings of admiration for a specific female teacher, actor, etc., growing up that were deep and reverent
  • Having had an unusually close relationship with a female friend growing up that was different and special in a way you couldn’t articulate
  • Thinking relationships would be simpler “if only I were attracted to women/my best friend who would be perfect for me if she/I weren’t a girl”
  • When a female friend is treated badly by a man, having your protective thoughts turn in the direction of “if I was him/a man I’d never do that to her/my girlfriend”
  • Being utterly fascinated by any lesbians you know/see in media and thinking they’re all ultra cool people
  • Having your favourite character in every show be that one gay-coded or butch-looking woman (like Shego from Kim Possible or Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica)
  • Feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable in locker rooms etc., when your female friends are less clothed than they normally would be around men and being more careful not to look than they are

The 'straight’ version of you

  • Thinking that all straight girls feel at least some attraction to women
  • Thinking that your interest in seeing attractive women/scantily clad women/boobs is an artificial reaction caused by the objectification of women in media
  • Being really into how women look “aesthetically”/“just as artistic interest”
  • Thinking it’s objective and uncontested that almost all women are way more attractive than most men
  • Being a really intense LGBT+ “ally” and getting weirdly emotional about homophobia but assuming you’re just a Really Good Ally and v empathetic
  • Having like half your friend group from school turn out to be LGBT+
  • Getting emotional or having a strong reaction you don’t understand to f/f love stories etc.
  • Having had people think you were gay when you had no suspicion you were gay

Exploring attraction to women

  • Feeling like you could live with a woman in a romantic way, even if you can’t imagine doing anything sexual with a woman
  • Feeling like you could enjoy sexual interaction with a woman, even if you can’t imagine having romantic feelings for a woman
  • Thinking you couldn’t be a lesbian because you’re not attractive enough, cool enough, or otherwise in the same league as most of the women you know
  • Interacting with het sex/romance in media by imagining yourself in the man’s position or just never/rarely imagining yourself in the woman’s position
  • Really focusing on the women in het porn
  • Being really into the idea of kissing/being sexual with a woman 'to turn guys on’
  • Being really annoyed when guys actually do express interest in watching or joining in when you do that
  • Only feeling/expressing attraction to or sexual interest in women when you’re inebriated or otherwise impaired

Gender Feelings

  • Having a lot of conflicting gender feelings that are only possible to resolve once you understand you are/can be a lesbian
  • Thinking that being gnc and feeling a disconnect from traditional womanhood mean that you can’t be a woman even if that’s what feels closest to right - many lesbians are gnc and many lesbians feel disconnected from traditional womanhood since it’s so bound up in heteropatriarchy
  • Knowing you’re attracted to women and not being able to parse that (esp + any gender nonconformance) as gay, taking a long time to figure out if you’re a straight man or a lesbian
  • Being dysphoric about the parts of you that make straight men think your body is owed to them, having to figure out what that dysphoria means for/to you
  • Knowing you’re attracted to women, but feeling weirdly guilty and uncomfortable trying to interact with them as a straight man, and only later realizing you’re actually a trans lesbian
  • Knowing you’re gay, but experiencing a lot of the symptoms of comp het when you try to interact with men romantically/sexually, and only later realizing you’re a trans lesbian and not a gay man
  • Being nonbinary and taking a long time to sort through being able to respect/understand your nonbinary identity and your lesbianness at the same time

Considering lesbianism

  • Wanting to be a lesbian but feeling like if you don’t already know you are one you can’t be
  • Feeling guilty about wanting to be a lesbian, feeling like you’re just attention-seeking or trying to be trendy
  • Suppressing your lesbian dreams because you think exploring that desire would mean you’re a bad/homophobic person using lesbianness selfishly
  • Wishing you were a lesbian to escape the discomfort of dating men
  • Fantasizing about how much fun it would be to be a lesbian and just be with women/a specific woman, but thinking that can’t be for you
  • Worrying that some of your past attraction to men was actually real so you can’t be a lesbian
  • Worrying that bc you can’t be 100% sure you’re not attracted to men and can’t be 100% sure you won’t change your mind, you can’t be a lesbian
  • Worrying that you only want to be a lesbian because of trauma and that means your lesbianness would be Fake
  • Worrying that trauma-induced complications in how you experience sex (e.g., a habit of self-harming via sex w men or a fear of any sex at all) mean you’re not a Real Lesbian

Every item on this list is common among Real Lesbians. It’s all Normal Lesbian Stuff. If you’re worried that you can’t be a lesbian even though it’s the life you really want for yourself, I hope this gives you permission to explore that. You are allowed to be a lesbian. 

And if you’re not sure yet – if you took the time to read this entire thing because you’re curious about your identity, if you identified with a bunch of items on this list – you may or may not be a lesbian, but friend, you almost certainly aren’t cishet. Welcome.

(I’d love to hear other things lesbians wish you’d known were A Thing when you were first exploring your identity!)

some crystals for beginners ✨

Originally posted by jupiter-fox

so, first of all, crystals will vary for individuals. one person may say that their number one is celestite etc while others will say something else. this is ok! they each have their own properties, which will probably tailor to their own craft needs! 

In no particular order:

CLEAR QUARTZ (or any type)

clear quartz is very versatile, it can be used/programmed for any purpose!! i feel like clear quartz works so well with us is because clear quartz and our own bodies have silica! (though ours are liquid silica crystals). clear quartz is known as a “master healer” and will amplify energy, as well as the effect of other crystals. BASICALLY, IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING YOUR COLLECTION GET SOME CLEAR QUARTZ!!

ROSE QUARTZ

rose quartz is the universal stone of love, calmness, gentleness, and compassion. generally, this is just a great stone to be around!

AMETHYST

yep. another quartz. are we noticing a trend here?!?! i looooove amethyst. i feel like it is such a protective stone, and, is great for purification! amethyst is also great to develop psychic skills.

SELENITE 

maybe i’m just being biased because selenite is my favourite stone… but i honestly don’t know what i’d do without it! selenite has great mental clarity and psychic qualities, but the main one that amazes me is the fact selenite charges other crystals! i usually charge my other crystals on a selenite slab and logs. it also has strong ties to the moon!

CITRINE

this crystal can be used to detoxify negative energies and encourage a more positive state of mind. it is also great for bringing prosperity & abundance!


THINGS I WISH I KNEW FROM THE START

  • selenite is really easy to break.. maybe it isnt a ‘beginner’ crystal for clumsy witches (like me)
  • some crystals will be damaged in water
  • some crystals fade in sunlight
  • cleansing is important!! i admit it doesnt have to be done all the time, but it should be done at least once!
  • opalite is just… pretty glass. and it usually gets marketed as moonstone!
  • most commercially available citrine on the market is heated amethyst, though it’s still good to use as citrine!
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Mad Dogs & Servicemen - S3 E13

Astrology chart basics overview

Sun sign = the essence of a person, the potential & ideal personality

Moon sign = the inner core of a person, private feelings, subconscious habits and attitudes

Ascendant sign = (aka rising sign) the outer layer, mask, the first impression a person gives to others

Planets (represent energies; what is taking place):

Keep reading

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Yup, I see no difference. 

Jeffrey Dahmer - A Psychological Insight

We all know about the atrocities of the Milwaukee Cannibal, but what drove him to commit such acts?

Dahmer pled guilty but insane before the actual trial. Psychiatric experts testified that he knew right from wrong, regardless of psychological state. So what did Dahmer suffer from, and how did this impact his crimes?


 Psychological Summary

There are many different possible diagnoses for Jeffrey Dahmer. Upon psychological inspection, many different possibilities arose for Dahmer’s mental state. 

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Perhaps the most obvious diagnosis, APD is a disorder that has been flirted with by psychologists to explain Dahmer’s behaviour. It is catagorised by the following: 

- Exploit, manipulate and violate the rights of others
- No remorse or regret
- Irresponsible, no regard for social norms
- Very few long term, meaningful relationships 
- Problems with temper and frustration
- Lack guilt for their actions
- Blame others for their own short-comings
- Break the law consistently

This may seem like, on the surface, an appropriate diagnosis for Dahmer. However, the way in which he killed, and his self professed reasons for doing so, do not fit the criteria. Many psychologists deny this as the driving force behind his crimes, as his motives seemed to be propelled more by insecurity, self gratification and instability, rather than anger. 

Autistic Development Disorder 

Many children suffer from a form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, which inevitably carries through to adulthood. It is categorized by the following:

- Social & communication difficulties 
- Exhibit behaviours that other would deem “different” and “repetitive”
- Intense obsessions 
- Is often coupled with Social Anxiety and General Anxiety Disorder
- Monotonous or flat speech
- Uncomfortable with human touch

No two people present the same Autistic behaviors, so categorization is difficult.

Jeffrey Dahmer developed from a very young age an obsession with bones, namely animal bones. Lionel Dahmer (father) said in his book “A Fathers Story” that he encouraged this behavior, as he felt it may lead to a career in the medical field. He ultimately viewed this obsession as a harmless one.

In school, Dahmer had a lot of trouble with social interaction. He spoke of this himself in a later interview from prison, stating that  “The subtleties of social life were beyond my grasp. When children liked me, I did not know why. Nor could I formulate a plan for winning their affection. I simply didn’t know how things worked with other people…. And try as I might, I couldn’t make other people seem less strange and unknowable” 

Experts that assessed Dahmers behaviour, say that there is a connection between Aspergers and sexual development, aggressive behavior and low mood.

Borderline Personality Disorder 

After molesting a 13 year old, psychologists found Dahmer to be uncooperative, angry, manipulative and emotionally unstable. He later told his probation officer that his life lacked meaning and purpose. Could this empty feeling, coupled with an unstable disposition be a sign of BPD?

Categorization:

- Emotional Instability
- Disturbed patterns of thinking or perceptions
- Impulsive and reckless behavior
- Unstable sense of self
- Extreme fear of abandonment and rejection
- Intense and unstable relationships with others 
- Obsessive behaviors such as obsessing over other people

In his confession, Jeffrey Dahmer said he murdered the men to prevent them from leaving and abandoning him. This intense fear of being “left” is very common among BPD sufferers, and this, coupled with his extreme denial of his homosexuality (unstable sense of self) may make BPD a likely diagnosis. 

Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified; with Schizoid, Antisocial, and Schizotypal Traits

Psychiatrists that assessed Dahmer found that they were unable to conclude what afflictions he suffered from. The above diagnosis was given.

How would JD have been treated on the outside?

There are many different therapies that are available for the above mental health problems. Below is a selection of these that may have been implemented: 

Borderline Personality Disorder 

- DBT - Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
Coupled with medication for related depression and anxiety

Aspergers 

-
A combination of Social Skills Training, Speech and Language therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis and Medication

Many psychologists also think that a combination of Psychotherapy, Psychopharmacology and Hormone Therapy would have helped Dahmer to live a functional life.

How was Dahmer treated in prison?

Dahmer received no official therapy in prison for his mental health issues, other than the pastoral care of the prison minister. 
He converted to Christianity whilst in prison. Was this a genuine move one Dahmer’s part to seek forgiveness and live a better, more fulfilling life? Or was it yet another desperate attempt to fit into a group and establish an identity for himself? 

Had Jeffrey been given the opportunity to receive quality mental health assessments and care, some believe he could’ve served as a “guinea pig” in how to treat extreme deviance such as this. 

Libra - Power and Pretty

We associate a lot of Libran qualities with geniality, sweetness, and the feminine expression of the Venus lover. But the sign of Libra is incredibly complex, dual bodied, and fierce. While the Libra can be painted as meek, easily intimidated, and fearful of conflict, there are expressions of Libra that exhibit powerful mental qualities, a furious fight for justice, and great ambition. There are many world leaders, male and female who have their natal Sun in Libra. They are aggressive on the debate floor, intelligent in negotiation, and level headed in their ascension up the career ladder. Libra is ruled by Venus and exalts in Saturn. We have the humanistic judgment of Venus fusing with the disciplined and determined will of Saturn. Libras are a tour de force, and they can be absolutely unmovable and resolute.

The double lined Libra symbol indicates a sign that experiences dual states of consciousness. While we have an archetype that is focused on developing relationships and connecting others, we also have the scales of justice. This is the need to throw oneself into battle so that what is fair and right prevails. Libra is an air sign, and the intellectual capacity of the individual is one of his greatest assets. There is a tremendous verbal acuity and the mind to dominate any debate. He can view the world through multiple perspectives and rapidly absorb information and fact. So we have four critical areas of intelligence expressed through Libra, and this is a secret of the sign’s success. There is socially receptive Venus, mentally astute Air, the fire of Cardinal, and wise, formidable Saturn. Life arenas like politics and law resonate here because the individual emanates tremendous leadership skills, formidable wit on the parliament floor, and a very focused approach to success.

Many female world leaders have their natal Sun in Libra, especially pioneering ones like Margaret Thatcher and Julia Gillard. Many male shock jocks are Sun Libras. There is ferocious dialogue and the reigning in of the Mars duality’s aggression, inferno, and combativeness. Libras stand by what they believe in, and their battle scars tend to be hidden by flowers and jewellery. The individual can be too easily underestimated, and his ability to adapt to the personality required means he can fly under the radar while achieving great feats. Libras are not unequipped for the world, they hold swords of power as they tackle the cosmic balance beam.

-Cherry

I regularly have fantasies where I sacrifice my life in some act of selflessness to protect my friends and those I care about.

I think alot about imaginary everyday situations that became into an emergeny state and then some thing happens and I protect the people around me resulting in my death. And then I am happy.

I also play support class. wtf is this fantasy martyr shit. 

Mahamudra by The Great Path to Enlightenment (Part 3 of 3)

by Khenchen Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa

DUALITY

Duality is always linked to ignorance. It leads us to differing opinions and constant uncertainty. Being free of it means having only one, correct view. Liberation from samsara cannot be produced by intellectual knowledge alone. We need to develop feeling, accumulate experience, and practise shunyata.

The most important thing is a warm mental feeling, for great intellectual knowledge alone may make the ego even stronger. In order to prevent such a strengthening of the ego, we must follow the path of Mahamudra with shiney (samatha) and lhag- tong (vipashyana). Ego and attachment diminish only when we constantly examine our mind. In our practice, we need to carefully observe whether our mind is becoming freer. If not, we must find the reason. What is essential is the knowledge that everything comes from within ourselves. The cause of all disturbances lies within us, not outside. We only believe that disturbances come from outside because we are not yet free from attachment. Attachment results in wrong views. Doubts and wrong views can only be recognised when we are rid of attachment.

Only when we have more experience of shiney, lhag-tong, bodhicitta and shunyata, and have trained ourselves in self-observation (Tibetan: nal-jor) can we expect the duality of our perception to change and our perception become correct. Our mind will then be in samadhi. It will have developed the quality needed to practise Mahamudra.

NAL-JOR

Nal-jor is the Tibetan word for sadhana. A sadhana is a form of meditation with an object. For example, Buddha Avalokiteshvara, the loving compassion aspect of the Buddha, can be taken as an external object or our own consciousness as an internal object.

Nal signifies that the mind has become gentle through this practice: it has acquired selflessness which is the quality of love and compassion.

Jor means concentration. Consciousness enters the meditative state. Nal-jor, also expresses all the different aspects of the Buddha, for example, Manjushri - the wisdom aspect, Avalokiteshvara - the loving compassion aspect, Tara - activity, or Vajrapani - wrathfulness.

The practice of the four classes of Tantra also comes under nal-jor, (See chapter 5).

A nal-jorma or a nal-jorpa is a woman or a man who has experience in the development of the mind.

SAMADHI

Samadhi or yoga (Tibetan: ting nge dzin) has many meanings. It means great concentration coupled with insight. It also refers to yoga exercise as well as the higher practice of a person with great development.

All the paramitas are necessary for yoga practice: in other words, if we wish to practise correctly we need to know and exercise all six or ten paramitas. This lessens the non-virtuous part in us and increases our feelings of joy. The non-virtuous part covers negative thoughts, doubt, lack of faith, of love and compassion, as well as a lack of interest in virtue.

As soon as non-virtues disappear, the mind becomes as clear as the sun or the moon in a cloudless sky. These are the distinguishing marks of inner development. If we have produced this clear mind we are liberated from the two root illnesses, egoism and attachment.

Sometimes we wonder what it feels like to be free from ego, or we might ask: what is ego, what is consciousness?

Ego and consciousness are totally opposed. Ego is the error through which we are enchained to this world and the sufferings of samsara. Ego means selfishness, that is, me-only. It causes wrong activity, keeps thoughts concentrated upon oneself, limiting them severely. It is only without ego that they can open up and we can develop a feeling of the importance of other living beings.

We need to know exactly what ego is and what it means in order to develop good practice. First there is ego, and through ego, attachment. The two together confine us within narrow limits and until we have eliminated them, we can have no freedom. In our ordinary state, so long as we do not know our own mind, we often cannot tell if we are acting rightly or wrongly. We suffer from innumerable doubts, make many mistakes and become more and more uncertain.

Through practice, study, and attentive listening to Dharma teachings, we gradually get to know ourselves. In this way the hold of the ego lessens. However, theoretical knowledge is not enough, we have to develop compassion. Our wrong dealings are then reduced, our knowledge of the Dharma increases, and our nature becomes gentle. In this way we gradually gain faith and confidence in ourselves and find the path which leads us out of the sufferings of samsara.

Unlike the ego, consciousness exists individually and continually, both in samsara and in nirvana, and it continues to exist unchanged even beyond the point where Buddhahood is reached.

In other words, all enlightened beings keep their own specific characteristics, but they are free from ego, attachment, and ignorance, while the ordinary mind is constantly mixed up with disturbances and ignorance. One could say it still possesses positive and negative karma. Through practices such as yoga we can purify all non-virtue and ignorance. We become flled with inner clarity, compassion and wisdom. We have no more ego and attachment, only pure, clear awareness. We reach a higher state and fnd the path to enlightenment.

Samadhi means skillful yoga. This kind of meditation brings great joy. With our fully transformed perception, we can carry our development, through method and wisdom, even further, that is, we can practise still higher samadhi, like the great Mahasiddhas, Nagarjuna and Virupa. In this way we reach Mahamudra. We act only for the beneft of other living beings. This is yeshey, the virtuous mental quality. It signifes freedom from ignorance and the attainment of shunyata.

At this point we can recognise more clearly our own precious consciousness, the pure Buddha-nature within us. We experience this moment as great joy, like that of parents when a long-absent and deeply loved child returns home. Even this example does not sufficiently express the deep-felt joy, for this is our own original consciousness that we had lost and have now found. The mind can now be compared to a palace, full of joy. In religious terms, we say that the mind is like a mandala. In this state there is no difference between samsara and nirvana, all is nirvana. This too is a characteristic of Mahamudra.

When we listen to descriptions of this kind, we might think that Mahamudra is beyond our reach and unattainable. Indeed, Mahamudra is a very high state, but it is not outside us, on the contrary, it is within us. It is true however that it is not easily achieved.

THE BODHISATTVA PATH

In Mahamudra practice, which has now been explained up to its highest stage, we can use any type of meditation whose goal is enlightenment. This is Mahamudra. In Buddhist philosophy, the Hinayana path is said to lead to enlightenment in eleven bhumis; Mahayana takes thirteen. Bhumis are stages on the path of mental development.

The eleven stages or bhumis on the Bodhisattva path in Hinayana are as follows:

First the bhumi of the supreme joy Second the bhumi of the stainless Third the bhumi of the luminous Fourth the bhumi of the radiant Fifth the bhumi of the very hard to conquer.

Sixth the bhumi of the directly facing Seventh the bhumi of the gone far Eighth the bhumi of the unshakeable Ninth the bhumi of wisdom mind Tenth the bhumi of the cloud of Dharma (Dharma-essence) The eleventh stage is enlightenment, (Buddhahood).

In Mahayana there are thirteen bhumis. Those who practise its essence, that is, Bodhicitta and Mahamudra, can reach the thirteenth stage, either in this life or at least in the bardo, the intermediate state between death and re-birth.

The thirteenth stage is the quality of Buddha Vajradhara. Buddha Vajradhara includes the qualities of all five Dhyani Buddhas: Aksobhya, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, Ratnasambhava and Vairocana to which is added the quality of Buddha Vajrasattva, who has the spiritual power to purify.

5. TANTRA

In this context the question now arises: how can we reach Mahamudra in a single lifetime?

This possibility does exist in Mahayana through the practice of Tantrayana or Vajrayana. Vajrayana is also called the swift vehicle since it can take us to enlightenment in one lifetime. Tantrayana is divided into four classes:

THE FOUR CLASSES OF TANTRA

Kriya-Tantra, Carya-Tantra, Yoga-Tantra, Anuttarayoga-Tantra

The four classes exist because people have very different dispositions. For some, Kriya-Tantra is the most appropriate practice for reaching enlightenment. For others it may be Carya-Tantra and some yogis and yoginis practise all four classes on their way to enlightenment. The choice of method arises naturally out of our practice and through our own consciousness.

However, we need a qualifed guru if we wish to take this swift path.

THE GURU

A good guru is very important for Mahayana practice since we cannot directly perceive the Buddha. We can, however, receive his teachings through the guru. A guru needs to have the right qualities; not everyone is eligible. For this reason we should not be hasty, but give ourselves time to seek out a suitable person and, before taking refuge with someone, make sure they have suffcient experience, knowledge, and above all, compassion. Only a guru who has these characteristics can show us the way. All true gurus have the ability to awaken in us Bodhicitta thought through their compassion and wisdom. A teacher and a guru are not the same. A teacher can give us knowledge, but a guru changes our nature (body, speech and mind) through the initiations given to us. When we are in a position to represent the guru’s qualities, we can see the guru as Buddha Vajradhara. We can take refuge with a guru of this kind. We develop faith and trust, show respect and keep good tamzig. Tamzig means mutual respect for the secrecy of the teachings and respect for the relationship between guru and disciple. Out of compassion and at our request, the guru gives us the four consecrations of body, speech, mind, and wisdom. During the consecrations the guru develops great power to help disciples realise their own nature.

YOGA PRACTICE

Yoga practice means observation of our own mind and the accumulation of experience of its purity. For this, our nature needs frst to be gentle, clear and supple. In addition, we need the strength of virtue.

In the first place, we should practise developing loving compassion, Mahakaruna, relative and absolute Bodhicitta.

Those who are engaged upon this path are called yogis or yoginis. Yogis and yoginis can be recognised by the fact that they practise correctly and act impartially for themselves and for others.

Without practice we experience how joy and sorrow, peacefulness and aggressiveness alternately arise in our minds. Through the practice of Mahamudra our mind is calmed and we recognise that our original mind is clear light; this state is called gyuma yeshey in Tibetan. This is the wisdom aspect of the mind, completely free of all ignorance.

Several names are given to this high development, for example, chöying yeshey (Tibetan). Translated, this means: the mind is very spacious. It is free from ego and has the same characteristics as Buddha Vairocana. This quality can also be called dorje sem. Dorje means vajra and vajra stands for unchanging, unshakeable plenitude of power. The mind is so powerful that ignorance cannot disturb it.

Yogis and yoginis who reach Mahamudra in one lifetime no longer have normal bodies, but unchangeable, powerful vajra-bodies. They can work with the energy of their chakras. Chakras are energy centres, the most important of which lie inside the body near the spine. Working with energy means that the veins are not blocked, the yogis’/yoginis’ consciousness is full of Bodhicitta and Shunyata qualities and they have deep faith in the guru. We hope with the guru’s blessing to take on the characteristics of Vajradhara.

To work with the chakras without thorough directions from our guru can entail danger to the mind and body. However, if we have received sufficient training from our guru and have developed the necessary understanding, these exercises allow us to make rapid progress.

Human beings are made up of five elements: earth, water, fre, air and space. Among these, the air element is especially important as it is directly related to our consciousness. In addition, it is the element which allows us to move our bodies. In order for us to work with all the chakras and the veins, the connection between the wisdom-air element and our body must be maintained. In ordinary people the air element is not pure, but a yogi/yogini can change it into the wisdom element (Tibetan: yeshey lung) through correct practice.

Teachings on this subject are not given publicly, but through direct contact with an experienced guru.

If we practise further on this path we obtain the Dharmakaya. This is the state of knowledge which Bodhisattvas possess. It is one of the four kayas: Nirmanakaya, Samboghakaya, Dharmakaya and Buddhakaya.

Buddhakaya signifies enlightenment, Samboghakaya is the form that is active under many different aspects, and Nirmanakaya is the conscious higher state of great knowledge, higher than Dharmakaya. There is a great difference between normal and enlightened knowledge, as also between Bodhisattva-knowledge and Buddha-knowledge. Only a Buddha has at his disposal the eighty different spheres of knowledge.

The goal is Mahamudra, enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.

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