Lights and Glimpses from Dejamling (France) on the SECRET RUSHENS and 3° PRANAYAMA: about the Learning Retreat that took place May 29 – June 2, 2019 with instructors Stoffelina Verdonk and Stella Rungen
To tell the truth, it was NOT the first succinct announcement about a proposed learning retreat for the Rushens and the 3° Pranayama in Déjamling which convinced me of its pertinence for myself. The word “RUSHEN” seemed quite obscure to me because I’m a beginner in Dzogchen practices. The term 3° Pranayama seemed linked in my mind to Yantra yoga and that elicited for me fear of suffering in all my poor, dear articulations. ( I’m actually an OLD BEGINNER!!) “That will wait until I have advanced a little,” I said to myself.
But two weeks before the appointed date, a new flyer appeared on line explaining the essence and the purpose of the retreat: “To help practitioners to have sure experiences of the nature of mind … to familiarise them with the state of rigpa and to clearly distinguish rigpa from our usual dualistic vision.”
Wow! In fact the goal was to become 100% certain, to come out of doubt ( 2° déclaration of Garab Dorjé’s Testament). It was right at the crux of my questionning, “Is my experience after singing the Song of Vajra, YES or NO the real nature of the mind?”
Here was an occasion to verify by experience.
But the flyer had more to say,”The 3° Pranayama teaches un how to guide the prana into the central channel … purifies our dualistic vision of things … integrates all the karmique traces.” What a marvelous opportunity! I was now decidedly convinced.
To hell with my poor, dear articulations! “I hope there is still a space open for me.”
Meanwhile Stoffelina Verdonk and Stella Rungen had brewed up a creative approach to the subject; the rigpa, by two different but complementary paths; the Rushens and the 3° Pranayama. And they alternated practices, morning and afternoon in the same retreat being both at all sessions. That way we benefitted from crossed observations of these two very experienced teachers and practionners during our first attempts with these 2 methods.
They artfully allowed us sufficient time to really enter into each practice and relax while still keeping the tempo of their program.
Alternating these two approaches opened up our perspectives. In this laboratory, we widened our experimentation of ourselves stretching to include the whole universe. We felt pampered in this endeavor. And to top it all off in the evening we included movement in our integration by dancing on the Vajra Dance Mandala of Déjamling.
In Déjamling, this retreat home consecrated by our Master, I found, as each time when I return, a very favourable atmosphere for practice; silent, restful, and warm. I find that relaxation here is more profound than elsewhere. The nature around Déjamling seems to bring us a more ample respiration. The size of the retreat groupes encourages questions and permits very individualised responses. This includes experimenting the practices and adapting to individual needs.So it gives the feeling that we are deepening our knowledge much more, which is also enriched by the questions of other practitionners and elder members on the path who don’t hesitate to join us in these retreats. Thanks also to them.
Déjamling, being in a silent remote area, creates a unity of time and space during the retreat. It diminishes the agitation of always coming and going. This unity along with SHARING rooms, cooking, dishes, meals and laughs makes Déjamling a unique place where we have time, space and opportunity to knit profound relations with our jewels of the SANGHA around a profound and shared treasure, the Dzogchen. Our Gratitude goes to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.