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Essays listed in chronological order starting with most recent. For archives, please see previous volumes below.
  • Writer's pictureRudy Bauer

The Trans-Lucidity of the Gaze of Awareness: A Phenomenology

The lucidity of awareness is experienced directly through the doorway of our subjectivity as our own innermost awareness. As we gaze into our own interiority we can experience the unfolding of the manifestation of this field of radiance and this lucidity of awareness.  The invisible field of luminous knowingness becomes experientially visible.

Lucidity of Phenomena

Experientially visible means seeing the flashes of light, sensing light, experiencing the presence of the radiance within us and beyond us. Experiencing the presence of the radiance means feeling the luminous experience of the light and the energy of the light in everything and anything, in anyone and everyone.  As we experience the visibility of luminous knowingness within us as us, we are empowered to experience the manifestation of the lucidity within the appearance of all phenomena. Lucidity is not only within us but within all phenomena, all appearance has lucidity and all appearance is lucidity.  All phenomena are the manifestation of primordial radiance.  When we are experiencing the radiance of phenomenon, our inner light is meeting the outer light, and thus there is only one indivisible light.

In truth there is only primordial luminous radiance that is manifesting our mind, our body and our innermost awareness, as well as the infinitely vast universal context of phenomena that we are placed within in time and in space.

Our capacity to experience the radiance of the field of awareness within our own embodied subjectivity opens for us the ability to gaze into the subjectivity of all phenomena.  By gazing into our own subjectivity there arises this intersubjective gaze that is direct and inside to inside. This intersubjective gaze allows us to experience the luminous openness of all phenomena and context. This intersubjective gaze opens the innermost openness of all phenomena.  Subjectivity is the openness of our being to Being itself within all beings. 


Most importantly this gaze is not simply through our eyes alone but this gazing is embodied as our luminous awareness permeates our body, permeates our embodiment. Our sense of the pervasive embodiment of the radiance opens us to the trans-lucid like resonance and attunement to and within the field of Being, within all beings. Our method of gazing is gazing both within, and gazing without simultaneously. We gaze into the field of Being of our own being and we gaze from within into the field of Being within all beings. Our leaping into the field of Being as Light is the most direct and immediate method of experiencing non-duality within the duality of the appearing of phenomena. So as we gaze within, and gaze through our whole sense of embodiment of the energy and light into the field of phenomena, we are able to experience the inner most radiance of the openness of the appearing of phenomena

This gazing is both source and result. The very drama of gazing increases the experience of embodiment of the light and the embodiment of the light increases our experience of the gaze. The unfolding process of embodiment of the light is a function of the natural process of embodying what is luminously being experienced.

Open Gaze

Through the open gaze of the radiance of awareness we can gaze into the immediacy of the situation. We can gaze into the immediacy of persons and into the immediacy of whatever is becoming manifest. In time and through time we can gaze further and deeper into the openness of all phenomena. We can gaze into the most ordinary phenomena of everyday moments and experience the trans-lucidity of the event. We can feel the manifesting of the primordial light as this singular event in time and space. We can in time, and through time, enter into the experiencing of the unfolding of the indeterminate into the determined singularity of the moment.

Moreover, on even a more subtle level of appearing, we can gaze into the archetypal dimension of phenomena which may be manifesting within our apparitional view of existing-ness as the realm of luminous elemental-ness; manifesting as the intensity of vortices, and the sacredness of luminous divine presence. Sometimes we see the luminous presence, sometimes we sense the luminous presence, sometime we may simply feel the luminous presence and sometimes we simply know directly the luminous presence.

And even more and more subtle, we can gaze even deeper and more subtly into the luminous darkness of potential space of pure unbound consciousness, the luminous dark mother of everything and anything. In this experience there is neither experiencer nor experienced. There is knowingness as potentiality and this unfolding of potentiality is limitless. Timelessness beyond time and beyond place. This is existing-ness without an existent. This is knowingness without knower and known. This is Being without beings.  Being Being Being which is not a this nor a that.

Togal is the gazing method of Dzogchen. Togal is the praxis of gazing within the trans-lucidity of Nirmanakaya, within the trans-lucidity of Sambogakaya and the luminous darkness of Dharmakaya (all are dimensions of existing-ness.) Now through the ongoing gazing experience we experientially embody the luminous dimensions of the three realms of awareness.   We become the embodiment of luminous awareness which is that which we are. Gaze becomes multidimensional and is infinite in its horizons.

Luminous Conjunctio

As our open focus of awareness unfolds from within, we experience an embodied attunement to the three different kayas.  We can experience the directness of embodied luminosity and trans-lucidity happening.  Radiance is the swift path of awareness and is the swift path of the trans-lucidity of indivisible-ness.  Most surprisingly the luminous conjunctio with another human being opens the unfolding of the multileveled different dimensions of primordial awareness or ground. There is the opening of being within the ordinary experience of Nirmanakaya; and the opening of the archetypal dimension of Sambogakaya; and the opening of our experience of our foundational condition or our real condition as the Dharmakaya dimension of the light of potentiality, pure potentiality. This is a direct way of experiencing the radiant praxis of Togal in a contemporary time and place. This is the path of the city dweller, the luminous life in the crowd.

The classical Dzogchen method is Sky Gazing, using three different gazes and three different postures. In Dzogchen there are many empowerments for gazing such as the Flight of the Garuda and the Golden Spoon. There is the cutting through phenomena which is the method of opening up of phenomena to experience light of phenomena as well as the method of leaping through into the embodiment of the light. These are called cutting through and leaping into respectively. These sky gazing methods are the luminous path of nature.

Intersubjective Resonance

Rather than gazing at the sun or at the moon or sky, we gaze within each other through the radiance of awareness and through the extension of awareness. Through the light of awareness self-liberation arises. The gazing is not with eyes alone but our whole embodiment, our embodied gaze. This is best exemplified by the archetypal image of Avalokitesvara with his thousand eyes pervasive throughout his body. The inner light of the body resonating and experiencing viewing the light of the embodied awareness within one’s own body and the light within the  embodiment of others, and even the embodiment of light as things and as objects.

Dzogchen is metaphor of Rigpa which is becoming aware of awareness. This is also the metaphor in later Heideggarian phenomenology. Later Heideggarian phenomenology is a phenomenology of the embodiment of the light and this phenomenology uses both cutting through phenomena and gazing which is gazing through into the light of phenomena, the light inherent within phenomena, within all phenomena.

 Gazing within to within, is the full embodied gaze. This is a co-emergent experience of the co-emergent gaze. In the language of Christianity this is the beatific vision. The vision of the light gazing into the light.

Body of Light

The openness of the space of the radiance of awareness is the path and the radiance of awareness is the path. Our embodiment is a mass of light and in its center is the radiance of the central channel---like a luminous pillar of white crystalline light. Within this channel at the level of the heart, there is radiant glistening like the moon and the sun and a mingling of our mind within this bindu, this sphere of luminosity. The mind-awareness continuum becomes one, becomes experientially indivisible.

Within this fiery light of awareness there is within the navel center blazing with light moving upward, the spanda of the energy of awareness unfolding into the innermost heart opening. Through the openness of heart essence and there is upwards movement through pallet of the mouth opening the inner chambers of bliss, luminous bliss extending up through the forehead and opening of the Brahmarandhra doorway at the top of the head, the crown center  and into the sky bringing forth vast sky like awareness.

Luminous Flesh

Nectarean liquid like energy flows through the embodied awareness intensifying the light and the empty spaciousness as bliss and as spheres of bliss. This flow of nectar and heat from the intensity of the light dissolves and metabolizes demonic like energies, negation, obscurations and dark propensities and the person becomes more and more the embodiment of light. The dynamic strength of wisdom gnosis, wisdom awareness is becoming Luminous Flesh. One mantra expression is Aham Ah. I am becoming who I am.

If you wish you can experience the luminosity within the center of your heart and this luminosity manifest within your heart or between your eye brows. You can experience the luminosity purifying the elements and de- densifying the obscurations and becoming embodied awareness as light.

As you experience the embodiment of luminous awareness, you are experiencing the intensification of the luminosity by being in the union of non- dual awareness with another person or persons. Through the echo of resonance and the mutual transmission of the light, the light becomes fuller and you can experience your deepening capacity of the great compassion which is the embodiment of the light and the natural unfolding of the extension of the light not only into each other but into everything and everyone. Both the near and the far are within awareness, completely near without distance. This inside to inside experience and is direct and unmediated. Awareness is both local and non-local concurrently and simultaneously.

The Sambogakaya dimension manifesting the unveiling of the energy and winds and viscous drops of light, and undulating pulsation is most direct.  Sambogakaya is the place of unification of Nirmanakaya and Dharmakaya . Sambogakaya is the intermediate realm of existence between Nirmanakaya dimension and Dharmakaya dimension of primordial ground awareness.

Of course if you do not practice being within awareness, and if you are not open to practice this praxis, and do not have any understanding of this praxis, this lack does not prevent you from experiencing the luminosity of awareness in a pre-reflective state. Experiencing the luminosity of phenomena in whatever you are experiencing does not depend solely on your reflectively understanding of the depth and breathe of your experience. Your experience is still powerful and still self-liberating. Reflective understanding is not necessary for self-liberation. Self-liberation does not depend on religious belief or philosophical belief. Self-liberation is beyond our mental assumptions.

Body is the Medium of the Field

Our body is the medium of the field of radiant awareness and our embodiment of the field of awareness is source of resonance of the field. Our embodiment of the awareness field allows the body to be the medium of the field.

The embodiment resides in the channels. There is the potential that arises and manifests through the openness of the channels. The body’s nature abides within the channels. So the intrinsic nature of the channels is the self-radiance of innate wisdom, innate primordial awareness. The nature of the channels is extremely subtle clear light that primordially abides as what is called the extremely subtle body, subtle embodiment.

The ordinary human body becomes the embodiment of light. The origin of the mind of awareness is the bindus which are circles of light, spheres of vortices, spheres of light. The spheres will appear as you gaze into the sky and will appear spontaneously as you gaze into everyday phenomena and will appear spontaneously in meditative praxis.

As we gaze inside initially we experience only nothingness and as we gaze outside initially we may experience only thingness. As the gaze deepens and penetrates both within and without no thingness and thingness open in to lucidity, the sense of lucidity and the trans- lucidity of the experience of phenomena.

Timeless Awareness

Our gaze is initially located in time and so we experience time bound awareness and time bound lucidity. However, in time, time bound awareness can unfold into the manifestation of timeless of awareness. Our view may expand from time bound awareness to the realm of timeless awareness. So the range of the human gaze is multidimensional. First we are gazing in time and then our gaze unfolds into the timeless gaze of timeless awareness simultaneously in time. So timeless awareness becomes timeless gazing in time and in the circumstance of time.  Awareness can be both in time and in timelessness. This timeless time range is the range of our experience and our vision. This is within everyone and does not depend on virtue or merit or religious affiliation.

Madonna and Child

An example of this timeless gaze in the most ordinary of human circumstance is the maternal gaze between child and mother. This timeless gazing is celebrated and expressed in the beautiful Christian paintings of the divine mother and child. This power of the powerful and natural maternal gaze is made most explicit in the developmental psychoanalytic view of Donald Winnicott.

This timeless gaze happens in love, pure love. This timeless gaze happens in sorrow. This timeless gaze happens within the aesthetics of art, and dance. This timeless gaze appears in moments of war and in moments of death. Timeless awareness is completely intrinsic to the experience of living.

 As we become more or less established in the realm of timeless awareness within time and by being established in time within timeless awareness, the power of personal action arises from within timeless awareness into time and the circumstances of time. Thus there is this capacity to extend the light of timeless awareness into time and into persons in time.  Thus the power of the light infuses our body and our mind and our voice and our sense of subjectivity of awareness. The power of the light can infuse the body and minds of others. Our sense of self moves from being located in mind alone and shifts into the field of luminous timeless awareness. Our actions can arises from timeless awareness into time. This is empowerment in the truest sense.

From within timeless awareness the power of invocation becomes more substantial and so we have the power to invocate the archetypal dimension within ourselves and within our circumstance.

The Light of the Heart of Awareness as the Light of the Great Compassion

The light of the inner heart essence of awareness is often symbolized as the light of the moon and the light of the sun. This is the symbolization of the dimensions of the light within us. This light is the light of the great compassion.

The great compassion is not a simplistic sentiment or even simply an empathetic moment as in the statement “ I feel your pain “ but rather compassion  is the light of awareness manifesting beneficence within one’s self and within the self of  others. This compassionate beneficence is of two dimensions. One dimension is the compassion of pure love, the love of the mother, the motherly love of the moon light which is given from one person to another or to many. This is maternal love and the source of humanness. This compassionate transmission actually invokes a beatific experience within a person or persons. This maternal compassionate transmission invokes the beatific experience within babies. This is the life and the gaze of the great compassion.

The luminous light of awareness as the sun is the protective dimension of the great compassion. This light protects humanness. This light of compassionate protection is a blazing-ness which destroys obscurations within a person’s mind and within a person’s embodiment and brings forth   the person self-liberation. This blazing light of the compassionate inner heart essence also destroys circumstances that are evil and destructive of human goodness, and the life of innocence. This fierce light of compassion dissolves circumstances that brings forth unbearable cruelty and suffering. This fierce light of compassion dissolves and destroys the manifestation of beings who are bringing forth such unbearable pain. This fierce fire of the light of the inner heart essence undoes such beings, and disintegrates their manifestation and liberates them from their darkness and cruelty. This light infuses behavior and infuses the experience of action.

This fierce fire of the heart of awareness provides and is the courage of dharmic action and unbound self-sacrifice for the love of others. Thus the great compassion is both the source of courage and is courage itself. Courage is self-luminosity.

Unhappily the contemporary understanding compassion is often seen as a sentiment or even a simplistic affect or even a form of good manners, or graceful speech or a wish.  Such compassionate understanding as in the statement do no harm is unhappily used to dismantle this protective light of the great compassion.  Simplistic understanding of do not harm creates an unbounded cultural passivity that allows the innocent to be murdered and tortured. This invocations of passivity and non-action create the terrible ground for sadomasochistic thrills and drama. The luminous courage of compassionate action of protection is covered over and obscured by those weak forms of personal and collective character that collaborate with and encourages spiritual masochism.

The Washington Center for Consciousness Studies and the Washington Center for Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy Studies

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