Through the Somatic Descent practice, we train ourselves to read our experience and learn to understand the language of the Soma—the language of our direct experience—without the mediation of the left-brain, top-down processing of the conceptual mind. This practice shows us how to remain rooted in our body throughout life, on the cushion and off. It gives us a solid and reliable somatic foundation for the meditation practices of all the yanas, and is a profound resource for our lives.
- Guided meditation led by Caroline Pfohl
- Video of Reggie Ray's overview of the stages of Somatic Descent
- Downloadable outline of the practice
Entering the Path
These dharma talks present an introduction to the path of study and practice offered by Dharma Ocean. The talks, drawn from the past eight years of Reggie Ray's retreat instructions, give an overview of what this tradition is about.
- River of Life
- From the Standpoint of Love
- Trust Your Heart
- The Burning Flame of Life
- Saying Yes to Our Relative Lives
- The View of Meditating with the Body
- The Embodied Journey
- Discovering the Dharma Anew
A distinctive feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is the view that emotions — all emotions, not just pleasant ones — are intelligent expressions of energy that can open unique doors in our development and eventually lead us to the awakened state itself.
In this talk, Reggie discusses the role of emotions in meditation practice, how to not take your emotions personally, and how emotions can help free us from the conceptual overlay of ego. By understanding this view, our experience of emotional life becomes a gateway to the vast space of awareness.
- Emotions in Vajrayana Practice
- Emotions in the Development of Ego
- Energy and Space
- Exiting From Emotion
- Chaos Obliterates Ego
- Instructions for Practicing with Emotions
Maitri is the traditional Buddhist practice of extending loving-kindness toward ourselves. Here Reggie presents the essence of Maitri training. We learn to step outside of our own conditioned judgments and criticisms so that we can become more spacious, accommodating, and kind with ourselves.
Included in this selection is a guided Tonglen (sending and taking) practice that shows us how to reflect tenderness and love toward those parts of our experience that we so often judge and reject.
- Maitri - Path Without Judgment
- Maitri is Loving Kindness
- Living the Dharma
- Healing Beyond Dependency
- Freedom Through Maitri
- Unconditional Acceptance
- Vajrayana Maitri Practice
- Our Journey Together
Introduction to Tantra
"Tantra is found in the raw human emotions. It’s found in the meltdowns. It’s found in the incredibly painful disruptions we have with the people we love. It’s found in the earth under us.
"The important point is that spirituality, as it’s viewed in the Tantric tradition, is not about becoming someone higher, bigger, or better. It’s not a self-improvement technique. It’s not about figuring out a way to get rid of the unwanted parts of our personality. It’s not about becoming peaceful. It’s not about becoming kind and loving to everybody — although that is the end result. Tantra is about letting go of all our attempts to try to change ourselves. It’s surrendering to everything we are and being willing to be one with it."
So Reggie shows how, through the tradition of Tantra, we discover the sacredness of what we have always been.