walking forth, legless


walking forth,
into the theatre of my life
after 39 days immersion in a
silent Dzochen retreat


miriam louisa simons, Wangapeka journal - Dzogchen retreat, New Zealand, 2010


I recently came upon a journal written on a 6 week silent Dzogchen retreat at Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre in Nelson, Aotearoa-New Zealand, in 2010. (The Lama had asked me to do this as part of my practice.) Other writings from this period have been posted at this unlit light blog but the scribblings in this journal haven’t been shared before. The one above, written on the last day of silence, packed a punch from which I will never recover.

This is what happens on a retreat that goes long enough, deep enough, wide enough – you get ripped in three and re-braided.

“formations”? – anything that takes shape in consciousness: a thought, a feeling, a memory, a story, a self, an other…

“universe”? – the changeless, ever-present, immeasurable, all-inclusive and inescapable THIS.

“preferred”? – by whom? by what? (there being no chooser to be found) By the universe ITself, as the miraculous and incomprehensible expression of ITself.

“why”? – make up a good story; it doesn’t matter what you conceive … all stories are formations, fluffy consolations for a mind made redundant.

(Best not to attend such retreats unless prepared for obliteration of the old concepts and fixations around self-identity and world-view.)

20 thoughts on “walking forth, legless

  1. I love this: “Every formation exists because it is preferred to freedom.” That means any habits of mine. It is SO helpful to realize I have preferred them to freedom – and now I prefer freedom So – good to be reminded they were only transient 🙂

    1. Yes. We spend a great deal of time trying to fix our transient formations, when all that’s required is a refocusing on the Changeless. Like looking through binoculars that show a fuzzy image … then turning the wee wheel and OH! Love and smiles dear Nina. x

  2. A deep, simple and beautiful reflection. I appreciate, too, the reproduction of the actual journal pages, which I read before continuing with your brief explication. Also, not to compliment a formation or anything :), but this is particularly nice: “…you get ripped in three and re-braided.”

    1. Thank you Cate, there’s deep appreciation here for your feedback, your appreciation, and that you take the time to comment. We are co-travelers of the legless variety! ❤

  3. Oh my heavens–how perfect. Particularly loved: “you get ripped in three and re-braided.” –oh, Cate said the same thing! Anyway, that has been my experience, for sure.
    The sentence “Every formation exists because it is preferred to freedom” … knocked the shoes off my feet. HOW TRUE.

    1. Dear Amrita – how wonderful – thank you!

      I think the “ripped in three and re-braided” expression is an Aussie one. Probably they’d say “plaited”. Same, same. It sure is accurate, as you say, and as you KNOW from your own journey into leglessness…

      I’ve been reflecting more about that time, and this morning realised that although the “free fall” began years earlier, it was after one long sitting session on that retreat that I walked out into a starlit night and knew without question that I was walking into my mind. Glory be.


    1. Spot on j.h. …

      First the legs are legs.
      Then the legs are lost legs.
      Then the legs are found again, hiding in an orphanage…
      Then the legs are adopted and loved as one’s own
      even though there’s no owner!

      (m.l. is hugging her adopted sides and giggling helplessly)


    1. Dear Bob I went to that retreat gutted with grief … and the Great Perfection took me by the throat. The Lama was ruthless. Concept versus Reality was the core agenda – for me anyway.

      His parting instructions? Keep emptying and share your Dharma. And this is how it happens…

      Just as it does for you, Brother. You shine – clear and bright and with immense compassion… ⭐


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