You've been a good friend throughout this all. I'm glad you responded to this thread.
Don't mention it. You're very honest and candid. You clearly have interest and are reaching for help. I would be a prick if I didn't try to help you, even if my ability to do so is quite limited. Not everyone has the guts to assume their obstacles and ask for help like you do. So it's a pleasure to be here for you, even if I'm not a great help. I'm pleased to know you think of me as a friend. It's mutual.
I get what you're saying. Remaining present isn't a huge ordeal for me. I seem to do it quite naturally. I'm sure I could stand some adjustments, but really, on the whole, there's not much that I don't remain present during. I could potentially stand to be a bit more present when my girlfriend talks about shopping or hairstyles
- but, on the whole, remaining present comes very natural to me, I think. So, since receiving transmission from Namkhai Norbu, and since reading more about Dzogchen, I'm thinking that this state of presence which comes so natural to me must not be adequate and I think this is where I've gotten off track and attempted to develop concentration. And, yes, this has caused me a great deal of the stress I've been feeling.
It's great that you find being present something that comes naturally. Not everyone is that lucky. That's a great achievement in itself. You will see the quality of mindfulness increasing naturally. Just keep at it.
So, instant presence isn't something that I can develop on my own? If this is a guarded, restricted topic, feel free to PM me, if you want.
No need. If you attend the transmissions, you will get it as long as you keep practicing. Don't stress. It will happen when it happens. Till then, just do your best. There's a lot to practice to remove obstacles, gather merits, gain wisdom and deepen one's insight. When you are ready to get it, you get it. Remember to be at ease. If you stress about it you become nervous and then it's more difficult. Learn the methods you can use to recognize your natural state through the experience of emptiness, of clarity and of sensation.
While I know this without you needing to have said it, yet while I know you're right, there's something in my very nature which always tends to rush. Perhaps its due to my competitiveness. As Jikan commented earlier, a great deal of stress has been caused by comparing myself to people here on the forum. But, of all the people who received transmission this past November 20, I'm the only one here on the forum who not only doesn't "get it," isn't practicing or keeping the samaya, and really doesn't have the time to dedicate to the sort of practice that Lhug-pa described above. I mean, I still don't know what a freakin' ganapuja is! And everybody else is talking about lhungrub and vidya and rlung and vase breathing.
Well, don't do that. Most are at this for a longer time than you. In the beginning they all had their obstacles. Everyone's path is different. You can only do so much. That's it. No need to worry about what you can't do. Just keep being honest and learning slowly. Steady and slow. So that you retain what you learn and don't end up making all sorts of confusions.
I've seen people parroting ChNN's teachings who later on shown to have missed his main points terribly. Lhug-pa still needs to drop that Samael Aun Weor thing before he can even start to think about Dzogchen!
He's cool though. A nice chap and I'm glad he is dedicating himself. It makes me happy when I see people interested in practice. It's an inspiring example for me.
I feel like a secondary grade student who has been invited to a college seminar. I also feel like, if Namkhai Norbu were to personally check on the progress of those people who received transmission on November 20, he'd look at alwayson and Lhug-pa and say, "Very good," and then look at me just shake his head in disappointment. I realize that this is neurotic, but it's how I feel. It's been a pretty steady feeling to, not one that has waxed and waned. I'm not saying it's a permanent feeling nor that it's somehow "real," but it's a concern that I am having to deal with. Really, though, what it comes down to is that Namkhai Norbu could care less about my practice: I'm the one who is disappointed in myself for not being a great Dzogchen practitioner and realizing that I currently have boundaries and limitations.
ChNN cares about all his students. This is why at his age he travels like he does, teaches like he does, gather his students like he does and gives such a tremendous amount of webcasts for free. This is also why we have so much material available. It can be overwhelming, so you need to know how to navigate. When in doubt, ask.
ChNN always repeats two pieces of advice often: remember the main point and do the best you can. Seem simple, but are quite deep.
You are still discovering what is this main point, and that is perfectly natural. You are also doing the best you can. I can only speculate, but I think ChNN would be happy because you are following his advice. We all have our obstacles and limitations. Slowly we overcome them.
Study and try to learn how to practice. When you have doubts, ask. Namdrol is an excellent source of advice about ChNN's teachings, for instance.
Just don't waste time worrying yourself so much. That leads nowhere.
All the best. Relax and again, don't worry. You are doing fine when you are not beating yourself!