Course: Taking Vajrayana into every relationship

Relationship is the essence of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Vajrayana celebrates the world as it is: here and now. Vajrayana suggests playful responses to difficult, dynamic, or delightful events. Vajrayana recommends direct intervention in messy situations for the benefit of all concerned.

The course Kaleidoscope of Interaction presents principles and methods of relationship from traditional Vajrayana, newly adapted for contemporary life. The course framework reflects the traditional three kayas—the realms of emptiness, energy, and form—as liberating perception, tantric mirroring, and powerful reinvention:

liberating perception
Perceiving patterns of engagement minus habitual compulsion reveals roots in past conflicts; it brings aliveness to relational patterning and enables rapid revision.
tantric mirroring
Enjoying the electricity of interaction as reflections of our natural co-enlightenment transforms neurotic stuckness into free-flowing wisdom.
powerful reinvention
Liberating perception and tantric mirroring manifest in effective action. When choice and possibility describe relationships, vision and direction transform confidence into benevolent responsiveness.

These three principles also reflect the traditional categories of base, path, and result. Recognizing unhelpful patterns of relating is the prerequisite before transformation. Maintaining spacious perception while immersed in the liquid fire of relationship is the method of transformation. Pervasive interpersonal competence is the goal of transformation.

In the course, you will practice these principles in four domains of relationship. For simplicity, I present methods for liberating perception in friendships and family life; for tantric mirroring in romantic relationships; and for powerful reinvention in professional and workplace interactions. However, all the principles and practices apply in every sort of relationship. The final session, also addressing mentoring and teaching, brings them all together.

Vajrayana is the primary source for the course. However, we’ll also draw on some aspects of Western psychological theory and method, exploring how, when, and whether they’re compatible with Vajrayana. Particularly, we’ll notice how they’re not the same but may complement the three core principles. We bring contemporary psychology of autonomy, boundaries, and habits to bear on liberating perception; understand shadow integration in relation to tantric mirroring; and view developmental stage theory as a lens on powerful reinvention.

Kaleidoscope of Interaction is an action-oriented course, emphasizing practice and experience over theory, jargon, and history. Prior knowledge of Vajrayana is not necessary, but some experience and comfort with silent sitting meditation (of some sort) is expected.

Kaleidoscope of Interaction is a five-week course, with two hour sessions on five consecutive Saturdays. The sessions include conceptual overviews, case studies, specific suggestions for practices and applications, peer group discussions, and opportunities for questions and reflections. You’ll be invited to conversations in the Evolving Ground Happy Yogis online forum.

The course offers opportunities for much more than five-times-two-hours worth of engagement. It provides a structure and pointers for further exploration. The more you experiment with the practices between sessions, and after the course finishes, the more you’ll get out of it. Each session provides handouts, and suggestions for further reading. All that is optional, though!

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