Dzogchen Psychology

Dzogchen calls us to awaken completely from the waking dream state we are in much of the time. A dream state in which we identify with a fictive conditioned identity, as “I” or “me,” “in here,” and we project a world, as an external reality, “out there.” When, in fact, neither actually exists. They both appear, on close inspection, as absence. The experiential awareness that is the direct experience of this truth — is Dzogchen revelation. Dzogchen revelation unveils who we truly are in our innermost nature. This is an experience of Gnosis as divine knowledge and wisdom, outside the box of any tradition. Dzogchen is the experience of sacred knowledge that is the a priori revelation to any form of spiritual or religious tradition.


Dzogchen revelation is Gnosis experienced on its own, in the nontemporal state. As the unspeakable, indescribable Timeless Awareness that is the mind’s essence, the Nature of Mind. Holy of Holies. But no fireworks or trumpets are necessary here. It’s the silent timeless awareness of who and what we are, complete, in our innermost nature.

We come to discover and know who we truly are in the experience of Being who we truly are. In the experience of Rigpa, the timeless nondual awareness of the mind’s innermost core recognizes itself as nonidentity. Pure, awareness-based nonidentity dwelling in the experience of vast, indescribable Mystery. Any idea of an “I” or “me” in this experience is an absurd and hilarious tautology. From the Dzogchen View, nonidentity is ultimate individuation.

Dzogchen is not a view of what is, it is what is. A “viewless view” we could say. The Dzogchen View tells us that as depth psychologists, we should know that ultimate identity is nonidentity. And that the only thing to hold onto is the knowledge that there is nothing to hold onto.

Dzogchen revelation doesn’t have to be a strike-up-the-band affair. It can be a quiet, unshakably certain realization, in the Timeless Moment, of who and what we are. It’s the unveiling of our true condition. In our waking dream, we sometimes can feel that we belong somewhere else, somewhere where our true home is, where our real friends and family can be found. For me, and perhaps for you, the mind’s innermost nature is home for the finding and recognizing.


When we talk about timeless awareness of ultimate identity and so on, it can sound a bit trippy — unless we have the ears to hear it at the right pitch, even faintly. We don’t have to negate, dismiss, or undervalue embodied life in time. Temporal individuation and nontemporal individuation must be reciprocal. Or else we will have a separated psychology and spirituality, and both are now already tired words. It seems that alone and separate, neither will do any longer. Throwing them in a box together willy-nilly won’t do either.

The depth psychology idea that we can individuate beyond our conditioning in a gradual process that will lead us into the Rubedo and the self is a thing of striking beauty. But it must be reconsidered in new light and in relationship to individuation beyond time. Beyond time individuation unveils a bold truth: we are in the Rubedo NOW, always. NOW is all there is. The future never arrives because when it does, it’s now. And the past always shows up as now, as well. NOW is the only real thing going on, ever.

The Dzogchen View that ultimate individuation can only be found in timeless, pure Gnosis is true, for me, beyond any doubt. But it does not follow that psychological work on oneself aimed at a gradual, in time, progressive individuation is deluded and unnecessary. To say otherwise is an egoic misconception. In time, individuation is essential. Living embodied in the midst of madness and circumstances that leave us at risk of being imprisoned by unconscious forces — including merciless conditioning, in the 21st-century Western materialistic world — is a high art. Individuation in time is necessary if we are to craft our life into a work of art that be well-lived, loved, and understood.


Dzogchen psychology work can energize, deepen, and advance individuation work in time. To be able to access and experience our innermost core beyond time is to orient and inspire us to give ourselves deeply to the work of individuation in time. And depth psychology individuation work can do the same for Dzogchen psychology individuation work beyond time. As we become increasingly aware of and liberated from the unconscious forces that govern our lives, our personality structure becomes more capable of intuiting and honoring the self as our innermost identity.

Dzogchen is a contemplative science responsible for a remarkable discovery. Using direct experiential methods to systematically observe the mind, Dzogchen discovered the mind’s root, essential nature. This discovery has only recently become known in the West, and it’s barely recognized and understood. Tibetan Dzogchen has not transplanted well in the West because it has arrived in a form best suited to another time and place. Radical Dzogchen addresses these problems. As Dzogchen in its free position, it is independent of any cultural form or traditional formalisms.