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Nov 01
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Embodied Transformation

by Irini Rockwell

The five wisdoms energies, spaciousness, clarity, richness, passion and action, are a way of understanding who we are through the subtlest levels of feeling and experience. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was integral in bringing the five wisdoms to the west. Based on profound principles of the five Buddha families of Tibetan tantra, he developed practices, which include colors and postures that correspond to each of the wisdoms.

Our mission at the Five Wisdoms Institute is to share these potent teachings with students who are interested in transforming their lives, relationships and environments, compassionately and energetically.

Here are some glimpses of what it is like to engage in the five wisdoms.


Whether we are aware of it or not, energy is vital, vibrant and all pervasive – the basic element of our existence. The world we perceive, conceptualize and think we understand is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath our surface reality lies a magical realm, more elusive and vivid.

The five wisdoms help us feel and understand energy in its different forms. A recent participant, who attended the Institute’s [email protected] training, says the program:

“Offered direct energetic and meditative experience, alongside conceptual insights and models, giving me the sense of how to live life more fully in every aspect.”


Posture practice, in specifically designed rooms or with colored glasses, evokes the qualities of each energy. Based on traditional Buddhist teachings on inner yoga (energy channels and chakras), we use the postures to discover where energy is blocked. With intensive practice, we purify, or “flush out,” the blocked energy.

I am continually amazed at how often people practice a posture, with no idea of what to expect, and then offer a textbook description of the energy.

Each posture intensifies and transmutes our neurotic patterns:

Spaciousness or Buddha posture: suggests drawing inward, creating a closed, secure space. It works with laziness and the tendency to ignore. Through becoming aware of larger space, we relax with a sense of basic being.

Clarity or Vajra posture: interferes with the desire to scan our surroundings and take an overview. It thwarts our need for details and our desire to know. We become angry and, then, we discover confidence in what we already know.

Richness or Ratna posture: creates a feeling of expansion, embracing the whole world. But, we cannot move. We feel there is more to be appreciated, but the richness is beyond our reach. The posture brings out a sense of poverty, until we begin to feel our own richness.

Passion or Padma posture: frustrates our longing to join with and posses the object of our desire. We cannot be easygoing or comfortable; we are stuck in mediocrity and boredom. We are pushed until we discover that all that we desire is within us.

Action or Karma posture: immobilizes us, so that we become aware of the contrast between movement and rest. Through the restricted state, we work with the urge that something always needs to be happening. Eventually, we forego the struggle and experience a sense of well-being: powerful and confident.

The premise on which posture practice is based is that our wisdom, our sanity, is embedded in the very energy we experience as neurotic. By heightening the energy associated with each posture, we challenge habitual patterns, which often have been locked in our bodies for years.

When our neurosis is exposed we may feel uncomfortable, even more neurotic. Therefore, we take care to embrace the intensified energy. If we can learn to surround it with an attitude of unconditional friendliness, we experience relaxation, warmth and clarity. We transmit stuck energy to brilliant sanity. A recent student talks about the postures:

“Through the yoga postures I was able to evoke the five wisdoms without censoring them with my own agenda. It was a powerful and direct experience. It is almost like the postures work through stealth technology that makes them more effective than conceptual approaches, which always are limited and directed by our intra-psychic agendas.”

Another student says:

“After learning the five yogic postures on dozens of occasions, I continue to be surprised how they bring forth meaningful experiences of my own energy and being.


To work with energy, we cultivate awareness, attending to the present moment by observing what is happening. With training, we become a psychophysical barometer, a finely-tuned sensing device. We pick up on the energetic climate of anyone or any situation.

By recognizing our energetic make-up, we learn to appreciate our natural traits and those of others. When we work with energetic reality, we can creatively apply our understanding anywhere, anytime, no matter what we are doing. We see that everyone has his or her capacities, aptitudes and preferences. Everyone engages in the world in a unique way.

The results of this practice are direct and profound. Here is what some more training participants say:

“…understanding the energies (and respecting them in other people) already has made a huge difference. There is nothing to resist or fight about.”

“I gained an open window to myself – the ability to see myself and others fully.”

“Viewing my emotional reactions to life’s stresses, through the prism of the Five Wisdoms, has given me compassion and a way of growing through states of anger, grasping and fear to realize the other side of what these states represent.”

The five wisdom energies are a way of understanding who we are: our personality, emotional landscape and how we relate to others and our world. If you are interested in learning more about the five wisdoms and posture practice, please view our Five Wisdoms documentary by videographer, Tessa Racine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc2aCiOz1eY

Everyone experiences the five wisdoms differently. There are no pre-formed ways to experience them. However we display our energy, we always are celebrating our strengths and working with our stuck places! No problem.

For more information about the Five Wisdoms Institute, please visit www.fivewisdomsinstitute.com. For upcoming programs go to www.fivewisdomsinstitute.com/calendar/

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1 response to “ Embodied Transformation ”
  1. I work as an independent psychosocial therapist, coach and certified mindfulness trainer in the Netherlands.. I completed the two year Five [email protected] training program with Irini Rockwell with a focus in contemplative psychotherapy. Since then the five wisdom energies have become an integral part of my personal and working life.

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