Category Archives: General TSK Discussions

Focused Sensing…

Photo courtesy of:  'Sky high' by Jo River - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Sky high’ by Jo River – Flickr

Living TSK, we often open moments like unwrapping a surprise gift… we are invited to open the gift-box, delight in the offering, welcome the discovery, stay in the center of its depth, and then lucubrate

Focused Sensing is a wonderful event…it can start from a slender space like a taste, a ‘simple sip’ that sets the tongue alive, buds atwitter, flavor space opens like a billowing sail… mind expands further, floods awareness with euphoric whole-body feelings. We open from the narrow to the uncondensed. Even listening can take us far beyond boundaries of our little bodies… momentarily free-flying, beyond the trees, off in the clouds and farther… experience soars in the moment of feeling…over and above… expanding time and space…

By Ken McKeon

A scattering of raindrops,
The silences between them,
Too quickly gone to note,

But the broad pulse
Of a vast plane flying overhead,
One can touch that,
Can ride it,
Like a lifting wave
That calms fully as it lips the sky
And steadies out forever to become
The cradling of a living body borne
By the drenching air,
And as still as the dawn is,
The moving edge of light that is first breath,
The caress known fully
Before the plunging ecstasy of love.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, opening, poetry, senses | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Sharing the Humble Moment…

Photo courtesy of: ‘Morning Focus 3-22-17’ by David Filippone

Photo courtesy of: ‘Morning Focus 3-22-17’ by David Filippone

Morning Focus…As the author of ‘Focusing’, Eugine Gendlin has said, “A body isn’t only an is; it is an is and implies further.” Lilies caught by the light…catch the light within me, and I am lit up… in touch, knit together… and we ‘intimate’ further…

My friend Ken ‘implies further’…

By Ken McKeon

Green stemmed flowers lift
From a truly old
Cut glass water pitcher,

The stems cut within the week,
The pitcher in Ireland
Over a century ago,

Its ringing melodic formal design,
Caught by the just light,
Its lilt and life held, just so,

And the stems rise too, rise quietly,
Though they strike one as stillness so rarely does,
As an ever deepening source
Of lovely living sound,

But the many deeply burnished pinkish blooms,
Are that sound itself, they display such gracefulness,
Such a ribbony playful rush of light,
That they ensnare, they please, the eye,

Much as a Mozart quintet does so please the ear.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, intimacy, light, nature, poetry | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Widening Perspective.

Photo courtesy of:  'Open Freedom' by Peter S. Quinn - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Open Freedom’ by Peter S. Quinn – Flickr

Like water flowing from far-off mountains, the lyrical flow of Longchenpa’s “Kindly Bent to Ease Us” laps at the edges of my awareness and I imagine myself being carried along by inner calm and wider perspective.

Then I realize that—although I am interested and moved—I am not actually on the Developing and Fulfillment Paths, and far from grappling with the supreme challenges that such paths prescribe.

But something happened in the 1980’s when two books came into my life: “Skillful Means” and “Time, Space, Knowledge”.

Looking back, I realize that I had stumbled on an awareness of “Unique Occasion and Right Juncture”,  penetrating my helpless way of living at that time. I also see in a new light how this could not have happened without the presence of Nyingma in America and the untiring efforts of a group of people who are working to preserve the teachings and to translate them into a form that I am capable of understanding.

One of the most surprising of those translations has been the Time, Space, Knowledge vision, in which the reach and range of pristine cognition shines forth for minds such as mine, awakening a desire to be afloat in time and space, buoyed by and bobbing in a knowing that has been forever present.

Wearied and weakened by the fictitious being in which I have wandered since time beyond reckoning, I drink with gratitude at the edges of a shoreline, where knowing bestows refreshing glimpses of a time and space that have always been my life.

Posted in General TSK Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bigger than a Blue Whale

Photo courtesy of:  'setting sail' by Tonny - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘setting sail’ by Tonny – Flickr

Setting Sail

While rain is manna for a tree
And blossoms church bells for a bee
We wander in a land of doubt
And lose our way on the open sea.

As the world swirls around us
And we sprint for the bus
The sacred stations of life
Are closed by distrust.

But if we let our sails fly free
And ride the wind in harmony
We’ll know that life is not a problem
Just wind and sails, and waves and sea.

. . .

May my family and friends, neighbors and strangers, those who agree with me and those who do not, including the discordant voices of my own divided self, today find comfort and ease. May all who are exhausted, living as if chained to a treadmill that is spinning in circles, relax this very day in the cloudbanks of Great Time, rejoicing that we are alive and still free to practice kindness.

May whoever is alone in small spaces or stalled on a freeway, who feels imprisoned in their own narrow-mindedness, today find comfort and ease. Let us pause in the flow of our day and turn toward the heavens, rack our dripping paddles and–gliding forward–look up into an open sky woven with clouds and darting birds, and feel the breeze moving across the face of Great Space. Let us today return home to our living planet and breathe in openness as spacious as the unknown cosmos.

May all of us who fall into anger, who feel afraid of what is to happen to us and to our world, whose ways of knowing stray into helplessness and frustration, which could so easily be annealed by understanding who and what we are, today find comfort and ease. May we relax into the arms of a Great Knowing, that is ready to catch us if only we can trust ourselves to fall.

Posted in General TSK Discussions | Leave a comment

If not for my ideas, who am I?

Photo courtesy of: 'Potential' by Greg Ferguson - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Potential’ by Greg Ferguson – Flickr

From the perspective of ratio…16 has an inner structure, a sequencing from one to 15. Before 16, all is undecided… Along the axes that establish the point, a dynamic hovers between positive and negative, between taking form and going unrealized. At 15 the whole is available, but the clarity that will lead to the final determination is still lacking… At 16 all this changes. The ‘right’ ratio forms, the pool of possibilities takes hold as a precise form and specific design. A definitive kind of wholeness coheres.
….’Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space,’ Tarthang Tulku, p. 43

I’m in a discussion now with long-time TSK students, and this quote by Rinpoche haunts my thinking, as well as a question my younger brother asked me years ago… “If not for my ideas, who am I?

TSK invites us to become aware that more fundamental than the ideas, is our ‘capacity’ to have them. It’s the experience of this ‘capacity’ that we habitually overlook. Overlook because there’s no ‘thing’ to focus upon. For instance, when we sometimes get the sense we’re missing something about ourselves, perhaps a deeper connection to other people, even the planet…

Looking back on my life, and the lives of my bright, and energetic family of academic teachers, authors, scientists, and artists…we have grown up being fascinated by ideas and the world. At a certain time in our lives we think we get a handle on how to navigate ourselves through our days. We can develop a certain degree of confidence that slips into arrogance about ourselves and our ‘ideas’ about how the world is. We tend to become myopic about the ideas that we can’t even recognize our knowing capacity, or even what’s involved with actually knowing and experiencing it. I have seen the great value of the TSK vision and open inquiry – it has shown me how to actually experience that ‘capacity’ to know… to participate fully IN the ‘capacity’…. At least momentarily. 🤐 But Oh…those ‘humble moments’!

What does it mean to experience our capacity to know…to ‘know our knowing’? I’ll give a couple of examples from my experience in a moment. But first, a word about Rinpoche’s quote… He uses 16 (that number of compass directions in space emanating from ‘0’, like an asterisk – or a dandelion seed-head) as a metaphor for… “A definitive kind of wholeness.” My way of thinking about this involves imagining the bits or dots in space from 1 to 15 that have not yet cohered, like bits and fragments of feelings and incoherent and indistinct inclinations or dyspathy. (Like in the photo, background blobs of light have not yet defined visually.) Pre-ideas that are not yet ‘definitive’ things teeming, “Beneath the surface interactions of entities situated in a presupposed field, prior to the pre-established knowings…” DTS p64

So, here are some examples of when feeling in-touch with more than my ideas, but my ‘capacity’ to have them…to know…not a thing, not an ‘I’ or ‘me’… but a response to the question… “If not for my ideas, who am I?” Envision dandelion seeds dispersed in the winds of time, some coalesce in a definitive kind of whole, while others continue to disperse in the flow…feeling the allowing openness of the moment knows the capacity for knowing…

Another Humble Moment…

Another Humble Moment…

Pine Needles…

Pine Needles…

The Humble Moment…

The Humble Moment…

Morning Ripple…

Morning Ripple…

Posted in General TSK Discussions, knowledge, opening, presence, zero(less) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Another Humble Moment…

Photo courtesy of:  'Sunrise' by Agness - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Sunrise’ by Agness – Flickr

Sound and symbol in mind-space merge with images seeing and remembered… breathe in the air we share… the scent of salt and more. Feel the space of the unfolding moment as it swells and spills over in waves… and spreads over crystalline fragments, filling in separations and uniting all in its flow…

By Ken McKeon

Up above sounds like a sliding chair
Sliding over a wooden floor
Hardness scraping hardness,

Qualities being the same,
They are mutually
Atomized interactions
Interpenetrating so well, so deeply,

They cry out as one,
And this old house
Voices the whole shebang,

Why it’s the body of a violin,
We live within,
My lumpy chambered breathing sacks,
My lungs, footsteps, creaking

Staircase, windblown walls,
Ceiling, roof, the sky itself,
Everything well noted airy light,
It’s all we are today,

And it’s as blue
As our shining planet is,
It’s purest sapphire

And the oceanic rumpled up
Rumbling of the day
Smooths itself out,

It’s hardly just corundum any more,
It’s more particular than that,
It’s all one.

And it has become
The precious ring we wear and are,
And it sings with light.

Posted in arising, awareness, being, General TSK Discussions, light, mindfulness, opening, poetry, presence | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Moment’s Notice…

Photo courtesy of:  'Moment's Notice' by David Filippone

Photo courtesy of: ‘Moment’s Notice’ by David Filippone

There was a moment that never was before, never will be again, it could only be experienced once… You might look back on its disappearing but memorable vicinity here… a luminous reflection off a vision of light …

A simple moment’s notice…cannot be contained…eyes cherish, heart opens…all feelings wash and merge together…

The humble moment, when seen as time, space, and knowledge, is a target worth aiming at. It’s the vital center of the universe; if we hit it, we explode everything that prevents fulfillment, attaining everything that fulfills.” Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche, ‘Inside Knowledge‘ p.67

Posted in General TSK Discussions, light, opening, presence | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Connecting dots makes ‘bits’…

Photo Courtesy of:  'Flock' by Vladimir Yaltskly - Flickr

Photo Courtesy of: ‘Flock’ by Vladimir Yaltskly – Flickr

I’ve read some interesting and provocative books and articles lately about our political leaders and policies, some hugely complimentary and some strikingly derogatory… lots of deducing and speculation on both sides of the spectrum vaticinating from prosperity to disaster. The authors engaged in connecting a myriad of dots… It got me thinking about the dots… about connecting ‘bits’ in time, and then how we develop a spiraling constellation of them. For me, ‘bits’ could be words, but also feelings, images, memories and stories…bits of meaning.

The mind universe I conjure seems to be made of bits, they seem to ‘flock’ like birds… a chaotic flutter, and they’re everywhere. And I am continuously engaged in ‘connecting’. And as a consequence, I’m off wondering about how I chose what I connected. I have solicitude over the veracity of the bits I’ve chosen. It’s not that I’m unable to be decisive, having made a 3 decade career of decision making over military service, and in junior and senior management. You weigh alternatives, make a selection in a moment of time, and then move on. Repeat as necessary. And at a more fundamental level choices are also made on a moment to moment basis habitually, in accordance with tendencies developed over time.

Nevertheless, while some are sure of their bits — conclusions and opinions, I often swim in a sea of dubiety. So over the years I’ve made a goal of attempting to cultivate a more ‘open’ perspective… mindful not to come down ‘too hard’ on a particular conclusion… which cuts off further examination. I’ve become much more appreciative of the condition of not-knowing. Final conclusions foreclose openness in effect by hardening a position…a ‘bit’, if you will. (A decision ‘to’, is conjointly a decision ‘not to’.) You connect enough bits together and you can easily create a mindset. And while it is a construction of the mind, it’s also a system of relationships that gather emotional momentum in time, not so unlike a powerful weather system… the mind-constellation can be a whirlwind of turbulence in mind-space, or on the other hand, if held lightly like a gust or puff, may easily dissipate.

So I’m thinking whatever my position might be, however I gather my ‘bits‘, I want to look into how I’ve structured my opinion. How much have I invested my identity in the position…am I THE position…is it solid, or is there an openness to it…is there space between…are other possibilities available? Have I in the moment reduced myself to a ‘bit‘?

Inquiring further…Perhaps even deeper or more fundamental than bits, are what Rinpoche has described as ‘dots’. More about them here…

Even Dots Ripple…

Posted in General TSK Discussions, inquiry, mindfulness, opening | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Promise of Spring…

Photo courtesy of:  'Marigold' by Judy Paris - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Marigold’ by Judy Paris – Flickr

The ‘promise of Spring’ is really a hope and a prayer, there are no guarantees in linear time as much as we like to pretend there are. Plans we make… do they ever really turn out ‘exactly’ the way we imagine? The vagaries of living again and again get in the way of carefully masterminded enterprises. Here’s something you can do… along with planning…

“Bring to mind the future, allowing it to be completely indeterminate. Instead of thinking about this or that coming event, see if you can let the unknownness of the future come to the foreground… Before the rational and the logical, prior to sorting and collecting and the conviction that what we assemble is what is so, a kind of innocence is available. Born in freedom and honesty, it conducts joy and love… invite the wholeness of perception into each sense perception and each thought. Let this wholeness deepen beyond observation. You can appreciate whatever arises, seeing each arising as an instance of the time-space interplay. Within seeing there is beauty and light; within hearing there is stillness and meaning. The more you can cherish the treasures that time presents, the more you will have the sense of acting into time and space and acting on behalf of all phenomena. Ultimately, this appreciation can expand to accommodate the transforming wholeness of love.” ‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, p. 331-5

By Ken McKeon

As useless as ice cream
In a dedicated no fun world,

The marigolds are all aflame today
With bright golden petals fluttering out
Stiff shakes and crude lifts,
These wrested up from tough green stems,

Who would truly like anything like that?

If drunk enough, I surely would,
If I bottled up the chill Spring air,
Then gulped it down all morning long,
These crude flowers would tickle up my eyes,
And I’d lavish them with laughter,
I’d grab their shakes and jumps,
The breeze fed boosts of bright
Color reddish orange palpability
My fingers rough stroke through
Like the popcorn children ravage in their greasy bags.

Set aside the weighty sky today,
And the fragile glitter of a crystal cup,
Marry my heart and my tongue
As much you ever can,
And let these flowering sturdy cheerful blooms
Be the centrality of brashest joy within your life.

Posted in future time, General TSK Discussions, opening, poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Small World…

Photo Courtesy of:  'Small World' by Sanal K - Flickr

Photo Courtesy of: ‘Small World’ by Sanal K – Flickr

Where do we look to discover our habitual patterns…beginnings? At the boundaries? One beginning might be the dawn of a new day, or even at the end of an old thought, when the new one begins…

A small world‘…mind universe beginning to spin, cycling births the dawn…the moment is born as ‘I’ emerge from the unconstructed, from the prior of perception… awakening… nanosecond by nanosecond, I distinguish myself from surroundings, setting my location ‘here‘ from ‘not there‘… gathering my feelings and evaluating their degrees of goodness. This is my bubble, my weather forecast for ‘me‘. Next… the time NOW, then… what’s on the schedule?

Excerpt from the poem…

For there Is the morning…
I wait a while, take some time
To be in this dark quiet place,
And I begin to see the window
Going grey, begin to hear the smallest
Drops of lightly falling rain fall
And the room itself lightens,
And a small world appears
With me within it, such a joy,
And then a click, and even more
Light, why, it’s an everywhere,
Large form, small detail, and it all works
Finally together here and at last
And for real for at least one more day.

The immediate pull of habitual reactions is so intense that we often do not notice the pattern until it has already occurred…

To gain more control over how a situation develops, we need to look more closely at the origins of the pattern. What gave rise to this pattern of response that can take us over and betray our understanding of who and what we are? Who set up the framework that underlies experience? Can we look below the framework to understand who is creating this role and demanding that we play it out in such specific ways?

In the past, with no knowledge of what occurs prior to the reality that mind presents, we would have to accept that reality and respond according to the role mind directs us to play. Now, as we begin to be aware of the pervasiveness of the regime of mind, we have the opportunity to turn this situation around and free ourselves from mind’s manipulation.
Revelations of Mind’, Tarthang Tulku, p. 221

Posted in arising, General TSK Discussions, inquiry, mindfulness, opening, poetry | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment