Tag Archives: arising

Light Awareness…

Photo courtesy of: ‘View from the Porch 1-4-18’ by David Filippone

Sitting on the porch after breakfast watching as the edge of the ‘bomb cyclone’ passes. Wind-chill is 7 degrees, with up to 40 mph wind gusts… will be much colder tonight. Saw the red fox trolling the frozen field for moles and field mice, and a couple of young squirrels jumping the branches of the barren maples.. It’s harsh out there, and I am grateful to be cozy sipping hot coffee by the fire… I am aware of the juxtapositions of inner and outer, from an outside weather perspective, next to somatic patterns within… Struck by the similarities of weather and mood, ever changing feeling-tones.

Light and dark play around inside me like the jumping squirrels… I think of the light exercises I’ve done. Rinpoche says:

“…look within your thoughts and sensations for the quality of darkness. Become familiar with darkness; be ready to let yourself sink into it without losing awareness completely…”

‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, p. 327

I have done that… “losing awareness completely”… went too far, not asleep, just totally unaware — blank. But not this moment. I am aware of what arises within is luminous, thoughts and images made of an internal light… they appear and then pass into the dark. Rinpoche askes, “Where does this light come from?” A light of awareness? Mental things seem to puff into forms and then recede into the dark, even contexts seem to dawn and then set… fading out. Rinpoche continues:

“We see that established dimensionality simply ‘pops up’ together with each arising thought. In such a flattened realm, where each point is ‘pointless’, thoughts no longer exert a gravitational pull capable of shaping appearance into substance.

When we abide in unestablished thought, we enter a space from which knowledge has not been foreclosed. No longer inhabiting conventional space, we have no where to go and no path to follow. Without departing from the known, we are free to be any way at all. We discover an inner ease that nourishes us and awakens unexpected capacities…

“Zeroless thinking offers the prospect of freedom and beauty. Instead of thrusting toward the substantial, thoughts could reveal a zeroless world: appearance without substance and presence without source. Naturally joined to awareness and insight, they could evoke the remarkable power of appearance to assume virtually any form.” p.58

“The interplay of identities in the foreground of experience obscures the light transmission. But beyond identity and what we can identify, there is a way to experience light more directly. The ‘lightness’ of sensing can open to the nature of light. ‘Particles’ of lightness can reveal the resources intrinsic to embodiment.” p.204

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Another Humble Moment…

Photo courtesy of: ‘Dawn lights’ by Lourdes Gómez – Flickr

Dawn dances in the mind… a perception of an instant that can lift our entire embodiment, buoyed by a blink of the eye. Everything graceful and delicious flows through the senses… ‘Ah’, the humble moment…

by Ken McKeon

Walked the field of stars,
Walked through the mind,
And the hold of time,
Released me like a cloud-
A cloud seen high in the ranging hills-
Releases itself, opens itself to
Form, vapor, space alone,

What note would sound
To bring it back again,

High or low,
Soft, loud?

I doubt if I could voice it,
But someone else might,

Someone young, and stretching,
Lifting her touching hands
Over her head,
One foot touching the earth,
The other, the inner thigh,
Her eyes open,
Her balance,
Sure, easy, smiling,
Laughter lifts her lips,

The day is born,
As her hands arc
Gently to her sides,

And she conceives to say,
Just as I think to say,


And one vast cloud forms
To shower down
The open radiance of the dawn.

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Open Knowing…

Photo courtesy of:  ‘Ruby Soft Cylinder with Drawing Shard and Teal Lip Wrap, 2014’ by Dale Chihuly http://tinyurl.com/n6dewmy

Photo courtesy of: ‘Ruby Soft Cylinder with Drawing Shard and Teal Lip Wrap, 2014’ by Dale Chihuly

Interesting thought experiment that becomes a ‘knowing‘ experience… How to open an object of the mind… [An object] can be looked at in and of itself. Or it can be seen as a point in a process. Sitting quietly, breathing, inside and outside interpenetrating, we come up against similar wonderings… like where does one thing end and another begin?

…can we bring mind and senses into balance, so that each supports the other? …Can we let knowledge emerge within language and consciousness, without being owned by the speaker and the knower?

…Suppose that the power of time to allow transitions and the power of space to accommodate appearance introduce knowledge to form and substance, and that knowledge in turn, by giving to space and time their form, lets the world emerge. In this way of looking, what becomes of the limits the self puts in place?

The more knowledge becomes an expression of the time and space in operation, the less we are tempted to put the self at the center… From this perspective, nothing that we do will take us outside time and space and knowledge.
…’Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space,’ Tarthang Tulku, p.172-3

You might imagine the photo above depicting a ‘bottomless‘, soft cylinder, fire-blown glass originating from open space like zero. In doing so the cylinder becomes a ‘cone’… imagine the cone as an outward radiating, circular pattern for the making of meaning in mental space, a subject prehends, and a spinning process is set moving in time… a radiating outward of subject referring to object, picking up additional meanings from memory, fantasy, judgments, intentions, feelings… and relating all back to subject… again and again, as a process building a useful widening, a kind of definitive whole that coheres emerging in mental space.

In imagining this, would you recognize the movement of time in space of the knowing process?

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Another Humble Moment…

Photo courtesy of:  'Sunrise' by Agness - Flickr http://tinyurl.com/jdusg58

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

Small World…

Photo Courtesy of:  'Small World' by Sanal K - Flickr http://tinyurl.com/ze9qvh4

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

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Awake Awareness Is Aware without Using Thought

Porch 11-3-15

I’ve been working with some of the practices in the book, ‘Shift Into Freedom’, by Loch Kelly, a gifted teacher and author, who explains his Open-Hearted Awareness Approach to Being. As my friend and fellow long-time TSK student, Bruce Alderman, points out, Kelly’s approach is consonant with TSK for it is “rooted in Tibetan Mahamudra, as TSK is rooted or influenced — however indirectly — by Dzogchen (which is very similar to Mahamudra).”

Today, the weather is perfect, hovering around 70 degrees, Fall colors have announced themselves, and lately, perhaps influenced by the seasonal change, I’ve been ‘blissed-out’ as I work with this book…

My quick-notes for the moment on this practice… Glimpse 2 – “Awake Awareness Is Aware without Using Thought”…

Deep breathing fills the lungs with air, clears the mind with fresh oxygen, new openness greets my external view, a non-focused and non-naming looking at the trees and fluttering leaves. Within, space is made for a rising, loving-appreciation of color, light and shadow, moving forms, the flow of emotion… moisture rises for the eyes while just ‘feeling’ the body. The sound of music moves simultaneously with the flow of inclusiveness… a lyric is recognized, connected, and affirmed…

“Oh that magic feeling…nowhere to go…” (Beatles, ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’)

Sunlight warms with a golden glow that x-rays yellowing leaves, simply filling me with fullness, a pouring in and reflected out. A womb of belonging, a home of homes, no distance ‘from’ or between what appears, no separation because there is no location adopted, no identity assumed from which to feel and observe. There is a most basic ‘aware of being aware’ feel, the unity of the act of observing with the feel of the observed, the unity of awakened awareness, as what is always here.

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Practice LOK 50 – Inquiry – A Doorway to the Zeroless

Try listening to this song while reading this…

Take the [TSK] vision into your daily activity, observing lightly and free from judgment the effect it has in your life.

Lately music, though not the only opening, has been easy access to a more open appreciation of a lightness of Being, at the point where ‘dawning’ arises in awareness, at the wellspring of the fresh and pristine. Melody, rhythm, and orchestration provide currents that are not so quickly passed over with the usual urge to busily foreclose a moment while reaching for the next. I seem to let go of my risk-free investment in personal stories and float in a less volatile and more insightful field of awareness where sound and silence blend with knowing and not-knowing. Images and thoughts arise and mingle with melody, and seem to float in a sea of felt silence.

But I also walk outside and feel the air on my face, it’s warm or cool touch, and the sounds of life, the streams of sensations flooding awareness, and all the messages in my brain. I sense the sorting out, and ordering of my experience while looking back on what just happened. I also feel the letting go of all that, as if the slate was just wiped clean, a slate of dark mystery and the unknown, from which the new sensations spring up, blossoming like fireworks in the space of mind and body. There is a scent of the essence of my life in the air, a feeling of the exquisiteness of being awake. It is a presence free of all the things I tell myself, all the stories I fill my world with and feel obliged to live into. It is a song of songs, a melody of living, a taste of everything.

I have come to ‘glimpses’ of this ‘wider‘ awareness over time, gradually expanding my attentiveness to it, primarily because of the work (or labor of love), with the practices and readings that accompany the Time, Space, Knowledge vision, and from the sharing between my fellow students, and the instruction and personal guidance I have received from my teacher, Jack Petranker. The skills that Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche offers in his TSK vision are extraordinary, he offers NOT the pot of gold at the END of the rainbow, but the very rainbow itself.

Posted in General TSK Discussions, awareness, being, inquiry, music, nature, opening, zero(less) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Teacher Training – Session 9 – Allowing Space a Focus of Concern

Time Space Knowledge and Light

We’ve recently been exploring Space, and how we can experience it without making it disappear into becoming a thing, and thus losing it’s ‘open Spaceness’? How can we not take the experience of open space and enclose it, objectify or conceptualize it into a pre-measured idea of it…controlled by a self that tends to gather and particularize? It’s what we seem to do endlessly. In one post Eliana, Michael and I discussed ‘Opening the Focal Setting’, here:


How do we include the self in a more open way of looking that seems to annihilate itself, or better, that doesn’t annihilate the very sense-of-space within which it arises?

I used an example, rather than naming the space we wish to become in-touch, we can…

feel’ it’s allowingness, feel the open-endedness, that sense of awareness without object, a sense of non-contracted and de-centered presence out of which the seed of experience unfolds.

It’s something like when a distinctive taste explodes in your mouth, can you sense the space of that sense field expanding with the taste, or only the taste itself? Can you also sense the process going on of making meaning out of the taste? Is the process layers of an organizing tendency, and is it happening in expanding space?

I remember a few years back my wife gave me gourmet jellybeans…So I noticed chewing one, focusing and identifying the flavor as I turned it over on my tongue enjoying the sweet, specific taste, but before I finished it I caught myself picking up another one to pop into my mouth. I hadn’t even allowed the fullness of the first jellybean experience to arise and reveal before something in me was ready to discard the experience and take up a new one. The jellybeans of my life, my moments were being eaten up too fast by a tendency in me to move on. I described more about that experience here:

To counter that tendency I worked with different exercises including ‘The Unnameable’, more fully described here:

The Unnameable – As you go about your day, ask yourself what is happening in your immediate experience that you can’t give a name to. Don’t focus on the things you see and hear, or the memories and plans your mind drifts off to, or even the emotions and reactions that shape how you feel. Look for something more fundamental. You might call it the ‘quality’ of your experience, like the quality of a work of art that makes you love it.”

I said: The openness I’m referring to, if I can even call it that, seems to resist a narrow thing-focus. It’s an occasional all-encompassing feeling/quality that whatever I’m doing, (watching TV, reading, planning, whatever I’m engaged in), I can sometimes be aware of this greater awareness. It is as though my normal thinking activities and structuring processes are occurring on a little surface place within this ‘Unnameable‘ feeling/quality, a wellhead of activity over a vast expanse of my own awareness — the secret pleasure of my whole being.

I also have worked with this exercise, perhaps my favorite for the feel and ‘in-touchness’ with the Zero-point, the non-occupancy of space, the formless openness of that foundational feeling…

TSK Exercise 10, ‘Space Arising’ …a richness that is available to be explored: a quality or feeling linked to the quality inherent in being alive, or simply the quality of being. Within the continuum of stillness, cultivate a transparent quality, as though you were preparing the silence to receive light. As you continue with this practice, you will develop the ability to dwell within the silence in a way that allows for a light and clear awareness. It is like activating a silent witness, whose steady presence we might consider ‘nowness’.

Eventually this presence can become a ‘place’ that you can identify and enter with ease, even though it still has no specific identity or qualities. We might call it the womb of space. Some people may find it fruitful to spend long hours there, familiarizing themselves with the spacious silence it offers, deepening their contact.

As you come to know this foundational ‘place’, you can see how ordinary experience arises out of it. A sense of being becomes ‘being here’; from this arises ‘being here in time’. Presence becomes presence ‘of’ something, which is then established and felt to exist. Existence becomes ‘I am’, which is felt to be identical with the original sense of being.
Tarthang Tulku, ‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, p.281

For me, this cone of knowing, the feel of layers of meaning in the process of expanding… in what? In an expanding focal awareness, space awareness… is the movement of knowing… radiating outward…

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TSK Ex. 28 – A Cycle of Seeing – revisited

Early on in my TSK studies one of the important series of exercises for understanding space and loosening assumptions about the weighty and fixed ideas of self and identity was The Giant Body exercises. Later, I found The Cycle of Seeing exercise equally powerful in unraveling the structural process of the temporal order. These exercises have been gifts that continue to open, like trees that produce memorable fruits, which in turn yield more understanding. During this current course, I worked with memories and saw how they were structured as summaries, a way to ‘short-hand’ mental activity in order to move on to the next point in time while relating this to that, and then to now, in a strategic intentional way while navigating through the time and space of my life.

With The Cycle of Seeing exercise we are asked to think of a list of ten ‘things’, (objects, qualities, and other common contents of experience, such as a car, an orange, a piece of music, a tactile quality, etc.), remember them, then throughout the day recall them in sequence, in effect spin them in memory. Sounds simple enough, right? Ha ha! :-) It is such a clever implementation, because each ‘thing’ involves a subset of choices, and a deeper subset of assumptions. Each assumption builds and relates to others, each judgment relates to a choice that also relates, in turn, to others. Each ‘thing’ involves a net of relationships. Eventually, you choose your 10 ‘things’, spinning them as you go in order to commit them to memory.

At some point you realize you have created a cosmos of ‘things’, your own little spinning Galaxy of centrifugal forces held by relatedness, held together by a gravity of a logos that you have mostly unconsciously structured. You can actually observe this because you get really good at spinning your Galaxy, you might even get a little cocky about how good you are at recalling these things and keeping these plates spinning in air, so to speak!

And then… just like with The Giant Body exercises when suddenly solid things become transparent, so too with The Cycle of Seeing exercise the tight structuring, the judgments, the value systems you employed and why you unconsciously made all these decisions becomes wobbly, and as it spins gravity lets go, and the tightly compact spinning Galaxy starts to unravel…because you see with intimate eyes. You see with a more encompassing knowing, a kind of zero openness or transparency of what you did and why you did it. It is a poignant and profound moment, an ah ha moment! Great fun! :-)

If interested, here’s what I wrote back in 2009…

TSK Ex. 28 – A Cycle of Seeing

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write about the last paragraph of KTS 25

Memories Tend to Get Blurred with the Passing of Time by  Ale Di Gangi - Flickr

It’s interesting how looking backwards on memory can clarify how time unfolds in the present. I found it wonderfully fascinating how a little 5 minute exercise of looking at a memory (and hours of reading and inquiry) opened the door to how I take continuous open impressions, and through a focusing process, narrow a continuum of events, enfolding them to ever smaller pieces, while converting this data to meaningful information, which then becomes a linear knowing of specific – things – a lexicon of benchmarks in time and mental space. It reminds me a little of computer algorithms that take large amounts of data and filters it down to a pre-intended category rendering it more ‘manageable’.

I also realize how I often then promptly forget it’s a ‘process’ and identify the entire movement as a thing that I can quantify, point to as if it were static and fixed, then claim it (this moment or memory) as mine, proclaim it even as ‘me’.

Our Teachers Training assignment is to write about the last paragraph of KTS 25, which makes a few intriguing points:

– the self and its experiences are an interpretation of time’s momentum.

– Form and identity become the content projected by experience as it draws on time’s dynamic, thereby projecting the self into the realm of existence.

– Existence responds to the transitory nature of linear time by proceeding from one transition to another.

I gradually took notice while observing my own mental space that a memory is NOT a static thing, it is a re-calling of pre-limited parts of a continuum of impressions and patterns that I gather as they peak interest, under a near continuous process of scrutiny and valuation. A memory of ‘going to dinner with friends’, or ‘sitting on the beach on a sunny day’, might arise as a specific memory flash of an image in mental space, but attempting to stay with that single image seems illusive. Other impressions bubble up, other flashes arise seemingly from the dark, and take form from space itself. Parts of an image may be ill-defined composed of fog-like elements, or there can be gaps in continuity, while others are vivid with color, and attached to feelings identified as originally felt. Focusing on the unclear in a memory seemed to bring forth more related aspects of that remembrance – space just opened presenting more diaphanous impressions from the original impression of an unformulated whole.

By observing how a memory presented itself I got a sense of the ‘processor in residence’, a self in charge that assembled the parts, a controller who made all the choices, but looking now in a relaxed way, separation of me as a by-stander observing the memory seems to dissolve. Open observing was much less controlling, even when looking into the unclear areas of the memory, there was mostly just looking. There was little feeling of me observing the memory play out from over here across the room – little apparent distance from a separated position as by-stander.

Shifting from observing a memory, focus widens to the present and what is arising from moment to moment – a stream of impressions, emotional currents, sense data, images, thoughts, some of which were remembered, and more or less openness that felt like an abundance of space – degrees of roominess. At times I felt the controller intending thoughts, and attending to or recognizing a sound or sight naming and narrating a thought string, then referring it to a sense of self sitting and feeling ‘here’. This was how I confirmed my own existence, taking a ‘me’ subjective view of an objective world arising ‘there’. At other times the controller relaxed taking a back seat and just allowed time to blossom. So I definitely got a sense of self at the center organizing experience, but I also got glimpses of full-openness, witness-like, that is followed in time by a continuous tendency that consolidates and organizes impressions. And I realized this is a much more fundamental view of, if not who but, what I am.

Previous explorations of memory can be seen at this link with expounding comments:

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