What pulls me away from the ‘feel’ of the moment?

I was playing with my puppy, tossing her toys, watching her chase one down, grabbing it with tiny jaws, shaking it fiercely from side to side, and then drop it to look at me as if to say, “what’s next?”  So I toss another toy, and we begin again, such great fun.  I wondered, what pulls her attention away from the immediate moment?  I thought, she’s different than me, she’s almost always present, but motion and change keep her interested, for without that stimulation, she curls up and goes to sleep.

But what keeps my interest?  Of course, I notice that the urge to want something, a feeling to fill what is felt to be missing, does keep me focused on new thoughts arising in new moments.  But when I don’t have a desire in mind, sitting calmly, I’m wondering what pulls me away from the immediate ‘feel’ of the moment? It seems to be the continual movement of arising stimulus from the senses… increase or decrease of noise, movement in the field of vision, a sensation in my body, etc.  And the reactive urge to name and narrate what is happening, seems to favor a direction of thought away from being present.

Like a baby or my puppy, motion seems to pull me away, and because I derive pleasure from playing with or knowing what sparks ‘my’ interest, I try to fix and narrow focus, as the open, ongoing play of moments pass unnoticed.  What feels most ‘real’ is the degree of intimacy felt with experience, what is direct, without my sense of self-identity and separateness interceding in between.


About David Filippone

I have been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past twelve years, I’ve studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). I have also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. For the past several years, I have curated the CCI Facebook page, which is often TSK-focused, and I serve on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be found at the following link... https://tinyurl.com/ybyfolcf
This entry was posted in uncatagorized, TSK Online Program 2009-2010, momentum, movement, self, time. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What pulls me away from the ‘feel’ of the moment?

  1. tinac says:

    thnx David for taking the time to explain your experience of allowing things to slow without an I trying to control in more depth…it made a lot more sense…i suppose that is the handicap of this kind of communication…but i do so appreciate you continuing to engage…i know it can be frustrating…so again thank you…

    concerning stage fright…i never experienced that…i started singing on stage at age 10…lol…in fact, it was the place i felt most at home for many reasons…

    it might seem strange, but i was always so appreciative and hopeful of the possibility that the surgeries presented were going to bring a degree of pain relief, that i never feared them…i have had many surgeries and surgical proceedures…to many to count really…sometimes they did bring relief…sometimes they made matters worse…but i do understand now what you were pointing to in your experience related to pain and the anticipation of it…

    maybe i can concentrate more on intent verses intense concerning the loosening of the self…haha…

    much love…*

    • David says:

      You’re welcome Tina,
      Continued success with your personal quest, and I hope that the pain eases for you too.
      Best to you fellow TSK student, :-)

  2. tinac says:

    Yikes! I cannot imagine what you speak to concerning this busy creating and referring to remembered pain…that must have been a strange experience…I find myself distracting awareness from pain as much as possible, and then using the tsk vision to open up space around it, and also relaxing into it helps as well…the pain I experience is pretty much chronic and 24/7 if I think about it, which I tend to avoid…and the times when I cannot avoid feeling it full force, I have a bunch of other tricks I have learned over the years to ease it…now there are times when I avoid certain body postures or certain activities that aggravate the pain…but mostly I just try to keep my mind focused elsewhere…so far so good…I’ll have 4 years clean and sober on May 7…

    Of course there is this idea of befriending your pain…but I have never had much success with that one…lol…

    Oh, so you are talking about intending the night before what to do upon awakening in that state before the idea of the self has been remembered…wow! You mean you are actually able to slow things down that much that you can see the instant the ideas about the self come into awareness? I will have to keep trying to do that…now I can go below the surface of thoughts and tap into that presence…even when the thoughts are steady flowing…so that is pretty cool…

    I don’t know that I recognize grabbing something to assure my stability…it is just that fear shakes me out of that state of no self…I kinda like having a self to navigate…don’t care to much for that chaotic state of confusion without a thinking mind…

    wishing you well…*

    • David says:

      Hi Tina,
      I just want to clarify a couple of things that I probably didn’t express very well. Regarding pain, I wasn’t talking about chronic pain. I was talking more about imagining the pain of an upcoming event, such as a painful medical procedure. The psychological pain that I build up in my mind. Another example might be stage fright for some people. Performing on stage is frightening enough, but if I approach the event with a build up of ‘mindings‘, then I magnify my fear making the experience more difficult. Same with waking up in the morning, and the self grabbing for control.

      Also, you said: “You mean you are actually able to slow things down that much that you can see the instant the ideas about the self come into awareness?” The way that sentence is stated is an example of how language can lead us astray. Not your fault, of course, I do it too. But in a sense ‘I’ (controlling self) don’t slow anything down. What the ‘I’ did the night (and many nights) before was to engage intent, to allow intent to act below the surface to loosen the ‘I‘. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it seems to hinge on how heartfelt the intent is, how deep, sincere, and earnest. When I wake in the morning, the whole point is to ‘not‘ do anything, to not slow anything, to not control anything, to simply allow. If control is exerted, then the ‘mindings‘ have begun.

  3. tinac says:

    thnx David, although I am not certain how much control “I” have in those situations, but maybe now that I have some idea of what might be going on, the subconscious will be able to relax…

    how did a “you” relax into the chaos when there is no you before you pull out of it though? LOL…this is all very interesting…I spend a lot of time in meditation with balancing my energies and breath…that is one of the ways I am able to deal with the constant physical pain I am in, so I am not certain how that relates to the other, at least in my experience…but thnx so much for getting back to me and sharing your experience…*

    • David says:

      Hi Tina,
      You asked: “how did a “you” relax into the chaos when there is no you before you pull out of it though?”

      Well, we’re talking specifically about waking up in the morning. That infinitesimal instant when ‘you‘ are not aware of who, what, or where you are… that second before the self has a chance to fill in the space of awareness with thoughts, that open question before the word “what?” is even thought… that’s what I intended to observe before I went to sleep the night before. I was curious the days and nights before. What is that? I wanted to experience what was below the surface of my incessant thinking.

      I think what I was doing was much like what we’ve been doing in these exercises, observing our experience with our intent to question the self. As Jack said on the conference call, it’s different with all of us how easy or hard it is to observe… different life experiences, etc.

      You mentioned pain. There is pain, and there is fear of that pain. I find that when I build up the anticipation of a painful event, adding fear and anxiety to it, it becomes this big thing in my mind to overcome, but when I actually go through the lived experience of the pain, I almost always realize it wasn’t as painful as I imagined. My self was busy creating and referring to remembered pain, imagining future pain, but if you observe what is actually happening, the next time you are going to experience pain, you remember that building it up imaginatively didn’t help. When I see that whole unproductive process I relax, the self relaxes.

      Same thing with waking up. I don’t need to immediately reach out and grab something to assure my stability. I’m already stable. I just float and see what happens. :-)

  4. tinac says:

    I probably have not explained the experience well…I will try…it has only happened upon awakening from sleep, but it has become a recurring experience recently. I awaken in utter chaos…there is no identification of an I or a self…there is nothing but this chaotic confused state…then after a few moments of this, fear emerges, and pulls me back to identifying with an I, to a self…

    The chaotic state does not resemble confusion in the normal way that mind experiences confusion or chaos…there is no thinking involved for at that moment there is no one to identify thinking with…it is really very strange…I think the fear emerges b/c of the loss of interpretation or identification with an I or self…

    I am not sure if that makes sense…but I am wondering what would happen if the fear did not emerge, rescuing/as the I or Self, and preventing the focus of I/Self from drowning in this chaotic state…maybe this state, being interpreted by an I after the fact…is not really chaotic… shrugs…

    • David says:

      Hi Tina,
      Thanks for clarifying, I think I understand now. Yes, I used to experience that anxiety at the point of awaking, before my ‘self‘ took control of the wakeful state. That was a long time ago, before I began meditation. I don’t feel that way anymore, because I stayed with the confusion, (like I said in the last post). Eventually, I became more ‘curious‘ than anxious. That was the key. I wanted to find out what was this ‘in between’ state.

      The fear of losing your self is a pretty basic fear, but if you stay with it, you gradually see (face the fear) that it’s a fear of our own making, a self that does not want to relax, does not want to trust, or relinquish. Like when learning how to swim, we flail around afraid we will sink, but we won’t, we can actually float. There’s no need to flail. But you need to relinquish at your own pace, perhaps remembering that you already relinquished control and relaxed into sleep the night before, and every preceding night all your life. If you didn’t panic then, perhaps there is no real need to now; that as the saying goes, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

      We missed you on the conference call today. Make sure you listen to the recording because Jack talked a little bit about the fear, and how difficult TSK can be sometimes.
      Best wishes,

  5. David says:

    Hi Tina,
    While I have experienced fear and confusion in my life, and withdrawal because of it, I can’t say that my experience is similar to what you are experiencing. I just don’t know. But on the other hand, I have also experienced fear and confusion and did not withdraw, choosing to stay with what was causing the confusion, letting time play out, letting emotions run their course, as if they were a storm passing, while being watchful, so that I could possibly learn something from the passage…Asking how my identity was invested in the experience – the planning, the outcome, could I identify the emotions and any triggers, etc. The interesting thing is that, for me, when confusion reigns I am tight, cramped in a “thing filled mind“, fear keeps me plotting a way through ‘things‘, scenarios, etc., but if I don’t hold so tight to the ‘thing‘ perspective and the fear, I gain space. I have found gaining space is key.

    In KTS Rinpoché says: “…confusion arises whenever we try to act on the basis of first-level knowledge, for the first-level ‘order’ unfolds through polar concepts that are mutually interdependent. Language appears to give each member of the polarity a separate identity, encouraging us to give one side or the other greater value or importance, but the two sides are inseparable. When we choose happiness, we are choosing sadness; when we choose knowledge we are choosing ignorance. Each ‘opposition’ reflects a more fundamental and encompassing ‘position’; when we let the ‘order’ communicated by language guide us toward choosing one side of each polarity, ignoring or rejecting the other, our choice will be incomplete and frustrating.

    Language frustrates at an even deeper level by making claims ‘about’ reality that are actually claims about its own structures. Whenever we try to arrive at meaning or understanding through language, we are caught up in a system that is self-referring. We define a word with other words, turning knowledge into a story with endless episodes. Each episode takes its meaning from others, so that if the link between episodes is severed, meaning is lost. We might say that language is a vehicle in which we can travel endlessly without arriving anywhere.” KTS p.52-3

    I can almost hear the poet in you saying, “Noooo! Language surely does more than lead us in circles.” I think you would be right, and this course is about questioning the self (and it’s stories), using language to open our closed-circle thinking.

    I don’t know if any of this helps, from one student to another. But I don’t think you are alone.
    Best wishes,

  6. tinac says:

    Hey David…lately, it seems I am kissing the edge of insanity, but drawing back in fear of going over…touching and even embodying second level time for me has become second nature…but something else seems to be fighting to break-through…I have had the experience before, it is where the mind is very confused and chaotic; I have yet to be able to go through that to come out the other side. Fear always brings me back to me and I shake the insanity/chaos/not-knowing off and preoccupy myself with life as I know it…have you ever had this experience? Or anyone else? The fear comes, I think, from not knowing what will happen if I were to let go of all the interpretations and just fall into that chaos…but I am just speculating here…b/c I have never actually been able to fall into it…but it is relentless these days…the insanity that is…and the fear that comes with not-knowing is very strong and determined to always pull me back from falling…gol*

  7. David says:

    Hi Tina,
    I’m so sorry, I meant to return to this and comment, but got carried away by my own flood of ‘mindings’.

    You seem to have had that second level contact with time as more fluid, and you released your ‘stuckness’. :-) You were less invested personally with the flow and more observant, it seems.

    Good work! :-)

  8. tinac says:

    Hey David, I enjoyed reading this…and thought I would share an experience I had this morning…

    I awoke this morning in what I can only describe as little girl fear…I can only guess the reason…maybe it was a night mare, I can’t remember…but it was paralyzing fear that I was in…then I remembered something that someone told me once, that feelings were not facts…and I allowed myself the feel of moving through the fear…

    At one point I realized that I was not feeling the fear…it was present but there was a feeling of moving through it…

    I find myself not getting so stuck in feelings these days…becoming more fluid with this movement without necessarily interpreting it, and even when it seems to come already packaged and interpreted for me ready-made to accept as is…I don’t have to accept it long-term…maybe for a moment in the moment it is identified, I can recognize it as it comes, but then I can move through it…without having to think it to death or justify it or explain it…just allow it to open to something other…

    tsk rocks!

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