Tranquility of Space

Jack suggested that this was a practice to do while active during the day, so I did that. The very first thing that I encountered, as I relaxed into the space, was the self saying, dismissively, “But that can’t be mine!” As though it therefore wasn’t worth exploring! That surprised me, and sure confirmed the ‘ownership’ issue. The self wanted to build a limit to what it experienced.

Later in the day, I was producing an e-book, trying to get a handle on Pāli transliteration diacritics in Kindle. I took a break for a cup of tea, and while boiling the kettle, I noticed how happy I was at the achievement, having mastered some technical hurdles. It was going well. Then, I remembered the practice and relaxed into the tranquility of space, and out of the corner of my inner eye, so to speak, I noticed the quality of the fading experience of happiness – the happiness had a rough, jagged, or course kind of feel to it, which wasn’t in view when I was unaware. So, despite looking like happiness, it wasn’t so in the light of the tranquility. It’s very likely that the happiness was a construction of the self!

At the end of the day, I did the exercise as a sitting meditation. Really saw the precision thing, and that was refreshing. Just one thought goes astray and the rest follow.  I noticed some fabricated versions of space, too! What a trickster! And, I could see, too, that the ownership of experience issue arose once or twice, as well.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

– Bill Stafford, from A Ritual to Read to One Another

So, while sitting, I experienced the necessity of trusting thoughtless or wordless attention, so that the precision was possible. I would remind myself of the contemplation – the deep tranquility of space – but, then, the cutting through to space was in the wordless wakefulness that followed that invitation.

I noticed that it’s easier with my eyes open, and wondered if that was because so-called physical space added support. I think it’s much harder in the aloneness of consciousness without the support of the visual sense.

Thanks for the suggestion, Jack; and for the support all. This was really interesting.

– Christopher.



About Christopher

I first read TSK in 1978, and have enjoyed exploring Rinpoche's (printed) work ever since. I'm an insight meditation teacher in Sydney, Australia, and I live in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. I'm also a psychotherapist and a Focusing trainer (Gendlin).
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