Session 4, Assignment 6

Shifting Fields

          I can feel the invitation in this week’s readings, assignments and orientation notes to open up to a more living engagement with life.  Yet a familiar tone of limitation continues to affect everything.

          What is this familiar tone of limitation?  For me it seems that my mind is always full of the tasks that await me.  In terms of a field analysis, this tone seems to be present in how I relate to any task that is compelled from outside (income taxes are due in 10 days) as well as those connected with a desire to have a “meaningful” life (study and writing, including TSK assignments).  This tone involves a feeling that I lack the awareness, concentration and energy to succeed, and that there is not enough time and knowledge available to get everything done.

          Within this pessimistic view of what is possible, lurks a sense that the future is already committed before it arrives.

           I am drawn to certain engagements (notably TSK) more than others because they sometimes open to a wider perspective and they provide a vision of a freer way of being than the one to which I have grown accustomed.

          A side effect of packing my days with activities that I feel obliged to pursue appears to be that I need entertainment breaks.  So I watch videos and have some favourite TV serials.  Too much self-imposed obligation necessitates entertainment breaks and too much mindless entertainment necessitates doubling down on the “meaningful” activities I assign myself.  However neither guarantees that I am able to contact the fulfilling feelings of which the TSK readings speak so compellingly.

         So I keep studying TSK because sometimes, while reading the texts, I feel that there really is another, more fulfilling way to live.

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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2 Responses to Session 4, Assignment 6

  1. michaelg says:

    Hi David,
    Hayward often gives good advice, and have you noticed that there is often a vase of roses at his side? I wish I could command such spaceous elegance. Perhaps I’ll change out of my pajama shirt for tomorrow’s TSK call.

    Your dilemma brings to mind an experience that I will describe in my next post–just in case it is of interest to someone who doesn’t read so far down in the comments as this.

    I always appreciate your direct and heart-felt sharing.


  2. David Filippone says:

    Amen Brother! Can I have a Witness? :-)

    I wrote Hayward deploring the same dilemmas…complaining, “Confusion and pressure have me tethered to my sinking vehicle, I seem unable to negate my obstacles or establish my means of escape. If I reach from the murky waters to grab a gunnel for a breather, something smacks me down, and TSK has me tied up in NOTs! What’s a mystic to do?! ”

    He sagely advised, take a deep breath, “say ‘Oh’, smile and exhale slowly”.

    So, I’ve stepped back, allowed the Nots to unravel…filled my sails and carried on. Sage advice, don’t you think? :-)
    Simpatico Bro,

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