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: