“See if you can get in touch with the ‘feel of the field’ at a time when you are already feeling negative… let the feeling lead you into an exploration of the not-knowing hidden within the ‘witness’ knowing… remember that what you feel is based on the claims of the witness, and those claims are not solid, even when they seem most convincing.” The instructions also said, “In doing this practice, we may not know how to proceed.” And of course, that’s just where to look.
I had just returned from a trip… lots to catch up with on my computer, hadn’t done a back-up in a while either, settled down, turned on the computer, and got nothing… ‘blank’ blue-screen. Actually felt the blank like a hollow void in the pit of my stomach, ‘sinking’, all familiar boundaries of my plans and intentions collapsed into chaos. The mind raced, panic storylines flashed in my brain, “All is lost! All my work and recent photos. All my TSK class work and Projects, hours and weeks of labor, all ‘MY’ content gone!” I felt a painful void in my center, what perhaps A. H. Almaas might label as ‘deficient emptiness’, an unsupported feeling of being lost and helpless.
After a few moments of this discomfort and anxiety, I realized this feeling was not unfamiliar, in fact, it was in a way a certain basic feel I’ve known since childhood underlying many of my feelings of being unsure, of realizing I didn’t know how or what to do, of not measuring up, of not belonging, it also underpinned fears around storylines of impending failure, it was also a feeling that seemed to link to my body ‘felts‘ and senses.
I remembered the class reading in which it says:
“When we welcome not-knowing, something deep within us relaxes. We do not have to push not-knowing away, do not have to fear it or cover it up or disguise it.” ‘Visions of Knowledge,’ p.159
So I decided to relax my tight stance, this contracted, anxious, gravity-laden mindset, and just loosen and let go of the tension. Like a bubble held together by its surface tension, I just let go of my ‘self‘ concerns and became calm and more open. When that happened I reassessed my situation. That calm reassessment allowed a recognition that I had not properly shutdown the computer to begin with. In that flash of new knowledge a solution presented and I resolved the problem… by properly shutting down and restarting.
Looking back, I also realized that fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of imagined consequences, and so on, comes from this same bubble of surface tension, this contraction of the self to ward-off a more basic contraction within the not-known. Boundaries that I ‘habitually’ construct and set in place are a fairly basic defense mechanism. Understanding that allows for further relaxing, allowing more space for new, more encompassing knowing.
In seeing this, I can feel into the notion that knowing comes from beyond the testimony of the witness, that knowing emerges from not-knowing, something like the feel of a sound emerging from a felt silence. Or in this case, there was a murky-misty whirl of thoughts and emotions, and suddenly a dawning clarity. Fascinating!