Worlding with Stories

Photo courtesy of: ‘Fish’ by Duane Schermerhorn - Flickr

Photo courtesy of: ‘Fish’ by Duane Schermerhorn – Flickr

During our time off from TSK classes I’m catching up on some books started but never finished. One is David Loy’s book, “The World is Made of Stories“. Having found some impactful quotes, I forwarded a few to Hayward Fox, and we’ve been exchanging emails. Some points have relevance to our TSK studies so I decided to share them here. David Loy says…

“If the world is made of stories, [then] stories are not just stories. They teach us what is real, what is valuable, and what is possible. Without stories there is no way to engage with the world because there is no world, and no one to engage with it because there is no self.

The world is made of our accounts of it because we never grasp the world as it is in itself, apart from stories about it. We do not experience a world and then make up stories to understand it. Whenever we try to peel them all away, to discover the reality behind, whatever becomes exposed immediately transforms into story, like “excavated artifacts that disintegrate as soon as uncovered.

The same is true of ourselves… This is not to deny (or assert) that there is a world apart from our stories, only that we cannot understand anything without storying it. To understand is to story.”

Hayward made a good point in response, “To say that appearance is mere story does not reveal the dynamic that allows and enables the flow of experience that becomes story.

I agree, and laid out the following… David Loy says:

[Our interpreted and constructed] “world is made of our accounts of it because we never grasp the world as it is in itself, apart from stories about it… Whenever we try to peel them all away, to discover the reality behind, whatever becomes exposed immediately transforms into story…” [More interpreted and constructed stories…worlding.]

Having not read all the book yet, I am intuiting he knows there is more to human living than only stories. We [and TSK] call ‘experience’ in human living greater than the stories we construct to understand and discover meaning. Reading ahead in David Loy’s book I saw that he designates ‘imagination’ as the liberator from the entrapment of our storying, as he quotes…

Imagination is more important than knowledge…. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.
Albert Einstein

Loy goes on to provide an example…

“The esoteric practices of tantric Buddhism work to develop and liberate the Imagination. One common meditation involves visualizing awakened beings. As light flows from those luminous beings and penetrates us, we merge with them, embodying their serenity, wisdom, and compassion. We imagine that we are what we would like to be. Sense of self is deconstructed and reconstructed into an enlightened being. One concludes by dissolving the whole imaginary panorama into emptiness.”

My way of thinking about this, ‘storying’ it, goes something like this…

Within wakeful awareness, studying the Time, Space, Knowledge vision (TSK), it eventually ‘dawns‘ on you that as Knowing manifests, it is Space that allows Time to derive and elaborate. A shift in my self-emersion in stories happens when immediacy flashes, presence or Being reveals…as stories recede. Wakeful awareness suddenly opens wide, experience that was in the previous moment focused primarily on thoughts and stories now includes what is ‘wholly felt’. NOW experience includes more than the world of stories, but also the Space in which they unfold. These ‘felts’, to me seem deeper or more fundamental than the states or emotional moods we call ‘feelings’ that color our stories and behavior.

In this shift, Space – our own allowing – knows its own knowing, like the way that we ‘broadly feel’ the pauses in music are part of the music. (The listening field itself becomes part of the musical experience within a larger field of knowing) With TSK we learn to be present, know our own knowing, even while we are interpreting and constructing stories. In accomplishing this, wakeful awareness is integrated and assimilated into daily experience, which itself becomes opened up, expanded, and enriched.

But in order to understand this we need to look back on our own experience and see how this ‘space’ manifests a more open, mature, and richer way of life, we need to understand and see through HOW we make our world of stories. To borrow from David Loy…

“Like the proverbial fish that cannot see the water they swim in, we do not notice the medium we dwell within. Unaware that our “stories are stories, we experience them as the world. But we can change the water. When our accounts of the world become different, the world becomes different.”

About David Filippone

David Filippone has been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past fourteen years, he has studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). He also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. For the past several years, David has curated the CCI Facebook page, which is often TSK-focused, and he serves on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be found at the following link...
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1 Response to Worlding with Stories

  1. David Filippone says:

    This is interesting, thanks to Ron Purser for sharing it. At the 8 minute mark in the recording (you can skip right to it if you like), Professor Thurman begins a short thought experiment to demonstrate the ‘emptiness of the object…in this case the nose in front of your face. It is an elegant illustration how we interpret and construct a world out of thoughts about whatever we encounter…

    In this podcast Professor Thurman teaches the meaning of the cornerstone Buddhist concept of “emptiness.” Many people confuse it with the idea of nothingness; Professor Thurman points out, and continues: experientially, emptiness means that everything is there, but it is there with a mirror image reflection—or an illusion-like quality. The realization of emptiness means that your perception of any seeming object is an interaction where you — the subject — are very powerful in determining your experience of that object. Therefore, you are responsible for shaping that experience yourself.

    This episode was recorded on June 24, 2016 at Menla Mountain Retreat Center as part of a retreat called “Tibetan Rejuvenation Immersion” with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang and Robert Thurman.

    “No Eye, No Ear, No Nose” – Ep 76

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