Opening the point…
“The starting point of knowledge is the knower, the ‘I’ of ‘I am here’. Can we open that point? How would we begin, without immediately turning that beginning into another starting point?
How do we pursue this question? If we immediately set out to make the point, we will find ourselves caught up in first-level structures. Can we allow instead for a different, zero-based kind of knowing? Rather than always looking straight ahead, can we open the angle of awareness, the cone that radiates from the point? Can we allow for vision that sees in all directions? Even though the inquiry proceeds in abstract terms, can we let it be guided by what actually happens in the process of inquiry?”
….. ‘Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space’, by Tarthang Tulku, p. 150
By Ken McKeon
I had the notion today to become a student of vision. It was a broad impulse, a late morning musing accompanied by my snacking on a few Spanish Marcona almonds. These were bleached, salty, and wonderfully oily. I bit down on a couple and, in doing so, crushed them into tasty little gravelly almond chunks which I tongued down into my throat. And then my throat felt scratchy so I took a sip of water, then I burped and my belly became as pleasing as sunlight is when it streams down into me through window and through clear blue sky.
And just what, if anything, has all of that to do with vision? It certainly seems to swing wide from the topic. And that reminds me that I should get serious and focus. That mild scolding leaves my mind blank and chill. So I intensify the effort which results in kind of a headache and a nameless vague sense of regret and personal lack, of neediness, of futility, and of loss tinged with guilt.
Apparently, I consist of sequences of such arisings. These show up as consequences of me, my actions, whims, impulses, tastes, conditionings. And just where do they show up from? Ordinarily I would respond, mildly testily, by pointing to shelf and cupboard, faucet and refrigerator, my hands, even the snowfall in the Sierras, or orchards of almond trees cultivated faraway in Spain.
But it well might be otherwise. All the varied details can be seen as independent arisings. They lift up from nowhere, they fall away, they vanish. It is as if they never were. I know them only through what follows. It rains and the deck is wet. The wetness dries. I trace the process out. My sense of me, my identity, is as the tracer. But if I myself is seen as an arising, a more open vision presents. And then a quality of lifting informs the linear more clearly, more wonderfully emphatically. Such a lifting quality is deeply present within linearity. That is, the linear presents a sense of bounce, a lively moving quality that shows up even in the ordinary. In so far as anything is, this quality, this feature of the transcendent everyday, can become the real.
But what do all these musings amount to? What are they here for? How do they serve the present purpose? And, in case we are lost, the purpose or goal is to somehow assist me in my efforts to become a student of vision. All the details can be considered the output of non-dimensional space as it is magically stirred into the localizing movement of time by the implicit presentness of the knowing attribute of knowingness itself when it arises within and as the arising me in the ever present question: What’s happening?