Photo courtesy of: ‘Space’ by monicore – Pixabay


“The training we receive as human beings teaches us to live in accord with the dictates of substance. We see with ‘form eyes’ and move with ‘form bodies’. We react to a world in which the surface that appears points to an unknown interior, and we confirm through our reactions that reality resides in this interior. In establishing this unknown realm, we assure that our knowledge will be restricted: unable to arrive at the certain truth of reality.

Now we want to open a different kind of knowing—to see with ‘knowledge eyes’. The way is clear: We must exchange our ‘form eyes’ for ‘space eyes’. Once we know now to do this, our prospects will expand beyond what we can presently imagine. We can find nourishment in food that has no substance and delight in touching what has no texture. What we could never do with our ordinary ‘form bodies’ or know with minds intent on form, we can readily do and know in the ‘no-body space’ of universal knowledgeability.

Our usual focus on substance and identity has turned space into the nothing of non-appearance. Setting space in contrast to what has form, turning it into the simple emptiness of the vacuum, we have made it into a ‘formless body’: a ‘thing’ that has the quality of being nothing at all. Misconceiving its nature, we have made it disappear.
‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, Tarthang Tulku, p. 29-30

EXPERIENTIALLY, I find this a warm and inviting practice, it seems to have a restorative quality. When busy or under pressure to get something done I often feel squeezed or compressed, as though there’s not enough time, space, or opportunities. When I calm myself, sitting quietly, for instance, time seems to ‘space-out’; my tendency toward a myopic focus loosens and expands. That ‘expansion’ of focus has a spacious quality. The practice of noticing and expanding space becomes enjoyable, even while thoughts drift in and out of focus, data from the senses float in and out too as I become aware of feeling tones, like flowing liquid currents that seem to temper the ‘aware‘ space. Space can then feel like a warm glow of arisings.

EXPERIMENTALLY, when I think about or remember space, I attempt to structure it, sometimes as a dark blank, like a place-holder to be filled in later, like a not yet fleshed-out concept or memory, not yet logically constructed for telling, a kind of a blank ‘thing’ in waiting… something like the way the blank page is to my attempt to describe my experience of space. It comes after the immediacy of the experience itself.

Expand the whole ‘situation’ in which you find yourself…

I am sitting quietly on the back porch in an overstuffed easy chair, looking out on a rolling field under a sunny sky. I can imagine expanding beyond my location, within this neighborhood, beyond this city, in this state, even beyond this continent, on this planet, which as I pan out, is the third of eight that revolves around our sun. Continuing to widen the ‘focal setting‘… I see our sun and its solar system spiraling within the Sagittarius Arm, approximately 25,000 light years from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy… a galaxy speeding ever outward in expanding space and time.

As I ponder this expansion into unknown space in a much more ‘open frame of mind‘, it feels like peering into the edge of the future, where my location and identity seems to relinquish itself to an unexplained openness. ‘Experientially’, I find the same warm and inviting glow of awareness within. Also, in terms of the quality of this more fundamental space, not space-holder or conceptual space, but ‘aware‘ space, the warm-glow feel seems to pervade…

About David Filippone

I have been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past twelve years, I’ve studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). I have also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. For the past several years, I have curated the CCI Facebook page, which is often TSK-focused, and I serve on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be found at the following link...
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