THE SPACE BETWEEN THOUGHTS…

Photo: ‘Space Between’ by Vitor Vitinho – Pixabay
https://tinyurl.com/wwrw5ht

Looking for THE SPACE BETWEEN THOUGHTS… well… just how might I observe that space, or transition between, when my mind is humming along, spinning its web of stories threaded with previously accepted assumptions, and beliefs sprinkled with desires and anxieties that narrow my choices to the familiar and repeatable ones? As Michael Gray suggested in his popular post, ‘BE THE SPIDER’:

“It may well be that when we confine ourselves to moving right or left on a pre-established web of meanings, woven around us by our assumptions and reflexive reactions, our idea of freedom will amount to the freedom to choose A over B. Not only are our choices limited but with every choice of one thread over another–every time we chose to follow one well-beaten path instead of another–we further authenticate the pre-established options available to us.

Like a spider who constantly spins a web behind itself, we are constantly spinning a network of threads which themselves prevent us from stepping out of the enclosure that we are thereby constructing.”

https://creativeinquiry.org/blog/?p=9476

Rinpoche writes in, ‘Time, Space, and Knowledge’:

To find a ‘space’ that can be completely open, not exhausted or contradicted by the presence of discrete things, we need to deactivate the self-centered ‘knowing’ involved in the ordinary world view… [p.39] [And recognize how mental] objects, are only lower level SUMMARIES of the ongoing tendency toward freezing and screening out the full openness of ‘space’. [p.34 Emphasis added]

It helps me to take a look at language… how I speak and think to myself… how I mine for meaning. The world has to make sense to me or I’ll feel adrift in chaos, out of control. I’ll be unsupported, disappear and dissolve… lost. Language gives me NOUNS, objects to fix and label, and hold on to. Language bestows VERBS that let me relate object-nouns to ACTION… they give me movement, linear time… to project future actions, and remember past ones. Language gives me tools to think, to connect things, make time-lines, predict what may come… based on past experience. Language allows me to explain ‘things’ to myself, over time, to accumulate, gather and bundle, and to FEEL more like a substantial self… Ah, but there’s the rub!

Language is also the filament of the web… the stories I think that self-incarcerate… creating the boundaries I become used to, I build a self that cocoons itself in the very web I weave. I come to think I am my thoughts… that my thoughts are solid, so I am more substantial for all the more I can claim to know. I depend on the tangled web I wove.

And the echo of Rinpoche’s words… that mental objects “are only lower level SUMMARIES of the ongoing tendency toward freezing and screening out the full openness of ‘space’.” Summaries are how I condense my experience… but summaries are never the ‘thing’ itself, they’re just a useful enfolding of ‘echos’ of experience that are not solid.

“If we want to change how we know, we need to question these kinds of structures… The more we see, the closer we get to being free. When we release ourselves of having to follow our past ways of thinking, we can look at the transition between thoughts, and we can make choices. It all starts with questions.”
.…’Challenging Journey, Creative Journey,’ by Tarthang Tulku, p. 69-80

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... https://tinyurl.com/ybyfolcf
This entry was posted in General TSK Discussions, inquiry, language, opening, space, stories, thought and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to THE SPACE BETWEEN THOUGHTS…

  1. Michael Gray says:

    Your very pertinent quote from Rinpoche makes me more aware of how indebted I am to his writing for any openness that my woven depictions of the world sometimes touch. It’s as if in all his writing, with its many approaches to experience, he is weaving a tapestry–or should I say Mandala–that is far more nourishing than the ones we have settled for all these years.

    And the next thing we know, these more nutricious images arise on their own, as if from nowhere . . .

  2. David Filippone says:

    Here’s the quote regarding the need for a much wider awareness of the transitions that occur BETWEEN THOUGHTS…

    Caught in the regime, we are bonded to the structures that frame us, entangled in ropes and nets of our own making. The words that point toward another possibility, are simply words, lacking all depth… [T]he fabricated constructs that facilitate our [bondage]… our subject-object world, we circle in spirals of desire, negativities, and anxieties… The patterns in which we move have no substance… They are an illusion that we craft for ourselves by spinning faster and faster… We see only the illusion of substance, the claim of reality. These patterns are subtle. We walk where we wish, but somehow we always walk the paths that have been laid down in advance. We are free to pursue our own interests, but not free to question whether being selfish is the best choice. We are free to decide what is bad and what is good, but not free to ask whether our understanding of good and bad is distorted from the outset… I live my life as I always have, and I find myself where I’ve always been.

    Unless we look into this, we are not free… If we want to look beyond this kind of automatic behavior we need to look at THE TRANSITION BETWEEN THOUGHTS. If we don’t experience the transitions, we don’t experience our lives. We are not connected… If we want to change how we know, we need to question these kinds of structures… The more we see, the closer we get to being free. When we release ourselves of having to follow our past ways of thinking, we can look at the transition between thoughts, and we can make choices. It all starts with questions.

    .…’Challenging Journey, Creative Journey,’ by Tarthang Tulku, p. 69-80 [Emphasis added]

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