Week 9 — The Cycle of Seeing

Photo courtesy of: ‘Constellations’ – Pixabay

The Cycle of Seeing exercise demonstrated for me, many of the elements we’ve been learning for the past seventeen or so weeks. Selecting the ten ‘things’ put a focus on how I model experience to ‘short-hand‘ each ‘thing’ from a countless selection of choices in order to refine and easily understand and recall them. I also saw how I construct stories by constructing the linear list of ‘things’, and then spinning it, the way I spin my daily stories of identification, desire, and worry… from waking till falling asleep at night. Working with the exercise actually creates the space and sub-spaces in which to construct the context of the ten ‘things’, a spinning world that I cycle over and over — as the phrase comes to mind, “To see the world in a grain of sand.”

As I continued over days spinning this micro-cosmos of ten ‘things’ more fascinating effects happened. While I didn’t see a ‘self’ manipulating the creation of the ‘things’, I did feel the presence of the narrator, controlling the process of gathering, organizing, deciding, valuing, discarding, and the interpreter by setting up a distance between itself and the ‘things’. And the distance was actually felt as a tension, a gravity of ‘will’ holding the things together made out of a value system I seemed to have set up in advance without fully understanding the consequences of doing so. Such tight control was maintained until I got good at spinning, and I got sort of cocky about how easy it was, and then something extraordinary happened… As if through a magnifying glass, I saw deeper into how I structured my whirling world.

The value scale I used in choosing my ‘things’ was; good equaled ‘easy to recall,‘ and bad equaled ‘hard to recall.’ So I always chose easy over hard. Every choice based on that value system called the subject-self into play from a predetermined perspective. I saw that my value judgments were ‘self-assumed‘; they were presuppositions that not only defined but limited my ‘seeing’ of the ‘things.’ My initial unquestioned attitude about what was good or bad kept me in a repetitive one-dimensional tunnel-vision, sifting through models, like mental photographs. And this was essentially a flat, spiraling world or context, which seemed to keep my focus confined to boundaries of my own making. For example, when I chose to remember my puppy as one of my 10 things, I chose a photo of her, not a nebulous memory of her. It was easy to recall a very specific, frozen, picture. But to just recall her by name would have brought all kinds of images to chose from. Way too many to consider. I had to simplify, or ‘summarize‘ her as a ‘thing’. It dawned on me how I summarize my experience all the time in order to manage memories.

As I said I got better at cycling and remembering the ten ‘things’ and visualizing their detail, and so my tight control seemed to ease up. As I kept spinning the ‘things’, and relaxing control, suddenly, I lost the subjective perspective, I forgot ‘me’ and seemed to become the ‘thing’. The value system in place dissolved, the constructed nature of the ‘thing’ seemed to ‘deconstruct’ the values, while at the same time retain its objectness. All of a sudden distance and gravity dissolved, there was tremendous freedom and a sense of expansion or opening as I became free to be all I knew of the thing, in a more full and richer way… the ‘things‘ and I were one, we were made or put together out of the same stuff.

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
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2 Responses to Week 9 — The Cycle of Seeing

  1. David says:

    Hi Michael,
    Thanks for responding. I’ve worked with this exercise before, a couple of years ago or so. So I picked up the same ‘things’ and ‘re-cycled’ them. In doing so, I’ve been better able to articulate the narrative, if you will, of what I experienced.

    Regarding the Owner, maybe I should have pointed to, ‘a feeling that assumes the owner position’, which was a sensual presence that seemed to underlie the activities, and to which I continuously referred back to as a starting point from moment to moment, from thing to thing, from subject to object. I was careful not to say or imply that this basic self-feeling was or is the ground, or zero-space, or that I went beyond the edge of the sensual while doing this exercise.

    The exercise showed me there could be intimacy with the objects of my own creation, that my structures and identities were not fixed and could meld without separation, that the subject-object reversal could happen in an amazing way, that there was a different way of knowing than I’m normally ruled by. This is a very powerful exercise. I often find I put down an exercise too quickly before it has had a chance to reveal all it has to show me. Picking it up again has been rewarding. So keep at it Brother… there’s more fruit on this tree! :-)

  2. michaelg says:

    Hi David,
    You have been able to go way deeper into the Cycle of Seeing exercise than I have. I tried it a couple of times and didn’t really get past feeling pleased that I could track ten things. I felt that I was partaking of a proffered realm as opposed to creating (projecting) images. I was interested in your invocation of the five elements of self (object, perceiver, interpreter, narrator, owner). In this week’s reading, I keep wondering about the owner, and have concluded that our Love of Knowledge excerpts haven’t got to that yet. Maybe that’s the one who writes these posts and comments? In the movie, “Stranger than Fiction“, it must be Harold Crick, not the author. I wonder if our narrators construct the images and link them together (across time), but the owner is the one whose reaching out into the future provides the dynamic energy. Or is there something else driving our experience that is beyond anything that belongs to a self? –Michael

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