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Reply To: Let me Count the Ways

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David Filippone

    Hi Michael,

    I love your inquiry, perhaps inspired by the quoted questions that Rinpoche posed:

    “What is beyond the cosmos? What does light reveal when there are no objects to reflect it? Where can we go if ‘from’ is fused with ‘to’? What properties do we discover when noth­ing appears? What meaning does our life assume when there are no more stories to tell?”

    Rinpoche goes on to suggest: “When the structures of linearity collapse into nuclear time, we inhabit the inwardness of time.”  It seems natural to me to inquire of that openness:  How does that feel? Ordinarily we focus-in, narrowing down, because as you say: “[Everything] is scattered so that nothing appears clearly and unambiguously.”  And consequently, we don’t usually value that view, so we skip our attention over it in order to fixate a view we feel is anything but ambiguous. Because it feels more familiar and safer. I am reminded of some TSK practices designed to counter the devaluing of that seemingly ‘ambiguous’ or more open perspective.  For instance, excerpts here…

    TSK Ex. 29 – Awareness as a Reflective Surface, in which we are invited to:  “Instead of manipulating your ‘mind’ or knowing capacity so as to seize upon objects and thereby know them, simply allow all objects to ‘be known’.  At first, this amounts to adopting a more passive role than usual, conceding the active role to the perceived objects . . . they present themselves to your awareness. It is as though you, the subject, have become a neutral, reflective medium, like a mirror or the surface of a lake. Everything that draws near is accepted and reflected without your awareness itself doing anything, or changing in any way as a result of its responsiveness.”

    Also related is…

    DTS Ex. 22 – Return to Light,  “…look within your thoughts and sensations for the quality of darkness. Become familiar with darkness; be ready to let yourself sink into it without losing awareness completely. Gradually you will be able to sense fluctuations within the dark: moments that are more luminous, when experience seems lucent and free. The quality is one of shining through, of a delightful aliveness. To dwell within these moments is to engage a familiarity with light that makes its own path…

    Despite what the voices of ordinary experience may say, light is never far away. If our experience exhibits darkness, it is self-constructed. It is as though we had built a box of light, then climbed inside and closed the cover. Now we insist that we are surrounded by darkness, choosing to ignore that the box that shuts out the light is also made of light.”

    So it seems the value of your questions, and the practice of TSK, is that they open that narrow focus on ordinary experience, allowing us to look within our own constructed constellations of mind, into their open source, and that we might feel that quality of light shining through, and learn to value it too.  Rinpoche writes:

    “In terms of our daily concerns, such investigation might prove extremely valuable. If emotionality and confusion could resolve into a space-like openness, the quality of experience could shift dramatically.  Interpreting the mind in such terms might allow a different kind of knowledge, accommodating a ‘field’ of mental activity that could support more positive or complete forms of ‘minding’.  Seeing mind as space or opening to space as alive with knowing might encourage new forms of experience: more vivid and fiery, more sharp and clear, more flowing and receptive, or more stable and balanced.” KTS p. 162