Creative Inquiry Forums

A place to discuss Full Presence Mindfulness, Time Space Knowledge and more

Recognizing & Dwelling in ‘Knowingness’

Home Forums Time Space Knowledge Recognizing & Dwelling in ‘Knowingness’

Viewing 3 reply threads
  • Author
    • #1196
      David Filippone


        ‘Ladybug’ – Image by Jeremy Kyejo from Pixabay


        “Each of us has the potential to create peace and beauty in the universe.”
        …….‘Skillful Means’  by Tarthang Tulku


        Our TSK Study Group has been meeting once a week for almost two years.  We’ve gone through several of the TSK books: ‘Time, Space, and Knowledge’ (TSK),Dynamics of Time and Space’ (DTS), ‘Sacred Dimensions of Time and Space,’ (SDTS), and we’ve almost completed, ‘Knowledge of Time and Space’ (KTS.

        Throughout our study we seem to keep returning to the theme of how important it is to first, recognize ‘Knowingness’, and second to develop the ability to relax and dwell in ‘Knowingness’.  [This importance is mentioned in the original TSK book on p. 256]

        The ‘knowingness’ which we seek to expose is rather subtle, and is initially difficult to distill from the rigid structures of ordinary experience. Exercises can help break up these structures, allowing ‘knowingness’ to shine through; but we must also have a way of recogniz­ing ‘knowingness’ when it is exposed momentarily… If you examine such an emergent facet, it might seem to be a balanced encompassing of the whole situation—not simply tied to your ‘mind’ or to the perceiver looking out over a perceived field.  Attending to it further, you might find that this clarity or ‘understanding’ is not even tied to the one situation, but is a kind of door that is itself neutral—it can open in the direction of the situation at hand or it can open to other horizons. The subject-object unification and the doorway aspect of such an ‘under­standing’ may be what constitute its delightful feeling of incisiveness and sensitivity. ‘Knowingness’ is somewhat similar to this experience and can be discovered initially in a similar way.”

        In Study Group we talked about noticing the seemingly simple, humble moments, and the importance of appreciating them, as a way into that ability to dwell in knowingness.  Below is a section from the book, ‘Keys of Knowledge’, in which Rinpoche points out How.  It is a simple, but profound pointing out. from Chapter 4, p. 96-99, [paperback. emphasis added]

        Awareness alone is not enough. Awareness by itself drags its object along, like a can tied to a dog’s tail. To open awareness, we’ll have to become aware of how we become aware.

        Sometimes this process is effortless; sometimes it requires staying awake. We remain friendly toward the present moment, toward objects and objections; we let them be our partners. Gradually, the awareness operating at the instant of presented being opens up, elaborates.

        And time’s character. . . changes.

        What could be going on here? Could time be this lovely? Awareness in the past has always had an edge about it, its objects jostling for its attention, too many things in too short a span.

        But maybe awareness and the time-instant can learn to cooperate; and maybe our senses can help us experience this union. If we could breathe; if we could feel. . .

        If we could notice.

        We can start with any sense we like, any sense we already know how to love and respect. We’ll grow it, train it, the way we train a climbing rose. Colors open up and show us more colors, colors we’ve never seen before.

        A beetle’s wing may appear to us at first, sparking out against the dust on the path, its luminous green as marked as a thumbprint. But that green may open as the light plays. And even as the path emerges—how could we ever have thought it was dusty? It’s perfectly clear—the green wing loses nothing: its beauty grows in concert with the path, the forest, the blue sky, the scene, the seer, the seen.

        We can practice this kind of being and seeing; it really is a method we can learn. We can discover how to expand our sense-impressions, let them linger, fragrances and fragments of song, glimpses of colored light. Each one has its own story, its own manifold play.

        Being with being, we can let it expand.

        The juncture opens its potentials; our senses grow more acute. A bird standing on a wire, a flag flapping—these are not just little moments, little incidents that go in our notes. They are great symphonies conducted by time.

        This noticing does not only apply to sense perceptions or subtle feelings; we can address our thoughts, our ideas, our concepts, all the workings of mind with the same rapt attention, the same gentle deliberation. Concepts, too, are capable of opening up.

        There is no special genre of experience that conducts us to awakening. Whatever we can point to in experience will open up if we can cultivate direct concentration, direct knowingness.

        We breathe; we feel.

        We notice.

        We are not noticing anything in particular, not picking objects out of a background. We are just noticing; just relaxing. Notice, then relax; then notice some more, and relax some more. Maybe this is less complicated than we think, and less conceptual; maybe there is no point that could not be opened, if we are gentle and patient enough.

        We are so certain that experiences have distinctive characters, and we shuttle between their pros and cons—between illness and health, between confidence and fear. But these characters only show up in retrospect, in the rear-view mirror.

        And at the moment of being, of feeling? Of perceiving, or thinking? Surely that moment is making our experiences possible. But what goes on? Are we doing being, feeling, or thinking?

        Can we give ourselves the chance to find out?

        Perhaps in this union with time, we can learn a more enfolding, encompassing sense of what it means to ‘be’.”

      • #1221
        David Filippone

          I wanted to add this passage to the discussion regarding recognizing ‘knowingness‘ day to day in our experience, while seeing through that clarity. And how once recognized, continuing to notice the immediacy of Knowingness, and the ongoing memory of that maturing recognition, seeds our future read-outs expanding our awareness through time. Rinpoche writes:

          Once we develop more awareness, we can begin to see that events and thoughts—which we have seen as a continuous surface stream—do not actually have the dynamic connections that we commonly assume and attribute to them. We can then relax and open a bit more; we do not have to keep tidying things up by fitting thoughts together or ‘placing’ them. After we become accustomed to this freedom from constant bookkeeping, more subtle ‘knowing’ capacities may emerge which are not indexed into any ‘self’. They are not ‘our’ capacities, but neither are they isolated from us and our experience. 

          Such a ‘knowing’ provides a broad and encompassing base for the apprehension of factors or elements of experience which we usually cannot see. Even the facet of experience which ordinarily stands as the ‘self’, the ‘investigator’ or ’noticer’, and which directs attention outward and away from itself, can be embraced and intimately understood by this special ‘knowing’.” TSK p.56 [Emphasis added]

          One might ask:  What would that mean for me? For my growth and development as a human being?

          Well… acceptance of situations that arise would be enriched… appreciation for the immediate presenting of flickering moments of time would be expanded… sunsets, blooming flowers, the sound of children playing, the innocence of animals, we might discover the ‘humble moments’ ** of our ordinary lives essential… the fullness and vitality of a deep breath, inspired creativity, intimacy, on and on… Worries and the constant conjuring of stories that we tell ourselves, and then inhabit and live within, noticeably diminish as more room becomes available for appreciating what is here and now. Gradually, time’s present moment could open wider… a more spacious experience would then reveal more depth and breadth as more resources present themselves, more possibilities arise too.

          As this gradual enriching of experience is happening, something else is refined as it broadens; a more attuned and subtle attention develops allowing a clearer understanding of mental forms, such as thoughts, dreams, stories, and emotional undercurrents. Even the common assumption that the more opinions we hold, the more substantial we are… dissolves.

          We may begin to understand substance isn’t more important than an open, curious, and allowing attitude. Both substance and allowing can actually compliment and work together. The tendency to get carried away diminishes, and a sense of detachment from the gravity of opinions and positions emerges. Reactionary behavior happens less and less, triggers and hot-button responses subside. An inner calm becomes more discernible and available.

          So, it may well be possible to experience life more fully… situations, yourself, and surroundings. The depth of what Rinpoche is telling us… just the passages quoted in this discussion… are breathtakingly profound.

          ** Note: Rinpoche refers to the ‘humble moment’:

          “The humble moment, when seen as time, space, and knowledge, is a target worth aiming at. It’s the vital center of the universe; if we hit it, we explode everything that prevents fulfillment, attaining everything that fulfills.”  Tarthang Tulku
          …’Inside Knowledge‘, Editor Jack Petranker, p.67 [Dharma Pub.]

        • #1223
          David Filippone

            Came across this when I was thinking about how would one go about locating knowledge in an individual, or if knowing is even locatable at all? Positioning of a knower may have nothing to do with it. Beginning on page 55 of ‘Keys of Knowledge.’ Rinpoche asked:

            So at what point does knowing occur? If I point to a point called ‘the point of knowing,’ is knowing found at that point? Or in the pointing?

            …Knowing in time may render all knowledge translucent: for it seems at the heart of time, the entire edifice is shimmering. What is knowledge at this moment?  If knowing knows no borders, it cannot be located, limited or measured. Never created or discovered, it can never be lost.

            …It is not about looking at a picture. The realization, the revelation, and the recognition are together. Seeing, being, and doing are one.

            The discovery of the nature of mind may be nothing other than the operation of knowing beyond all grammar.

            And in the end ‘showing’ and ‘shining’ may have much in common.

            I think this is pointing back to Rinpoche’s first quote at the beginning of this entire thread. About how important it is to recognize Knowingness when it is exposed momentarily in our lives. The world begins to open exponentially…


          • #1224
            David Filippone

              I wanted to add another passage relating to a question that came up about: ‘Where is knowledge located?’  The inquiry IS deep, and can well extend ‘beyond all grammar’.  This excerpt by Rinpoche seems to touch on this question…

              Excerpt FromKnowledge of Freedom‘: Chapter 9, Breaking Through the Known: [Emphasis added]

              In moments of wonder and great humility, human beings through the ages have felt a different awareness emerge naturally within the more familiar ways of viewing themselves and their world. Perhaps many of us have known quiet moments when time seemed to stand still, and for a brief interval ordinary preoccupations faded into an overpowering appreciation of everything that is.

              Insight drawn from such moments of silent communion with our innermost being, when our sense of separation is silenced by awe, has inspired creative breakthroughs and forms the heart of the world’s great religions. But time and time again the part of ourselves that insists upon separation has arisen “like a reflex, obscuring our immediate awareness of the present moment. As inspiration begins to falter, we return to the small world of the separate self; then we become self-conscious and doubt the significance of our own experience.

              The evidence suggests that we may have powerful untapped resources for understanding ourselves and our world. Yet we seem very comfortable with our current ways of knowing and interpreting the physical world and our own experience. Our world is governed by rationality; even our moods and emotions are linked through reasons to our thoughts and concepts. We build our knowledge carefully, through observation and inference, taking one step at a time. If we do not understand the reason for something now, we assume we will in the future, when our methods of observation are perfected. While a few gaps exist here and there, we can fill them with theories or interpretations, connecting one fact or “experience to the next, as if we were stringing a necklace of beads.

              But what if, in reality, there is no string in the necklace? What if the string is only a construct devised by the human mind? Have we fully explored the structure that orders all of our different theories and explanations? Can we feel confident in our knowledge without questioning the self that evaluates and judges or the conceptual patterns that unify our formulations? If we did not rely exclusively upon conceptual knowledge, might we find other possibilities for expanding our knowledge, rather than moving linearly from fact to fact and concept to concept?

              The view of ourselves as separate from the world we know is now almost universally shared. It has gone largely unchallenged for centuries. What if we could break this pattern and begin to see ourselves and our world in a new light? Much as we explore the mythologies of cultures past, might we be able to step outside the assumptions that constrict our understanding and explore the way we interact in the world? Are there other forms of knowledge that would serve us more effectively?

              Perhaps we need not accept ourselves so readily as separate from our world, as bystanders to our own experience, limited to judging and interpreting what is happening around us. Now we can overcome this sense of separation only by accident, relying on rare moments of inspiration to penetrate our conceptual barriers. But if we can query the self that is separate from its world, we may tap the wellspring of a deeper and broader way of knowing. Looking directly at our own experience, we can find reliable pathways to our awareness and trace our knowledge back to its roots.

              Questioning and being aware: these are the most precious teachers. They dwell in the heart of every human being who begins to awaken to the waste and danger of an unexamined life. In taking responsibility for our lives and backing up that decision with action, we take the first step toward greater understanding of the nature of human being.


          Viewing 3 reply threads
          • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.