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

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    • #1104
      Michael Gray
      Moderator

        As I get older, I hear my peers lamenting their loss of memory. I’ve so far resisted that lament, even though I am aware of comparable losses. I persist in my belief that whatever remains is always the heart of being human. Perhaps I am fooling myself and accepting a self-serving view of reality: it must be real because every time I check it’s there.

        What I find more troubling than an inability to recall particular names of people and things is that my memories increasingly feel like a lackluster chorus line dancing the same routines in the same order.

        When I wrote this piece, I was not thinking of TSK; although in retrospect I was influenced by Rinpoche’s vision of linear time. I was searching for an alternative to being confined in a series of thoughts and events where each one is repeating something that has already happened.

        I think my story is an exploration of the possibility of remaining in touch with the heart of time, even when memory vanishes in a drastic way (as with Alzheimer’s Disease). And when I returned to an earlier period of my life, I was searching for a quality of openness to the potential of the future, even when I have already lived through it once before. I suppose I hope that even when the future seems to be limited by what has come before, a spirit of discovery and growth can still be bursting at the seams of each arising moment.

      • #1098
        Michael Gray
        Moderator

          A word of explication:

          This piece is fiction, in that it is imagined and not an experience that caught me up in a different all-enveloping ‘reality”. But, not for the first time, I felt that I was exploring a possibility that is at least as real as when I am repeating old patterns without being aware that I am running on automatic.

          I can identify two influences that were in effect. One is a book I am reading on Near Death Experiences (NDE’s); I incorporated several features commonly present in the experiences as reported by people who have died and lived to tell the story (and since I died when I was two-years-old, I am interested in the recollected experiences of adults who have died, at a later point in their lives when they were able to make sense of what they had experienced).

          The other more surprising influence—surprising because I had no awareness of it until after I had written this “flight of fancy”—was the exploration in Rinpoche’s “Challenging Journey, Creative Journey” of the words “Lung” and “Sems”. In particular, I am very intrigued by the idea that Lung is like the music and Sems the musical performance; and that together they are the fundamental energy in life.

          I don’t think I was consciously exploring Lung & Sems in this piece. But the images that arose about sound without wind seems, in retrospect, to be a kind of thought experiment of what it might be like if there was no wind blowing through this world, but the communications, interactions, and changes so fundamental to life continued. Perhaps that would feel like death, when we can only hope that the music will keep playing on another channel.

        • #1036
          Michael Gray
          Moderator

            Great choice of the photo: “Dawn”.  I wonder how the ducks and the two swans experience that first light.  What does it feel like to be floating together on the water.  They seem so at ease.  In no hurry to be elsewhere.  They could teach a meditation class.  Or actually they are: a mere wingbeat away from a flight into the future.

          • #1018
            Michael Gray
            Moderator

              Hi David,

              Thank you for the effort you have clearly put into exploring material in Sacred Dimensions that I have always found forbidding. Bringing to bear the parallel approach of Stern is very helpful. The concept of the “unformulated” lying behind the formulations we make and remember is somehow simpler, at least more familiar for me. I expect that this familiarity means that I am allowing myself to feel comfortable with formulations already familiar to me and that I am thereby missing a more radical exploration. But when confronted with zero and zeroless, the elaboration of 16’s, I need all the help I can get.

              I feel that your exploration is helping me get a better sense of “zeroless”: if zero is the portal, the entry point into our world of appearance, itself prior to elaboration, interpretation, and the cataloging of the new in the ledgers of the already established; then (as I understand it) the zeroless is on the other side of this portal, the realm of the unformulated?

              I noticed that you use the word “absence” to invoke this realm of the unformulated. Makes sense. But I have used that word extensively in the past few years to denote the absence of what was once present. That feels different: the experience of loss in this familiar realm, not the souceless source of present experience.

              Michael

            • #1015
              Michael Gray
              Moderator

                The question of whether this piece is based on personal experience is not one I can answer. It began as a spontaneously imagined flight of fancy–as a topic in a writing group that meets twice a month on Zoom, where we have 30 minutes or so to write on two topics. I was surprised that the group treated what I write as an exploration of my own ideas about life and death and that it resonated with them.

                That inspired me to clean it up a bit and post it as a blog. While editing it, I noticed that I started deleting hesitant phrases such as “I think”, and “perhaps” and “It might be the case that . . .”; and I became more declarative and definite. By the end, I felt that I was sharing a vision of what I would like to encounter after I die. That, in turn, reminded me that I am still alive and that if a vision of what may follow this life is to have any value, I should let it influence how I am living now. Hence the last few sentences.

              • #958
                Michael Gray
                Moderator

                  So many dimensions of how a restless mind prevents us from feeling at home on the edge: preventing us from going back to sleep when our rest has been interrupted; from noticing what is all around us because we paper it over with well-worn concepts; from the potential of life on the planet being corralled and curtailed in the momentums of history.  Imagine how rock climbers sleep half-way up a sheer cliff as the winds howl.  Like babies about to be born and continue to climb in a new day.

                • #937
                  Michael Gray
                  Moderator

                    This morning, working with TSK exercise 9 (mind, body, thought, emotion interaction while attending to the observer/participant), I was wondering what it would feel like to really enter into the space between each of these recognizable facits of my experience.  Then I wondered what it will be like to lose my body when I die.  Will there still be something like a mind that thinks and feels emotions?  Will there be an observer who can participate in whatever kind of experienc may survive the loss of my body?

                    I realize that I can’t affect what may replace my present embodiment, if anything does in fact arise,  which might be comparible to my present experience.  But I keep thinking that I would like to do whatever is possible now, to strengthen the possibility that I can leave here with some confidence that I have done what I am meant to do here.

                     

                    • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Michael Gray.
                  • #893
                    Michael Gray
                    Moderator

                      I too have found that each of the ways Rinpoche has shared, in his many series of books, for develoing our appreciation and embodiment of the potential of our lives, reflect each other.  So going more deeply into one will enrich our appreciation for the others.  I find that lived life is one of those reflecting facets; what we leave room for in our daily life invokes and illuminates any spiritual path we feel we are on; reflecting back to us the intersection of what we presently are with what we hope we can become.

                      • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Michael Gray.
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