Our Beliefs About Realty Are Approximations

Animals were once, for all of us, teachers.
They instructed us in ways of being and perceiving
that extended our imaginations.
We watched them make their way through the intricacies
of their lives with wonder and with awe.

Petrified Wood from Yellowstone hike

Psychology Paper concluded

Experience is constrained; it cannot be separated from intentions.
When I notice my experience, I constitute my experience as an object
in order to notice it. Thus, that intentionality, by necessity, has to
be one of the underlying facets of my experience.

Experience is further constrained by the language I use to identify
and describe it. Language gives to the world a kind of stability that
may, or may not be there. Sense experience, for example, possesses a
kind of indescribability. For instance, the language I use to describe
the removal of a hot cherry pie from the oven will never capture the
whole experience. The smell of a freshly baked cherry pie cannot be
made linguistically clear, yet the language of the experience becomes
primary, thus making the experience itself secondary. At bottom, my
experience is never free from the methods I use to intentionally
constitute it. I would be living in a very different world if it were

Consider for a moment, the idea of temporal span or duration. The
continuity and stability of the world–and ego awareness–depends on this
temporal span, but, my experience is actually discontinuous! Each
conscious moment fades out of existence, while the next emerges only
to fade again and again. What is most notable, but never emphasized,
is the gap between these moments. I do not experience this gap; in fact, I
rarely notice the emptiness that co-exists duration, still, my experience is
made to flow even though it is full of holes and discontinuities.

Thus, I integrate my world and myself in time, but I also integrate my world
in space and, in that space, I find my I-space, which, in turn, is usually
located above the plane of my eyes and assumes responsibility for the
thoughts and images that arise in that space. The experience of a mental
“reaching,” “grasping,” or “making into something,” triggers my
“experiencing I” and, by necessity, both the world and my experience of it
occurs in the clarifying structure of this spatiality. However, I-awareness or
knowingness, need not be bounded by an “I” or a physical body! The TSK
vision challenges our normal habits of perception; it challenges also the
belief of anthropologists that the body is a “thing” somehow inhabited
for the purpose of locomotion. It holds that the true nature of
humanity extends far beyond the limitations we bring to experience.

Recognizing that the world is the play of Space, Time, and Knowledge
speaks to the heart of Being and opens both the world and
consciousness up to a radically different set of alternatives. Any
thought or sequence of thoughts is bound to its origin, both in terms
of its history and intentionality, but that is not the true origin of
thoughts. Our space, time and knowledge is a product of a much more
encompassing and deepening Space, Time, and Knowledge. The true origin
of our thoughts is found there, in the “all encompassing” order. In
fact, according to Tarthang Tulku, if only we could get back to that
“virgin quality” of experience we could become truly free. He says:

“Throughout history, human beings have understood space as being
empty like the sky, and time as the irreversible flow of our lives and
of the seasons. There is an increasing emphasis on the knowledge
appropriate to this space and time—technical and factual knowledge;
the kind you find in an encyclopedia. Holding to this way of knowing
however, limits our ability to enjoy and appreciate life…. (But) Once
we understand Great Knowledge we do not need to change anything. We
recognize that we are part of a vigorous reality that shines through
all petty attitudes and preconceptions. Our `knowing’ is fresh, sharp,
and spontaneous. It never needs to reduce the virgin quality of
experience to something that is `known’ and therefore unworthy of
closer attention and appreciation.”

In the TSK perspective–a vision not bound by a subject-object
relation– time is not perceived as the stabilizing condition of the
world. And further, in that vision, experience is not always “of
something.” The focus is rather on the emptiness at the heart of
experience–on the pervasive experience of an empty awareness. The TSK
experience—what could be called the ground or source of all specific
awareness’s—emerges out of and returns to that open, empty
awareness-space. The petty concerns of our daily lives prevent our
participation in the great feeling that is Time-Space-Knowledge, a
feeling within which we find space and meaning, time and change, and
knowledge and clarity.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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8 Responses to Our Beliefs About Realty Are Approximations

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    Move beyond trivial things in life is hard and sometimes dangerous!

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      There’s some risk in everything we do,— there’s even more risk when we strive for what others do not recognize as valuable. Nice to hear from you again. Take care.

      After re-reading this post I do not recognize my writing–indeed, I took a risk but it’s come back to haunt me. The above passage appears to be lifted from a paper written by Don Beehr (spelling?), the Professor who taught the TSK class I participated in.

  2. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    I love watching animals deal with the problems of their life, too.

  3. Thank you for this. We always had a mix of animals when our children were growing up. The birds got along with the dogs, the dogs with the cats, the cats with the birds, the abaondon raccoon we raised and set free. One of sorrows for me in helping care for my grandsons is that my daughter-in-law is highly allergic to cats and I miss having one. Life is struggle, risk, tradeoffs, and I wish more would learn from animals how to care as well as how to live in the moment.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      I too grew up with lots of animals, pets and the ones I would occasionally bring home to medicate and set free again. I spent a lot of time in the forest which was across the street from our house. As a father I made sure my kids were never without pets. That wasn’t easy, as you say “life is struggle, risk, tradeoffs;” my wife did/does not connect well with pets (her childhood and some of her adult life was spent in Malaysia and she had/has a totally different perspective on almost everything). For me, living in the moment has been a struggle (on more than one level) for a long, long, long, time. Take care.

  4. lara hentz says:

    living in the moment takes a lifetime to master…

  5. ElizOF says:

    The petty concerns of our daily lives prevent our
    participation in the great feeling that is Time-Space-Knowledge,
    This is sadly true for most of us. 😉

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