“The momentum of crowding my engender a sense of intensity and high energy.”

Tarthang Tulku, Love of Knowledge

I’m in a typical frantic mood, and not feeling very involved in the commentary on TSK today, so I’ll do a little of that, but write more about what my mind is franticing about.

In the book, I’m at the part in which Tarthang Tulku writes about second level time, and the different ways this can be accessed. Basically, it seems like he’s saying that we can go beyond conventional time experience to a more dynamic or flow based one. One sign of this is a feeling that things are working better than before, things are going our way. To me, this sounds like flow. It also sounds like windhorse, or lungta, the vital energy of basic goodness.

I’m feeling impatient, so I’m not going to explain too much or backtrack. If anyone reads this, and is confused, they can look terms up. You’re already on the internet.

Rinpoche goes on to say that this feeling of control or flow is a version of second level time, ego-based, not a direct experience of it. I think this is an interesting point. Generally, I’d like more power and control over my life, more energy and flow, but according to this model, one problem with that is that you gain access to these things through going past ego, and these things are part of a self-based or ego-based model.

Ok, enough of that for now.

I have a series of movies that I play in my head, mostly of perceived past wrongs, and f— ups: embarassing clips, like a blooper reel of my life. It’s not the only reel, but it’s a main one. One element is: stuff people said to me that bothered me. I consider myself lucky to have met and studied a little bit with a number of insightful “teachers,” people who taught me about life, and about myself.

One of them, whom I won’t name, was very charismatic, demanding, overpowering, but also compassionate and insightful. One time she told me, as she was berating me for a big decision I was about to make, that she disagreed with:

“But you don’t even know yourself yet!”

That one does stay with me. How important is that, knowing oneself? In a Western model, I think it tends to be important, to generalize a lot. In an Eastern one, which is generally my style and path, it’s less so, or the angle is different. The self doesn’t really exist, so why should I get to know it? Or if I do, isn’t it enough to be acquaintances?

This particular teacher taught me some things, so I do appreciate that, but I think she was way way off on this one, partly for this reason: not only do I know myself pretty well, “knowing myself,” is pretty much an obsession for me. If I spent more time thinking about myself, I would probably curl up into a ball on the floor and implode.

Here’s the interesting thing, I hope: there are models in which “knowing the self,” ie, understanding typical patterns and reactions, is used in order to exert forms of control, predict things, and generally make things go “better.” I think this has value, but is also problematic. Why? Because the self is the battleground; it’s like trying to create peace by mastering strategy and building impressive weapons.


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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