We enter a new year- the Thai New Year, after the Songkarn holiday, which, in Thailand, involves people splashing water on each other and shooting each other with water guns.
I don’t think the point of the TSK body of teachings is to find some sort of sacred calendar, or adopt some sort of exotic foreign calendar, but working in that mode has been interesting for me of late (and I think it’s an offshoot of my TSK studies, a tangent). Exoticism aside, working within the calendar of the Earth’s energy, seasons, and so forth, can be meaningful in my experience. Part of this, for me, is related to my upbringing as a secular American, with all of the positives and negatives associated. One of said negatives is a disregard for the seasonal tides, or shifts of the earth, and a disregard for calendar time. Calendars are ways to plot out scholastic, recreational, career objectives, but the idea of calendar as sacred, or sacredly practical is often seen as superstitious, backwards.
But I like it. Maybe a little too much, like a new spiritual toy, so we’ll see how this practice of working with full and new moons, different practice days, etc, pans out over the years. It is a rich approach, to living in a seasonal and energetic world. It’s funny that a lot of people can accept that everything is impermanent and constantly changing, at least on some level, but the idea that this impermanence and change has certain patterns and habits in terms of time is much harder to accept. Maybe it’s the sacredness of this that’s hard to accept.
“Space provides the opportunity to open to everything.”
Is this sacred calendar way of structuring things a way of relating to space? That may be too easy. But maybe it’s valid- synchronizing with the world, synchronizing body and mind, in order to relate with space (to be more open to everything). As a Westerner who’s entering a very old path, I’m like a little kid- cultures evolved very very complex technologies to map out this synchronization. In a way it’s insanely arrogant, but then that’s the path, I guess, insane arrogance tempered by humble practicality in the context of a lineage. In this sense, mindfulness itself allows some synchronization, but working with the flow of time allows more precision. But maybe that’s just frivolous, I don’t know. Part of me always thinks that if I could just meditate enough, those other considerations, ritual, seasons, energy, would fall into place without much planning or effort.
In the book, Rinpoche writes about Great Knowledge. It is, as he defines it, the apprehension of Great Space and Great Time. On a very basic level, wisdom, common to any tradition. More specifically, in TSK, wisdom, or Great Knowledge, relates to Great Space, which is pervasive, open, allowing. It relates to Great Time, which is dynamic, full of movement and colors, and free from the constraints of lower time. In one sense, Great Knowledge plays in the arena of Space and Time. Great Knowledge plays with Space and Time. Previously, I’ve been trying to explain and work out how Space and Time work in terms of everyday life, experience, and the three levels. Now, with Knowledge, I’ll do the same. This also means incorporating the previous ideas about Space and Time, in both open and closed forms.
The title of the post comes from a Neil Young song. I’m not attentive or intelligent enough to know what this particular one is about, although associations come up. But now some time has passed since I’ve started writing, and a new song is on, and a sad one. One thing about time manifesting is that the appearance of things, in “art,” and in “life” can be touching. The space aspect is freeing and loosening, but the time aspect of beauty is touching, which is really good, too. At the same time, there is play back and forth and back and forth- it is not quite as simple as space making room for feeling, or feeling making room for space, but it’s something connected to that.
But back to the attempted commentary. We’re beginning by sketching out Knowledge a little bit. Rinpoche writes that Great Knowledge can be used to “play,” for our benefit in life. This means, he writes, the “piling up,” and “stratification” of concepts and beliefs. So there’s both confusion and wisdom in concepts and ideas. These tend to become stale or habitual easily. The idea of “lower knowledge” begins to become a little clearer. Notice that it’s very close to “lower space” and “lower time.”
“When this happens, we feel cut off from ‘the world,’ the object of knowledge.”
So, in terms of the unity I wrote a little bit about, the opposite is this sense of isolation. Not only is feeling boxed-in or tied down a characteristic of lower space and time, isolation is an element of this samsaric or neurotic universe. Of course, intimacy is part of the “way out.”
So I think I’ll stop short there. Intimacy, isolation, lower/higher, knowledge in terms of time and space (which has been going throughout, somewhat), and the sacred calendar, these are some of the things I’ve blathered and babbled about. Time for the next thing.
Quotes used with permission from Dharma Publishing. Books available from Dharma Publishing.