Starting with a chunk…
“As the chapter goes on, Rinpoche describes three “transitional views” involved in gaining a kind of knowledge of space, or understanding of space:
1. Objects and interactions as mostly space, space interacting in and with space.
2. Experiencing space that allows and, at the same time, is, interactions between things. This seems to be another approach to “space projecting space into space.”
3. Working with the space involved in and around thoughts, and the mind.
Rinpoche suggests that because (2) is hard to grasp “directly,” (3) can be used to get a handle on (2). Another way to put this: in order to get a more direct experience of space as simultaneously allowing and being, you can practice observing the action of the mind in relation to space “within” the mind.” – from an Introduction to TSK
“In some ways, everyone is equal in terms of meditation. If you sit with a group, it can feel that way. Everyone has to sit, and do very little. Everyone experiences some physical pain as they do this for a length of time, and some resistance even doing it for short periods. Sitting meditation is in many ways so difficult and boring that everyone is equalized. The flickering and anxious qualities of our minds are equal in many ways.” from 108 Reflections
The teaching on space- what can I say about it? Maybe I love it because it somehow transforms words in an effective or magical way. It’s not anti-word, exactly. Word seems to be so powerful or all consuming or pervasive that to try to destroy it is a failed project already.
A popular sports star has been in the news recently for talking about god and his faith a lot. This “controversy” seems to have attached itself immediately to various ongoing fights about politics, religion, and so on, that seem stupid, boring, and manipulative to me. Arguing about theological issues on big news channels will achieve what?… But I did a clip of the guy interviewd on TV, talking about how to be a star and still be a good person of faith, and he said a few things, mostly basic common sense, but one was “staying in the Word.”
I know this has a Christian theological and practice meaning I don’t get entirely, and probably won’t since I don’t study that stuff (any more). But I love that! Staying in the word. I think that communicates something directly and nicely. Enough said about that particular angle.
Space somehow connects to words, to “the” word. So often, words are a part of the problem, but they aren’t exactly the problem, they’re just an expression of the problem, of confusion, “the cause of suffering” as the Drikung ngondro puts it, like how a rash is an expression of a larger internal problem. Words are like a rash. This seems at odds with the word, and being in it, but I don’t think so. It’s a matter of the energy of word and words, the layers of words, the depth of words, the charges of words. Something like that. Vague, but true.
Then space is physical and visual too, it seems. Sitting together with others (something I’m looking forward to when I get back to the US, and I can sit with some fellow meditators) means you’re in a space together. Physical proximity is important. There is emptiness, and a nonlocated mind, but location and things are still vitally important. I don’t know why. If I could explain why I”d be very happy. They always say that meditation is best learned from a physical person in a physical place (and time). Anyone who’s done this understands (or most, maybe just most). Some things have to be transmitted in close proximity. In that sense, it’s not about “we’re all equal”- there are teachers out there who teach. If there wasn’t a need to learn meditation, we’d all know it all already.
One way I’ve gotten this is by getting instruction and seeing the difference in my own daily practice. I started off for some years, about four I guess, mostly on my own, working from books. I got something out of it, but my experience of practice changed a lot when I started to learn from other people, people who’d meditated a lot and received transmission, in whatever form.
The first excerpt talks about “transitional views.” I think this is a good one. Part of the path seems to involve not only practice in terms of techniques, but views. The views are part of the technique. It’s not like you strive to understand intellectually, and after some hard work, you get it. The striving to understand is intimately linked up with the practices, and is itself practice. It’s also neurotic. That makes me feel better, knowing that- the process of intellectually understanding is transitional and helpful but still intellectual and as such a little crazy and limited, so not an end. Finally, they say compassion and wisdom are measures. If love and compassion increase, you’re doing well, and if you’re practicing but getting nastier and angrier, there’s probably a problem.