“Continuing with Time, we run into some discussion of assumptions and frameworks. Conventionally, we perceive things as being inseparable from time… We perceive things as inseparable from time, and this in itself is a function of ordinary time. Somehow, the perception of things as moving in and flowing through time is regulated by our understanding of linear time. I take this to mean, among other things, that when things happen in a way that does not fit with our concept of time, we filter them out, because time is such a basic part of the perceptual apparatus.

Tarthang Tulku calls normal time here a “subtle but powerful time.” Our perception of things being ordered about by time is subtle, and it is powerful. I would agree with this, and it is one of those things that is easy to miss. Perception of time happens constantly, it seems, and is so basic as to seem not worth even examining. Maybe it is not. Maybe this experiment is not going to bear fruit. But I always find those sorts of things interesting, the missed assumptions.

Next, Tarthang Tulku refers to time as a focal setting on space, specifically that our normal version of time is a kind of focal setting on Great Space.” Intro to TSK


I always feel less comfortable discussing time than space. Space is easy. It’s all space. Space is everywhere. You can talk about labels and concepts, and you can use wordplay. Space is easy, at least to sound like you understand it. Time gets more tricky.


Getting past the normal understanding/grasping of time.

The discomfort of time

Vague/glib equations of time with other things


First, time is so basic to our common understanding of life. No one really questions it. It does seem to work. If it is ever examined, it’s in light of “time flies when…”, which just means that desire and time perception are linked. If there’s this anxiety about questioning and examining time (admittedly partly out of a fear of science and math where I am in over my head) that in itself could mean it’s worth continuing with said investigation.

Time and anxiety go hand in hand. Time is a measurement and ordering device, as it’s perceived (lower time in TSK language I think) and this, then, starts to explain a bit; just as ego involves all sorts of defenses and solidifying strategies, so does time. Time vs. ego?

This is a personal quirk, but probably not completely personal: I’m always thinking about time, and using to figure out what to do and not do. I’m constantly rassling my world in terms of time, and this is uncomfortable (partly just because I know it’s unneeded, a construction).

Finally, it can be easy (for me) to say, “time is perception,” or “time is ego.” Without being able to flesh this out clearly and well, this kind of logic is dangerous, and has little value.


   But then, time is, we’re told, a focal setting on space. So time, is, in a way, space.

We have this on good authority. So what does that mean, then?

The energy and movement and forming and recycling of life is an interaction with space.



About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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