Some Thoughts on Possibilities, Space, and Time

dimensions Two of the current books I'm reading are the Dimensional Structure of Consciousness by Samuel Avery and Wonders of the Natural Mind by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. In Avery's book he explores the definition of consciousness, arguing that everything, material or otherwise, is a manifestation of conscious experience, and that dimensions are internal structures of consciousness used to organize the various experiences we have. It's an interesting definition of consciousness and I see some merit for it, though I question the concept of conscious experience, as it seems to create a solipsistic perspective of the world. He argues that space and time are dimensions, which doesn't fall that far outside current conceptions of space and time. In the midst of all this, he also discusses images, which he defines as a concept, thought, thing, feeling or object, and which he argues are the sole content of consciousness. He goes onto explain that conscious activity is a constant arrangement of images into other images, but he doesn't really explain how that activity factors into dimensions, though I suspect he'd argue that the manipulation of images allows the person to access and work different dimensional structures of consciousness.

In Tenzin's book the author takes a more novel approach to space, arguing that space isn't limited to external or internal space, but rather that space is defined by the objects or forms in it. In other words, the forms define the parameters of space, as opposed to space, in and of itself. He also notes the distinctions we create are really attachments to defining space, but not experiencing it. Space is always present, always something that we are apart of, and yet also something that we try to quantify.

What I find fascinating about both books and the perspectives contained within them is how the authors approach a concept such as space. I'm more inclined to agree with Tenzin's perspective, and I find that if anything Avery's perspective is too caught up in trying to define the concepts without providing practical examples that illustrate what he is trying to define. Nonetheless I see value in utilizing the concepts of both books in my own work with space/time magic. Fundamentally when you deal with concepts such as space and time, what you are really dealing with is trying to place them into context within your life. It's as if by defining them we suddenly have a sense of control over them.

There is something to be said for defining a concept, but also something to be said for simply experiencing it. When I wander into a room, I am intimately aware of how the space of the room is defined by the objects within the room, but I am also aware of the space in and of itself. The space is potential waiting for action to occur, which seems to really happen when time is applied to that space. The application of time occurs through a fairly subjective filter, namely our sense of consciousness motivating us to do something, to act. Does time even exist if no one exists is to comprehend it? And this is where I could see time as a dimension of consciousness used to explain, categorize, and organize experiences that occur in space, but also used to turn possibilities into reality by providing a projection and action in which to achieve that projection.

Books like the ones I mentioned above, and my own for that matter, are useful in providing ideas about space and time and how to work with them, but I think that ultimately to really experience space and time is to simply work with them as elements of our lives. We experience space and time everyday, in the living of our lives, but if we want to work with space and time, we need to consciously apply ourselves to working with the experience of space and time so that we can discover more than just the surface level exposure most people typically get. That means we actively work with the experience and perception of space and time, defining it, but also playing with those definitions, because we recognize that any experience is ultimately subjective. Yes everyone experiences a 24 hour day, but 24 hours is a subjective unit used to describe the rotation of the Earth around the sun. 24 hours just gives a sense of control and direction, a rhythmic and cyclical experience to quantify our lives. When you recognize its subjective, then you don't take space, time, or anything else for granted, because you recognize that when such subjectivity is passed off as objectivity, someone else is benefiting from your believe in the objectivity of space and time. You experience that benefit when you go to work for someone else and exchange a subjective sense of time for money that quantifies what that unit of time is worth. Test everything that is qualified as objective, because objectivity is more of an illusion than anything else.

Further Experiments with Zhine


Since my original post about Zhine, I've been continuing to work with the technique and as is often the case I've taken to doing a bit of experimentation with it. My experiments have involved the core technique of maintaining awareness, without actually thinking or analyzing what you are maintaining awareness of. This has been challenging on occasion, as will be evident by how I've chosen to experiment, but it's also been a good discipline tool.

My first experiment has involved focusing my awareness on an object someone else is using. For example, at a networking lunch, I choose to focus my awareness on a fork. Thus I continually maintained awareness of the fork, including not only when it wasn't being used, but also when it was being used. I was able to do this at a networking lunch, although that could be a challenge as well, because I did need to maintain enough awareness of myself to not come off as staring, or being aware of when people were addressing me. Consequently I split my mental focus so that part of me focused on the fork, while the rest of me observed the social niceties around me. I did feel I was able to focus and be aware of the fork, but I'll admit that my zhine experience wasn't as deep as it could be by virtue of needing to maintain a specific level of awareness. I've repeated this exercise a few times and each time while I've been able to achieve a meditative awareness its not as deep as when I'm alone just focusing on an object.

My second experiment involved focusing on a living creature, one of my cats actually. I sat down in the living room and chose one cat to focus on. Whatever he did, wherever he moved, I stayed focused on him, while ignoring the other cats. Maintaining Zhine with a living animal was an interesting experiment because every time I started to get interested in what he was doing, I needed to refocus on the intent of the exercise, which was simply to be aware of the cat as opposed to studying the cat. I didn't find that his movements distracted me per se, but more what he was doing. Still as I continued practicing Zhine with my cat, it gradually became easier. One interesting side effect of this was that this particular cat showed up in my dreams while I was doing Zhine.

My third experiment involved focusing on a leaf outside my window. What was challenging with this experiment was that sometimes the leaf would move and when my eyes tracked it I'd become aware of dust on the window. I'd then need to refocus on the leaf and its movement. Still this exercise has been steadily getting easier as I've continued to do it. However the leaf hasn't shown up in my dreams. I wonder if my emotional attachment to my cat is part of why he shows up in my dreams.

As always when doing Zhine at a certain point I find that the "reality" of what I am studying shifts and seems to become more real than anything else, myself included. It's as if I'm entering into a dream, which makes sense given that Zhine is supposed to help you achieve dream yoga. Nonetheless I'll admit I find this shift fascinating and I am already thinking of how I can use it for other acts of magic beyond dream work.

Dream Yoga work

I've recently been integrating into my dream work, dream yoga techniques from Tibetan Buddhism. What I've mainly done for the moment is breathing techniques that you do right before you go to sleep. I like to integrate steps of a new practice gradually. Kat's also doing this practice. Even though we've just started with this first step, we've already noticed that we've been sleeping a lot deeper and that the sleep is more restful.I've also noticed better dream recall and more awareness of the dream. I'll post further reports as I continue to integrate more steps in, but it always fascinates me to see how even doing one step of a process can produce changes, provided you're consistent about doing it. I think that consistency is what makes anything you do effective. You can be a really powerful magician, but if you don't exercise the magical muscle, it won't mean as much as the person who diligently practices and follows through.

Book Review: The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

This book provides what I would consider to be the best practices of lucid dreaming and dream practice. The author doesn't focus on the psychology of dreams, though he does provide some insights on what dreams can reveal about issues you're working on. Instead the focus of this book is on how the techniques can be used to help you release attachment to those issues and achieve a state of connection with the universe, without being drawn back to samsaric existence. It's a very good book to read, but an even better one to do the practices. I've started doing them and already noticed some positive results. I'd recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about Dzogchen and for anyone who wants to use dream yoga for spiritual and physical well being. You can purchase it at Amazon (Affiliate link) or Powells (Affiliate link)