Wonders of the Natural Mind

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.

The illusion of control

I've been doing some internal work lately and one of the issues that has arisen has been about control, specifically the control a person has in his/her imagination vs the control s/he has in reality. If a person feels that s/he has no control over circumstances in his/her life, there can be, sometimes, a tendency to utilize imagination to create scenarios where a person has complete control, but when you replicate those scenarios in life, you find out you actually don't have that much control. I'm one of those people who's had that realization at times, and when this happens its usually a good indicator that I'm reacting against the lack of control I felt I was dealing with. Problem being that even when I acted out the scenario I still didn't have control and if anything it was emphasized how little control I had, in regards to myself. I recognized this particular pattern of behavior recently when I started examining how I've used imagination to provide a feeling of control as it pertains to my sexual identity. And I've realized that this issue goes to the core of my sexual identity, back to when I was raped, because I had no control then. It's replicated itself in the relationships I've been in, but until now I never fully acknowledged how much my tendency to fantasize has come about as a direct result of my initial experience, and a desire to have control as a safety mechanism to protect me from having such an experience again.

Yet no fantasy can really replace life or the experience of it...and there's much less control in the experience of life, and under the right circumstances much less need as well for such control. In fact, it seems to me that the need for control is a result of the lack of self-control a person has (something which is his/her own responsibility), though it can also arise from a situation where a person was made to feel s/he had no control. As I continue to do my internal work and take responsibility for the different dysfunctions of my own life, I find that I need less control of anything else, because I have control of my responses and as long as I have that, then control of anything else ceases to matter. Or rather, more to the point, by taking control of my choices and actions, I can choose how to handle situations and be grounded in that, regardless of how things turn out. In the end the only control you do have is that which you exert over your actions, and your ability to consequently navigate through situations by understanding what you can choose to contribute or not to them.

What do you think?

Book Review: Wonders of the Natural Mind by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

I highly recommend this book as an excellent introduction to the Bon tradition of Tibet. In this book the author explains what the Bon tradition is and how it differs from Buddhist beliefs and practices. The author explores in depth the foundational beliefs and practices of the Bon tradition while also explaining how they can be meaningfully applied to the life of the practitioner. What I like is that its also clear that this tradition has its own perspective on emptiness, which I found useful for getting a new perspective on it. Overall, I recommend this book for anyone serious about doing internal work.

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