Compelling Patterns and Liberating Knowledge

“The fact and the particular character of a temporal series are entirely due to the view that is taken on Great Time. This does not exactly mean that time is a subjective phenomenon, because the ‘subject’ in a lower space is also a result of a particular ‘knowing’ of ‘Time’.

But certainly, the observer’s ego is conditioned by the restrictive view that is characteristic of lower spaces. Insofar as the ego is self-protective and reluctant to surrender itself to permit the expression of a wider focal setting, ordinary time conforms to the ego’s restrictions.”

– Time Space and Knowledge

This chapter of Time Space Knowledge is titled The Presence of Time — Liberating Potency and Compelling Patterns. I sat a while with the title, and the phrases inside of it… Presence of Time, Liberating Potency, Compelling Patterns.I played with the rhythms,  rearranging the words, “Liberating Presence of Time, Compelling Potency, Potent Time.”

It was fun feeling the ideas… the glow and empowerment of them… reminders that floated up about life situations, ingrained patterns in my scope of self, family. I asked myself, “What is like that now?” and remembered seasons in which I didn’t think I was making life small, just doing my best to accept the way things were. Then I thought of all my seeming rescues… how often some stroke of luck or genius came through, and how hard it was to remember later, what life was like before that change.

I considered the feeling of intentionally forgetting… how no thoughts are bad in and of themselves, or people bad, and how sometimes if I can forget… forget myself, a way of seeing that I haven’t considered may appear… a new texture, or taste I hadn’t fathomed. How greatly changed everything ‘out there’ can seem. S. has said many times, that dropping could be holding in a different way, and A Course in Miracles calls miracles shifts in perception.

I have mused with strange ways of describing ordinary mind/ordinary knowing/ordinary time, and have asked from different stances and angles, what is meant by kinds of mind or mind streams. It is likely something I’ll never stop asking, but without aim toward answers, since answers could close down an enormously rich exploration. I’m addicted to comparing different descriptions of reality because when they collide, sometimes a new universe opens. ‘Ordinary mind’ is about perception, and ‘Knowing’ about reality.

It was many years ago now, standing in a DSW shoe store, that I suddenly realized that I wasn’t thinking.  To ‘see’ that ‘I’ wasn’t thinking could be a thought, but it was certainly a different kind of thought than I’d ever experienced before. I felt held by the thought, rather than compelled to follow it along some line. There was revealed a way of mind I didn’t realize I’d been beset by, until relieved.

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                       Matheson Hammock Park (Miami)

A Soto Zen story.

“When you become yourself then Zen becomes Zen,”  as told by Dogen, may be adapted from Shobogenzo Koyko, The Ancient (or Eternal) Mirror.

Nangaku (Ch. Nanyue) asks, “What are you doing these days?”
Baso (Ch. Mazu) says, “These days Dōitsu just sits.”
Nangaku says, “What is the aim of sitting in zazen?”
Baso says, “The aim of sitting in zazen is to become buddha.”
Nangaku promptly fetches a tile and polishes it on a rock near Baso’s
Baso, on seeing this, asks, “What is the master doing?”
Nangaku says, “Polishing a tile.”
Baso says, “What is the use of polishing a tile?”
Nangaku says, “I am polishing it into a mirror.”
Baso says, “How can polishing a tile make it into a mirror?”
Nangaku says, “How can sitting in zazen make you into a buddha?”

Dogen’s comments include: “Clearly, in truth, when polishing a tile becomes a mirror, Baso becomes buddha. When Baso becomes buddha, Baso immediately becomes Baso. When Baso becomes Baso, zazen immediately becomes zazen.
(from Shobogenzo Vol 1., translated by Nishijima and Cross)
– See more at:….wPZ8b9e6.dpuf

People tend to interpret this as meaning ‘keep practicing’, but it can be heard as saying, “A tile cannot become a mirror.” Or maybe, “Give Up. You can’t get to Buddha by following perception.”

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