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AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

Last post 10-15-2006, 10:50 PM by balder. 45 replies.
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  •  07-11-2006, 12:18 PM 1298 in reply to 1266

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    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    Hi Peter and Balder,

     

    I really love how this thread has been unfolding; wonderful questions and insightful replies.  I am not trying to reinterpret here what Tulku has said, I'm only attempting to verbalize a graphic interpretation of some of what we have discussed so far.  To the degree it falls short you have my apologies.

     

    While following along I've been trying to envision how to represent graphically a way we might experience the levels of knowing through the levels of time and space.  Keeping in mind the key:  in knowingness, time unfolds as space allows, there is a spiraling as perspective moves through spacetime, and knowing becomes more encompassing, but at the same time more open.

     

    If we were to view a moment by engaging a map (Figure 1), perhaps we would do so through perspectives and observe ourselves experiencing these overlapping moments.  Perhaps space opens enough for us to see how we engage time in a linear form through our projections for the future.  And maybe we see how we rely on memories and recognize how the past acts as a rudder for determining our current actions.  We might also feel constricted by time, not having enough of it to get done what we want, and so forth.

     

    Upon more investigation, space might allow our perspective to open further (Figure 2). Since we have become aware of how our presumed linear time structure seems to operate, past to future, we then have an improved focus on the present.  Focus on the present as experience allows us to dwell there.  The present opens up for us as experience rather than a limited conceptuality or merely a conceptual map.

     

    Upon further investigation, space allows time to present an even more open knowing (Figure 3).  A new comprehensive view and way of being is realized.  As Balder quoted Tulku above:  "… we become more appreciative of what everything is and more intimately integrated with it. This is not really a merging or awakening of ordinary ‘things’, but a switchover to a view which sees all things as being no things—no things which need to be transformed or unified. Every ‘thing’ is perfectly integrated as Space-Time-Knowledge."

    Regards,

    David

    P.S.  Remember, click on the picture to get a larger view.



    "Presence 'is', yet is open-like a drawing in the sky..." Tarthang Tulku
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  •  07-12-2006, 5:41 AM 1328 in reply to 1007

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    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    hi balder, peter and others...

    to see kw's position on conventional time, please consult "No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth" from 1979 (a "phaze-1" text), in which you'll find a chapter entitled "The No-Boundary Moment" wherein he clearly explains the difference between nunc stans and nunc fluens, as well as the nature of the Now-moment, with quotes from various mystics. please have a look at it. he has subsequently improved even those definitions, although they work perfectly as they are. Just for example, there's a concise bit in the "Problem of Proof" chapter of "Eye to Eye", in the section "What about measurement in the new sciences?"

    Quote from Eye to Eye: "...intelligibilia have their own subtler forms of space-time. for the mental realm does indeed have a form of time, but it is not merely natural time or seasonal time - it is historical time or history: the mode of time marked not just by its extension but also and mostly by its intention. it is narrative time, the time that marks the history of one's own life story or self, the time that carries and creates hopes and ideals, plans and ambitions, goals and visions; the subtle time that can speed up or slow down, expand or collapse, transcend or concentrate, according to its interest, whereas poor ole physical time just clicks along, stuck in the passing present, mindlessly, monotonously, causally." etc. etc. then he reiterates the basic point of the No-Boundary chapter i mentioned above, including the distinction between nunc stans and nunc fluens.

    in the developmental aspect, which is over-emphasized by many of his readers (including many of us here at the forum), linear time arises after several years of early development and is by necessity prevalent up to a certain stage where subjective time itself becomes an object of awareness (i.e. centaur and beyond). in the state scheme, however, conventional time in various modalities can only persist in the gross realm in the conventional waking-mode dualistic awareness, as it is defined by the duality of memory-self experiencing fleeting present moments. on whatever level of development, however, perception of time undergoes profound changes in states of altered perception (i.e. entheogenic and other) and contemplative absorption. so much is obvious from the bulk of his work.

    in the quote you give on three levels of relating to knowingness, i see the structure of three natures (skt. tri-svabhava) of the indian yogacara school (studied as "shentong" in tibetan buddhism), based on teachings of maitreya, asanga and vasubandhu, as well as sutras such as lankavatara and sandhinirmocana. the three natures are imagined nature, other-dependent nature, and consummated nature. the famous verse of vasubandhu explains them in the following manner: "when the other-dependent nature obtains a state absolutely free of the imagined nature, it is then the consummated nature." the same text also says, "when this is not seen, that is not seen", "this" being consummated nature, and "that" the other-dependent nature. in effect, so long as the consummated is not realized, the other-dependent cannot fully be realized either. unobstructed knowledge precedes everything. even in gradual models, the innate enlightenment is there, preceding and making possible every re(dis)covery of truth. the three levels of relating to knowingness (or sheer congizance), are in yogacara terms basically (1) other-depedent lost in and as the imagined, (2) an initial recognition of the imagined with other-dependent clearing somewhat, and (3) a realization of the non-existence of the imagined in the other-dependent, that in itself being the consummated. only then does the other-dependent flow properly, only then "Every ‘thing’ is perfectly integrated as Space-Time-Knowledge."

    i'm not familiar with the TSK framework, but it seems good to investigate whether it can generate an evolutionary perspective (including things such as "presence of past" in all quadrants). these elements have been updated in "phaze-5" so that conscious evolution, i.e. tetra-stages in two-truths context, becomes a fundamental drive ni pursuing states (and state-stages): it's insufficient to awaken into the ever-present nondual awareness if such realisation isn't made a foundation for radical engagement in all four quadrants. time itself therefore, in such context, becomes a nondual expression of timeless, a spontaneous gesture of the Unmoving and Unmoved, a whisper of the Silent. that to me seems far beyond conventional.

    hokai

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  •  07-12-2006, 4:54 PM 1355 in reply to 1328

    Time for reincarnation

    Hi,

    About time.

    I didn't say that the time aspect is absent from KW's work. It is mentioned occasionaly, and it may be present implicitly throughout, but it can hardly be maintained to be in the foreground as it seems to be in TSK. To be clear: I'm not attacking or critisizing AQAL theory on this point (or on any point, for that matter); in his thread we're just exploring how TSK and AQAL could complement eachother. In order to do that, we'll have to point out the differences in both frameworks first, and many of those differences may just be a matter of approach. I have not seen any (serious) conflicts between the two yet.

    Some very interesting states of consciousness related to 'mental time', which show up during (past life) regressions, are different from what I've seen KW describe so far, but I may have missed something. Hans ten Dam, who has researched reincarnation, has written an excellent textbook on the subject. The first edition has been translated into English and is entitled Exploring Reincarnation. In 2002, a revised edition has been published in Dutch. In a chapter on regression, he describes five levels of consciousness of the past:

    1. memory             information from the past
    2. remembering    level 1 plus sensory perceptions from a moment in the past
    3. re-perception    level 2 plus feelings and thoughts from a moment in the past
    4. regression         level 3 plus forgetting everything that happened after that moment
    5. identification    level 4 plus placing guidance in the past

    Note that these levels are not developmental stages, and that regression in this sense is not 'backwards-development'. They resemble stages in the sense that each level transcends and includes previous levels. In terms of AQAL, these levels are much closer to states of consciousness. Regression can let you revive moments from this live, but can also let you go back to the time before birth, to previous lives and to time in between lives in exactly the same way.  A belief in reincarnation is not relevant for this to work.

    At level 3 the situation starts to become very interesting: our consciousness is divided between the present and the past. This elliptic consciousness, with two focal points, is called a dual state of consciousness by Bryan Jamieson. There is a continuous connection between the two focal points.

    During actual regression, level 4, we relive the past, forgetting everything that happened since then. The connection between the focal points is gone. If your (waking) consciousness stays present, it can not communicate with the consciousness from the past, but you'll witness both. If you're being guided during regression, you'll hear yourself answering questions without being able to get inbetween.

    During identification, the present is gone completely, and we react from the consciousness in the past. We do not realize to be having a regression session anymore. If a guide asks questions, we place that guide into the setting of our situation in the past.

    KW describes subtle time as fluid in the sense that it can be compressed and expanded, but regression states indicate that momentary perceptions do not disappear, and remain accessable, which is a step further but not a contradiction. These states show an intimate relationship between time and consciousness which I see more explicity expressed in TSK. On the other hand, the possible relations with other states of consciousness, the brain wave patterns observed, and other UR qaudrant connections such as causal and subtle energies, may be more apparent from AQAL. KW mentions reincarnation in relation to subtle energies, but as far as I'm aware of, not in relation to time. I would be interesting to learn if Tulku discusses these matters somewhere.

    So this may be an interesting case study to evaluate how both frameworks might be used complementary. Integral reincarnation, anyone?

    Peter

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  •  07-13-2006, 12:22 PM 1385 in reply to 1355

    Re: Time for reincarnation

    Hokai and Peter,
     
    I enjoyed both of your letters.  Ironically, I find myself pressed for time right now, so this response will be rather general.  Hopefully we can explore some of these questions in more depth as we go.

    Hokai, I appreciated the reference to Wilber's writings on time in No Boundary.  I was aware of his descriptions of various developmental levels of temporal experience in Atman Project and Up From Eden, but had forgotten about the nice chapter in No Boundary.  In his writings on the topic, regrettably often too brief, he makes some very interesting and helpful comments about the relationship of self-structure to time and temporal experience which I believe are consonant with the TSK vision, which also ties the emergence and experience of the "self" to particular levels of time.

    Experiential inquiry into the nature of time, which TSK facilitates through a number of exercises, provides insight into the mutually determining patterns of self, world, and temporal horizons as ongoing, often narrow but never fixed or frozen, creative gestures of Great T-S-K.  The self, from this perspective, may be seen as a particular "output" of time.

    This relates, somewhat indirectly, to the question of reincarnation.  I am aware of only one place in the TSK works where Tarthang Tulku refers explicitly to reincarnation -- mentioning it in the context of the ongoing flashing or flickering of time's renewal, reformation, and re-enactment of spatial forms and subject-object configurations.  The TSK vision simultaneously accommodates "history" and "no history" perspectives, and reincarnation can be understood (and explained) differently according to each one. 

    Although he emphasizes Space in the following description, I think it is relevant to this question:

    1. The ordinary world view. A person is born (or comes into existence) as a result of temporarily prior conditions within that world, developing in a law-like way up to the point of birth (or individual existence).

    To this can be added the following nonstandard views:

    2. Although linear connections within a world may always suffice (for ordinary perspectives) to locate and explain any occurrence, nevertheless, this world and its uninterrupted linear sequences represent an arbitrary and stubborn pattern which has derived its energy and possibilities from a more open 'space'. Once the pattern has locked into place, its own causal principles begin to operate; the knowing subject sees located objects, and `space' is lost, or shut out.

    3. The pattern mentioned in '2' is really only a patterning which does not ever really become consolidated and therefore cannot perpetuate itself. Its 'causal principles', persons and objects, are only lower level summaries of the ongoing tendency toward freezing and screening out the full openness of 'space'.

    A final type of understanding is that:

    4. No `freezing' or anomalous tendency has set itself up in contrast to `space'. The frozen pattern is neither frozen nor even a `freezing'. Worlds, things, and persons remain `space', rather than only deriving from `space' as in `3'.

    With regard to the "historical" (first-level) perspective, Tulku invites exploration of the presence of the past through a number of avenues, and on a number of levels, as a pattern of knowledge in time that impacts the emergence of the self, and the horizons of possibility open to it, from moment to moment.  This rhythm, sometimes very restrictive and sometimes more open, influences not only individuals (UR/UL) but cultures and societies (LR/LL). 

    Tulku says that the past is actually "alive," and may be contacted or entered by knowledge as a vital space -- which may relate to the description Peter offers of regression events.  I think that is something worth exploring more.  It is clear that, on a conventional level, we can return to our immediate past (this life) and engage creatively with our memories, conditionings, impressions, wounds, and so on, in a fresh and vital way which can provide new insight and help to open or de-consolidate restrictive patterns.  According to the TSK model, however, the restrictions that normally bind our "knowing" in familiar ways (to the temporal horizons of a particular subject) are not absolute, and may be dissolved through the opening of our focal settings.

    As Tulku points out in the example above, however, this dissolution leaves the world fully intact -- as a gesture of that very openness. 

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-18-2006, 8:13 AM 1557 in reply to 1385

    Re: Time for reincarnation

    I was working with a TSK practice this morning, and realized that the instructions he gives in it (for relating to T-S-K on a conventional level) would suggest a different "mapping" of TSK onto AQAL than I have come up with.

    Here's the exercise:

    Exercise 16 Space-Time-Knowledge on the Conventional Level

    Find a quiet place and sit in a relaxed fashion for a while. Let go of the heavy emphasis on here-there, inside-outside distinctions, and on the special status of your self as the ‘doer’ or ‘observer’. Let all positions, forms, and surfaces be given as ‘space’. Because space accommodates rather than blocks, you can perhaps feel yourself flowing or sinking into the object pole of experience without actually moving towards it. Let all units, quantities, meaning, delineations, motion, and action be given as time (but not coming from a past time). Time is like lightning—flickering and flashing, playfully presenting without freezing anything in place.

    This play of space and time is not out there, seen by you here. It simply is, and carries a ‘knowing’ dimension with it. You do not have to assert yourself as the knower. Everything, including your own presence, is given as a ‘knowing’ that shows a particular way that the unbounded openness of space can be shaped and particularized by time.

    If you want to locate Space, Time, and Knowledge in relation to the usual ‘knowing self’ picture, let all objects be ‘space’, the observing subject be ‘knowledge’, and the presentation of subject-object interaction be ‘time’. There is nothing exhaustive about this one ‘knowing’. Space and Time can carry innumerable ‘knowings’. If you remain in touch with their openness and spontaneity, you may notice some of the others. These in turn reveal more of Space and Time which you can embrace. Simply relax your locatedness ‘here’, relax the locating ‘out there’, and relax ‘happening’, ‘now’, and ‘existence’. To relax them it is only necessary to notice them and include them in the Space Time-Knowledge vision. By thus releasing all ‘by-standers’ and ‘outside-standers’, you may be open to more of what is ‘here’.

    Commentary 16

    Exposing situations to this vision regroups the features of experience—and finally makes possible their old grouping—in a way that completely uproots the ego, without any repression or struggle. Exercises which continue this regrouping and uprooting in even more vigorous ways will be given later. However, Exercise 16 signals a very healthy shift in emphasis because it reasserts the primacy of the vitalizing dimensions which make all appearance possible, but which the ego tries to block out.

    These dimensions are the fundamental refuge for all that mistakenly wearies itself in striving to exist. Existing is a very lonely, isolationist tendency. Existence is so emphatic about filling up its position that all sustenance and contact must be received by ‘sending out’ for them. However, there is another and better way to establish contact and enjoy fulfillment. Instead of inventing it, we just have to see and embrace it.

    Although we encounter a world of objects set apart from one another by definite boundaries, we should not try to preserve this object-orientation and assume that Space and Time make or comprise these objects. Space, Time, and Knowledge are not base-level fabrics or ‘stuff’ out of which particular items within a situation are built. Space and Time cannot be located inside objects, nor can they be generally contained or restricted to the region of objects. There is a very rough parallel between this idea and the fact that for physics, the particles which constitute an object do not have to be located strictly and unexceptionably within the object. However, Time, Space, and Knowledge are also not located elsewhere (within that space).

    Thus, we can relax the idea of objects as even having an ‘inside’, for ‘insides’ are another example of ‘outside-standers’—they lure us on without letting us comprehend what is offered in the immediacy of an object’s presentation. It is very hard to relax when we are located in a heavily structured and stratified field. But, by including all such stratifications and stratifying tendencies within the Space-Time-Knowledge vision, we can allow everything to contribute to our relaxation. There are then no obstacles and no distractions—everything can help us.

    Going by the suggestions in this exercise, perhaps the AQAL cross would be labeled T, the diagonal lines S (as the flowering of space in/as form, structure, complexity), with a transparent K in the background, suffusing the entire map.

    B.


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-18-2006, 8:48 AM 1559 in reply to 1557

    Re: Time for reincarnation

    Hi Balder,

    I received my TSK books last Friday, and while reading I noticed a lot of similarities between Space and the levels of AQAL as well. Because I have not reached the sections on Time and Knowledge yet, I assumed my conclusions were premature. Since you now seem to suggest the same(?) , I'll have another look, and come back with some quotes which pointed me in that direction.

    Peter
     

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  •  07-18-2006, 9:16 AM 1560 in reply to 1559

    Re: Time for reincarnation

    Hi, Peter,

    I would definitely be interested in reading the "Space" quotes you came across that you believe relate to the levels in AQAL.  I don't think the alternate mapping I suggested is necessarily "more correct" than the previous one; it is just a different way of rendering the interactions of TSK on the AQAL map, emphasizing different things (e.g., emphasizing levels of structure and form on the diagonal lines, rather than the creative thrust of Eros which helps to generate those levels of complexity).

    Tulku relates this particular exercise to "conventional understanding," which may be one reason why he "breaks up" the interaction of TSK in a different way here.  I'll have to think about that.

    The exercise itself is a pretty simple one, but I enjoyed practicing it this morning.  I usually have done it just sitting, but this morning I took it outside and contacted the TSK of my sunlit neighborhood as I walked among the whirling sprinklers and the tiny bugs shining translucently in the morning light...

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-18-2006, 10:50 AM 1561 in reply to 1560

    Re: Time for reincarnation

    Hi,

    Below is a quote from Time, Space, and Knowledge, page 13. I would say that this quote would give a good description of AQAL's stages of development. Tulku also uses the word 'level' once.
    However, the point is not simply to discover alternative spaces, each with its own view. Rather, a properly-guided journey through certain of these spaces can result in the perception that they can be meaningfully ordered: spaces which are 'higher' and 'bigger' , as opposed to 'lower' and 'smaller'.
    'Higher' means more encompassing, more open and inclusive. Such spaces may 'include' lower spaces in the sense that they are not so concerned with preserving an insular character -- they are more accommodating. For this very reason, they reflect Great Space. Thus, insights acquired in 'higher' spaces also apply to 'lower' spaces -- they are not merely descriptions of the terrain of one territory as opposed to another.

    This invokes a picture of concentric or nested spaces, each space more accommodating than those below or inside. When we first attemp to move to another space, due to the relative opacity or intolerance of our present space, it seems that we have to push and force, to 'break the rules' of our level in order to 'break out'. A strict logic of alternation usually seems to be in force -- either things are 'this way' or 'that way'. So our initial efforts at transcendence may seem a little extreme, and the new space may look odd for a while. But as we become accustomed to the new space and look back on our old space from our new vantage point, the lower space may then seem strange. Our accommodating capacity needs to be greater,  more balanced.

    I'm not sure that all uses of 'space' in TSK relate to stages (probably not), but I only can explain the above quote as describing growth in awareness through levels.

    What do you think?

    Peter


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  •  07-18-2006, 12:39 PM 1569 in reply to 1557

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    Re: Time for reincarnation

    Attachment: TSK - AQAL 8- jpg.jpg

    Hi Brother B,

     

    You said:  Going by the suggestions in this exercise, perhaps the AQAL cross would be labeled T, the diagonal lines S (as the flowering of space in/as form, structure, complexity), with a transparent K in the background, suffusing the entire map.

     

    Something like this perhaps…

     

     



    "Presence 'is', yet is open-like a drawing in the sky..." Tarthang Tulku
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  •  07-18-2006, 1:12 PM 1572 in reply to 1298

    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    Peter,

    Yes, I agree -- I think that's a really appropriate quote.  He is describing holarchically organized spaces which may also be understood as increasingly open and inclusive levels of awareness.

    And Davidu,

    Thanks!  Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking.  I'm not sure it's appropriate, but it's the image that came to me this morning after meditating.

    Best wishes,

    B.


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-19-2006, 12:01 PM 1629 in reply to 1572

    • Davidu is not online. Last active: 10-20-2006, 1:05 PM Davidu
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    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    Attachment: TSK - AQAL 9 -gif.gif

    Hi,

    Just thinking, Figure 2, showing the vMemes could also depict the spiraling development and all pervasiveness of Knowledge (K).

    Regards,

    David

     

     



    "Presence 'is', yet is open-like a drawing in the sky..." Tarthang Tulku
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  •  07-27-2006, 12:35 PM 2188 in reply to 1629

    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    One area where TSK may appear to conflict with Integral Theory is in the challenge it poses to conventional models of causality and development.  In the first TSK book, Tulku states that from a Great Space perspective, there is no evolution.  And yet he also clearly describes and appears to encourage growth, development, refinement and expansion of perspectives, and so on.

    Thinking about these things yesterday evening, I started to do a search for the word "evolution" in all of the primary TSK books (I have them on disk), and I found references to evolution in most of them.  I may post some of the different passages later, but in general, he appears to discuss evolution from several perspectives.  From a third-level perspective, he challenges it altogether as a fact; from a second-level perspective, he discusses it in terms of subtle field dynamics; and from a first-level perspective, he discusses it in terms of standard causality, history, the influence of the past, laws of development, and so on.

    It seems to me that Integral Theory appeals primarily to first- and second-level perspectives and doesn't often deal directly with the implications of third-level perspectives (though there are places where they are acknowledged).  Intuitively, it seems to me that TSK's exploration and challenging of conventional models of causality could help Integral students test and refine their understanding of the dynamics of evolution, through the cultivation of more expansive space and time perspectives.  But it also may end up challenging some of the conclusions of Integral Theory about what is actually "possible" at any stage of development or time in history.  If appearance at any "point" ultimately is not dependent on what came before, then that appears to open many horizons of possibility for an infusion of novelty and creative "presencing" in time and space that is not bound by first-level causal chains or second-level field dynamics.

    I have to reflect on this more, and I will be reading the TSK passages on evolution in more detail later, but I wanted to throw this out there.  I do not, alas, have regular access to third-level perspectives yet, so all I can do at this point is speculate....  Here is one speculation: If all of time and space are "available," and if what appears is ultimately not causally bound, then is it possible for radically new "developments" (from a lower-level perspective) to irrupt into an existing world order?  Or from a second-level perspective, if all time and space are intimately related and available, is it possible for an individual to "tap into" and resonate sufficiently with "future time" to be able to know and even to manifest knowledge structures that are not present in his "current" temporal order?

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-27-2006, 4:13 PM 2211 in reply to 2188

    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    Hi Balder,

    I've been reading more in my TSK books, and while I initialy thought that TSK was a metaphysical model, I now see that it is not. It is (among other things) a way to question models, and then to question those questions.

    I would be very interested in a post on  the TSK passages about evolution. Meanwhile, I don't see TSK's third-level views as in conflict with AQAL theory, since AQAL is a model of the manifest realm, which is necessarily dual in nature, and therefore contains the involution/evolution duality. I don't think any metaphysical model would become very popular if it denied evolution, at this moment in 'time'. If any model is to replace the current first-tier paradigm, it should be comprehensible for people at 2nd-tier. Dragging in the nondual all the time may not be that helpful. Besides, as Tulku puts it, to speak of 'emptiness' is 'empty talk'. I love that guy.

    Since KW is recently saying that playing with advanced perspectives is the best way to advance to a higher structure-stage, I would say that that is exactly what TSK offers through its exercises.

    Peter
     

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  •  07-27-2006, 5:04 PM 2217 in reply to 2211

    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

     

    Hi, Peter,

    I found your comments very appropriate, and very heartening.  I see the same potential in TSK's exercises, and in its focus on inquiry in general.

    In case you haven't read it yet, I wanted to share here an excerpt from my paper which deals with the practice of inquiry in TSK, relating it to Integral education and to the Integral project as a whole.  (This excerpt is followed in my paper by a section on TSK's critique of instrumental knowledge and model-based knowing, which may also be somewhat relevant, but it's too long to include here).

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on it.  (I'll probably return to the question of evolution in subsequent posts...)

    ~*~

    TSK Inquiry

    It is appropriate at this point to say a little more about the role of inquiry in TSK. From one perspective, TSK inquiry is a vehicle of transformation, a means of carrying those who engage it to greater freedom, wider vision, and deeper intimacy with being. But from another perspective, it is already an expression of that freedom and knowledgeability, as revealed by its very availability at the heart of ordinary experience. If TSK could be said to have one goal, it would be to awaken an abiding appreciation for and an intimate embodiment of knowledge, or knowingness, as the essence of our being, inseparable from the infinite allowingness of space and the unbounded creativity of time.

    What this means in less exalted-sounding terms is that we discover that knowledge is freely available, in and as the many situations we encounter in our lives; that we are free to look in new ways, to explore other options, to engage our limits and habits and reactions as expressions of a knowingness that is never ultimately bound. The exercise of this freedom is available every moment, a gift of time that we seldom acknowledge. Through inquiry, TSK invites us to open this present, and to enjoy it.

    The TSK vision offers a number of approaches to inquiry, some of which will be explored in the following sections. Unlike many traditions of meditation or spiritual inquiry, which prescribe set questions to be investigated or which encourage practitioners to avoid thinking and to stay close to "what is" through bare attention, TSK is open to employing the full palette of human capacities (including those preferred by the spiritual traditions above). Discovering that we have, rather ironically, narrowed knowledge down by turning it into a "prized possession" of the self, we can begin to open up its fullness again, Tarthang Tulku (1997) suggests, by approaching our experience in a dynamic, multi-faceted way, using our faculties of imagination, analysis, speculation, visualization, sensory awareness, and whatever else allows us to more fully appreciate the ongoing presentations of time, space, and knowledge (p. xxii-xxiii).

    The inquiry invited by TSK is not committed to particular positions or beliefs. Tarthang Tulku (1987) suggests, in fact, that awakening the TSK vision depends more on giving up unquestioning commitment to our formal and informal techniques than in learning to employ specific technologies of liberation or modes of inquiry (p. 274). Radically, this includes loosening our tendency to attribute our acts of knowing to an apparently incontrovertible observer or bystander, allowing it to be an occasion of knowledge as well, equally open to inquiry (Tarthang Tulku, 1987, pp. 193-198). Through such open and free-ranging questioning, we come to greater balance in our awareness as our presuppositions are opened and our rigid positions relaxed. Tarthang Tulku (1987) describes this process, and the knowledge that emerges from it, in an evocative way:

    For inquiry to operate freely, it cannot be bound by `positions' that the `bystander' adopts. This does not necessarily mean, however, that those positions must be rejected. Indeed, it is not clear that it would be possible to reject one set of positions without adopting another. Inquiry will be free only if it allows for a way of knowing more fundamental than `rejection.' A position is the outcome of an act of positioning, which unfolds in time through discrete acts of distinguishing, knowing, and so forth. Seen in this light, positions are the expressions of knowledge, rather than structures that limit it. Instead of accepting the view-point of the `bystander,' which insists on its fixed positions situated at a point off-center from an imagined origin, we could see in positioning the manifestation of a knowing that is not itself situated or specified...

    Free from all positions, inquiry has access to all manifestations, including the `bystander-self,' its interpretations, and all the most widely accepted and `best established' elements of experience. Inquiry can see `through' positions, recognizing them as `positionings' that express knowledge. By being ready to take each question to a deeper level, it dissolves or transforms each structure in turn, so that in the end there are no obstacles to the recognition of knowledge at work. (pp. 272-273)

    When we discover the full availability of knowledge, as the essence of all appearance (even the apparently closed spots or "gaps" in our current understanding), TSK proclaims this the discovery of the Body of Knowledge. Tarthang Tulku (1993) suggests that we may only have glimpses of this body at first, as structures and contractions give way to a more open allowing, but through inquiry we will become increasingly familiar with it, until at last it is felt to "sink into our bones and melt into our being" (p. 169.) This intimacy with a knowing that is non-positioned and which cannot be owned or appropriated, is the ground out of which all of our knowledge projects may be launched in a new way, and all of our relationships met afresh.

    Through inquiring specifically into the time, space, and knowledge of experience, TSK in some sense orients us vertically to what appears, to the "immediacy" of the emergence and establishment of experience from moment to moment (Tarthang Tulku, 1993, p. 87). Because these factors are present in and as the presentations of Being, and are in fact so "close" to what appears, TSK inquiry provides a way of working in all knowledge fields, in all disciplines and modes of inquiry, whether launched from objective or subjective perspective-dimensions. It invites us to taste the flavor of knowingness within each idea or fixed object of our perspectives, to appreciate the "luminous interpretive act" that lights up our interpretations (Tarthang Tulku, 1993, p. 144), to "thaw" our positions and therein to discover a truly unbounded knowledgeability.

    The spirit of inquiry and love of knowledge that inform the TSK vision are wholly consonant, in my view, with the abiding concerns of Integral Theory, and when deeply engaged may enliven the pursuits of any knowledge discipline. TSK finds no problem with a multiplicity of views or modes of inquiry, and in fact celebrates their co-existence as no more contradictory or problematic than the "blossoming of flowers in a field or the profusion of stars in the sky" (Tarthang Tulku, 1997, p. xxxvii). Such a generous perspective is at the heart of Integral Methodological Pluralism, and only such a perspective is capable of moving gracefully and with confidence in the post-postmodern landscape.

    That TSK and Integral Theory are both capable of moving in this way is not in question. What demands further exploration is how they may do so together. I will turn now to a more concrete consideration of the ways these visions may interact.

    ~*~

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  07-30-2006, 3:47 PM 2470 in reply to 2217

    Re: AQAL and TSK: Complementary Integral Visions

    Hi Balder,

    I had read the excerpt you posted before, but I get more from it after reading parts of Tarthang Tulku's books. The more I read about TSK, the more I start to appreciate it. Thank you very much for pointing me to its existence! I feel I'm only just starting to get a feel for its great scope and depth, so let me just ramble a bit.

    As I'm usualy reading multiple books in parallel, I was reading an introduction to gnosticism yesterday, written by a Dutch author named Bram Moerland. To my surprise and delight, he quoted Tulku. Since I also saw two or three of Tulku's books sitting on the shelves in my local bookstore, in a town of 50.000 souls, Tulku suddenly is everywhere. The books were translated into Dutch, by the way. He was probably around al along, but maybe that just emphasizes his point that you start noticing things more once you have become aware of them.

    Part of the reason I was struck when encountering the Tulku quote in the book on gnosticism, is because I had been wondering before about the relationship, if any, between gnosis and TSK. The two have in common that they both transcend any particular tradition or lineage (although most or all traditions have or had their own flavor of gnosis). Also, gnosis actually means 'Knowlegde of Truth'. I don't really want to equate the ancient forms of gnosis to TSK, but I tend to see TSK as transcending and including 'traditional' gnosis in some ways, adding modern and post-modern insights. Would you agree with that, or am I way off?

    A while ago, I brought up reincarnation in this thread, and I'd like to say a bit more about that in relation to TSK. Last week, I actually experienced a past-life regression myself, and that was a first time for me. I visited a lady who uses past-life regression as a form of therapy, and she was absolutely great. She also teaches meditation classes, and had even read Sri Aurobindo and some of KW's material. Yes people, integrally-informed past-life experiences! Maybe that is common in California, but not where I live, so imagine my luck.

    Anyway, during the regression I did not see images (which I had expected), but the information presented itself as some form of knowledge. The lady explained that this is how it works for some people, others see images. Since this process puts you partly in somebody else's shoes (although you also are that person)  this gives you entirely new perspectives to work with, and it can be very profound. It turned out that my capabilities of 'knowing' where stronger than I had previously suspected, so I'd like to pursue this road further. Which is part of the reason why I feel fortunate to have found TSK. So thanks once again, Balder.

    Peter & his former lives


    Punch a higher floor
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