I am doing a self-retreat at present, and today I have left my writing too late to begin. So, I thought that instead, I’d share a kind of meditative processes with you, one of the kind which I do.

This is a Tarthang Tulku exercise, from one of his books in the Time, Space, Knowledge series. This is from Dynamics of Time and Space: Transcending Limits on Knowledge (p. 262). It’s worth trying, because when I say we can ground ourselves in our ‘dukkha’ (stress, angst, pain of skew-whiff-ness), I mean we can enter right inside such experiences and become intimate with their dynamics.

Over the years, the greatest boon I have had from the TSK series is that it offers a kind of training for experiencing processes from in the processes themselves. This is recommended by the Nikāya Buddha – for instance, in the Sutta on the Placements of Mindfulness (MN 10: Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta) – but precisely how to do that is not plainly stated in the Nikāyas. I’ve learned it from Tarthang Tulku’s books.

DTS Exercise 5: Abiding in Thought

“On the surface of experience, thoughts come and go quickly, even instantaneously. One event succeeds another, one reaction follows the next in a powerful momentum that structures linear time. Let yourself become aware of this dynamic and the rhythm that supports it. Gradually introduce a different rhythm: As a single feeling or emotion or thought arises, enter into it and abide there-as though you would be ready to live your life right within that experience.

This abiding is not static. It invokes the dynamic rhythm of time without insisting on a linear momentum. Nor does it ‘take’ time to abide in this way. As you sink into the experience, time expands. Deep within the content of the moment, you can contact the body of experience and discover a different way of being.

The shift from progression to abiding may lead to unusual experiences. Be careful not to aim at capturing or appropriating what arises, for doing so will only generate a new momentum that takes form in a new story. At first, you will experience abiding as a special event, something like ‘stopping’ time. As you grow more familiar with it, however, you will realize that you can abide within the flow of linear time. The two temporal dynamics can unfold simultaneously.”