Space curry (recycled)

People require “personal space.” Think on that for sec.

I live in an Asian country right now (and will leave soon!). People often require less “personal space.” It took a lot of getting used to. When I had, though, it felt nice at times, really comforting. That space of comfort around myself was replace time and again by a comfort with people getting close to me. That was really pleasant. I’m thinking I might miss that. Proxemics is studied by sociologists, and according to one textbook, most Asian countries are considered high distance cultures. To me this seems wrong.

Of course, less distance doesn’t mean more intimacy, or less loneliness. But it’s part of the picture.

Of course, if you meditate, the loneliness and the interconnectedness become more pronounced as things start to melt down, and I won’t say, “melt down… in a positive way,” because it’s melting that is not as comfortable or safe as that. This might sound cool, but it’s accurate I think. Personal space starts to erode, and this has nice and not nice implications.

“The simplicity is hardheaded. You just sit down and do the practice. You bring yourself down to earth, over and over, with some gentleness and relaxation. “- 108 reflections on practice

I think that hardheaded simplicity has a number of functions. Like precision, it helps when things get rough. Practice does make things get rough. John Perks, a student of Trunpga Rinpoche, writes about how serving this teacher helped him grow, but also made his ego fall apart, a traumatic experience, according to him. He mentions that Trungpa emphasized precision and noticing details, and that this helped as Perks began to feel unmoored by the teacher’s powerful energy and unpredictability.

What about animals? I should go back to that too, I suppose. And then wrap up.

In Buddhist terms, the animal mentality is stupid, addictive, habitual, pushing forward on instinct. It’s similar to a god-like world experience, just less refined. They’re both considered to be “buddha family” expressions.

It’s almost impossible, I think, to say what waking up is like. It is not like being an addict, or a beast caught in instinct, or someone blissed-out by god type experiences of drugs, immersion in pleasancies, etc.

Animals communicate. People do too. Space figures in. We communicate via space. Space projects space into space. At one point do insanities become wisdom and vice versa? At what point do insanities become wisdom? What is crazy wisdom? When does simplicity become an escape for the fearful little creatures?

The feeling of being an outsider, or a bystander is not separate from interconnection either- something to be outside of. Again, space means relationship, and movement.


About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

Posted on March 13, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Jake, Glad I found your blog! Thanks for following mine. I don’t post as directly as you do on matters of practice, but it’s definitely there. You’ve touched on so many topics in the above…! I really appreciate that you acknowledge the uncomfortable aspects of practice. There’s so much false cheer in spirituality blogs!

    Personal space is a big issue for me, (I “don’t get nearly enough”) and it hadn’t occurred to me that with practice one’s sense of personal space starts to break down. I’m still locked into my body in many ways. I guess I have something to look forward to. Oh, joy!

    • Thanks, Helen, me too! Personal space is an issue for me too. Writing this, I was thinking about how it’s not just personal, but a cultural issue as well. Different cultures tend to require different amounts or kinds of personal space. This means that culture is in your body, or at least connected to the body.

      My sense of personal space has changed definitely, but I wouldn’t say it definitely breaks down. (If I said that before, I’m revising a little bit now. As a writer, you can appreciate the importance of revisions, 555). I think it changes, sense of space, and this is often confusing and chaotic, but not neccessarily breaks down. And being locked into the body is very interesting and full of potential. Connecting the body with practice is something teachers are always talking about, so that has a lot of potential. (I know that’s something of a spiritual cliche, saying something is “good for practice” and so on, and at the same time, cliches are usually right.)

      Hey, I think it’s really cool that there’s another meditator in the area. There’s so much yoga around here, but somehow, 0 meditation. We have to get those yogis to sit still! Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Thanks for writing!



  2. Personal space, very interesting – a modern concept?

    • I’m not sure… I’ve been told something to this effect by history teachers, that a lot of folks way back lived very close together, no separate rooms. I’ll venture this- person and space change constantly in culture and time!

  1. Pingback: Space Invaders | Dirty Looks

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