The space around our thoughts





“Our addiction to the grasping tendency of mind causes us to overlook the spaces around thoughts, the felt penumbra that gives our experience its subtle beauty and meaning. Neglecting these fluid spaces within the mindstream contributes to a general tendency to over-identify with the contents of our mind, and to assume that we are the originator and custodian of them. The troublesome equation “I = my thoughts about reality” creates a narrowed sense of self, along with an anxiety about our thoughts as territory we have to defend. (p. 53)”


“In the “Memorial Address,” philosopher Martin Heidegger suggests a certain type of Being-with when he describes the phenomena of Andenken, or “thinking toward” (Stambaugh, 1990, p. 90) as “a kind of waiting, not a passive waiting, but a very attentive, intense one” (p. 87). Stambaugh says Inständigkeit, or a posture of “indwelling,” underwrites this quality of attending to:

Inständigkeit or perdurance is a kind of intensely perceptive sticking something through, sticking it out, perhaps something akin to what we do when we try to recall something we’ve forgotten. It reminds me of what Buddhist thinker Dogen called “sustained exertion.” (p. 87)

With sustained exertion and indwelling with the whole of the experience (thoughts as well as the spaces around them), we can see “what it is that Heidegger wants us to let go of” to “lead us back to the direction of Being” (p. 87), emphasizing that man’s “special nature” is that he or she is, essentially, a “meditative being” (Heidegger, 1966, p. 56).”

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