Applying TSK to Emotional Intelligence (EI) 3
Emotional Intelligence Best Practices Group
I'm planning, in the next year or so, on posting articles on some of the best emotional intelligence methods. For this I've created a new group, "Emotional Intelligence Best Practices." Feel free to join us. The following topics will probably be addressed:
To appreciate how various emotionally transformative methods operate, it is useful to be somewhat familiar with the spectrum of human consciousness. For this the following three articles should be helpful:
How a "continuous self" is fabricated in 'real time'
Can we build a castle out of sand? In a somewhat similar way, can the sense of self be fabricated from momentary discriminations? Can a series of discrete mental mini-events generate our apparently authentic feeling of ordinary existence and reality?
Consider an ordinary, first-level scenario: We believe we are the independently capable selves felt at the center of our lives, the selves that apparently are responsible, do the thinking, make the decisions, and sometimes have problematic conditions. At this first level we are identified with the self complex. But just as the convincing reality while watching a movie depends on the speed with which it's projected, the perceived reality of our selves and all the objects and events within our stories may depend on a rapid sequencing of apperceptive* cycles. Just as a movie is actually a series of still images, "the experience of oneself relating to other things is actually a momentary discrimination, a fleeting thought. If we generate these fleeting thoughts fast enough, we can create the illusion of continuity and solidity. It is like watching a movie, the individual film frames are played so quickly that they generate the illusion of continual movement. So we build up an idea, a preconception, that self and other are solid and continuous." (Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom, 1976, p. 13)
*(An apperceptive process is a set of mental micro-events that constitute a 'greater' mental event.)
So the apparently continuous movie of life, with the convincingly 'real' self at center stage, may be a fabrication of individual mini-events that occur and are 'assembled' very rapidly.
Neurologist Oliver Sacks also suggests a cinematographic model to understand the continuity of things and events: "One level of brain activity may be working automatically, while another, the conscious level, is fashioning a perception of time, a perception which is elastic, and can be compressed or expanded. . . . There is much to suggest that conscious perception (at least, visual perception) is not continuous but consists of discrete moments, like the frames of a movie, which are then blended to give an appearance of continuity." (p. 64, "A Neurologist’s Notebook: Speed Aberrations of time and movement," by Oliver Sacks, The New Yorker, August 23, 2004)
Similarly, but in a more detailed account of what's actually happening in our experience, Dr. Charalampos Mainemelis, a professor at the London Business School, suggests that we "draw a distinction between direct--or immediate--and ordinary experience. Direct experience is the experience of the immediate present moment and consists of fleeting apprehended instants, which in and of themselves are atemporal: they are instantaneous impressions of an external reality characterized by heterogeneity and nonlinear patterns of change. . . . as the instants of direct experience are processed . . . they are linked to one another and experienced as an inner duration . . . as states . . . lasting for a moment and then fading away, but which are also infinite because they permeate each other, living and disappearing within each other as a continuous and holistic flow of events. As inner duration is generated by instants that contain one another, the self is made up by states that generate each other . . . .
"[Philosopher Henri] Bergson saw this process as a kind of cinematographic operation: consciousness takes several snapshots of reality; it keeps a record of them by means of inner duration; it arranges them successively side by side to form a reel; and it projects the reel back to space "in high speed," creating the illusion of a uniform linear movement that progresses through an invisible homogeneous medium of "time." . . . Time, however, exists only in the apparatus.
"Without inner duration there would be no becoming--only instantaneous experience. Without the notion of time, the self would be a heterogeneous multiplicity of impressions varying infinitely across different moments in terms of qualities, evolution. and acts. By inventing time, consciousness is, in fact, creating an abstract homogeneous medium, in which the self can change, age, and evolve while paradoxically always enduring. In other words, by projecting inner duration to the external world, consciousness temporalizes external change into "before and after"--into past, present, and future states--and ascribes to the self and other objects a lasting ontological quality that endures through change and goes beyond the experiential moment of recognition.
"Ordinary experience, then, is the experience of the present moment as integrated in a sequence of other moments and events--as a tiny link attached to an infinite chain of experiences and instants. Ordinary experience presupposes the notion of time, but direct experience is timeless." (Mainemelis,, Charalampos. “When the Muse Takes It All: A Model for the Experience of Timelessness in Organizations,” Academy of Management Review, Vol. 26, No. 4., pp. 549-550)
Three Ways of Experiencing a Feeling
The exercise that we just did ( "Balance and Manage Emotions via Breathing" ) can be experienced in different ways, at different levels. The disciplines of Kum Nye and Time, Space, and Knowledge describe three main levels of experience.
To see more clearly how these three main levels of functioning are related, we can depict what happens as one changes the way they relate to a particular feeling from a first-level to a third-level way ( "The Spectrum of Consciousness" ). Although any feeling could be used, in this example, let's take the example of a feeling of pain in the shoulder. The pain is presumed to be the same energy in the descriptions of all three levels--it is the way the pain energy is experienced, or the overall view of the energy, that is different.
One: At level one, our usual way of experiencing, the pain is usually labeled, often as something negative, and is experienced as located in a particular place in the body, in this case in the shoulder. You, identified as the self, are not merged with the feeling, but are related to it as a feeling that you have. Your experience of time is linear, flowing relentlessly in one direction. Space is experienced as extending in three dimensions.
Two: At level two, the feeling is not experienced as so clearly locatable as in the first way of experiencing. The feeling is in the same physical location, but one experiences the boundaries of the feeling to be more open or less definite. There may be a shifting back and forth from seeing the feeling as negative, to relating to it as simply neutral energy. One senses the surrounding space differently—not so extended, more open, less fragmented, and less container-like. Similarly, the sense of oneself as the observer of the feeling is more spacious. Rather than an intellectual way of relating to the feeling, there is a simple, nonverbal observation or sensing of it. There's also a sense of time slowing down.
Three: At level three, there is simply the pure energy of the feeling, with no labeling, and no identification of location in the body. There is no feeling of oneself as an observer separate from the feeling. Awareness is merged with the feeling-energy, which is not experienced as negative. There is no sense of time passing, and no experience of space as a container for things and events. Space is simply nonextended openness that accompanies and permeates the feeling.
Radar of Awareness
Have you ever had an impulsive emotional reaction to something? When you might even have been surprised by anger, fear, or anxiety that arose unexpectedly, maybe even with no apparent cause, 'out of the blue'?
It seems that many of us have had this kind of experience, and yet I doubt that many have learned how to deal with such unpleasant and unwelcome surprises.
Part of the problem with such experiences is that others may be involved in the surprise, being emotionally hurt, and sometimes even being violently attacked.
A friend of mine was teaching a computer science class, and was reviewing a quiz that he gave the students, when one student challenged him on the answer provided for one of the questions. My teacher friend was surprised by the challenge and used a racial epithet, trying to keep the student 'in his place'. Unfortunately, the abusive speech, although blurted out unintentionally, was hurtful to the student and led to the teacher's quick dismissal.
I believe many of us, myself included, have had experiences like this one. One way to view what happens is that unconscious material and emotions are suddenly released into consciousness. Speaking for myself, sometimes you may have no idea where the emotion and reaction comes from. It may seem completely foreign to you, not in your character or experience.
Most of us feel in control of our lives most of the time. What's scary about this kind of experience is that for at least a short time we totally lose control, and it can be devastating to others around you. It can instantly and unexpectedly disrupt your life.
If you've even had such a distressing experience, you may wonder if there is something you can do to keep from having this kind of thing happen again. There is, although most likely it's something you need to work on, rather than an instant solution.
Suppose you had a kind of emotional radar that would detect an emotional response that was beginning to come into awareness. It seems that then you would have more control over your response, more of a conscious choice over whether to say or do something. Wouldn't more awareness bring more control?
The discipline of Kum Nye offers the possibility of developing such an 'emotional radar'. One natural benefit of practicing Kum Nye breathing ( discussed in "Breathing, Emotion, and the Subtle Body," https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6482766161577676800 ) for several months is that your breath becomes "like radar, and you are able to sense the signals of any emotion, your own or others."
Here's a bit more about this possibility: When Kum Nye breathing is practiced for two or three months, and has become "truly balanced--not too controlled or tight, but slow and smooth, at an even level--and when, at the same time, awareness is united with breath as in a marriage, certain effects happen naturally." One is that breath becomes "like radar, and you are able to sense the signals of any emotion, your own or others. Your awareness of the beginnings of emotion and feeling is like a space that protects you. Awareness becomes an open field, allowing you to exercise awakened control, different from control by suppression or force." (Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga, Tarthang Tulku, pp. 43-4)
The Future of Humanity
By J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm
The emphasis on the psyche, on giving importance to the self, is creating great damage in the world, because it is separative and therefore it is constantly in conflict, not only within itself but with the society, with the family, and so on. And it is also in conflict with nature.
The self is conditioning the brain. But does the self exist? Can its conditioning be dissipated? As long as the brain is conditioned, it is not free. Can the brain, with all its cells conditioned, can those cells radically change? . . . Yes. We are saying that they can, through insight, insight being out of time, not the result of remembrance.
The brain is caught in suffering, and it cannot take an action to end its own suffering. Thought cannot get at its own physical, chemical basis in the cells, and do anything about those cells.
When there is that insight, intelligence wipes away suffering. . . . There is a contact from mind to matter which removes the whole physical, chemical structure that keeps us going on with suffering. Yes, and that mutation just wipes out the whole structure that makes you suffer.
The pure energy of mind is able to reach into the limited energy of matter?
Thought cannot get at its own physical, chemical basis in the cells, and do anything about those cells. Thought cannot bring about a change in itself. And yet practically everything that mankind has been trying to do is based on thought. We cannot do anything about the future of humanity from that usual approach.
What is the new instrument that will put it an end to all this misery? There is a new instrument which is the mind, which is intelligence. But the difficulty is also that people won't listen to all this.
Do you think it is possible that a certain number of brains coming into contact with mind in this way will be able to have an effect on mankind? When the self is not, there is beauty, silence, space; then that intelligence, which is born of compassion, operates through the brain. It is very simple.
The Future of Humanity
JK: One can see within one, one can observe from one's own activity of the brain, that it is really like a computer which has been programmed, and remembers. . . .
JK: The brain is programmed; it is made to conform to a certain pattern, it lives entirely on the past, modifying itself with the present and going on.
DB: We have agreed that some of its conditioning is useful and necessary. . . . (p. 55)
DB: The self, the psyche, that conditioning is what you are talking about. That may not only be unnecessary but harmful.
JK: Yes. The emphasis on the psyche, on giving importance to the self, is creating great damage in the world, because it is separative and therefore it is constantly in conflict, not only within itself but with the society, with the family, and so on.
DB: And it is also in conflict with nature. . . . (p. 56)
JK: Psychologically the brain is centered in the self right?
DB: Yes. And the constant assertion of the self is the movement, the conditioning, an illusion. . . . (p. 57)
JK: The self is conditioning the brain. But does the self exist? DB: No.
JK: That's right. Can the conditioning be dissipated? That's the whole question. . .
JK: In the meantime man is going to destroy himself. (p. 58)
JK: As long as the brain is conditioned, it is not free and mind is free. . . . (p. 61)
JK: So as long as the brain is conditioned its relationship to the mind is limited.
DB: What is the nature of the mind? Is the mind located inside the body, or is it is in the brain?
JK: No, it has nothing to do with the body or the brain.
DB: Has it to do with space or time?
JK: It has to do with space and silence. . . .(p. 62)
JK: So can the brain, with all its cells conditioned, can those cells radically change? . . .
JK: Can those cells be changed? Yes. We are saying that they can, through insight, insight being out of time, not the result of remembrance, not an intuition, nor desire, nor hope. It has nothing to do with any time and thought.
. . .DB: Therefore you are saying that mind can act in the matter of the brain.
JK: Yes, we said that earlier. (p. 65)
DB: Are you saying that the brain is a kind of instrument of the mind?
JK: An instrument of the mind when the brain is not self-centered.
DB: all the conditioning may be thought of as the brain exciting itself, and keeping itself going just from the program. This occupies all of its capacities.
JK: All our days, yes. (p. 65)
DB: Is intelligence from the mind?
JK: Yes, intelligence is the mind. Is the mind. . . .
JK: You cannot be compassionate if you are attached to any particular experience, or any particular ideal.
DB: Yes, that is again the program. . . . (p. 66)
JK: Contact can only exist between the mind and the brain when the brain is quiet. . . .
DB: Is awareness part of the function of the brain?
JK: As long as it is awareness in which there is no choice. . . . (p. 67)
JK: So we can remain with what is, not with what should be, what must be, not invent ideals, and so on? . . .
JK: We said, there's contact between the mind and the brain when the brain is silent and has space. . . .
JK: Mind. It is not mine.
DB: It is universal or general. . . .
JK: It is unpolluted, not polluted by thought. . . .
JK: You cannot call it your mind. You only have your brain, which is conditioned. You can't say, it is my mind. . . . (p. 71)
DB: It seems as if each one of us is isolated from the other.
JK: By thought. My thought has created the belief that I am different from you, because my body is different from yours, my face is different from yours. We extend that same thing into the psychological area.
DB: But now if we said that the vision is an illusion, perhaps? JK: No, not perhaps. It is.
DB: Yes, it would almost seem to imply, then, that in so far as a person feels he is it a separate being he has a very little contact with mind. (p. 73)
JK: that is why it is very important to understand not the mind but our conditioning. And whether our conditioning, human conditioning, can ever be dissolved. That is the real issue.
DB: We have a mind that is universal, that is in some kind of space you say or is it its own space?
JK: it is not in me or in my brain.
DB: But it has a space.
JK: It is, it lives in space and silence. . . . (p. 73)
JK: It is generally understood that there is always a meditator meditating. Real meditation is an unconscious process, not a conscious process. . . .
JK: No, let's put it this way, conscious meditation, conscious activity to control thought, to free oneself from conditioning, is not freedom. . . . . (p. 75)
JK: Would it help if we say concentration is not attention? Effort is not attention. when I make an effort to attend it is not attention. Attention can only come into being when the self is not. . . .
DB: If we succeed in negating the whole activity of what is not meditation, the meditation will be there. . . . (p. 77)
DB: Is this intelligence able to understand deeply?
JK: No, not understand.
DB: What does it do? Does it perceive?
JK: Through perception it acts.
JK: There can be perception only when it is not tinged by thought. When there is no interference from the movement of thought, there is perception, which is direct insight into a problem, or into human complexities.
DB: Now this perception originates in the mind?
JK: Does the perception originate in the mind? Yes. When the brain is quiet. . . . (p. 80)
DB: So we can say intelligence is perception.
JK: Yes, that's right. . . .
DB: The brain is caught in suffering, and it cannot take an action to end its own suffering.
DB: Now this insight will be through the action of the mind, through intelligence and attention.
JK: When there is that insight, intelligence wipes away suffering. . . .
DB: You are saying, therefore, that there is a contact from mind to matter which removes the whole physical, chemical structure that keeps us going on with suffering.
JK: That's right. In that ending there is a mutation in the brain cells.
DB: Yes, and that mutation just wipes out the whole structure that makes you suffer.
JK: That's right. Therefore it is as if I have been going along a certain tradition, I suddenly change that tradition and there is a change in the whole brain, which has been going north. Now it goes east.
DB: If we accept that mind is different from matter, then people would find it hard to say but mine would actually.. . .
JK: Would you put it that mind is pure energy?
DB: But we are seeing that the pure energy of mind is able to reach into the limited energy of matter?
JK: Yes, that's right. And change the limitation.
DB: We could also add and all the traditional ways of trying to do this cannot work.
JK: They haven't worked.
DB: Well, that is not enough. We have to say, because people still might hope it could, that it cannot actually.
JK: It cannot.
DB: Because thought cannot get at its own physical, chemical basis in the cells, and do anything about those cells.
JK: Yes. Thought cannot bring about a change in itself.
DB: And yet practically everything that mankind has been trying to do is based on thought. There is a limited area, of course where that is all right, but we cannot do anything about the future of humanity from that usual approach.
DB: Generally speaking nobody knows of anything else.
JK: Exactly. We are saying that the old instrument which is thought is worn out, except in certain areas. . . .
DB: You see, the first instinct is to say, what can we do to stop this tremendous catastrophe?
JK: Yes. But if each one of us, whoever listens, sees the truth the thought, in its activity both external and inwardly, has created a terrible mess, great suffering, then one must inevitably ask is there an ending to all this? If thought cannot end it, what will?
JK: What is the new instrument that will put it an end to all this misery? You see there is a new instrument which is the mind, which is intelligence. But the difficulty is also that people won't listen to all this. Both the scientist and the ordinary layman like us, have come to definite conclusions, and they won't listen.
JK: Physical revolution has never psychologically changed the human state.
DB: Do you think it is possible that a certain number of brains coming into contact with mind in this way will be able to have an effect on mankind, which is beyond just the immediate, obvious effect of their communication?
JK: Yes, that's right. but how do you convey this subtle and very complex issue to a person who is steeped in tradition, who is conditioned, and won't even take the time to listen, to consider? . . .
DB: Are you proposing that it affect mankind through the mind directly, rather than through . . .
JK: Yes. It may not show immediately in action.
DB: Yes. But really the question is, we have to come directly in contact with this to make it real. Right?
JK: That's it. We can only come into contact with it when the self is not. To put it very simply, when the self is not, there is beauty, silence, space; then that intelligence, which is born of compassion, operates through the brain. It is very simple.
DB: Yes. Would it be worth discussing the self, since the self is widely active? I know. That is a long tradition of many, many centuries. . . .
JK: That is very simple. Is the observer different from The observed?
DB: Well, suppose we say, yes it appears to be different, then what?
JK: Is that an idea or an actuality? Actuality is when there is no division between the thinker and the thought.
DB: But suppose I say, ordinarily one feels that the observer is different from the observed.
JK: We begin there. I'll show you. Look at it. How are you different from your anger, from your envy, from your suffering? You are not.
JK: Yes. The observer is the observed. And when that actuality exists you have really eliminated altogether conflict. Conflict exists when I am separate from my quality.
DB: Yes, that is because if I believe myself to be separate, then I can try to change it, but since I am that, it is trying to change itself and remain itself at the same time.
JK: Yes, that's right. But when the quality is me, the division has ended. Right?
DB: When I see that the quality is me, then there is no point in trying to change.