Transitional space: an opening of the experiential realm beyond the mind

Автор: Rudolph Bauer

Журнал: Revista Científica Arbitrada de la Fundación MenteClara @fundacionmenteclara

Статья в выпуске: 2, Vol. 4, 2019 года.

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This article describes how Donald Winnicott’s radical existential psychoanalytic understanding of transitional awareness and transitional relatedness intertwines both our personal psychology and our innermost experience of our own existential ontology. This article also addresses the ontological coincidences of our contemporary Existential Phenomenological understanding and Tantric Dzogchen praxis of the 8th and 9th century CE. The paper shows how 8th and 9th century CE Dzogchen Tantric understanding illuminates existentialist thinking through the transcendental phenomenology of Husserl and later ontological phenomenologist such as Heidegger and Merleau- Ponty. The paper also unfolds how these two modalities of existential phenomenological psychotherapy and tantric praxis converge in the experiential process of self liberation. The work also describes how in the patriarchal spiritual world, an experience of Being that is easily accessible has become something belonging to a few «enlightened ones» in the form of a corporate product or brand. Some of the most hidden secrets of Tantra is herein presented.


Tantra, rigpa, awareness, transitional awareness, psychotherapy, phenomenological, existential, epoche, Dzogchen, Winnicot, Husserl, Jung

Короткий адрес:

IDR: 170163668   |   DOI: 10.32351/rca.v4.2.88

Фрагмент статьи Transitional space: an opening of the experiential realm beyond the mind


Donald Winnicott’s radical existential psychoanalytic understanding of transitional awareness and transitional relatedness is an amazing and little used doorway for today’s psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. In today’s cognitive clinical culture we have become cognitions tampering with cognitions. Life as cognition.

Existential Ontology

Winnicott’s creative understanding of our capacity for transitional awareness and transitional relatedness intertwines both our personal psychology and our innermost experience of our own existential ontology. Transitional knowingness intertwines both our mind and our primordial awareness field. Our field of awareness knows the field of Being since awareness is the field of Being. Transitional awareness intertwines both our mind and our psyche (Winnicott, 2012).

Donald Winnicott’s phenomenological understanding of the self radicalizes our sense of self from being a representational picture or cognitive affective schema or synthesis of disparate psychological part’s to a fluid sense of self as a direct experiential felt sense of ongoing continuity of Being. Our knowingness though the medium of awareness, opens for us the direct knowing of the experience of Being. The experience of Being is for us our sense of natural spirituality. Our liminal transitional awareness field opens us into the immediate ongoing intimate experience of Being. This experience of Being is of Being within our very own self and of Being within our very own relational life-world.

Ordinary Personhood

We, as a most ordinary person, can experience the unfolding movement of the experiencing of Being within our own self as our self, and simultaneously, the unfolding experiencing of our own being as the being-ness of Being which is the Being of the world. As we experience the Being of our world we simultaneously experience the luminosity of Being in and through the world itself. Being itself manifests as everything and anything. Being is pure potentiality.

This experiencing of the Being of our own being opens for us the experience of Being itself. Being itself is not a being. Being manifests and brings forth being in and as all beings. Our personal psychological anxiety and our veiled ontological insecurity are the same agony. The experience of the oblivion of Being is agony. The oblivion and absence of Being is the agony of annihilation and the agony of meaninglessness and lifelessness. The felt sense of non-Being is felt as meaningless lifelessness.

Entering Transitional Awareness

There is no one way of entering into transitional space of awareness. Often a person may be located in their mind alone or located in a particular function of the mind such as thinking, sensation, memory, imagination and feeling. Being located in mind as mind, the person makes a shift and becomes aware of their mind and the functions of their mind. There is a space of knowingness between their awareness and their mind. The person is now aware of their mind. This is mindfulness! To experience that we are not our mind is an amazing moment!

Next from within their awareness of mind, a person makes another shift in which they become aware no longer of their mind, but they become aware of their awareness itself. At this moment the person experiences awareness as their felt sense, their felt sense of their being as awareness. This becoming aware of awareness is entering into transitional awareness. The Existential Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism calls this awareness of awareness Rigpa (Tulku, 1999). The rigpa tantric practice allows achieving consciousness devoid of dual conceptualizations of discursive nature (Yeshe, 1987) (Dalai Lama, 1994) or pre-notions, a priori judgments. A clinical trial observing biological indicators proved that «Rigpa meditation allows a practitioner to become aware of their own awareness to create an early warning system upon a negative impulsive action» (Gómez, 2017).

There are many ways of entering this liminal and intermediate space of awareness. There is no one way. Another of the ways of entering into transitional awareness is the way of phenomenology. In phenomenology, a person suspends their mind or suspends the judgmental function of their mind. Through our suspension of mind and the judgment of mind, our awareness is freed to become aware of awareness itself. We become free to gaze into the appearance of phenomena and experience directly and immediately, the luminosity of phenomena. This gazing opens for us the luminosity of appearance of phenomena. Our inner light of awareness perceives and sees through appearance and sees through phenomena into the luminosity of phenomena, into the light unto phenomena. This is the luminous spacious essence of phenomena!

Epoche and Reduction

What phenomenology calls the epoche and the reduction process goes like this. A person shifts from being located in the judgmental-ness of mind and then the person becomes aware of the mind. This is a form of mindfulness. This pause is also the epoche. The epoche is pause or suspension of mind. This suspension of judgment of mind is the epoche.

Then the person can make another shift. The person shifts from the person being aware of mind to the person becoming aware of awareness itself. This is the reduction in which one enters the awareness of awareness. In the reduction there is a turning towards or a turning inward. The focus is no longer on mind alone but the focus is on awareness itself.

This awareness of awareness is the transitional space of awareness. It is called transitional because this awareness is the intermediate area between personal mind and the existential field of awareness, the field of Being. Transitional awareness opens us to experience the field of Being. Transitional awareness is awareness in its transitional function. Transitional awareness allows one to bridge from being in the psychology of mind to being within the field of awareness that knows Being itself. Transitional awareness bridges the psychological mind experience and the ontological knowing experience of human existence. Transitional awareness bridges the knowingness of conceptual mind and the gnosis of direct knowingness. Transitional awareness bridges our knowing of duality and our knowing of non-duality.

The Qualities of Transitional Awareness

As we remain in this liminal space of becoming aware of awareness, the quality and nature of this transitional space begins to become manifest. The nature of this awareness manifests itself as spaciousness, as openness or as some eastern philosophical traditions say sunyata or emptiness (Norbu, 1989). Simultaneously, the manifestation of the quality of luminosity, or clarity or light or radiance self-manifest to us within this experiential knowingness. The energy of awareness also begins to manifest and the vitality and aliveness of this existential awareness field is experienced. In some eastern traditions this energy is called the Qi (Chinese) or the Shakti (Hindu) or Tiklay (Tibetan). The quality of this transitional awareness begins to expand throughout our body and beyond our body boundaries. We begin to experience our awareness as a field. We begin to experience our field of awareness as an existential field. Some cognitive psychologists refer to this phenomena as extended mind (Richard, 2007).

Embodiment of the Existential Field

As we continue to remain in this existential field we begin to embody this field of awareness. We embody the light of awareness. The existential field quality of this field of awareness becomes apparent and experientially unfolds. This existential field is ultimately infinite in its horizons and vast and multidimensional. The field is an unbound doorway of openness.

By becoming awareness of awareness we enter into the transitional space of awareness which is a perceptual field of knowing. In this perceptual field a person can still have access to their mind or aspects of their psychological mind. The person is now located in the field of awareness and no longer not solely in their mind. Being in awareness and by learning to remain in this space of awareness, the primordial qualities of the transitional realm become more explicit, clearer and become over time en-owned and embodied. Besides the qualities of spaciousness, of openness, of luminosity, of clearness, of the sense of subtle energy and of vital-ness, there arises simultaneously, the sense of oneness and indivisibleness which is the sense of non-duality. And most amazingly there arises the sense of purity.


Awareness is pure, awareness is always pure. Awareness within our Being is pure, completely pure, and awareness in others is always pure. The purity of awareness is the purity of Being. The purity of the openness of awareness is actually the openness of Being. Awareness knows Being and awareness is the knowingness of Being. The experience of the purity of awareness is freeing, and this purity dissolves affective states of mind. As we experience the purity of awareness within our own self, we can begin to experience the purity of awareness within others. We can resonate to the purity of awareness in others, despite their mind’s closed-ness. The purity of awareness is not the psychological purity of mind or purity of character or even a kind of physical purity. Purity is not the purity of thought, or purity of feelings, or purity of desire, or purity of habits, or purity of behavior.

The purity of awareness is the experience of self-liberation. To feel the purity of your own awareness is to feel free. The luminous openness of purity is self-liberating. The purity of awareness metabolizes whatever is brought into this purity. The purity of awareness metabolizes experience.


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