2012.07.01 07:00 - Life Lab: Examining Cohesive Narratives

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Eliza Madrigal. The comments are by Eliza Madrigal.


    Eliza Madrigal: Morning Bruce :))
    Bruce Mowbray: Good morning - Namaste!
    Eliza Madrigal: excuse me one second... daughters coming in to show me costumes for an event today before they leave for the day :)
    Bruce Mowbray: wonderful --!
    Eliza Madrigal: apologies :)
    Bruce Mowbray: No problem at all.
    Eliza Madrigal: one of them had their first live Rocky Horror experience last night... so lots of chattering about
    Bruce Mowbray: Oh my!
    Bruce Mowbray: Doing the Time Warp today, huh?
    Eliza Madrigal: anyway... it is lovely to see you this morning and I'd love to hear your thoughts particularly, on our theme this week!
    Eliza Madrigal: hah, yes
    Bruce Mowbray: Ha!
    Bruce Mowbray: Well, my views on "masks" are probably somewhat unique....
    Bruce Mowbray: among Pabbers, I mean.
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh, I have read the sessions on masks... appreciate your positive view very much

    Eliza Madrigal: I wondered about: PaB and Science: "How does pab apply science in its quest to "explore reality by using our own life as a laboratory"
    Bruce Mowbray: I tend to see masks as "enablers" - but whether they enable "good" or "ill" is pretty much up to the individual wearing them.
    Bruce Mowbray: Hmmm... PaB and science....
    Eliza Madrigal: I feel they make up our world... no maks no world, in some ways
    Bruce Mowbray: possbly neuro-biology?
    Eliza Madrigal: so rather positive also
    Eliza Madrigal: looking at mind, Bruce?

    Bruce Mowbray: I've just finished listening to a series of podcasts on neuro-biology.
    Bruce Mowbray: so, I'm thinking a lot about neuro-plasticity.
    Bruce Mowbray: and how intention and attention literally rewire the the brain.

    Bruce Mowbray: May I share one poignant point from my listening this morning?
    Eliza Madrigal: please do!
    Bruce Mowbray: kk.

    Bruce Mowbray: Well, neuro-biology research has shown...
    Bruce Mowbray: with a high degree of accuracy,
    Bruce Mowbray: it can be predicted that parents who have a "coherent narrative" of their own lives...
    Bruce Mowbray: will have children whose emotional relationships with their parents and with the world will be stable.
    Bruce Mowbray: The important thing is that the parents create their own "stories...."
    Bruce Mowbray: It doesn't matter how much trauma, how much abuse, or even how honest those stories are --
    Bruce Mowbray: only that the parents have a coherent narrative of their own lives....

    Eliza Madrigal: what does that mean exactly? could you sketch a kind of cohesive narrative example?
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, sure.... I'll try.
    Bruce Mowbray: It's really about "integration" of life experiences --
    Eliza Madrigal: its pretty fascinating so if possible that would help go deeper about it maybe
    Bruce Mowbray: into a "coherent" story...
    Eliza Madrigal listens
    Bruce Mowbray: So, let's say that a dog bit me when I was two years old.
    Bruce Mowbray: Hi, Hana!!!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Hana! :) I'll give you a note of the discussion so far
    Hana Furlough: Hi Bruce and Eliza!
    Hana Furlough: Great, thanks!
    Bruce Mowbray: We're talking about research in neuro-biology, Hana.
    Hana Furlough: Cool!


    Bruce Mowbray: Better example: Let's say that I had something tragic happen when I was a child . . . It is important that my story include this trauma - integrate it into my life's story - in a coherent way. . .
    Bruce Mowbray: Otherwise it becomes an "implicite memory...." - (not something that I am conscious of) -- and may continually "threaten" my emotional stability in ways that I am not even aware of.

    Bruce Mowbray: Good day, Adams!
    Adams Rubble: Hello Hana, Eliza and Bruce :)
    Hana Furlough: Hello, Adams!
    Adams Rubble: It has been a long time since I've seen you Hana
    Adams Rubble: nice to se you again
    Bruce Mowbray: Anyway, I am really simplifying it.
    Hana Furlough: So, is the implication that we need a narrative to deal with things?
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Adams :)
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes.
    Hana Furlough: Yes, Adams! It has been a long time!
    Adams Rubble stops talking and reads notecard Eliza sent

    Hana Furlough: Did the article say anything about the dangers of narratives?

    Bruce Mowbray: A coherent narrative not only enables US to "deal" with life in a more stable way -- and a more accepting way -- but it also sets up our children to do the same.
    Bruce Mowbray: It was a podcast, Hana. One that I listened to this morning...
    Hana Furlough: Ahh, I see
    Bruce Mowbray: of a conference at the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico.
    Eliza Madrigal: I listened to a snippet of an interview with Norah Ephron, who died this last week, and something she said may have relevance too...
    Eliza Madrigal: she said that she was raised by parents who would say "everything is copy"...
    Bruce Mowbray: conference given by Dan Seigel -- a psychiatrist and neuro-biologist.
    Hana Furlough: I read that too! Genius!
    Eliza Madrigal: which meant that whatever happened, she had this sense of it becoming story eventually...

    Bruce Mowbray: Yes! "Everything is available as story material!"
    Bruce Mowbray: great.
    Hana Furlough: or poetry material
    Eliza Madrigal: it reminded me of a quote Eos shared a few years ago: "If the meditator is able to use whatever occurs in his life as the Path, his body becomes a retreat hut." -Jigme Lingpa
    Bruce Mowbray: Wonderful!
    Hana Furlough: Or, as Philip Kapleau said, "Grist for the mill"
    Eliza Madrigal: yes!

    Bruce Mowbray: Everything becomes "workable" -- or, as Ram Dassw put it, Everything is "Grist for the Mill."
    Bruce Mowbray: snap!
    Hana Furlo
    ugh: haha!

    Eliza Madrigal: Adams has helped keep our coherent storyline alive in PaB, with the Chronicles :)

     [ Chronicles ]

    PaB sunday morning_001.png

    Bruce Mowbray: It's also the title of one of Ram Dass' books.
    Adams Rubble: Stories certainly help us relate to and remember things
    Bruce Mowbray: http://www.amazon.com/Grist-Mill-Opp.../dp/0890874999

    Eliza Madrigal: so examining our stories may be a central part of lab work :)
    Hana Furlough: yeah, i think that's the key, they have to be examined
    Adams Rubble: But we also need to break out of our story lines sometimes and be something else

    Hana Furlough: yes!
    Eliza Madrigal: yes!
    Eliza Madrigal: :))
    Bruce Mowbray: I like to think of Second Life as a campfire in a cave -- around which we all sit and tell our stories. . . as humans did tens of thousands of years ago.

    Eliza Madrigal: ever 'catch yourself' telling a story that is no longer really accurate?
    Bruce Mowbray: I feel that narratives are essential to our humanity.
    Eliza Madrigal: I do, all the time... something has changed but it hasn't worked its way into my telling yet... that kind of thing
    Bruce Mowbray: all the time I do that....
    Adams Rubble: like a novel a good story can run its course
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Bruce Mowbray: so the story itself evolves as I evolve through telling it.
    Hana Furlough: me too

    Bruce Mowbray: Journal writing is also vital....
    Eliza Madrigal: agree, feel that too...
    Eliza Madrigal: I wonder what makes labwork out of it though... peer review? as in recording sessions/giving feedback?
    Bruce Mowbray: Do you mean in neuro-biology, Eliza?
    Adams Rubble: i think it becomes labwork when we want it to be
    Hana Furlough: : )
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, and "Science in PaB" ... seeing patterns and proccesses

    Bruce Mowbray: oh -- You mean, what makes it "grist for the mill" of our spiritual "work"....
    Eliza Madrigal nods Adams
    Eliza Madrigal: so back to Bruce's point of "intention" and "attention"
    Bruce Mowbray: Awareness of awareness; attention to intention; integration of experience and ideation. . .
    Bruce Mowbray listens.
    Eliza Madrigal smiles

    Hana Furlough: i think, too, though, that you also need a positive attitude
    Adams Rubble: yes
    Hana Furlough: meaning, the courage to know that stories are stories and that they can't get you down
    Bruce Mowbray: positive means "openness," "acceptance," "flexibility," . . . .
    Hana Furlough: that they can be appreciated or put to good use
    Bruce Mowbray: neither chaos nor rigidity.
    Adams Rubble thinks about the courage to be positive


    Eliza Madrigal: to see things through?
    Hana Furlough: yeah, to see that it's ok to have stories, but that there's something else out there besides little stories and little selves
    Adams Rubble: yes, and to see there are new sstories (new adventures) to be had too
    Hana Furlough: yeah!

    Eliza Madrigal looks around at the beginnings of many little self lab experiments and ponders 'integration :)
    Eliza Madrigal: or opening up to the new
    Hana Furlough: can you say more about integration, eliza?
    Eliza Madrigal: I suppose what comes to mind isn't exactly a science but literary angle... many chapters ... many strings...
    Eliza Madrigal: and some of them may not feel to fit together... all this data...
    Adams Rubble: the Biiiiiig novel :)
    Eliza Madrigal: story data :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes :)

    Bruce Mowbray: The sub-cortical areas of the brain (which include the entire body, btw) are constantly "looking" for the next instant of "now" --- and stories (also held unconsciously, perhaps) are one of the ways the brain makes experience consistent. . . and coherent (i.e., "meaningful")
    Hana Furlough: interesting...
    Adams Rubble: The brain needs history majors. hehe

    Eliza Madrigal: meaningful mandalamandala3.jpeg
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, I find it fascinating. . .
    Eliza Madrigal laughs...so true Adams
    Bruce Mowbray: This is how we are able to drive down the freeway.
    Hana Furlough: lol!
    Bruce Mowbray: The brain is continually "knowing" the next instant of "now."
    Bruce Mowbray: before it actually happens.
    Bruce Mowbray: largely unconscious, of course.
    Bruce Mowbray: It also enables us to be empathetic.

    Eliza Madrigal: I recently orderd the book "Strangers to Ourselves" and am looking forward to reading that... some idea that to know ourselves we really do need others... that a stranger may have insight we ourselves or a dear friend, may miss
    Adams Rubble: mirrors
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes -- excellent point, Eliza... and also an excellent reason to travel to places where we are not known.
    Hana Furlough: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: Anne Frank's father, reading her book, felt something along the lines of "who is this girl", I'm told
    Eliza Madrigal: her writings, I should say
    Eliza Madrigal: and they were 'close'
    Hana Furlough: interesting
    Eliza Madrigal: "travel to places where we are not known" ... nice...
    Eliza Madrigal: we're off the hook there? hah
    Adams Rubble: In an urban area do not have to go far for that :)

    Bruce Mowbray: "Closeness" in relationships usually means sharing the same "stories" -- and probably believing the same stories.. . So it is useful to encounter folks who are not "playing the same records," as it were.
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Hana Furlough: for sure
    Adams Rubble: I agree we can gain insights in many places

    Eliza Madrigal: Life as a Lab, would mean some intentionality about creating an environment for discovery.. even if somewhat contrived at first
    Bruce Mowbray: Remember the movie by Woody Allen -- Selig ---? The human chameleon. . . always took on the persona of whoever he happened to be with. . .


    Hana Furlough: ahh yes, that familiar reactivity
    Bruce Mowbray: discovery requires opennes too infinite possibility, and flexibility, and non-reactiveness (not reacting with chaos or rigidity)
    Bruce Mowbray: delete the "too" -- I don't know why I typed that.
    Eliza Madrigal: OK :)
    Bruce Mowbray: ty ;-)
    Adams Rubble: to?
    Bruce Mowbray: (Perhaps I'm being too rigid with my typist today...)
    Hana Furlough: i kind of liked it as "openness too infinite"
    Bruce Mowbray: yes, openness to TO infinite possibility.
    Hana Furlough: it made sense somehow
    Eliza Madrigal: haha... have to keep it now :D
    Adams Rubble: openess 2
    Hana Furlough: : )
    Eliza Madrigal: so the challenge seems to be taking a basic situation or basic materials, even though familiar, and intentionally letting them be unfamiliar to see what we have not seen and let that be factored...
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, keep it now -- it will give context to my "story" -- and make it more coherent.

    Hana Furlough: yeah, and i think that's the hardest thing
    Bruce Mowbray ponders "intentionally letting them be unfamiliar" -- which, to me, means letting go of our filters of expectation, preference, and judgment.
    Eliza Madrigal: so methods are useful cause they let people not feel silly... 'well, this is the forumla'... or 'this is the play, the context, for the costumes/masks'...
    Eliza Madrigal: agreed upon
    Adams Rubble: or just relax and be
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Bruce Mowbray: Yeah, so it doesn't matter how silly your costume is if you're attending a costume party.
    Adams Rubble: or in SL
    Hana Furlough: : )
    Eliza Madrigal: precisely :D
    Hana Furlough: ha!
    Bruce Mowbray: and we're ALL attending costume parties much of the time...
    Adams Rubble: :)

    Eliza Madrigal: am aware as I'm sitting here, of how beneficial it is to have history with others... yet also intentionally not hold to that
    Eliza Madrigal: then the story keeps opening and opening inclusively
    Eliza Madrigal: animation
    Bruce Mowbray ponders "history with others...." I agree, Eliza, and it's so sad when members of our own families are unwilling to share their own history.
    Adams Rubble: some families members share and share their history :)
    Eliza Madrigal giggles
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes.
    Eliza Madrigal: many family battles are battles over history
    Eliza Madrigal: versions
    Hana Furlough: (sneaks out after a great discussion, while wishing everyone a pleasant day)
    Eliza Madrigal: Lovely to see you Hana!!
    Adams Rubble: bye Hana :)
    Adams Rubble: nice to see you again

    Bruce Mowbray: But family members also know where each others' "buttons" are. . . which sometimes makes Thanksgiving dinners rather awkward.
    Bruce Mowbray: Bye Hana!
    Hana Furlough: and all of you too! bye for now!
    Eliza Madrigal: this happened yesterday... my grandfather and I went back in time to a moment where he in generosity offered to help me with school expenses...
    Eliza Madrigal: but he gererosly offered only to help with one type of schooling...
    Eliza Madrigal: and I was surprised how we each sat there with thankfulness for one another, but with different feelings about the moment
    Eliza Madrigal: my not accepting the offer...
    Eliza Madrigal: and his feeling still, that I ought to have, and sort of creating a story around 'what if I had'...etc
    Eliza Madrigal: no one was wrong
    Eliza Madrigal: anyway, just a personal antedote
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Bruce Mowbray: Yes, families are full of such stories/memories/expectations/refusals/gratitudes/ etc etc etc...
    Bruce Mowbray: Thank you for sharing it.
    Adams Rubble: and love
    Eliza Madrigal: yes


    Eliza Madrigal: yw
    Bruce Mowbray: That brought back a few of my own family's stories.
    Bruce Mowbray: I must depart.
    Bruce Mowbray: Thank you Eliza and Adams.
    Adams Rubble: bye Bruce :)
    Bruce Mowbray: May all your narratives be coherent!
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Namaste Bruce
    Bruce Mowbray: Namaste!
    Adams Rubble: I must go too. Thanks you
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Adams, so nice to see you... thanks for the email this morning and hope someone picks that up.. you've been amazing
    Adams Rubble: It was a nice chat this morning. Nice to think about those things
    Eliza Madrigal: :) feel that too... nice morning
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: ty, bye for now
    Adams Rubble: bye Eliza :)

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    For those interested in following up on the podcasts Bruce mentions:
    Posted 16:27, 1 Jul 2012
    (laughs - okay, yes, ego showing :P)
    Posted 01:35, 8 Jul 2012
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