10 - 12 May the Circle be Unbroken

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    Scribe's Review for August 10-12, 2010, compiled by Calvino Rabeni.

    I decided to take a minimalist approach in this review ... removing names from the log transcripts, rearranging and distilling lines, looking for a poetic impression rather than a record, letting the group's contemplation emerge and speak for itself as if in a unified voice.  To see the originals, visit the session links.


    2010.08.10 07:00 - DandiLion Wishes

    Please to be forewarned: I have had a crappy day.  This chat was the highlight of an otherwise...
    Also, I have had at least a glass of wine and might type anything I feel like.

    We treat mental problems as moral failures, or as failures to follow a religious path
    Society will always have its intolerant numbskulls and its optimistic dogooders
    A bottomless pit

            Whenever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves,
            after the first suffering, how we can turn it into good.
            So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers.
    - Leigh Hunt

    Fertilize that root
    We eat the bitter root, to remember
    It becomes part of us

    It is time for me to go


    2010.08.10 13:00 - Tao of Snowglobe

    "In a stress situation, you don't rise to your potential, you fall to your level of practice"
    Musing if it was completely true - my knee jerk response was, no
    It is possible to hold oneself in one's highest intention
    The more one stays there, the more one comes from there
    Sooner or later, unbeknownst to oneself, one finds oneself acting from one's highest intention
    Would that not be "practice" of one's intentionality?
    Surely holding oneself in that highest intention *is* practice?

    * * *

    Some behaviorists think that the only way we can learn is through varieties of stree.
    (OMG -- let's don't get started with "stree" again!)

    * * *
    What is stress?
    It is when you don't get your way
    It is the interruption of balance (homeostasis) by some external condition or actor.
    That's a good definition on a physical level, disruption of homeostasis of physical systems
    stress the body until it breaks
    or until the body makes some adjustment -- "learns"
    * * *
    We are all multicycles
    * * *
    Stress is a condition of residual tension when the body-mind has been mobilized to meet a challenge and the action is for some reason incomplete
    it is an incomplete encounter cycle
    If that doesn't happen, it isn't called stress, it's called excitement and relaxation in a natural cycle
    unrequited actions
    A dynamic instability, a bicycle is constantly just about to fall over and crash, and the rider keeps it going by constantly correcting
    * * *
    In such situations, do we rise to our level of potential or fall to our level of practice?    
    Riding a bike is used to imply a learned skill you never forget
    It's always manual labor
    Once you get it you know how to keep getting it
    Reaching a limit and then falling back towards the center from one side and another
    The mind while meditating, constantly drifting away from and being brought back to the breath.
    * * *
    "Level of rest" could be another way of looking at it
    Or "base"
    That feels truer
    Fall to homeostasis
    Relaxation - in energy
    There's a dynamic relationship between base and peak
    To extend one through practice is to extend the other
    Bow to base, bow to peak
    That's why martial arts always emphasize relaxation as part of achieving greater power
    It is a physical form of "dropping" before creating a new focused directed energy
    * * *
    I just learned the other day the body is weakest on inhalation
    Not from your latest personality thingie, but from a greater field
    Roar as you pounce!
    Blow out as you lift the weight.
    So obvious, i know but still
    Tonglen knows that
    In the practice of Tonglen, I actually feel "stronger" on the out-breath.
    It depends on what is meant by weak or strong:
    inhaling, the body is strong for "grounding" but not for extending
    Inhalation 'mind can detach', exhalation, 'grounded'. ?
    It is the other way around
    If you want to be strong in receiving something and taking it to earth, inhalation is good
    Inhaling is taking something
    Exhaling is giving away
    What you exhale is something you can give away or something you don't need anymore
    * * *
    During a stress experience, breathing is not natural
    Stress is to hold tension you are not directing any more
    Like tension
    In that way exhaling can also be used for grounding
    Give up fixation on self on exhale
    Drop off the cliff
    Decenter from I
    * * *
    What is the snowglobe?
    A metaphor for the sense of the self as a stirred up container that could be allowed to settle ?
    Shake it
    And all phenomena around you settle
    It's magic!
    Sometimes storms go round it
    They are part of it: snow and rain
    * * *
    Settling is one part of experience - the dynamic of the full cycle is important to develop through practices - especially in regard to stress, but also clarity and power
    "Full cycle": being shaken and then settling again and then shaken again, etc ?
    Being shaken or - shaking self - either receiving or originating
    Like the Shakers or Quakers
    For quick aerobic development, interval training is very effective
    Shaking is often a spontaneous expression of pent up energies
    So repetition of a cycle makes it more and more efficient?
    The cycle can develop through practice:
    it can get bigger (more dynamic range)
    and quicker (faster to rise or settle)
    The settling is the body-mind letting go of one situation and getting open / ready for a new one
    Stress is when there is a holding of the old energy
    It gets stale and circulates internally
    The cycle I'm referring to is the body-mind's cycle of encounter with experiences
    Cycle of balance/unbalance, unsettled/settled
    Being mobilized, getting into action, engaging, adjusting, withdrawing, relaxing, settling
    Snowglobe shaken and stirred, snowglobe settled
    Experience-process-react- experience-process-react?
    The snowglobe is be a metaphor of that cycle - getting shaken, then settling
    Is that a cycle, or just a shake-up?
    If you imagine everything going on in the snowglobe, all the parts of the cycle are there
    Not the perimeter of the experience-process-react cycle, but its still center
    * * *
    Does "settle" correspond to "Yin" energy and "Shaken" to "Yang" energy?
    The center is there with any point on the perimeter
    "In a stress situation, you don't rise to your potential, you fall to your level of practice" thinking of the yin and yang in that, too
    Yin is the ability to settle - yin is what receives the energy that is settling
    The faster we can settle, the better?
    Yin is embodiment of "settle"?
    * * *
    To settle is the right way to be?
    The right way to be, is to  a natural cycle according to conditions
    That's the message of the I Ching also
    It doesn't say Yin is best, or Yang
    Just there is constant change
    and it moves in a cycle
    the cycle is active at every point in the wheel
    at the very center, it is still active, but infinitely subtle
    But the default is settle until you're shaken again
    You settle in your practice
    stressors and homeostasis again
    * * *
    What are the stages of that cycle as it's not just on and off?
    The center contains both yin and yang in an unmanifest state
    Resting in both spinning and stillness; occasionally dizzying
    Only 2 states of being?
    It is all being, in any combination
    I usually find myself between those two states
    We seem to like to think in dichotomies
    * * *
    The I Ching shows 64 states in a continuum of change
    64 patterns in relationship and continuous flow.
    Two "energetic" modes: "shake" and "settle"
    It just divides the pie into that number of pieces, but they are continuous
    Two modes: neither is intrinsically better than the other
    * * *
    How can we apply that to our lives?
    There are lots of ways to apply those principles
    If you like being calm, have a good exercise program, for instance
    Choose the opposite for balance?
    Balance and also dynamic range
    If you get good sleep, you'll have more energy the next day
    That is an example of the dynamic range of the cycle - sleep supporting strong activity
    * * *
    Two opposites no?
    This is beginning to make sense to me
    If you feel all jangled, sit and meditate?
    About meditating when jangled - maybe not
    It's better to follow the jangled energy first - express it in motion, and THEN relax into meditation
    First take four laps around your house, then meditate
    This is more complicated than I thought
    But it's very natural
    The body-mind left to its natural way, knows how to do it
    We have options
    Walking and hiking are natural ways to meditate.
    I got a sense that opposites balanced things out. Too calm, go for a run. Nerves jangled-go for a run
    The I Ching was an ancient philosophy about the cycle of energy and changes - but our body-minds work that way naturally - no study needed
    * * *
    It is not about "control"
    but about expressing the natural cycle without as much interference
    The implication might be that it is possible to get new energy even as I grow older?
    Yes, but then you need to understand the body-mind
    and that means you need to open yourself to it
    But you would need to recognize that natural cycle?
    Yes, and on different levels


    2010.08.10 19:00 - Forest

    I haven't met anyone online that ever really was real with me
    I've chatted online since '96
    Well -- get ready to meet some REAL people....
    There is so much beyond words...more dimensional..
    * * *
    Perhaps too much freedom at first for some
    I'm sure of that.
    So one must deal with total freedom which is something one does not get in real life
    But that is for certain people not all
    Can there be too much freedom?
    My experience in Internet chat says "Yes"
    It's a balance between rigidity and chaos --- a continual finding of the balance.
    We may think it's freedom
    There's freedom to go from one fixation to another
    It takes a very strong personal sense of self to not let it go to ones head
    We can only find that balance when we give ourselves that freedom to do so..
    and then there's a more real freedom
    * * *
    As long as a person stays true to themselves then even negative experiences wind up good
    * * *
    From "The Little Book of Practice":
    As a longtime naturalist and meditator, he says that during the first years he was eager to tune in to the subtleties of the forest - the invisible energies and secret lives of all that lived there. At some point he realized that all he really had to do was make himself available, to "show up", and be seen rather than struggling to see.


    2010.08.11 01:00 - Many ways to freedom from identification

    Many people see ego as as enemy.
    but it is good to have one, only one shouldn't identify with it
    I fully agree
    "have" one
    not "be" one
    "freedom from identification" is very important, not getting rid of or denying/ignoring identification
    wearing it casually
    denying is in my eyes the completely wrong approach
    yet avoiding is central to most forms of spiritual pursuits
    in the sense of renunciation
    while not wrong, it is not the most efficient approach
    * * *
    the past is made of present thoughts that are projected backwards in time
    the present of true presence is very unlike the tiny present
    that we consider to be sandwiched between gigantic past and future
    it is more like presence is emanating future and past
    everything exists only in presence. even the past and the future


    2010.08.11 07:00 - August Dream Circle I

    This session is worth reading but I consider it unquotable, because a dream should be considered in its entirety.

    We always dream ... it's rather we don't remember very well sometimes.


    2010.08.11 13:00 - Dropped, not Stopped

    Comments on the PlayAsBeing retreat in Nova Scotia


    2010.08.11 19:00 - Music and Drink

    Be always present and open?
    yes, present and open rather a lot
    WILD THINGS!! Yes!
    But we have to filter out some stuff - our brain does it for us, or we would be overwhelmed
    Do you think we're in danger?
    of what?
    Of being overwhelmed
    I suspect that I'm overwhelmed.
    Life's a fire hose with too much pressure?
    Apparently our brains couldn't take in all the sensual stimulus around us so it automatically edits out stuff like noise
    I've heard that idea before - I think it kind of goes back to William James?
    might have been. it was talking bout chemicals in our brains
    and what happens when we lack or have too much of something
    regulation mechanisms
    we are a mess of hormones
    a mess and a mass
    Messes are available, yes.
    Messes are messessities
    Reductionism is a little unkind - it seems to me - to ask us to imagine ourselves as small, delicate machines on the verge of being breached by the massive chaos of the universe - or something like that
    indeed, a mess
    * * *
    is the wave overwhelmed by the ocean ? :)
    my waves are frequently overwhelmed.
    it would be nice to have more lingering good byes :)
    I want everything to linger.
    if only ...
    linger here for an active eternity ....
    the stuff of poems?
    * * *
    John O'Donohue had a full book on longing and belonging
    the subject deserves careful consideration
    I can imagine so.... having read his book on Beauty.
    it's an inescapable part of life which carries utmost vulnerability as well as motivation
    there's a lot to it both as experience and as philosophy
    vulnerability is scary.
    But real
    we are all ultimately totally vulnerable -- and only our mental constructions buffer us.
    * * *
    I felt today as if I were going over the edge of vulnerability.
    ... to the rim of the wheel and beyond.
    maybe the wheel stretches a tiny bit
    what happened then?
    I recognized where I was....
    and recognized what I needed to do to regain sanity.
    come back to the hub as much as I was able to.
    * * *
    sometime the machine metaphor is reassuring - we're self-regulating
    or a non-machine way of saying it - able to make choices?
    discretion, discernment
    knowing how far is "enough"
    Always testing the limits.
    and beyond
    * * *
    sometimes beyond, yes.
    transgressing the limits, is a way they are defined
    such is my life.
    and mine, and I think, ours
    and so we take our bikes out for a ride.
    a ride to the edges.
    * * *
    I did that today - a meditation ride - ahh, very sweet
    I rode closer to the edge of my world
    As Ram Dass might say: "The only ride there is."
    The only game in town, etc.
    each ride we take.


    2010.08.12 01:00 - Runaway Minds, Self and Suffering

    it is clinging to this idea of self that causes us so much suffering
    selves are a marvelous invention for reality to be self-aware
    "I believe the teachings when they point to ego, to self-cherishing, to always being on the lookout for recognition, approval, comfort, and pleasure, as being so many hammers that fatally pound in the barbed nails of suffering." I just read that this morning
    * * *
    awareness is a start to seeing through its emptiness though I think
    Maybe that's as far as it goes
    Dropping the droppable ideas of "self" but not the true self
    * * *
    why is taking me so long to learn put this into practice though?
    do Buddhists really put so much attention on suffering, or is that just a beginning stage?
    I see the suffering it causes too
    Because, you keep measuring it
    * * *
    I would say the main teaching of Buddhism is relieving suffering
    If Buddhism defines life as suffering, that's not necessarily liberating, if it's a biased label for experience
    not all life is suffering
    If that is really true, then Buddhism would seem to be stuck on a low level of consciousness
    I'm not sure that's the case however
    suffering is present because of ignorance
    Siddhartha understood there would be suffering.....and saw a way through it.....
    or ignorance can lead to unnecessary suffering, sure
    maybe it's worth thinking about sorting out the stupid suffering from the unavoidable suffering, or making some distinctions
    * * *
    is there anything more important than the elimination of suffering?
    elimination of suffering seems a low priority
    * * *
    depends how much you suffer maybe
    if people are dominated by suffering, it is more important, yes
    when one suffers, there is nothing more important
    if they don't suffer much, they have attention for other things
    if they're less ignorant, they probably suffer a lot less
    for goodness and caring for others
    * * *
    Not a good word, ignorant
    we cause most of our own suffering
    * * *
    I'd caution people not to feel so responsible for their suffering - not to blame it all on "self"
    it's thoroughly mixed and unquantifiable, since it is a qualitative thing
    my own suffering is mostly self caused by how I react to things
    Maybe that's just a "hopeful story" of some kind
    To feel in control ?
    I feel it's sometimes true, sometimes not
    it's a bit overly psychological and overly individualistic
    to claim responsibility for all one's suffering
    we can't do much about external things anyway
    Where does it start?
    we can only control our own reactions
    the idea of disconnecting the inside from the outside, if that is being suggested, seems questionable
    we can't change the world
    nor can we change our internal reactions much
    except perhaps through practice
    if we see our self-centered ignorance - it can be dropped sometimes
    sometimes, true
    Doesn't it need to be replaced with something?
    world-centered knowledge?
    I hear the question
    * * *
    There's also the dynamic that - what one puts attention on, grows
    that would seem to include suffering
    because giving it attention amounts to "practicing" it
    I think that would lead to getting better at it
    we can't repress things either
    as a matter of unintended training
    * * *
    I am trying to remain 'open' to something in my life ATM but it causes me suffering
    I suspect, the "mind" doesn't need to be constantly controlled
    and that to do so might lead to some forms of suffering
    if that were not true, then there wouldn't be so much emphasis on relaxation, dropping, non-doing
    it's more a kind of openness and allowing though?
    protect yourself .....do not hurt others..... protect yourself
    as suggestions for a kind of meditation
    it goes on and on and on I find
    you might be right
    no need to be a masochist either


    2010.08.12 07:00 - Find a ship to take us on the way

    i couldn´t drop very well
    i can´t drop well lately
    why not? why do you think that?
    you drop just fine
    is there a piece of cake to that espresso?


    2010.08.12 13:00 - Hallelujah the Edge

    in my time reports i resort to fuzzy intellectualization
    I'm doing the same thing -- and i don't like that. . .
    This time I'm trying to really get inside the awareness -- but finding it difficult to say in words what it is.
    stating it in words is where the breakdown occurs for me
    looking especially at emotional pain and pleasure. . . and what happens when I "drop"
    What's to be done?
    stop worrying and write it anyway? :)
    it's a well-known trick for overcoming a block.
    "I know I can't to this, and that's OK, self. But I *were* going to do it, what would it look like?"
    and you write about that instead.
    ... finding labels (words) to convey awareness that is un-labeled. or something like that.

    Language is not the deadly trap it is often said to be. Language is often blamed when something exciting becomes limited and lifeless. Philosophers of many sorts hold that anything will fall into old categories by being said. This might be true when one uses only common phrases, but in the case of fresh phrasing it is quite false. New phrasing is possible because language is always implicit in human experiencing and deeply inherent in what experiencing is.
    Far from reducing and limiting what one implicitly lives and wants to say, a fresh statement is physically a further development of what one senses and means to say. Then, to write down and read back what is said can engender still further living. What one physically senses in one’s situation is not some fixed, already determined entity, but a further implying that expands and develops in response to what is said. Rather than ‘falling into‘ the constraints of the said, we find that the effects of the said can open ways of living and saying still further.

    From "Thinking at the Edge" by Eugene Gendlin

    It is about thinking without getting "stuck" with language
    fresh each time
    it is about limitations as openness...
    which doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't times when words run out and staying with that too... allowing other ways of articulation to emerge... (re the quote)
    awake for the emergence


    2010.08.12 19:00 - Meteors!

    There should be a "how I feel" word for "like Paradise's dress looks"
    resplendent .. alive ... in every depth :)
    *Every* depth - I like that
    we could make one up
    My pet fish has suggested "orgasmic," but I slapped him up-side the gills for that.
    I remembers movie using fireworks for the same idea
    Aye! Fire in the sky! AYE!
    The energy of the dress is something different isn't it?
    it has "being" and doesn't look like something quickly to burn out
    and it has multiple depths and scales
    unlike orgasms and fireworks (and meteors)
    it's more like a multi-verse
    I can't tell if its direction is inward-going or outward-going
    as it seems to be both at once
    Does it absorb energy? Or emit it?
    It's very... eidetic
    eidetic means, mental images of a "live" quality
    seeming to contain a multiplicity of images
    if you put a pin, to touch a point of it, a different image could emerge at each point
    much like reality .. we each are sort of little pins .. different images different perspectives
    with moving energy inside, and unfolding
    look at her .. image of reality .. surrounded by things she knows ..
    odd how .. it can be shared
    quite easily in a way ..
    like we are not only pins but maybe bridges too
    I view an image as a pin, yet someone wise may see something very different from the same image
    If it were the same image - maybe it's more real than image
    accounting for its ability to present differently to the different seers
    the image gets credit as does the seer
    the joys of trying to convey one pin results in infinite variety of perspectives

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