Table of contents
    No headers

    This is an edited version of the Ways of Knowing discussion from 2010.0.07 at - Presence.

    I enjoyed reading the reports - especially Dao's :)   A masterpiece!

    Presence is what you need to avoid missing out on your whole entire life.  Unfortunately, I am running out of time today so that's it for now :).

    C: wow, awesome :)
    C: (it's also about all that you can say when your internet connection is acting up :)
    C: Like the Rumi's poem in your report, E.
    C: 'It is thee' -- not me
    C: TY.. really love that too... hit in a timely way
    C: the thought that comes to mind with presence for me is primarily the scope of presence, how "wide" or open it is.
    C: is not a single point _ 'now' ?
    C: when I use the word "presence" I tend to use it only in reference to the most open version of awareness.  I don't even like to use the word "now" or "present" with it, though many people do. That's something D and I talk about sometimes
    C: Being present and presence means something different for me ... anyway.
    C: Please could you explain the difference?
    C: Don't think this matters too much.

    I relate to the wide scope idea, Mitsu

    C: Well presence could mean a quality someone possesses ...
    C: it's more of a process though - being present?
    C: the larger the scope, the less it seems to be related to or owned by "me". Another way of saying the same thing is that the "me" is broader and broader and becomes everything -- Rather than being, if that makes sense

    Process and quality are dual ways of labeling the same thing

    C: "Me" becomes you, the walls, the rocks, the world, the stars, past, present future and so forth.

    Yes, "me" gets spread around and through

    C: being everything -- but that's more like 'oneness'? -- presence seems more about time -- this moment -- and staying in this moment

    C: is this moment the best point to experience oneness?

    Some have said, that "this moment" is outside sequential time, with a feeling of eternity

    C: This moment is always the past though ...
    C: because the moment has always just gone?
    C: as soon a we think about it it is
    C: once you're aware of 'this moment' it's happened?

    I don't think experience is really like looking at the world through a keyhole

    C: what about 'mindfulness'?  that's the practice of presence -- isn't it?
    C: I guess that's missing out as D put it ... Yes I think so, being aware of things getting in the way.

    How about the concept of the "greater present moment" ... Presence seems to open an awareness that much more is going on -- maybe it includes future and past as well?  How can so much, enter into the present moment, when according to the linear model of time, it should have almost no "contents"

    C: but we try to remain present -- that's what we do in meditation surely -- keep coming back to presence

    Cl: Would there be a fairly equivalent Buddhist term for that?

    I don't know sorry, not being a student of buddhist psychology

    C: for me "presence" becomes oneness in a way, though it is a oneness that doesn't deny more than one. as the Zen guys say, "not one, yet not two"
    C: it's only from our memory though -- think the non duality guys say 'not one not two'

    Yes, that's nonduality -- I think presence is practiced both "in particular" and in general

    C: in a way, though, there isn't anything but this moment, as the past and future really exist just in our heads, if you get what I mean?
    C: the crazy thing about all this is that it can include everything. it can include a direct perception of the emptiness of everything (how everything that exists has never been) AND how everything has been and does exist in separation, but also not really separate, and so on.

    So for instancce "being aware of selves/agendas getting in the way of being with someone or doing something" is a kind of "in particular" practice of presence -- but the "in general" part is more like, there's some abiding awareness that's always present

    C: agree that it's in our heads

    C: and yes, that makes sense. past and future are constructed by us now. but then again --- it's not as though there is necessarily not also a direct connection between past and future and present

    Right, if they are "one", they are connected

    C: ah ... I see what you mean a bit Calvino.
    C: i agree, you have to move from one place to get to the other, but the place in which we are moving is always now, i guess
    C: you have to believe in linear Time for that?

    We don't have to be so susipcious of that connection between past and future (in my opinion)

    Mitsu Ishii: that's my point, linear time is also a construct. so the separation between past and present is not entirely real

    C: entirely unreal I would say
    Mitsu Ishii: so to say the past is constructed "now" is not quite right, because it implies there is a "now" which is clearly different from the past and future
    C: the way we perceive time is linear maybe, but all there really is is the now?

    The connection isn't a construct necessarily, but our ideas about it are constructs

    C: 'now' is a construct too
    C: everything is partly real and partly not real, from my point of view.

    C: The way one remembers the past is not quite real.  So it is how useful the constructs are
    C: the way one experiences now may not be quite real as well

    As such, as a construct, it would seem to matter what we "build into" that construct of "now", wouldn't it?

    C: on a practical level, one can feel the non-linearity of time in a concrete way -- it's actually something that can be palpably present in "presence" as it opens more and more
    C: so why are we talking about it :)
    C: Time does feel slow when that happens.
    C: or subtract -- remember Occams Razor?

    C: WAIT until you read today's 1 p.m. fountain session -- This is an amazing synchronicity, indeed.

    C: sometimes we seem to multiply entities needlessly? because we make them so though?

    Yes, but it makes a better aesthetic than metaphysical principle -- Sometimes things really are complex
    I'd say there's as much problem with assuming things are simpler than they are, then the opposite -- it comes down to an aesthetic or heuristic -- A heuristic is a useful reminder, a guide to possibilities --  it doesn't prove whether reality is simple or complex -- just reminds us to consider one of those two possibilities -- the developing sciences of complexity may be struggling against misapplication of occams razor in the way western science looks at reality
    sorry, that's probably a sidetrack for our discussion ?

    C: assumptions themselves are dangerous -- maybe sometimes we expand possibiities but sometimes we need to simplify
    C: it's both simple and complex. -- the odd thing is, the way things are simple is also the way in which they become complex
    C: Yes, a bit like 'chaos' ... complex and simple. for example if you read Nagajuna it seems really complex and hard to understand --  but what he is trying to explain is in some sense blindingly simple. it's just hard to explain in words
    C: so now is a complex thing?

    Infinitely, in one sense

    C: once you try to explain it, it ends up seeming really obscure and difficult

    It's simple until you try to structure a description of it

    C: maybe we should just practice presence instead of trying to understand it

    Sometimes, that's the best policy :)

    C: I think it's useful to try to understand as well as to practice
    C: I think it's because we are discussing it. We sing in different keys perhaps.

    C: Is it inappropriate, then, to ascribe intentionality to "Now"? Can "Now" be trusted?

    If Now is a construct, it might as well have an instantaneous version of intentionality built into it

    C: maybe some things are beyond analysis -- but we have to try I guess

    Maybe everything

    C: when you say intentionality, what do you mean, Bruce?

    Yes, it has various meanings, ...
    Zen Arado: 'Intentionality' has a special meaning in philosophy

    Mitsu Ishii: an intentionality which belongs to someone or some thing? or just pure intentionality

    C: I mean - basically - Is Now "friendly"?

    I'd venture "yes"

    C: Or is Now only intent on getting to the next Now?
    C: are you saying --- if you open yourself to presence, will it stab you with a fork in the eye? :)
    C: Yes, that is precisely what I am asking.

    Right, or will "NOW" just fall apart into chaos without some subtle effort to keep it all together?  That's a common "feeling"?  Can you take refuge in it?

    C: Yes, it is a question of too much chaos vs. too much rigidity.

    C: well I think we have to be open to the possibility that going with the Tao might rip us apart (in the sense of the small self) but in general I'd say that the tendency is that it is more when we go against the Tao, the flow, that we tend to get ripped to shreds. or we rip others to shreds, etc.
    C: Yes, I totally agree with you on that.

    That might be a nice thing to happen -- given that it would probably re-form shortly thereafter -- kind of like a roller coaster ride -- for fun
    C: Oh ye of great faith.

    C: opening us to 'don't know'

    C: Have a good teacher/friend handy when that happens to you :)

    Suffering seems to be when going against Tao

    C: So ... presence is ... Tao ... someone clarify this point pls?

    C: have people read Ursula K Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven? it's a great story about someone who tries to change things too forcefully using the power of dreams and ends up screwing everything up and is eventually destroyed.  LeGuin quotes Chuang Tzu's aphorism which ends up being the theme of the book: "To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment. Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven."

    So things work a particular way ... called Tao, and you can go with the flow of it (Tao is called the Watercourse Way) or try to be other than what is, which creates stress and fragmentation and cognigive dissonance

    C: staying in the 'now' is being in the flow?
    C: Staying in the Now is trusting that there is a substrate more trustworthy than the appearances.

    Nice.  Trust plays a big part of it,  and it looks like "not knowing"  The thing I found about contemplation is it takes some courage to throw myself into the "not knowing" and see where I might end up. Like diving into murky waters.

    C: yes, I think you are right. there is a certain element of leaping off of a cliff into the darkness -- it's frightening, and takes a certain degree of faith
    C: I think Kierkegaard called it "leap of faith."

    C: but ultimately groundlessness -- like the exercise my teacher made us do

    I don't agree with the concept of groundlessness per se -- Insofar as it contradicts trust -- and I think grounding is very important as a principle, along with refuge

    C: groundlessness as a concept is empty too...

    C: I think the groundlessness Zen is referring to means not being grounded in the separated appearances of things?  not in the sense of not having any ground at all

    C: but there is no ground because of impermanence

    Impermanence means, things can be relied upon to arise as well as to pass away :)

    C: I like the term you use 'grounded in emptiness' ... that was new to me...
    C: we try to make solid ground out of things
    C: there can be a ground, just not being grounded in any given thing.
    C: I have never experienced "emptiness."
    C: as soon as you do it changes
    C: yes, grounded in emptiness, or in the empty/full dharmakaya
    C: groundlessness is to my thinking just 'nowhere to land' if I have to put words

    Emptiness is a dualistic concept

    C: well to get back to the heart sutra we were talking about before
    C: grounded in groundlessness (uhoh -- i'm getting one of those feelings of losing meaning through repetition :)

    C: I refrained from saying, yes and no too.
    C: 'now' is groundless?
    C: for me, groundlessness was nothing short of transformative... after looking for artificial props everywhere... even as a concept
    C:  ponders Eliza's powerful realization.
    C: use it as a pointer only

    Yes, it's transformative at a certain point ... but later turns out to be dualistic

    C: is that a given for all people?

    I don't know :) Makes sense in my experience and in talking to some other practitioners, fits a certain theoretical framework, but honestly who knows?

    C: yes, there's a subtle difference between not trying to ground yourself in any given thing or idea or structure or pattern, and there not being any ground at all -- in the heart sutra it says "form is emptiness, emptiness is form" which is to say emptiness is not different from form, it's not separate

    C: these concepts are dangerous if we cling to them
    C: ANY concept is dangerous if we cling to it. -- But the danger is in US - not in the concept itself.

    C: I like what we were talking about yesterday re direct experience...

    I think sticking with direct experience is a good effort most of the time
    The heart sutra is a statement of nondualism in that sense

    C: the reason there is a difference is that there is a certain positive quality to just THIS, suchness -- which isn't captured in any separated out piece -- you could say that we have a nature, an original nature, which we can fall back on. its not just total randomness, like white noise -- but this nature can't be characterized or enumerated or turned into a thing or set of things or ideasso it can be grounded in direct presence, for example
    C: which can't be spoken about as it says in the tao
    C: direct=present... no props... not as an ideal...but the closest thing in some sense...
    C: as the Zen guys say, "just THIS"

    Although I believe in concepts as guides or heuristics for interpreting direct experience .. just not "believing" in them

    C: Are you suggesting, Mitsu, that there is "Basic Goodness" --- some trustworthy substrate?
    C: I wouldn't call it "good" because that's already characterizing it too much in a dualistic way

    Taking refuge in reality

    C: What should we talk about next week?  Continue?

    B. is getting at something important

    C: Goodness :)

    C: but I would say it is slightly biased towards something good, in some sense, I think -- sort of -- I hate to use that word though :)

    Let's agree to hold words lightly.  We don't have to sign them like a contract,  and promise ever after to believe something :)

    C: I agree with about holding all words "lightly."

    C: We look forward to hearing about the topic, Goodness :)
    C: It is a word from the Shambala tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.... "Goodness."Eliza Madrigal: not sure we can.... talk about it... but maybe share.  hm... yes if we can do that... share from a place of not believing 'in' -- or pinning down

    C: my dad once said, thinking in terms of good and bad is a big mistake. but then he said ... on the other hand, getting beyond good and bad ... is basically good :)


    Tag page (Edit tags)
    • No tags
    You must login to post a comment.
    Powered by MindTouch Core