2009.09.29 - The Push and Pull of PaB

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    Here is the text of a dialogue held by Piet Hut (in SL: Pema Pera) and Steven Tainer (in SL: Stim Morane), in Second Life on September 29, 2009.

     

    P: yesterday, we talked about working with a working hypothesis,
       playing with a playing hypothesis, and you said "the main thing is to
       follow through."  I agree that the main challenge for PaB is this
       "following through."  Usually spiritual training has a push-pull
       structure. There is an ideal at the horizon, pulling you, some form of
       enlightenment perhaps.  And there are the preliminary practices,
       pushing you with their specific structures, from following your breath
       to visualizations or chants and prayers, etc.
    S: :)
    P: in contrast, PaB has a very unusual push-pull structure.  We use
       the most radical pull, Being.  And we use the most gentle and fun
       push, play.
    P: The question for PaB is: can an eye toward Being provide an
       effective resource, enough of an incentive to "follow through."  What
       do you think?
    S: I'm happy to let evidence decide.
    P: of course; but my question is what we can do in PaB to make it more
       likely that the evidence will be positive :-)
    S: Oh, that seems like a very different question
    S: So you're asking "how" to help it along, not whether "an eye toward
       Being" would be effective
    P: yes
    P: or in other words, how to help others in developing a kind of "eye
       toward Being"
    S: In the TSK approach, working with the individual angles, T, S, K,
       were supposed to do this.
    S: In the teaching I developed subsequently, many other things were
       brought in to contribute.
    S: But because people are so different, one has to make the approach
       fit the person
    S: What are you planning?
    P: for a teacher-student relationship, the approach has to fit the
       person, yes
    P: in a group approach, where everybody is a kind of mentor for
       everybody else, perhaps there is no need for an "approach" as such
    S: So this is the answer to your question?
    P: yet there can be ingredients
    P: a kind of toolbox of ideas
    P: explorations like "appreciating the presence of apperance as a
       presentation by being" -- APAPB
    P: and of course "play as Being" itself -- PaB
    P: or "you seeing Being seeing" -- YSBS
    P: we have played with those explorations from time to time
    S: Yes.
    P: so instead of an "approach" as a kind of system, I think that a
       group-based exploration can use something more like a "set of
       hints"
    P: toolbox, store of ideas -- don't know what is the best word for it
    P: but the BIG problem there is that it is hard to "follow through" then.
    P: in a teacher-student relation, the student can feel comfortable,
       trusting and respecting the teacher, and just going along with the
       "approach"
    P: in a group-based situation, there is no single "approach" and each
       day each individual has to decided for him/herself which tool to
       use and how
    P: and as a result, it is very easy to drop the ball
    P: and stop followiing through
    S: in TSK, there is no teacher-student relationship either, just a
       person working with the vision and through an eventual, real sense
       of things coming out of that, begin to sense Being.
    S: And if you had a group of people who each had done substantial work
       with the first part of this process, you would then have the
       potential for a "group" of explorers to work together as a true
       "group".
    S: I.e., they would be able to truly complement and inform each other
    S: But first there is this requirement to satisfy, that each person
       should be "in" the vision in a very significant way, beyond their
       ordinary reactions and tendencies etc.
    S: This would suggest that trying to "start at the end" is
       particularly tricky, because that's the least likely to be
       accessible.
    S: I mean, for the first stage of entering the vision
    S: So ... You have an interesting challenge
    P: yes, I agree
    P: and I see three possible answers to that challenge
    P: 1) the conventional one: years and years of practice, which can
       give you at least a felt sense of the direction to look in, re:
       Being
    P: this is something that of course you and I have done, and several
       PaB guardians as well, in their own practice: some of them have had
       a decade or more of regular meditation practice
    P: however, what I see as the unique challenge of PaB is to also make
       it accessible in other ways, both for newcomers to contemplation as
       well as for those already engaged in 1) but look for a fresh way to
       complement 1)
    P: the two ways I see are:
    P: 2) intense motivation to see directly into the heart of reality; and
    P: 3) intense interest in play, as a way of life
    S: I think those are good ingredients for all sorts of explorations.
    P: this may be a good place to stop, and to pick up from tomorrow?
    S: OK, thanks.
    P: thank you too!

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