2008.04.15 07:00 - Simplicity

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    It was a quiet morning in Rieul. When I arrived at the tea house. Maxine was already waiting for me.

    Maxine Walden: hi, Pema
    Pema Pera: Hi Maxine
    Pema Pera: Good morning
    Maxine Walden: yes it feels like a good morning
    Pema Pera: It is becoming quite a tradition already, isn’t it, to meet here in the early morning
    Maxine Walden: It is, hoping that is ok, to have a ‘tradition’ in the midst of being open to the new
    Pema Pera: haha, sure
    Maxine Walden: the early morning is such a creative and peaceful time for me it seems like the perfect time for these endeavors
    Pema Pera: yes, for me too, I always try to postpone chores for my work till the afternoon, if possible
    Maxine Walden: interesting, I am finding that works for me as well, chores later in the day
    Pema Pera: I used to read email only in the afternoon, but alas, nowadays it is often hard to postpone such things, even for half a day . . . .
    Maxine Walden: yes, interesting to have to portion the day for the space for creative things
    Maxine Walden: not that email is not creative, but often voices, things seem to tug at the sleeve
    Pema Pera: . . . when I am organizing new activities, missing email for even a few hours can lead to divergences of ideas and actions that then take longer to converge again.
    Maxine Walden: isn’t that interesting, I know exactly what you mean, as if the ideas or muse-gifts seem to drift or that the input from others seems to pull attention in another direction
    Pema Pera: well, yes, some emails can be creative, but once you open your inbox, you have to deal with all that is there, or alternatively you have to get into it again later, which takes even more time
    Maxine Walden: you know, I have found that I am very selective when I go into my inbox, because I can get lost there…so sometimes sneak in and read only a few knowing that I have to come back, but am better at leaving others for later
    Pema Pera: good for you, Maxine!
    Maxine Walden: seems I lost my last little note: just said I am selective in what I read in my inbox, but do feel I am sneaking away from those left unopen
    Maxine Walden: had an interesting meeting with Steven last evening, had not seen him in a couple of weeks
    Pema Pera: in Qwaq?
    Maxine Walden: yes, at one of the Direct Awareness meeting times
    Maxine Walden: I am still a newbie there and he is advising how to begin that Direct Awareness practice
    Maxine Walden: but in scanning what I am experiencing during those early morning practices I came across the dreams which I have mentioned here, and then it felt to me an intersection between this PaB
    Maxine Walden: and his Direct Awareness…but that did not seem problematic, rather a conjunction

    We then switched to the 9-sec practice.

    Pema Pera: and how does all this connect with the 9-second practice, for you?
    Maxine Walden: the 9 second practice seems to be a port-hole, an openning to this wider contemplative space
    Pema Pera: are you able to do it every day, for a while each day?
    Maxine Walden: yes, every day, for 3-4 hours during my work day when I have easy access to note taking, and also
    Maxine Walden: on days off, but like on the weekend when I am around and about outside I do not have note taking possibilities
    Maxine Walden: so at hand but I just try to register the experience for recall as possible later;
    Maxine Walden: still there is a sense of registration of the 9 second experience even then
    Pema Pera: I’m very pleased to hear that you are sticking with it so seriously, Maxine! So you have been doing this for two weeks now?
    Maxine Walden: since April 1 officially, but I think that in some way since we met in Princeton.
    Maxine Walden: It seems to be, or perhaps hoping it will be, an avenue into new ways of being, thinking…
    Pema Pera: the challenge is twofold, first to see more directly into reality, second to integrate whatever you find into daily life — the second one often seems to hardest
    Maxine Walden: so I it feels like some synchrony to have asked you if I could participate in some way just when you were about to begin this PaB. In having said that I am aware of the dangers of idealizing, or hoping for something specific to happen
    Pema Pera: I don’t think you are idealizing, I have felt the same, in many ways, with various people I have met recently.
    Maxine Walden: please, the second…
    Pema Pera: As for the second part, that is core of the 9-sec method
    Pema Pera: While 9 seconds is very short, seemingly laughably short compared to usual contemplation techniques, it does have the advantage of already being integrated with daily life
    Pema Pera: the very fact that you come back to it every fifteen minutes does not give you a chance to drift away and forget about it altogether
    Pema Pera: and when you keep doing it, you will find that the practice colors the remaining 891 seconds of the quarter of an hour as well
    Pema Pera: Have you felt that in some sense? Can you say something about the time in between the 9-second periods?
    Maxine Walden: Yes, I can
    Maxine Walden: I agree that the rest of the time between the 9 seconds seems hued (just like the colors in the room as the sun came up here)
    Pema Pera: nice image!
    Maxine Walden: and that I am somehow in a slightly different place in my work and listening
    Maxine Walden: thanks, interesting sometimes the images of the moment seem apt
    Maxine Walden: but there is a further influence I think of the 9 sec practice: all my mental and emotional experience
    Maxine Walden: is on a different plane from before, and how I think, what I write is somewhat new…the sense of’ paradigm nudge’ has been in my thoughts
    Maxine Walden: entertain the more inclusive, open to the new…possible paradigm nudge position via meetings
    Maxine Walden: This postion of openness and willingness to take such a stand
    Maxine Walden: guess these explorations we are doing enhance my trust, my curiosity in the unknown, which you have been suggesting all along is really a part of ourselves
    Pema Pera: I am very glad to hear that, Maxine, and thanks for your summary of where you stand now, that’s all good to know!

    And the conversation moved on to the notion of simplicity, leading to the most simple form of practice, keeping in mind the notion of “am”.

    Pema Pera: My sense is that trying to open can be helped by keeping things simple
    Pema Pera: very simple
    Pema Pera: I have used the picture of poking holes in our usual way of looking at things
    Maxine Walden: hope it is not inundating (the swamped of the dream?), maybe your suggestion of keep it simple addresses
    Maxine Walden: an ‘inundating’ or ’saturated’ quality which I can get into…where I feel or have felt to passionate aobut something it can take on an inundating quality
    Pema Pera: seeing is simple, integration in daily life can take infinite shades and colors
    Pema Pera: Here is a suggestion, for the time in between the 9 seconds windows: how about simply trying to stay more with what is, rather than with what you have — do you think that idea is compact and portable enough to carry along with you during the remaining almost-15 min-interval?
    Maxine Walden: please say a bit more,
    Pema Pera: the first step in the 9-sec practice is simply to remember to do it — to stop and do anything at all
    Maxine Walden: yes, that is clear
    Pema Pera: the second step is to become comfortable with it, with taking a breath, relaxing, dropping the momentum of what you were doing, and taking a short note
    Maxine Walden: dropping the momentum…that seems important and I will try to look to it
    Pema Pera: but then third step, which we haven’t really talked about yet, is the question of how to let these source of inspiration inundate the plains of the remaining 891 seconds ^^
    Maxine Walden: I can become too intensely involved I think,…oh please say more about that third step
    Pema Pera: again, simplicity first here
    Maxine Walden: ok
    Pema Pera: A very simple way to bridge the 9-second intervals
    Pema Pera: is to keep in mind the question “who/what am I” as opposed to all that you have; you have a body, a mind, feelings, thoughts, all kind of identifications . . . .
    Maxine Walden: yes,
    Pema Pera: . . . but who are you? What is it that IS rather than has?
    Pema Pera: Perhaps this is a simple enough idea to carry with you during the 891 seconds
    Pema Pera: like a portable something
    Pema Pera: a background sense of things
    Pema Pera: a koan if you like, in zen terms
    Pema Pera: or like being gripped by a research question
    Pema Pera: or haven fallen in love
    Pema Pera: or being obsessed by whatever
    Maxine Walden: IS, yes you mention this again…am not sure what a koan is, but I am getting the sense..
    Maxine Walden: just a moment, I may have gotten distracted: what examples were you mentioning with obsession, new love, research question…?
    Pema Pera: in all of these cases, you don’t have to really try to keep some core idea in mind
    Maxine Walden: these as examples of …?
    Pema Pera: it is just there
    Pema Pera: you don’t have to “practice” to remember the one you have fallen in love with (^_^)
    Pema Pera: or if you are really gripped by a fascinating research problem that just doesn’t leave you alone . . . .
    Maxine Walden: oh, yes, these are the things that are perhaps felt as the active agents
    Pema Pera: or by a problem that just keeps nagging you . . .
    Maxine Walden: these seem to be the background things that are ‘playing’ with us?
    Pema Pera: so if you can let the question “if I shift focus from what I have to what I am” keep bugging you . . . .
    Pema Pera: that will then fill the background of the 891 seconds in between th 9 seconds, every quarter of an hour
    Pema Pera: but “if I shift focus from what I have to what I am” is too long a sentence to keep in mind
    Pema Pera: “what am I” is much easier
    Pema Pera: or “who am i”
    Pema Pera: or “am”
    Pema Pera: I personally find “am” nice and compact
    Pema Pera: very portable
    Maxine Walden: yes, maybe the ‘am’ is very portable..
    Pema Pera: “if I shift focus from what I have to what I am” is like a desktop
    Pema Pera: “who am I” like a laptop
    Pema Pera: “am” like a blackberry or iPhone
    Maxine Walden: very nice image, makes me smile
    Pema Pera: haha
    Pema Pera: avatar emoters are still a bit clumsy
    Maxine Walden: and the simplicity again is humbling,
    Pema Pera: yes, and effective!
    Pema Pera: Let’s try to do this and see what happens.
    Maxine Walden: makes me view once again the tensions of the ‘having the idea’ as tensions
    Maxine Walden: yes, I will happily try to do the ‘am’ more
    Pema Pera: I have to go now, but I’m really glad that we had a chance to talk this all through
    Maxine Walden: yes, me too.
    Pema Pera: This “am” practice may take a while to sink in, probably more like weeks rather than days — but then again who knows? Let’s keep an open mind, and treat every day as new, like this lovely morning, and really every quarter of an hour as new.
    Maxine Walden: I will keep that with me, and be back tomorrow morning, my most reliable time.
    Pema Pera: great, thanks, Maxine! I am really glad to be able to share this with you and others in our group.
    Maxine Walden: I also have to go. See you tomorrow.
    Pema Pera: take care, Maxine, thanks again
    Pema Pera: See you soon!
    Maxine Walden: thanks and bye for now

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