2008.04.16 07:00 - The portable 'am'

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    A new visitor joined us this morning, NeitherNorist Ohl. Maxine had already arrived, and Sky came by soon afterward.

    Pema Pera: Maxine, is there something you’d like to talk about this morning?
    Maxine Walden: I was just musing…over the notion of carrying the sense of ‘am’ which we spoke about earlier in an ongoing way
    NeitherNorist Ohl: do you mean identification?
    Maxine Walden: it is quite a portable ‘thing’. Trying to think how to answer your question, NN
    Maxine Walden: in my learning in the Play as Being there seem to be layers and layers of identification…
    Maxine Walden: that sense of ‘who I am…what I think..what I must understand…
    Maxine Walden: but Pema has been helping me to try to focus more on an open-ended (not a good phrase)
    Pema Pera: Morning, Sky!
    NeitherNorist Ohl: hey there Sky
    Sky Szimmer: hi all
    Pema Pera: Sky, this is NeitherNor’s first visit
    Pema Pera: He is also completely new to SL
    Pema Pera: just was “born” here
    Maxine Walden: hello, Sky,
    Maxine Walden: a newborn. how nice
    NeitherNorist Ohl: therefore, I’m NN (new and new, neither nor)
    Pema Pera: haha
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: sorry, Maxine
    Pema Pera: did you want to say more?
    Pema Pera: And NN and SKy
    Pema Pera: Maxine was continuing
    NeitherNorist Ohl: sorry, i didn’t mean to interrupt you Maxine
    Pema Pera: what we discussed yesterday
    Maxine Walden: oh, that’s fine…don’t want to take the focus necessarily
    Pema Pera: about the sense of “who ami I”
    Sky Szimmer: by all means
    Pema Pera: or briefly “am”
    Pema Pera: or “is”
    Pema Pera: if we drop all what we have
    Pema Pera: what is left is what is
    NeitherNorist Ohl: but isn’t the issue also “I”?
    Pema Pera: so I suggested to try to work with that
    Pema Pera: in between the 9 sec periods
    Pema Pera: during the remaining 891 sec
    Pema Pera: in every 15 minutes
    Maxine Walden: but , yes, in trying to answer NN’s question of identifications, I was trying what Pema has suggested, and is now explaining re the 891 seconds
    Maxine Walden: that in teh reamining 891 seconds to try to be open to
    Maxine Walden: just being
    Maxine Walden: but in the portable form of
    Maxine Walden: am’, which is easily carried from moment to moment
    Maxine Walden: or more easily carried than a longer phrase
    NeitherNorist Ohl: nice phrase, portable identification

    Sky refered to our discussion three days earlier, the morning of the 13th.

    Sky Szimmer: i have found that focus on any form of “i” can be distracting
    Maxine Walden: oh, please say more
    Sky Szimmer: last time, pema was pointing out that there is “no me”, which made me very defensive
    Maxine Walden: yes…
    Sky Szimmer: so I thought more about this.
    Sky Szimmer: I thought maybe I wasn’t getting my point across
    Sky Szimmer: but in fact there was a part of me that didn’t want to let go of “me”
    Sky Szimmer: even though I thought I was over it
    Maxine Walden: I find that so interesting to discover parts of myself which I felt I had ‘gotten over’ and sometimes I get impatient with myself, as if I have failed…
    Sky Szimmer: i was defending the “me” by saying that there was a point of consciousness, a focal point, but still that atttachment to “me” became a stumbling point
    Sky Szimmer: please say more maxine
    Maxine Walden: oh, Sky, I was going to ask you to say more, because I think I was not on target with your point of consciousness, I was speaking in more general terms
    Maxine Walden: more general terms about expectations about myself which do not recognize my ongoing, sometimes flat-footed ‘habits’ of mind and experience. The key seems to be to try to be compassionate with all those older parts as well as the new
    Sky Szimmer: This is the part I have trouble explaining, by consciousness, I also mean awareness
    Sky Szimmer: I see what you mean Maxine. Yes I have a hard time being compassionate with myself. something I have to work on more.
    Sky Szimmer: I have been thinking about the topic of love and awareness
    Sky Szimmer: Pema and I have talked about this before but I find it elusive
    Sky Szimmer: to understand
    Sky Szimmer: a
    Sky Szimmer: it seems in spiritual work, it all comes down to love
    Sky Szimmer: but yet, this is something I don’t grasp
    Maxine Walden: this may sound clumsy or insensitive, but Sky can you say more about what you mean by love in this context
    Sky Szimmer: Pema, maybe you can say more. I really don’t grasp it yet
    Maxine Walden: sorry, did not mean to put you on the spot.
    Sky Szimmer: I know when we talk about love in the ordinary sense but I think there is a moer encompassing meaning.
    Sky Szimmer: not at all Maxinne. Please don’t worry. I am not too sensitive
    Pema Pera: yes, love is central, definitely, you could say it is the core and end all of any practice . . . .
    NeitherNorist Ohl: love is another refraction being
    Maxine Walden: I am also interested in what Pema might have to say; what came to my mind as you were speaking of love is awe and gratitude re being alive and being able to do this work
    Pema Pera: . . . . but it is also a word that is used in so many meanings
    Pema Pera: a love that is not grasping and that flows forth naturally is what Sky is pointing to I think, is that a good start of an attempt at a description, Sky?
    Sky Szimmer: it seems to me that “awe and gratitude” is still coming from a “me” judgment point of view.
    Sky Szimmer: the love that pema describes seems to be different
    Sky Szimmer: yes
    Sky Szimmer: yes pema
    Pema Pera: how would you describe it, Sky, what you meant when you used the word love?
    Sky Szimmer: i guess when I am with my son, my heart is filled with love.
    Sky Szimmer: but then when I am with someone that is hurtful, then i can’t say my heart is filled with love
    Sky Szimmer: but then it seems that love should not discriminate
    Maxine Walden: love should not be discerning?
    Sky Szimmer: hmmm, i am not sure I pick up the distinction between the two words
    Pema Pera: these are all very big topics, Sky, and going back to what you said about “it seems to me that “awe and gratitude” is still coming from a “me” judgment point of view.” I would say, no, not necessarily
    NeitherNorist Ohl: very interesting, Maxine, discerning vs. discriminating

    We talked about “getting it”:

    Pema Pera: but if I may first come back to something else
    Pema Pera: Sky
    Pema Pera: when you say “I don’t get it”
    Sky Szimmer: uh oh
    Pema Pera: you make a very interesting point right there
    Sky Szimmer: i know there is nothing to get
    Pema Pera: you express the fact that we all find ourselves in
    Pema Pera: we have some incling
    Pema Pera: and yet we also keenly see there is something missing in our understanding
    Pema Pera: now it is very good to be critical and see that we are missing something
    Pema Pera: and at the same time we should also appreciate what we already see, intuit, sense, even though it may not be any ultimate kind of understanding
    Pema Pera: so the gratefulness we feel and the love and all other positive qualities
    Pema Pera: we can cheris and take as pointers towards a deeper understanding
    Sky Szimmer: ahhh, i see your point
    Pema Pera: and a seeing of more of what is real
    Pema Pera: and then a crucial point:
    Pema Pera: whenever we say
    Pema Pera: “I don’t get it”
    Pema Pera: there is the implicit notion that there is something to goet
    Pema Pera: get
    Sky Szimmer: do you think that is just the english language
    Sky Szimmer: if i said I don’t understand, then is it better
    Pema Pera: which you know is not correct, ultimately
    Pema Pera: okay
    Pema Pera: but implicit in that
    Pema Pera: is that some kind of understanding might arise
    Pema Pera: appear
    Pema Pera: come to you
    Pema Pera: and in one way that is correct
    Pema Pera: and in another way it isn’t
    Pema Pera: not in the way we normally think it can arise
    Sky Szimmer: okay, say more about an understand might not be correct in the way it arises
    Pema Pera: this is a very tricky point, let me try, we will probably have to talk about this from a number of different angles
    Sky Szimmer: isn’t it just an obscuration, some habitual tendency that prevents us from understanding
    Pema Pera: well, yes, perhaps, but . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . . how to say this . . ..
    Pema Pera: . . with every new insight that appears there are two things you could do
    Pema Pera: and you should do really
    Pema Pera: first of all, appreciate the new insight
    Pema Pera: you can really be glad that you found that
    Pema Pera: or that it found you, more accurately speaking,
    Pema Pera: but then you can also drop that insight
    Pema Pera: nog cling to it
    Pema Pera: and open up to the next new insight
    Pema Pera: so let me be concrete:
    Pema Pera: the example you gave a couple days ago,
    Pema Pera: in http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/200...-nisargadatta/
    Pema Pera: there you wrote
    Pema Pera: i was in a large class and yesterday, i distinctly felt that each participant was truly a part of me, not my self identifying me but rather a bigger self so to speak
    Pema Pera: that was a beautiful description of a real experience
    Pema Pera: and I was delighted to hear
    Pema Pera: that
    Pema Pera: I think you should be delighted with that too
    Pema Pera: but I got the impression that you had some kind of
    Pema Pera: how to say
    Pema Pera: friction or unhappiness or feeling that something was still lacking
    Pema Pera: do I express myself correctly?

    This turned out to be rather a complicated issue, so we staid with it for a while.

    Sky Szimmer: no, i don’t think i felt lacking but here is a new thought
    Sky Szimmer: understanding arises from that
    Sky Szimmer: it is not something we can do to gain understanding
    Sky Szimmer: so maybe understanding is a given, just like how we should take everything else as a given, so stated in the hints in PaB
    Pema Pera: yes, in a way you could say understanding is already there, and we can just open up to it, as in the metaphor of the sun already shining and all we have to do is open the window blinds
    Pema Pera: but this again is a very tricky notion . . .
    Pema Pera: . . .we ‘ll have to say a lot more to see whether we can form a shared understanding
    Pema Pera: the key point is that seeing
    Pema Pera: is a matter of subtraction not addition
    Pema Pera: we don’t learn to see by adding more skills
    Pema Pera: but by stopping, letting go
    Pema Pera: but if we are too critical
    Pema Pera: we may get too hurried
    Pema Pera: and we have to let go even of our desire to let go
    Pema Pera: and not criticise ourselves too harshly
    Pema Pera: yet stick to it
    Pema Pera: like in the once-every-15-minutes idea
    Pema Pera: continuation
    Maxine Walden: hurried by certain expectations or imaginings of how it ’should be’
    Pema Pera: without any friction
    Pema Pera: but, Sky, I don’t know whether this addresses any of your concerns?
    Sky Szimmer: : ) of course!
    Pema Pera: haha, glad to hear that!
    Sky Szimmer: everytime i hang out with you Pema, i get hurried
    Sky Szimmer: : )
    Sky Szimmer: which ultimately is a very good thing.
    Pema Pera: what I meant was to say that yes, each deeper seeing is wonderful, and you should be grateful for that, and yes, at the same time there is probably still ego and clinging and all that and therefore you should also drop it and move on
    Pema Pera: real appreciation goes beyond possession
    Pema Pera: but good-enough-for-now appreciation is fine too!
    Sky Szimmer: maybe there is a clinging but I don’t think I do that too much. but can you say more about clinging
    Maxine Walden: beyond possession, that feels so central and yet so difficult because the new insight feels so invigorating
    Pema Pera: let there be shades of possession, fine, but just don’t cling to it too much
    Pema Pera: just watch it
    Pema Pera: and indeed, don’t hurry
    Pema Pera: Sky, perhaps you can say more about what it is that you way gets in the way of seeing — if it is not clinging, what is it? hurrying? some kind of frustration? something else?
    Pema Pera: *way gets => think gets
    Sky Szimmer: there is definately this sense of frustration which is also what happened to me.
    Sky Szimmer: I thought I had a great insight which I appreciated
    Sky Szimmer: then when I was telling you about it, i felt like you were saying.
    Sky Szimmer: that was good but you still don’t get it
    Pema Pera: that is not what I felt or intended, Sky, sorry
    Pema Pera: on the contrary
    Sky Szimmer: which then caused great frustration, like what is it that I still don’t get
    Sky Szimmer: then it get the mind working
    Sky Szimmer: and shrinking
    Sky Szimmer: so often times, these sessions are great, but then when we hear about new insights that perhaps we don’t quite see, then it causes doubt
    Sky Szimmer: at first,
    Sky Szimmer: which maybe quite natural
    Sky Szimmer: then it spurs on further desire to see better
    Sky Szimmer: but it does create a self that feels incomplete
    Pema Pera: what I meant to say — and I was too clumsy — was that it was a wonderful example of something to share with others — and I meant others here in the group. We can encourage each other by reporting our genuine experiences, which in a sense are much more valuabe in being alive here than any kind of teaching from the past
    Pema Pera: and yes, we all feel incomplete
    Pema Pera: but the very fact that we can talk about that
    Pema Pera: is already such an important step toward seeing that we have never been incomplete
    Pema Pera: even feeling incomplete is part of our completeness
    Sky Szimmer: so it is this feeling of incompleteness that is very useful, to see what is it that feels incomplete
    Sky Szimmer: yes.
    Pema Pera: everything is very useful if you really look at it
    Pema Pera: really go into it
    Pema Pera: our engine runs on all kinds of fuel
    Pema Pera: all appearances of any kind can be fuel for our practice
    Pema Pera: and the 9-sec practice will catch us in all kind of situations
    Maxine Walden: such an interesting conversation to witness and be part of, just to say I will need to leave for another meeting in a minute. Thanks to all and see you soon, I hope
    Pema Pera: so we’ll encounter fuel of any kind
    Pema Pera: actually I have to go too
    Sky Szimmer: it was great sharing this time with you Maxine. see you soon.
    Sky Szimmer: bye all.
    Pema Pera: Thank you all for coming here!
    NeitherNorist Ohl: see ya

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