2008.05.19 19:00 - Stepping Back

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    The Guardian for this session was Pema, the comments are his.

    That evening, when I walked up to the tea house, Thor, Holden, Tara, Steve and Spirit were all there already. I presume that they had attended the zen session that Dakini had led.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: ah, here comes Pema
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello Pema
    Holden Henig: hi pema
    Tara Farmer: hey guru
    stevenaia Michinaga: waves
    Pema Pera: hehe
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Hey Hey :p
    Pema Pera: hello all of you, slowly rezzing here . . . .
    Tara Farmer: fabulous
    Thorberg Nordlicht: lot’s of things happening at once; if anyone asked a question in the last few minutes and didn’t get an answer, ask again
    Holden Henig: you are wonderful
    Thorberg Nordlicht: we’re going to run out of cusions
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I don’t need a cushion
    Tara Farmer: hey fried
    Thorberg Nordlicht: have a seat
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello Friedrich! welcome
    Holden Henig: 3 more people are in the yard
    Thorberg Nordlicht: wow, full house
    Thorberg Nordlicht: how do we deal with this, Pema?
    Pema Pera: We can sit outside
    Pema Pera: shall we do that?
    Pema Pera: more room
    Tara Farmer: yes lets
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: good evening!

    After Friedrich joined us, Dharma dropped by too, and so there were eight of us. With this cheerful crowd it seemed best to just stay outside.

    stevenaia Michinaga: hey Dharma
    Dharma Voyager: howdy
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ok, why not
    Thorberg Nordlicht: everybody join us outside
    stevenaia Michinaga: dharma, next time shower
    Dharma Voyager: hahahah
    Pema Pera: I guess we really should build this pub we have been talking about
    Pema Pera: near the tea house
    Pema Pera: as overflow
    Tara Farmer: i love being on the porch
    Tara Farmer: pema, i am so happy to be here
    Pema Pera: me too Tara!
    Holden Henig: Hi Dharma!
    Dharma Voyager: hi :)
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: byo-chair…
    Dharma Voyager: would you like more pillows?
    Dharma Voyager: I can place them
    Holden Henig: yes, I would like one
    Holden Henig: please :)
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: poof
    Dharma Voyager: there you go
    Dharma Voyager: anyone else?
    Holden Henig: thank you
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: ooh - one for me, please
    Holden Henig: can i sit closer?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: lol
    Spiritnoname Saphir: lets just go sit at the meditation place
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks
    Holden Henig: thank you
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well folks, we usually have a quiet little discussion in the teahouse, but with so many people, it’s a challange to get started
    Dharma Voyager: smiles
    Dharma Voyager: no problem
    Holden Henig: i like this :)
    Tara Farmer: i like it here on the porch
    Dharma Voyager: anyone else?

    It took a while to all get seated, but after a while we more of less formed a circle.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: anybody new here want a quick intro of what this discussion gruop is all about?
    Holden Henig: I am new
    Holden Henig: and please, yes
    Tara Farmer: thorberg, preach on!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: pema? since you’re our “founder” would you like to say a few words?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: about what this group is about?
    Pema Pera: haha
    Pema Pera: I’m speaking too many words already perhaps — how about you telling us?
    Pema Pera: if you don’t mind
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well, in general we meet to discuss our meditation practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but everyone is welcome, even if you’re not a meditator
    Thorberg Nordlicht: we often get WAY off topic
    Pema Pera: hehe
    Holden Henig: :)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but, specifically, Pema introduced us to the idea of having little micro-meditations throughout our day
    Thorberg Nordlicht: take 9 seconds out every 15 minutes
    Thorberg Nordlicht: just to mentally step back and consider the “big picture” and — as with all meditation — simply observe what comes up
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anybody been trying out the 9 seconds every 15 minutes technique?
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Thor! And more information on http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Thorberg Nordlicht: what has your experience been?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ah, yes, what Pema said
    Holden Henig: Can I get that in a card?
    Dharma Voyager: in the group I have sat with in RL we in the past have talked about using any bell as a reminder to be mindful…
    Tara Farmer: LOL
    Dharma Voyager: but this seems a little different than that
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well, good idea, but we’re not organized yet to have a card
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sorry
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but we’ll work on that for the future

    We talked about the pros and cons of note cards

    Holden Henig: Okay,
    Tara Farmer: pema, you should write greeting cards
    Tara Farmer: about “being”
    Thorberg Nordlicht: we keep having to explain over and over about the 9 seconds every 15 minuytes idea, so we SHOULD have a card to hand out
    Holden Henig: lol
    Pema Pera: I agree
    Pema Pera: So Thor, would you like to draft one :>)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: << chews his lollipop
    Pema Pera: I’d be happy to then iterate until done
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, actually i think i promised to draft one before
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but every time you explain it Pema, it comes out better
    stevenaia Michinaga: it;s always a short descriptions, takes almost as long as handing out a card
    Thorberg Nordlicht: so i’ll use the excuse that i was waiting for you to perfect your “elevator pitch”
    Holden Henig: ty pema
    Thorberg Nordlicht: and then i’ll write it down :-)
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: we have hyperlinks, too. those work. too RL?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: << needs another lollipop
    Tara Farmer: i agree, i love hearing the metamorphosed version
    Holden Henig: I don’t mind.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: so, what have people experienced with the 9 seconds every 15 mintues technique?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anybody?
    Johnson Euler: I have a digital picture frame at work. Every so often I stare at it for a few seconds and I come back to center. Does that count?
    Pema Pera: thanks, Holden!
    Pema Pera: anything counts, Johnson!
    Pema Pera: this is about play
    Pema Pera: and play can be anything
    Pema Pera: it is also about Being
    Spiritnoname Saphir: << bites another lollipop
    Spiritnoname Saphir: << goes for another one
    Holden Henig: If you stare at your hands, you will also begin to lucid dream
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((digital picture frame)) interesting, tell us more
    Pema Pera: and Being is everything — but what that means can be a bit tricky
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Cherry cola lollipop :o ! crazy!
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I love this flavor
    Spiritnoname Saphir: :p

    We talked about various ways to take breaks and be mindful.

    Johnson Euler: I also discovered that some people prefer moving meditation to still meditation.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: such as “walking meditation” you mean?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Allow me to quote a yogi please
    Holden Henig: Is moving meditation, talking a walk during the day as a break?
    Johnson Euler: That’s easier to achieve a quiet mind while engaged n physical activity.
    Johnson Euler: Yes, walking meditation.
    Holden Henig: I like to go for a walk to get out of the office
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Concentration is when we bring our focus to something, our focus goes to something else, and then we bring it back again
    Tara Farmer: I’m sorry but I must excuse myself guys
    Spiritnoname Saphir: that’s concentration
    Tara Farmer: have a great discussion
    Spiritnoname Saphir: meditation is when we don’t have to bring ourselves back
    Holden Henig: Okay, bye Tara
    Pema Pera: by Tara!
    Spiritnoname Saphir: samadhi is when we are inseparable from that object
    Tara Farmer: bye everyone
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Bye tara :p
    Johnson Euler: Bye Tara.
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: sounds a bit like a cigarrette break… only half kidding
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Cotton Candy lollipop!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: “walking meditation” in zen is called Kinhin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinhin
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Do meditators tend to get varicose veins from sitting so long?
    Holden Henig: 20 minutes?
    Holden Henig: You lay down longer when sleeping :)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: True,.. but your laying down when you lay down
    Spiritnoname Saphir: easier to pump blood back to the heart that way
    Thorberg Nordlicht: haven’t heard of meditators getting varicose veins
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I sort of have varicose veins
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but western zennies — who didn’t grow up sitting on the floor — do tend to get back problems if they’re not careful
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I mean they aren’t like sticking up on the sides on my legs, but on my thighs there are some blue areas

    For a while, nobody spoke. It was an interesting experience, to all sit there, and just enjoy each other’s presence. If it had been a phone conversation, especially a multi-way phone conversation, it would have been odd, and soon someone would have started asking “are you still there?” and such. But here we all seemed content to just sit there for a while.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((ah, the inevitable lull in the conversation))
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Oh,.. lol
    Pema Pera: Thorberg asked about the 9-sec practice, does anyone like to say how that is going for them?
    Holden Henig: Flag is not moving.. mind is moving!
    Pema Pera: or not going ;-)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Pema I imagine that would help one learn to control their mind better
    Pema Pera: how about doing rather than imagining?
    Pema Pera: doing the practice?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: that would be good I think (drops another lollipop stick) I need more control
    Pema Pera: better no to think too much — just do it :-)
    Pema Pera: 9 seconds is not too much to ask, I guess . . . .
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i’ve been trying the 9-sec principle; it reminds me to carry my regular formal meditation practice into all aspects of my daily life
    Holden Henig: That is what I am working on. Doing things instead of just thinking
    Pema Pera: can you say more Thorberg?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i think it makes a difference whether you have a formal practice, or only do the 9 second techniqaue
    Pema Pera: I’d love to use this time to exchange actual practical information, not speculation
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anybody trying the 9second technique without a regular formal pracetice? what comes up for you?
    Pema Pera: like what is happening
    Pema Pera: what we can learn
    Pema Pera: how we can inspire each other
    Pema Pera: what is actually going on
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Pema, generally speaking, when I’m around people I’m constantly going between one train of thought and another because when I was young I got in the habit of controlling my mind a lot around people
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i have found the technique valuable throughout hte day - whenever i find myself in situations outside of my control
    Spiritnoname Saphir: I dunno if this is the same though
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: if i can remember to pause for 9 sec, i can reorient and get out of negative thought cycles
    Thorberg Nordlicht: “controlling the mind” suggests different things for me; how do you “control”?
    Pema Pera: can you be more specific, Fred, specific example(s)?
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Throberg, by looking
    Spiritnoname Saphir: haha
    Spiritnoname Saphir: okay, I need to go somewhere guys
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: sure. during interactions with other people. in meetings or conversations.
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Love ya much
    Spiritnoname Saphir: :o I forgot something
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes! “looking” simply observing without judging?
    Pema Pera: bye Spirit
    Spiritnoname Saphir: okay haha, now I can go :p
    Spiritnoname Saphir: (waves)

    Spirit left, and there were six of us remaining, Dharma, Friedrich, Holden, Johnson, Stevenaia and me.

    Johnson Euler: Fried, do you mean zoning out at meetings?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: if i get disappointed, frustrated or bored
    Holden Henig: Have any of you read The Four Agreements?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: heh.
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: sorta. with the intent of refreshing though.
    Johnson Euler: Yes, I zone out sometimes too. Wish I didn’t.
    Pema Pera: Fred, can you give one example, phenomenologically, describing what happened, rather than analyzing?
    Pema Pera: to start with?
    Pema Pera: I think it’s important to separate observing and analyzing
    Pema Pera: or speculating
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: ok. today i was in a conversation, and feeling talked down to and dismissed.
    Holden Henig: It’s getting dark
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i recognized that, and just took a little time out. i consciously paused, and tried to notice why i was feelign that way
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((it’s getting dark)) you can make if “light” for you by selecting World > Environmental Settings > Midday
    Holden Henig: Oh
    Holden Henig: I didn’t know that
    Holden Henig: It would ruin it for me though
    Holden Henig: This place is pretty
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((World > Environmental Settings > Revert to Region default))
    Pema Pera: Holden, it is nice to be able to switch between making more or less light if you need it and then — yes Thor — you can return to the default
    Johnson Euler: I can relate to what Fried was saying. I had a boss at work that was arrogant and tended to dismiss and minimize. Rather than take time outs to cleanse, I harbored resentment for many years. Very bad Karma I’m afraid.
    Holden Henig: Yes, hatred is not good
    Holden Henig: Light is an illusion
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: or, stevenaia can glow for us ;-)
    Pema Pera: like if you want to see Dharma shining, you may want to switch on midnight
    Holden Henig: okay, that is a good reason to switch :)
    Dharma Voyager: blush
    Dharma Voyager: hahhaha
    Holden Henig: :)
    Holden Henig: Maybe my graphics wont do it?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I must go, night all
    Pema Pera: bye Steve!

    Stevenaia left, and I brought up the three notions of analyzing, after observing, after stopping.

    Pema Pera: Fred, if I may make a suggestion
    Pema Pera: another option you would have in such a situation
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: sure.
    Pema Pera: is not only stepping back and looking at a situation — even before analyzing — but stepping back even further and just fully stopping
    Pema Pera: opening your mind, you might say
    Pema Pera: without any intention
    Holden Henig: hmm
    Pema Pera: would that make sense?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i can apreciate that - but i did want to better understand why i was feeling annoyed.
    Pema Pera: yes, both are interesting
    Pema Pera: so my suggestion was just an additional idea
    Pema Pera: our culture tells us to always reason and analyze
    Pema Pera: so it is great to learn to observe before analyzing
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i have to say, it sounds very similar to me.
    Pema Pera: and even greater to just open and stop before observing
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i mean, stepping back far enough to analyze, is pretty much open to whatever
    Holden Henig: you
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: with a dash of intension, i suppose
    Pema Pera: aha, I think we have found a difference now — we should talk about that some day
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: well, i did want to be more positive about the whole day, and i didn’t completely understand why i was put off.
    Pema Pera: sure

    Holden brought up some ideas that were new to us.

    Holden Henig: The Four Agreements helped me reduce stress
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: Holdent: what are the 4 agreements?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: don’t know about “four agreements”
    Pema Pera: but I see a big difference between analyzing and observing, and between observing and stopping — but perhaps no need to go into that today, big topic
    Holden Henig: A book by Don Miguel Ruiz
    Holden Henig: 1) Don’t take things personally
    Holden Henig: 2) Be impeccable with your word (don’t lie, not keep promises)
    Holden Henig: 3) Always do your best
    Holden Henig: 4) Don’t make assumptions
    Holden Henig: And it is amazing
    Johnson Euler: I would add 5) Be confident.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: It’s an “Oprah: book!” ; http://www.miguelruiz.com/
    Holden Henig: I try to tell everyone the name of the book because I liked it so much
    Pema Pera: Holden, can you tell us from your own experience, with a concrete and particular example, how such a book helped you?
    Holden Henig: Yes, but I read it before Oprah
    Holden Henig: Sure
    Johnson Euler: Arrogant people feed off of people who aren’t confident.
    Holden Henig: Part of my job is to teach a first-year physics lab at university
    Holden Henig: A girl student was getting upset at the work
    Holden Henig: And thinking I wasn’t doing a good job
    Holden Henig: because she coudln;t understand what I said
    Holden Henig: So I said it many different ways
    Holden Henig: And I didn’t take her attitude personally
    Holden Henig: Then, at teh end, she was very nice and could tell she was sorry
    Holden Henig: And she was very nice afterwords, when she udnerstood
    Holden Henig: If I had taken it personally
    Holden Henig: I would have gotten upset
    Holden Henig: and probably not helped her, had more stress, and she would not leave the lab happy
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed!
    Pema Pera: always good to remind ourselves of that
    Holden Henig: And she would have taken that upset emotion with her outside, and spread it

    In the mean time, Spirit has returned.

    Spiritnoname Saphir: Holden! that is excellent! your view was not obscured by self cherishing!
    Holden Henig: So, I stopped the spread of negativity by not takin it personally and doing my best
    Holden Henig: Thanks!
    Holden Henig: You asked for an exmaple
    Holden Henig: And that is one that comes to mind
    Holden Henig: The book helped me a lot
    Pema Pera: yes, thank you Holden!
    Holden Henig: My pleasure
    Pema Pera: In general, during these meetings
    Pema Pera: we spend a lot of time just chatting
    Pema Pera: which is fine, I like it
    Pema Pera: and some of the time talking more seriously
    Pema Pera: which I like too
    Pema Pera: but then I like to always keep it concrete
    Holden Henig: I enjoy serious talk
    Pema Pera: very specific
    Pema Pera: in our own experience
    Pema Pera: in our own words
    Holden Henig: The book worked for me, and that is what I know.
    Holden Henig: I see it daily
    Holden Henig: The book gives reasons for those simple agreements
    Holden Henig: And the reasons, and understanding, is what keeps a person to do them
    Holden Henig: i told my friend, and he love dit, and it helped him
    Holden Henig: Then he told people at his office, and they got it, and told others
    Holden Henig: So, positive intention was spreading
    Pema Pera: in our group everyone uses different approaches, books, groups, ideas, practices
    Holden Henig: Do I type too much?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: no, i wasn’t feeling you “type too much” Holden
    Thorberg Nordlicht: text chat is a challanging medium; i find i often try to say more than i can type
    Pema Pera: what connects us is the 9-sec practice
    Pema Pera: the idea that without spending much time
    Pema Pera: we can keep a continuity
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: quite interseting and vauable, though, I think these observatins, reflections and analyses differ from “stopping” for the sake of stopping that we alluded to earlier.
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: the proposition seems to be that we can arriave at similar insights from just stopping, w/out analyzing
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: (as you would need to in order to apply the 4 principles)

    I talked a bit more about this somewhat mysterious notion of `stopping’

    Pema Pera: with stopping I mean opening to a new dimension
    Pema Pera: opening the doors in a dark room
    Pema Pera: waking up
    Pema Pera: very radical
    Pema Pera: I wish I could share that
    Pema Pera: like pouring tea in a tea cup
    Pema Pera: but I can’t
    Pema Pera: so this is the next best thing I can think of
    Holden Henig: I think that there is not “one right way” for everyone, but a right way for each person.
    Pema Pera: (^_^)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: The point of meditation is to change how you act, which includes your thoughts. The 9 second practice seems like a good way to keep in mind your meditation
    Holden Henig: And it is the drive to find your path that determines if you get there
    Holden Henig: Maybe thinking alone can not help a person
    Holden Henig: but actually living and experiencing will bring answers
    Pema Pera: stopping, I would say :>)
    Holden Henig: submitting to what?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: accepting? submitting?
    Pema Pera: waking up, breaking through, but yes, Holden, I agre, starting with living and experiencing is a great approach!
    Spiritnoname Saphir: << eating waay too much today out of boredom
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: Fate? The Universe? I think these are other ways of gesturing at the smae idea that I have necountered.
    Holden Henig: I see with my eyes a wonderful reality. I can’t explain it, I don’t know what it is, but I love it.
    Holden Henig: I don’t need answers to love, but they help.
    Holden Henig: I used to need answers, but not now.
    Holden Henig: Did people crash?
    Holden Henig: :)
    Spiritnoname Saphir: :p

    It become time for me to get up and go.

    Pema Pera: well, it’s lunch time for me here in Tokyo, have to sign of, but thank you all for coming here!
    Spiritnoname Saphir: :o you’re in Tokyo?
    Holden Henig: Pema, nice meeting you, thanks for having me
    Pema Pera: yes
    Spiritnoname Saphir: neat
    Holden Henig: It is 11 in Canada
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: sayonara
    Johnson Euler: Goodnight Pema.
    Holden Henig: PM
    Spiritnoname Saphir: Gnight Pema
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, I’ll have to sign off soon, too, but everyone else, feel free to stay and carry on the discussion
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: nice meeting/seeing everyone
    Pema Pera: night, everyone!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good night, Pema
    Pema Pera: And Fred, we really should continue
    Holden Henig: I see food for my body. :)
    Pema Pera: this triple difference
    Pema Pera: but taking our time :>)
    Pema Pera: bye all,

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