2008.06.03 13:00 - Refining One's Approach

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    That afternoon, Genesis was the guardian. Later she would sent me the following chat log, together with her comments.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Genesis
    Faenik loves wells!
    genesis Zhangsun: Hi there!
    Stim Morane: Hi Gen!
    Rajah Yalin: hi Gen

    My connection was so bad that I appeared to myself as half bald for the rest of the session but I tried not to let this affect Gen’s self esteem ;)

    genesis Zhangsun: Really terrible lag on my connection so xcuse me if I am slow
    Fael Illyar: We aren’t all mostly reactive in conversation, here, are we?
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes I suppose not so the technical obstacle perhaps can serve as a reminder :)
    Fael Illyar: Well, could be. I guess I’ll try to get things started then.
    Fael Illyar: I’ve made an observation with my PaB explorations. I tried doing a few minutes long exploration as a test. I feel I’ve been succeeding in the shorter ones a bit better after that.
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes I think this is an interesting and reoccuring theme
    genesis Zhangsun: the idea of using longer periods to inform the shorter 9 seconds practice
    genesis Zhangsun: how does it help your shorter practice?
    Faenik: ah :)
    Fael Illyar: I’ve been doing the explorations in Zen style (I think). So I felt I got further with the longer one than I usually get with the short ones. After that, I noticed that the short ones were closer to that too.
    Stim Morane: Yes, this is consistent with what one would expect from the more traditional approach to practice. The whole idea there is that the rest of the day outside of the formal practice sessions retains some of the focus and presence of the former.
    Fael Illyar: So I was thinking of altering my routine to include one longer one every morning.
    Stim Morane: Why not, if you can do it?
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I think I can.
    genesis Zhangsun: what about your experience Rajah? I know that you are active in much longer meditations throughout the day how do you find it informs your shorter practice?
    genesis Zhangsun: Rajah?

    Rajah appeared to be away from the session

    genesis Zhangsun: Perhaps he is in his 9 seconds?
    genesis Zhangsun: as we speak
    Stim Morane: yes
    Fael Illyar: That shouldn’t take that long, should it? Well, unless he’s trying several minutes now.
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    genesis Zhangsun: hahah
    Stim Morane: oh well …
    genesis Zhangsun: no I don’t think so
    Stim Morane: One of the things about this “play as being” approach is that it relies so heavily on the very short practice-format. I have always wondered whether that is enough time for people to make some necessary transitions… it could be like partly-cooking something over and over again, at 15 minute intervals. I wonder what other people have found to be the case regarding this?
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes seems like a combination of things may be a good idea
    Rajah Yalin: the short meditations help my longer ones
    Stim Morane: good
    genesis Zhangsun: yes how?
    Rajah Yalin: seems like it gives it this relief that I don’t have to stop
    Rajah Yalin chuckle.
    genesis Zhangsun: I know what you mean!
    Fael Illyar: relief that you don’t have to stop?
    Fael Illyar: stop what?
    Rajah Yalin: meditation
    Fael Illyar: ah
    genesis Zhangsun: it sort of takes the pressure off the longer ones if that makes any sense for me anyway
    genesis Zhangsun: it reminds me that there are no expectations no goals I must meet in longer meditation
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    genesis Zhangsun: that there is an opportunity to practice all day
    genesis Zhangsun: sorry Faenik?

    At this point I began to notice that an entity called Faenik was amongst us and could not figure our where he/she/it was sitting.

    genesis Zhangsun: is that from outside?
    Stim Morane: In the traditional approaches, the leader of a retreat will often vary the practice format to include both very long sessions, immediate length ones and extremely short ones (sometimes only a few seconds). And there it is certainly considered important to “take the time away” so that people don’t get in the habit of associating meditation with passing time. But to only use the short format is another matter, a new and interesting approach… of course, there’s nothing in “play as being” that insists on that exclusively.
    Fael Illyar: What I’ve myself noticed after starting these 9 second explorations is that my mind is more clear at any time. It’s actually starting to bother me now when this ceases to be the case, usually making me take a 9 second pause to clear it up.
    Faenik is right here, on Fael’s shoulder.
    Stim Morane: excellent
    genesis Zhangsun: oh!!!
    genesis Zhangsun: Faenik!

    At this point I realized that Faenik was a little cat sitting on Fael’s shoulder!

    genesis Zhangsun: neko chan
    Faenik: 猫ちゃん

    The spider web unravels

    genesis Zhangsun: for me its like spider webs that form in between the 9 seconds and then get sort of swept away
    Stim Morane: great image
    genesis Zhangsun: when I don’t practice I feel like a cobwebbed attic upstairs
    Fael Illyar: interesting, when I was doing them one of the first times, trying to let go of my feelings and thoughts, I got this image/idea of massive tangle I was trying to untangle. After that it went a bit faster for some reason.
    genesis Zhangsun: yes exactly!
    genesis Zhangsun: tangled
    Fael Illyar: I haven’t been noticing much of a tangle recently though.
    Stim Morane: Does the tangle come back again?
    Stim Morane: sorry, you answered just as I typed
    Fael Illyar: Whatever there is, seems to vanish in couple of seconds now.
    Fael Illyar: Well, except when it gets bad enough that I do the 9 second exploration without my timer ringing.
    genesis Zhangsun: if thats bad then bad sounds good ;)
    Fael Illyar: then it tends to take some effort.
    Fael Illyar: I haven’t been doing these for long. Although my starting position was probably quite a tangle. I had been rather down and confused for a while.
    Stim Morane: the initial transition is often the hardest
    genesis Zhangsun: for you what does the tangle consist of, could you try to describe the threads?
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Fael Illyar: the image I had was of … I wonder what it is called in english :)
    Fael Illyar: threads?

    At this point Isen walked in.

    genesis Zhangsun: Hey Isen!
    genesis Zhangsun: Welcome
    Fael Illyar: Hello Isen :)
    Rajah Yalin: hi Isen
    Stim Morane: Hi Isen!
    Isen Enzo: Hello all
    Isen Enzo: _/!\_
    Isen Enzo: a PaBing session?
    Fael Illyar: I think the image I had is probably close to woolen threads
    genesis Zhangsun: you got it Isen
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Isen Enzo: ah….
    genesis Zhangsun: we just can’t stop
    Isen Enzo: hmmm
    genesis Zhangsun: playing
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Isen Enzo: oh yeah!
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes Fael woolen threads?
    Isen Enzo: or being?
    Fael Illyar: or maybe plastic, maybe both :)
    genesis Zhangsun: I guess I was asking because I know for me the threads of the webs that form in my mind have different sources
    genesis Zhangsun: most of them conditioned responses
    Fael Illyar: I haven’t really been having the thread image after the few first times.
    genesis Zhangsun: obsessive thinking
    genesis Zhangsun: ah yes ok
    Stim Morane: Yes. Thoughts, emotions, sensations, habits of “self” … they make strong thread
    genesis Zhangsun: so strong at times it makes it difficult to see what is really there before me in the present
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I can see that thinking back to what I was doing before I started doing these explorations.
    Stim Morane: yes, exactly
    Fael Illyar: In trying to get my head sorted out I ended up on several wrong routes and spend a lot of time there.
    Fael Illyar: Doesn’t seem like it could happen that way anymore.
    genesis Zhangsun: yes that is wonderful Fael
    Stim Morane: yes
    genesis Zhangsun: I also feel this way, supported, awake a feeling that my eyes are open
    Faenik: could be
    genesis Zhangsun: that I will see what is here before me
    genesis Zhangsun: or at least try

    Ripping the threads of the spider web

    Fael Illyar: Although now that I started remembering back to that, I’m a bit worried since I seem to recall having a notion of ripping the threads at one point.
    Stim Morane: is that bad?
    Fael Illyar: I don’t know
    Stim Morane: In one school, our ordinary condition is usually described as being like that of a bundle of rice stalks… lots of rice stalks tied up with more rice stalks. The idea is to cut that bundle loose so that it falls apart.
    genesis Zhangsun: where does the worry come from
    genesis Zhangsun: ?
    Fael Illyar: It didn’t feel wrong at the time.
    genesis Zhangsun: I can understand that ripping can sometimes be disorienting
    Fael Illyar: Just thinking about it now
    Fael Illyar: “maybe I was a bit too impatient?”
    Stim Morane: Perhaps. But that’s understandable.

    Untying threads

    genesis Zhangsun: hmm yes do you mean that you would like to “untie” rather than cut or rip?
    Fael Illyar: Yes
    Stim Morane: it all comes down to direct awareness, no cutting etc is really needed
    genesis Zhangsun: could you explain more Stim?
    Stim Morane: usually our way of seeing is itself tangled up with the same things we are trying to free up
    Stim Morane: a more direct awareness finds things to be self-released
    Stim Morane: not so much struggle or judgment

    Moving from webs to Clouds evaporating

    genesis Zhangsun: yes perhaps like clouds forming and the evaporating
    Stim Morane: sure
    Stim Morane: what things are, in the most direct sense, is the “Being” bit
    Fael Illyar: Come to think of it, Evaporation seems close to what I feel I’m doing now when I do the 9 second exploration.
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    genesis Zhangsun: I suppose one source of comfort is that there are opportunities everywhere to practice ripping, cutting, untying and evaporating
    genesis Zhangsun: and all the time
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    Stim Morane: yup
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Fael Illyar: Also, when I’m walking on the street now and there is some feeling about something that’s distracting, I can let that evaporate without doing the full exploration.
    genesis Zhangsun: full exploration?
    Fael Illyar: well, I usually do 9 second explorations by taking a comfortable position, closing my eyes and then letting thoughts and feelings evaporate.
    Fael Illyar: But it seems I can do it selectively too
    Fael Illyar: and without my usual preparation.
    Stim Morane: good
    genesis Zhangsun: Stim may I ask you we are talking a bit about this recognition of conditioned thinking and the simultaneous liberation is this like Dzogchen?
    genesis Zhangsun: would you know anything about this?
    Stim Morane: yes
    Stim Morane: that’s the principle
    genesis Zhangsun: would you mind talking about that a little?
    Stim Morane: unfortunately, I’ll have to go in a minute. I could say a few words …
    genesis Zhangsun: ok sure
    Stim Morane: awareness is something we do, rather laborious usually. But its essence is simply the “suchness” of all things themselves, not a subject looking at an object.
    Stim Morane: That direct so-ness of things is finished, “liberated”
    genesis Zhangsun: ah yes cutting then is not a labor but is rather a return to a natural state>
    genesis Zhangsun: ?
    Stim Morane: yes, it’s just what is
    Stim Morane: no process or practice

    At this point Trevor joined us as a giant mythical looking avatar

    Fael Illyar: Hello Trevor
    Stim Morane: but the evaporation we’ve been mentioned is a good entry into that, and Fael has even described the way one approach can be refined to another
    genesis Zhangsun: yes I agree I suppose it is a constant process or refinement
    Fael Illyar: I wasn’t really even aware of refining my approach.
    Faenik loves wells!
    Stim Morane: yes … but you were!
    Stim Morane: I have to go now. Thank you all very much!
    Fael Illyar: Bye Stim :)
    genesis Zhangsun: Thank you Stim
    genesis Zhangsun: It is always a pleasure
    Trevor Berensohn: Hello & goodbye =)
    genesis Zhangsun: and I like the new look ;)
    Stim Morane: yes, sorry I have to duck out. Laundry time!
    genesis Zhangsun: Hi Trevor welcome
    Trevor Berensohn: How is everyone?
    genesis Zhangsun: would you like to sit?
    genesis Zhangsun: Good! Talking about PaB
    genesis Zhangsun: You?
    Trevor Berensohn: Ah good
    genesis Zhangsun: Looking quite mythical!
    genesis Zhangsun: even more than usual of course :)
    Trevor Berensohn: er even more?
    genesis Zhangsun: Yes I don’t think I have seen you with this look with the thorns growing out of your shoulder.
    genesis Zhangsun: I could be wrong
    Trevor Berensohn: Hmmm I prolly take them off so noone gets stuck usually
    Fael Illyar: What is that outfit by the way? a druid?
    genesis Zhangsun: 9 second silence?
    Trevor Berensohn: Erm itsa combo.. Something from fallen gods, part of a sari
    Fael Illyar: Ah, ok :)
    genesis Zhangsun: Well I must be off now
    genesis Zhangsun: sorry to leave as you just arrived Trevor
    Fael Illyar: See you later genesis :)
    Trevor Berensohn: Whoops think I took more than 9 sec
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Fael!
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Rajah

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