2008.06.30 19:00 - Time and Guilt and Choice

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    Thorberg was the guardian that evening. He sent me the following chat log. The comments are mine.

    When I arrived at the pavilion, it was still empty, but not for long. Steve walked in soon, followed by Friedrich.

    Pema Pera: Hi Steve!
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi pema
    stevenaia Michinaga: we the only one’s here?
    Pema Pera: so far, yes
    Pema Pera: It is Thorberg’s watch, but I haven’t seem his yet; should come soon
    stevenaia Michinaga: were you at Dharma’s earlier?
    Pema Pera: earlier?
    Pema Pera: Isn’t it tomorrow?
    stevenaia Michinaga: her chat starts at 6
    Pema Pera: Not tomorrow???
    stevenaia Michinaga: oh right
    stevenaia Michinaga: I jsut cliced throught the notive
    stevenaia Michinaga: forgot to read it
    Pema Pera: Couldn’t come last week; would have hated to have missed it again!
    stevenaia Michinaga: clicked through the notice
    Pema Pera: Hi Fred!
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: hi there! the night shift (for me)
    stevenaia Michinaga: the conversations is strangely foreign to me
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello
    Pema Pera: foreign, Steve?
    stevenaia Michinaga: the book discussed in Dharma’s group.. how to cope with things, deadth loss, etc

    The part above is from my chat log; at this point Thorberg came in, so from here on I am using his log, with my comments added.

    Pema Pera: Hi Thorberg!
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: hi thorberg
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello, everyone
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Thorberg
    Pema Pera: Steve, I thought you mentioned you (or we as a group) felt happier talking about anger and unhappiness than happiness :)
    Pema Pera: So dharma’s topics should be just on target then ?
    Pema Pera: (half joking half serious)
    stevenaia Michinaga: that is why she chose it…smile
    Pema Pera: :-)
    stevenaia Michinaga: a friend of mine, who unfortunately is not on SL , had a discussion with me about how she blames herself for the current demise of her children… looking back is something that serves only as an example to learn from and seems to be the antithisis of Being
    stevenaia Michinaga: how does one explain how to let go of that self blame
    stevenaia Michinaga: oh, by the way, and I don;t eman this as a joke,m but she is very Chatolic
    stevenaia Michinaga: Catholic
    Pema Pera: Yes, I wish we could hand over the “there is no problem” insight to others, like a present — wouldn’t that be nice!
    stevenaia Michinaga: other than reading the book in Dharma’s discussion group perhaps
    Pema Pera: But we seem to all have to discover that for ourselves . . . .
    Pema Pera: we can hand over pointers, but not the insight itself
    Pema Pera: like in math discussions
    stevenaia Michinaga: that kind of “moving on” and letting go” does not come easilly for some
    Pema Pera: for most
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, true
    Pema Pera: for all
    Pema Pera: Even though I know, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy
    Pema Pera: The main thing I’ve learned is to see my tendency to not let go
    Pema Pera: and then not to linger with it very long
    Pema Pera: but it’s always there it seems . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . probably as long as we are human
    stevenaia Michinaga: it was just something that crossed my path today…..
    Pema Pera: talking about paths:
    Pema Pera: I have to be on my way
    Pema Pera: just wanted to say hi
    Pema Pera: have an early lunch appointment in Tokyo
    Pema Pera: again with open source virtual word developers
    Thorberg Nordlicht: glad you could stop by
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: enjoy
    stevenaia Michinaga: enjoy
    Pema Pera: Thanks again, Thor, for taking over this session!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: no problem
    Pema Pera: And thanks, Fred, for sharing all your Wiki experience!
    stevenaia Michinaga: syl sends her hugs
    Pema Pera: please return them Steve!
    Pema Pera: Syl has been wonderful, in showing us the way to the right wiki :)
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: anytime. im confident it will all work out
    Pema Pera: c u all!
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye

    I left, and Fred and Steve start a very interesting conversation about time and choice.

    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: stevenaia: not to pry, but do you think that catholocism is a help or a hinderance in this situation?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: is your friend finding compassion and support, or hostility and guilt?
    stevenaia Michinaga: not a clue, spouse is jewish and wnet to catholic HS, we joke that she majored and minored in guilt
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: snicker.
    stevenaia Michinaga: all I know it it weighs on her, what she feels are her past mistakes
    stevenaia Michinaga: but it doesn not allow her to make changes that willa ffect her own outlook
    stevenaia Michinaga: the “letting go” seems to be dificult
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i guess it depends alot on how she likes to learn
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: in terms of finding the appropriate path
    stevenaia Michinaga: pema eluded to paths… and I assume choices, I often wonder how each of us choose in life, what directs choice from within , how choices affect being
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: you /could/ flip it around - talk about our choices as what defines us in the first place
    stevenaia Michinaga: I try to keep things simple for myself
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: not sure if that simplifies anything though ;-)
    stevenaia Michinaga: flip a coin and go, or ponder the next choice..for a lifetime
    stevenaia Michinaga: I usually see the decisions before me as waht fate presents, I choose
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: likely important to recognize the choices, however you decide.
    stevenaia Michinaga: if being is what is “now” then is “next” and what you choose the being of the future, of is it happilly jsut the same , being now being then, bring what’s ahead
    stevenaia Michinaga: I missed a couple of letters there
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: if all that exists is the present, the past is as maleable as the future…
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i forget where I got that quote - i’ll try to look it up
    stevenaia Michinaga: I find that comforting
    stevenaia Michinaga: some fear the future as much as the past decisions
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: I find it hard to take seriously, and I’m not always sure what it means, but it helps me sometimes
    stevenaia Michinaga: hard to take what seriously?
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: the notion that the past is entirely maleable
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: we reconstruct it all the time
    stevenaia Michinaga: you mean the past or out percetion of it
    stevenaia Michinaga: perception
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: and the difference? in practice?

    Thor brings up the question of how we experience the past.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: is our “perception” of the past the same as our “memory” of the past? Is the “past” anything more than memory?
    stevenaia Michinaga: it’s all a matter of perspective, I doubt any past can be accuratly reconstructed from the incomplete memories of even a large group
    stevenaia Michinaga: but may views of the same past can be
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but even if we *could* reconstruct the past, our “reconstruction” is still a mental construct, right?
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes
    Thorberg Nordlicht: seems to me, the most we can do is interpret our own experience regardless of whether or not the past still exists in some way beyond our knowledge
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i think the past can be useful to learn from . dwelling on it is a tough habbit to break - but really important
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Our knowledge is limited to memory and interpretation.
    stevenaia Michinaga: how do you explain the past to someone who sees it more than am image but as a cause or the “bad thing that cna;t be changed”
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: hmm… tough call. i suppose it depends alot on how they already look at the world
    stevenaia Michinaga: it;s the “holding on” that’s the difficult habbit to rid yourself of
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i approach these kinds of questions hyper-rationally, but that doesn’t help/convince many
    Thorberg Nordlicht: In your friend’s Catholic belief system, the way out of the dilemma is the seek and receive forgiveness. If her beliefs hold her responsible for past actions, but she can’t accept forgiveness within her belief system and she can’t step out of her belief system, I’d say she’s trapped.
    stevenaia Michinaga: agreed, hoping for insight, that may help actually
    stevenaia Michinaga: forgiving yourself
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: but, learning not to fixate/focus on the negative is something that can improve, with practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: agreed
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: this is an interesting project i ran across recently - http://www.mindhabits.com/
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: in terms of the past, there are always counter-factuals to consider… it really always could have been worse
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: though, that might not be the most cheerful way of looking at things
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: i think thorberg is onto something, in terms of working w/in the belief system. there is a framework for letting go in christianity
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: and even a rich system for working through these ideas in its inner gnostic traditions
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I often wonder if I am an optimist for always being satified with a result, or a pesimist for keeping the outcome attainable and always being happy with the result
    Thorberg Nordlicht: :)
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: heh. the scales of justice

    Time to say goodbye. I look forward to seeing a continuation of these time discussions!

    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: anyway, i have to get going. pleasure chatting.
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks Fried
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ok, Friedrich; glad you could stop by
    Friedrich Ochsenhorn: be well. (or, just Be)
    stevenaia Michinaga: ..smile
    stevenaia Michinaga: apprieciate your insight
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sure; just got lucky
    stevenaia Michinaga: sometimes luck and fate ARE the key
    Thorberg Nordlicht: true
    stevenaia Michinaga: didn;t mean to monopolize things
    Thorberg Nordlicht: not at all
    Thorberg Nordlicht: This discussion brings up a number of relevant issues.
    stevenaia Michinaga: we can call it a night, almost an hour..
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks for hosting
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sure
    Thorberg Nordlicht: thanks for stopping by
    stevenaia Michinaga: see you soon
    Thorberg Nordlicht: see you next time
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good night

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