2008.07.08 01:00 - Writing as Meditation

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    That night, at 1 am, I found Fael, Libby, and Major in the pavilion when I entered.

    Libby Sohl: try stop all animations in tools hon
    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema
    Faenik: could be
    Libby Sohl: hello Pema
    Fael Illyar: Hi Bert
    Major Polik: hello
    Bertrum Quan: Hello all.
    Pema Pera: Hi Libby, Major, Bert, Fael!
    Libby Sohl: Major try stop all animations when your standing up then sitting
    Pema Pera: Welcome, Major, you look very relaxed :)

    Major was lying backwards in mid-air, as if on a lawn chair

    Pema Pera: Have you been here before?
    Libby Sohl: Major is a friend of mine Pema i thought she would add to our group, she has some very interesting ideas
    Major Polik: ^_^
    Pema Pera: I’d love to hear from you, Major, about your ideas!
    Fael Illyar: How complete introduction have you given Major, Libby?
    Major Polik: hehe id like to listen in first
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pema Pera: fine, Major!
    Libby Sohl: not very, this porbably isnt the best meeting for major to attend time wise so I would apreciate it if you could give her the overview
    Pema Pera: sure

    A quick PaB summary.

    Pema Pera: We get together here four times a day, every six hours, 1 am 7 m 1 pm 7 pm
    Pema Pera: and talk about exploring reality in a very open and general way
    Major Polik: cool
    Pema Pera: what we do in RL to help our exploration
    Pema Pera: is that four times an hour we stop for 9 seconds what we are doing
    Pema Pera: roughly 9 seconds every 900 seconds (1% time tax, 15 min=900 sec)
    Pema Pera: for perhaps a few hours a day
    Pema Pera: so in total we spend only a few minutes on our practice every day
    Pema Pera: and then whenever we feel like, we talk about it here
    Pema Pera: we record much of our sessions on our blog
    Pema Pera: http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Pema Pera: where you can find some general hints too
    Pema Pera: well, that’s about it — a very open structure :-)
    Major Polik: ooo i get it
    Pema Pera: surprisingly, many people feel that this exploration “works” in the sense that all kind of things happen and change quite quickly, already in teh first few days they try
    Libby Sohl: do we have a starting point for today?
    Pema Pera: so if you’d like to try, I’d be happy to hear how it will be for you — in RL and/or here
    Pema Pera: no starting point today
    Pema Pera: each meeting is freely flowing
    Pema Pera: sometimes people bring up questions and/or observations
    Pema Pera: or we just chat about whatever
    Fael Illyar: this software can be helpful in getting started http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html
    Major Polik: thank you

    We exchange experiences concerning the 9-sec explorations.

    Pema Pera: Libby, have you tried some more 9-sec breaks lately?
    Major Polik: so why 9 seconds
    Libby Sohl: i have tried but i am still doing my usual stratergy too id developed it into my life and it fits, i am gradually incorperating the two rather than swapping instantly
    Pema Pera: this is 1% of 15 minutes, so if you do it every 15 minutes, you still have 99% of the time left for yourself, Major — just an easy way to get started. Of course, you can spend more time if you like, do it more often.
    Faenik: ah :)
    Pema Pera: oh, sure, swapping would not be good I think
    Fael Illyar: No need to be exact about the time. The key is to stop.
    Pema Pera: this is additional, and only a few minutes a day, like brushing teeth or tying shoe laces :)
    Pema Pera: I wanted to design something for which nobody could tell me “oh, I’m too busy, I don’t have time to do that”
    Pema Pera: Of course, whether somebody wants to do that is up to them — and this will not be everybody’s cup of tea — but time excuse won’t work here :>)
    Major Polik: funny thing is my mind has to do this sort of things many times a day its kind of a resetting mechanism keeps me from losing my mind
    Pema Pera: yes!!
    Fael Illyar: Yes, it certainly tends to have that kind of effect.
    Fael Illyar: I do these explorations primarily because they help me keep my mind clear.
    Major Polik: that must be nice.. my mind is never clear
    Libby Sohl: i do think it is important to adapt stratergies to suit your own life though i cant do things religiously at specific times for example, children dont tend to allow for religious structure
    Major Polik: good point
    Fael Illyar: 9 seconds is short enough that you can usually fit that into most structures… Just remember that the point is not to do it punctually. The point is to do it often :)
    Faenik: could be
    Libby Sohl: that is what i mean i can fit it in just not at the exact minute i have set aside
    Libby Sohl: i adapt it to fit with the situation i am in
    Pema Pera: yes, I agree!
    Pema Pera: And indeed, there are many parallels with other methods, past and present. There are two things, though, that stand out here, I think.
    Pema Pera: One is that when we do it whenever we feel like, we are likely to NOT do it when we need it most — that is where a fixed 15-minute discipline comes in, to help us continue.
    Pema Pera: Another one is that we have this group. Whenever we have questions or reports or suggestions we want to discuss, we can always come here; the next session is never more than five hours or so away :>)
    Pema Pera: But I don’t mean “fixed” like rigid, more like regular
    Pema Pera: say, a few hours a day, when you’re not too busy with other things
    Pema Pera: but then every day — not three days around the clock and then not for a week :)

    Libby mentions the role of location.

    Libby Sohl: does anyone find particular physical spaces help?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes
    Libby Sohl: not always for short sessions but if anyone takes longer ones
    Fael Illyar: I tend to do longer meditation also.
    Fael Illyar: the effect is somehow different for me.
    Major Polik: longer is more effective as far as clarity of mind goes
    Fael Illyar: Yes, that’s the difference mostly.
    Fael Illyar: but I think you do get a lot of the effect from the 9 seconds
    Bertrum Quan: I’ve had a recent effect from the 9 seconds…
    Faenik: could be
    Bertrum Quan: Afterwards it has made me a bit more aware…
    Major Polik: it seems to be making me more random
    Fael Illyar: less of a single track mind?
    Faenik loves wells!
    Bertrum Quan: It has the effect in the last day or two of turning off the auto pilot…
    Major Polik: i have a mutiple track mind moreso than most people

    We talk about Bertrum’s auto pilot from different points of view.

    Libby Sohl: thats interesting though because for me autopilot is sometimes helpful
    Major Polik: if anything i need an autopilot
    Libby Sohl: for example i ride my motorbike and when im on it i stop thinking
    Bertrum Quan: It may depend where the auto pilot lead one.
    Libby Sohl: i am on my own with my mind doing one thing without too much in my head
    Fael Illyar: I think the key thing with autopilot is whether or not you remember what this “autopilot” does.
    Faenik: ah :)
    Libby Sohl: you have to remember to switch it off
    Pema Pera: We may be using the same word for quite different things . . . “auto pilot” can mean “thoughtlessly, almost zombie like” or “led by something different from the normal rational mind” and many things in between . . .
    Major Polik: good point
    Libby Sohl: all worlds mean different things to different people and in different circumstances
    Pema Pera: interestingly “auto” means “self” in Greek . . . .
    Pema Pera: so self-pilot can mean a pilot that runs by itself, beyond your usual self
    Pema Pera: for better or worse :)
    Major Polik: subconcious!
    Bertrum Quan: Yes. And also reactive as opposed to mindful…
    Fael Illyar: I think part of awareness is remembering what you did.

    Major brings up memory.

    Major Polik: i dunno if i did that i wouldn’t have any memory space left
    Pema Pera: some awareness can be very spontaneous though– with little or no explicit memory
    Pema Pera: like jamming in a music group
    Pema Pera: or anything spontaneous
    Libby Sohl: i find it interesting when stimulus expose memorys you didnt even know you had
    Fael Illyar: I think you’re seriously underestimating how much your memory can hold, Major :)
    Libby Sohl: there seems to be some hierarchy in the way your mind organises memorys so you do not become overwhelmed
    Libby Sohl: some are stored without you being aware until they become useful
    Major Polik: yeah normally i would agree Fael But in my case im too conciously aware of what goes on around me
    Pema Pera: If someone is engaged in martial arts, or someone paints calligraphy with a few bold strokes, there may be no active memory involved at all, but very pure awareness
    Major Polik: well unless you count muscle memory
    Faenik: why not?
    Libby Sohl: but when they do it again they will no how to so they have a physical memory somewhere
    Pema Pera: yes, there are different kinds of what you could call memory
    Libby Sohl: we have returned back to everyword having a different meaning
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: one problem with conceptual memory is that it refuses to accept experiences that it does not understand
    Major Polik: ugh a never ending thought maze feedback loop
    Pema Pera: this is a BIG problem
    Libby Sohl: i do not think we can constantly use that to halt a discussion i think we have to continue being aware of it
    Pema Pera: we can have a wonderful opening, totally new experience — and can forget about that very soon . . . .

    Libby talks about information.

    Libby Sohl: but when you get information that helps you to understand it do you not remember it then?
    Pema Pera: the deepest experiences may not be “information” . . . .
    Pema Pera: when you wake up from a dream, and don’t write down a few words, you are much less likely to remember it
    Major Polik: what? ofcourse its information
    Pema Pera: since dream awareness doesn’t easily fit into awake awareness categories
    Pema Pera: but a few words written down form a bridge
    Libby Sohl: but if you experience something similiar to that dream within your life you may remember the dream clearly
    Pema Pera: Well, it depends on what you call information — I meat it as a conceptual type of information
    Pema Pera: yes Libby, indeed!
    Major Polik: yeah thats debatable considering when you dream your brain has the same wave pattern of a person who is awake
    Pema Pera: it is my experience
    Pema Pera: if I write down a few words, it helps a lot
    Pema Pera: with dreams
    Pema Pera: with forms of meditation too
    Libby Sohl: i think you can only be aware of a certain amount of what is held in your mind
    Libby Sohl: otherwise you could not function
    Fael Illyar: Major, that is, if it is indeed the wave pattern that has meaning.
    Fael Illyar: and not something else
    Major Polik: well it definetly has meaning
    Bertrum Quan: Dreams are certainly part of reality… the brain is processing
    Pema Pera: good point, Fael — I prefer to start with observation, and then try to find an explanation, if possible
    Faenik loves wells!
    Fael Illyar: I’m not saying it doesn’t have meaning. I’m saying there could be other things no-one has noted that could make a lot of difference.
    Major Polik: well the problem with observation is that its limited by perceptional perspective
    Libby Sohl: but Pema surely all people work from a different direction
    Libby Sohl: who can decide which is more valuable
    Major Polik: i see your point fael
    Pema Pera: of course, Libby
    Faenik: why not?
    Pema Pera: but comparing the experience of dreaming and waking and connecting with statements about brain waves is what I was refering too
    Pema Pera: Experience is direct
    Pema Pera: inferences of brainwaves is much more indirect, as Fael pointed out
    Fael Illyar: Yes, you can have much better view of what is going on in your brain by observing yourself.
    Pema Pera: of course, Major, it is interesting to learn about brain waves, for sure!
    Pema Pera: and it may give us all kind of new ideas and suggestions
    Pema Pera: that we might not have gotten from our own experience
    Pema Pera: sometimes indirect approaches are very valuable too

    We contrast direct experience/observation with more indirect forms of knowledge.

    Major Polik: direct methods alone can only take one so far
    Major Polik: same goes for indirect…there needs to be a balance between the 2
    Libby Sohl: i think you must combine observation and knowledge which you apply first is of little consequence as long as you concider both
    Pema Pera: in my own field, physics, the strength of the empirical approach is the combination of experiment and theory — either one is very weak by itself.
    Pema Pera: Yes, Libby.
    Pema Pera: And yes, Major
    Fael Illyar: Libby, as long as your knowledge doesn’t color your observation too much.
    Libby Sohl: it depends in the way you apply it
    Libby Sohl: just because its written down does not mean its true
    Libby Sohl: they both have to support each other
    Faenik: could be
    Major Polik: well without the knowledge a person doesn’t know what they’re looking for to dig deeper than the superfical observation
    Libby Sohl: yes but if you observe something that proves your knowledge untrue you have still discovered something
    Libby Sohl: so either way the application of the knowledge is helpful for some people to give them direction
    Bertrum Quan: The challenge it seems to me is to get closer to the whole of one’s being
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Bertrum Quan: That includes experience in the largest sense…
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: and it includes opening toward kinds of experiences that we normally don’t notice, either discount as unimportant or even don’t notice at all
    Pema Pera: in my own experience I have found it very useful to write down a few words
    Pema Pera: after each 9-sec exploration
    Pema Pera: again as a bridge
    Pema Pera: between the kind of fresh and different experiences during the 9-sec
    Pema Pera: and my everyday ordinary mind functioning
    Pema Pera: like with remembering dreams

    Libby gives a very clear description of how writing helps her to gain more clarity.

    Libby Sohl: writing for me is very important but not as a bridge
    Libby Sohl: writing down trains of thought allowes me to develop ideas without the constraints of my mind
    Major Polik: you know what i honestly think although writing things down seems like a useful tool overusing it causes deterioration in cognitive memory patterns
    Libby Sohl: im quite suprised when i read them afterwards because i am not aware of what i have explored
    Bertrum Quan: Can you explain that a bit more?
    Fael Illyar: if you start relying too much on writing, you will forget more things?
    Major Polik: writing is essentially a double edged sword
    Pema Pera: Yes, Libby, that element of surprise is what I meant with my use of “bridge” as a term — without writing down, I would forget my surprising insights — the very fact that later it is suprising to read means that normal memory did not retain it — but paper did
    Fael Illyar: Is it not more the reading of what you’ve written and not the writing itself?
    Libby Sohl: no i meant i use the writing as the meditation almost not as a memory tool
    Pema Pera: ah, yes, that is what I do too
    Pema Pera: both
    Pema Pera: to help me express the non-standard mind by its own lights
    Pema Pera: and then also to later be able to contact it again
    Pema Pera: like a bridge with two pillars
    Pema Pera: one in either terrain
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Libby Sohl: it allows you to think without constraint and explore ideas in a way more free than traditional thought i think
    Pema Pera: yes, very much so
    Fael Illyar: Do you mean wordless thought?
    Libby Sohl: not really
    Libby Sohl: i cant explain what i am trying to explain
    Libby Sohl: which is probably why it is important to me

    We talk about the limitations of words when we try to express what we feel is really important.

    Fael Illyar: I’ve been finding that most of my thinking happens without words and I’m often left struggling to find the words to convey it.
    Libby Sohl: i definatley think in words
    Libby Sohl: but the words dont always come in the write order
    Libby Sohl: or make sense to anyone other than me
    Libby Sohl: right order
    Major Polik: i understand what libby is trying to say but i have trouble expressing things in words because they’re too constraing for me i wish i could evolve telepathic abilites
    Libby Sohl: lol see
    Bertrum Quan: Do you feel in words? emotions?
    Fael Illyar: You’re hitting language structure wall?
    Libby Sohl: for me words have associated emotions
    Fael Illyar: As in, your language doesn’t work for thinking what you want to think.
    Libby Sohl: links my mind has made that are personal to me
    Major Polik: yeah but the wall seems like is made from an indistructable substance
    Libby Sohl: there is a lot implied by my own language that is not conveys in typed text
    Pema Pera: I’m afraid I have to leave — dinner time here for me. Nice talking with you all, and thanks for stopping by!
    Fael Illyar: Bertrum, you asked that from me? I don’t know actually :)
    Libby Sohl: bye pema
    Major Polik: marishka hargitay Pema lol
    Fael Illyar: I just know it’s not words.
    Fael Illyar: Ok, see you later Pema :)
    Pema Pera: Major, do you mind if we put our conversation here on our blog on the web?
    Bertrum Quan: bye Pema
    Major Polik: dont mind at all
    Pema Pera: thank you!
    Major Polik: np
    Pema Pera: Fael, can you catch the rest of the log?
    Fael Illyar: I should be going as well.
    Pema Pera: okay, well, see you all soon again!
    Fael Illyar: See you later everyone :)

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