2008.07.24 01:00 - To See or not to See

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    That night, like the night before, I met Bert when I entered the pavilion. This time I was there promptly at 1 am.

    Bertrum Quan: Good evening, Pema.
    Pema Pera: Hi Bertrum!
    Pema Pera: It is night for you too, isn’t it?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes.
    Bertrum Quan: I enjoyed the letter you shared.
    Pema Pera: interesting story about the mirrors :)
    Pema Pera: oh, thank you!
    Pema Pera: yeah, I was surprised to see myself slipping into all that Christian diction — but it clearly was fitting
    Bertrum Quan: It is a path.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Bertrum Quan: The major religions are paths.
    Pema Pera: and we hear a lot about Buddhism here
    Pema Pera: and Avastu brings a wonderful Hindu angle
    Pema Pera: but we’ve had relatively little Christian examples yet
    Bertrum Quan: Well I though you articulated it wonderfully…
    IM: Topaz Arai: I do..but I am not that good!!
    Bertrum Quan: Glad you like the article about mirrors.
    Pema Pera: I have a question for you about mirrors
    Bertrum Quan: To me they are classis examples of duality,
    Pema Pera: ah, interesting!
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: here is the question
    Pema Pera: why is it that looking at a mirror left and right are reversed but not up and down
    Bertrum Quan: It’s a matter of translation.
    Pema Pera: ah, you have thought about this before?
    Pema Pera: it baffles most people, the first time they hear it

    The answer is simple, but it may take quite a while to find it. The reason we say “left and right are reverses” is that we imagine that we can turn ourselves around facing away from the mirror. And when we do that, we exchange right for left. But the mirror keeps right to the right and left to the left. So compared to turning the mirror exchanges right and left. However, in principle we could turn around by standing on our head. Of course the mirror would show us standing right side up. Then compared to standing on our head we could say that the mirror reverses up and down. However, in reality, it is much more natural and easy to turn around, around our vertical axis, rather than doing a head stand, around a horizontal axis. Hence the impression that only right and left are reversed, not up and down.

    Bertrum Quan: To the layman like myself, the exapmle of the mirror is important,
    Bertrum Quan: a perfect metaphor of the “problem”
    Pema Pera: can you say more?
    Bertrum Quan: Well as I said earlier, the nature of the mirror is duality.
    Bertrum Quan: Inherent in that is also illusion.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Bertrum Quan: But most important for me (in the PaB context) is this: I think we (humans) make a mistake to think we find ourselves (identity, spirituality, etc.) by looking in the mirror.
    Bertrum Quan: The article, of course, makes the case for the higher level function in our brains that do a certain degree of translating for us–what is real and what it reflection.
    Bertrum Quan: But it’s still a trick.
    Bertrum Quan: You new PaB excercise–to see as Being sees–mean we cannot use a mirror!
    Bertrum Quan: means
    Bertrum Quan: We are in love with our own image! We believe we are in the image of God!
    Bertrum Quan: But the mirror is a metaphor for a kind of blindness…
    Bertrum Quan: Does that make any sense?
    Pema Pera: yes, we tend to create separation whenever we look for a solution
    Pema Pera: for God to be the super-solution, we still have to hold Him at arm’s length
    Pema Pera: still duality
    Pema Pera: but that tendency has to be killed off
    Pema Pera: it sounds harsh and somewhat politically incorrect, to talk about killing
    Pema Pera: but letting go of attachments, really deepseated attachments
    Pema Pera: feels in my way like having to kill them
    Pema Pera: but at the moment of “killing” them, you see it is all empty illusions
    Pema Pera: and then you laugh, very very loudly
    Pema Pera: the laughter of insight
    Pema Pera: and relief
    Pema Pera: the most profound relief possible
    Pema Pera: the relief of allowing yourself to be seen
    Pema Pera: by Being
    Pema Pera: completely
    Pema Pera: more than nakedly
    Pema Pera: every aspect of you, as if you met someone who you could completely trust, totally, in all minute detail, for the first time in your life
    Pema Pera: more than a child can trust in a mother, or a lover in a lover
    Pema Pera: the kind of trust we can have in Being is grounded in their being nothing but Being
    Pema Pera: but these words are meaningless until we kill our attachment to what seems to be different from Being
    Pema Pera: so while it is nice to chat, it would speed up things by making this a killing field of sorts :-)

    Somehow I got into a mood of strong statements. This particular week, the first week of the new YSBS (you seeing Being seeing) practice, seemed to lend itself to a stronger, more intense approach than we had seen so far.

    Pema Pera: if you see what I mean
    Pema Pera: (these ways of speaking are of course extremely easily misconstrued)
    Bertrum Quan: The illusions of vanity and ego are strong however –and seductive,
    Pema Pera: Adams’ typist wanting to kill of Adams was a wonderful story — but really Adams should kill off her typist and herself both . . . :>)
    Pema Pera: oh yes
    Pema Pera: that’s why “letting go” is almost impossible
    Pema Pera: THEY DON”T WANT TO GO
    Pema Pera: so the easiest way is to see they are not real — they cannot even go
    Pema Pera: that is much more direct than “letting them go”
    Pema Pera: but if you can’t quite see them yet, the next best thing is to TRY to kill them
    Pema Pera: REALLY try
    Pema Pera: can’t even be killed
    Pema Pera: and then you may see that they are empty
    Pema Pera: but hard to see that until you REALLY try
    Bertrum Quan: Well that’s the beauty of the phrase/cliche–hang in there. There is almost a unversal fear of letting go

    Bert hit the nail on its head.

    Pema Pera: oh yah
    Pema Pera: and that’s the zen idea: you’re on top of a hundred feet pole. Now do one step forward :)
    Pema Pera: no hanging there :>)
    Bertrum Quan: The ego-centric nature of hanging on is a very strong force.
    Pema Pera: yes, but the strength is empty
    Pema Pera: the strength of the illusion is also illusionary
    Pema Pera: There are two ways to fight illusions: 1) trying to see they are illusions by fighting the strength they seem to have; 2) looking directly at their seeming strength, and looking through it — the latter is the easy way, the PaB way :)
    Bertrum Quan: I agree–a nd seeing God as Creator and a HIGHER POWER–in some instances pushes us further and further away from Being…
    Pema Pera: yes!!
    Pema Pera: and then the question comes up: how can God allow all the evil in the world?
    Pema Pera: Good question
    Pema Pera: pointing to wrong assumption of creator-God
    Pema Pera: nothing was ever created
    Pema Pera: yes, no HIGHER power, totally OTHER power that, incidentally powers all ordinary things too
    Bertrum Quan: Some need the King. Bu the power structure again does not square with the task at hand. IT give false comfort. It allows one an excuse not to see for himself–to truly see,
    Bertrum Quan: gives
    Pema Pera: yes
    Bertrum Quan: Science as you discussed yesterday moves us incrementally closer. I see science as inherently democratic and diffuse. There will be no King of science,

    This triggered me to talk about a favorite topic of mine, science as open source.

    Pema Pera: yes, science is the first “open source” movement in history
    Pema Pera: I am always happily amused by reading literature on “open source” in computer code development over the last 25 years or so
    Pema Pera: as if it is a new idea
    Pema Pera: It was in the seventeeth century that science became open source
    Pema Pera: In open source there is no king
    Pema Pera: Linus Thorvalds (another Finn!) is a facilitator, not a King
    Pema Pera: for the Linux operating system
    Pema Pera: it is meritocracy
    Pema Pera: skillful means
    Pema Pera: who is skillful in coding and skilful in communicating and skillfull in whatever other thing needed, are trusted to fullfil those roles, and only as long as they fullfil them reasonably well, otherwise they are swiftly replaced
    Pema Pera: I mean some are very good at coding
    Pema Pera: and can lead a coding group, for a while at least
    Pema Pera: some are good at communicating
    Pema Pera: etc
    Pema Pera: but that’s basically the model of how science works
    Pema Pera: reinvented when computer science, informatics, was born, within a few decades after it was born
    Pema Pera: just the same time for a human being to grow up
    Pema Pera: PaB is the ultimate open source for contemplative science . . . .
    Bertrum Quan: But many people want to see science in a different way!
    Pema Pera: sure, but science doesn’t care
    Pema Pera: the sun shines, even if people don’t understand its nuclear reactions powering the sun
    Pema Pera: science shines no matter what people think about how it workds
    Pema Pera: *works
    Pema Pera: the nuclear fusing of meritocratic ideas is what powers science
    Pema Pera: nothing else
    Bertrum Quan: People sometime confise science with certainty. ANd that can be a big problem.
    Bertrum Quan: sometimes confuse
    Pema Pera: yup, same problem in spirituality as blind belief — false certainty
    Bertrum Quan: Right. That takes us back to the morror. And how we are so certain what we’re seeing!
    Bertrum Quan: mirror
    Pema Pera: microsoft trying to make a perfect software product, keeping its trade secrets, hoping people believe in it working — but open source making no such claim, based on the power of a hundred thousand eye balls, can be far superios, with no claim whatsoever
    Pema Pera: Pab is growing to be like that
    Pema Pera: more guardians, more guarantees for clarity
    Bertrum Quan: Yes in PaB there is that aspect of open source.

    I shared an image I had seen, about guardians pulling in different directions, and thereby saving lives!

    Pema Pera: Just an hour ago, lying in bed, for my sleep for the first half of the night, suddenly an image popped up to illustrate the role of PaB guardians
    Pema Pera: In a burning house, people have no choice but to jump out of a window
    Pema Pera: a group of guardians stands below, on the ground, holding one of those trampoline like devides that firemen use to let someone jump into to rescue them
    Pema Pera: the way it works
    Pema Pera: is that the firemen, the guardians, all pull in a different direction
    Pema Pera: their own direction
    Pema Pera: which seems as if they totally disagree sometimes and just can’t collaborate
    Pema Pera: but in fact they are saving lives . . . .
    Pema Pera: providing an open space in the middle to land on
    Pema Pera: while being supported simultaneously by all of them
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, that’s possible. But another view is (and this is metaphorically) they do have a choice not to jump out of the burning building, And the guardians are helping to fan the flames.
    Pema Pera: hahaha, yes, every metaphor can be used in different ways — the mirror too, of course
    Bertrum Quan: That’s why I found that article so timely for PaB…
    Bertrum Quan: I take comfort the in larger view…that wasn;t always so.
    Bertrum Quan: Perhaps we can morph Shakespear: TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION!
    Bertrum Quan: The will get us closer to BE.
    Bertrum Quan: It’s hard to leave the mirror and the certainty it appears to provide.
    Pema Pera: nice, I like that.
    Bertrum Quan: The other point that you’ve raised in many sessions is also very important I think. It is the paradox of subtraction…
    Pema Pera: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/22/science/22angi.html is the URL for the mirror article, by the way
    Pema Pera: yes?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, that is the one IMed to you.
    Pema Pera: yes, I’m including it here for the PaB blog readers :)
    Pema Pera: About subtraction?
    Bertrum Quan: The glorious paradox. As science and all the paths gain more and more, there should be less and less. As we fill the unimaginable singing bowl we empty it. In this way we come close to Being,,,
    Bertrum Quan: to seeing…
    Bertrum Quan: One topic that I haven’t heard discussed much, but might be worthy of future time is the subject of death…
    Pema Pera: oh, but science is subtracting, in effect, even though scientists want to add — scientists are grasping for more insight, but science is taking away the solidity of matter, the special please of humans in evolution, and so on . . . .
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, and that is the tug of war…
    Pema Pera: Sure, I’m happy to leave death for a next session — good topic, related to the killing of course, that we started with
    Pema Pera: but an hour has gone by again . . . .
    Pema Pera: I should get to my second half of sleep :-)
    Bertrum Quan: Thanks, Pema,
    Pema Pera: ncie talking with you, Bert, as always :)
    Pema Pera: sleep well
    Bertrum Quan: See you soon. Good noght.

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