2008.08.02 07:00 - Taking Pleasure in Each Other

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    That morning I found Doug sitting in the pavilion when I entered, and soon thereafter Tahuti stopped by.

    doug Sosa: morning!
    Pema Pera: right at the bell!
    Pema Pera: Morning, Doug
    doug Sosa: i love the bell.
    Pema Pera: Good to be here in the same time zone, you, me, Second Life, all three :)
    doug Sosa: yes.
    Pema Pera: yes, the bell is great
    Pema Pera: Hi Tahuti!
    Pema Pera: You haven't met Doug, I think?
    Pema Pera: Doug, Tahuti!
    doug Sosa: hello!
    Pema Pera: Tahuti visited us yesterday evening
    Tahuti Thor: hello
    Pema Pera: we had quite a conversation :)
    doug Sosa: Must have been after I left for dinner.
    doug Sosa: topic?
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: we continued our conversation -- hard to quickly summarize, do you remember at which point you dropped in, Tahuti, roughly?
    Tahuti Thor: hmm
    Pema Pera: Ah, Doug, just checked, Tahuti arrived five minutes after you left -- so not much of a gap, we basically just continued
    doug Sosa: death and ..
    Tahuti Thor: we spoke on reality....and questioned our assumption that we can know external realities
    doug Sosa: external to what?
    Tahuti Thor: external to yourself
    Pema Pera: ah, thank you for bringing that up, Tahuti!
    Pema Pera: I should say more here
    Tahuti Thor: or maybe what u believe to be yourself
    Pema Pera: this is rather subtle
    Pema Pera: yes, exactly!
    Pema Pera: more like that
    Pema Pera: so in fact not external
    doug Sosa: if myself is my experience, what can be external?
    Pema Pera: more like "beyond"
    Pema Pera: in the sense of what Tahuti just said
    Pema Pera: "beyond your normal understanding of yourself"
    doug Sosa: that puts a big burden on "normal".
    Pema Pera: from the relative point of view, the absolute point of view may seem like external
    doug Sosa: yes. i agree
    Pema Pera: but from the absolute side, there is no relative side, there is only one side
    Pema Pera: so in neither case is there a duality
    Pema Pera: the only seeming duality is in this story we are using as a crutch to point to the difference between relative and absolute
    Pema Pera: very easy to misunderstand

    I tried to switch for external to internal, as images.

    Pema Pera: I have used Stim's image of a hand and a handpuppet
    Pema Pera: the puppet being our normal "I" and the hand "Being"
    Pema Pera: so then Being or Reality is not external to us
    Pema Pera: but in a funny way internal :)
    Pema Pera: but each of those images or metaphors should not be taken to literally . . . . .
    Pema Pera: just a hint
    doug Sosa: i agree with the internal of the hand, but not the passivity of the puppet.
    Pema Pera: if both hand and puppet would exist in some sense, then yes, DOug, the metaphor would be wrong, as you said
    doug Sosa: the puppet is more like the skin of the hand, our life is more like the pseudopodia of the absolute
    Pema Pera: but that is not what I meant
    Pema Pera: yes, in some sense
    Pema Pera: the idea of a puppet is that a puppet *could* be taken incorrectly for the real thing
    Pema Pera: while a skin could not easily be taken like that
    Pema Pera: so in that particular sense, puppet is better than skin
    Pema Pera: BUT there is no passivity here, in the following sense
    Pema Pera: a puppet can be taken off and put aside
    Pema Pera: we cannot
    Pema Pera: there the metaphor goes wrong
    doug Sosa: interesting to explore the words and images, like an extended poem.
    Pema Pera: it is more like a movie iamge
    Pema Pera: image
    doug Sosa: But our "performance" can be set aside.
    Pema Pera: you cannot lay down a movie image to the side
    doug Sosa: This morning i have that experience. lots of tasks.
    doug Sosa: feel overwhelmed.
    Pema Pera: ah, yes
    Pema Pera: nice image
    doug Sosa: and then realize they are just there, like the puppet. no urgency in tension, and timeless makes the all easy.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: with "set aside" figuratively too, nice!
    Pema Pera: so the puppet is a role that is being played
    Pema Pera: in that sense quite different from a skin
    doug Sosa: yes.
    Pema Pera: and a role is not passive
    Pema Pera: a dance does not appear without a dancer
    Pema Pera: good to flesh these images out ("flesh" being an apt metaphor here too, on another level :)
    doug Sosa: so, complex piece of software work. lots of detail. tends to overhwlm. but if back off, let them be part of being, or in the frame of being. they are more like dominoes to be set up. time and urgency are not important. And then it all happens quicker.
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed, more fun, more efficient, more peace of mind, all of that.
    Pema Pera: subtraction of the superfluous
    doug Sosa: yes.
    Pema Pera: not easy sometimes when you feel "stuck" in it (other metaphor :)
    Pema Pera: (like your clothes got stuck, can't easily take them off)
    doug Sosa: "stuck" is clearly an intepretation. Mental velcro.
    Pema Pera: yes

    Doug returned to the notion of external reality.

    doug Sosa: back to the question. what then is "external" reality and what can we know about it?
    Pema Pera: it is not external
    Pema Pera: it is different from what we normally conceive
    doug Sosa: good.
    Pema Pera: in that sense it may seem external -- external to our normal interpretive framework
    doug Sosa: it is the terrotory notthe map. But it is all pervasive. Is it like tao?
    Pema Pera: but from the Being point of view, everything, including our attempt at constructing framework is of course included in It
    Pema Pera: Tao is a reasonable approximation for Being, like God is, or Emptiness -- not precisely the same, but a good first approximation
    doug Sosa: what occurs to me is that it is like the clay before it is molded, and reamins the clay before it is molded even after some has been molded.
    Pema Pera: Tahuti, feel free to join in, at any point you like -- we are just freely talking here :>)
    Pema Pera: yes, another metaphor that may help
    doug Sosa: sort of png pong Tahuti, or jazz.
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Pema Pera: but the question is, what experiences do we have
    Pema Pera: to breath life into the metaphors
    Pema Pera: (another metaphor :)
    Pema Pera: since everything we say can be interpreted squarely within the relative
    Pema Pera: in ever more subtle ways
    Pema Pera: as well as beyond the relative
    Pema Pera: in the absolute
    doug Sosa: to me rality is one, and our experience is the many ; made up of fragmetns from the one through our activity, and we amazingly have experience of both.
    doug Sosa: "reality"
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: Morning, Gen!
    doug Sosa: morning genesis..
    Pema Pera: up early too, hey?
    genesis Zhangsun: morning!
    Tahuti Thor: hi genesis
    genesis Zhangsun: Hi Tahuti!

    Genesis dropped in.

    Pema Pera: Gen, Tahuti visited us for the first time yesterday evening
    genesis Zhangsun: welcome!
    Tahuti Thor: thank u
    Pema Pera: and we now find ourselves continueing the converation from then, where Doug was present too
    Pema Pera: Normally each session is quite different -- fun to continue this time :)
    Pema Pera: Gen, Doug and I were just talking about the one and the many
    doug Sosa: The way what we do here has real effects: yesterday..
    doug Sosa: i was in a meeting about online work groups.
    doug Sosa: and the whole tone was of people in groups being driven, and needing to be driven.
    doug Sosa: nobody seemed to sense that the people could relax and take pleasure in each other. I saw it so clearly based on the epxperience here in PaB.
    Pema Pera: !
    Tahuti Thor: taoism uses the one and the many line , right?
    Pema Pera: yes, it does, Tahuti
    Pema Pera: (was waiting for Doug, who reads Chinese)
    doug Sosa: What the one and the many misses for me is the pervasiveness of the one, its being so experienced and so in all the intersticies..
    Pema Pera: yes, that is important!
    doug Sosa: I am not sure about the one and the many in the Tao. In Tao the tao is active, flows. not like the "being" we talk about here... first idea.. may change my mind.
    Pema Pera: yes, it is subtle
    Pema Pera: it comes down what the "active" means in both cases
    Pema Pera: the Tao gives rise to Yin and Yang
    Pema Pera: where the Yang is more active
    Pema Pera: and Yin more passive
    Pema Pera: relatively speaking
    Pema Pera: so the activity of Tao is beyond both
    doug Sosa: I love the tao "to see the manifestations, have desire, to see the essence, be without desire. These two are the same and only diverge as they are put into speech."
    Pema Pera: very nice
    Pema Pera: that would be a very good pointer to Being too
    Pema Pera: only a pointer, like all words, but a good direction
    Pema Pera: and then some experience has to happen
    Pema Pera: which reminds me
    Pema Pera: we will meet again in two days, you and Gen and a few others and me
    Pema Pera: in RL
    Pema Pera: will be fun!
    genesis Zhangsun: very :)
    Pema Pera: Tahuti, you don't happen to be in the Bary Area, California, are you?
    Tahuti Thor: no, sorry
    Tahuti Thor: virginia
    Pema Pera: we'll have a half dozen of us meeting here on Monday
    Pema Pera: first gettogether since we started this in April

    Doug had to take off.

    doug Sosa: Yes. and now I have a date with my wife to take a quick walk as the golden sunlight pours across the tops of the nearby sheep and evergreen covereed hills!
    Pema Pera: we'll have a larger one in October in Princeton, NJ
    Pema Pera: see you, Doug!
    doug Sosa: bye!
    genesis Zhangsun: that sounds lovely Doug
    genesis Zhangsun: bye
    Tahuti Thor: have a nice one
    Pema Pera: So Tahuti, what are you making of all this :-)
    Pema Pera: strange group, hey?
    Tahuti Thor: haha
    Tahuti Thor: well ive been contemplating reality for awhile now
    Tahuti Thor: so this all helps me out
    Pema Pera: great!
    Pema Pera: how far did you get, in your contemplations -- is that easy to summarize?
    Tahuti Thor: scattered thoughts and ideas everywhere
    Pema Pera: :)
    Tahuti Thor: can be activated again if right things are said or by questioning,etc.
    Pema Pera: yes, I know the feeling
    Pema Pera: the glue, so to speak, has to be experience
    Tahuti Thor: yes
    Pema Pera: like in physics, without experiments no theory
    Pema Pera: but without theoretical ideas you wouldn't know how to perform experiments
    Pema Pera: you could stumble upon something
    Pema Pera: but then that could be quite confusing, in isolation
    Tahuti Thor: im curious, when u say passive ...what do u feel is passive?
    Pema Pera: doug said "passive"
    Tahuti Thor: o i c
    Pema Pera: about the puppet in that image,
    Pema Pera: and I pointed out that that was not part of what I had meant in that metaphor
    Pema Pera: so no "passive" :)
    Tahuti Thor: right

    Gen brought up a possibly good side of confusion.

    genesis Zhangsun: Pema isn't the confusion maybe a good thing in a way..:)
    Pema Pera: oh sure!
    genesis Zhangsun: as opposed to getting the conclusion that the "story" wrote for you
    Pema Pera: yes, definitely
    genesis Zhangsun: maybe gets closer to reality
    Pema Pera: and if you then explore further, confusion can be fuel
    Pema Pera: but confusion can also lead someone to stop
    Pema Pera: that would be a pity
    Pema Pera: if I may ask, Tahuti, what was it that was driving you to look into reality? curiosity, some experiences, intuition, questions?
    Tahuti Thor: so this reality spawns many experiences through its many vehicles (us) ?
    Pema Pera: yes, you could say so (within the limits of words)
    Pema Pera: as a first approximation, I think that would be very helpful
    Pema Pera: and then, to finetune, you have to compare with your experiences
    Pema Pera: since at first we don't understand the ingredients in such sentences
    Pema Pera: they all mean something quite subtly different from what we normally think they mean
    Pema Pera: but no hurry here!
    Pema Pera: first some glimpses, then work it out further
    Tahuti Thor: i think it was a dissatisfication arises within by not understanding reality fully
    Pema Pera: or better
    Pema Pera: let IT work it out :)
    Pema Pera: great motivator!
    Pema Pera: (the dissatisfaction, I mean)
    genesis Zhangsun: confusion as fuel
    Pema Pera: :)
    Tahuti Thor: dissatification motivates me to contemplate reality til ive quenched my thirst for understanding (so to speak)
    Tahuti Thor: yes
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: can you say more what is dissatisfactory?
    Tahuti Thor: to not function or view the world as reality has it creates dissatification
    Tahuti Thor: some kind of mental state
    Tahuti Thor: incoherence in the brain maybe
    genesis Zhangsun: could it relate to expectations?
    genesis Zhangsun: which are not met?
    Tahuti Thor: yes
    Tahuti Thor: what fuels our expectations?
    genesis Zhangsun: hmmm you tell me
    genesis Zhangsun: seems like it can be different for each person
    Tahuti Thor: ego
    Tahuti Thor: but i dont understand how this ego keeps popping up
    Tahuti Thor: after trimming it down through meditation
    Pema Pera: can you say more, Tahuti, how does that feel, the ego popping up?
    Tahuti Thor: it frustrates the mind
    Tahuti Thor: like "this shouldnt be happening to me" or "why me" etc.

    I was glad Tahuti had brought up this aspect of working with the ego. It is really central to any kind of meditation, and it is often not explained very clearly.


    Pema Pera: maybe "trimming (the ego) down" is not the best approach. Perhaps setting the ego free, letting it be, watching it without being attached to it, may be a better approach?
    Pema Pera: rather than fighting it?
    Pema Pera: like letting a child play?
    Pema Pera: while also paying attention that it doesn't stray too far
    Tahuti Thor: right
    Tahuti Thor: maybe been trimming it down too much in isolation
    genesis Zhangsun: and knowing that it is just a child
    genesis Zhangsun: not a screaming monster
    Tahuti Thor: not being active enough (or letting the child play like u said)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    genesis Zhangsun: yes Tahuti I like that letting the child play
    Pema Pera: yes, we tend to make a monster out of the ego . . . . .
    Tahuti Thor: so, to reprogram ourselves in accorance with reality as have to face the things which do frustrate us
    Tahuti Thor: but .........at the very instant we experience frustration we have to reprogram it
    Tahuti Thor: do something u dont normally do
    Tahuti Thor: like tellling the child to mature in that very moment
    Pema Pera: If I can follow up on the child metaphor, perhaps the child does not have to reprogram anything -- just playing under the watchful eye of reality is enough ?
    Pema Pera: we may be talking about the same thing
    Pema Pera: from a different angle
    Pema Pera: we need to be super serious and super play ful :)
    Pema Pera: an odd combination
    Pema Pera: either one alone may not work
    Pema Pera: too serious, and we get stuck and frustrated
    Pema Pera: too playful and we don't get anywhere
    Tahuti Thor: yes...the watchful eye disciplines the child (or reprograms) whenever and wherever it is needed
    Pema Pera: may I ask what kind of meditation have you done, Tahuti?
    Tahuti Thor: those frustrations happen so quick
    Tahuti Thor: concentration and insight
    Pema Pera: yes, those can be very powerful! Is that like vipassana?
    Tahuti Thor: insight sometimes called vipassana
    Pema Pera: :)

    Tahuti and I had typed our sentences almost simultaneously.

    Pema Pera: vipassana can be very powerful but also very frustrating
    Tahuti Thor: what meditations u have done?
    Pema Pera: especially on day-long retreats or longer
    Tahuti Thor: and worked for u
    Pema Pera: oh, a whole slew -- over the last 38 years :-)
    Pema Pera: and all of them "worked" in some sense
    Pema Pera: teh problem was mainly that in the first 20 years or so
    genesis Zhangsun: well I must be going
    Pema Pera: I did not get very clear advice about what it was all about :)
    genesis Zhangsun: nice to meet you
    Pema Pera: good seeing you again, Gen!
    genesis Zhangsun: Tahuti!
    Tahuti Thor: k genesis
    genesis Zhangsun: Bye Pema!
    genesis Zhangsun: Until next time
    Tahuti Thor: nice to meet u
    Pema Pera: yup!
    Tahuti Thor: we meet sometime again :)

    Genesis left, and Tahuti asked my about my way of understanding.

    Pema Pera: What I just mentioned, not to be too serious, was something that took me a very loooooong time to understand
    Pema Pera: after I understood that, everything went much faster
    Pema Pera: but everybody has his own hangups
    Pema Pera: others may start out too playful and need to learn to be more serious
    Tahuti Thor: what do u understand about it now
    Pema Pera: I understand that there is nothing to do
    Pema Pera: and at the same time
    Pema Pera: that everything we do is sacred, holy, of the utmost importance
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Pema Pera: yes, we have a deep responsibility, but it has the character of celebration
    Pema Pera: not of duty
    Pema Pera: we celebrate that nothing needs to be done
    Pema Pera: and celebration of that shows in all that we do
    Tahuti Thor: :)
    Pema Pera: What I just said is an example of the two languages we can talk in, the relative and the absolute, as we discussed yesterday
    Pema Pera: "nothing to do" according to the language of the absolute
    Pema Pera: "everything holy" according to the language of the relative
    Tahuti Thor: i c
    Tahuti Thor: there is no meditation u recommend above all others?
    Pema Pera: if you celebrate that the ego is an illusion, then the responsibility to trim the ego down to size takes on a whole different flavor
    Tahuti Thor: or they each have ups and downs
    Pema Pera: not one single meditation now
    Pema Pera: but what I do recommend
    Pema Pera: is not so much a form of meditation as such
    Pema Pera: but more a specific form of integration of the results of meditation

    I summarized our Play as Being approach.

    Pema Pera: usually, people are asked to meditate for years
    Pema Pera: and then over time slowly the results of mediation seep into daily life
    Pema Pera: and in that way you can integrate mediation into your life
    Pema Pera: what we do here, in Play as Being, is that we revert the order
    Tahuti Thor: right
    Pema Pera: we start with integration before even knowing that/how we meditate :)
    Pema Pera: that is the one unusual aspect of what we are doing here
    Pema Pera: you got the web site, right? http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Tahuti Thor: interesting
    Tahuti Thor: yes
    Pema Pera: so instead of half an hour meditation every day
    Pema Pera: we do only 9 seconds meditation, but then every fifteen minutes
    Pema Pera: for a few hours a day (doesn't have to be the whole day)
    Pema Pera: so in total we spend perhaps a couple minutes every day
    Pema Pera: but spread out over a few hours
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Pema Pera: so nobody can say they don't have the time -- it is like brushing your teeth :)
    Pema Pera: so no excuse to skip
    Pema Pera: very important to do EVERY day
    Pema Pera: continuity is key
    Pema Pera: then "something" integrates into your life
    Pema Pera: a seed
    Pema Pera: and during these meetings here
    Pema Pera: we provide sunlight and water from the community
    Pema Pera: to let the seeds sprout
    Pema Pera: we trade duration for frequency
    Tahuti Thor: i c
    Tahuti Thor: i should be headed for monastery soon
    Pema Pera: we started in April, it's been four months now, and it's amazing how much people have gotten out of it

    I mentioned our guardian system.


    Tahuti Thor: how many people were here before
    Pema Pera: we have a community of more than 30 people in a kind of inner circle with an email group
    Pema Pera: and far more people dropping by whenever they like
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Pema Pera: those 30 people are called "guardians"
    Pema Pera: mainly because they guard the time slots
    Pema Pera: in the sense of always having someone be here
    Pema Pera: at our 4 times a day meetings
    Pema Pera: so that nobody comes here for an empty house :)
    Pema Pera: time slot guardians
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Pema Pera: but I don't wanna hold you up if yo have to go
    Pema Pera: great seeing you again
    Pema Pera: and feel free to drop by any time!
    Tahuti Thor: next meeting 7?
    Pema Pera: 1 pm
    Pema Pera: 7 pm
    Pema Pera: 1 am
    Pema Pera: 7 am
    Pema Pera: SL time
    Pema Pera: every six hours
    Tahuti Thor: 6 pm est time
    Pema Pera: 4 pm edt
    Pema Pera: (eastern daylight savings time) :)
    Pema Pera: SL time is California time
    Tahuti Thor: oops yes
    Tahuti Thor: lol
    Tahuti Thor: ok.....
    Pema Pera: I'm constantly confused with time zones
    Pema Pera: just was in Japan for a couple months
    Pema Pera: travel a lot for my work
    Tahuti Thor: hehe
    Pema Pera: so 4 and 10 in your place, both am and pm
    Tahuti Thor: k
    Tahuti Thor: ty
    Pema Pera: yw
    Tahuti Thor: ttyl soon
    Pema Pera: yes, tc!

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