2008.08.15 19:00 - Obviously Intended to be Harmless

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    The guardian for this meeting was stevenaia Michinaga. The comments are stevenaia.

    I arrived about two minutes late, the pavilion was crowed for a friday night, as usually I was rezzing for a while, Pema Pera appears as a cloud...

    Pema Pera: I see myself as a white cloud still . . . .
    Threedee Shepherd: hello all, I was afk
    Pema Pera: Hi Steve!
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello all
    Avastu Maruti: hello my friend
    Threedee Shepherd: hi steve
    Dakini Rhode: hi steve
    stevenaia Michinaga: am I standing on your paw 3d?
    Pema Pera: Hi Sky!
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Sky, Pema
    Pema Pera: Hi Thor!
    Dakini Rhode: hi Thorberg :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: my (much) better half say hello to pema and all
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello, everyone
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    Dakini Rhode: and Sky!
    Threedee Shepherd: hi thor
    Pema Pera: do say hello back, Steve!
    Pema Pera: Hi Claire!
    Dakini Rhode: hi Claire
    Claire Beltran: Hello, everyone.
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    Threedee Shepherd: hi
    Claire Beltran: Wow, Adelene... that's a beautiful bird avatar.
    Adelene Dawner: Thanks :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: is the pillow in front of me available?
    Pema Pera: Even now, I see myself still as a cloud . . . . while everyone else was rezzed for me long ago -- what do I look like?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I;m still rezzing
    Pema Pera: yes, Steve
    Threedee Shepherd: a cloud
    Dakini Rhode: a nimbus, Pema
    Adelene Dawner: You're rezzed for me, Pem.
    Pema Pera: shapeshifting for some, I guess :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: quite a friday crowd
    Dakini Rhode: i'd like a permanent nimbus av
    Pema Pera: I'm sure it can be done!
    Adelene Dawner: Not perfectly, but yes, it can be done. :)
    Claire Beltran: Like Lauryll's ghost in Thief: Deadly Shadows.
    Claire Beltran: Except you don't inexplicably cast the scary shadow of a little girl.
    Pema Pera: a cumulonimbus cloud?
    Pema Pera: lol, Claire!
    stevenaia Michinaga: since the conversation is light thus far I would like to once again propose, no matter where we are in conversation that as a group we stop foe 9 seconds at the gong for the equivalent of a group meditation (I almost said hug) if only so I get more in tune with 9 secs of meditations, then we can continue
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Adelene Dawner: Good idea, Steve. :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: now, back to cloud descriptions

    Adelene Dawner had mentioned that she had a topic she was interested in bringing up at tonight's meeting, I thought this might be a good opportunity to lead into that...

    stevenaia Michinaga: did you have anything you wanted to focus on Adelene?
    Adelene Dawner: Well, there was that thing we talked about the other day.
    stevenaia Michinaga: only if the time is right
    Adelene Dawner is putting words together.
    stevenaia Michinaga: no pressure, we're not going anywhere.... smile
    stevenaia Michinaga: in fact I just woke up
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: problems with taking the bus home, happy hour involves one to many drinks
    Pema Pera: but I thought you were always happy?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I am when better scotches are before me
    Adelene Dawner: Well, if we *are* going to talk about that, I should probably start with the disclaimers. The issue is an emotional one for me, but I do *not* expect help with my own issues with it - I want to share the lessons that those issues have taught me, not evoke some sort of trying-to-help response.
    Pema Pera: ah, so there are always better scotches in front of you? Now we really learn about your RL :-)
    Threedee Shepherd: ok
    Pema Pera: sure!
    stevenaia Michinaga: did anyone hear the gong? (thinking it's broken)
    Claire Beltran: I didn't.
    Threedee Shepherd: I did, and did
    stevenaia Michinaga: hmmm
    Pema Pera: me too
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks I didn;t and will
    Dakini Rhode: i guess i heard my own gong on my puter
    Thorberg Nordlicht: everyone have their sound turned on (on their PCs)?
    stevenaia Michinaga: please continue Adelene

    The discussion was on one related topic for the remainder of the session...

    Adelene Dawner: It happened a week or so ago that something that Steve said - which was obviously intended to be harmless - evoked a panic attack in me. Mark and I have talked about the underlying causes of that reaction before, and did again; the conclusion that we came to was that given my history, that reaction was understandable, if a bit of an over-reaction in that specific situation.
    Threedee Shepherd: I'm *Mark*
    Adelene Dawner: Sorry, habbit. And, Threedee, feel free to chime in with any comments on this, of course.
    Threedee Shepherd: ok
    stevenaia Michinaga: ...and what I "said" was to copy a definition off the web
    stevenaia Michinaga: and paste it to the group, the definition was of compassion
    Adelene Dawner: My issue was with how compassion was being defined - it was defined in such a way as to say that anyone who's incapable of standard emotional empathy is also incapable of compassion.
    Claire Beltran: Standard emotional empathy?
    Adelene Dawner is autistic, and is not able to read most people in that way, except in very unusual circumstances.
    Claire Beltran: I see.
    Claire Beltran: I was telling Pema when we had met in RL that I had been mistaken for an autistic at a very early age... it turned ou that the problem was trauma.
    Adelene Dawner: Now, it's probably not obvious how that leads to my panic, but from my perspective, it's very obvious that that kind of judging is very, very harmful. I've been on the recieving end of such harm.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Just for the record: "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it" -- Merriam-Webster Online
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Oops, skipped first part: Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
    Sky Szimmer: Adelene, I can see your point.
    Adelene Dawner: Yup, Thor. The "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress" is the part that just doesn't work, for me, in the standard way. I don't read emotions in that way.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: which part doesn't work?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: is it the "consciousness of others' distress" or the "desire to alleviate it" part?
    Sky Szimmer: I don't think "C"ompassion requires empathy
    Claire Beltran: Then what do you think it requires?
    stevenaia Michinaga: and yet, Adelene I think everyone here last week agreed that your actions were comapssionate, even without this ability to "read' others consciousness
    Adelene Dawner: I have a lot of trouble reading body language in face-
    to-face situations, Thor, and even in situations where I can devote an unusual amount of attention, the emotional part is not nearly as obvious as the other parts. I'm aware of others' distress, but not empathetically - I can't read their body language and *see* that they're upset, though I can often infer it from the situation, if I'm aware enough of what situation they may have been in to get them upset.
    Sky Szimmer: Being is compassion by its very nature
    Threedee Shepherd: chime!!
    Adelene Dawner: The point that I was trying to get at here was much less about compassion than it was about judging.
    Sky Szimmer: yes. Adelene. I can see how one can be judged for not seeming to be empathetic
    Threedee Shepherd: Judging as in the incorrect judgment that you are somehow deficient if you are not or can not be empathetic?
    Sky Szimmer: But I guess my question is are you empathetic? Maybe it depends on the situation? sorry if I sound ignorant
    Adelene Dawner: Judging, as in, any kind of judgement that's not actually firmly based on observation, but is instead based on assumptions. There was an assumption that people who are not empathetic cannot be compassionate, which is incorrect.
    Sky Szimmer: I totally see your point.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: anyone care for the dictionary definition of "empathy"?
    Adelene Dawner: Sky... that's a slippery word. I'm using it here as a shorthand for 'able to read and experience other's emotional states through body language'.
    Adelene Dawner: That would be useful, Thor, I think.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: empathy: 1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this -- Merriam-Webster online
    Adelene Dawner: Yup. Number two, I can't do, in almost all cases.
    Adelene Dawner: I'm aware that people *have* emotional states, of course, but what those states are at any given moment... no clue.
    Sky Szimmer: body language is so deceptive
    Dakini Rhode: i suggest we google "sympathy" as well, since that was the word used in the definition, not empathy
    Thorberg Nordlicht: btw: we should also be careful that a Buddhist undertanding of "compassion" and "empathy" may transcent the dictionary definition
    Adelene Dawner: Unless I've been told, or unless it's very very obvious from the context.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: *transcend
    Sky Szimmer: sometimes we make way too many assumptions about other people's experiences
    Sky Szimmer: then our empathy is misplaced
    Sky Szimmer: it is just our own story about what is happening to someone else
    Threedee Shepherd: Yes Sky, I suspect it's MOST times, and is a part of our need to believe we understand enuf to be in control
    Adelene Dawner points out again that this was not the topic she intended, though she will step back if the group wishes to discuss this instead.
    stevenaia Michinaga: feel free to refocus as our misdirected empathy leads us away
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Sky Szimmer: i find the topic fascinating but unfortunately I have to dash soon
    Threedee Shepherd: Adelene, please say the topic concisely to help us focus
    Adelene Dawner: I'd like to talk a bit about *why* my reaction to that was so strong, given such a small trigger.
    Threedee Shepherd: For other's info, if you have not noticed, you can tell Adelene is chat typing by the small nodding of her Av's head
    Adelene Dawner: I understand from firsthand experience how that kind of judgement builds, and the effects it can have without appearing to. I know that, to people whose brains work in the normal way, the assumption that empathy is necessary for compassion seems to be logical - 'common sense'.
    Adelene Dawner: And most people would never question that assumption, or even see it as an assumption. It just 'is', as if it was real.
    Adelene Dawner: And then other decisions and ideas get made, using that assumption... the one that's relevant to me is the assumption that humans who can't do empathy, and thus 'can't' do compassion, aren't really people.
    stevenaia Michinaga: not sure if the trigger is as small for you as you think, to aoofer a parallel put possibly far fetch example, if I encounter the typical comment from Builders that "all architects are idiots" it;s up to me to decide if that is truly the case and whether to belive they are correct, I personally belive it is correct in only a few instances, but not from mine so it does not bother me
    Adelene Dawner: And once you're not a person to someone, they can do whatever they want to you. I've experienced that, and it nearly killed me.
    Adelene Dawner: My reaction was not to the truth or untruth of the statement, Steve. My reaction was to the danger to myself in being around someone who believes that statement to be true.
    stevenaia Michinaga: danger in what you know or felt this other person belived?
    Adelene Dawner: Steve, I've been hurt by this before. I tend to be pretty conservative when dealing with it now.
    Sky Szimmer: good night all!
    Adelene Dawner: 'night, Sky.
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    Claire Beltran: Good night ^-^/
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    Adelene Dawner: This situation is fairly safe, and so I am still here, talking about it. In real life, one or two such comments would be all it would take for me to stop talkign to someone entirely, unless it was necessary to do so.
    Adelene Dawner takes her personal safety fairly seriously, like that.
    Threedee Shepherd: As in you hear that a person said X, therefore the person must in some sense believe X, in the past I experienced people who believed X tried to kill me. I better be VERY careful and am possibly in danger?
    Adelene Dawner: Exactly, Three.
    Adelene Dawner: And, in this case, there is a clear reason why people who believe X could come to see my life as superfluous.
    Adelene Dawner: But, I wasn't intending to get this far into the specifics. My goal was to point out how dangerous assumptions and judgements can be in general, especially when they happen together.
    Threedee Shepherd: Adelene and I have discussed this lots. I think it would be very useful if one or more of us asked questions and/or made observations.
    Threedee Shepherd: In a key sense, I understand the *observation* during the 9-sec to be a way to get away from judging and instead just seeing being
    stevenaia Michinaga: so it is the assumptions and judging by others
    Adelene Dawner: That are, or at least can be, dangerous. Yes.
    Pema Pera: I find it hard to know what to say -- what Adelene said is clear, and yes, I can see that great mistakes are being made all the time in judgments that are made on wrong perceptions. I am not sure where to go from there though. Is there any particular direction, Adelene, that you would like to go into, starting from that basic observation?
    Adelene Dawner: Well... one thing that I've seen here is that people worry about judging themselves - which is an important thing to worry about, since judging yourself can certainly do a lot of damage - but I don't think I've seen anyone questioning how they may be judging others, and that's important too.
    Pema Pera: ah, so you think there is actually reason to believe that we may be making the same kinds of mistake that others, who have hurt you, are doing?
    Pema Pera: at least on the level of thinking, concepts?
    Adelene Dawner: The same general kind, yes. It's a very hard mistake to avoid. I've caught myself at it a time or two, as well.
    Dakini Rhode: Gong!
    stevenaia Michinaga: thx, seems the owl joins us jsut as the gong rings
    Threedee Shepherd: yes Thor, but not just towards Adelene. this brings up a subtlety about advice. Advice can seem to be a result of judgement that the other has a deficiency that needs a specific cure
    Claire Beltran: I'm sorry... I think I have to go.
    Claire Beltran: See you all later! ^-^/
    Pema Pera: bye Claire!
    Threedee Shepherd: be
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye Claire
    Adelene Dawner: 'night Claire/
    Dakini Rhode: bye Claire :)
    Pema Pera: so what do you think is the best thing to do, Adelene, trying not to give each other advice?
    Pema Pera: focusing more on sharing results from our practice, perhaps?
    stevenaia Michinaga: Interesting point Three
    Threedee Shepherd: I think it is best to try to give direct answers to direct questions, that way the questioner is defining their needs
    Adelene Dawner: 'advice' is a slippery concept - sharing perspectives is good, and sharing the conclusions that you've drawn from your perspective can be helpful. But it comes back to 'should', I think, which is a very judging word.
    Pema Pera: are we using "should" too much here, you think?
    Threedee Shepherd: not only their needs but also their perceptions those needs reflect. And I wish I had a better word at the monent than "needs"
    Adelene Dawner: I don't think so, as such. I'm really not trying to point out a specific problem... more to point out where there's an opportunity for more depth-of-practice, in a practical and useful sense.
    Threedee Shepherd: sort of; ask rather than assume; show rather than tell.
    Pema Pera: that's great advice, Threedee!
    Adelene Dawner: We all make assumptions about people, and my feeling is that even 'benign' assumptions are not really harmless. I try to find and confront my assumptions, and that seems to be a good thing to do.
    Adelene Dawner: And, yes, Three. Very good advice.
    Pema Pera: ultimately, what holds us back from a completely realized human way of being are our assumptions
    Pema Pera: That is true for any of us, I think
    Threedee Shepherd: although in the overall context of this discussion, I yearn for a different word than "advice" :D
    Adelene Dawner: ;)
    Pema Pera: letting go, or dropping, or sidestepping those is much of the "subtraction" nature of Play as Being
    Threedee Shepherd: mmhmm
    Pema Pera: well, advise can be positive, I think, Threedee
    Pema Pera: even though it can be misused, that is no reason to not use it at all
    Pema Pera: I think it was great general advice, what you mentioned, for all of us
    Pema Pera: but I also see what you mean, as you said, in this context . . . .
    Threedee Shepherd: No argument. It's just that words, especially in English, can be so ambiguous
    Pema Pera: in any language :)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: If I understand correctly, the original problem was that "compassion" was defined in such a way as to say that anyone who's incapable of standard emotional empathy is also incapable of compassion. I've been Googling "Buddhist compassion" in another window and the emphasis -- as i would have expected -- seems to be more on the Four Noble Truths and "ending suffering" than on one's ability to vicariously understand the mental states of others. Perhaps, even those of us who are "empathically challanged" can still have true Buddhist compassion.
    Pema Pera: not perhaps :)
    Pema Pera: clearly so.
    Dakini Rhode: i should think so, Thorberg
    Adelene Dawner: I seem pretty good at compassion in the regular sense, too, Thor. I just get there by a different route. :)
    Threedee Shepherd: Good evening/morning/daytime friends, I need to leave :)
    Pema Pera: so we have hidden assumptions -> hidden categorization -> hidden conclusions drawn from there -> actions from hidden reasons
    Dakini Rhode: be well, Threedee
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
    Pema Pera: bye 3D!
    stevenaia Michinaga: thanks for joining us, always a pleasure
    Adelene Dawner: Yes, Pem.
    Pema Pera: so what we need to do is to open
    Pema Pera: become more transparent
    Pema Pera: or in one of my ways of saying "let Being see"
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Dinner calls in RL. See everyone later. Have a good weekend, everyone.
    Dakini Rhode: nite, thorberg
    Pema Pera: in psychological terms: let your unconscious become more available
    stevenaia Michinaga: diffcult to be open and yet cautious
    Avastu Maruti: good night, my friends
    Pema Pera: in any case, see more into hidden assumptions
    Adelene Dawner: 'night, 'vast.
    Pema Pera: Night Avastu and THor!
    Pema Pera: Steve, I think the answer is in "Being seeing"
    Pema Pera: if YOU try to manipulate yourself
    Pema Pera: then there are so many things that can -- and will -- go wrong
    Dakini Rhode: Gong
    stevenaia Michinaga: I say that from being a gulible person, beliving what people tell me and open to them when they may not be truly honest with me
    stevenaia Michinaga: begining to see part of what Adelene is saying
    Adelene Dawner: being Being doesn't mean ignoring your common sense.
    stevenaia Michinaga: but acceptance and common sence..... I;m not sure where that line is drawn
    Pema Pera: letting Being see is a way to see also common sense more clearly
    Pema Pera: Being is not stupid :)
    Adelene Dawner: accept: this may happen. But, if it's potentially harmful, and your common sense shows it coming, certainly get out of its way!
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Dakini Rhode: :)
    Pema Pera: of course
    Pema Pera: crossing a busy street does not mean closing your eyes, because all is Being
    Pema Pera: that would be a very bad interpretation :)
    Adelene Dawner: Indeed, Pem.
    Pema Pera: but what triggered that assocation, if I may ask?
    stevenaia Michinaga: you speaking to me?
    stevenaia Michinaga: acceptance vs common sence?
    Pema Pera: to Adelene mostly
    Pema Pera: but perhaps Adelen reacted to Steve or someone else?
    Adelene Dawner: Oh. The original association that triggered the panic attack?
    Pema Pera: [20:17] Adelene Dawner: being Being doesn't mean ignoring your common sense.
    Pema Pera: what was that in response to?
    Adelene Dawner: That seemed to be what Steve was saying.
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Adelene Dawner: [20:16] stevenaia Michinaga: I say that from being a gulible person, beliving what people tell me and open to them when they may not be truly honest with me
    stevenaia Michinaga: it leave you vulnerable , minimully to embarrisment, or worst, to threats
    Adelene Dawner wonders if Steve has misunderstood something fundamental...
    stevenaia Michinaga: perhaps I drifted off course again as I try to understand
    Pema Pera: If I may return to the question of how to become more aware of our hidden assumptions -- which seems to be the main question of the evening, right? -- one way is to delve deeply into your self, and there you can easily go wrong; another way is to ask others, but as Steve say, that can lead to problems in many ways; the third way, that is part of PaB, is to just let Being see -- at first we don't know what that means, but we can help each other to let Being see -- just like that, giving advice mainly about how to let Being see. Does that make sense, Adelene?
    Adelene Dawner: what we're doing here - fundamentally, it comes down to facing reality, fully, as almost noone does. Pretending a situation is safe, when you have a feeling that it isn't, is not facing reality - it's turning away from the reality of your instinct.
    Pema Pera: absolutely!
    Adelene Dawner: What you said makes sense, Pema.
    Pema Pera: the agressive way is delving deeply; the more gentle way is to let reality itself show you what it is like
    Pema Pera: rather than hunting for prey, letting the animals speak to you
    Dakini Rhode: i feel steve wants me to say something
    stevenaia Michinaga: no... jsut contemplating letting Being see
    Dakini Rhode: ah
    Adelene Dawner: Do you have something to say, Dak?
    Dakini Rhode: hey there, Resting :)
    Adelene Dawner: 'lo, Resting.
    Pema Pera: Hi Thor!
    Resting Thor: i hope i'm not sitting on anyone
    stevenaia Michinaga: that's my line..
    Pema Pera: Steve, if I may, opening up for a person who can then hurt you -- is that the danger you talked about?
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes
    Pema Pera: how about sort-of stepping out of a situation, and watching it, gazing upon it in a gentle but somewhat distanced way
    Pema Pera: that is unlikely to hurt anyone or to let you be hurt
    Pema Pera: not when you start with that view, as if a third-person witness looks upon the situation, then you can take the next step
    Pema Pera: imagine that that person is very wise
    Pema Pera: very gentle
    Pema Pera: wonderful in all ways
    stevenaia Michinaga: bring that vision or watching to the moment is what needs work
    Pema Pera: so then you let God see
    Pema Pera: or a saint of Boddhisattva
    Adelene Dawner: That's what we're here for, Steve :)
    Pema Pera: now a third step is to let Being see
    stevenaia Michinaga: when you are "in " the moment hard to stand back, yes
    Pema Pera: so perhaps we can talk about all three steps, in turn
    Pema Pera: watching as a witness, as a Goddes, as Being
    Pema Pera: all three are different, and it helps to taste them clearly, and then to compare notes
    Pema Pera: this is close to YS, ES, BS
    Pema Pera: the three that have been introduced earlier.
    stevenaia Michinaga: ES?
    Pema Pera: enlightened version of you seeing
    Pema Pera: (we've been playing with YSBS and ESBS)
    Pema Pera: (you seeing Being seeing; enlightened you seeing Being seeing)
    Dakini Rhode: PP, some elaboration of those acronyms may be in order
    stevenaia Michinaga: the ES is what seeing?
    Pema Pera: enlightened version of you seeing
    stevenaia Michinaga: seems the tool are here, the practice will take time
    stevenaia Michinaga: tools
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Pema Pera: that's why we do it every 15 minutes and come here every 6 hours :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Pema Pera: our hidden assumptions are persistent, but so are we !
    Pema Pera: but I think I should get some sleep soon(ish)
    Pema Pera: Thank you, Adelene!
    Pema Pera: And Steve!
    Pema Pera: and Dakini!
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes I must go as well
    Resting Thor: sleep well :)
    Pema Pera: Good seeing you again Thor!
    Dakini Rhode didn't actually have a need to type, tonite :)
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: thank you Adelene
    Resting Thor: good to stop for a few minutes :)
    Dakini Rhode: interesting chat, PP, AD, and SM
    stevenaia Michinaga: and pema, you ahve been a cloud all night to me
    Adelene Dawner: See you tomorrow, folks. :)
    Pema Pera: It's nice to see the kind of explorations we are doing here connected with real-life (and second-life) concerns
    Pema Pera: Adelene called me a shape shifter, so I guess I turned into a cloud!
    Pema Pera: for myself as well
    stevenaia Michinaga: it's a pleasent glow
    Resting Thor: i like the bird adelene :)
    Dakini Rhode: interesting you haven't rezzed in all this time
    Adelene Dawner: thanks :)
    Pema Pera: my whole av has remained a hidden assumption!
    Adelene Dawner: hehe!
    Dakini Rhode: very ephemeral
    Pema Pera: yup!
    Pema Pera: I may never come back from my cloud . . . .
    Pema Pera: we'll see!
    Pema Pera: night all!
    Dakini Rhode: nite :)
    Resting Thor: night
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