2008.08.25 13:00 - Proprioception

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    Stim was the guardian that afternoon. He sent me (Pema) the chat log. The comments are by him; I choose the title.

    Wol Euler: hi
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Stim Morane: Hi Adams
    Wol Euler: hello adelene
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Adelene Dawner: Hi, all.
    Stim Morane: Threedee
    Wol Euler: wow, what a crowd.
    Wol Euler: hello 3d, stim, adams
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi folks
    Stim Morane: Hi everyone
    Adams Rubble: Hello Stim, Wol, Gaya, Adelene and Threedee :)

    Having done the greetings, we moved on to the serious things in life.

    Gaya Ethaniel thinks Adams must have lost weight as her face looks slimmer.
    Adams Rubble: :)

    Or at least somewhat serious .

    Stim Morane: Would anyone like to comment on practice-related experiences?
    Stim Morane: Or others?
    Threedee Shepherd: I often have the sense that I am observing from an alternate space, which is not the same as a different place.
    Stim Morane: What is it like?
    Threedee Shepherd: calm
    Stim Morane: Does this surprise you?
    Threedee Shepherd: a bit
    Stim Morane: Do you consider yourself to be a calm person in general?
    Threedee Shepherd: Not the right word. Active and not usually overly-excitable are better words
    Stim Morane: I see.
    Stim Morane: So … how would you like to follow up on this comment?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Threedee, alternate and different… could you tell me a bit more?
    Threedee Shepherd: I avoid seeing it as an alternate way of being, and yet I am still getting used to how it “feels”
    Stim Morane: Yes, thanks for that request Gaya.
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles ‘just curious that’s all’

    We pressed a bit more.

    Stim Morane: So you are saying this is new?
    Threedee Shepherd: alternate is “Duality” in terms Avastu, ouor friend, would use. Different is another view of the unitary being
    Wol Euler: are you aware of how you “arrived” at this alternate place? did you will it?
    Threedee Shepherd: Another important point is that the observing of/from that state includes a bodily feeling that is somatic
    Threedee Shepherd: I don’t think I willed it. It seems to “happen”
    Wol Euler: you just become aware that you are there?
    Threedee Shepherd: yes
    Adelene Dawner: Have you ever become aware of not being there?

    I think this latter question from Adelene was important, but we didn’t follow up on it in this session. Perhaps another day …

    Threedee Shepherd: not that I am aware of ;D
    Stim Morane: “Calmness” is a much-discussed topic in traditional contemplative training. But I’m not sure how much it figures in PaB … do the rest of you have an opinion re this?
    Threedee Shepherd: a multi-faceted word
    Stim Morane: yes, that’s why it’s “much discussed”
    Stim Morane: or were you referring to a diff word?
    Threedee Shepherd: calmness can be: acceptance, not-doing, quiescent, patient, etc.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Perhaps you could say more about the ’state’ being somatic
    Wol Euler quietly looks up “somatic”
    Adams Rubble: excuse me. sorry
    Threedee Shepherd: My sense of my physical musculature and posture becomes sharp and not-usual in its characteristics
    Stim Morane: obviously it’s difficult to convey such things in a few words sometimes.

    In fact, we continued to discuss this important but illusive aspect of human experience for the rest of the session.

    Wol Euler: ah, ty 3d
    Stim Morane: But it’s not unusual for there to be a physical dimension to ways of attending to the immediacy of one’s being
    Threedee Shepherd: Actually, i don’t think there are words that can talk about how it feels, rather than words that tell what it is about
    Gaya Ethaniel: Posture… Threedee. I have same thing
    Adelene Dawner: Sounds like proprioception (another sense like vision or hearing, but less talked about) and yes, there are very few words for it.
    Gaya Ethaniel: No longer do I have to ‘force’ myself to sit straight so much… recently
    Threedee Shepherd: Gaya, and how do you then sit?
    Gaya Ethaniel: I used to slouch a lot… for a few weeks now, I’ve found myself naturally sit/stand upright
    Gaya Ethaniel: No efforts…
    Wol Euler: hello storm
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Storm Nordwind: Hello everyone
    Threedee Shepherd: is one position more useful/appropriate than the other or another?
    Stim Morane: proprioception is a very general term, of course. It refers to feedback
    Threedee Shepherd: hi storm
    Stim Morane: Hi Storm
    Gaya Ethaniel: It had always been struggle to sit/stand upright… now it feels wrong/uncomfortable if forced to slouch…
    Wol Euler smiles. So the practice is feeding back into your normal life in a physical way.
    Stim Morane: Yes, that is an example that does involve proprioception … of what “wrongness” is like, vs something more natural.
    Gaya Ethaniel: I haven’t done anything different to strengthen my core muscles or anything like that… it happened as I became more aware
    Stim Morane: Good
    Stim Morane: It would be strange if the kinds of awareness we’re concerned with here did not involve the body and its postures, etc
    Gaya Ethaniel: But Stim… I’ve always been highly sensitive to my bodily needs… in terms of food and physical exercise etc
    Stim Morane: And now?
    Gaya Ethaniel: But posture had always been an issue
    Gaya Ethaniel: More aware… when I go grocery shopping… I let my hand over shelves and pick whatever feels right forthe day
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Storm Nordwind: I do that with what I call ‘eye dowsing’ :)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Threedee Shepherd: proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. It is a sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.
    Wol Euler: hehehehheh, lovely expression.
    Gaya Ethaniel thanks Threedee

    Getting back to my earlier comment about wider and more spiritually-relevant notions of “proprioception”, I added:

    Stim Morane: Yes, but proprioception can involve many other kinds of feedback. I talk about this a lot in teaching yogic-contemplative practices designed to give peole a sense of new and more appropriate ways of being.
    Stim Morane: It extends into aesthetic, ethical, and other dimensions too.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Yes I stopped eating meat… except two days ago when I had to eat small amount of oily fish
    Gaya Ethaniel: for no apparent reasons
    Stim Morane: that’s part of it too
    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, perhaps we can discuss details later, unless you think it relevant for me now to press on with details of proprioception as defined physiologically?
    Stim Morane: no
    Stim Morane: I’m just interested in seeing how you all are.
    Stim Morane: But certainly we can discuss this later, Threedee.
    Threedee Shepherd: ok

    Threedee’s proposal of a follow-up discussion offline helped us open the discussion again.

    Stim Morane: This started with my dull question about practice-related experiences, or others bearing on PaB.
    Stim Morane: Any takers?
    Storm Nordwind: Well if we’re talking about physical effects, I noticed within a week that by sudden dumping of any physical stress was a marker of how engaged I was in any one 9 second episode
    Storm Nordwind: *my sudden
    Stim Morane: Sure
    Stim Morane: It’s a funny fact that this is possible, and even necessary.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Physical stress? Tense muscles Storm?
    Stim Morane: brb
    Gaya Ethaniel: k
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Gaya. Complete removal of all physical stress
    Storm Nordwind: Within the 9 second timeframe
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Storm Nordwind: Not instant
    Storm Nordwind: But like someone pulling a very large plug out of a sand pit
    Storm Nordwind: All emptied in 9 seconds. Could feel it falling off me. Still can.
    Wol Euler: heheheheh
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Stim Morane: Back. Good.
    Gaya Ethaniel: So Threedee - details of proprioception as defined physiologically
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb
    Storm Nordwind: And then there was an enhanced sense of poise, rather like having done Tai Chi for an hour
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah
    Threedee Shepherd: technically, Gaya, proprioception is the result of special receptors in muscles, tendons and joints that send signals to the brain that we are usually not consciously aware of, except perhaps for muscle tension often rising to awareness

    Gaya Ethaniel listens
    Adelene Dawner: There are other body-specific senses that are similarly subtle, which I’m not sure if there are words for or what those words might be. But the word ‘proprioception’ is meant to refer to one specific sense.
    Threedee Shepherd: Sorry to be so technical (it’s my “career’ showing :)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles ‘it’s fascinating Threedee’

    A visitor entered briefly, then moved on.

    Wol Euler: hello absk, have a seat, join us
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Wol Euler: or not

    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Gaya Ethaniel: What could be ‘others’ Adele?
    Gaya Ethaniel: other senses*
    Adelene Dawner: Well, proprioception is about the position of body parts relative to each other. There’s also a *very* subtle sense, completely unconscious in most people, of the muscles actually moving, for one.
    Adelene Dawner: And I think Mark mentioned a sense of … internal pressure, kind of… as another one. Remember when we were talking about heartbeat a few weeks ago, Mark?
    Threedee Shepherd: Heartbeat is something we can feel as movement of body parts, although there may be another sense in which it is observed
    Threedee Shepherd: Also, interesting the same parts of the physical brain that signal muscles to move also send signals to monitoring regions that determine the success of the movement, all non-conscioously. It is possible we could be subtly aware of that. In my thinking all of that comes under more “raw” observational awareness during the 9-sec
    Wol Euler: hmmmm
    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, in a sense of heighten “knowing” of feedback, as you used the term earlier
    Threedee Shepherd: *heightened
    Stim Morane: Yes?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Possible Threedee… I found some uncomfortable feelings above my right eye when feeling fearful
    Gaya Ethaniel: In my brain that is
    Stim Morane: My comments related to what Storm just described. It’s common to use the word in relation to position, location, orientation, etc of body parts. But I typically use it to refer to more subtle, spiritually-relevant aspects of our ways of being, including negative ones. Wol raised a point about this earlier.

    Actually my attribution was incorrect: the point I had in mind was made by Adelene.

    Threedee Shepherd: ahh
    Stim Morane: Certainly we can and should notice much more about the ways we “are” than is typical.
    Stim Morane: This kind of feedback is crucial.
    Stim Morane: It applies even to very big terms like “samsara” and “nirvana”.
    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, I say cautiously, that this borders on raising the issue of being versus feedback about being
    Wol Euler: how do you mean that, Stim?
    Storm Nordwind: And actually, when discussing these things, people often discount the physical effects - which can often be as important in my view
    Stim Morane: Yes, sorry Threedee. I realized we had agreed to defer this.
    Stim Morane: The body, mind, heart, etc … all one being.
    Threedee Shepherd: no, I meant that as a new thread, perhaps not well stated
    Storm Nordwind: yes indeed Stim
    Stim Morane: Yes, i see now.
    Stim Morane: Being vs feedback about Being.
    Stim Morane: What are your views? (I.e, what do you all think?)
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thought I’ve been doing some of those feedbacks so far…
    Stim Morane: Uh huh …
    Gaya Ethaniel: ?
    Gaya Ethaniel: I recently discussed something about ocean and my experience of Being
    Threedee Shepherd: I used the word “cautiously” earlier because raising the question that way borders on being an infinite regress loop. Most of all, my overall main point dealt with a unified sense of embodiment. You extension of that to spiritually relevant aspects broadens the theme in a way I am interested to follow

    So at this point we had all moved on to the broader sense of feedback tentatively introduced earlier.

    Stim Morane: Interesting
    Stim Morane: I was referring to Gaya’s comment, but thanks for your elaboration Threedee.
    Stim Morane: Higher forms of Being are self-clear . they are not heedless of what they involve, how they “are”.
    Stim Morane: This does not involve a subject observing an object.

    Here I was bringing in a notion from contemplative training involving insight about Being and how it differs from the ordinary ways we operate on the “creature” and “perception” levels.

    Stim Morane: Wol, have you been attending PaB for a while now. I think this is the first time I’ve seen you here.
    Stim Morane: *now?
    Storm Nordwind: Wol has been to many of mine IIRC
    Stim Morane: Oh, I see.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Perhaps then Stim, could you clarify what you meant by ‘feedback about Being’?
    Wol Euler: no, I have been to a few.
    Wol Euler: but the time is tricky, I ‘m 9 hours ahead.
    Stim Morane: Thanks, Wol. Yes, I can imagine that is hard.
    Stim Morane: I do about 14 virtual reality sessions a week, just to deal with the time zones of various participants.
    Stim Morane: Gaya, your question could serve as a topic for a whole meeting … and I’m just about to leave, as we all are, I’d guess. Would it be OK to return to that?
    Gaya Ethaniel: Of course

    I hope Gaya’s question can be considered at length in some meeting.

    Stim Morane: On some levels, feedback involves subject-object dualism.
    Stim Morane: But re Being, it’s different, more direct.
    Stim Morane: That’s about all I can say now.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Thank you Stim
    Threedee Shepherd: Stim I find this exceeding useful to ponder, your statement that “Higher forms of Being are self-clear . they are not heedless of what they involve, how they “are”.”
    Stim Morane: If it were otherwise, we would have a big problem.
    Stim Morane: Ordinary cognition is rather clumsy, compared to that involved in Being.

    Time to go .

    Stim Morane: Anyway, I guess it’s time to start winding down. AT least I have to do so.
    Wol Euler: yes, me too. RL calls.
    Stim Morane: Yes, in my case that = Lunch.
    Storm Nordwind: All I can say is that many years ago, when I read about Being, I thought writers were overly obscure, intellectual and even pompous. Now having had direct experience myself, i can understand how difficult it is to find any words at all! How do you, for example, say anything other than is in the Heart Sutra? :)

    Here Storm introduced another very interesting line of investigation.

    Wol Euler: :-) nice one, Storm.
    Stim Morane: The Heart Sutra is concerned with Emptiness.
    Stim Morane: It does not address in a positive sense what it would really be like to Be (to nest in) Emptiness.
    Storm Nordwind: What can?
    Stim Morane: Like all sutras of that class, it only serves as a gate.
    Stim Morane: What can? Another great topic for another session! Thanks!
    Storm Nordwind laughs
    Stim Morane: Proprioception calls me to go eat something.
    Threedee Shepherd: bye and thanks, all
    Stim Morane: Bye all!
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Wol Euler: good night all, take care.
    Storm Nordwind: And I must bid farewell too
    Storm Nordwind: Namaste

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