2008.08.30 19:00 -The Real Point of Meditation

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    Stim was the guardian that evening. He sent me the chat log, which I (Pema) put up. I also provided the title.

    Doug was present when I entered, and for most of the session, it was just the two of us.

    Stim Morane: Hi Doug!
    doug Sosa: i am a bit worn out from thinking and writing about politics. good to be here.
    Stim Morane: That’s good.
    Stim Morane: Perhaps it will just be the 2 of us.
    doug Sosa: have there been nonbody times?
    doug Sosa: nobody..
    Stim Morane: I think so.
    doug Sosa: moments of real quiet and lack of ego interference.
    Stim Morane: Or perhaps we are supposed to meet somewhere else.
    doug Sosa: i don’t think so. i was here for a while at the 1 pm.
    Stim Morane: I see.

    I was relieved to hear the PaB group hadn’t moved on to a new location … for some reason, I keep expecting that to happen.

    doug Sosa: I’ve a question, really puzzles me,
    Stim Morane: Taxes?
    doug Sosa: ha, if only. there i know the answer.
    Stim Morane: Oh.
    doug Sosa: But related in a way. I notice that for others meditation seems to lead them to a more intense relationship with immediate surroundings, especially of objects and space.
    doug Sosa: But, here is the problem.
    doug Sosa: If we take a basketball..
    doug Sosa: and the game of basketball..
    doug Sosa: it is easier to see the ball than the game.
    doug Sosa: Not the movements in the game, but the rules, the structured space-time of the game.
    doug Sosa: So meditation seems to make people more concrete with each other, and disolve the larger social game.
    doug Sosa: But that larger game is in some ways more real than the people.
    doug Sosa: So what to do about this bias, if i am correct, that makes one apart of reality more salient
    doug Sosa: while another part (the game) becomes less so?
    doug Sosa: end of harangue.

    In this account, Doug had sketched out a way of getting at a common bias, as he put it, in typical descriptions of meditation.

    Stim Morane: I see. Interesting.
    Stim Morane: What do you think is a possible answer?
    doug Sosa: the most direct is that meditation -as practiced - does have this effect, and it should not.
    doug Sosa: But the practice could change.
    doug Sosa: And we would discover a bias we did not know we had.
    Stim Morane: That is probably related to what I would say too.
    Stim Morane: Of course, “meditation” is also just a word, and amounts to very different things for diff people.

    I didn’t try to define the word “meditation” here, because any definition would be drawn from a particular tradition or orientation. Later, I did risk emphasizing my own view on this.

    doug Sosa: I read a book once, not yet remembering the author, german name..
    doug Sosa: on the hist of japan. He had
    doug Sosa: a section on zen, saying that zen was attrative to the authorities because with its “be here now” approach,
    doug Sosa: politicalrevolt was impossible.
    Stim Morane: Well, this is more than a bit muddled.
    doug Sosa: help.
    Stim Morane: Meaningful revolt has to be based on more direct and real-istic connections to one’s actual situation in life.
    doug Sosa: lets unmuddle…:)
    doug Sosa: ok, but what i har in the reports of many of the meditaors is a removeal from “realistic connections”
    doug Sosa: and one’s “actual situation” is in dispute.

    Yes, this is a common difficulty.

    Stim Morane: If meditation takes one element out of a scheme, namely posited local ones, in favor of some larger posited collection, then it would indeed be biased and partial.
    Stim Morane: But that’s not the point.
    Stim Morane: Both the posited local and the posited whole are just that–posited.
    Stim Morane: The real point of meditation is to wake up to what is Actual beyond these constructions.
    Stim Morane: This is both intensely present and also meaningfully inclusive of all beings.
    doug Sosa: nothing, being, the flow… but if real conditions (ah!) are downplayed, or ignored..
    Stim Morane: No, real conditions should never be downplayed or ignored.
    doug Sosa: but that hinges on the squeaky door of “real”
    Stim Morane: It is true that they (truly real conditions) should be seen in ever larger, true, contexts, but that is another matter.
    Stim Morane: So I would say that the phenomenon you mention is common.

    Doug proceeded to take this one step farther.

    doug Sosa: so back to my experience. isee people avoiding soical issues
    Stim Morane: But it is not indicative of what meditation is properly about.
    doug Sosa: because “they are not real”.
    Stim Morane: Avoiding social issues would be wrong. Seeing that they are not the whole story might be right.
    doug Sosa: whereas i am trying most of the day to understand “the game” and how it could be changed.
    doug Sosa: I certainly agree they are not the whole story. My river outside the house is a constant inconstant reminder.
    Stim Morane: Yes, but if understanding it means staying inside its constructions, then you are captured by some things that really are less than fully Actual.
    Stim Morane: I think there is a way to reconcile the point you want to make with the practice is true meditation.
    Stim Morane: of true meditation.
    doug Sosa: I think I agree with that, yet my exprience is critical of others, and I am ot comfortable with that.
    doug Sosa: Let me ask, how to reconcile them?

    I was impressed that Doug was expressing both an interest in resolving a conundrum and also in finding the right basis for compassion.

    Stim Morane: If they are wrong, and complicit in failing to uphold the needs of a democracy, then you can be critical of that failure.
    Stim Morane: The reconciliation is explicit in what I’ve said.
    doug Sosa: the retort is common: they are not real. only we here now are real.
    Stim Morane: Meditation is just being more awake.
    doug Sosa: and maybe not even that.
    Stim Morane: The retort you mention is simply mistaken.
    Stim Morane: This is a common problem.
    doug Sosa: There is a bridge from me here to big being wihtout going through the suburbs of life’s complexities.
    Stim Morane: the complexities are important too.
    doug Sosa: This is very helpful.
    Stim Morane: And they too can be seen even better based on the awakeness offered by meditation.
    Stim Morane: Also, meditation can inspire and even require action.
    doug Sosa: Yes, that is my personal experience.
    doug Sosa: I think I’ve just lacked the confidence to be at home i my own thinking.

    Again, Doug raised a common concern, one that may be at the heart of the challenge democracy poses for many people.

    Stim Morane: Action is usually hampered by attachment to selfishness, habits, sloth etc.
    Stim Morane: These constrictions are exploded by meditation.
    Stim Morane: The fact that many people are trivializing meditation should not put you off entirely.
    doug Sosa: I enjoy, even with frustration, sitting wth the flow of conversations.
    doug Sosa: Looking for the deeper possibility which I think you are desribing
    doug Sosa: really well.
    Stim Morane: I think part of the problem is that the word meditation seems very narrow. Many many things count.
    doug Sosa: And I notice my stomach is asking for food, and the oven is saying it is ready, so I must go. I like to think meditation is pat of every moment, every action or reflection.
    doug Sosa: “part..”
    Stim Morane: OK, thanks for the chat. I enjoy talking with you, as always.

    Just as Doug was leaving, stevenaia entered.

    doug Sosa: Very helpful. Blessings. Bye :)
    Stim Morane: Bye Doug!
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Stim
    Stim Morane: Hi Steven
    Stim Morane: Are you here to take over?
    stevenaia Michinaga: anyone else here? I;m still rezzing
    Stim Morane: No just us. And I’ll need to go in 4 minutes.
    stevenaia Michinaga: ok
    Stim Morane: Nice to see you though.
    stevenaia Michinaga: I’ll sit
    Stim Morane: uh huh
    stevenaia Michinaga: just returned from a movie, did I miss anything
    Stim Morane: Doug and I spoke about meditation vs responsibility to society
    stevenaia Michinaga: si there a conflict?
    stevenaia Michinaga: is
    Stim Morane: He thought there might be. It’s the old notion that meditation is about a trivial version of “be here now” in a way that ignores larger issues.
    stevenaia Michinaga: ist’s unfair to ask for a 4 minute recap
    Stim Morane: Well that’s pretty much the concern he had
    Stim Morane: I just said meditation is not properly reduced to that.

    Then Threedee showed up too.

    Stim Morane: Hi Threedee!
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi, I’m late. Just came from my birthday party.
    stevenaia Michinaga: but it can give you certain insights which can be applicable in many situations
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi 3D
    Stim Morane: Happy Birthday, Threedee.
    Threedee Shepherd: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I jsut arrived as well
    Stim Morane: I was just telling Stevenaia that I will be leaving now.
    Threedee Shepherd: not a big crowd :D
    Stim Morane: No.
    Stim Morane: Holiday, maybe.
    Threedee Shepherd: In the US, yes
    Stim Morane: right
    stevenaia Michinaga: someone put in a revolving door tonight, Doug just left as I appeard
    Stim Morane: that’s another possibility

    I couldn’t leave without checking in a bit, so …

    Stim Morane: Anyway, let me ask before I leave, how have you both been?
    Threedee Shepherd: I wanted to be sure to get here today, to Be in this way, as well as others.
    Stim Morane: Good.
    Threedee Shepherd: good, thanks, very good, for an old guy, especially :)
    Stim Morane: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: which one of us is old?
    Threedee Shepherd: me
    stevenaia Michinaga: aww, yes retired
    Stim Morane: I’m happy you’re feeling well. The “old” idea is probably just an inapplicable notion.
    Threedee Shepherd: older than I was, then, ageless in the moment of Now :)
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Stim Morane: And you, Stevenaia … how have you been?
    stevenaia Michinaga: busy and getting busier, always a pleasent change
    Stim Morane: Ha.
    stevenaia Michinaga: mybe productive would be a better word
    Stim Morane: I too am busy, but don’t appreciate it as much as you indicate I should. Oh, productive, I see.
    Stim Morane: Good.
    Threedee Shepherd: sounds like satisfied might also apply
    Stim Morane: umm
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, true…or jsut happy and content
    Stim Morane: Good. Well I’m sorry I can’t stay to chat. I would enjoy talking with both of you sometime soon.

    I regretted having to go.

    Stim Morane: Would one of you send me the log from the remainder of your discussion?
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I haven;t seen you in a while
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Threedee Shepherd: same, hope your “busy” becomes as you aspire. :)
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    stevenaia Michinaga: sure, I;d be happy to
    Stim Morane: thanks!
    stevenaia Michinaga: email?
    Threedee Shepherd: I usually come to this meeting, but was out three nights this week at this time.
    Stim Morane: See you soon, I hope!
    Threedee Shepherd: bye stim :)
    Stim Morane: Oh, I understand. Bye!

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