2008.09.27 19:00 - Original Presence

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    That evening, Stim was the guardian. He sent me, Pema, the chat log,
    which I have posted here. The choice of title is mine. Stim wrote:

    Formatting by Stim Morane, guardian for the session. I haven’t attempted to provide comments for this meeting, because of the complexity involved.

    Adelene Dawner: Hi Stim :)
    Stim Morane: Hi Adelene and Threedee!
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Stim. I am awake NOW
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Stim, I am awake NOW
    Stim Morane: Good. I wish I could say the same.
    Threedee Shepherd: lag
    Stim Morane: Anyway, good.

    Stim Morane: Did you discuss anything re PaB before I dropped in?
    Threedee Shepherd: not at all
    Adelene Dawner: nope.
    Stim Morane: OK
    Adelene Dawner: We've been discussing a situation I dealt with at work today.
    Stim Morane: Oh.
    Stim Morane: I recall various threads from prev sessions we have agreed to follow up on. We could either return to one of those, or just see what is most "of the moment".
    Threedee Shepherd: let's follow up
    Adelene Dawner: sounds okay to me
    Stim Morane: Preference?
    Adelene Dawner: not really. I did have a thought to share but it was minor and I can use more time to find words for it in any case.

    Stim Morane: I am interested in the neurological orientation that you share. It points at a set of considerations that people in contemporary society cannot responsibly ignore.
    Threedee Shepherd: mmm
    Stim Morane: On the other hand, I probably am in the camp that wants to be cautious about using it.
    Adelene Dawner: o.O
    Stim Morane: This is one background issue that I think lies behind many things we started to discuss in the past.
    Adelene Dawner is lost...
    Stim Morane: OK.
    Adelene Dawner really needs to get that Stim-to english dictionary. ^.-
    Stim Morane: Well perhaps I should not push this one then.
    Threedee Shepherd: not sure what this one is, yet
    Adelene Dawner: I don't think it's a dangerous topic, we're just not communicating well yet, Stim. This isn't all that uncommon for me.

    Stim Morane: I was simply thinking of the fact that we have often referred to brain-related conditions and issues.
    Stim Morane: This seems unavoidable.
    Stim Morane: On the other hand, from the point of view of the older, and arguably more fundamental perspectives of contemplative traditions, it has limited applicability.
    Stim Morane: I am still mulling this over myself.
    Threedee Shepherd: Interestingly I am just started on reaading a book about a confenerce a few years ago at whidh the Dalai Lama and Neuroscientists had a discussion.
    Stim Morane: Yes. I know of those conferences, and the people involved are friends of mine.
    Threedee Shepherd: So, there are clearly differentr points of view in the contemplative traditions
    Adelene Dawner: A possible bridge-concept-set... consider drug-induced medatative or otherwise altered-state-of-consciousness states... what do contemplative traditions have to say about those? Now consider that my neurology may be equivalent to *living* in such a state.
    Stim Morane: It would be hard to go back so far that people were not aware of this possibility.
    Stim Morane: By the time there were "traditions", drug-induced states were often mentioned.

    Threedee Shepherd: Hi Mongo
    Mongo McGinnis: hi
    Stim Morane: Hi Mongo!
    Threedee Shepherd: peyote cults, for example
    Adelene Dawner: yup
    Stim Morane: Yes. And even far earlier things.
    Mongo McGinnis: ihear peyote isnt bad for some people
    Threedee Shepherd: mmhmm, so Stim, what point do you want to follow in all this
    Mongo McGinnis: not for eveyone tough

    Stim Morane: Contemplative traditions are different in some basic respects from the groups you just mentioned.
    Adelene Dawner: So what do those traditions have to say about such states, Stim?
    Stim Morane: They would not ascribe primary importance to chemical agents and neurological conditions, but to facets of reality that are inseparable from higher forms of knowing.
    Adelene Dawner nods.
    Threedee Shepherd: Ok, are you saying this: contemplative traditions assume/presume they can reach the mind-body states they seek without need to know exactly how mind or body internally function?
    Stim Morane: They would also not accept an ontology that was fundamentally physical.
    Stim Morane: This raises interesting challenges for any consideration of the modern view and the more ancient.
    Stim Morane: Thanks for the example, Threedee. No, they would not say that.

    Threedee Shepherd: Well, I still read Plato, but I would not go to an Aristotelian physician
    Stim Morane: They would say that "mind-body states" are best understood in a larger context that does not limit itself to that ontology.
    Adelene Dawner: We're not in disagreement, Stim - Absolute reality *IS*, regardless of the state of any mind in it. But a given mind's understanding of relative reality is very much affected by its state, even so.
    Threedee Shepherd: sounds the same as what I meant
    Stim Morane: Yes, we wouldn't want to try dealing with the body based on models that are inapplicable, nonoptimal, or outdated.
    Stim Morane: The issue is how we open to "Is". And this in turn is profoundly affected by our views of what we are and what is involved in how we proceed.
    Adelene Dawner nods.

    Threedee Shepherd: Mongo, (I think:) we are discussing the potential relationship of modern neuroscientific findings and ancient contemplative traditions. Rhight Stim?
    Mongo McGinnis: sorry i am listening to what you say
    Stim Morane: Yes. Sorry Mongo, this must seem a bit of a strange beginning to a session.
    Threedee Shepherd: np, I was trying to catch you up

    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, let me try this:
    Stim Morane: Anyway, I am not sure I can frame the issue in a way that is sufficiently clear and pressing in this context. I only mentioned it because I noticed that it figured it several things we started to discuss before.
    Stim Morane: *in several
    Threedee Shepherd: Pema says "I accept science. Then, regarding spirituality what else can I know? Correct?
    Stim Morane: This is drawn directly from the Kira motto, and comes before that from teachings I gave back in the early 90's.
    Mongo McGinnis: i am little distracted tonight but listeing to what yo have to say
    Threedee Shepherd: ok. *I* make the assumption that the "then what" will not be "supra-natural" in any way inconsistent with the know science (which of course is always an incomplete model).
    Stim Morane: "inconsistent" could mean several things. I, like the other founders of Kira, do not want to balkanize human existance into separate perspectives, nor to ignore science.
    Stim Morane: The question is, how do we hold them together?

    Threedee Shepherd: What is the problem you see that keeps from holding them together?
    Stim Morane: This could mean many different things. But does it mean that contemplative traditions are to be reduced to neurology? No, not for me. So there is a challenge.
    Adelene Dawner: I wish I understood your words more, Stim. I don't see the conflict you're having - and if I did, perhaps I could offer some insight.
    Stim Morane: The word "integrate", like the word "unify", both mean two main things. One is "add to a whole of some sort, without necessarily achieving strick theoretical unification". The other is the more strict case, where theoretical consolidation is expected.
    Stim Morane: *strict
    Threedee Shepherd: the brain-body is the basis of neurological treatment of disease. It is also the basis of contemplation and spirituality (as long as I am corporeal), but it is not an explanation OF spirituality.
    Adelene Dawner: If they are both true - which does seem to be the case - they are already part of a whole.
    Stim Morane: In contemplative traditions, it would literally NOT be seen as the basis of contemplative practice.
    Stim Morane: That is part of the point I'm making. It would be seen as yet another example of how things appear to the ordinary mind.
    Stim Morane: This has consequences for practice itself.

    Threedee Shepherd: I know from deep study that there are things humans have thought about since the start of the written record that are still not understood, and perhaps cannot be. I do not *expect* theory to explain everything.
    Stim Morane: Anyway, I don't want to push this too much.
    Stim Morane: Perhaps we can find a simpler thread to follow for the moment.

    Adelene Dawner: Stim... if the brain/body would not be seen as the basis of contemplation by contemplation - what would?
    Stim Morane: Adelene, I appreciate your comments.
    Threedee Shepherd: Well, to paraphrase the master who said "I do notr know, I have not died yet." I will say that the ordinary mind is still the only one I have experience with, so I can't say more about any other.
    Stim Morane: The brain/body orientation would seen to be part of a codependently-arising perspective, which has cogency and aptness, but should not be assumed to be fundamental.
    Stim Morane: Yes, Threedee, but you don't want to hold on to that notion, that the ordinary mind is "what we've got now".
    Stim Morane: I assume you would agree with that.
    Adelene Dawner: Ahhh, yes, Stim. I see what you're looking at now.

    Threedee Shepherd: OK, so we are at the core of fundamental definition of the IS-ness of human life and our perceptions of it. There is room for disagreement. I always start pragmatically.
    Stim Morane: There is no need to lock ourselves into something.
    Stim Morane: Yes.
    Stim Morane: I too start with Is. And I am saying that too much emphasis, in the wrong contexts, on the mind-brain etc view is a departure from IS.
    Adelene Dawner: It's a matter of perspective. The brain-body reality is one, and a very 'easy' one. But it's not the only one, or even the only one that we can comprehend.
    Stim Morane: AN unnecessary departure, and a limiting one.
    Stim Morane: Sure.
    Stim Morane: Anyway, no need to press this here.
    Stim Morane: We can consider other things that any of you may want to raise.

    Adelene Dawner: Stim, Three and I enjoy this kind of thing. It's no press for us. Steve, Mongo, are you uncomfortable?
    Threedee Shepherd: Agreed, and because it is limiting when I deal with it in the *usual* ways, I adopted the 9-sec practice, with an open IS-ness:)

    Adelene Dawner laughs. "Avastu has timing!"
    Threedee Shepherd: Hello Avastu, GOOD to see you here :)
    Avastu Maruti: love to you my friends
    Adelene Dawner: Love to you, Avastu. ^.^
    Stim Morane: Yes. If the approach one takes to something like the 9-sec practice is truly free of assumptions carried over from the other stuff we mentioned, then I have nothing further to say.
    stevenaia Michinaga: 1) hate walking in on the middle od a dicussion like that when I don;t know what the first question was that began the discussion, and 2) I will not be staying for the test at the end
    Stim Morane: Hi Avastu.
    Stim Morane: No problem, Stevenaia
    Stim Morane: I can only stay another few minutes myself.

    Threedee Shepherd: I can hardly guarantee what the brain-body not available to my consciousness assumes, much as I might like to.
    Threedee Shepherd: Steve, leaving and going out into the world IS the test, and it never ends :)
    Stim Morane: This is a tricky point you raise Threedee.
    Stim Morane: Maybe that will be our next starting point, sometime ...

    stevenaia Michinaga: I was atempting to insert of levity into a serious conversation continue
    Threedee Shepherd: And more, no mind is truly without context, or it would simple and continuoously experience chaos (he said waiting for Avastu to correct him:)
    Adelene Dawner grins at Three.
    Stim Morane: original presence, and knowing, is not a "mind" in that sense.
    Stim Morane: But mind in any creature-related sense certainly must be understood in its context.
    Stim Morane: Traditions talk about Original Mind but it's not mental in the ord sense at all.
    Threedee Shepherd: mind could be (is) just an illusion of original presence, some might say
    Stim Morane: it's something that appears within that Presence
    Stim Morane: Although this gets into a lot of other stuff. True Presence in its most essential character is not easy to discuss
    Stim Morane: I didn't mean to push that far in this chat.

    stevenaia Michinaga: ...listens
    Adelene Dawner: wu wei, Stim.
    Stim Morane: Yes?
    Adelene Dawner: what happens, happens. ^.^
    Stim Morane: well, wu wei means many things.
    Stim Morane: But I guess I'm happy to stick with your present interp

    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, I always come back to asking the following: If there is True Presence (which I have not experienced--no enlightenment), what does knowing that have to do with my actions tomorrow (as in right action)?
    Stim Morane: Are you saying that "right action" could ever be understood without some degree of appreciating True Presence?
    Threedee Shepherd: I'm asking.
    Stim Morane: By definition, right action derives from some degree of awareness of authentic being, in contrast to inauthentic being.
    Stim Morane: Of course, often this might be very modest, but still, that's the basic point.

    Adelene Dawner: "inauthentic being"??
    Threedee Shepherd: and you are suggesting that "authentic being" transcends my ordinary bodily self?
    Stim Morane: no, not at all.
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    Stim Morane: But notions like "right action" derive from insight re "impure karma" (impure action).
    Stim Morane: I.e., without some sense of that latter, we would have no meaningful basis for at least trying out best re right action.
    Stim Morane: *our best
    Threedee Shepherd: OK, I behave badly (impurely) my inate authentic self compels my attention to that action and I learn for the next time.
    Stim Morane: Yes
    Stim Morane: although that won't always happen
    Stim Morane: But it will certainly become more likely if we take the issue somewhat seriously
    Threedee Shepherd: true, I do the best I can, with a little help from my friends :)
    Stim Morane: yes

    Threedee Shepherd: Stim
    Threedee Shepherd: if I start by looking for the truth, or value, or essence of whatever comes to my perception, be it neurology, the Absolute, mediataion experience, is that not enough?
    Stim Morane: It might be ... a lot depends on your unique nature.
    Stim Morane: People are fundamentally the same in the original nature, but on the level we are assuming now, people need different points of departure.
    Stim Morane: Plus feedback

    Threedee Shepherd: I was suggesting attempting to be open to the *new* as a basic form of right thought
    Stim Morane: sure
    Stim Morane: but a sufficiently secular version of that may not draw you into the territory we are discussing in PaB.
    Stim Morane: This is another tricky issue ... whether a "scientific" attitude and curiosity is sufficient for awakening to Being.
    Stim Morane: I think this is hard to discuss without a lot more specificity.
    Threedee Shepherd: I am not limiting open-ness to only the rational or materialistic
    Stim Morane: yes, I recall that and didn't mean to suggest you were. So in your case, I would answer your previous question with a "yes"
    Stim Morane: I was answering in a more general way before.
    Stim Morane: Sorry, I should have said that.

    Threedee Shepherd: Np, I am always just trying to clarify to get to the core ideas.
    Stim Morane: Yes,
    Threedee Shepherd: As a teacher I know that you cannot teach what the other is not ready to learn.
    Stim Morane: True. Oops, I'm running late. I need to dash off.
    Avastu Maruti: Stim, isn't "awakening to Being" contradictory?
    Threedee Shepherd: Last question: Do you have any summary thoughts on this discussion so far?
    Stim Morane: Perhaps next time I'll think of a more interesting thread. I wasn't a very good topic picker this evening.
    Threedee Shepherd: You kept ME involved :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods...and me on the edge of my seat...
    Stim Morane: Oh, my basic idea throughout was that a sufficiently secular view of brain-mind as figuring in PaB practice would be counterproductive. But I guess you agree with that.
    Adelene Dawner: Yup. ^.^
    Stim Morane: Silly me.
    Adelene Dawner chuckles.
    Threedee Shepherd: If you allow me to replace *secular* with reductionist, I agree
    Stim Morane: yes ... but sometimes we can hold onto ordinary views without realizing it. This is why in traditional teaching, a teacher is literally needed ... topoint out what we are holding on to.
    Threedee Shepherd: ahh, yes
    Stim Morane: The challenge in PaB is to find another way ...
    Stim Morane: I'm sorry to go. Thanks for your indulgence!
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^ 'night, Stim.
    Threedee Shepherd: night :)

    As it happens, once I left the session, I noticed something that I should have addressed. So I returned.

    Adelene: One very very common theme in discussing Being is that *any* word doesn't do a good job of describing it, so there are many many terms.
    Threedee Shepherd: dissemble: to put on a false appearance : conceal facts, intentions, or feelings under some pretense
    Adelene Dawner: Or, ask Stim what he meant.
    Stim Morane: I just noticed you had asked a question, Avastu.
    Stim Morane: I would say "yes". What do you think?
    Avastu Maruti: yes - that's why I asked - you said it earlier
    Stim Morane: As you know, traditions talk that way all the time. But in fact, it's not really accurate at all.
    Avastu Maruti: then why not point that fact out
    Threedee Shepherd: or was the Yay to Stim's return?
    Adelene Dawner: Wrong box, Three
    Threedee Shepherd: Stim, we were glad you came back to deal with that
    Stim Morane: If a person can understand a view that would be more accurate than the "realize the original nature" notion, then you should give the more accurate view.
    Stim Morane: If a person would not understand, then you shouldn't.
    Avastu Maruti: more accurae?
    Stim Morane: do you think there isn't one? You may be right ... on the level of what can be said.
    Avastu Maruti: isn't one what, my friend?
    Stim Morane: uh oh ... it sounds like this will take more time. Sorry to butt in. Maybe we can chat later, Avastu.
    Stim Morane: bye again.
    Avastu Maruti: good bye my friend
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