2008.10.08 01:00 - We Are Like Fish

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    That morning when I, Pema, came into SL, I found Fael already there, still standing.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Fael!
    Pema Pera: Rezzing seems very slow today, even more than it has been lately . . . .
    Fael Illyar: I had no problem ...
    Fael Illyar: you could try wiping your cache folder? Not just clearing it from SL, wiping it with the file manager.
    Fael Illyar: well, clearing it might help as well but ...
    Pema Pera: ah, where do I find that?
    Pema Pera: how do I clear, for starters?
    Fael Illyar: edit -> preferences
    Fael Illyar: network tab
    Fael Illyar: but both options kind of require restart :)
    Pema Pera: well it's better than nothing!
    Pema Pera: at least for next time it will work
    Pema Pera: what settings do you recommend for max bandwith and disk cache size?
    Fael Illyar: I tend to have them at maximum on my desktop but ...
    Fael Illyar: it might be useful to limit the speed to something your connection can handle without problems
    Pema Pera: Thanks! I can play with them.
    Pema Pera: How have you been? Anything new lately?
    Fael Illyar: you could say so :)
    Fael Illyar: I'm pretty good today :)
    Fael Illyar: kind of lost it for a night and day last ... saturday or friday ... I forget which :)
    Fael Illyar: well, perhaps better to just describe it as being majorly depressed.
    Pema Pera: do you know why or how that happened?
    Fael Illyar: climbing out of there had me learning some things about how the mind works.
    Fael Illyar: like how it's necessary to be careful about what you end up believing.
    Fael Illyar: believe things about future that would depress you and ... well, you kind of end up there.
    Fael Illyar: well, in short, what things you put your Faith in :)
    Fael Illyar: if you put it into things like believing you can't make it if X happens and then also believe it will happen ...

    At this point Gaya joined us.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Gaya :)
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: Hi Gaya!
    Pema Pera: Good to see you again
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Pema Pera: Do you want to say a bit more Fael, about believing, and the kind of belief you are hinting at?
    Fael Illyar: well, for starters, belief and doubt are two sides of the same coin. doubt is just belief about the opposite thing.
    Fael Illyar: when the ideal would be not believing either way.
    Pema Pera: in general, belief and doubt can be very useful if they are held lightly, as a way to explore, but like everything else, if you get stuck to it, they limit your freedom -- even though they may have started out giving you more freedom
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: yes, it's important to be able to sort of "try" them temporarily.
    Fael Illyar: and then withdraw it once done
    Gaya Ethaniel: what do you mean by "even though they may have started out giving you more freedom" Pema?
    Pema Pera: we all live in an ocean of freedom
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: we are like fish, we can go into so many directions
    Pema Pera: but for generally good reasons, we have learned to be cautious
    Pema Pera: we don't close our eyes and cross a busy street, even though we have the freedom to do so
    Pema Pera: that would likely kill us
    Fael Illyar: doubt and belief are ways to limit what we see.
    Pema Pera: so the belief that cars would kill us is probably a useful belief
    Pema Pera: even though we may never try it out in our life
    Pema Pera: but if we get too timid and don't try anything new, we limit ourselves too much
    Pema Pera: there is a balance, like with everything
    Fael Illyar: although what I mean with belief here is putting your faith into something.
    Fael Illyar: just thinking doesn't do that.
    Pema Pera: exploring something in detail, something that is totally different than what you have ventured into so far, requires courages
    Pema Pera: and faith can greatly help there -- scientific research is an example, but so is exploring a totally different way of life or way of relating to people or to a particular individual
    Gaya Ethaniel: and the difference between faith and belief here Pema?
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I'm kind of doing all of those at once ... well, except research perhaps.
    Pema Pera: I could use the two words interchangeable, Gaya, but if someone wants to define them differently that is fine too
    Gaya Ethaniel: so belief/faith in moderation you mean
    Fael Illyar: I find it useful to think that you've a limited amount of Faith you can use for believing things.

    I returned to my fish image, to describe degrees of freedom.

    Pema Pera: Well, if each of us is a litlte fish, in a very big ocean, we tend to circle around in our own little place near a coral riff, say; and just being curious what lays beyond may let us venture lout a little
    Pema Pera: but not very far
    Pema Pera: now if we REALLY have strong faith in something being somwhere far away hat is REALLY interesting
    Faenik: indeed?
    Pema Pera: that faith may help us to explore much deeper/further
    Pema Pera: and even if we were totally wrong in the initial content of that faith, it can help us to open our eyes for the vastness of the ocean
    Gaya Ethaniel ponders
    Fael Illyar: and that the Faith you haven't put into beliefs is your ability to change yourself.
    Pema Pera: at some point, we see we were wrong, and we can be sad about being wrong, or happy about having discovered more of the ocean
    Gaya Ethaniel: is it important to understand why one has a particular faith as much as doubt,fear,caution?
    Pema Pera: or to allow yourself be changed, Fael
    Fael Illyar: yes, you could put it that way too
    Gaya Ethaniel: initial content of the faith being incorrect - this is not a blind faith is it?
    Faenik: could be
    Pema Pera: what I am describing is called a "working hypothesis" in scientific research
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah ok
    Pema Pera: and I have found it amazingly practical in daily life too
    Pema Pera: a vague hypothesis like "yeah, perhaps it is like that" doesn't get you moving
    Gaya Ethaniel: it is actually surprising Pema... haven't thought about it that way
    Gaya Ethaniel: about applying it that way... feels a calmer way to approach things
    Pema Pera: you need a really strong motivation to work day and night in a lab to feverishly check a wonderful new idea -- but it can be wrong
    Pema Pera: so you feverishly explore, but you keep in mind that what you learn might be very different than what you expected to learn
    Fael Illyar: so, you put your Faith into that it's worth the effort to find out if it's right or not?
    Pema Pera: YES ! ! !
    Pema Pera: and more than right or wrong, DIFFERENT!
    Gaya Ethaniel: sure
    Pema Pera: most likely you walk to and from along one dimension, and then you discover another dimensiopn you NEVER dreamt about
    Pema Pera: or two or three or five new dimensions
    Pema Pera: (sorry for shouting with capitals, but this is the core of my scientific work, where I put my hear it)
    Pema Pera: *in
    Pema Pera: (and of my life, life as a lab, as well)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles. Pema fired up again


    Pema Pera: If we can be as excited as someone being driven by a sect, and as open as someone resting at the beach, we are okay
    Fael Illyar: Hi Claire :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Pema Pera: Hi Clair!
    Pema Pera: *Claire
    Claire Beltran: Hello, everyone ^-^
    Pema Pera: We are talking about life, Claire, and I was using science as a metaphor
    Fael Illyar: So, Faith is what you use to set the direction of your life.
    Pema Pera: for a while, yes
    Fael Illyar: of course, you can always change the direction too :)
    Pema Pera: Whether falling in love with a new scientific equation or theory, or with a person, in both cases you learn a lot -- independently of whether you later conclude that you were "right" at the start
    Pema Pera: really falling in love, really exploring, and then not getting bitter along the way, if you can do all that, the world opens up and opens up and keeps opening, and you can then learn to be gentle to everybody -- even to yourself ! ! !
    Fael Illyar smiles.
    Pema Pera: getting deeply disappointed, boy, that is bitter medicine, but if you swallow it, and then look around, a miracle happens
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: suddenly you understand others around you so much better
    Pema Pera: you see that they all have had their disappointements
    Pema Pera: and you can be more gentle, more loving, more understanding
    Fael Illyar: yes, and suddenly the deep disappointment seems like a blessing in disguise.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: how so?
    Fael Illyar: well, the disappointment is about what you put your faith into not being quite what you thought it was.
    Fael Illyar: but if you open your eyes, you can see a lot more after that. That's the blessing.
    Fael Illyar: where "open your eyes" is about the same as "accept how it is"
    Pema Pera: it is very hard to be compassionate to someone if you have not deeply felt the problem that the other is suffering from; without having felt at least once a really deep disappointment, it is hard to feel compassion for someone who is going through such a process
    Pema Pera: and in return, the other is than a mirror for yourself
    Pema Pera: and you can learn to love and accept yourself better
    Fael Illyar: Yes :)

    Since Claire had joined us, I was curious to hear her angle.

    Pema Pera: Claire, you have talked about depression. When you talk with others about being depressed, how important is it for you to get a sense of their depression, now or in the past?
    Gaya Ethaniel needs to run in 5 mins
    Gaya Ethaniel has had depression
    Pema Pera: and how about you, Gaya?
    Claire Beltran: I think... It's rather complicated, actually.
    Gaya Ethaniel: don't mind talking about it to anyone but... getting judged by some ppl can be hard
    Faenik loves wells!
    Gaya Ethaniel: tend to talk more to ppl who are depressed so that we can help each other. I see a point in that otherwise, don't delve into my issues really
    Claire Beltran: Sometimes I fear that associating with someone else who is depressed... well, since I really have yet to shrug the problem off, it can be hard, because I don't know how to help such people.
    Gaya Ethaniel: I only believe I can help by telling my problems openly to ppl, not by telling ppl what to do about their issues
    Fael Illyar: Everyone needs their own kind of help.
    Fael Illyar: it can't be known, only felt. what they need.
    Pema Pera: Gaya, because you have to go, just one quick reaction to what you said about others judging you
    Gaya Ethaniel: sure
    Gaya Ethaniel: it triggers my fear that I'd be what I fear to be
    Pema Pera: perhaps those judging you after you talk about depression are the ones who have covered over and so denied their own depression
    Gaya Ethaniel: could be but that's not the issue for me
    Faenik: why not?
    Gaya Ethaniel: I know some of them are afraid
    Gaya Ethaniel: it's my inner fear that is being triggered when judged
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: and does the 9-sec exploration help if defusing those triggers?
    Pema Pera: *in defusing
    Gaya Ethaniel: that I'd become what I fear to be because of my issues. That I cannot "tame my tigers"
    Gaya Ethaniel: and will haunt me forever
    Gaya Ethaniel: for a short time yes Pema but it doesn't treat the cause
    Pema Pera: yes, I can sense how hard hat may be, there is a runaway effect there
    Gaya Ethaniel: though I know ppl close to me would never understand fully
    Gaya Ethaniel: when I sense a judgement from them, it really cause serious problems for me
    Pema Pera: can you say more about not treating the cause
    Fael Illyar: fear comes from believing that you are.
    Gaya Ethaniel: no fear comes from knowing the possibilities of either way
    Gaya Ethaniel: I haven't settled for one way or the other how I would change just yet
    Gaya Ethaniel: will talk more about treating the cause Pema. must run for my music lessons. will ponder today. thank you all
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Fael Illyar: See you later Gaya :)
    Pema Pera: thank you, Gaya!

    Gaya left, and I asked Claire about working with the 9-sec approach.

    Pema Pera: Claire, to come back to what you said
    Pema Pera: yes, I can see that sharing a felt sense of depression with others who are also depressed can be tricky
    Claire Beltran nods.
    Pema Pera: and how that can make you more depressed -- or less, depending so much on the circumstances
    Pema Pera: Have you played with the 9-sec explorations in this regard?
    Claire Beltran: I have... when I can remember to do so.
    Pema Pera: it's quite different when you are alone or with someone
    Pema Pera: When you are alone, and you feel really really depressed, for example, after a very disappointing encounter, and you walk on the street or sit in your room, it would be interesting to pretend for 9 seconds that you are not depressed at all
    Pema Pera: just as playing stage
    Pema Pera: look around you, smile
    Claire Beltran: Oh? You think I can just do that?
    Pema Pera: sure, why not!
    Claire Beltran: I'm not mocking; it's an honest question.
    Pema Pera: Your depression may be very strong -- and I am serious too
    Pema Pera: you may not be able to fend off your depression for an hour, or even a minute
    Pema Pera: but I bet you can fend off your depression for 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: I would be very happy to hear how that would work or not work
    Pema Pera: would you mind trying that?
    Pema Pera: next time you're deeply depressed?
    Fael Illyar: come to think of it, I did that some when I was climbing out of my deep disappointment a few days ago.
    Pema Pera: the problem with depression is that we tell ourselves we are depressed, and that makes it worse -- so if we tell ourselves for 9 seconds that we are not depressed at all, that may sabotage the whole making-myself-even-more-depressed project :-)
    Fael Illyar: yes, it kind of does sabotage it
    Pema Pera: Claire, does that make sense?
    Claire Beltran: Yes, it does. I'll see what I can do, and tell you the result.
    Pema Pera: I'd love to hear that, Claire!
    Fael Illyar would like to nitpick that it's not thinking but believing you're depressed that does that.
    Claire Beltran: Already I think the exercise may have helped me... but I'm not very in touch with my emotions so it can be hard to tell.
    Claire Beltran: O read something that someone submitted on deviantART today...
    Pema Pera: yes, Fael, it has to be hard-felt, like a belief
    Pema Pera: yes, Claire?
    Claire Beltran: Pain by ~spiritualrocket
    Fael Illyar: no link?
    Claire Beltran: http://spiritualrocket.deviantart.com/art/Pain-100033145
    Claire Beltran: Right there.
    Pema Pera: interesting!
    Pema Pera: except for the last line -- "controlled", I might want to rephrase that part
    Pema Pera: "can be seen through and dropped"
    Pema Pera: might work better -- controlling implies taking it too serious, perhaps
    Claire Beltran: I agree.

    Time for me to leave.

    Pema Pera: We've been here for an hour, I think I'll return to RL for a bit :-)
    Fael Illyar: Ok, see you later Pema :)
    Pema Pera: very glad we could talk about all these issuse!
    Claire Beltran: Goodbye, Pema!
    Pema Pera: btw Claire,
    Claire Beltran: I think I must go, too...
    Pema Pera: I'm in NYC the whole day today
    Claire Beltran: Yes?
    Claire Beltran: Oh!
    Pema Pera: if you'd like to have a quick cup of tea, i'd be happy too, say for 30 minutes or so?
    Pema Pera: or are you busy the whole day?
    Fael Illyar is flying to NYC next sunday.
    Pema Pera: yes, looking forward to meeting in person, finally!
    Claire Beltran: Oh, certainly.

    We set up a place and time, and would meet for lunch that day. We ended as follows:

    Claire Beltran: Sure!
    Claire Beltran: See you then
    Pema Pera: Here is a suggestion.
    Pema Pera: Between now and then
    Pema Pera: while falling asleep for example,
    Pema Pera: it would be fun to try those 9-sec "I am not at all depressed for these 9 secons"
    Pema Pera: a number of time, as often as you can -- without pushing yourself too much
    Pema Pera: as long as you can do it naturally
    Pema Pera: just to see how that feels, as an experiment
    Claire Beltran: I will. thank you.
    Claire Beltran: Good night, you two!
    Pema Pera: you can do it three times, or ten times, or whatever feels naturally
    Pema Pera: okay, see you at 1 pm
    Pema Pera: sleep well
    Claire Beltran: ^-^/
    Fael Illyar waves Pema goodbye.
    Pema Pera: see you soon!

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