2008.11.07 01:00 - Flow and happiness

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    Wol Euler was Guardian and commenter for this session.

    Wol Euler: hello gaya
    Gaya Ethaniel: _/!\_
    Gaya Ethaniel: how have you been? haven't see you around much recently
    Wol Euler: I've been in Munich for three days at a conference and project meetings
    Wol Euler: couldn't get to log in
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles. enjoying nice Italian wine?
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: that's the one.
    Gaya Ethaniel: are you back home now then?
    Wol Euler: mmhmm, got in last night.
    Gaya Ethaniel: guess you're recovering from being away... was the conference good?
    Faenik: indeed?
    Wol Euler: mmmmm, yes I guess. It was usual, but I have changed since the last one I attended.
    Wol Euler: I'm not the intensely focussed geek that I was two years ago.
    Wol Euler: I found it quite odd to try to follow those conversations down the then-usual paths.
    Wol Euler: I kept wanting to tell people about meditation and PaB and SL ...
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Wol Euler: but had the feeling that it wouldn't have gone over well. Hardly any of that.
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Gaya Ethaniel wonders then how to spot an intensely focused geek
    Wol Euler: it's odd to return to a community and feel that you no longer really belong to it.
    Gaya Ethaniel: odd as out of place? did you feel anything else ie sad?
    Wol Euler: yes, somewhat sad.
    Wol Euler: but in both directions, actually :)
    Wol Euler: I saw the geeks as I had been and felt how much good meditation might do them, and was sad that there wasn't really a forum there for talking about that


    Zen and the art of geekery.

    Gaya Ethaniel: I am somewhat surprised... heard how programming is likened to arts or zen... surely some of geeks are interested in meditation, spirituality etc?
    Wol Euler grins. Yes, probably at least some are. But there is no ... what to say?
    Wol Euler: the atmosphere and style and focus of the conference -- phone
    Gaya Ethaniel: sure
    Faenik: why not?
    Wol Euler: bak, sorry
    Gaya Ethaniel: wb
    Wol Euler: so, where were we?
    Wol Euler: right, there was no "space" at the conference for talking about not-technology.
    Gaya Ethaniel: too 'flaky'? conferences... perhaps not the best place for discussing meditation. in a way, unusual to find a place like PaB
    Wol Euler nods. Though there is definitely a need for it, and at least a minority interest as you said.
    Gaya Ethaniel: how did you come to see this 'need' Wol?
    Wol Euler: well, I have always been a somewhat atypical programmer :) not entirey a geek because of my strong interest in art and music and lazing about in nice places
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Wol Euler: I got interested in meditation at my therapist's suggestion, as a way of dealing with work-related anxiety attacks.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah... when was that?
    Wol Euler: in London, many years ago.
    Wol Euler: very many, actually, come to think of it. Probably 18.
    Gaya Ethaniel: wow... did you start practising since then?
    Wol Euler: not really. Just doing some breathing and visualizing exercises.
    Wol Euler: I talked about this with Solo some time back, it's in a log from mid-October IIRC


    Early October, actually: http://playasbeing.wik.is/index.php?...Belief-O-Matic

    Wol Euler: I didn't get into meditation until a few years ago, comparatively recently, through a suggestion of a blogging buddy.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah... Dale?
    Wol Euler: indeed.
    Gaya Ethaniel: what are the effects have you noticed?
    Wol Euler: apart from calm and inner harmony? :-)
    Faenik: indeed?
    Wol Euler chuckles
    Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
    Wol Euler: it is relaxing me, making me less anxious, less aggressive, less prone to respond negatively.
    Wol Euler: more able to see people as they are rather than as I would have them be.
    Wol Euler: (who knows though, how much of this is meditation and how much simply growing older.)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Wol Euler: Young people have so much energy and they expend it with abandon.
    Wol Euler: we oldsters have to conserve our energy. Being unhappy is not good energy management.
    Gaya Ethaniel: why? because it would eat me up? wasting energy?
    Wol Euler: both of the above :)
    Wol Euler: it is bad in itself, bad for you; and it spends energy that could as easily be spent being happy.
    Gaya Ethaniel: btw... being old not always being more relaxed, accepting, wise etc... so well done Wol
    Wol Euler: oh indeed, and what I am describing is me-on-my-good-days
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles
    Wol Euler: I relapse into negativism and pessimism too.
    Gaya Ethaniel ponders on spending energy on being happy
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Gaya Ethaniel: what triggers it usually?


    Happiness is a warm zabuton. 

    Wol Euler: say "on doing things that may lead to happiness and world peace" rather than being happy
    Wol Euler: because I think one cannot _BE_ happy.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah...
    Wol Euler: I think happiness is a byproduct, not an activity.
    Gaya Ethaniel: one is I guess...
    Faenik: could be
    Wol Euler: happiness comes when you are so absorbed in doing good htings that you don't have time to ask "am I happy?"
    Gaya Ethaniel ponders...
    Wol Euler: anything I have ever done as an explicit and deliberate attempt to obtain happiness right here and now, has failed miserably.
    Gaya Ethaniel: then... what are these good things you mention?
    Wol Euler: well, things that are good in themselves, worthwhile to you and or the world - for whatever reason
    Wol Euler: but done for themselves, not with the aim of obtaining a benefit in hte form of happiness.
    Gaya Ethaniel: or any goals...?
    Wol Euler: I'm trying to pin down what this means...
    Wol Euler: perhaps this is just my Protestant Work Ethic sneaking in by the back door? I was certainly raised on the maxim "Get up, there's work to be done"
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles. 'tis a good thing imo
    Wol Euler: agreed :)
    Wol Euler: an it is far more likely to make one happy (was more effective at making me happy) than spending one's day in entertainments that bore and luxuries that clog the palate.
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes, 'work'... is kind of essential
    Wol Euler: I have been happier painting the office than at a fair.
    Gaya Ethaniel: entertainment/luxuries are a bit like salt... less of it is needed if one is used to small amount... ability to find pleasure in 'small' things in life
    Wol Euler: definitely.
    Wol Euler: "Nothing can satisfy people who are not satisfied with 'enough'."
    Gaya Ethaniel nods


    Flow and immersion. 

    Gaya Ethaniel: unfortunately, I'm still searching for my 'work'... hasn't come to me yet
    Wol Euler: it will. You are more likely to find it now that you know more about yourself and what you want.
    Gaya Ethaniel: hope so... just be patient I guess
    Wol Euler: patience is always good advice :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: one thing about 'work' though Wol... we often talk about at PaB how one is completely absorbed in work etc
    Wol Euler: mm?
    Gaya Ethaniel: used to think how I need to use 9 sec to break out of that immersive situations
    Gaya Ethaniel: now I'm not really sure if that is a bad thing
    Wol Euler: indeeed.
    Wol Euler: the state of satisfied immersion called "flow" is a very good thing indeed, highly productive of happiness.
    Wol Euler: I was chuckling earlier: when I see the word "need" now, I think "ha there is an attachment"
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes and also in those period, I do feel quite open in a way (sounds contradictory)
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh...
    Wol Euler smiles and shakes her head. Not at all contradictory.
    Wol Euler: flow is exctly the standing-aside-from-yourself that meditation strives for!
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes as in shedding identities and attachments... right
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Gaya Ethaniel: so then... difference between want and need in terms of attachment?
    Gaya Ethaniel: (quetions and questions !! )
    Wol Euler: naah, don't take it too seriously, I was just making an inner joke about how PaB has changed me.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
    Wol Euler: "need" is a modest "should".
    Wol Euler: and we all revile shoulds, right? :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles yes
    Faenik: why not?
    Gaya Ethaniel: what's your plan today? fresh food shopping?


    Sorry, Gaya, I was lost in my thoughts and missed this. (Gaya: 'tis ok. Just remembered that you'd need some fresh food after the travel ^^)

    Wol Euler muses. It's odd how one can open one's mouth to say something that is true and valid and real, but which was completely unknown.
    Gaya Ethaniel: eh?
    Wol Euler: If you had asked me "Is flow meditation?" I'd have had to think long and hard about it.
    Wol Euler: but approaching it hte other way around, it came out fully-formed without my having been aware of it.
    Faenik: indeed?

    I sneak in one of my favourite references. 

    Wol Euler: Donald Rumsfeld would call that an "unknown known", perhaps :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_unknown
    Gaya Ethaniel giggles at "unknown know"
    Gaya Ethaniel: I had a few times, similar to that Wol, threw me off
    Wol Euler: to know something without knowing that you know it.
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Wol Euler: is that intuition? the subconscious at work?
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles perhaps... must be all in there already
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Wol Euler: your unsconsciuos mind has made the connections, joined the dots, built the table fo contents and the indexes, but hasn't bothered to tell _you_ about it all.
    Wol Euler: so it comes as a surprise when _you_ find that stuff.
    Gaya Ethaniel: guess your head worked it through just then
    Wol Euler laughs geekishly: native multi-threading on multiple cores!
    Wol Euler: (talking about that on Wednesday)
    Gaya Ethaniel: we started with meditation, work/work ethics.... then to immersive situations... PaB and so forth then eureka!
    Wol Euler: heheheheh
    Gaya Ethaniel: Wednesday?
    Wol Euler: a fairly typical PaB session, I'd say.
    Wol Euler: wednesday = conference
    Faenik: why not?
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah so programming is a form of meditation for some after all ^^
    Wol Euler: heheheh
    Wol Euler: being in flow is meditation. definitely.
    Wol Euler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
    Wol Euler: listen to this:
    Wol Euler: "Concentrating and focusing, a high degree of concentration on a limited field of attention (a person engaged in the activity will have the opportunity to focus and to delve deeply into it).
    A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, the merging of action and awareness.
    Distorted sense of time, one's subjective experience of time is altered.
    The activity is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.
    People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action awareness merging."
    Wol Euler: (wikipedia)
    Wol Euler: isn't that what happens wihle meditating?
    Gaya Ethaniel ponders...
    Wol Euler: when I'm in flow, the code writes itself.
    Wol Euler: wu wei!
    Gaya Ethaniel: some parts sounds similar ie "loss of the feeling of seld-consciousness..." but focus... not sure about having a narrowed focus in meditation (except in the beginning whether focusing on breath or a visualisation)... need to think about this a bit more carefully
    Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Wol Euler: narrowed focus perhaps less applicable, unless in the sense of excluding thought and sensation...
    Wol Euler: focussing on not thinking, focussing on your breathing...
    Gaya Ethaniel nods and ponders
    Faenik: indeed?

    My inner geek raises her head as a pair of newbs wander past. 

    Wol Euler: I think I willl have to revise the listener code. so many people pass through here without stopping.
    Wol Euler: we are bound to get into trouble by publishing someone who wasn't asked for permission.
    Gaya Ethaniel smiles at how Wol cannot stop noticing things about the auto-logging or anything techie
    Wol Euler: heheheheheh
    Gaya Ethaniel: didn't bother me at all... interesting that ^^
    Wol Euler: well, it's not your system :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
    Wol Euler: the French call it "le déformation professionel"
    Wol Euler: the inability not to see your work in the world.
    Wol Euler: like a dentist cannot stop looking at teeth, on the bus, in the subway...
    Gaya Ethaniel: sounds... em... embarrassing to be a dentist!
    Wol Euler: it's not a job I would want!
    Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
    Gaya Ethaniel: I was struck down with flu last night... wanted to catch up with you Wol. must head back to bed now
    Wol Euler: oh dear! sorry to hear it.
    Wol Euler: yes, back to bed with you dear Gaya. Rest up, be well.
    Wol Euler: thanks for sitting with me.
    Gaya Ethaniel: thank you. pleasure, enjoyed the discussion Wol. see you soon again ^^
    Wol Euler: bye, gaya. take care of youlrself
    Gaya Ethaniel: avoid cold at all costs!
    Wol Euler: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel waves and wishes Wol a good day

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