2008.11.25 01:00 - A Gateway Drug

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    That night at 1 am SLT we had another weekly guardian meeting. I, Pema, was the guardian on call.

    When I arrive, Wol and Sonic were already there. Right next to the fountain, there was a standard yellow wooden box, floating in the air. It seemed that I had the right priveleges to return the box to Doug.

    Sonic Moonites: hello pema
    Wol Euler: hello pema
    Pema Pera: Hi Wol, Sonic!
    Pema Pera: (struggling with my internet connection here)
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: I tried to send it home to Doug earlier, the system wouldn't let me
    Sonic Moonites: looks as if the box is here to stay!
    Pema Pera: Hi, this is Doug's box?
    Wol Euler: it claims to be ...
    Sonic Moonites: voila!
    Wol Euler applauds!
    Pema Pera: one yellow box less . . .
    Pema Pera takes a humble bow
    Sonic Moonites: so how are you today pema?
    Pema Pera: oh, a bit sleepy, otherwise fine, thanks, and you?
    Sonic Moonites: yep, still feeling content ;)
    Pema Pera: that's nice!
    Wol Euler smiles
    Pema Pera: glad you like it here -- have you been playing a bit with the 9-sec exploration?
    Sonic Moonites: yes, although ive been doing other kinds of breath meditation though the day for much longer too
    Sonic Moonites: i find it difficult to schedule in 9 seconds ;)
    Wol Euler: hehehehe


    Pema Pera: is the difficulty a matter of reminding yourself?
    Pema Pera: (and yes, it's great to combine the 9-sec with other forms of exploration, such as meditation!)
    Sonic Moonites: no not as such, more that i like to be involved in what im doing and then the 9sec comes as change and i have to reajust(which i know is kind of the point), im a musician and artist so when im working i try to remain completely focused
    Wol Euler nods. I found the 9 seconds tremendously disruptive too
    Pema Pera: ah, then a better option is to take the 9 seconds to a different level
    Pema Pera: not to actually stop what you
    Pema Pera: re doing
    Pema Pera: but rather to do a little maintenance check
    Pema Pera: dropping whatever is too much
    Pema Pera: dropping what asks to be dropped
    Pema Pera: what is not needed
    Sonic Moonites: well at the moment i have the luxury of taking a hour or two do it fully focussed
    Wol Euler nods. Especially dropping the idea that they must be done every 15 minutes.
    Pema Pera: wow, two hours!
    Sonic Moonites: well not an hour of meditation
    Sonic Moonites: but time to think and relax
    Pema Pera: ah, that's also very important, and great if you can do that!
    Sonic Moonites: i work it into, eating and drinking, and walking
    Pema Pera: let's take our time, though, and go carefully about what it means to stop for 9 sec

    About wu-wei.

    Pema Pera: stopping ideally is a kind of not-doing, wu-wei in Taoism, which doesn't mean doing nothing
    Pema Pera: it really means not doing whatever doesn't fit
    Pema Pera: driving in traffic, it would be a tremendous act of doing (the wrong thing) when suddenly stepping on the brake and stopping to drive!
    Pema Pera: the way of not-doing while driving is to really go with the flow
    Sonic Moonites: ;)
    Pema Pera: no sudden unexpected jerks, and probably no talking on cell phones :-)
    Wol Euler: not in California anywy!
    Pema Pera: hopefully soon nowhere . . . .
    Pema Pera: somewhat similarly, not-doing can be "done" under all circumstances, also while talking with people of playing music, or any activity no matter how intense . . . ..
    Pema Pera: like typing now
    Pema Pera: and hearing the bell
    Pema Pera: it reminds me to even more step aside
    Pema Pera: and not force the typing
    Pema Pera: but to let the typing come
    Pema Pera: like oil flowing from one container into another
    Pema Pera: does that make sense?
    Wol Euler: absolutely.
    Sonic Moonites: yes i think so, what makes the 9 seconds different form any type of meditation or contemplation though
    Sonic Moonites: it seems to me as if the 9 seconds is a convienent way to apply meditation in our busy lives(not in a derogatory sense of course)
    Pema Pera: that's one role it can have, for sure, but even from that angle (mediation) you could say that ideally, our whole life will become mediation, not only while sitting on a cushion, but while doing anything at all

    And here came the title inspiration.

    Wol Euler secretly suspects that it's a "gateway drug" to get people who think that they cannot meditate (for whatever reason) started on meditation ...
    Pema Pera: if you have some interest in trying out the 9-sec that way, a few times (or more) a day, I'd be very curious to hear how that would go
    Pema Pera: it's in invitation for exploration, yes, Wol, but meditation is just one way . . . .
    Wol Euler: :)
    Sonic Moonites: yes sure
    Pema Pera: may I ask what kind of music you are involved in?
    Sonic Moonites: well its contemporary academic music, i just finished my degree
    Pema Pera: congratulations!
    Sonic Moonites: so much of it is from a spritiual and philosophical perspective
    Sonic Moonites: ty ;)
    Wol Euler: sounds interesting, is that like Riley and Reich and "hte other" John Adams?
    Sonic Moonites: yep exactly the kind of people, not forgetting Cage!
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Sonic Moonites: in fact i find the 9 sec similar to many of Cages ideals
    Wol Euler: I'm curious about the term "academic", though. Where do people like Arvo Pärt and John Tavener (very spiritual both) fit in?
    Sonic Moonites: well i use the term academic loosely when speaking to other people...partly because classical is also a very tricky term
    Sonic Moonites: and both carry different connotations, but no a lot of my work was based on serialism and "communist" music so the term academic is probably not the best Wol ;)
    Wol Euler giggles. Communist music sounds very ... stirring.
    Wol Euler: as a term, I mean
    Sonic Moonites: well, it just means no one note is more important than any other
    Wol Euler: ah, right.
    Sonic Moonites: they all earn the same!
    Wol Euler: but not forgetting "frm each according to his ability". Some do more work that others.
    Wol Euler: ?
    Sonic Moonites: yeah, sure, and thats where we start banging on the large iron gate of individual perception, and who attributes values to certain notes in the peice and why
    Sonic Moonites: its really interesting
    Wol Euler nods

    Since it was in the middle of the night for me, and half an hour had passed, I decided to get some more sleep.

    Pema Pera: on this cheerful note, I think I'll say goodbye and go back to sleep . . . .
    Wol Euler: I was about tu suggest that!
    Sonic Moonites: ok pema, good to see you
    Wol Euler: off you go, Pema. sleep well.
    Sonic Moonites: ty
    Pema Pera: great talking with you both!
    Wol Euler: good night :)
    Sonic Moonites: bye
    Pema Pera: see you soon again!

    Wol later sent me the rest of the chat log.

    Sonic Moonites: do you think cheerful note was a deliberate pun?
    Wol Euler laughs. yep.
    Sonic Moonites: ha ha, hes good
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Sonic Moonites: do you have a 9sec hud?
    Wol Euler: no, I don't do it that regularly or that often
    Wol Euler: I take a Taoist approach :)
    Wol Euler: let the Moment arise when it is right for me to do it
    Wol Euler: I found that a way to avoid being broken out of flow when working
    Sonic Moonites: yeah i agree, how do you usually begin?
    Wol Euler: breathing, usually. I do it as a mini breathing meditation
    Wol Euler: pause, then a deliberate and deep outbreath
    Wol Euler: and then not-think on the inbreath about where I am
    Sonic Moonites: ok
    Sonic Moonites: that seems like a good method
    Wol Euler: try to feel that "where I am" for two breaths, then start thinking: is that a good place? who put me there? am I happy there?
    Wol Euler: I use it as a kind of centring, grounding, in the day.
    Wol Euler: I find it far too easy to detach from myself, especially if I'm in my afternoon office job where evryrhing is a rush crisis :(
    Sonic Moonites: yeah, certainly! work doesnt help!
    Wol Euler: mmmmm, depends on the work and the environment
    Wol Euler: I can be very grounded and content doing work I enjoy and find worthwhile, in a calm place
    Sonic Moonites: i had a temporary job which has just finished so at the moment i have alot of time and would like to use meditation
    Wol Euler nods
    Sonic Moonites: as much as possible
    Sonic Moonites: if i can get into the habit before i start work again, perhaps i can keep more of that state of mind at work
    Wol Euler: good idea.
    Wol Euler: and also a good idea to go into the job with that habit and intention
    Wol Euler: "make your eccentricities known early", my first boss told me. It's been good advice
    Sonic Moonites: yeah that is great advice, but not in the job interview!
    Sonic Moonites: ;)
    Wol Euler: heheehe
    Wol Euler: well, no, job interviews are advertising :)
    Wol Euler: truthfulness is desired but optional
    Wol Euler: but you must be absolutely truthful to yourself internally, though! "Do I really want _this_ job under _these_ conditions?"
    Sonic Moonites: yes

    An interesting conversation about quality of jobs.

    Sonic Moonites: i recently had a cleaning job which was great, no distractions and perfect chance to meditate!
    Wol Euler smiles
    Wol Euler: I can appreciate that
    Sonic Moonites: its strange, whats a bad job to some was a luxury for me
    Wol Euler: the best job I ever had (before discovering programming) was night shift on a printing press
    Wol Euler: because the work was automatic, after about half an hour my body did it by itself
    Wol Euler: leaving _me_ entirely free.
    Sonic Moonites: could i ask a personal question about how you got into programming?
    Wol Euler: sure :)
    Wol Euler: I started because I am lazy!
    Wol Euler: I noticed that I was typing the same command sequence 10 times a minute, and thought "there must be a better way"
    Wol Euler: so I learned to write macros to do the typing for me
    Sonic Moonites: great!
    Wol Euler: (this was in the pre-graphic interface days, btw, tehre was no on screen menu, no buttons - not even a mouse)
    Wol Euler: seeing the machine jump through a hoop that I had made was a feeling of power :)
    Wol Euler: so I started learning about what the machine did when it was "doing" something
    Sonic Moonites: ok
    Wol Euler: and that got me into real programming languages
    Sonic Moonites: i find programming interesting too, and imagine the job being comfy at home with a cup of tea(im sure its not really like that!)
    Wol Euler: hehheheheh
    Wol Euler: if you want to earn good money at it, it is definitely NOT like that.
    Wol Euler: Dilbert is sadly close to teh truth of how most programmers live.
    Sonic Moonites: ;(
    Wol Euler: statically speaking, at least.
    Wol Euler: regular income means cubicle rather than tea
    Wol Euler: but if you have a good idea, you can earn a comfortable income at home too.
    Wol Euler: much of the software I use was written at home :) not by me
    Wol Euler: NetNewsWire, for example, the Mac RSS feed reader.
    Sonic Moonites: wow, great stuff
    Wol Euler: started as a hobby project, Brent now lives from that
    Sonic Moonites: some pretty smart people out there
    Wol Euler: but he had a pretty meager few years until it reached a critical mass
    Sonic Moonites: yeah, its the same with music, but the early years are the most enjoyable!
    Wol Euler: heheheheheh
    Wol Euler: true
    Wol Euler: you have no money, but great freedom. And lots of time!
    Wol Euler: use them well

    After these wise words, the talk turned to computer languages.

    Sonic Moonites: what language would you recommend learning first?
    Wol Euler: Time is the main reason that old people tell young people "these are the best days of your life"
    Wol Euler blows out a thoughtful breath.
    Sonic Moonites: ha ha, sorry
    Wol Euler: Many people say that learning Lisp is a good first start, because it teaches you habits and patterns of thought that are universally useful and generally Good Things.
    Wol Euler: but nobody uses Lisp professionally.
    Wol Euler: start with the internet languages: php, python, java
    Sonic Moonites: ok
    Wol Euler: learn SQL too, databases are increasingly important.
    Wol Euler: SL is a bunch of databases with some pixels on top
    Sonic Moonites: ok great thanks very much!
    Wol Euler: yw!
    Sonic Moonites: it all seems very daunting, but eventually id like to program things to generate music
    Wol Euler: may I give you a piece of advice?
    Sonic Moonites: of course
    Wol Euler: start with a practical project that is useful to you right now, to the programmer you will become, and to the professional musican you aspire to be
    Wol Euler: create a website for your music
    Wol Euler: give it all away
    Sonic Moonites: yes ok
    Wol Euler: giving things away is the new way to get rich. Look at google, or NetNewsWire.
    Wol Euler: Brent earns his living by giving away free software
    Wol Euler: and because it's real and relevant to you-right-now, you will have a strong incentive to learn the languages
    Sonic Moonites: yeah thank you that is great advice, i teach giutar too and always say to my pupils..."what do you want to learn!" and teach them that, otherwise they lose interest
    Wol Euler: mmhmm
    Wol Euler: it must be relevant for it to stick
    Sonic Moonites: ok thankyou very much, unfortunatley i must leave now, but great talking to you wol
    Wol Euler: I recommend the "head first" sries of tech trainning books, tey stat with "what good will it do me" :
    Wol Euler: ok, see you Sonic. Nice talking to you.
    Sonic Moonites: ok ill will look into them
    Sonic Moonites: yeah thankyou again! i will see you later probably!
    Wol Euler: I'm fairly sure of it :)
    Wol Euler: enjoy the day
    Sonic Moonites: you too, bye!
    Wol Euler: bye
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