2009.04.06 07:00 - Faith & Being in Daily Life

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Eliza Madrigal. The comments are by Eliza Madrigal.

    This morning started off with an email to Pema first, and then at his request, to the rest of the Play as Being group. The email was an attempt on my part to begin to 1st. Make sure I wasn't way off everyone else's page, 2nd. Clarify the tricky term "faith" a bit in the context of Play as Being, and 3rd. Simply give a window into an aspect of my personal paradigm which I felt it difficult to do in one of two lines during a PaB session.

    Eliza Madrigal: Morning Pema :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Good Morning :)
    Pema Pera: Morning, Eliza!
    Pema Pera: Thank you for your email, and thank you also for forwarding it to the group!
    Pema Pera: I'm really glad that you shared it with us all
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you. I can be a little awkward about things like that at first...but seems like if I'm going to be here, I should :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Isen says to "embrace the awkwardness" hehe
    Pema Pera: yes, I appreciate your openness, both to see and to write about what you see, and I admire your courage to then share it with us!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks. It comes in part out of reading Friday's log, and thinking that I was incoherent
    Pema Pera: It does feel awkward at first, I know, but the more of us do so, the more others also feel comfortable to join in sharing their experiences and reflections
    Eliza Madrigal: ..that I was trying to get at something but sometimes wanting to condense it into a few lines is hard
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: yes, especially on the fly, during a PaB meeting!
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes!
    Pema Pera: at the same time, that is what it means to bring the practice into daily life . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . to react in the moment to what is present
    Eliza Madrigal: You're right about that. yes
    Eliza Madrigal: One can't always say "hey give me a few days"
    Pema Pera: hehe, wouldn't that be nice!
    Pema Pera: to stop time
    Pema Pera: -- actually, a lot of spontaneity would be lost that way
    Pema Pera: so perhaps not so nice
    Pema Pera: Hi Quen!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Quen!

    We began to get focused on "Appearance in Daily Life". It had taken a minute for Quen to see that she wasn't quite with us yet. :) 

    Pema Pera: So our conversations started, Eliza, when you asked with so many words what we can do with Being in daily life - is that a fair summary?
    Eliza Madrigal: Well, yes that is a large part of it :)
    Pema Pera: "Play as Being" is such an odd title -- so easy to think of many ways to play, so hard to get a sense of what to do with "Being" :-)
    quen Oh: hi Pema
    quen Oh: and hi Eliza
    Pema Pera: So I was delighted when you asked that question a while ago, about water
    quen Oh: was talking you in IM window, not very useful
    quen Oh: quen Oh: hi Pema and Eliza! [7:07] quen Oh: have you made a start yet? sorry was late [7:07] quen Oh: still hassling with my other pc [7:08] quen Oh: all weekend tried everything including being hours on chat with a helpdesk in India, but finally had to format and reinstall everything on the machine [7:09] quen Oh: no again at the point where it went dead the last time, so quite exciting [7:09] quen Oh: ah lol IM window
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Hi Quen
    Pema Pera: ah, another IM wondow?
    Eliza Madrigal: Pema, any definition in my mind has changed several times over the course of the few months I've been here :)
    quen Oh: yes, sorry
    Pema Pera: ah, thank you, Quen!
    Eliza Madrigal: Of Play as Being, I mean
    Pema Pera: Sounds like you had some serious PC problems?
    quen Oh: was thinking you were both unusually quiet when it started to dawn
    Pema Pera: Yes, Eliza, that is as it should be!
    Eliza Madrigal: hahah
    Pema Pera: We are all explorers
    quen Oh: yes extremely serious to the point I had to copy out my essential files through commando prompt and format and reinstall
    Pema Pera: and the main idea is to clear out ideas about what Being, or God, or whatever we like to look up at, might be -- we have to go beyond ideas.
    quen Oh: so you are talking about Being in daily life?
    Pema Pera: wow, I hope things are okay now, Quen?
    Pema Pera: Yes
    Eliza Madrigal: And that is how the word "faith" comes up then
    quen Oh: hey doug!
    Pema Pera: Hi Doug!
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Doug! :)
    quen Oh: while meanwhile watching the other machine as it is in critical state now, doing the same upgrade as what made it crash and corrupt it's system files friday
    Pema Pera: perhaps better to switch to a Mac (sorry, keep repeating myself :-)

    In describing her experience, quen brings up the concept of the horizon, and the image of an artist working with a chunk of clay...    

    quen Oh: could it be an idea to describe 'Being' or God as all that is behind the horizon of what we can know and experience?
    Pema Pera: no, on the contrary
    Pema Pera: it is the closest and most obvious
    Pema Pera: so much so that we think we can't see it, though it stares us in the faith
    Pema Pera: haha, in the face I mean
    Pema Pera: those funny typos . . .
    quen Oh: ;-) I know, it is only that the equipment was a large expensive investment, with excellent graphics card en specialised software
    quen Oh: hello Filles
    Pema Pera: :)
    quen Oh: Gilles*
    doug Sosa: that suggests that what we experience has a "behind", but to me what we experience has the being at every point.
    quen Oh: I like to see religion or the concept op what could be 'God' as that behind the horizon
    quen Oh: which makes all kind of God concepts possible; being inside us, or pantheism, or christian
    quen Oh: all ways of dealing with the human condition,which limits us
    Eliza Madrigal: Gilles, Hello :)
    Pema Pera: (Doug and Quen: we try to observe 90 seconds silence after the bell, during which time the fountain becomes misty, and green words appear in the local chat window)
    Gilles Kuhn: well concept are by definition iinside us as we make them.... so is the concept of god even if descartes aid otherwise....
    doug Sosa: Got it, but time delay seems extreme this morning and i typed before.being is not in one place and "god" in another.
    Eliza Madrigal: (when I hear the word "horizon" it is in Leonard Suskind's marvelous voice-hehe) I like the idea...though in a way it still seems "out there"
    Pema Pera: So let's get started with the theme for today "faith, doubt, devotion, love"
    Pema Pera: very practical questions came up Friday morning, abotu faith and love and doubt
    Eliza Madrigal: yes
    Pema Pera: so it would be nice to continue those, while staying with that kind of practice sense
    Gilles Kuhn: (i have never understood the utility of silence in communication if it is imposed from outside the say communication but not the subject )
    Pema Pera: Eliza, do you want to summarize some of what you wrote earlier?
    Pema Pera: just to get started?
    Eliza Madrigal: I can try. :)
    Eliza Madrigal: I have baggage associated with the word "faith" as I thik many of us do...
    Eliza Madrigal: and especially with terms like "blind faith"
    Eliza Madrigal: However....
    Eliza Madrigal: there is something to be said for experiencing something you don't quite understand yet....
    Eliza Madrigal: a sense of trust....
    Eliza Madrigal: Of love
    Eliza Madrigal: That is where I would say we left off on Friday?
    quen Oh is trying to remember, seems a bit vague
    Pema Pera: yes, thank you, Eliza!
    Pema Pera: What I tried to point out, concerning faith
    Eliza Madrigal: What looks like experience from *inside* looks like faith to another from *outside*
    Pema Pera: is that it is good to have faith in the usefulness to follow a certain direction -- like exploring a hypothesis
    doug Sosa: :)
    Pema Pera: if we are really drawn by something, intrigued by it, we can become motivated enough to spend a large amount of time and energy exploring
    Pema Pera: even though we don't know for sure what we will find
    Eliza Madrigal: yes
    Gilles Kuhn: is that faith or inquiry pema ?
    Pema Pera: I would call that a kind of "faith"
    Pema Pera: faith that a certain inquiry will be a good idea
    quen Oh: I belief we could strive to do without faith,but at the same time try to deal with the horizon of what we can know by using Pema's concept of hypothesis
    Pema Pera: can you say more about the notion of horizon, Quen?
    Gilles Kuhn: well there is a fiath in empirical inquiries too is that kind of faith you refer to ?
    quen Oh: which is following a direction in the unknown, which could by studying reveal us qualities we don't know yet
    Pema Pera: so the horizon will become larger?
    Pema Pera: or can we go beyond the horizon?
    quen Oh: well we have a large collection of past experiences and knowledge, we use to understand the world around us, we continuously expand and rearrange that, but we know for a fact that how much we try
    quen Oh: this collection will never be so good that we will be omniscient
    Pema Pera: yes, Gilles, faith in the usefulness of empirical inquiry would be a nice example, indeed
    Gilles Kuhn: i ersonnaly use the notion of horizon as ladrière put it as an inatteignable target (but nice one) that permit you to aim in your action or thinking to
    quen Oh: so there is a shifting horizon to that what we could know
    quen Oh: we can indeed pursue certain direction that point behind the horizon, for instance compare it to what an artist does
    Gilles Kuhn: then you mean faith on usefulness to intervene on the material world pema
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, unattainable doesn't mean unworthy of pursuit :) paradox
    quen Oh: when he has a big chunk of clay

    Knowing, Devotion, Poetry, Gibberish, and Math

    Pema Pera: this brings up the question of knowing . . . . perhaps we cannot know Being and yet Being can be a very concrete resource in our life.
    Pema Pera: how that can be so, is the mean topic that Eliza brought up
    Gilles Kuhn: well being was forgotten as a question as said heidegger i add and happily so !
    quen Oh: everything behind the horizon of what we know and behind the horizon of what we can know (notice the subtle difference) is resourceful I think
    quen Oh: the first is more easy to deal with, the second especially in scientific, materialistic world more difficult
    Gilles Kuhn: yes but what we know are logical construct that apply more or less well to our perceptions which are too in permanent doubt even if they are brute knowledge
    quen Oh: indeed Gilles
    Eliza Madrigal: The pursuit of knowing changes the concept of knowing though...there is a point at which it reaches an uncommunicable(?) place...at the turn of the coin perhaps, it disappears
    Pema Pera: yes, and the exploration exercise "Being Seeing" is a nice example
    quen Oh: everything within our horizon is not perfect at all, reason why it is continuously challenged and posing questions, asking for action and decisions etc
    Pema Pera: where a lot can become clear, as we have seen, without a conceptual kind of knowing involved
    quen Oh: if we would be omniscient we would not have to do so, we would be all there is and will be, impossible to imagine
    Gilles Kuhn: and everithing beyond following your reasonning is some kind of attractor even if for mine part i would define the beyond horizon as logical impossibilities (meaning non communicable by definition and thus absurd but thats my typology)
    Eliza Madrigal: Is it impossible to imagine? I'm not sure
    Pema Pera: (shall we try to remain 90 sec silence after the bell -- sorry that my line arrived a few seconds late)
    Pema Pera: I was thinking much more concrete, Quen, in doing a non-verbal exploration of Being
    Pema Pera: not trying to figure out or analyse, but see how it can actually help us
    Eliza Madrigal: Well...that's what captivates me, Gilles. It IS on the edge of absurd...but so? :)
    quen Oh: well perhaps take the example of the artist?
    Pema Pera: to let Being see, for example -- have you tried that, Quen?
    Eliza Madrigal: (I mean as looking from that angle)
    quen Oh: yes, but that seems to lead to some sort of detachment and improvisation, and in rare occasions a helpfull insight
    Gilles Kuhn: so as i have 90 sec to make a larger sentence : not to imagine but to communicate and if there is no communication possible of exploration you fall on mysticism which is not bvery usefull in group even if it can satisfying for an individual but if done by many that became a congregation not to say a flock...
    quen Oh: thats why Pema suggest not to verbally analyse Gilles
    Gilles Kuhn: if something is not verbal it is not communicable and so.....
    quen Oh: but there are some known concepts to deal with that without totally ignoring it's possibilities I think
    quen Oh: faith and living on a limited guess and a bunch of assumptions is one way to deal with it, but there are others to explore
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes Gilles...can be a trap there. I was reading somewhere in logs (on't remember where) that traps aren't necessarily a reason not to see ...especially if you are aware of the traps
    Pema Pera: Gilles, why are you here if you are so convinced that our approach is totally wrong?
    Pema Pera: I'm really curious?
    Gilles Kuhn: as i am
    Pema Pera: we are trying to explore nonverbal communication, and you keep telling us over and over again that it cannot be done
    Pema Pera: so what would you like us to do?
    Pema Pera: stop?
    Gilles Kuhn: i said it cannot be done in certain way indeed but i am open to see if it could be otherwise even if i still have not seen so
    Pema Pera: if you are open, how about trying to explore together how it can be done
    Gilles Kuhn: defenitely not and if gentle critic is not welcomed i can be still even for more than 90 sec you know want not to disturb
    Pema Pera: So let us see whether we can find a way to see how Being can be a resource
    Eliza Madrigal: it should give some comfort that the safety built in is that potential traps are noticed..and so many participating
    quen Oh: (!!!! it says Vista Service Pack 1`is installed and I see no smoke from my machine!!! having a private party here)
    Pema Pera: yes, that is part of the group's process, we keep each other honest, as best as we can
    Gilles Kuhn: np with your eploration but i have personnaly no clue to offer in this direction but apart f that when you refer to Being you refer to the "being" in metaphysical sense ?
    Eliza Madrigal: Congrats quen! :)
    Pema Pera: yes, good for you, Quen!
    Pema Pera: Gilles, Being as I use the word cannot be defined
    Pema Pera: but we can work with it
    Pema Pera: and Eliza and I started to explore how to work with it
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, even to the point of this morning discussing how long it can take to make a simple point...but as that becomes more refined...
    Eliza Madrigal: then it might be easier
    Eliza Madrigal: You start with an idea or sense *huge* in a way...and then sculpt out a vocabulary (to use quen's analogy)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: And then everyone maybe...sees the sculpture a bit, though noticing diff details perhaps
    Pema Pera: so we talked about faith last week, and doubt, and then at the end Eliza brought up love, which brought me to devotion
    Pema Pera: So one question is: can devotion open doors that reason has difficulty opening?
    Gilles Kuhn: devotion to what to the search in itself ? or i am totaly wrong in what you entail by devotion ?
    Pema Pera: Eliza, do you want to give an example of devotion (not a definition, Gilles), along the lines of what you have written about before perhaps?
    Eliza Madrigal: I heard Hellen Keller's voice for the first time in a snippet this weekend....she said that her regret was tht she never quite communicated as well as she would have liked
    Eliza Madrigal: But sure....what came to mind for me actually, is the boddhisatva vows...which are impossible...unattainable
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: But that might not be useful for others
    Eliza Madrigal: And a line in Maxine Hong Kingston's book which reads "I made my mind large, as the unvierse is large, to make room for paradoxes"
    Eliza Madrigal: Just because it dosn't make the same sense we're used to...doesn't mean it doesn't make any sense
    Eliza Madrigal: We also brought up ecstatic poetry from mystics whose experience was real and eprsonal...
    Eliza Madrigal: though not understandable from outside
    Pema Pera: yes, and the way to open up to wider vistas is to explore, and to take your own experience seriously, learning to listen to what you find and see
    Eliza Madrigal: Only understandable in glimpses in their writings
    Pema Pera: and mathematics is also not understandable from outside . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: For sure! hehe
    Pema Pera: . . . you have to learn it and then when you fall into the proofs of the theorems you can talk with others about it
    Pema Pera: same for mystical poetry
    Pema Pera: at first it looks like gibberish perhaps, until it clicks
    Pema Pera: and then you can have a very meaningful conversation
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    quen Oh: I think you both on something here
    Gilles Kuhn: click you say but is it possible to learn it (mystical poetry) because math i was said (ever if i have not convincing personnal empirical proof ;-) that they can be learned ;-)
    quen Oh: it takes a very open concentrated undisturbed mind, that is devoted and one-pointed perhaps for these things
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: Hmmmm, yes
    Pema Pera: some people can learn math, others have great difficulty with it
    Pema Pera: same for mystical poetry
    quen Oh: mathematics can be learn as far as it is the set of trics, but than you come to a part that is way more abstract
    Pema Pera: I think that *in principle* with enough patience and willingness, anyone can learn a modicum of math and mystic poetry, but many people don't have the patience and interest
    Eliza Madrigal: And also, learning it takes a certain language..sometimes a patient teacher or group to help one make "leaps"
    Pema Pera: yes!

    An two-minute experiment of "Let Being See"

    Pema Pera: shall we do a two-minute experiment?
    Eliza Madrigal: Sure
    Pema Pera: right now?
    Gilles Kuhn raise hear
    Pema Pera: I suggest that we simply spend two minutes trying to "let Being see" -- whatever that may mean for us.
    quen Oh: not sure about that pema, it takes a lot of training of the mental capacities, to develope the abstract part of them
    Pema Pera: And then report.
    Pema Pera: is that okay?
    Gilles Kuhn: why not
    quen Oh: ok
    Eliza Madrigal: Okay.
    Pema Pera: okay, we'll start now then.
    Pema Pera: Thank you!
    Pema Pera: that was two minutes.
    Pema Pera: Shall we all report what we found?
    Eliza Madrigal: Sure. In a word, I found that, like a loving parent, I was reminded to breathe...because I hadn't been...and then noticed ...how friendly I felt toward the mess on my desk and what we are about here...and smiled...and breathed...and felt a wide view
    quen Oh: it is extremely complicated to try and turn down the various normal trains of thought that control me all the times like a quad processor, easier with emotions, to not let you rule by the normal simple thought (as I have to hurry because have appointment, I am warm, do I smell fire etc), focussing on breath helps Eliza!
    Pema Pera: As soon as I let Being see, I felt open and acessible to the world, with all boundaries becoming more permeable, physical as well as mental partitions. My cognition too was no longer something I felt I had to hoard or keep as `mine', it felt more like a wave in the larger ocean of Being -- as if Being was thinking and observing and appreciating through me. There was an openness and calm and clarity that made me smile, looking back at the discussion here of the last hour.
    quen Oh: nice Pema! you probably have trained and developed these things way better than I have.. (am for instance mildly irritated when controlled by a bell), sorry but have to run to get to an appointment, was nice, hope that we can continue later?
    Eliza Madrigal: Nice observations! Bye quen, See you soon. :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Gilles?
    Gilles Kuhn: well in two minute i had just time to starting to you sentence reacquaint myself with a lot of reasonning by heidegeer parmenides and aristoteles.. in fact... then i ask myself if that kind of pure inteleectual reasooning was coressponding to the question /sentence then after some reflexion on pheno problems i must said that i concluded that in two minute i would not be able to go out of 25 years of western like philosophical reflexion , which make me remember all set of reflexion i had witht the orientals tradition namely teravadin buddhism which brought me full circle back to parmenides reflexion "being and the thought : the same"
    Pema Pera: Quen, how about making a switch? Not trying to control your trains of thought, but rather watching them, lovingly, like a mother watching unruly children?
    Pema Pera: bye Quen, sure, let's continue at your session, Friday morning, is that okay?
    quen Oh: will try Pema, good idea
    quen Oh: you reason Gilles ;-)
    quen Oh: have to go now, bye all
    Pema Pera: Thank you, Gilles and Eliza, for trying this exploration!
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh goodness Gilles.....! :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you Pema, enjoy it.
    Pema Pera: It's interesting how all four of use had different things to report
    Pema Pera: each with interesting handles that invite further exploration
    Pema Pera: For Quen, the idea of not trying to control
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, and for Gilles all the various people and ideas that are talking all the time? :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: (am I close there Gilles? Or misrepresenting...is how I read wht you wrote?)
    Pema Pera: Gilles, what happens when you try to drop ideas and just watch a flower?
    Gilles Kuhn: (sorry rrl interference one sec)
    Eliza Madrigal: :) sure
    Pema Pera: actually, I should leave soon too
    Pema Pera: just realized we are well over our hour
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, I have cupcakes to make :)
    Pema Pera: Eliza, you can be there Friday morning too, right?
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm rather sure this week, but not completely.
    Gilles Kuhn: well pema i remember some buddhism interesting things about the control of flux of logical thought
    Eliza Madrigal: I will certainly try
    Pema Pera: And Gilles, feel free to come join us, I very much appreciate you trying to do this kind of exploration!
    Pema Pera: yes, Gilles, Buddhists have many ways
    Pema Pera: like physicists have many different kinds of experiments
    Gilles Kuhn: (eliza well i used name to resume very longs intellectual reasonnings)
    Pema Pera: sometimes it is interesting to control, sometimes to just watch
    Pema Pera: see you soon again!
    Eliza Madrigal: :) This has been fantastic. Thanks so much
    Gilles Kuhn: bye see you soon too
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye Gilles, Pema

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