2009.05.06 19:00 - Teaching and learning? failure and shame

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    The Guardian for this meeting was aurel Miles. The comments are by aurel Miles.

    aurel Miles: hello paradise
    Paradise Tennant: hello :))
    aurel Miles: how are you?
    Paradise Tennant: very well thank you .. and you :)
    aurel Miles: just fine
    Paradise Tennant: :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello
    aurel Miles: do you come to this session as a usual thing?
    aurel Miles: Hi Steve
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Aurel
    stevenaia Michinaga: welcome back Paradise
    Paradise Tennant: stumbled in last sunday night for the first time :)) hiya steve :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, I am guardian Sunday and I used to do it tonight as well, thank you Aurel for freeing up my Wednesday night
    aurel Miles: yet - here you are
    aurel Miles: shall i step aside?
    stevenaia Michinaga: I usually like the fountain low
    stevenaia Michinaga: I was going to assist on your first evening
    buddha Nirvana: hi everyone...dont worry steve:)
    stevenaia Michinaga: as you need
    Paradise Tennant: hello buddha
    aurel Miles: Hello Buddha
    buddha Nirvana: hi:)
    buddha Nirvana: hi pila:)
    aurel Miles: hi pilka
    aurel Miles: oops
    aurel Miles: Pila
    Pila Mulligan: hi buddha, aurel, steve and Paradise
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Buddha, Pila
    Paradise Tennant: hi pila :)
    Pila Mulligan: hi Sky
    Sky Szimmer: hi all
    buddha Nirvana: hello sky:)
    aurel Miles: Hi Sky
    Paradise Tennant: hi sky :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: welcome sky
    aurel Miles: does anyone have a topic, this evening?
    stevenaia Michinaga: Funny you should ask
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    aurel Miles: is that a yes or a no?
    stevenaia Michinaga: one of the thing I wonder about is the disconnect between where one is... emotionally or in their presence and how to explain or teach another how to get there
    aurel Miles: well
    aurel Miles: i wonder why you would want to direct someone else's progress
    stevenaia Michinaga: for instance, how do you explan anger to someone who does not get angry, not that that is smethign you would wnat to teach
    aurel Miles: i chafe at that
    Pila Mulligan: not sure I understand the topic
    stevenaia Michinaga: but the opposite, how can someoen who does not get angery share that experience with people who do in a teaching way
    aurel Miles: i don't try to teach
    aurel Miles: i don't believe in it
    stevenaia Michinaga: my interest is in the process of learning peace
    stevenaia Michinaga: don;t belive in what
    stevenaia Michinaga: teaching
    stevenaia Michinaga: ?
    aurel Miles: i do not believe in trying to teach others about emotional development
    aurel Miles: it is an individual path
    aurel Miles: i am opposed to trying to teach others that kind of thing
    aurel Miles: quite vehemently
    Pila Mulligan: why?
    stevenaia Michinaga: but there are people who want to learn
    aurel Miles: and they will
    aurel Miles: on their path
    aurel Miles: in their way
    stevenaia Michinaga: what can be offered then
    aurel Miles: there is an old sutra
    aurel Miles: "if you see the buddha on the road, kill him"
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Corvi
    Paradise Tennant: :)))
    aurel Miles: anyone who is trying to teach you something of this nature
    aurel Miles: is really talking to himself
    aurel Miles: In first nations culture
    aurel Miles: we believe
    aurel Miles: that you can only tell your own story
    aurel Miles: and that people will take from it
    aurel Miles: what they need
    aurel Miles: not what you intend to give
    aurel Miles: and in judaism
    aurel Miles: it is a sin to try to teach these thing
    aurel Miles: one seeks learning
    Pila Mulligan: hi Corvi
    aurel Miles: and it is the task of the seeker to learn
    stevenaia Michinaga: how does one seek without questions being answered?
    aurel Miles: the answers - as the old saying goes
    aurel Miles: are within you
    aurel Miles: they are not inside anyone else
    aurel Miles: your answers
    aurel Miles: are inside you
    aurel Miles: you observe, relate, consider and learn
    stevenaia Michinaga: I do agree, actually, and see what you say clearly
    aurel Miles: i would really like to hear what people have obeserved in their own weekly thoughts and meditations.
    stevenaia Michinaga: yet there are other paths
    Paradise Tennant: in many traditions that thought is a precept ..but often there is instruction .. a teacher student role .. that is beneficial if properly undertaken on both sides :)) to develop what we all have within .. recognizing that each is on their own path
    Paradise Tennant: :)
    buddha Nirvana: this week. i've experienced some sensations that im not too familiar with
    aurel Miles: oh? like what Buddha?
    buddha Nirvana: i wouldnt be able to describe them so you'd understand. they were just slightly alien to me
    aurel Miles: well
    aurel Miles: as you mentioned them, might it not be possible that you wanted to say something about them?
    buddha Nirvana: sure. i can describe how i reacted. at night i awoke with these sensations, not to unsettle me but effected me in a way for me to be slightly dissorientated
    aurel Miles: can you be more precise?
    Paradise Tennant: waking from a dream?
    aurel Miles: or maybe you'd like to tell us what it was that made you think deeply about them
    buddha Nirvana: following my practice i try to be mindfull of my bodily sensations at all times. these sensations were slightly alien.
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Pema
    buddha Nirvana: alein*
    aurel Miles: Hi Pema
    buddha Nirvana: hi pema:)
    aurel Miles: and?
    Pema Pera: hi everybody!
    buddha Nirvana: theres no conclusion, im just conveying to you my aobservation
    Paradise Tennant: hi pema :))
    buddha Nirvana: observation*
    aurel Miles: i see - thank you
    Pila Mulligan: I think Steve's initial idea was really kind of a question ... is it possible to help someone transcend antagonism, for example -- or how to share a modest approach with an immodest person
    stevenaia Michinaga: share may be the word that applies
    Pila Mulligan: it may not be possible
    Pila Mulligan: the limits being exactly those aurel referred to, a kind of a natural inability to tell anyone anything, because they have to get it themselves
    Paradise Tennant: :) I think we learn our behaviours our emotioanl reactions from how others behave . maybe the best way to share that is to be that :))
    Pema Pera: but anyone has small cracks in their armor . . . and when you see those, you might be able to find a tiny opening there, just for a moment
    Sky Szimmer: i think it would be hard to share an experience if the other person has had no exposure to it. It would be trying to describe a taste, like what sweetness is like.
    Pema Pera: and yes, Paradise, there may not be any need to say or do something
    Paradise Tennant: :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: but as Aurel said, learning through observing
    aurel Miles: and experiencing
    aurel Miles: and sharing experiences
    Pema Pera: and Sky, if we cannot show the sweetness to someone that we wish they showed, we can perhaps show them a taste of the bitterness that they themselves used to protect themselves . . . .
    Pila Mulligan: but then there is also the perennial problem of dealing with a bully, what do you tell your kid -- hit them back, try to get away, reasona with them ...?
    stevenaia Michinaga: but isn;t that teaching in a not so overt way
    aurel Miles: you tell a kid who is being bullied
    aurel Miles: to tell everyone they know
    aurel Miles: so that their comunity can protect them
    aurel Miles: people are basically good
    aurel Miles: and they will not tolerate cruelty if they are given the opportunity to do otherwise
    buddha Nirvana: yes, people will always atleast want to appear as being moral
    aurel Miles: you do no engage or teach a child to engage
    aurel Miles: with violence
    aurel Miles: you shun it
    Paradise Tennant: hmmm if history is any test ..usually it is the good well meaning citizens that wreck the most havoc.. the out right criminals do relatively little damage.. the concentration camps..military campaigns are all conducted by conforming well meaning souls .. there was a chilling photographic spread in life magazine recently which showed the camp guards at aushwitz having a picnic .. they were all nice looking kids :))
    aurel Miles: i was hoping
    Paradise Tennant: who were basically good :)
    aurel Miles: we could share some of our personal observations
    aurel Miles: and steer toward more concrete discussions
    aurel Miles: just an idea
    Pema Pera: for me, personally, I see more and more in my own life what Paradise just indicatied: that the road to hell is paved with right intentions . . . . so easy to fall into traps of trying to help in too narrow a way (not as extreme as your example, Paradise, but still in that direction)
    aurel Miles: do you have a story about that?
    aurel Miles: a moment when you saw it clearly?
    Pema Pera: many stories of seeing how in retrospect I have hurt people, unintentionally
    Pema Pera: by not telling the whole truth for example
    Pema Pera: because I was trying to protect them (and me!)
    Pema Pera: by avoiding "inconvenient truths"
    aurel Miles: i think a lot of people do that
    aurel Miles: when did you do it last?
    aurel Miles: what happened?
    Pema Pera: I would have to tell a long personal story, to give the context
    Pema Pera: but what happened was what usually happens:
    Pema Pera: once I see, really see
    Pema Pera: I realize "seeing is enough"
    Pema Pera: and nothing needs to be done, changed, altered, beyond a simple acknowledgment
    Pema Pera: even with a sense of shame and regret, the main thing is to avoid making similar mistakes
    aurel Miles nods
    Pema Pera: and the only way to do that is by really seeing what damage I have done, unwittingly
    Pema Pera: and so we all learn, day by day, step by step
    Pema Pera: and the more sensitive we get, the more flaws we begin to see in ourselves, really funny :-)
    Paradise Tennant: mostly I think it lies with us believing so firmly we are distinct and separate when in reality we are very much one connected thing .. by surrendering to what really is .. the disconnect diminishes .. bit by bit
    Pema Pera: yes
    Paradise Tennant: ;))
    Pema Pera: it requires double courage: to see what you have done and feel ashamed about it; and the courage to then move on and trusting your own intuition, based on seeing, to learn to stop making those mistakes
    Sky Szimmer: for me, this week has been about seeing that I have many many preferences about life
    aurel Miles: such as?
    Paradise Tennant: :)) sandals and burgers on the patio :)))
    aurel Miles: those are good things
    Sky Szimmer: wanting people to like me, wanting one reality v. another., eerything really.
    stevenaia Michinaga: grins
    buddha Nirvana: i went through a phase of not speaking to anyone to avoid any knock on unfavoured effects my speech may cause = refering to pemas comment on self observation
    aurel Miles nods
    buddha Nirvana: i think anything we say potentailly will have a negative impact, i think thats perhaps how we become more mindful about how and what we say
    Pema Pera: yes, that is tempting :)
    Pema Pera: not making mistakes is impossible; acknowledging them and learning from them is
    Sky Szimmer: but really, things are as they are, and it is my preferences and aversions that color the experience
    Paradise Tennant: ;)) yes ..
    aurel Miles: mmm hmmm
    buddha Nirvana: sure sky, thats the truth for ourselves, we cant know what impact these things will have on others
    Sky Szimmer: in a way, it doesn't matter
    buddha Nirvana: ultimately perhaps nothing matters, but we have to be responsible in this reality we are in, a sense of ownership has to be the case, i think
    aurel Miles: nice little bell
    aurel Miles: isn't it?
    aurel Miles: ownership?
    aurel Miles: or maybe it's enough to be part of the flow
    aurel Miles: ?
    buddha Nirvana: over who we are what we say, and how we come accross
    aurel Miles: i do my best to be true to myself
    aurel Miles: i try to be kind
    aurel Miles: the rest - i have no control over the rest
    Paradise Tennant: yes .. at least once a day I try to focus on just one word ..surrender .. to the moment the place ..the circumstance .. recognzing it should not be any different :)
    aurel Miles: abnd when i think i do
    aurel Miles: i screw things up
    Pema Pera: Trying to be more contrete, Aurel, in answering your questions: learning to feel ashamed has been an interesting cathartic move for me recently. For a long time I have rebelled against notions of "sin" that I grew up with in a Calvinist Dutch reformed family. And shame seemed totally wrong headed. But now I am learning that it is actually very helpful to acknowledge it, allowing myself to really feel bad about something without papering it over, and then to move on
    aurel Miles: that's interesting
    aurel Miles: i was thinking about failure today
    aurel Miles: in the same way
    Pema Pera: even if I did something wrong that I couldn't possibly have known and seen . . .
    aurel Miles: A curator i know told me she encourages artists to work on projects that she knows will fail
    aurel Miles: because the experience they have from that will be more valuable than a successful project
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Paradise Tennant: more memorable .. :))
    aurel Miles: and i am trying to see all of life that way
    aurel Miles: my family is terrifiec of failure
    aurel Miles: terrified
    aurel Miles: so when i decided to move thousands of miles away
    aurel Miles: to go to school
    buddha Nirvana: nite everyone, be well
    aurel Miles: and then decided to be a writer
    buddha Nirvana: thanks you
    Paradise Tennant: be well buddha :))
    aurel Miles: Goodnight Buddha
    buddha Nirvana: ty:)
    aurel Miles: they were ashamed
    aurel Miles: disgusted
    aurel Miles: and they have ridiculed me
    aurel Miles: and i have had failures
    aurel Miles: i've been thinking about that today
    aurel Miles: i'm not sorry.
    Paradise Tennant: the important part of the process is not the end but the means ..
    stevenaia Michinaga: sham, if you are open to your actions, and ackknowledge them, what shame will come of it
    stevenaia Michinaga: shema
    stevenaia Michinaga: shame
    aurel Miles: knowing i have failed sometimes and letting myself accept it - allows me to try more new things
    Paradise Tennant: hmmm .. i never consider anything a failure if I have tried ..
    Paradise Tennant: much bigger loss not to try
    aurel Miles: well - one day i'll show you a few failures
    aurel Miles: real ones
    aurel Miles: with lots of effort invested
    aurel Miles: It's ok to try and fail.
    aurel Miles: but it doesn't make a failure into a success
    Pema Pera: what I mean, Steve, is that by shrugging off mistakes, telling myself they are learning experiences, without really deeply feeling the consequences of my actions, I know that I have often lived in ways that had not as much depth as could have been the case -- hence shame as a magnifying lense, so to speak, or thermometer, how to say
    aurel Miles: yes
    stevenaia Michinaga: awww
    Pila Mulligan: as Sky said, things are as they are, and it is our likes and dislikes that color experience
    stevenaia Michinaga: aurel, isn't the success (in failure) is what you learn or take from the failure
    Paradise Tennant: hmm one person's miserable failure would be another's triumph .:)
    aurel Miles: Steve - I'm not much for relativism
    aurel Miles: if you wrote a piece for publication and it was rejected
    aurel Miles: that is a failire
    Pema Pera: (I'll have to sneak out, RL calling, Tokyo hotel check-out time ... bye everybody)
    aurel Miles: if you couldn't complete an assignment
    Pila Mulligan: sayonara Pema-san
    aurel Miles: that's a failure
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye pema
    aurel Miles: ruined a painting
    aurel Miles: failure
    aurel Miles: goodnight Pema
    aurel Miles: or good morening
    aurel Miles: i am not afraid to call a spade a spoade
    aurel Miles: spade
    aurel Miles: as cecily cardew once said
    aurel Miles: and unlike her companion Gwendl=olyn
    aurel Miles: Gwendolyn
    aurel Miles: I am not afraid to say I HAVe seen a spade
    aurel Miles: and i HAVE seen many failures
    Pila Mulligan: “Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    Paradise Tennant: hmm rejection from someone is not a failure
    Paradise Tennant: it is rejection
    Paradise Tennant: but not failure..
    aurel Miles: and i don't want to pretend that they were anything else, even if i did learn from them. just like i don't want to pretend my successes were anything else. I would really prefer it if we could observe the silences in this session
    aurel Miles: it's a personal request
    aurel Miles: but i really prefer to have those spots of silence
    aurel Miles: anyway - not to be bossy, just thought i'd say
    Sky Szimmer: Adios. Nice chatting.
    aurel Miles: And now I must go - thank you everyone.
    stevenaia Michinaga: :) I must be off, thank you all
    Pila Mulligan: bye Sky
    Paradise Tennant: thanks kindly .. really interesting :))
    Pila Mulligan: bye Steve
    Paradise Tennant: good nite all :))
    Pila Mulligan: bye Paradise
    Paradise Tennant: good night pila . nice to see you again
    Pila Mulligan: yes, see you next tme
    Paradise Tennant: big wave from toronto
    Pila Mulligan: there is an intersting ethcis workshop tomorrow at Kira Cafe, 2 pm SLT
    Paradise Tennant: would still be a work
    Pila Mulligan: ahh :)
    Pila Mulligan: well, have a nice evening
    Paradise Tennant: and you :)
    Pila Mulligan: thanks, bye bye
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