2009.07.10 19:00 - Appreciating bad things

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Dakini Rhode. The comments are by Dakini Rhode.

    Pila, Resting, and I were chatting about the weather when Pema joined us.

    Dakini Rhode: hi there Pema!
    Pema Pera: Hi Dakini, Pila, Thor!
    Pila Mulligan: konnichi ha Pema-san
    Dakini Rhode: Pema where in the world are you?
    Pema Pera: in Tokyo right now
    Dakini Rhode: good morning :-)
    Pema Pera: can't stay very long, lunch coming up in a different part of Tokyo, will have to take the subway soon
    Pema Pera: yes, it's 11 am here :)
    Resting Thor: sounds like a real adventure
    Dakini Rhode: want to drop a topic on us?
    Pema Pera: some day there will be internet on the subway . . . .
    Pila Mulligan: how's the weather in Tokyo?
    Resting Thor: no wifi?
    Pema Pera: a topic? the weather? warm, but a bit humid. But I guess you were thinking about a different topic? How about to viewing the world as given though all that is, all that appears, in appreciation, to come back to an old favorite?
    Dakini Rhode: lol the weather has been our topic :-)
    Pila Mulligan: earlier :)
    Pila Mulligan: but just as in 'how are you' rather than topic topic

    Pema presents his topic and his dilemma..

    Pema Pera: lately I've had several conversations with different people about how to appreciate "bad" things, unpleasant or worse
    Pema Pera: it's so hard to find the right angle there
    Pila Mulligan: unfavorable conditions as the Chinese might say
    Resting Thor: all gifts from an enlightened being to us :)
    Pema Pera: it's easy if someone has a particular tradition, Christian or Buddhist or Islam, whatever: you can then simply refer to that, yes, indeed, Thor
    Dakini Rhode: it's tricky, trying to identify things as 'good" or "bad"
    Resting Thor: hurts bad....pleasant good
    Resting Thor: hehe
    Pema Pera: but how do you start a conversation on that topic with someone without such a tradition?
    Pila Mulligan: luck :)
    Pema Pera: starting with daily life, where clearly some things are a lot more pleasant than others :)
    Pila Mulligan: do you have good fortune today?
    Resting Thor: why would you bother at all?
    Resting Thor: then go from the answer forward
    Pila Mulligan: well, suppose someone is having a bummer of a day and you want to help them see it in context
    Resting Thor: to make them feel better?
    Pema Pera: when I see people suffering and complaining, it would be nice to share with them the simple trick of appreciating everything as is
    Resting Thor: to reduce their suffering?
    Resting Thor: in the future ...or in the now?
    Pema Pera: to show them there is a way for them to make themselves feel better, yes, reduce suffering
    Pema Pera: both
    Dakini Rhode: it helps if they have a philosophical bent
    Resting Thor: two different questions perhaps...now vs. the future
    Pema Pera: without trying to convert them to Buddhism, say
    Pila Mulligan: and there are also often practical ideas for certain situations
    Dakini Rhode: lately i've been playing with "I am here. It is enough"
    Pema Pera: that's a great start, Dakini!
    Dakini Rhode: it doesn't require high philosphy
    Resting Thor: i think a lot of people drink
    Pila Mulligan: sometimes people have a simple opportunity to improve their situation, but fail to see it
    Resting Thor: to distract or medicate their current suffering
    Resting Thor: instead of using a perspective shift
    Resting Thor: doesn't help the future state
    Dakini Rhode: simple presence and simple appreciation
    Resting Thor: makes them feel better about the now
    Pema Pera: yes, but how to help them to shift perspective, without trying to "sell" a particular tradition/religion, Thor?
    Resting Thor: without a value system of any sort?
    Pema Pera: yes, without system!
    Pila Mulligan: consider the person whose habit is to get out of bed at the last possible minute, rusch through their routine, race to the bus stop with pounding heart and just barely make it
    Pema Pera: directly, humanly, presently
    Pila Mulligan: what is that person missing?
    Dakini Rhode: i would suggest your own presence being in a place of presence could be contagious
    Dakini Rhode: that reads sort of weird
    Pema Pera: yes, that would be most direct, Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: so if i fully embrace "I am here. It is enough" then I'm able to be fully present with the other -- and that in itself is helpful
    Pema Pera: yes, I'm sure
    Resting Thor: so a philosophical person with some suffering but not in severe pain then?
    Dakini Rhode: not to try to change them or convert them... but to meet them where they are, and share even if they're suffering
    Pema Pera: but then when they ask "how do you manage to do that", there is the question what to say without sounding like converting
    Dakini Rhode: maybe even a person in severe pain who isn't philosophical...
    Resting Thor: but they are still rational and communicating ?
    Dakini Rhode: hmmmm
    Dakini Rhode: how do you do that?
    Resting Thor: maybe just focus on mild mental anguish ?
    Resting Thor: depressed etc?
    Resting Thor: not suicidal tho
    Pila Mulligan: the how do you do that question may involve something really hidden form them, but the asking of it may show that they are approaching a discovery of their onw that will be helpful for them
    Resting Thor: i'd call running to the bus a more or less neutral condition in the specturm of suffering
    Resting Thor: not suffering really
    Pila Mulligan: yes, but unecessary stress, Resting
    Resting Thor: or a pleasant jog
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Resting Thor: stress is not necessarily suffering either
    Resting Thor: but we can talk about stress instead
    Pila Mulligan: no, but it can be a bummer
    Resting Thor: if you want
    Resting Thor: or fun
    Pema Pera: yes, Pila, the key is for themselves to discover it, and you can only hint at that.
    Pema Pera: As Dakini said, the base has to be non-verbal, starting with presence. Then what you say has to flow naturally from the situation. Even so, it's not easy. When you yourself have learned to "taste" the liberation of "just being present" and someone asks how you can appreciate illness, say, you can point on a relative level to various things.
    Pema Pera: For example, you can say that once you have been ill yourself you will understand and appreciate others' illnesses better. But that's only relative, and doesn't really communicate the "taste" of appreciation.
    Pema Pera: It seems there is no simple way to communicate the real essence of "appreciation of presence" -- that's probably why we have to sit with it, each individually, until it presents itself.
    Pila Mulligan: but among the healing arts there are subtle things that can be done to help someone wihtout their even realizing it is being done
    Resting Thor: so just to be clear ....you are proposing this for changing someone's perspective on their suffering?
    Pila Mulligan: and some of the same unseen mehtods may help someone open their own doors to perception
    Pema Pera: yes, Thor, that is one way to put it -- or you could say to help someone smile and relax and just see that there fundamentally are no problems
    Pema Pera: yes, Pila, definitely, so that would be the non-verbal path
    Dakini Rhode: I'm wondering what it is that causes us to appreciate presence
    Pema Pera: but still, if they ask questions, it is nice to answer something :-)
    Pila Mulligan: Zen like answers :)
    Dakini Rhode: Clearly it is something we appreciate
    Resting Thor: or what range of conditions would allow us to appreciate presence
    Resting Thor: ?
    Resting Thor: certainly many unfortunate situations where it is unlikely
    Pila Mulligan: hi Eos
    Pema Pera: Hi Eos!
    Dakini Rhode: hello Eos
    Eos Amaterasu: HI Pila, Pema, Dakini, Resting
    Resting Thor: eg. too much pain or pleasure or insufficient mental faculities
    Pema Pera: Appreciating presence seems to fundamental in all traditions I know of, that you would think that it could be addressed in a tradition-independent way -- but perhaps you do need a tradition, any tradition, to find a way to point it out
    Pema Pera: *so fundamental
    Dakini Rhode: I've been exposed to some attempts to point it out in nontraditional ways, not sure if I would exactly call them tradition-independent though
    Pila Mulligan: in cases I've seen, the perosn is not in a situaiton to relate to ultimate realizations, such as there fundamentally are no problems -- when they are in too much distress for that conversation
    Dakini Rhode: I think it can be done, the crux of the matter though is that i think it's experiential
    Pila Mulligan: yo need to work up to iy
    Pila Mulligan: it*
    Dakini Rhode: you need to offer people the experience
    Dakini Rhode: their own experience
    Pila Mulligan: Eos, this began with Perm's comment on how to help people appreciate "bad" things, unpleasant or worse
    Pema Pera: yes, Pila, it may not work in distressed situations, but that again, in extremely distressing situations the urgency of that situation can also fire someone up -- I guess each situation is unique
    Pila Mulligan: yes, unique is part of it
    Pila Mulligan: but there is a common ground it seems in that psectrum
    Pila Mulligan: spectrum*
    Pema Pera: well, time for me to appreciate my subway ride :-)
    Pila Mulligan: of expereince
    Pila Mulligan: don't get caught in the rate race :)
    Pema Pera: thanks for a great conversation, many interesting angles!
    Resting Thor: enjoy your subterranien adventure
    Pema Pera: ciao
    Dakini Rhode: ty Pema, please do appreciate :-)
    Pila Mulligan: bye
    Eos Amaterasu: ciao!
    Dakini Rhode: hmmm now if my 401K could do that
    Pila Mulligan: doe sit need healing?
    Dakini Rhode: how are you Eos?
    Resting Thor: just tell yourself its good to have less in your 401k
    Eos Amaterasu: Fine... late to this game, delayed by others :-)
    Resting Thor: haha
    Dakini Rhode: good question Pila i would have to answer no
    Pila Mulligan: ah, nice then Dakini -- I've heard some woeful tales there recently
    Dakini Rhode: i've observed that the woeful situations sometimes make the best stories
    Pila Mulligan: the drama of life
    Pila Mulligan: how close it is to the dharma
    Dakini Rhode: the dharma of life?
    Pila Mulligan: one of those work similarities that teases thought
    Pila Mulligan: word*
    Eos Amaterasu: it is traditionally said (among buddhists) that good situations are harder to relate to than bad
    Eos Amaterasu: the bad can more easily wake you up
    Pila Mulligan: maybe the goods one invovle omr eambiguity Eos
    Dakini Rhode: i'm wondering whether "good" situations lull us to sleep
    Eos Amaterasu: I think that's part of it.... the "god realm", so to speak
    Dakini Rhode: sort of no perceived need to change anything since things seem fine
    Pila Mulligan: 'they take their ease in comfortable surroundings' -- that is actually a perjorative from an old Chinese text
    Eos Amaterasu: it's kind of the problem with answers
    Eos Amaterasu: they can stop your questioning
    Eos Amaterasu: recognizing the presence of appearance in bad situations - was that the question?
    Pila Mulligan: kind of
    Dakini Rhode: scrolling back...
    Pila Mulligan: maybe how to help someint in a bad situation reach that end
    Eos Amaterasu: can u say more, Pila?
    Dakini Rhode: [19:16] Pema Pera: a topic? the weather? warm, but a bit humid. But I guess you were thinking about a different topic? How about to viewing the world as given though all that is, all that appears, in appreciation, to come back to an old favorite? [19:17] Dakini Rhode: lol the weather has been our topic :-) [19:17] Pila Mulligan: earlier :) [19:17] Pila Mulligan: but just as in 'how are you' rather than topic topic [19:17] Pema Pera: lately I've had several conversations with different people about how to appreciate "bad" things, unpleasant or worse [19:18] Pema Pera: it's so hard to find the right angle there
    Pila Mulligan: hmm
    Eos Amaterasu: Jerry Garcia once said he like to get into trouble, cause then he could work his way into and out of it
    Eos Amaterasu: like*
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Eos Amaterasu: liked**
    Eos Amaterasu: I think sometimes you realize you can't hold on
    Eos Amaterasu: painful as it might be
    Eos Amaterasu: and so you are let go in spite of yourself
    Eos Amaterasu notes phrases arrriving out of order
    Pila Mulligan: one of the wonders of SL :)
    Dakini Rhode: packet lag :-)
    Eos Amaterasu: conversation salad
    Pila Mulligan: in my expereince, at my age (over 60) this type of situation seems to omst rgeularly arise in terms of helping people with death
    Dakini Rhode: well i just erased a lot
    Pila Mulligan: so many people see death as 'bad'
    Dakini Rhode: ah
    Eos Amaterasu: appreciating the presence of disappearance :-)
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Dakini Rhode: i wonder whether it is death one would appreciate, or presence?
    Pila Mulligan: to generalize, and in keeping with your comments Eos and Dakini, I'd say that usually it is the sorrow of disappearance in death that most often causes people pain
    Eos Amaterasu: death is probably as evanescent as life
    Eos Amaterasu: I guess the question is how to include the dying process in the ensemble of one's living, and appreciating once's presence, and arc of presence, here
    Eos Amaterasu: one's*
    Pila Mulligan: or simply appreciating death
    Pila Mulligan: but that is a new topic
    Eos Amaterasu: hmmm... when do you do that?
    Pila Mulligan: any time
    Eos Amaterasu: vs appreciating dying
    Eos Amaterasu: Do you appreciate it now?
    Pila Mulligan: sure
    Pila Mulligan: i am dying now because i am alive
    Pila Mulligan: literally
    Pila Mulligan: not a problem
    Eos Amaterasu: INdeed
    Eos Amaterasu: but that's a big appreciation, neh?
    Pila Mulligan: isn't all one big appreciation?
    Resting Thor: very difficult to have a calm philosophical conversation with someone near death
    Pila Mulligan: au contraire Resting, I havd had some of the best at that time
    Resting Thor: that is a very fortunate situation :)
    Dakini Rhode: do any of us know how near death we are?
    Pila Mulligan: it is the most poignant of times
    Pila Mulligan: usually wiht older people tough, I appreciate how your comment would apply in some situations
    Resting Thor: best for you or them?
    Pila Mulligan: best for both
    Pila Mulligan: it seemed
    Pila Mulligan: there is something profound about death
    Eos Amaterasu: no kidding
    Eos Amaterasu: :-)
    Resting Thor: as well as painful, fearful, emotional, stressful
    Pila Mulligan: that profundity is a helpful part of life
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Pila Mulligan: life also can be painful, fearful, emotional and stressful
    Eos Amaterasu: Yes, Resting, that's why it's usefule to practice dying while living
    Resting Thor: my original point almost :)
    Pila Mulligan: yes, I saw that too
    Pila Mulligan: but what gives life profucnity?
    Pila Mulligan: profundity?
    Eos Amaterasu: In a way the 9 secs can be seen or experienced as a little death
    Pila Mulligan: genuineness
    Dakini Rhode: how do you practice dying, Eos?
    Dakini Rhode: or what is it that you allow to die?
    Eos Amaterasu: by noticing how little deaths happen all the time, in my own experience
    Eos Amaterasu: someting is allowed to let go, end
    Resting Thor: we can agree its a useful concept without going into the different ways of practicing death
    Eos Amaterasu: that can sometimes happen at the end of a thought
    Eos Amaterasu: or when an emotion suddenly for a second drops
    Eos Amaterasu: and you find yourself embarrasedly trying to recreate it
    Eos Amaterasu: something like that
    Eos Amaterasu: I'm already as full of holes as the Albert Hall
    Dakini Rhode: i notice that there are energies of growth and energies of decay, and at a certain point the energies of decay seem to overtake the energies of growth... and it's somewhat distressing to realize that creaky knee means the energies of decay are proceeding
    Pila Mulligan: entropy :) ?
    Dakini Rhode: reaching for the dict.
    Pila Mulligan: Second Law of Thermodynamics isn't it
    Eos Amaterasu: death happens along with lots of birth
    Resting Thor: waking
    Resting Thor: ?
    Eos Amaterasu: like the scene in the Godfather where's he's in the garden about to die just playing with a child
    Eos Amaterasu: yes, Thor, I think waking can be encouraged there
    Eos Amaterasu: (you have nothing to lose :-)
    Eos Amaterasu: or you've already lost everything
    Resting Thor: beginning anything is like waking in a way
    Pila Mulligan: now Eose this brings to mind my appreciation of your take on life before birth :)
    Dakini Rhode: well realizing you've lost it all and not clinging to a fantasy that you haven't... has got to be key
    Eos Amaterasu: Pila, I think that (realizing there's as big a question about before birth as about after death) puts things, including death, in perspective
    Eos Amaterasu: it can be a bigger appreciation
    Pila Mulligan: 6/16/09 -- Funny that we think more about what happens after death than we do about what happens before birth :-)
    Pila Mulligan: i agree Eos
    Eos Amaterasu: but the road to it can be rough - it's hard to really let go
    Pila Mulligan: yes fear is a kind of paralysis
    Resting Thor: i have to practice my state changes now....zzzzzz
    Resting Thor: byeeee
    Pila Mulligan: sweet dreams
    Dakini Rhode: night RT
    Eos Amaterasu: Happy Resting
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Dakini Rhode: he appeared to be still here and yet he was gone
    Pila Mulligan: my feeling, further along the same lines, Eos, is that birth is much more difficult than death
    Pila Mulligan: usually, there are of course expceptions
    Dakini Rhode wonders why birth would be more difficult than death
    Eos Amaterasu: SL lag zombies, Dakini :-)
    Pila Mulligan: the nature of the transiotn, maminly Dakini
    Dakini Rhode: from immaterial to material pila?
    Pila Mulligan: yes -- there is another old Chiness saying
    Pila Mulligan: without a body how could there be misfortune?
    Dakini Rhode: well babies always cry
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Dakini Rhode: i cried too when i realized i'd messed up and got myself born again
    Dakini Rhode: :P
    Pila Mulligan: yes, hurbis at the gate, shit afterwards
    Dakini Rhode: what a shock
    Pila Mulligan: now this persepctive of course is lost on those with no appreciation of the transitory nature of life-death-life-death
    Pila Mulligan: so for those reading the caht logs nd shaking their heads, my appreciation of the head shking
    Dakini Rhode: lol
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Pila Mulligan: but just think about it, if it's hard to die, it may be harder to be born
    Dakini Rhode: it could be :-)
    Dakini Rhode: there seems to be a stage, and i hear it's just a stage of death and there's more to come, but it seems quite wonderful
    Pila Mulligan: excuse me, phone call
    Eos Amaterasu: What is this stage, Dakini?
    Dakini Rhode: i'm not sure Eos, but it seems that at the point of death for many at least there is a sort of ecstasy
    Dakini Rhode: but i hear that's not the final state
    Dakini Rhode: so now i'm speculating
    Eos Amaterasu: could you appreciate the presence of appearance while dying?
    Pila Mulligan: back from phone call
    Dakini Rhode: Eos I'll have to say it seems likely, and I'll have to see at the time, since not many return to report
    Dakini Rhode: so i have precious little actual information to go on
    Eos Amaterasu: appreciating presence seems to be appreciating both presence and lack of presence, touching and going
    Pila Mulligan: but there is a lot of literature
    Pila Mulligan: from the Books of the Dead to modern science
    Eos Amaterasu: We can appreciate the absence of solid continuity right now
    Dakini Rhode: i took the question, perhaps mistakenly, to be personal --- whether *I* could appreciate this
    Pila Mulligan: please eaborate Eos :)
    Pila Mulligan: elaborate*
    Eos Amaterasu: through appreaciating the presence of sense perceptions
    Pila Mulligan: ah, percepions as not solid mass
    Eos Amaterasu: and then their change, or absence, or sudden shift
    Dakini Rhode: yes, that's true things
    Eos Amaterasu: and that can grow bigger and bigger
    Dakini Rhode: we actually connect the dots a lot
    Eos Amaterasu: mabye to even include my own birth and death
    Pila Mulligan: dot dot dot dot :)
    Pila Mulligan: dash dash dash :)
    Pila Mulligan: funny
    Eos Amaterasu: birth and dot
    Pila Mulligan: sorry, levity displaces profundity for ammo net
    Pila Mulligan: a moment*
    Pila Mulligan: Steve is dancing
    Dakini Rhode: i liked ammo net
    Pila Mulligan: ammo net?
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello
    Dakini Rhode: 20:36] Pila Mulligan: sorry, levity displaces profundity for ammo net
    Pila Mulligan: hi Steve
    Dakini Rhode: hi Steve
    Eos Amaterasu: wish I could hear your music, Steve
    Pila Mulligan: oh, thanks -- did ont see the typo :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: I can give you the LM
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Pila Mulligan: hi Paradise
    Dakini Rhode: hi Paradise
    Eos Amaterasu: now Paradise approaches
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Paradise Tennant: hiy pila .. dakini lol eos :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: a wild time on friday nights
    Eos Amaterasu: (thnx Steve)
    Paradise Tennant: hiya steve :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: Hi, just got here too
    Paradise Tennant: :))
    Paradise Tennant: how is the beach :)
    Dakini Rhode: I must be off... please feel free to continue chatting and if you solve the questions of life and death please do send me the chat log

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