2009.08.05 19:00 - Maxine in the Balkin's

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    The Guardian for this meeting was stevenaia Michinaga. The comments are by stevenaia Michinaga.

    Maxine tells the story of her recent trip to the Balkins's and her meeting Lech Walensa


    But first  I mention my thoughts on his recent email with 20 days to go before the retreat

    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Pema
    stevenaia Michinaga: you are back in the States?
    Pema Pera: Hi Steve!
    Pema Pera: Yes, I am, back in New York even
    Pema Pera: but off to San Francisco in two days
    stevenaia Michinaga: I love both towns
    Pema Pera: so do I :)
    Pema Pera: Looking forward to the PaB retreat, later this months; we seem to have 11 participants, nice size group
    stevenaia Michinaga: I would like to thank you for your 80 days email, I often find I am without words to reply to such writings as I begin to see, understand and agree with what you have written.
    For example, here is one way to work with the APAPB sentence:

    -- note that the sentence start with appreciation, as opposed to judgment.
      we tend to judge all and everything around us, habitually, without even
      noticing we are doing that.

    -- how to avoid this ingrained labeling and valuing of everything?  By
      simply being with all that appears, as it appears, rather than what
      you think these appearances all mean, for you.

    -- be in the presence of what appears, don't lose yourself in thoughts
      about what has happened or what may come, but rather really just
      "be with" all appearances.

    -- view all that appears, moment by moment, as a gift from the Universe, 
      from Being, or depending on your background and orientation you could
      view it as a gift from God, or the way the Tao presents itself, of how
      the clarity of emptiness manifests; many options!

    -- this is the most neutral word I can think of to point to the appearing
      of what appears in the most open and liberating way, stripped of all
      the many additions we are so fond of using to hide the innate clarity
      of Being, by draping it in many layers of judgment, hope, fear, etc.


    Pema Pera: oh thank you, Steve, that's very kind to say
    stevenaia Michinaga: it's beginning to seem like, yup, there it is
    stevenaia Michinaga: hardly a deep response
    Pema Pera: "there it is" may be the supreme summary of PaB !
    Pema Pera: seriously
    Pema Pera: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: nods, and the completeness in that makes for a lovely calm place to see thing
    stevenaia Michinaga: s
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: Hi Maxine
    Pema Pera: How nice to have you back!
    Maxine Walden: hi, Pima, and Steve. Thanks, nice to be back
    Pema Pera: Do you want to give us a few vignettes of your Baltic travels?
    stevenaia Michinaga: Hello Maxine
    Maxine Walden: ah, so much...yes, I could give a few
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: I see much of what I hear here is people peeling away the onion of being and some of us fine that is inside (the emptiness) and others just keep peeling
    Pema Pera: nice image, Steve :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: either a worthy journey, one just has more tears(work)
    Maxine Walden: yes, Steve
    Pema Pera: I find it fascinating to contrast the more abstract/philosophical notion of "Being" with the very direct every-day sense of "being with" someone.
    Pema Pera: and then to find that "Being" doesn't have to be abstract or philosophical at all
    stevenaia Michinaga: being with?
    Pema Pera: that it can be very direct and concrete
    Pema Pera: as in just being with a person, or a situation, "being in" the situation
    Pema Pera: "being with" someone in just listening, without agenda
    Maxine Walden: such as being with each other now, perhaps
    Pema Pera: sure!
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, quite comforting
    Maxine Walden: very nourishing, I find, to be with others here...
    Maxine Walden: in a quiet accompanying kind of way
    stevenaia Michinaga: even when just listening or even not listening )
    Maxine Walden: indeed, just being present, or feeling the presence of others, such as you both for me right ow
    stevenaia Michinaga: there is no... your next... speak... here


    Pema Pera: I'm learning to see more and more how subtle and pernicious my expectations and objectives can be in meeting someone, with all kinds of unacknowledged plans and schemes: instead of 100% just "being with" someone, there often is, say, 5% of expecting something of this, 5% of expecting that, be it advice, or comfort, or connection to something else -- often very hard to notice. A bit hard to describe too; does that make some sense?
    Maxine Walden: makes a lot of sense to me.
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, dropping expectations
    Maxine Walden: silent little agendas that seem almost imperceptible but the busy mind may have trouble not holding on to them
    Pema Pera: hi Pila!
    Maxine Walden: hi, Pila
    Pila Mulligan: hi Pema Steve and Maxine
    Pema Pera: yes, and they color everything in ways that can be very hard to discern
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Pila
    Maxine Walden: indeed, Pema
    Pema Pera: If you don't mind, could you perhaps just give us one Baltic vignette? :-)
    Pila Mulligan: sounds like something edible :)
    Maxine Walden: oh, yes, if it is not too interruptive to other thoughts here.
    Pema Pera: :-)
    stevenaia Michinaga: that's balsamic, Pila
    Pila Mulligan: oh, of course :)
    Pema Pera: beignet perhaps
    Maxine Walden: One Baltic tidbit involved my readings and preparation, read a lot as this was a university trip, history over the centuries but especially the last chaotic, war torn century...expected
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Sophia
    Maxine Walden: to see the aftermath of Soviet grip and agonies of recent revelations from WW II, and to all of our surprise, all the countries, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (previous Soviet states) were bright, optimistic and Western...very stunning
    Maxine Walden: Even St Petersburg, which I had seen 30 plus years ago as a bleak city
    Pila Mulligan: hi SophiaSharon
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Hi :) (sits quietly)
    Pema Pera: hi Sophia!
    Maxine Walden: It was very Western, the younger generation very much into the West.
    Maxine Walden: The learning for me was how history can establish such 'prejudice', or expectation, just as other fantasies, etc. Very interesting to me/us
    Maxine Walden: So, another lesson about no absolute truths...not even history, or perhaps especially not truth via history
    Maxine Walden: Many other vignettes as well, but that is one...
    Maxine Walden: and yet (just one more vignette)
    Pema Pera: about "prejudice" what did you mean in this context?
    Pila Mulligan: Maxine, a friend my age on Maui was born in Lithuania but came to the US as a child, where she lived all her life -- as the Soviet grip was released she was contacted by several relatives in Lithuania, all eager to begin marketing products they hoped she could supply -- soon they were involved in several businesses there
    Maxine Walden: ah, Pema, think I meant expectation, but also a certain slant on the data, sort of anti-Soviet and expecting the complicates of the three Baltic states re recently exposed details...that such would be stamped all over the place, or especially in my mind...and not the case at all...at least in my conscious experience
    Pila Mulligan: hi Rowan
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Rowan
    Rowan Masala: hi Pila, all
    Pema Pera: Hi Rowan, great to see you again!
    Maxine Walden: hi Sophia and Rowan
    SophiaSharon Larnia: HI Rowan
    Rowan Masala smiles
    Rowan Masala: you too, Pema
    Maxine Walden: historical truths, if there be any, seem to give way to the current generation...something I am having to ponder a lot
    Pema Pera: that's very interesting, Maxine, so a kind of openness?
    Pema Pera: or opportunities, as Pila indicated
    Pema Pera: expanding horizons
    Maxine Walden: Pila, so interesting about your Lithuanian friend, such energy and gumption
    Pila Mulligan: they were quick :)
    Pema Pera: Rowan, Max is describing her trip to the Baltic
    Maxine Walden: We also had Lech Walensa on the boat, with us, a surprise for us all
    SCII Baltic - Yale&Stanford, July 13 to 27, 2009 006.jpgPema Pera: !
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Rowan Masala: wow
    Maxine Walden: along with his body guard and translator...
    Maxine Walden: really interesting, his different take on the fall of the Soviet empire, with his help of course
    Maxine Walden: while our Stanford Soviet expert mentioned all these various subtle details
    Pema Pera: :-)


    Maxine Walden: about the fall of the dissolution of the Soviet, Lech said that the coming to Poland of Pope Jean II in the early 80s
    Maxine Walden: that the visit to Poland of the Polish Pope in the early 80s when millions, literally millions of Poles showed up, that
    Maxine Walden: those gatherings really swept away the 'power' of the Soviet 'masters' and gave the people the sense of solidarity even before Solidarity got so powerful
    Maxine Walden: So this non-college former electrician had a very different view
    Maxine Walden: of what was responsible for such change from that of the University professors...very interesting
    Maxine Walden: and persuasive
    Pila Mulligan: I'm not Catholic but I saw Pope John Paul II on his US visit in October 1979 and he won my heart by his singing -- what a voice :)
    Maxine Walden: no absolute truths...but many valid perspectives...
    Maxine Walden: and one last memory for now: Lech got off the boar in Gdansk, his home city
    Maxine Walden: and where there is a monument at the gates of the Shipyards where all his Solidarity work began
    Maxine Walden: And we took a group picture and he spoke, but he was really
    Maxine Walden: speaking to the many young Poles and Europeans at the monument as well
    Maxine Walden: in Polish, but seemed he was understood by all,
    Maxine Walden: and when the youngsters, teenagers learned who he was
    Maxine Walden: they all became aware and crept in to become part of the picture...It was/is really touching
    stevenaia Michinaga: ooo, post it on tonight;s log page send it to me if you can;t
    Maxine Walden: I think touching also to feel the energy of the man and the effort, and what an enormous change for the world Solidarity and the fall of the Soviet system accomplished...
    Maxine Walden: I will try to send it to you, Steve, the pic
    Pema Pera: what a beautiful story, maxine, a true vignette !
    Maxine Walden: yes, all true, I promise
    Pema Pera: and what irony, isn't it, that "solidarity", the corner stone concept of communism, was what undermined "communism"!
    Maxine Walden: very ironic!
    Pema Pera: Hi Paradise!
    Pila Mulligan: hi Paradise
    stevenaia Michinaga: hello Paradise
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Hi Paradise
    Maxine Walden: And how soon the ideals of communism gave way to corrupting power...which we know occurs so readily, but how courage and perhaps faith (Pope) helped Poland out
    Paradise Tennant: hi hi pema pila .. steve maxine sophia :))
    Maxine Walden: hi, Paradise
    Paradise Tennant: hiya rowan :)
    Rowan Masala: hi Paradise
    Rowan Masala: good to see you
    Maxine Walden: so I will stop (for now) re Baltic; other important sharing from others
    Pila Mulligan: thanks for the stories Maxine
    SophiaSharon Larnia: very interesting Maxine
    stevenaia Michinaga: thank you for that, maxine
    Maxine Walden: pleased to share
    Pila Mulligan: I admire Gorbachev's role at that time too
    Pila Mulligan: Yeltsin eclipsed Gorbachev as the curtain came down, but Gobachev's glasnost and open mind seemed to have made it happen more peacefully
    Pema Pera: yes, and I think that historical changes are a confluence of many many effects, with finally something tipping the balance -- and very hard to say afterwards what really "did it"
    Rowan Masala nods
    Maxine Walden: indeed, quite brave man to open the archives and admit what really went on, although he was afraid of the Party losing power, apparently; that is where Yeltsin became the darling of the people
    Pila Mulligan: Marx's criticism of capitalism has been validated to some degree by the corruption that followed the fall of the Communist/Soviet system, but Marx's ideals were also corrupted terribly by Stalin, so maybe the corruption is the worst part
    Maxine Walden: agree, Pila, corruption really corrupts the mind and the heart which are then lost to one and all, individuals and the nation
    Pila Mulligan: yep
    Pema Pera: the problem with any kind of idealism is that it starts not with what is, in the present, but with what could be, in the future . .. .
    Pema Pera: hence not grounded
    Pila Mulligan: true
    Pila Mulligan: usually
    Pila Mulligan: sometimes the remedies are present-focussed
    Maxine Walden: ah, interesting, Pema, starts then with a fantasy of 'what could be?
    Pila Mulligan: but idealism has that pitfall
    Maxine Walden: so easily corrupted because it is empty at heart?
    Paradise Tennant: always like carlin's line .. who would have though communism would fail because there is no money in it
    Pila Mulligan: and the ideal itself may become a source of oppression
    Pila Mulligan: :)
    Maxine Walden: yes, the ideal gets de=humanized and does it back to the people, perhaps
    Pema Pera: yes, focusing too much on an ideal future leaves too much room for manipulation (corruption) in the present . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . all in the name of suffering now to be happy later
    Maxine Walden: sounds familiar, like the medieval church
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Maxine Walden: (hope I have not offended anyone with my comment)
    stevenaia Michinaga: hard to offend here
    SophiaSharon Larnia: in some ways the present church
    Rowan Masala nods
    Maxine Walden: hmmm, sophia
    Pema Pera: any organized religion, I think . .. .
    Pema Pera: hard to avoid
    Maxine Walden: seems nearly every institution at certain points may be subject to such dehumanization/corruption...the nature of institutions perhaps
    Pema Pera: time to get some sleep, here at the East coast . .. great seeing you all!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye Pema
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite pema
    Pema Pera: And thanks for the moving stories, Maxine!
    Rowan Masala: be well, Pema
    Maxine Walden: great to see you, Pema, take care. Thanks,,more to come...
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye Pema
    Maxine Walden: Steve, which email shall I use to send the pic to you, the playasbeing or another one
    Pila Mulligan: bye Pema
    Paradise Tennant: sigh I should scoot too . :)) late here be well all :)) till next time :))
    Pila Mulligan: bye Paradise
    Maxine Walden: bye Paradise
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye Paradise
    stevenaia Michinaga: anyone, all emails go to the same place
    Rowan Masala: night, Paradise
    stevenaia Michinaga: bye Paradise
    Rowan Masala: all roads lead to Steven
    Maxine Walden: right...
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite :)) steve maxine rowan pila sophia :))
    stevenaia Michinaga: anyone have anything else for the good of the order?
    Pila Mulligan: Native American leader John Mohawk spoke about parallels among cultures from ancient Greece to Spanish conquerors to German Nazis being led by a belief in an idealism where by certain people were destined for greatness and people in their way were to be destroyed or ignored -- that was also the foundation of the destructive American myth known as Manifest Destiny

    --BELL--Pila Mulligan: bye MAxine, see you next time

    SophiaSharon Larnia: I must go also, bye everyone :)
    Pila Mulligan: bye SophiaSharon
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, night all, great seeing you Maxine
    Maxine Walden: Has been such an interesting time I am hesitant to go. Steve, may I have an email other than playasbeing. It may be that I will need to send the pic embedded in another email
    Pila Mulligan: bye Steve
    stevenaia Michinaga: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: always a pleasure
    Maxine Walden: interesting that Manifest Destiny is in the same league as the others you mention...
    Pila Mulligan: yes, unfortunately
    Maxine Walden: but it is true...well, nice talking, sharing, always enjoy your company. I had better go to finish up some things before my evening is over
    Maxine Walden: bye for now
    Maxine Walden: see you soon
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