2009.11.01 08:00 - Fourth Guardian Meeting

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    All comments are from me, Lia Rikugun. I took the freedom to erase the first few minutes where we welcomed each other and the last minutes. Present were Adams Dubrovna, Eliza Madrigal, Eos Amaterasu, Fael Illyar, Gaya Ethaniel, Genesis Zhangsun, Lia Rikugun, Neela Blaisdale, Pema Pera, Pila Mulligan, Qt Core, Stevenaia Michinaga, Storm Nordwind, Trevor Berensohn, and Yakuzza Lethecus.

    We had some emails discussions on how we define PaB and in which way we can give the correct image to new visitors. We started discussing the general question what we think PaB stands for.

    VillageHall-2009-11-01.jpgPema Pera: Does anyone have a topic they would like to talk about?
    Eliza Madrigal: We've had much email discussion this week. Perhaps there are thoughts on that?
    Gaya Ethaniel is doing low level apprecation today and listening. You heard nuf from me :P
    Eliza Madrigal: :) heave heard enough only if you have no further thoughts
    Eliza Madrigal: *have
    Gaya Ethaniel: That was actually my thoguhts :P
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: Perhaps we can start with the general question of what we think PaB stands for?
    Pema Pera: since that is at bottom what we have been concerned about, in all our email exchanges of the last week
    Pila Mulligan: PaB is a place for wholesome fellowship
    Trevor Berensohn: Hmm I always thought it was about the practice,a nd discussion of our experience as a result of it?
    Eos Amaterasu: PaB is playfully and seriously connecting with that which in PaB is called Being, and with its implications throughout lives (SL, RL, DL, ...), as well as fellowdhip of those exploring that....
    genesis Zhangsun: starting at the end :)
    Eos Amaterasu: never leaving the begining :-)
    genesis Zhangsun: :)
    stevenaia Michinaga: yes, a place for exploration of ourselves and Being
    genesis Zhangsun: and a community to share that with
    Pema Pera: one aspect of PaB is to give an opportunity to share deep personal engagement with an exploration of reality, independent of whatever tradition or philosophy or ideas any us starts out with, and thus to learn from each other.
    stevenaia Michinaga: I must go, see you soon
    Gaya Ethaniel: Bye stevenaia :)
    Trevor Berensohn: =(
    Lia Rikugun: byeby
    Storm Nordwind waves
    Eos Amaterasu: emphasis on personal, experiential
    Pema Pera: another aspect of PaB is to try to follow the other's thought and experience, translating the words they use back into experience, rather than arguing about the words chosen and the various possible interpretations.
    Eliza Madrigal: for me, PaB is a spiritual mindfulness/meditation practice which includes wholesome fellowship, and sometimes sillyness ...lots of room for surprise turns and the unexpected within that framwork
    Eliza Madrigal: for others is that kind of interpretation too broad?
    Gaya Ethaniel: *cough* ... must say this ... comments made regarding practice[s] generally could be more helpful if tied explicitly to the speaker's experiences. There are lots of others places/methods to obtain opinions.

    What is Pab not?

    Pema Pera: that brings us to the other side: trying to describe what PaB is not
    Pema Pera: which is more tricky but equally important
    Trevor Berensohn leans forward
    Storm Nordwind: For me, it is the practice that means the most. You could take away the people, the virtual world and the six hourly sessions, and the practice would still be there, shining like a jewel.
    genesis Zhangsun: for me the practice is embedded in the community- as there is no official teacher- it is a community practice/exploration
    Neela Blaisdale: Hello everyone
    Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Neela :)
    Lia Rikugun: hello neela
    Eliza Madrigal: Hello Neela
    genesis Zhangsun: hey neela
    Trevor Berensohn: Hi Neela
    Pema Pera: Hi Neela!
    Storm Nordwind waves
    Fael Illyar: Hi Neela :)
    Neela Blaisdale: ( Sorry to disrupt;))
    genesis Zhangsun: I will say I don't think PaB is a therapy group
    genesis Zhangsun: (adding to what PaB is not)
    Trevor Berensohn: It's certainly not a platform for any specific religeon
    Eliza Madrigal nods.... to me each session has a unique offering most of the time, because of the individuals involved
    genesis Zhangsun: it isn't a forum for debating opinions, as many were dissapointed to find out
    Gaya Ethaniel: Bye Adams :)
    Adams Dubrovna slips away. Thanks everyone

    Where can we draw the line between therapy and meditation for example?

    Eliza Madrigal: Well I'm not sure where people draw the line at therapy... are dreams discussions therapy?
    Eliza Madrigal: Some came to meditation through therapy, to deal with stress, also
    genesis Zhangsun: okay good- perhaps I should say not a "support group"
    genesis Zhangsun: though perhaps that is a little fuzzy
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, that seems the beginning of a good distinction to me ...
    Eliza Madrigal: not a 'mere' support group or therapy session?
    Neela Blaisdale: I think therapy would imply coming to work out a personal problem and while this may be an offshoot of practicing PaB, it's not generally what I see as the main point of the discussions...
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Eos Amaterasu: I see the dreams discussions as both including other ways of being (DL, dream life) and using other types of human language (images, story) to communicate personal experience
    Neela Blaisdale: for me the discussions are more of a sharing..than to have a personal aim..

    PaB as "assembling (sangha) to share truth and reality (sat)"

    Pila Mulligan: at last night's 7 pm session Gen, Neela, Steve and I touched on the idea of practice and how one aspect of traditional contemplative practice is called satsang, or assembling (sangha) to share truth and reality (sat) -- sessions can be whatever is true and real to those at the assembly, essentially it is talking about stuff (although traditionally with a teacher) -- that's why I describe PaB simply as wholesome (sat) fellowship (sangha)
    Fael Illyar: doing the practises tends to bring things to surface that kind of do need therapy of some kind.
    Lia Rikugun: hi yakuzza
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hi everyone
    Neela Blaisdale: Hello Yakuzza
    genesis Zhangsun: hi Yaku
    genesis Zhangsun: Ye sthanks Pila, I agree it has that aspect of wholesome fellowship
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Yakuzza, and yes to Fael's point... many times spiritual endeavors do bring things up to be let go of or what-have-you... fine lines there
    Neela Blaisdale: and the fellowsip and exploration can be theraputic as a sie effect....
    Neela Blaisdale: *d
    Eliza Madrigal: sangha vs support group seems a really good clarification
    genesis Zhangsun: I agree sometimes personal issues are brought to the surface and I have seen at times those personal issues dominate certain sessions
    genesis Zhangsun: do others have this experience? and if so how do we as a group deal with that?
    Trevor Berensohn: Is it ok at those times to say, "Off-topic?"
    Pila Mulligan: sometimes personal issues are the reality of the moment
    Pila Mulligan: it is not so much the issue as the reality and how it is addressed
    genesis Zhangsun: I think so Trevor but it is not a clearly black and white line as to when something is purely personal and yes when something is really the reality of the moment that wants to be expressed
    Neela Blaisdale: Eliza, can you say more about the difference beween sangha and support group as you see it?
    Eliza Madrigal would agree with Pila
    Storm Nordwind wonders if we try to make PaB sessions into a one-size-fits-all, trying to shoehorn too many different functions into a single type of session. Perhaps we need more and different types of sessions to complement what we already have?
    Eliza Madrigal: sangha implies gathering in a larger sense to me... "Being" a gathering
    Eos Amaterasu: That's part of the not-too-loose, not-too-tight tension of sat and sang(ha)
    Eliza Madrigal: and therefore heart is set in a different way perhaps
    Neela Blaisdale: and support group?
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm, just 'me' sharing... getting something out there
    Neela Blaisdale: so it's in the sharing?
    genesis Zhangsun: could you say more Eos about sat and sangha?
    Eos Amaterasu: what keeps the community a community, for me at least, is emphasis on sat, genuiness, _especially in personal matters_ - but that's also where it can get most awaya from "sat"
    genesis Zhangsun: (or Pila I know you brought this point up which could useful in this context)
    genesis Zhangsun: how so Eos?
    Pema Pera: one thing to keep in mind is this: if we meet a friend with a splinter in a finger, we may help to pull it out, but if the friend has a broken leg, we'd better not try to tinker it . . . something similar holds for emotional problems, especially in a virtual world where we know even less about someone's deepseated problems than we do in RL.
    Pema Pera: *with it
    genesis Zhangsun: yes Pema I agree but perahaps I would say in either the case of splinter or broken leg, our role as PaBers is never to "try to fix"
    genesis Zhangsun: never to have the intention of "fixing"
    Pema Pera: sure, but well meant tinkering can still be damaging
    Pema Pera: we all have the tendency to try to help, soothe, cheer up, etc :)
    Eos Amaterasu: be there with "sat", "Being", for that person (which has to start with being that way with ourselves)
    Gaya Ethaniel feels lost ... are we talking about what one should be doing in general now?
    Pila Mulligan: the Hawaii version of satsang is called 'talk story' and is usually session of just sitting around sharing expereinces -- the healing aspect is not setting bones but simply being freindly
    genesis Zhangsun: I think the intention is to be "helpful" not to try to help. soothe, cheer up. "Helpful" might include those things but not necessarily.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: not goal oriented
    Pema Pera: (which is hard!)
    Neela Blaisdale: I tjink it's always OK to suggest that people seek more support in RL ...
    Neela Blaisdale: not to psh them away but to broaden their options
    Neela Blaisdale: *o
    Storm Nordwind: And hard for the person being helped too, as they may want more than what's on offer
    Trevor Berensohn: Such a fine line to tread
    Neela Blaisdale: *u
    genesis Zhangsun: Gaya I think we are talking about the community and our role as Guardians/Hosts in the community
    Gaya Ethaniel: Personally watching driven people and listening to them is more disturbing than listening to emotional problems. But then ... well that's me.
    genesis Zhangsun: could you explain Gaya?
    Gaya Ethaniel: It all depends on personal temperament ... that's all.
    Neela Blaisdale: but as I read the emails this week it seemed to me that it wasn't the nature of the problems but yu were talkig about disruption for it's own sake?
    Neela Blaisdale: and what to do with that
    Pema Pera: in order to know what to do and when and how it is important to know what we stand for, and what we want to protect
    Pema Pera: so we started to discuss that

    How can we as GoC "host" the Pab session?

    Trevor Berensohn: Well, is the person on schedule at meetings facilitating, or just attending and recording?
    Pema Pera: we are all facilitating in some way
    Pema Pera: contributing to the PaB spirit in the sessions
    Gaya Ethaniel: Please also give me some slack ... I'm learning to be a better host all the time too.
    Pema Pera: and I think it is up to the guardian on call to what extent he/she likes to play that role more explicitly
    Eos Amaterasu: The GoC is the anti-slacker of last resort?
    Trevor Berensohn: So it seems to me that if it's that open, the lack of structure as to what the host's role is, then there will be meetings that get hi-jacked by strong personalities
    Eos Amaterasu: (or slacker, Gaya :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel giggles.
    Pema Pera still laughing about Eos' interpretation . . . .
    Fael Illyar smiles.
    genesis Zhangsun: yes Trevor I guess thats what I was bringing up- though I agree there needs to be some openess-flexibility as to how we deal with that

    Should we introduce different kind of PaB sessions?

    Storm Nordwind: I'm often conscious of how newcomers see these intensely personal PaB sessions. That's why I wonder if there's any mileage in having these more deep encounters at another series of meetings, perhaps keeping the existing sessions as more beginner. (?)
    Eos Amaterasu: I think we can feel what's not really ringing true or genuine, but then there's both courage and skill and some confidence required as to how to communicate that
    Pila Mulligan: last time, regarding the fellow interetsed in provoking theological debates, it just eventually blew up and he left
    Pila Mulligan: last spring
    Fael Illyar: there is no real clear cut way to separate beginner from advanced.
    genesis Zhangsun: yes its true Pila- there is sort self-healing, self selecting mechanism at work in PaB
    Neela Blaisdale: since we're all both beginners and advanced..:)
    Storm Nordwind: yes there is Fael. Beginner is someone who has never heard about PaB or who has not yet started to practise.
    genesis Zhangsun: [8:53] Eos Amaterasu: I think we can feel what's not really ringing true or genuine, but then there's both courage and skill and some confidence required as to how to communicate that
    genesis Zhangsun: I think this was very well put
    Fael Illyar: Storm, then anyone at a second PaB meeting is no longer a beginner.
    Storm Nordwind: they are if they are not yet practising
    genesis Zhangsun: and I would encourage some vigilance in the application of this gentle open ended approach
    Pema Pera: and the very fact that we are now having these conversations, today and in email, helps all of us to grow into the role Eos described
    Fael Illyar: Storm, beginner is a misleading name then. It kind of implies they've began :)
    Pema Pera: I think that just today's discussion alone will help all of us, the coming week(s) to have a better orientation on how to cultivate the values that we are describing in the PaB sessions, individually and collectively
    Storm Nordwind: Please choose a better word Fael than my poor vocabulary allows. I believe the principle remains the same :)
    Fael Illyar: newcomer?
    genesis Zhangsun: what kind of additional sessions do you recommend Storm?
    Gaya Ethaniel frowns ... I still feel like a newcomer, sitting on the fence.
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: new every morning
    genesis Zhangsun: as far as I am concerned Gaya you are old school :)
    Neela Blaisdale: :)
    genesis Zhangsun: old school as in "we go way back"
    Gaya Ethaniel: :D true, I don't have a wide repertoire.
    Storm Nordwind: I think it's too early to recommend. But it seems like the elphant in the room. An obvious thing to do. Though it's up to the group to decide what they want, if they want it, and when
    Pila Mulligan 's mind takes of humminig Steely Dan, My Old School
    Pila Mulligan: off*

    here the session is about to end...

    Pema Pera: shall we wrap up? I'd love to continue, but when people then leave one by one, it is harder to have a focused discussion, and it may be hard to decide when to leave
    Storm Nordwind smiles at Pila
    Neela Blaisdale: I'm a little leery of fragmenting in general... because even the "beginners" in their questions have a lot to teach us....
    Pema Pera: we can take this up next week, bit topic!
    Eliza Madrigal nods.... yes I need to go. Thanks everyone
    Storm Nordwind: No fragmenting Neela. Adding to

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