2010.02.10 07:00 - How Do I Present?

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Eliza Madrigal. The comments are by Eliza Madrigal, who was happily joined by SophiaSharon and Storm for this morning's session. :)

    As a thousand words can be conveyed with one picture, a simple story can reveal a thousand conceptual angles... in a flash. :)

    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Sharon :) Morning!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Good Morning!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: how are you?
    Eliza Madrigal: Another round of storms for you I think... hope all is well
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, great, thanks!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes I'm in a hotel, now bored!
    Eliza Madrigal looks through inventory for entertainment
    SophiaSharon Larnia: but good :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: hahaha
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Waiting... in lines and layovers and snowstorms, there is maybe a chance to get still...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: oh yes,youre right
    Eliza Madrigal: There is so much of that time, that if we can learn to work with it, even enjoy it... well, seems good for integrating all we explore around here :)
    Eliza Madrigal: I tell myself this in traffic
    Eliza Madrigal: hah
    SophiaSharon Larnia: smiles
    SophiaSharon Larnia: its very easy to forget in traffic!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: (sorry I'm on a slow connection)
    Eliza Madrigal: YES! I have a terrible habit, too, of just turning on the radio and switching channels incessantly...
    Eliza Madrigal: (I'm actually enjoying lag sometimes here... causing me to slow down typing)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: how many ways can the mind be entertained at once
    Eliza Madrigal: yes exactly!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: how many pictures/walls
    Eliza Madrigal: and where do we go while our mind is doing all those things
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes!
    Eliza Madrigal: That seems how we bury ourselves

    Sharon shares what she is currently reading:

    SophiaSharon Larnia: I'm reading a book called Knowledge and Liberation by Anne Klein
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: who states the case for knowledge/academic pursuits for attaining enlightenment
    SophiaSharon Larnia: it is, like everything about this topic, rather dense :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :) but interesting...
    Eliza Madrigal: lively
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Storm!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: and is buddhist in orientation, but can be applied to non-buddhist streams of thought as well

    Storm arrives...

    Storm Nordwind: Good morning both :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Hi Storm! I'm on a slow internet connection
    Storm Nordwind remember his days on one of those :-/
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Storm Nordwind: Please don't let me disprupt or interrupt!
    Storm Nordwind: (or even spell correctly this morning!)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: We were just beginning to talk about a book Sharon is reading...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :) part of the difficulty reading books like this, is I have so much background work to do, before I understand exactly what the author is saying
    Eliza Madrigal: Many people I think, when they begin devling into spirituality, tend to put aside everything 'else'...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: have you read any of Anne C. Klein books Storm?
    Storm Nordwind: Looks quite academic
    Eliza Madrigal: and maybe that is fine for a while, but one sign of a vibrant spiritual life seems to me, integration....
    Storm Nordwind: I don't think I have Sharon
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes I tend to do that Eliza
    SophiaSharon Larnia: read and narrow down the thoughts so to speak
    Eliza Madrigal nods


    Sharon frames the discussion...

    SophiaSharon Larnia: Its called Knowledge and Liberation, stating that conceptual thought is capable of leading to a transformative experience.... I often think talking about things forever doesn't clarify thought, and the author states the case that its integral for some
    SophiaSharon Larnia: especially while listening to many people
    Storm Nordwind: Conceptual thought can be useful, as a step on the way perhaps, but I don't think it can give you the experience that is central to Buddhist practice
    Storm Nordwind: Just my opinion of course! :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm, mental flexibility can't hurt.. and the kind of humility that comes from continually running up against one's limitations, etc. It must be the attitude toward it really... not just with 'having' knowledge to wear as a kind of badge...
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Eliza Madrigal: and 'hold one's own'...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: buddhism is kind of the opposite of trying to measure up/hold one's own?
    Eliza Madrigal: (realizes any time she says something like 'buddhism is' she's way off)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)

    Getting comfortable with paradoxal nature ...

    Storm Nordwind: Buddhism is interesting in that people are encouraged to think for themselves, but in the end, for the experience of bliss and emptiness, conceptual thought may be rather limiting. A nice paradox that I enjoy being part of!
    Eliza Madrigal nods enthusiastically
    Storm Nordwind: I was looking at the reviews for her (Klein's) Dzogchen book a minute ago. Interesting review comment: "Good root text but overly philosophical/difficult commentary"
    SophiaSharon Larnia: she says that realizing emptiness is not divorcing yourself from conceptual understanding, but gaining a type of explicit understanding
    Eliza Madrigal: I was reading this morning about the idea of unity of religions... that the trappings of tradition are fine but unimportant once the essence is in play... so conceptions seems same?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: it unlocks the ordinary dualistic patterning of conceptual thought
    Storm Nordwind: There are many levels of realizing emptiness. The first step certainly does use conceptual understanding. After that however... :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes its dense Storm
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: I'm truthfully not even looking for something in a buddhist sense, just in general
    Eliza Madrigal nods

    Storm gives an overview ...

    Storm Nordwind: As I understand it (and I don't claim exclusive knowledge here!), on the two Paths of Accumulation and Preparation, people need to use Inferential cognizers to realize emptiness. Later, on the Path of Seeing and beyond, there is a direct realization by a non-conceptual mind.
    Eliza Madrigal: It is far more fun to have conceptual conversations and such when things are open.... when there isn't that sense of protecting 'one's own view' etc but really seeing what the play reveals...

    Sharon asks a wonderful question...

    SophiaSharon Larnia: are there ever times when youve bypassed that and saw something, 'in a flash', a glimpse?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, coming to playasbeing :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i think theres some preparation for that
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes Eliza :)
    Storm Nordwind: There are two schools of thought: the sudden and gradual paths. I suspect they are not as mutually exclusive as some suggest! ;)
    Eliza Madrigal: THEN you could see all the ways you'd been prepared
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Eliza Madrigal: We were talking about this a little in the wok workshop too... about training in preliminaries...

    My thought doesn't translate very well here. I was noticing the parallel between the way we practice in PlayasBeing: "Just Try/Just See", and the way that we've been discussing lojong in the workshop... that often what would more commonly be called 'practice' comes along with or after direct experience. Just to qualify. :)

    Instinct, Intuition, Intellect...

    SophiaSharon Larnia: the more I delve into concepts, the less I rely on instinct
    Storm Nordwind: Do you see that as good or bad Sharon?
    Eliza Madrigal: that digging into/diving into practice (like pema says "just try"), then maybe the preliminaries are attractive and all in there ... so you aren't practicing to go from step1,2 ,3
    Eliza Madrigal: anyway, just a side issue there :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: not a positive, forward motion thing, but not a bad thing. Like having to go to school.
    Storm Nordwind: training in preliminaries is often cited as a preparation for Lojong practice
    Eliza Madrigal: I guess it is all very personal, and there are times to come at things from various angles
    Eliza Madrigal: instinct is a funny question though...
    Eliza Madrigal: the difference between instinct and intuition...
    Eliza Madrigal: and everything in between :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Ive been questioning my instinct
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Storm Nordwind: What really is instinct? Or intuition for that matter? Is this the sum of the various non-rational, non-voiced, non-linear, non-verbalized thoughts we have?
    Eliza Madrigal: Intuition would be that to me I think, Storm...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes, that, based on some knowledge obtained in the past, maybe
    Storm Nordwind: Maybe there are many more than a single sources for those
    SophiaSharon Larnia: nods

    And well, especially dressed as a fairy, my turn is toward the whimsical... :)

    Eliza Madrigal: If intuituion is 'open' then there it seems Being at play in one's life...
    Eliza Madrigal: (please use your compassion to rearrange the sentence structure-hehe)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: thats what I like to think!! Little gifts!
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: little hellos
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Storm Nordwind: I sometimes wonder about that Eliza :) Not saying it's not true, but I know people like to ascribe the little things that play in one's life to their current favourite theory, deity, etc etc
    SophiaSharon Larnia: true
    Eliza Madrigal: Most of time, the hellos aren't what we would have figured out on our own...
    Eliza Madrigal: and might not even be comfortable :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: like me being stuck in storms this week, wondering if its my karma for being glad i didnt get stuck before ;p
    Storm Nordwind: But being pragmatic, I notice it anyway, and am simply grateful, without necessarily knowing how it works!
    Eliza Madrigal: :))
    Eliza Madrigal: haha, Sharon... yes it is difficult not to ask oneself those questions at times
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :) Storm

    Eliza Madrigal: I think a lot about 'directness' and immediacy of experience...
    Eliza Madrigal: which seems to arise out of the confidence we've spoken about sometimes...
    Eliza Madrigal: and that confidence of.. hm... intuition?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: where does the confidence come from?
    Storm Nordwind: Yes it's possible to gain confidence in one's intuition. But it does take time, I think.
    Eliza Madrigal: So we plod along...
    Eliza Madrigal: hehe
    Storm Nordwind: I trained myself in being sensitive to intuition around 30 years ago
    Storm Nordwind: From that self-training came a lot of confidence
    Eliza Madrigal: I have what seems a double edge sword in this regard. I can almost not function non-intuitively...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: Ive always felt more intuitive than anything else, and relied on it heavily, so much so that some time again i thought it best to examine that
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Storm Nordwind: The key thing I found for me was being able to discriminate between intuition and anything else. That's what took the time.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: some time ago*
    SophiaSharon Larnia: anything else?


    At our urging, Storm shares a story which uncrumples the picture of what we'd been discussing 'conceptually' just before. :)

    Storm Nordwind remembers a wonderful contradictory encounter - intuition vs. intellect - with two psychologists at a Johari window workshop. But he's sure he's told that story before! ;)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: hmm :))
    Eliza Madrigal: Not to me:)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: so the anything else you meant is intellect?
    Storm Nordwind: No Sharon. I meant imaginings. memories, other non-intellectual impressions of all kinds
    SophiaSharon Larnia: nods
    Eliza Madrigal: Is it a long story? Would you mind sharing it again?
    Storm Nordwind: Short story. I don't mind if you don't! :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes thats what I mean by examining, seeing what part they play in intuition
    SophiaSharon Larnia: please?
    Eliza Madrigal: Would like that!
    Storm Nordwind: OK... :)
    Storm Nordwind grins
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :))

    The log title arrives ...

    Storm Nordwind: I was doing a course in bereavement counseling
    Storm Nordwind: and we had a morning's workshop on the Johari Window
    Storm Nordwind: I'll not go into that...
    Storm Nordwind: but there's surely a Wikipedia article on it somewhere! :)
    Storm Nordwind: Anyway, there were about 20 of us in the workshop
    Storm Nordwind: And the idea was that we had to interview each other in pairs
    Storm Nordwind: (So it took all morning, because all pair combinations had to be done in the whole group!)
    Eliza Madrigal: oh my
    Storm Nordwind: You were supposed to say to each person "How do I present?"
    Storm Nordwind: And they were to give you as honest and objective answers as they could
    Storm Nordwind: Their impressions etc
    johari-window (1).jpgStorm Nordwind: about how you came over to them
    Eliza Madrigal: eek, sounds a bit like speed dating :)
    Storm Nordwind: Haha!!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: sounds like it would hard to do :)
    Storm Nordwind: You were supposed to plot their answers on a kind of quadrant graph
    Storm Nordwind: and look for corroboration
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, interesting
    Storm Nordwind: to get an overall picture
    Storm Nordwind: Now, there were two professional psychologists in the group
    Storm Nordwind: and when I looked at the graph I had created from people's answers to me
    Storm Nordwind: I found that all but two sets of answers corroborated reasonably well
    Storm Nordwind: and two were outliers
    Storm Nordwind: and outliers in separate directions to each other
    Storm Nordwind: They were the psychologists
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Storm Nordwind: I remember one psychologist saying to me...
    Storm Nordwind: "Storm, you're obviously a very intuitive person... perhaps you should try being a little more intellectual to get some balance."
    Storm Nordwind: And I remember the other psychologist saying to me...
    Storm Nordwind: "Storm, you're obviously a very intellectual person... perhaps you should try being a little more intuitive to get some balance."
    Storm Nordwind: !!!!
    Eliza Madrigal: hahaha
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: haha objective
    Eliza Madrigal: That's great!
    Storm Nordwind: They couldn't see - in fact it was probably impossible in their trained mindset - that it was possible to be highly developed in both at the same time. And to be fully integrated.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: does that experience make you think of the exercise as being not useful?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: ahhh i see what you mean
    Eliza Madrigal: My cheeks might pop off from smiling. Well worth taking the morning for the exercize... seems like a koan
    Storm Nordwind: Apparantly they couldn't see that, but everyone else - who were not psychologists - did!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: interesting, their training got in the way?
    Eliza Madrigal: both were true... but they weren't 'allowed' to see that both were true
    Storm Nordwind: So it seems, yes Sharon
    Storm Nordwind: Yes Eliza!! :)
    Eliza Madrigal: I love that, so glad you shared it
    SophiaSharon Larnia: thank you :)
    Storm Nordwind smiles humbly :)
    Eliza Madrigal: We don't need to leave anything out
    Eliza Madrigal: And another funny aspect is how others see us...
    Eliza Madrigal: that it can be so drastically different from what we expect they see
    Eliza Madrigal: Neat exercize, actually
    SophiaSharon Larnia: nods
    Storm Nordwind: Yes. That's what the Johari Window is about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window


    My mind wanders a bit to times when information blind-to-me had been a factor to perceptions ...

    Eliza Madrigal: When my son changed schools a few years ago, I noticed right away how deferential people were to me... how the teachers were so friendly and respectful.. the principal, etc. Later, I found out that because I like to read articles on memory and such, that he'd told everyone I was "someone important with the brain"... heheh... I learned a lot from that :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i'll open that later, I'm afraid I'll crash :))
    Storm Nordwind: That's a wonderful story too Eliza! Thank you for that :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: lol Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: :)))

    :) Storm's mischief making side...

    Storm Nordwind: I tried a similar thing deliberately once... as a bit of mischief I guess! :)
    Storm Nordwind hesitates to tell that one
    Eliza Madrigal: an experiment?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: ha!
    Eliza Madrigal: heheh
    Storm Nordwind: I was working somewhere where there was a communal office fridge
    Storm Nordwind: And people kept stealing my butter that I kept there
    Storm Nordwind: So I capitalized on my reputation...
    Storm Nordwind: and wrote on it in big letters...
    Storm Nordwind: "Anyone who steals from this will be cursed."
    Eliza Madrigal: Ack!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: oh my!
    Eliza Madrigal: haha
    Storm Nordwind: No one ever stole from it again!
    Eliza Madrigal giggles
    Storm Nordwind: hehe!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: i guess not hahaha
    Eliza Madrigal: well, you captilalized on superstitions too...
    Eliza Madrigal: wonder how many butter stealers sat there wrestling....
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Storm Nordwind: Well they knew I could, but they didn't know I wouldn't! ;)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: haha Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: with themselves, with their larger paradigms...
    Eliza Madrigal: :))
    Eliza Madrigal: I like that in this johari window it has a square for 'blind spots'
    Storm Nordwind: (Prior to that people just put their names on things, and those names were always ignored)
    Eliza Madrigal: sigh, roommates :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes Storm I know what thats like, and I think its hysterical
    Storm Nordwind: Blind spot - what's known to others but not to oneself (or denied by oneself)
    Eliza Madrigal: seems a place of potential, oddly :)
    Eliza Madrigal: "the realm of the blindingly obvious"
    SophiaSharon Larnia: ha!
    Storm Nordwind: Well please excuse me, and thank you for the chat. I must go jump in the tub prior to going to the dentist this morning :-/
    Eliza Madrigal: Ohh... um, enjoy?
    Eliza Madrigal: hehe
    Eliza Madrigal: Have a great day, Storm. Thanks for coming :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye Storm, talk to you later :))
    Eliza Madrigal makes note to make her dentist appt
    Storm Nordwind: I might not make any meetings in SL for the rest of the day!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: aww
    Eliza Madrigal: Silent day :)
    Storm Nordwind: Namaste
    SophiaSharon Larnia: namaste
    Eliza Madrigal: Namaste' :)
    Eliza Madrigal: What an interesting conversation...
    Eliza Madrigal: with such practical applications !
    SophiaSharon Larnia: nods
    SophiaSharon Larnia loves practical applications :)
    Eliza Madrigal: yes :)))
    Eliza Madrigal: Direct experience
    SophiaSharon Larnia: I'm going to go too, for now
    Eliza Madrigal: At least you have a book when stuck in the snow...
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: yes! and internet access!! what a treat!
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes, right!
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: laughs
    Eliza Madrigal: Glad you came this morning :) See you soon
    SophiaSharon Larnia: bye for now

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