2010.02.11 01:00 - Acceptance and Blame

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Zen Arado. The comments are by Zen Arado. Present were Calvino, Gaya and myself. Since the three of us are members of the group 'Ways of Knowing' is not surprising that most of the discussion was centred around the Lojong teachings.

        Calvino Rabeni: Good (morning?) Zen
        Zen Arado: Oh Hi Cal
        Zen Arado: I was checking my Emails ;)
        Zen Arado: how are you?
        Calvino Rabeni: I'm well. And you?
        Zen Arado: I have a cold
        Zen Arado: so a bit miserable with it
        Zen Arado: but it is getting better from yestrday
        Zen Arado: how are you doing with th Lojong teachings?
        Calvino Rabeni: Hmm, I think I was talking to a friend about them earlier today - can't quite remember the gist of it however. I've been enjoying them.
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, I was talking to a friend who came to the earlier PaB meeting.
        Zen Arado: I spent a lot of time on them last summer
        Zen Arado: I have 3 books on them
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, you probably have Pema Chodron
        Zen Arado: I really like the practicality of the teaching
        Calvino Rabeni: It's a no-nonsense teaching
        Calvino Rabeni: very practical
        Zen Arado: yes and Chogyam Trungpa (her teacher)
        Zen Arado: and Ken Mc Leods book too
        Zen Arado: I think I need something to shift my habit patterns
        Calvino Rabeni: Why is that?
        Zen Arado: even when you see they are not good you keep doing them
        Calvino Rabeni: Have you tried doing them "better"?

    Gaya arrives: Discussion of the practicality/usefulness of the teachings.

    Calvino Rabeni: Hello Gaya !
        Gaya Ethaniel: Hello Calvino and Zen :)
        Zen Arado: Hi Gaya
        Calvino Rabeni: It's been a while
        Zen Arado: we were discussing the usefulness of the Lojong teachings Gaya
        Gaya Ethaniel: I'm sure I was here recently ... :) ah! *listens*
        Zen Arado: I am slowing my study of these type of teachings right down
        Zen Arado: maybe just one per week
        Zen Arado: and see how it fits into my life
        Zen Arado: I started doing that with koans lately and seem to see more in them
        Gaya Ethaniel nods :)
        Zen Arado: I think the Lojong are koans in a way too
        Gaya Ethaniel: So ... what do you see in the aphorisms in that way?
        Zen Arado: how to apply them in my life mainly
        Zen Arado: like the one on 'Driving all blames into one'
        Zen Arado: I , like many others, look for someone to blame for my problems a lot of the time
        Gaya Ethaniel: Almost most of the time, it's all about us I think :P
        Calvino Rabeni: Or pertaining to habits, for example, what is applicable?
        Zen Arado: yes - you see how you can change
        Gaya Ethaniel urges you to add reports before the Sunday meeting ^^;;;
        Calvino Rabeni: How do you add reports?
        Zen Arado: rether than just gaining an intellectual nderstanding that only satisfies curiosity
        Gaya Ethaniel: We can talk about that after, I will show you :)
        Zen Arado: I don't know either
        Gaya Ethaniel: ok
        Gaya Ethaniel: I've been pondering on that one too this week [more than one per week is too much for me] ... starting with 'could it be something amiss with me?', still a long way to go, certainly more than a week :)
        Zen Arado: I found I missed some good points until I read the log again afterwards
        Zen Arado: so many ppl talking at the same time

    The need to ground teachings in personal experience.

    Zen Arado: maybe the points could be backed up with personal experience of trying to apply them?
        Gaya Ethaniel: Yes, the discussion was flowing quite fast for me too so I'm encouraging people to add reports and read others in advance :)
        Gaya Ethaniel: So that discussions can be grounded on experiences from reports as before when Stim was around.
        Zen Arado: yes - it is so easy to just gain intellectual comprehension I think
        Calvino Rabeni: A big part of the work is emotional
        Zen Arado: do you have a philosophy background Gaya?
        Gaya Ethaniel: No, my brain is very lazy ... ^^;;;
        Gaya Ethaniel: And also physical?
        Zen Arado: doesn't seem so to me:)
        Gaya Ethaniel: Thanks :)

    Unconditional acceptance - what is that?

    Calvino Rabeni: Radical acceptance, for instance
        Calvino Rabeni: "When practicing unconditional acceptance, start with yourself" "Exclude nothing from your acceptance practice: train with a whole heart"
        Gaya Ethaniel: I prefer 'include' instead of accept ...
        Zen Arado: yes acceptance isn't so easy
        Calvino Rabeni: In that sense, the "Big Yes" needs to be able to encompass all "No's"
        Zen Arado: and it includes doing something to change the situation I think
        Zen Arado: the 'unconditional' bit is important too
        Gaya Ethaniel: Say more about 'change the situation' bit Zen?
        Zen Arado: if you only half accept you are still resisting
        Calvino Rabeni: Full compassion for yourself
        Zen Arado: well... if you aren't open to changing things it is resignation instead of acceptance I think
        Zen Arado: kind of thinking that a situation is hopeless?
        Gaya Ethaniel: Do you mean 'open to change' in general?
        Calvino Rabeni: Unconditional means unconditional.
        Gaya Ethaniel: lol yeah, I guess so.
        Calvino Rabeni: So regardless of whether you can change it, or even want to
        Zen Arado: ah but the acceptance part has to be fully accepting
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes
        Gaya Ethaniel: But whether something can change or not isn't always up to us ... so perhaps this also have to be accepted.
        Zen Arado: yes - more about being open to the possibility
        Calvino Rabeni: The proverb "don't depend on how the rest of the world is" also applies to the parts of oneself that are not one-pointed
        Calvino Rabeni: It is like "faith" in a way
        Zen Arado: 'one-pointed'?
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, unified. The parts of self that seem "other" are like the world
        Calvino Rabeni: People find a way to have faith, regardless of what happens in the world
        Zen Arado: my brain isn't working too well this morning :)
        Calvino Rabeni: and regardless of what happens with the "unruly" parts of self

    About taking the blame.

    Calvino Rabeni: About "blame", for instance.
        Zen Arado: and I am realizing how little I grasped some of these teachings
        Calvino Rabeni: On the normal level is is a very primitive concept
        Zen Arado: Taking the blame for things yourself simplifies, clarifies issues, Chogyam Trungpa says.
        Calvino Rabeni: But the suggestion of the lojong idea is that it can be transformed
        Calvino Rabeni: This is a almost the opposite of radical acceptance - it is radical responsibility
        Calvino Rabeni: or accountability
        Zen Arado: so do you think we should just take the the blame even if we are not really to blame?
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, why not
        Gaya Ethaniel: Well, let's talk about what 'blame' means and is for?
        Calvino Rabeni: RIght gaya
        Calvino Rabeni: It means very little, in a sense
        Zen Arado: blame is assigning responsibility for failure?
        Calvino Rabeni: It means "who is responsible", and the answer is "me"
        Calvino Rabeni: No, nothing to do with failure, really
        Calvino Rabeni: It says, essentially, take radical responsibility for whatever happens
        Zen Arado: well something that has gone wrong
        Gaya Ethaniel: I think in 'failures', seeds for 'success/failures' are planted ...
        Calvino Rabeni: then there is no blame
        Calvino Rabeni: A failure is only a collection of white and black seeds
        Zen Arado: Many successful entrepreneurs recount how much they learned from their early failures.
        Gaya Ethaniel nods :)
        Calvino Rabeni: In which you are looking at the black ones :)
        Gaya Ethaniel: :)
        Zen Arado: yes
        Zen Arado: Funny how we look for someone to blame when things go wrong. As if pinning the blame onto someone actually changes anything. At least it gives us a sense of relief by taking the load of responsibility off us.
        Calvino Rabeni: Radical responsibility and radical acceptance are two complementary opposites
        Calvino Rabeni: That's not universal, it's an emotional habit that some people have a lot of and some ahve very little of
        Gaya Ethaniel: I think it has something to do with how we are when things are going 'well'.
        Calvino Rabeni: Blaming is in large part a social convention
        Calvino Rabeni: And the style of doing so is a family affair
        Zen Arado: yes
        Gaya Ethaniel: We forget things change ... can't go well all the time ^^;;;
        Zen Arado: yes a kind of reaction to impermanence when you think of it
        Calvino Rabeni: A state of non-objectivity - when things go well people ignore it, when it goes "wrong" they notice and blame
        Gaya Ethaniel: ^^;;;
        Calvino Rabeni: Why not praise and feel gratitude?
        Calvino Rabeni: Lojong counsels gratitude always
        Zen Arado: yes - and enjoy and praise others for their successes
        Gaya Ethaniel: :)
        Calvino Rabeni: And oneself :)
        Zen Arado: Taking all the blame yourself seems very difficult - maybe it is best to adopt a practice of not assigning any blame at all.
        Gaya Ethaniel: :)
        Calvino Rabeni: No, take it, but have no fear
        Calvino Rabeni: It is tonglen
        Zen Arado: just get out of the habit of looking for someone/ something to blame
        Gaya Ethaniel: But it's always good to learn from own mistakes, if situations worsened due to them.
        Calvino Rabeni: pick up the white seeds - sort them out
        Gaya Ethaniel: Even that is difficult to practice I think Zen :) I often have to stop myself a little into such a process at times.
        Zen Arado: yes I know
        Zen Arado: it is so endemic to our society too
        Gaya Ethaniel nods.
        Zen Arado: or am I generealizing too much?
        Calvino Rabeni: Frankly, Zen, I think so :)
        Gaya Ethaniel: Well we are so encourage to be better and compete ...
        Calvino Rabeni: You are right it is common, but I certainly wouldn't say it predominates over other emotional patterns
        Zen Arado: but things do need to be changed sometimes so you have to loo for who is responsible?
        Zen Arado: look
        Calvino Rabeni: We are always all responsible
        Calvino Rabeni: 100%
        Gaya Ethaniel shrugs ... one can't make people to change, only oneself ...
        Zen Arado: personal example
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, and one may more easily take action oneself than compel others

    My personal example.   

    Zen Arado: I was at a hotel yesterdaY with poor disabled access
        Zen Arado: do I just accept that?
        Gaya Ethaniel: Did you contact various organisations and complain?
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, accept it while you do what is needed about it
        Zen Arado: I told the manager that she should do something about it
        Zen Arado: provide a ramp
        Gaya Ethaniel: I think ... there is a law about that in UK ... if you feel strongly you can make formal complaints to relevant organisations.
        Zen Arado: yes there is
        Zen Arado: but so many just ignore the law
        Gaya Ethaniel: It's not considerate of them ... I agree.
        Zen Arado: disabled organisation can't do much
        Zen Arado: you would have to take a personal lawsuit against them
        Gaya Ethaniel: mm ... I was thinking about organisations that rate hotels, B&B really.
        Gaya Ethaniel: AA, Which etc ...
        Gaya Ethaniel: Then regional/national tourism boards ...
        Zen Arado: hmmmm might work
        Gaya Ethaniel: Bad reviews affect businesses so ...
        Zen Arado: the 'disabled accessibility ' bit is just left off the brochures
        Gaya Ethaniel: But I do think things have improved a lot in UK, on roads and ramps in general. Didn't see much of them even in 90s.

    Gaya provides us with information about posting reports on WOK group and logs off.

    Gaya Ethaniel: I'm sorry to disturb but I need to log off soon. I created an account and report page for you Zen. You should have password in your email.
        Gaya Ethaniel: And here is how to - http://ways-of-knowing.wik.is/Wiki_Tutorial
        Zen Arado: ok thanks Gaya :)
        Gaya Ethaniel: Give it a go, and send me either email or IM so that I can have a look on wiki or we can meet up to walk it through ok?
        Gaya Ethaniel: Good night Calvino :) Enjoy your day Zen :)
        Zen Arado: bye Gaya :)

    Back to health problems and how to cope.

    Zen Arado: what you said was good Cal ' accept it while you do what is needed about it
        Calvino Rabeni: Possibly relevant proverb from lojong: "Always meditate on whatever you resent" :)
        Calvino Rabeni: This doesn't mean acquiesence and resignation, luckily
        Zen Arado: yes - you can get very resentful about lack of disabled access
        Calvino Rabeni: It might mean, clarity and forthrightness
        Zen Arado: or I can anyway :)
        Calvino Rabeni: I can easily imagine :)
        Zen Arado: you get so tired of it
        Calvino Rabeni: Sorry
        Zen Arado: but that is the way it is and at least the situation is improving
        Calvino Rabeni: A friend of mine has terrible health.
        Zen Arado: yes?
        Calvino Rabeni: Years ago, you couldn't talk to him about it because he was resentful
        Calvino Rabeni: He would be angry if you tried to help, and angry if not.
        Calvino Rabeni: Somehow this changed over time
        Zen Arado: I can imagine
        Calvino Rabeni: Something spiritual I would guess
        Zen Arado: you don't know how you will cope until it happens to you though
        Zen Arado: and it takes time to accept
        Calvino Rabeni: his health is still bad, but he doesn't burden with the added emotions he used to suffer with
        Calvino Rabeni: Like aging, but more intense and faster, is how I imagine it
        Zen Arado: yes my meditation practice sure helps me
        Zen Arado: yes
        Calvino Rabeni: the body is breaking down slowly, losing bit by bit
        Zen Arado: happens to us all in the end
        Zen Arado: but I am very healthy otherwise
        Zen Arado: just muscle weakness
        Zen Arado: even to live as long as I have is a bonus I think
        Zen Arado: lots of my friends didn't survive to 60
        Zen Arado: 'unconditional acceptance' is great
        Zen Arado: and ditching all the emotional extras we add to situations
        Calvino Rabeni: I think it goes along with the ability to transform things - to change the suffering things into positive things
        Calvino Rabeni: resentment into gratitude, for example
        Calvino Rabeni: fear into trust
        Zen Arado: yes
        Zen Arado: and looking for ways to do this in our lives
        Zen Arado: and being able to recount personal examples to others would be more instructive than just understanding the principle
        Calvino Rabeni: It is not so much about putting on a smile and shining light into the dark corners, but about accepting and loving what is, dark as well as light
        Calvino Rabeni: I agree, that is useful
        Zen Arado: yes Cal

    Reminded about my penchant for generalizations and about approaches to writing.

    Calvino Rabeni: In fact, it might be constructive to have a discipline for a while - "no generaliztions" :)
        Zen Arado: ha ha
        Calvino Rabeni: Examples only :)
        Calvino Rabeni: And it would work at least as well for "learning"
        Zen Arado: I have a friend with Aspergers who hates generalizations :)
        Zen Arado: you only learn the teachings by doiing in the long run
        Zen Arado: they are so practice oriented
        Calvino Rabeni: Yes, it can be done retrospectively - read the proverb, find examples that are already experiences of applying them
        Zen Arado: yes and thinking about this might make us be more alert, make us look for ways to apply the teachings
        Calvino Rabeni: These proverbs are not a system, are not descriptions of a theory, they are practical reminders for a population of people who already practice
        Zen Arado: see opportunities quicker
        Zen Arado: yes
        Calvino Rabeni: BTW, did you get "the book of not-knowing"?
        Zen Arado: not yet - it has to come from the US I think
        Zen Arado: you started it yet?
        Calvino Rabeni: I have it, and have been dipping here and there into it,just sampling
        Calvino Rabeni: so far, favorably impressed
        Zen Arado: good :)
        Calvino Rabeni: It has a sense of depth, but also of immediacy and "personal" -ness at the same time
        Zen Arado: I was talking to guy at a meditation meteeting last week who had done martial arts like you
        Zen Arado: ju jitsu I think
        Calvino Rabeni: If you could imagine something with the weight of sutras, but with a personal, casual style at once
        Zen Arado: yes good
        Calvino Rabeni: Hard to combine those two things, but it manages
        Calvino Rabeni: I'm also glad, it has benefited from consistent editing, which must have been a lot of work
        Zen Arado: sounds good
        Zen Arado: I have been trying to write about the Lojong teaching
        Zen Arado: trying to be more active about them
        Calvino Rabeni: I remember that. What is your writing approach?
        Zen Arado: sometimes I just do 'freewriting'
        Zen Arado: and then edit
        Calvino Rabeni: I think it would be excellent if we had a commentary on each item by each member of our group
        Zen Arado: yes
        Calvino Rabeni: even if it were somewhat like a journal - just like - this is a glimpse into it I have at this time
        Zen Arado: it takes work but worth it
        Zen Arado: yes
        Zen Arado: doesn't have to be too academic
        Zen Arado: I better go Cal
        Zen Arado: nice talking to you as always :)
        Calvino Rabeni: Likewise Zen, thanks and good to see you. Take care, be well :)
        Zen Arado: ok bye :)
        Calvino Rabeni: Bye then.

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