2010.02.18 07:00 - All the world's problems

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Storm Nordwind. The comments are by Storm Nordwind.

    I was joined shortly after the bell by Yakuzza and Lawrence. This session is just the three of us.

    Yakuzza Lethecus: morning storm
    Storm Nordwind: Good morning Yakuzza
    Yakuzza Lethecus: how are the dentists in america ? :)
    Storm Nordwind: Good morning Lawrence
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hey lawrence
    Lawrence Vyceratops: 'Morning.
    Storm Nordwind: They are skilful and expensive!

    I hadn't realized that news of my pains had traveled!
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Indeed.
    Storm Nordwind is holding an icepack to the face of his RL avatar :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: sorry to hear :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh, you went to the dentist?
    Storm Nordwind: three and a half hours in the chair yesterday afternoon
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Well, it could've been worse. You could've sat in the tattoo chair for three and a half hours. ;)
    Storm Nordwind: That will never happen Lawrence! :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Haha

    Following doctor's orders, post root canal procedure, I can just relax. But we talk anyway! First the topic is about topics...
    Storm Nordwind: I'm happy to sit... unless someone has a burning topic, of course! :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I thought it was always the same topic. haha
    Storm Nordwind chuckles
    Storm Nordwind: Yes I once tried to classify the different sorts of topic Lawrence...
    Storm Nordwind: different levels according to how close or distant they were from Play as Being fundamentals
    Storm Nordwind: The outermost level including chit chat and personal therapy! ;)

    ...then about whether Play as Being is a 'place' one can arrive at...
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I wonder if the different levels you are talking about are because that we all begin from our own starting points and try to arrive at Play as Being...
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Perhaps this is what is meant by start at the end??
    Storm Nordwind: That's an insightful description, but...
    Storm Nordwind: I rather think that the actual practice in PaB spurs people to think about things in their lives in new and different ways...
    Storm Nordwind: and they are inspired to talk about those together with other people who are perhaps sharing that practice
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes, I agree.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: ...lost my thought....
    Storm Nordwind chuckles
    Storm Nordwind: we have time :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh, yes...
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But what I was saying was that they start from their own perspectives, with their own systems of beliefs and such...
    Lawrence Vyceratops: and try to "arrive" at Pab through some process.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Then I thought, is this the idea of starting at the end?
    Yakuzza Lethecus: hmm, i don´t know if there is ever something to arrive at pab :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes, but that is what people try to do, in a sense, right?
    Yakuzza Lethecus: as i understood it pab is always about the moment, stopping and watching
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right, but our daily life, we are not like that. We are all about the movement of time, from past to present to future.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: So we start from there and try to make a path to here.
    Yakuzza Lethecus: but sure i also tend to start chatting alot and violate the main topics propably
    Storm Nordwind: However, we never say to people that there is a core PaB experience that they should aim for
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right.
    Storm Nordwind: There is a common simple practice, and even then the lines are only very loosely drawn...
    Storm Nordwind: to allow for personal experiment

    ...and then about the idea of "starting at the end" in Play as Being, which has antecedents in other practices. I mention one possible antecedent.
    Storm Nordwind: The idea of starting at the end is borrowed from tantric practice and substantially demystified
    Storm Nordwind: In a sense, you imagine that you become the final experience and muse about what it would be like to be already there...
    Storm Nordwind: which is sometimes called in tantric circles "Bringing the result into the path"
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh... wouldn't that just keep you locked where you are?
    Storm Nordwind smiles
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Because you are imagining.
    Storm Nordwind: actually I don't find it so :)
    Storm Nordwind: free rather than locked
    Storm Nordwind: dropping all the baggage that has brought you to this point
    Storm Nordwind: and taking off the hood and blinders
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes, but trying to imagine that which you do not know is like picking up more baggage, is it not?
    Storm Nordwind: It could be, yes, if done unskillfully
    Storm Nordwind: But actually you are giving yourself permission to be something that you might already be!

    But then comes the main topic: whence come the problems of the world?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: What is the conflict between a man and society?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Is it imagination?
    Storm Nordwind: I'm not sure what you mean by "the conflict between a man and society"
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Obviously there are great problems in the world. There is fighting and killing and destruction. Obviously, there is a conflict between an individual and others - society.
    Storm Nordwind: And perhaps that will always be so
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But why is it so? What is that conflict?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Is it the imagination?

    I have an answer to that (which I get round to relating later), but I don't want to be dogmatic about it. So we seem to digress into whether there is objective truth or just conventional truth. It's an interesting subtopic (that I'll not add further comments to) but, in the end, pragmatism cuts through!
    Storm Nordwind: You want my personal opinion?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Well, no... I am just asking to see if we can see that.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Like, we can both see the fountain, you wouldn't give me your opinion of it, if you couldn't see it.
    Storm Nordwind: I disagree
    Storm Nordwind: I cannot guarantee even to imagine what you see there
    Storm Nordwind: You may very well see something I do not
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right, but if you say look at the fountain, I can turn and see it and point to it and say, "there it is." and you would say, "yes, that's it."
    Storm Nordwind: But what "it" would be may be highly personal
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right, but we would both see it and know where it is, what it looks like. Point to something here and I would see it too, like the torch.
    Storm Nordwind: But I have no idea whether my experience of 'it' is objectively identical to your experience, if you have one. And I will never know. Nor does it matter.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Well, let's say we want to move a torch together - not here, but in RL because I'm not a computer programmer - we could work together and accomplish because
    Lawrence Vyceratops: of understanding.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But when it comes to the mind, that understanding is not there. Something is different.
    Storm Nordwind: That's because we use conventions that we agree on
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right. Can we do that with mind?
    Storm Nordwind: As long as we're prepared to modify and throw out when these conventions no longer serve us!
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Of course.
    Storm Nordwind: And we may not agree in the first place. So therefore, the best I can offer about the conflict problem is my opinion, even though it may be shared by many people.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But rather than raising opinions, can't we just question it further?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Like if we see something on the horizon, sure we could speculate, but what if we really wanted to know what that shape was?
    Storm Nordwind: Sure. You can do that. But you will still end up with theories, opinions...
    Storm Nordwind: and these may change with new information
    Storm Nordwind: as you get closer to your object
    Storm Nordwind: as you know more
    Storm Nordwind: and remove more of your own filters
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But that's fine as long as long as we can all agree on what is there. We all are built the same.
    Storm Nordwind: I don't know that
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Like in the instance of material world, with torches, fountains, pillows, and such.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: We can all agree that that is a torch, that is the fountain, etc.
    Storm Nordwind: It's useful sometimes to agree, yes
    Lawrence Vyceratops: But we never agree on the mind. haha
    Lawrence Vyceratops: So, can we?
    Lawrence Vyceratops: It seems easy with other things.

    The source of all the world's problems.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: It's not a problem that causes violence. Only the imagination does that.
    Storm Nordwind: Then that depends what you mean by imagination
    Storm Nordwind: If you mean by imagination perceiving something that is not true, then I agree
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Yes, something that doesn't line up with reality.
    Storm Nordwind: People imagine they understand what is real, and from that come all our problems
    Storm Nordwind: and the very first problem that comes from that causes all the rest
    Storm Nordwind: In Buddhism the first problem is called "self-grasping ignorance". From that comes the second called "self-cherishing". And from self-cherishing comes every single problem in the world
    Storm Nordwind: And that is my "opinion" too! ;)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I see, I think...
    Storm Nordwind: Because we do not see what is real, we think of ourselves as an independent entity, inherently existent. That entity is very precious to us, and everything we do becomes centered on feeding, protecting, promoting the happiness of that independent self. And so on...
    Storm Nordwind: We grasp at self and then cherish that self. We put ourselves first. And from that come all the world's problems.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right. We are like dumb animals. ;)

    There's a way to address that, on a personal level at least. And this brings to mind Ways of Knowing and what they're discussing nowadays.
    Storm Nordwind: There is a group of Play as Being practitioners here that used to go to a workshop called Ways of Knowing
    Storm Nordwind: It was run originally by Stim Morane
    Storm Nordwind: In real life Stim has been a meditation teacher for 40 years
    Storm Nordwind: Now he has finished the workshop, the attendees are still getting together to discuss things
    Storm Nordwind: and they are starting with something called Lojong
    Storm Nordwind: which is a Tibetan word for Training the Mind
    Storm Nordwind: And one of the first principles of Lojong is this:
    Storm Nordwind: "Gather all blame into one"
    Storm Nordwind: In other words...
    Storm Nordwind: the root cause of all problems can be seen has reducing to one thing
    Storm Nordwind: namely, self-cherishing
    Storm Nordwind: So it's quite timely that you mention this.

    An old joke. I may have told it here before, but I forget.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: What did I mention? ;P
    Storm Nordwind: What the cause of all the world's problems is! :P
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh, yes! haha
    Storm Nordwind: As you get older, the second thing that goes is your memory! ;)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: haha
    Yakuzza Lethecus: second ? :)
    Storm Nordwind: Yeah... I can't remember what the first thing is!
    Lawrence Vyceratops: haha

    A very quick nutshell description of Lojong.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: So, tell me more about the lojong.
    Storm Nordwind: Hmm... in a nutshell, it is a practice that changes the way you interact with others
    Storm Nordwind: It can start with realizing the suffering that you experience in your own life
    Storm Nordwind: and then seeing that you are not alone in that suffering
    Storm Nordwind: thus allowing you to develop compassion
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Oh, ok. That all sounds good.
    Storm Nordwind: This allows you, in a sense, to first equalize yourself with others
    Storm Nordwind: and then to "exchange self with others" as a kind of empathy exercise
    Storm Nordwind: And then to cherish other peoples interests too
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right, and we were saying earlier that there must be agreement.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: In seeing what is...
    Storm Nordwind: Sure... but here's the catch...
    Storm Nordwind: In putting others first, you don't necessarily have to agree with them!
    Storm Nordwind: (After all, you can't force people to know what is right)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Right...

    The bell on the hour. We're all appreciative of the disussion, but we all have to go.
    Lawrence Vyceratops: Gonna have to go in a minute...
    Storm Nordwind: That's OK. Hope to see you again :)
    Yakuzza Lethecus: thx you both for your thoughts! lawrence i really thank you for keeping this discussion with storm alive :)
    Lawrence Vyceratops: I enjoy coming here. I'm sure I'll return.
    Yakuzza Lethecus: i really found it pleasant to follow your reflections storm!
    Storm Nordwind smiles
    Storm Nordwind: You're very kind Yaku
    Yakuzza Lethecus: cya both
    Storm Nordwind waves
    Lawrence Vyceratops: See you, guys.
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