2009.03.19 - Workshop 06

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    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Stim!

    Stim Morane: Hi Scathach

    Stim Morane: How are you today?

    Scathach Rhiadra: fine, and you?

    Stim Morane: OK, just busy.

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Eliza

    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Stim, Scathach :) Just sitting here because I might need to pop out early

    Stim Morane: Sure, np. How are you?

    Eliza Madrigal: Very well thanks, you?

    Pema Pera is Offline

    Stim Morane: OK. I'm getting ready to leave for a trip, so I'm a bit busy.

    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, enjoy. Where are you headed?

    Scathach Rhiadra: going anywhere interesting?

    Stim Morane: Morro Bay in mid-southern CA

    Eliza Madrigal: Nice

    Mickorod Renard: hi Stim

    Scathach Rhiadra: ah, sounds nice:)

    Mickorod Renard: Hi scath

    Stim Morane: Hi Mick

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Mick,Adams

    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Mickorod, Adams

    Stim Morane: Hi Adams!

    Mickorod Renard: hi eliza

    Adams Rubble: Hello Scath, Eliza and Mick again :)

    Wol Euler: hello scath, eliza, ari

    Storm Nordwind is Offline

    Mickorod Renard: Hiya Adams;-)

    Wol Euler: hello stim

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Wol:)

    Eliza Madrigal: Fefonz, Wol, hello

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Fefonz

    Fefonz Quan: Hello Stim, Scath,

    Adams Rubble: And Hi Stim :)

    Eliza Madrigal: Arisia, hi

    Fefonz Quan: and adams, wol, mick again :)

    Storm Nordwind is Online

    Adams Rubble nods to Fefonz and Storm and Wol :)

    Mickorod Renard: Hiya Fef

    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Storm

    Storm Nordwind: Hi guys. Relogged to clear problems

    Stim Morane: I'm getting too much lag ... I'll have to try using another computer. Back in a while, sorry!

    Wol Euler: good luck, stim. hb

    Storm Nordwind: It's not just you!

    Wester Kiranov is Online

    Adelene Dawner is Online

    Storm Nordwind is Online

    Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...


    Pila Mulligan is Online

    Teleport completed from http://slurl.com/secondlife/Braunworth/171/235/178

    Connecting to in-world Voice Chat...


    Adams Rubble: Hello Pila

    Pila Mulligan: greetings

    Mickorod Renard: hi wester, pila

    Stim Morane: well, let's see what happens.

    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Pila

    Stim Morane: This coming Saturday I will be leaving for a 9-day retreat with some of my students, and so I won’t be able to join you next Thursday March 26. But I will return to the café on April 2. You are, of course, welcome to drop in next week anyway, if you’d like to chat together.

    Stim Morane: While the system is working today, let's try our little practice one last time ...

    Stim Morane: As before, we'll do a breath-following practice, with a view formed from several elements.

    Stim Morane: Follow the natural breath, count exhalations, maintain focus, don't lose the count, but be friendly and inclusive.

    Stim Morane: Also, look into what you're "including"

    Stim Morane: See the aliveness of everything that's being included.

    Stim Morane: I know that sounds like a lot. But it's really just one aware presence.

    Stim Morane: Include all "distractions" or obstacles that would ordinarily get in the way of focus and continuity.

    Stim Morane: We’ll practice for three minutes, and I’ll let you know when we’re done.

    Stim Morane: Please go ahead and start. I'll keep track of the time.

    Stim Morane: OK ... that's three minutes!

    Stim Morane: :)

    Stim Morane: I know you'd like to have more time ...

    Stim Morane: But maybe there were a few seconds in there for the actual practice.

    Stim Morane: When we first started this, I asked what sort of self was present during the practice.

    Stim Morane: Pila, for instance, said it was a "breathing self"

    Stim Morane: I asked if that self actually helped with the breathing.

    Stim Morane: What do you all think?

    Stim Morane: Does it help? Is it needed?

    Pila Mulligan: maybe :)

    Stim Morane: :)

    Stim Morane: Say more?

    Mickorod Renard: I thought it was a paralel self for me

    Stim Morane: I see

    Stim Morane: in what sense?

    Pila Mulligan: there is a time when you are just taking off when you may need more energy

    Stim Morane: Yes

    Pila Mulligan: once you're flying you can let it coast :)

    Stim Morane: yes

    Mickorod Renard: i think some mentioned multi tsking last week

    Stim Morane: yes

    Stim Morane: other views?

    Fefonz Quan: yes, i felt like that too nick, like the counting gets done in paralle to other things

    Bleu Oleander: more attentive, more aware

    Stim Morane: uh huh

    Adams Rubble: I thought the breathing was just happening but someone was counting

    Fefonz Quan: still with some sense of alertness

    Mickorod Renard: it did include some awareness of focussing too

    Stim Morane: OK, I see, Adams. And Fefonz, Mick. Well let's try it again ...

    Storm Nordwind: The breahing self seemed no different to the self that saw all the other things that came and went. My biggest impression was "poise". After counting to 26 (3 minutes) I felt I could go on forever

    Stim Morane: But this time, if any sort of self is seen as present ...

    Wol Euler: I got up to nine or ten a few times. It's not getting easier to maintain focus, at least not quickly, but I am getting much more relaxed about losing focus :)

    Stim Morane: I see, Wol. That's apt!

    Stim Morane: We should be friendly towards difficulties.

    Wester Kiranov: I was actually pretty irritated, but I finally remembered not just to include the irritating things but also the irritation itself

    Stim Morane: In contemplation, they are welcomed, not kicked out.

    Wol Euler nods

    Stim Morane: Yes, exactly Wester.

    Stim Morane: That's the point!

    Stim Morane: Because the higher knowing that's at issue htere is friendly to all.

    Stim Morane: pardon my typing

    Stim Morane: So this time, if you see a self present, INCLUDE IT BUT DON'T USE IT!

    Stim Morane: Do you see what I mean?

    Stim Morane: This is important.

    Scathach Rhiadra: just be aware of it?

    Stim Morane: Yes, with inclusive presential awareness

    Storm Nordwind: Sure. I suspect it's the only way it can work

    Stim Morane: But don't actually pick it up, put it on, and use it to do the practice.

    Stim Morane: Yes, Storm, right.

    Stim Morane: So shall we try that?

    Stim Morane: OK, 3 minutes! Go ...

    Stim Morane: OK, that's about 3 minutes

    Stim Morane: Welcome back.

    Pila Mulligan: :)

    Stim Morane: Did you find it possible to let the myriad forms of self image be present without picking them up and using them?

    Stim Morane: This is hard

    Stim Morane: big backlog of habit involved

    Mickorod Renard: mmm was just thinking that

    Wester Kiranov: I was wondering who was breathing

    Stim Morane: What's your answer?

    Stim Morane: Normally, we just say "I was"

    Stim Morane: But here we're leaving room for something else

    Wester Kiranov: Something was whether I was doing it or not. Because I was certainly not slowing down my breathing.

    Stim Morane: :)

    Stim Morane: We can let go of many things ...

    Stim Morane: not in the sense of shedding but in the sense of letting them function naturally

    Wester Kiranov: We breathe whether WE breathe or not

    Stim Morane: Yes. When the bits of our existence are all indexed back into the "Self", owned, they are part of a standard picture that's not very rich

    Stim Morane: Anyway, it's something to investigate. How much can we let go of the use of the self?

    Stim Morane: What can then enter?

    Stim Morane: I won't be pushing this sort of practice anymore, so it's up to you ...

    Pila Mulligan: may I share an image link,Stim?

    Stim Morane: Please.

    Pila Mulligan: it relates to the myriad forms of self image

    Pila Mulligan: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/96/25...386af6.jpg?v=0

    Storm Nordwind: Some people in some religions would be very worried by those remarks Stim!

    Stim Morane: Thanks, Pila

    Stim Morane: Say more, Storm?

    Storm Nordwind: How much can we let go of the use of the self?

    [14:33] Stim Morane: What can then enter?

    Stim Morane: Oh ... does it sound like an invitation to something nasty?

    Storm Nordwind: Some religions are worried about the possibility of possession - yes!

    Stim Morane: Yes, I see. I didn't mean that, but your point is well taken.

    Stim Morane: All I'm suggesting is that the ordinary sense of self is not who/what we really are.

    Stim Morane: It's just a collection of impressions, habits.

    Stim Morane: Not very effective, an obstructive in certain ways.

    Stim Morane: *and obstructive

    Stim Morane: But if we "include" it without "using" it, then we can see more of what else is present ... and significant.

    Stim Morane: There is a reality at issue here, one that is present in an unbroken way, friendly and welcoming, and appreciative in the fullest sense.

    Stim Morane: These little practices I've contrived are just meant to point at that.

    Stim Morane: Each of the three emphases I’m recommending are important to contemplative practice. Without continuity of focus and presence, contemplation is impossible. But an overly narrow or mundane notion of continuity won’t help much either, so we also need both inclusiveness and a way of registering what is being included.

    Stim Morane: The first is expanded and supported by the second, which is enriched by the third … each actually supports the others.

    Stim Morane: If you put all these together, you have a good basis for practice, and there is also a chance that something from a higher level will come forward and show you higher meanings for these three emphases: sustained presence, inclusiveness and true appreciation of what is being included.

    Stim Morane: there will be a natural and profound way to maintain continuity of presence, inclusiveness and appreciation. This Way or higher way of knowing is simply reality itself, as understood by contemplative traditions.

    Stim Morane: My little View-based practices are just fragments of the way an uncomposite reality is in itself, naturally.

    Stim Morane: Anyway, I won't be using this approach in our subsequent discussions. Just a little experiment ...

    Stim Morane: Questions or observations about it?

    Stim Morane: I understand that in our little SL meetings, or probably in our ordinary life, we don’t have the time to do too much practice, so I’m basically just indicating what the arc of practice might look like if it were followed intensively and patiently.

    Stim Morane: This is, of course, just a very sketchy and partial picture.

    Pila Mulligan: but very elegant, Stim :)

    Adams Rubble: It seems to pull things together

    Wol Euler nods

    Stim Morane: Yes. It could ... it's all up to us to apply it.

    Stim Morane: But I know you're all very busy. That's one of our biggest challenges!

    Fefonz Quan: Stim, why is the counting to crucial?

    Storm Nordwind: But this is something that we can combine into when we're being busy!

    Fefonz Quan: so*

    Stim Morane: If you're applying the practice while walking etc., you wouldn't want to "count"

    Stim Morane: But you could do the rest of it during ord life activities

    Stim Morane: The reason the count is important sometimes is that higher teachings and practices require a very stable presence, with no gaps

    Stim Morane: I see a great many westerners doing what they think is advanced practice when in fact they have huge attentional gaps

    Fefonz Quan: yet there are big gaps between breaths

    Stim Morane: There are gaps in the breath, yes

    Stim Morane: but there shouldn't be gaps in your presence

    Stim Morane: with truly continuous presence, many marvelous things can be seen

    Stim Morane: things outside of our ordinary picture

    Mickorod Renard: interesting

    Stim Morane: So fefonz, don't worry about the counting ... unless you think you need it sometimes.

    Fefonz Quan: yes, it's very elusive that presence keeping, it sneaks out so smoothly

    Stim Morane: I don't want to make a fetish of this counting thing

    Stim Morane: Yes, this is "unawakeness"

    Stim Morane: there are many forms of it

    Stim Morane: counting won't guarantee you are free from it

    Mickorod Renard: it was useful to know your response to the counting Stim

    Stim Morane: because in fact you can count perfectly and still be unawake in the higher sense

    Stim Morane: Why, Mick?

    Storm Nordwind thought the counting was useful for showing what continuity feels like

    Stim Morane: the counting is a very ord-level example of continuity.

    Mickorod Renard: well, I was wondering about it too,,like Fefonz. Now it makes sense

    Fefonz Quan: agree with stim.

    Stim Morane: But true continuity is on a much diff level

    Stim Morane: true continuity is beyond imagination

    Stim Morane: it includes other dimensions of being

    Stim Morane: on the other hand, if we can't count to 10 without being lost, then ...

    Stim Morane: :)

    Fefonz Quan: infact i felt i "abuse" the counting by flying away between breaths and coming back just to keep teh count going

    Stim Morane: Yes, we cheat

    Stim Morane: this is the problem with all small-minded versions of presence. We game the system.

    Stim Morane: So we can't expect too much from such things.

    Stim Morane: I offer it only in the full context I've provided here.

    Stim Morane: Not as a stand-alone.

    Stim Morane: It's like an educational system that just studies how to take tests

    Stim Morane: we should want more than that from our practice

    Fefonz Quan is a bad, bad, practitioner ;-)

    Stim Morane: Anyway, from here, I'll want to move on to other explorations.

    Stim Morane: Me too, Fefonz

    Fefonz Quan: yeY :)

    Stim Morane: It turns out not to matter, because we're learning to let go of the practicing self anyway

    Stim Morane: practice is actually something that never needs to be begun.

    Stim Morane: So we don't actually need to get really good at it

    Stim Morane: This is the real point

    Stim Morane: if there's enuf awareness to get a glimpse of that point, then the rest can play out in a diff way

    Stim Morane: great masters of the past also said they were bad practitioners, and they weren't just being polite

    Stim Morane: :)

    Stim Morane: it turns out you don't have to be good

    Stim Morane: hubris

    Stim Morane: So ... getting back to our overall scheme ... here in the café sessions, we will have to settle for modest levels of practice and very tentative inroads into theoretical matters.

    Stim Morane: I have long been convinced that theoretical discussions need to be based on experiment, or informed and focused experience (using this word very broadly).

    Stim Morane: The challenge for me is to find types of practice that we can realistically do and discuss in this type of format. I now suspect that we can’t go much further with the practice I’ve suggested so far, without a substantial time commitment in RL, which is not very realistic.

    Stim Morane: So … when I next meet with you (April 2), I will begin a new series of talks, based specifically on Buddhist Ethics. I propose to use very simple aspects of this traditional form of practice as the basis for new discussions which bear on life, reality, and perhaps even contrasting modern perspectives, including that of science sometimes.

    Stim Morane: I know some of you may feel uncertain about that kind of investigation. Here's your chance to speak up, if so.

    Pila Mulligan: thanks for your thoughtful guidance, Stim

    Stim Morane: is that a "dear john" note, Pila?

    Stim Morane: :)

    Adams Rubble: :)

    Pila Mulligan: :)

    Wol Euler chuckles

    Storm Nordwind: Will you still entitle the session "Ways of Knowing Workshop" Stim?

    Stim Morane: Yes, the title is still apt, Storm

    Stim Morane: But I will need to change the webpage in many other ways

    Stim Morane: I've just been extremely busy lately

    Stim Morane: The idea of the Ethics exploration is that I will give you things you can try in daily life.

    Stim Morane: Things that should be easy to do, and perhaps relevant to small and large issues

    Stim Morane: I like simple practices which bear on high view issues

    Stim Morane: You don't have to become "ethical' in the ordinary sense.

    Mickorod Renard: sounds interesting

    Stim Morane: I'm not pushing that.

    Fefonz Quan: SO NO VOWS TAKING sTIM ? :)

    Stim Morane: I will follow traditional teachings, but offer them on a multi-level basis.

    Fefonz Quan: (didin't mean to shout)

    Stim Morane: No vows, Fefonz.

    Stim Morane: But experiments, yes.

    Stim Morane: Would that be OK?

    Storm Nordwind: Views instead perhaps? ;)

    Fefonz Quan: sounds fascinating

    Stim Morane: Yes

    Mickorod Renard: ok with me

    Bleu Oleander: sounds interesting

    Pila Mulligan: not leaving :)

    Eliza Madrigal: :) yes

    Scathach Rhiadra: yes:)

    Storm Nordwind: Great!

    Wester Kiranov: I like that idea - I'll see how it works out in practice

    Stim Morane: I would, for instance, ask you to try working with something like "no lies" for a week.

    Wol Euler nods

    Adams Rubble: /md wishes this wasn;t such a bad time for me

    Stim Morane: But this is not the same as taking a traditional vow

    Stim Morane: It just means looking into your mind, and your tendencies

    Stim Morane: At the end of the week, you're done.

    Stim Morane: ... unless you want to continue, of course.

    Stim Morane: Anyway, that's what will be happening here for about 6 weeks.

    Stim Morane: I am pretty sure I can teach most of an entire tradition just in terms of such simple things

    Pila Mulligan: fibless weeks, what fun :)

    Stim Morane: But I'm looking for people who want to really work with the individual experimentts

    Stim Morane: yes ... Pila. But for me, our lapses will be more important than our successes.

    Pila Mulligan: I see :)

    Stim Morane: This is where the experiment really comes in

    Fefonz Quan: (fibless pila?)

    Stim Morane: :)

    Pila Mulligan: fib = lie

    Stim Morane: Sorry, gotta go ...

    Mickorod Renard: bye Stim,,thanks

    Stim Morane: So I won't be here next week, then we try fibless Pila

    Storm Nordwind: It's quite a deep experiment/ No lies / To whom? Others? Self? And only speech? Or thought and actions too? :)

    Adams Rubble: bye Stim :)

    Wol Euler: bye stim, thank you and have a successful retreat

    Mickorod Renard: have a good retreat

    Pila Mulligan: bye Stim, have anice retreat

    Scathach Rhiadra: bye Stim, thanks and enjoy your retreat:0

    Storm Nordwind: Likewise Stim

    Eliza Madrigal: Bye Stim, Thank You!

    Stim Morane: Yes, Storm. You get the idea. Lots of scope.

    Wester Kiranov: Thank you very much - see you in two weeks time

    Fefonz Quan: Bye Stim, thanks

    Wol Euler: I must go too. Goodnight all!

    Stim Morane: Thanks, everyone!

    Bleu Oleander: thanks all

    Adams Rubble: bye Wol

    Stim Morane: See you in 2 weeks

    Mickorod Renard: ok folks,,i am going too,,,bye thanks

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