Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Liquid to Vapor to Concrete

Spent the weekend at the Land, and the experience at 47 differs from 30, the seventeen years producing a deeper perception and a willingness to permit certain elucidations to penetrate more deeply. The ability to contrast the two (47 vs 30) provided a quality of understanding regarding ego and the nature of what it suppresses to protect itself.

At these events we participate in special dances designed to produce certain results, and on several occasions my eyes and nose became a mess. I could still dance, but I had to move between pieces (instead of remaining still) to manage the embarrassment as well as I could with my sleeve.

After Saturday's lunch, a piano player performed. When she finished, a room of dozens sat in motionless silence for several minutes, digesting both meals. If one were made fully aware of the value of a moment of one's life, the question, "What do you want to do with the next moment?" becomes overwhelming. For some, the idea that we are so automatic and often run on autopilot via countless habits and programmed responses makes the question disturbing. Simply interrupting the cruise control (you can't possibly believe the chatterbox inside your head isn't 99% re-runs and learned reactions to a set of events) and consciously taking the wheel represents the extraordinary, and even further, if you get there, where to drive?

On Saturday, a woman arrived that I had never seen before. I found her very compelling. She has lived in Yugoslavia, India, the Middle East, and traveled to many other places. After dinner, in a place where I could taste the reality of being alive and the value of the next moment, I sat on a balcony overlooking the mountains at twilight, consciously choosing to feed my life with the experience of leaning over the balcony, seeing the trees below and hearing the wind blow through them.

She approached me on the balcony without speaking. I smiled and motioned for her to join me. We sat together unwilling to let the two machines babble their assessments of the right things to say. After about ten minutes, my eyes and nose did it again, and I almost broke the silence to apologize. When I turned to her, she was wiping her face. We stayed until it was dark. That half hour is one of the best experiences of my life.

Then I returned to Oakland for a different appointment.


Blogger John Rose said...

What makes you think that "consciously choosing" is possible? Couldn't your slowing things down and interrupting the ordinary flow of conversation could be just another "learned reaction"?

5/27/2008 7:18 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

A perfectly legitimate question not easily answered in a couple sentences on a blog. What I can promise you, and that's a PROMISE, is that there is a distinction between pure BEING and the automated personality and its programming.

The distinction is obtained through direct experience. Pay very close (or in many cases, it doesn't have to be all that close) attention to others, and one can see the machinery at work. The next time you go to a party or social event, watch the interactions carefully. How much of the behavior would you attribute to deliberate choice, and how much to automated responses?

Buddhists spend a long time working to experience what remains when they can get the machine to shut up for a few seconds.

If you know someone rather well, you know the machine rather well. I'm not kidding, you can drive it. (Be careful with this one.)

Learning one's own machine is a voyage of infinite depth.

5/27/2008 9:58 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Very interesting. I don't know John, but I would guess he is an intelligent guy in his twenties or early thirties.

At youtube some sacred dances are posted. Are any of them of the kind you performed? Will/can you provide a link to a dance similar to those you performed?

It has been several months, but the subject has been here before. X4mr noted that WATER is to a FISH as BEING is to a human being. I have not been to a place like x4mr is discussing, but I have been to some retreats about "mindfulness."

There is definitely a "higher" way to go about performing a physical task.

5/27/2008 4:53 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I've seen some of those posted at youtube. Some are garbage, and some are pretty good.

Disregard any that have new-age woo foo type music or look too attractive. Also disregard any where the dancers are young and good looking.

I don't know about the samasati dancers, but some of them look all right. Forget about those people by the pool. The osho stuff looks pretty good.

If you have time, the entire Meetings with Remarkable Men film is on line, and the tenth part shows dances I can vouche as the real thing. (Remember it's a movie, but the dances are solid.)

5/28/2008 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Concupiscence said...

x4mr. Maybe we could meet at Lake Merritt one day and chat about the future of the Desert rats. The philosophers define existentialism as "existence precedes essence." In that case Tucson would be Non-Existential because we are the reverse. "Essence precedes non- existence"

6/05/2008 1:52 AM  

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