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  • #400015
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi everyone!

    Today I am reading Four Illusions once more. It suggests that we can learn about the nature of  impermanence from every day objects and even our bodies.

    I have chosen to consider my dog.

    The fur grows and dies, shedding. It needs brushed daily. If not, the coat becomes scratchy. When wet, it needs dried. The dog is happy for the attention of brushing and drying. But doesn’t like being bored if the brushing takes too long. I have to be careful with the brush not to scratch her skin because that causes discomfort. When the sibling is brushed it displays jealousy, teasing it.

    Dinner is scheduled because the dog would overeat if given free reign. I believe that they track time by the emptiness of their stomach. The dog always knows when dinner time is.

    Excited for food, it doesn’t want to stay still or silent. The favourite activities are eating and walks. I ask it to sit quietly and wait because it is good practice. The dog is strong willed and craves to follow it’s desires. I add supplements to the food to aid the sensitive digestive system.

    The favourite treat is tripe, probably because of the pungent aroma.

    The dog is placid and obeys rules because it values freedom. It is afraid of wheels that create noise and abnormal events.

    It is easier to view things outside of yourself. The hunger is impermanent, it’s bodily functions and emotions impermanent. It is easy to see our emotions based on desire as permanent. I am often impatient and wish for them to change. But they always change, all I would have to do is sit  and wait.

    #400018
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Helcat

    Enjoying your thoughts

    Now I wonder if that is true. I have had my own thoughts over the years and seen how people are linked and shape each other.

    I’ve been playing with this thought as well. In some of the resent reading their is a suggestion that its not only the people we meet that we are linked to but at some level it is everyone.  A step further that at a cellular / atomic level we are linked to everything from the beginning. We are both the drop in the ocean and at the same time the ocean

    All of this linked to the notion of Karma as a natural reality. Karma not the  misunderstood as justice or  having to do with reward and punishment. The idea is that Karma are the lenses through which we see the world. (we see the world as we are not as it is). From that perspective Karma and memory, cellular memory to mental memories, conscious and unconscious are interconnected. The suggestion was that Karma is ‘memory’ which is a interesting thought.

    The past is memory and the future ‘imagination memory’ the goal then would be to create space from the past and future (memory – karma) and be spontaneously engaged in the present avoiding the creation of unskillful karma. In this way I guess we clean our lens

    Anyway I forgot my point. My thought was that the two notions – being connected to everything and Karma, how that is experienced is connected.

    #400031
    Helcat
    Participant

    @Peter

    Very true! I’m not quite there yet myself though.

    That is interesting! I haven’t read a lot about karma yet. It sounds like I have something to look forward to.

    That reminds me of something I read in Four Illusions. It said that it was a sin to know the future for it would lead to desire. My own experience suggests this is true.

    I had a unique experience with marijuana once. I’m not a fan, it doesn’t agree with me as you will see. I started perceiving time out of order. I saw a pizza burn and became obsessed with stopping the pizza from burning. The pizza ended up burning even though I tried to stop it. The secret was, I didn’t see that it would burn underneath.

    The experience made me wonder, do we experience time in a linear fashion? Or is that how our minds try to make sense of it similar to the way we interpret our vision which is originally upside down and reversed. Are acting out a story in a way that makes sense to us? If so, like watching a movie, we are just along for the ride. Will the future happen regardless while our desires cause pain?

    I don’t know about you Peter, but I have had such a unique life. So many unlikely things have converged for it all to happen. Somehow I find myself believing in more than I expected to.

    #400178
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi everyone!

    Today with Four Illusions we are discussing familial love.

    It points out that most love is conditional. If someone behaves in a way we disapprove of, many of us retract our love.

    I have seen this happen many times. Sometimes people have a black and white mindset. What we disapprove of is bad, therefore they are bad. People who are happy to know you when they are enjoying your company can quickly turn their back when displeased.

    Personally, I don’t identify with this mindset. I like discussing and resolving problems unless significant harm is caused. I believe that it is possible to feel more than one thing at the same time. I can be hurt or angry and still love.

    But it is hard for me to be vulnerable in those situations. I feel defensive and I don’t like backing down first when someone is being confrontational.

    #400348
    Peter
    Participant

    @Helcat
    I’ve never tried marijuana but read a pit on the therapeutic potential of some psychedelics under controlled conditions. but not sure I’m brave enough.  My experience with time is that at a subjective and dream level the past, present and future occur together in the same moment. While our objective experience of time is linear. As you say the mind – ego consciousness – needs to make sense of what happens.

    I feel the same way. You can be hurt, angry and still love.

    Interesting as I’ve been  thinking about this a lot lately.  When someone says God is Love what are they saying? to be it begs the question what is Love – if G_d is mystery and unknowing what does such a statement say about our expectation of Love. I suspect when people use the word love they only associate the positive feelings and experiences with the word. How can a negative experience be love?

    My thoughts for what they are worth.
    I’m going to disagree and say Love, at its highest level IS, and as such beyond conditions – G_d is Love – Life is Love – all of IT  the joys, wonders and horrors is Love.  Love at such a level is beyond language and dualist thinking (problem of opposites) Perhaps only Buddhas and Saints 🙂

    At the personal level when people hear unconditional love I wonder if they are thinking unconditional allowing which is not love.

    Love as experienced unconditionally involves having healthy boundaries. A paradox, or perhaps not. To be loved by another to be seen, to be heard, to matter who we are, what we do , what we say must matter and that requires boundaries of accountability, responsibility which create experiences of meaning, purpose…

    The experience of being loved and loving has conditions, boundaries. While LOVE is unconditional. One can, as you noted, Love while, angry, disappointed, hurt, fearful, happy, joyful… and even when, especially when,  holding others and oneself accountable.

    I wonder if that makes sense. words can be so troublesome.

    #400352
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Everyone!

    I tried to post this yesterday. Hopefully it will stick the second time around!

    Yesterday’s topic while reading Four Illusions was confronting our fear of death.

    I have experienced the death of my step father and pets.

    I have almost died myself a few times.

    My mother was fond of suffocation and drowning. I practiced free diving breathing techniques to survive this. I was scared of dying in this violent way.

    As a teenager I drowned in a river. The same breathing techniques I learned as a child helped to save my life once more. I was very lucky that friends I was with pulled me out of the water and resuscitated me. This was a unique near death experience. I felt my organs shut down to preserve energy, my vision went black. There was white light everywhere and I felt peace. The last thing I remember thinking was that my friends didn’t have much time left to save me, but it was okay if they couldn’t make it.

    As an adult I was very sick and diagnosed with a tumour. It was a very unique time, I both wanted to die because of how much pain I was in and yet was afraid of dying. Somehow I had hope that my condition would improve. I wasn’t ready to go yet because there were many things that I still wanted to experience.

    Would anyone else like to share any experiences related to death?

    #400382
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi @Peter

    Thank you for sharing your insight!

    I grew up in a religious cult while being abused so for a long time I was angry at God. I blamed him for the bad things that happened. I prayed for him to save me and I thought he didn’t answer.

    I waited for a long time and an opportunity arose to escaped that situation. Perhaps, giving me the strength to get out of the situation myself is an answer to my prayers?

    I could say, why was I put through those experiences all of that pain? But the alternative, a different sperm would have created a different person. Would I wish those experiences on anyone else? No. Would others have been able to recover from this treatment? Not all can.

    I could ask why does pain exist in general? Can’t we get rid of it? But there are people who physically can’t feel pain and they accidentally severely hurt themselves for that reason. Ultimately, it is a natural part of life. We all get sick, grow old and die. Pain tells us when something is or was wrong.

    Personally, I like the saying that you cannot  experience joy without experiencing sorrow. I like the idea that the spectrum of emotion gives colour to our lives and that we learn from contrasting experiences.

    I would agree, I think many people assume it means tolerating poor behaviour.

    I agree, love requires healthy boundaries. Without it we are not loving ourselves. I believe that love also based on mutual respect. Definitely, that makes sense. I like that! Love means holding others and oneself accountable.

    Thank you Peter!

    #400430
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Everyone!

    Today’s topic when reading Four Illusions is pain.

    It describes suffering as physical pain, parting from what is pleasant, meeting what is unpleasant, wanting and not getting what one wants.

    Everyone experiences pain. Sometimes pain lies to us and has us believe that we are uniquely special in our pain and that no one else could understand it for the subject of pain differs.

    I have health issues and chronic pain. It has helped me to reassess my priorities. At one point I could not even stand or walk. Often we take for granted what we have, but when we lose it, it can be very difficult to recover. Chronic pain called into question every activity. Everyone has likes and dislikes. Would you do something that you disliked if it caused you immense pain? Stress worsens my pain so I had to reconsider the stressors that I allow into my life. I considered what I wanted from life, what truly brings me happiness.

    I have experienced suffering the book described. The tools I have learned to soothe it are self-compassion and patience. Life often dictates what happens to us, it doesn’t follow our whims. It takes time and effort to achieve many things.

    Once I saw a beautiful cathedral. The inside was ornate and lacquered with gold. It was a testament to the love of God. I considered the devotion of many people that enabled the gathering of resources to achieve this. This cathedral was built over many generations. It took 150 years to build. I imagined sons, fathers and grandparents passing on the skills needed to achieve this. The hard work throughout a lifetime to create something that wouldn’t be fully actualised until long after their passing.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Helcat.
    #400429
    Shilpa
    Participant

    Some of the beautiful Budhha quotes.

     

    #400448
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi @Shilpa

    Thank you for sharing the wonderful quotes! Please feel free to share whenever you wish. 😊

    My favourites are the 1st and the 3rd! I appreciate the dual nature of whole. I agree, people only enhance our lives from what we already have. Only we can make the changes needed to help ourselves.

    #400458
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Everyone!

    I just wanted to share a great movie I watched that has some Buddhist themes Everything Everywhere All At Once.

    Please let me know what you think if you watch it!

    #400853
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Helcat

    I grew up in a religious cult while being abused so for a long time I was angry at God. I blamed him for the bad things that happened. I prayed for him to save me and I thought he didn’t answer

    I hope I didn’t trigger past hurts with my use of the word G_d

    I grew up in a very religious community as well thought not a cult. My early experience of  God was as a ‘being’ constantly judging the bad and the good. Follow the rules = good, disobey = bad.  Most prayer was of the petition type — Please help me, let this happen, don’t let that happen… Of course such a God answered all prayers just mostly with the silence of a No.  Growing up I believe everything about me was wrong – life was not happening as I prayed it would therefore I was being punished which meant I was bad and not following the rules as I ought, even if it thought I was.

    Yeah fun times.

    Early on we talked about how in one journey always seems to be a returning home to see it for the first time.  I know that to be true. No matter how far I tried to leave those early years behind they always showed up and so I had to come to terms with my experience. Just hearing the word could send me into depression and I found I was interpreting any new spiritual language through my language of birth. Thus I cannot avoid the word God

    Even though I got to a place where God was no longer like Santa Clause rewarding the good and punishing the bad  I wasn’t able to throw away the word God. I needed a more skillful way to relate to it.

    You might notice that I often type the word God as G_d the intent being to indicate that the word is as a symbol that points past to self to a something, a experience, that is no-thing and at the same all-things.  G_d is also the experience of connection to everything – the drop in the ocean that at the same time contains the ocean.   It is the experience when language drops away,  when duality drops away (language like ego consciousness is dualistic by nature) and we are, G_d is, that stillness that is dancing…. ( Ohm – the sound of every word spoken and will be spoken, all-things – no-thing… have you noticed the silence that from which Ohm ends and starts….)

    What am I saying… I had to let go of my pavlovian reaction to the word God in order to begging to embrace what I was learning and so heal the past. If at the at the end of all our exploring we arrive where we started… it was work that needed to be done.

    Today even my relationship to prayer has changed. I prefer silent prayer, centering prayer…kind of like meditation/contemplation.. (No supernatural Being and pleading involved). Even the Lords Prayer has changed for me. Experienced as symbolic language its a prayer about centering oneself for the day. As above so below – G_ds will be done, As below so above – we are forgiven as we forgive (We are bigger then big and smaller then small, we are influenced by forces beyond our reckoning and we also influence – we participate in Life. Who we are matters) Thus we ask only for our daily needs and return to silence.

    I hope if haven’t confused the matter more. The above the long winded way of me explaining that when I use a word like God I do not intent it as you experienced it growing up.

    #400863
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi @Peter

    I’m sorry that you were hurt so deeply by religion. I’m glad that you have found your way through that pain.

    Not to worry at all! My idea of God has evolved too. Personally, I think organised religion which is very much a human construct is where the very human flaws creep in. Perhaps this is how we as a society have tried to make sense of it?I wonder can we even conceive of something so far outside the human experience?

    I believe more generally, in a higher power. I believe that there is something bigger than ourselves.

    Thank you for explaining your concept of G_d in more detail. It was beautiful! I am reminded of Buddha nature.

    #400865
    Helcat
    Participant

    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Hi everyone!</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Had to take a short break from posting because it was a busy and stressful week!</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Today’s topic is physical pain so I’m going to reflect on my experience of it. </span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Muscle tension is painful, yet I use muscle tension to suppress pain as it protects weak or painful areas.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>From a physiological perspective pain is related to nerves. Nerve impulses are generated and travel up the spinal cord, to be interpreted by the brain.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Several things adversely affect pain sensitivity, muscle tension, lack of sleep, stomach issues, stress, menstruation etc.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Several things cause physical pain, inflammation, muscle weakness, structural issues, lack of activity, over exertion, cold etc.</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>When my health was so poor I couldn’t stand or walk I needed a reason to get out of bed. I just wanted to take care of my dogs. This was enough of a reason for me to try and push through the worst pain. Ironically, now my health is under better control I am more pain avoidant. I am afraid of the level of pain that I was in when I couldn’t walk. It takes me at least a month for my pain levels to adjust to a new activity. It is difficult to face, considering that I will need to do this repeatedly for each new activity. I will have to find a way through this plateau!</span></p>
    <p class=”p1″><span class=”s1″>Some additional unrelated thoughts. Just as we would manage a healthy diet by being mindful of what we eat. A lot of Buddhist literature encourages us to consider what we allow into our lives and how it affects us. Who we spend time with? What we spend our time doing? More thoughts on this tomorrow!</span></p>

    #400866
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi everyone!

    Had to take a short break from posting because it was a busy and stressful week!

    Today’s topic is physical pain so I’m going to reflect on my experience of it.

    Muscle tension is painful, yet I use muscle tension to suppress pain as it protects weak or painful areas.

    From a physiological perspective pain is related to nerves. Nerve impulses are generated and travel up the spinal cord, to be interpreted by the brain.

    Several things adversely affect pain sensitivity, muscle tension, lack of sleep, stomach issues, stress, menstruation etc.

    Several things cause physical pain, inflammation, muscle weakness, structural issues, lack of activity, over exertion, cold etc.

    When my health was so poor I couldn’t stand or walk I needed a reason to get out of bed. I just wanted to take care of my dogs. This was enough of a reason for me to try and push through the worst pain. Ironically, now my health is under better control I am more pain avoidant. I am afraid of the level of pain that I was in when I couldn’t walk.

    It takes me at least a month for my pain levels to adjust to a new activity. It is difficult to face, considering that I will need to do this repeatedly for each new activity. I will have to find a way through this plateau!

    Some additional unrelated thoughts. Just as we would manage a healthy diet by being mindful of what we eat. A lot of Buddhist literature encourages us to consider what we allow into our lives and how it affects us. Who we spend time with? What we spend our time doing? More thoughts on this tomorrow!

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