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Man or Machine?

Discussion in 'Mind, Body & Spirit' started by olmate, May 14, 2011.

  1. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Out early this morning on the bike – cold air in the face, heart pumping, the cogs on the bike making a busy hum, mind racing and sensations rising as the pace increased.

    The week just ended was akin to the inside of a tornado. Stepping out of the tornado into stillness and silence each day tested both patience and faith. Doubt’s knock every now and again, particularly in the height of the day to day storm. Airports, advertising overload, negotiation fatigue and the endless demands for more…

    Our materialist society urges the questions to be “what is in all of this for me?” “Where is this spiritual path taking you and what will you get?”

    It must have been the cold air in the face…

    It occurred to me that the subtly of thinking of life as a basic mechanistic model and that life is a mechanical operation – is just like riding the bike – or is it?

    In the hurley burley of the day is it about dealing with life by mastering the “procedures” of life? No… that means experience, MORE TO THE POINT THE VITALITY OF EXPERIENCE… the NOW doesn’t get a look in.

    I remind myself that my daily meditation practice is a critical “experience” as it frees this Soul from the mechanistic view of self and society. Spiritually it too is of supreme importance because it seems it is the most practical step that one can take to rediscover oneself not as a machine or a mechanistic cog in some vast assembly line but knowing ourselves as possessing an infinite depth of mystery.

    My teachers speak of this but when the words cease, it is for me – each of us ... to experience.

    Knowing follows…

    Yep cold air on the face…

    Olmate
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
  2. Ramai

    Ramai Member

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    Hi Olmate,

    Our materialistic society taught us that the reason we live, is to fulfil our needs. The reality is that without needs or challenges we wouldn’t grow, evolve.
    In the beginning of our path we may or may not know that we possess an infinite depth of mystery because the focus is me and what’s in it for me. Meditation practice, contemplation, eventually unveils the feeling that we are that infinite mystery and changes our focus from a taker to a giver.

    “Reality exists only where the mind creates a focus” Sutra from Mahayana Buddhism
    Love,
    Ramai
     
  3. M L K

    M L K Member

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    Beautifully said, Ramai! Opening to mystery and suspending the need to have all the answers is one of the most important steps we can take. Margaret
     
  4. MetaCognition

    MetaCognition Member

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    In many ways we are like machines. We have basic needs and run on a very similar cycle to machines, which naturally, mimic the flow of life that every organism seems to go through. To gloss over this fact, to me, seems to be a mistake. The depth of life can first be found on the surface, because in the end, that is the only way to communicate our experience. Spirituality is just another cog in the machine that is infinite.
     
  5. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Ramai and Margaret,

    Lots of us are wrapped up in the day to day dross and trivia of our lives. And in saying that I am not being critical. We all have things to do like laundry, dishes, picking up dog droppings and the like. That is good.

    But every now and again we are taken to places that can have implications for a much wider circle than the immediate here and now.

    Last week took me to the Senate in Canberra to give evidence before a Senate committee on an environment related issue. Sitting there before those people bought up close the idea of speaking from beyond myself (if that makes sense).

    Within the contexts of your comments, is there more you can say about that in these circumstances?

    I in no way put myself in this class, but how do you think Ghandi and Mother Teresa responded to these wider "community conversations" at the personal level?

    So yes this week I have stepped staight back into the tornado. Your wisdom as always is most welcome.

    Don
     
  6. M L K

    M L K Member

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    Mystery

    Hi, Don. When I mentioned the importance of opening to mystery -- and I think I'd like to make that Mystery -- what I had in mind was the fact that my healing process of the last 25 years or so began with seeing the necessity of loosening the grip of my analytical mind. I had become so thoroughly westernized via academic pursuits that I chose to always lead with my intellect (and I'm not saying my intellect was necessarily any great shakes, just that I always led with it). I still think the intellect is a very important tool, but now a secondary one for me, and of little use without my intuitive GPS system. :)

    I didn't see the need to reclaim right-brain function and intuition all by myself, but was gifted with some no-nonsense guidance in my dream state. Now, if you are wondering why someone so invested in her intellect would pay attention to her dreams, it was because I had hit bottom emotionally for quite some time and knew my old way of being in the world wasn't working; I had had a powerful Reiki experience (which I entered into as a total skeptic, at least on a conscious level); and because the dreams were very clear, very strong, and compelling -- oh, and repetitive.

    Congrats on taking your strong and loving spirit to the Senate. I think I know exactly what you mean by "speaking from beyond myself." I have participated in human-rights work over the years -- and I'm sure the fact that I did it in the early years from an insufficient depth, and with too much attachment to desired outcomes, contributed to my depression decades ago. I still do that work. I try to take it less personally but hopefully no less passionately. To that end, I try to do it "from beyond myself," my ego-self, too.

    I am moved by Gandhi's assertion that he had no enemies, only opponents. My sense is that he saw himself participating in the Body Politic's ongoing conversation about economic and social justice issues, and he wanted it to be a real dialogue. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi couldn't prevent an opponent from demonizing him, but he didn't want to demonize or in any way degrade the other. My understanding of those who practice radical nonviolence is that they are committed to the inherent wisdom and compassion of all, at least as latent capacity -- regardless how estranged people may be from their truer nature, regardless how violent their behaviors.

    I am no longer prone to depression as an activist, but am still a clunky enough work-in-progress. That said, I find that meditation helps me notice my reactivity in difficult situations and helps me find my deeper, more compassionate bearings (though not always immediately). And I have more of a felt (not just theoretical) confidence in the direction of this big conversation we are having about so many issues that affect the planet and all her species. I guess I want to say that Mystery, as I experience it, is loving and inclusive (of course), and I trust it is working through our best intentions and moving us to broader and deeper perspectives and a mutual recognition that we are hard-wired for community.

    This was a bit of a ramble, but I hope it answers your question somewhat.
    Warm regards, Margaret
     
  7. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Margaret,

    That is really interesting - all of it, and I do get what you are saying. So no I did not see it as a ramble at all.

    With the velocity of everything going on at the moment and the opportunities that are being presented to be part of a wider conversation, it does call for a little reflection. By that I guess what I mean that as part of being present, these sorts of questions are emerging from the daily meditations...

    Am I doing what the web of life needs me to do right now?

    Am I dancing (meaning being immersed in the flow of it) in this conversation or playing a "right - wrong" game?

    Am I being distracted by the surrounds the the perceived status of of those whom I am conversing with?

    Have I left the ego parked in the parking lot and speaking from a greater level of consciousness?

    Am I conscious of all of the busyness right now?

    Am I over analysing this? And on and on they go. And yes, there is an awareness of the presence of "I" in all of these questions...

    But all said and done, when all of these questions are pushed aside and the focus is on the now, a very different energy flows.

    Which probably cycles us back to the having faith, or letting go and just being present. A friend of mine who is an avid surfer often implores me to "hang on loose" and go with the flow. That imagery really cuts through...

    Thanks again for you wisdom.

    Don
     
  8. M L K

    M L K Member

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    "Mystery" informing everyday life


    Those are great questions, Don. Most of them point to the creative tension we necessarily live out between Emptiness and form, between non-dual awareness and the "I" acting on an agenda in the world.

    I understand what is meant when people say the world of form is impermanent and "unreal" relative to Emptiness, but what interests me more is how we embodied egos can transform ourselves -- and our collective reality -- by remembering our deeper spiritual natures. And so I wonder if it is so much about leaving our egos outside the meeting room, as it is about opening the ego to the needs and intelligence of the "web of life" and beyond. I'm not sure I want to entirely give up the notion of right and wrong on this level of reality either, although I certainly want to remain open to others' ideas of Right (and wrong) Relationship, and the fact that our views are always limited.

    Btw, I'm not disagreeing with anything you have said, Don, just thinking out loud as I find my way. I really appreciate the opportunity to think about this with you.

    Meditation does help me to be more present and discerning. Having become more quiet and peaceful in my life, I sometimes feel tempted to refrain from a particular involvement because it risks getting me involved in an ego fray (or other drama). But really skillful action would be remaining communicative, respectful, and peaceful even in the middle of such a fray, wouldn't it? My hope is that as I become more experienced in meditation, remaining compassionate, open, and unafraid will become my new default setting, so to speak.

    Another metaphor that has been coming to me recently is "center of gravity," and that mine wants to shift. Somehow that enters into this discussion, too.

    Anyway, what say we "hang on loose" and enter the flow, enjoying the practice and process of becoming ever more mindful in action? :)

    Thanks, Don. Warm regards, Margaret
     
  9. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Margaret,

    Oh if only we could leave the ego's outside the room. Maybe it's my warped sense of humour, but the imagery of an old western movie springs to mind where the ego's are hitched to the rail out front of the saloon like the horses to the hitching rail ....

    No, your observation rings true about the involvement of ego each moment by moment interaction with living this life. Maybe the difference is whether the ego drives the bus or is just a passenger?

    I guess a presencing practice that I have tried to keep front of mind is allowing a little space between the receipt of messages and the transmission of the response. A while back Don was delighted to smash back responses turbo charged with a healthy dose of emotion to speed it on its way. Now with the benefit of increased awareness of consciousness, I have a greater level of discipline to leave a space to see what emerges before responding - sans the emotional turbo charger.

    In that little space - that previous reference to speaking beyond myself - I am often surprised (and usually delighted) with what emerges beyond my ego.

    In respect to right wrong thinking - again the practice tries to distill forming an absolute position - this is right or this is wrong - to trying to keep a space clear for the next piece of the conversation to emerge. This is a little hard to describe, but I guess part of the practice also involves a healthy dose of trying to suspend judgement as much as possible.

    Naturally this is still very much work in progress and skinned knees are still a regular occurence.

    I guess the other observation with my own practice of choice is my meditation practice or chosen path has a spiritual context. By that I mean that meditation is an integral part of my spiritual life. Learnings and insights from this practice for me are then sought to be applied to day to day experience. Personally meditation is a wonderful window into infinity. Again - nothing right or wrong about this choice from my perspective - just is....

    The centre of gravity concept is interesting too. I recall reading somewhere that the Earth's centre of gravity shifted after the Japan earthquake. Something to think about further ....

    Thanks again Margaret. Ego hitching rail, mmmm...

    Don
     
  10. M L K

    M L K Member

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    Your post is a great way to start the day, Don. I especially love the reminder about allowing spaciousness into our encounters and conversations. Interesting, too, about the Earth's center of gravity shifting. Hadn't heard that.

    I thought of you last evening as I was reading around on Joanna Macy's website; she offers theory as well as practical exercises for practicing "engaged Buddhism." Welcome to All Beings

    Thanks for your heartful wisdom and good humor, Don. All the best, Margaret
     
  11. Ramai

    Ramai Member

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    Please don’t take my long pauses or silences as a lack of sensitivity to your thread(s). I also have some winds that I am dancing with. The company I am working for has “evolved” into a corporation. Evolution implies extinction of some species; I am one of the dinosaurs:eek::mad::(:confused::eek::cool::):D:D:D:D.
    So, in this instance the answer is machine.
    Here comes the best part, I'll have time for 24/7 meditation :)

    Strange how some answers seem to be revealed in “mysterious” ways:cool::
    YouTube - ‪the fibonacci in lateralus‬‏

    I love you guys.:):):):):)

    Ramai
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  12. olmate

    olmate Member

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    Hi Ramai,

    The space where relationships between corporations and people happen can be a difficult place. As is the way some organisations choose to "evolve" and the consequences for those who apply their talents with them - both for those who stay and for those who leave.

    This web of life can be mysterious. Something that seems traumatic today can be a blessing tomorrow. We just don't always know that until tomorrow arrives.

    As always Maria, if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to get in contact.

    And no... silence is never taken as lack of sensitivity - particularly in this wonderful place.

    Don
     
  13. Ramai

    Ramai Member

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    Hi Don,

    I appreciate your kindness my dear neighbour and I hope the tornados season is over for you.
    This corporation evolutionary process took a lot longer than expected (almost 3 years) and it was very draining and stressful at times. I am happy to see the end of this saga.
    Meditation, this loving community and the spiritual “pointers” have helped me find peace and contentment even in these stressful situations.


    Maria
     

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