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Everything posted by steve

  1. I feel like these two are often a matter of perspective and inseparable.
  2. Spotting a fake master

    Not if you come prepared...
  3. Spotting a fake master

    Studies show that sexual activity for many continues well into the 70s and 80s. I would agree it becomes less of a "big issue" (eg obsession or source of stress) with advancing age.
  4. What are you listening to?

    The system settings are such that videos and image url's that are copied and pasted from a variety of sites, including youtube, are automatically embedded by default. There should also be a notification below the embedded content giving the option to post a link instead. If you are copying and pasting a youtube url and it's not embedded automatically, I suspect it's related to your device or network settings.
  5. Spotting a fake master

    My experience here, and elsewhere, is that while I sometimes feel like people are referring to me with posts or comments, it's far more likely that they are referring to something going on in their own lives. That tendency to assume we are the object of someone's comments or expression is normal and natural but usually inaccurate and leads to unnecessary conflict. On retreat, someone once told my teacher they were blown away by how he seemed to talk to them so directly about their specific conditions and problems despite speaking to such a large and diverse group, and multiple other retreatants agreed. His response was that he is never speaking to anyone in particular, and doesn't really know anything about our individual lives, but that if we feel someone is talking to (or about) us then they are! Meaning it is something that is reactive and needs attention in us and something we should pay some close attention to. But it really has nothing to do with the other person. Zhuangzi's empty boat parable touches on this for me.
  6. Spotting a fake master

    On the one hand, there is no way to tell if someone is enlightened, or not. We may think we know but that is all projection. An enlightened master could lead us to believe whatever they feel is prudent in any given set of circumstances. On the other hand, anyone claiming they’re enlightened is not. Period. My opinion only, of course. Fake masters have a lot of tells. They tend not to show any vulnerability or admit mistakes. They often claim their way is the only or best way or that they know what’s best for others. They like fancy titles but don’t share who bestowed them, they often don’t reveal their lineage or teacher(s). They tend to talk more than listen and often like fancy clothes and trinkets and other external paraphernalia, often appropriated from other cultures, that helps sell their package. Their prices are often exorbitant compared to others. Their behavior outside of the teaching environment, how they treat others for example, especially when criticized, is often a dead giveaway. They tend to talk down about other styles or teachers, even about their own students. They like to put themselves on a pedestal and enjoy adoration. They get defensive and evasive when challenged. These are some things I’ve observed over the years in people who proved to be, or that I concluded (right or wrong) are fake or bad news.
  7. The Idiots Way

    Natural mind is like a jewel. If you’re looking for mind, you can’t find it. Even if you don’t look for it, it is never lost and never separate. ~ Geshe Dangsong Namgyal from Pure Dzogchen
  8. Know thyself

    To me this wonderful pith instruction has levels of meaning. To know myself requires that I look at myself with honesty and directness, as if in a mirror. It requires openness and clarity and I can greatly benefit from also looking at myself through the eyes of others. This has been a great benefit of engaging in this forum for me. As I begin to see the conditioned patterns, habits, reactivity, and tendencies in my thoughts, feelings, and behavior, they become less autonomous, thus losing some of the power and control they exert over my life and relationships. As I continue to go deeper with this investigation, new choices and opportunities emerge and I am no longer as limited in how I engage with life. I begin to see through the sense of identity I previously accepted unconditionally and realize who I have thought I am is, in reality, not who I am. With persistence, through coming to know who I am not, I have the opportunity to actually discover the truth of who I am, which is far more powerful and has far greater potential than I ever imagined. Here is an excerpt from a Bön dzogchen teaching regarding 'who I am' that I find inspiring - Its positive qualities are inconceivable, Like the revelation of a king's treasure. The one who rests within its true meaning Enjoys the inexhaustible wealth of its fruition. ~ from The Seven Mirrors of Dzogchen attributed to Drenpa Namkha
  9. The Idiots Way

    For me, this is a good and important point of distinction. All manner of practices and efforts may be necessary to bring us to the threshold of the unconditioned. No effort whatsoever can take us across that threshold, only release and openness to what is. No "one" can ever pass that threshold because that "one" is the very essence of conditioning.
  10. Dao Bums (here i am)

    My best wishes and prayers go out to Earl Grey for a peaceful and fulfilling life. Despite the occasional ruckus, I enjoyed his presence and passion and will miss him.
  11. Uploading pics

    Another option is to email the file to yourself. This generally gives you the option to resize before sending. A little extra work but effective if all else fails.
  12. Su nu jing

    That has been my experience, this advice was given when I first started so hard to know.
  13. Haiku Chain

    pining for Basho mooning for Arthur Rimbaud poets do inspire
  14. Uploading pics

    For now, I recommend you resize images or link to a url. Making changes to permissible upload size is above my pay grade. I will tag @Trunk and @sean to see if they want to weigh in on the question.
  15. Su nu jing

    My Daoist meditation teacher also recommended we not practice meditation during thunderstorms. His reasoning was that it was potentially too much of a shock to the system, though whether he was referring to the electrical effects, the general effects of the sounds and light, or all of that and more, he was never very clear. He is not the kind of teacher who encourages a lot of questions or offers detailed explanations.
  16. Dao Bums (here i am)

    No idea how that happened... I simply highlighted and quoted from LL's post. My apologies. I've corrected the attribution, thanks for pointing that out Mark. So wonderful to see those of you who shared photos! You all look radiant and wise to my tired eyes.
  17. Dao Bums (here i am)

    Liminal Luke said - It's odd that sharing a picture of my physical presence would seem so challenging when I've shared so many other details of my life here over the years. I think is that precisely why?
  18. Dao Bums (here i am)

  19. Seems as good a place as any. This is an astute and insightful observation. Most behaviors seem to be conditioned responses. The sense of self that claims to be the one who makes choices is simply an observer. There is some fascinating research that bears this out. Why? Why? Why?! The mind is very curious, always looking for explanations, often looking for someone to blame. It is a wonderful and powerful tool, it put the keyboard and screen in front of us so that we can ask each other these questions, free of restrictions of time and space. It is also the cause of so much pain and misery! The mind is insatiable and unrelenting. I suspect the answer to the question why is because these specific characteristics have given us an evolutionary advantage. Yes, so much time and energy spent in endless loops of rumination. We’re even thinking and talking about thinking too much! When we begin to see the endless, often pointless activity of the mind it can be exhausting, even frightening. Sure there is some degree of analysis and reflection that is beneficial and important but so much is unnecessary, even dysfunctional. This is the basis of a simple meditation practice - sit quietly and reflect on the activity of mind. Look back as far as you remember and slowly work forward in time, noticing just how much time, energy, and effort have been spent in thinking, worrying, over-analyzing, not finding a solution, disengaged from life and loved ones. How much time is spent lost in unproductive thought each hour, each day, over a decade, over a lifetime. Stay with this for a while, feeling that sensation of being lost in thought, how it pulls, disconnects, controls and amplifies problems through fears, judgments, criticism, … all of it. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of it, let it all go completely. Like coming home from a long arduous journey and dropping into your comfy bed you’ve been missing for so long. Feel how good and necessary it feels to just give the mind a rest. Release into the spaciousness of inner silence, allowing the thinker to rest fully and deeply. Not only angry or frustrated with it, also grateful and concerned for its well being, it is an important and beloved part of us after all. Feel the comfort and support of that space and openness and stay with it as long as you can. As more thoughts arise, let them come and go as they will but keep returning to the open, restful space that is the source . Thoughts and questions are wonderful and the clear, spacious awareness that gives rise to those thoughts has infinitely more potential than the limited sense of me that refers to itself as the thinker. The best, most creative answers and ideas come spontaneously, from nowhere, from simple presence and openness, the source of true creativity. My practice involves cultivating trust in the silence, in the openness of clear presence. We tend to always feel the need to fill this space but when we get more familiar with it the possibilities are limitless, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. We’re never more supportive for others than when we are present but quiet, listening to what they are saying, to what they need, rather than anticipating, projecting, and pushing on them what we think they need. Anyway, enough of a rant. I trust in the source of thoughts more than the thoughts themselves. The thoughts are often reactive and misguided, though sometimes brilliant. The source is pure and brilliance happens mostly when we’re quiet enough to allow the source to speak with our voice and act with our hands. This is where the various spiritual traditions converge for me.
  20. Mantras

    Both and I prefer practicing mantra with others whenever the opportunity arises. Online, not so much. Everyone chants aloud and the result can be very powerful and transcendent..
  21. Mantras

    Off topic, this is a technique my Bön teacher recommends when trying to understand an abstruse teaching or concept. I recall him first suggesting it when teaching on the 21 Nails of Bön which is a very esoteric series of descriptions of different characteristics or aspects of the nature of being. Negate the statement and consider the meaning of the opposite, then return to the meaning of the original. It can be surprisingly helpful. And now my mind is also softly repeating "irrational-non-explanation''.... I'll let you know if it ever stops.
  22. Tough Guy

    In my work, I deal with people facing pain and fear on a daily basis. Generally speaking I find women to be "tougher" than men in terms of dealing with pain. Big, strong, tough looking men often have the most difficulty, as do adolescent and young adult men. I think that "tough guy" mask is precisely there to help the person convince themselves, and others, they are tougher than they feel. Another clue to how someone will handle pain is how they view their own pain tolerance. When someone tells me they can take a LOT of pain, they generally cannot. When they tell me they don't do well with pain, they usually do just fine. We never see ourselves more clearly than when we see ourselves through the eyes of others.
  23. The whirling is done with the head still relative to the body and the eyes unfocused, similar to the resting state of the eyes among those who meditate with the eyes open. This lack of focus blurs the background and reduces the sense of external movement, helping to reduce dizziness.
  24. I think it's worth looking at the survey/scale itself and think about whether this seems to be a valid way of measuring the happiness of populations. Also worth considering the population surveyed to see who is actually being evaluated. This survery looks specifically Muslims living in Germany. I wonder how this would compare for example to women living in Somalia or Pakistan... Difficult to extrapolate the results to populations outside of Germany or Europe as living conditions elsewhere are quite a bit different. Here is more info on the Satisfaction With Life Scale that was used to generate the data.
  25. @Elysium @Keith108 You are both set up. Enjoy