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Mindful Musings

Which musing is your favorite this week? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know! 

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  1. Ram Dass quote

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    • “I don't give mindfulness such a major billing as you do, believing it is only one component of a Path.“ I teach impermanence, interdependence, cause and effect, emptiness and compassion, in a context of the four foundations, the eightfold path, and the allocentric / biocentric worldview I described above. I only give mindfulness major billing here because this is a ‘mindfulness teacher training’ course. 😉     
    • Hi, Jeff. I'm pretty much with you. I don't give mindfulness such a major billing as you do, believing it is only one component of a Path. Moreover, as you said, the term "mindfulness" has been appropriated and distorted in recent times. In the ancient teachings mindfulness arose from wise attention and was cultivated in combination with other Path factors along a spectrum culminating in a power and an awakening factor (mindfulness is the first of seven). Moreover, it was mentioned as working in tandem with sampajanna or clear comprehension. All of these contribute to liberating insight. At least that is how I understand the Pali Canon which more or less is the map to which I refer frequently. I especially agree with you about the misplaced value placed on individuality and I basically believe powerful sociopathic "individuals" exploited extreme shaming and punishments to impose such value on societies. Enough learned helplessness and forced cravenness can generate a lot of followers who wouldn't recognize freedom if it opened wide in front of them. 
    • I haven’t read NeuroDharma yet and am looking forward to it.  My work is  allocentric and “leftist biocentric” (deep ecology with an "anti-industrial and anti-capitalist" perspective) that recognizes terrestrial processes and the exoterrestial processes that drive them, as enabling and driving foundational biological / neurological processes that drive perception and cognition (consistent with contemporary science).  Within this perspective, modern idiocentrism (radical individuality) is viewed as a conditioned pathological alienation ... a dangerous dissociative amnesia that distorts perception and results in modern humans being unable to accurately comprehend what we are, where we are, and how these actually work. The human species, ravaged by this collective, very modern pandemic madness (an actual psychosis), has forgotten its organic place in the meta-environments that it is innately embedded in, that it evolved within, that it exists at the effect of, and that it is utterly dependent on for health, wellbeing, sustenance and survival.  This modern ‘all about me’ pathology, narcissism on steroids, which has driven the human species and the entire fragile thin layer of life here in Earth to the very edge of an unforgiving cliff, is the direct result of a conditioned, received, preferred, strategically-manufactured and defended / enforced hallucination of a separate ‘self’ that the ruling class  effectively exploits in the interest of annual, five, ten, and 20 year profit projections and enormous power.  ‘Smrti’ / mindfulness (remembering), properly comprehended and practiced, brings into acute focus what we are, where we are, and how where we are actually works. It is the antidote and “vaccine” for a learned blinding self-absorption that destabilizes society, erodes physical and mental health, distorts perception, provokes conflict / aggression / violence and that ultimately ends with the collapse of civilization and the ecosystem. Modern Western culturally-appropriated and deeply distorted ‘mindfulness’ is both a reflection and symptom of this deadly modern madness and a very effective tool of the ruling class.  Our goal as mindfulness teachers should be to subvert this paradigm and cultivate effective tools that dissolve the hallucination of ‘self’ and that help us accurately remember that the human biological organism / species only thrives when they submit to Earth and Sky ... as all premodern / ancient cultures knew and had a profoundly sophisticated and deeply detailed understanding of ... which modern people arrogantly and inaccurately perceive and categorize as so-called ‘supernatural’ (beyond the laws of nature), ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’ (all very modern Eurocentric concepts that date no earlier than 13th century Christian High Scholasticism), exactly as they have been carefully  trained to.          
    • Ok, Gillian, My Post above I thought would be Edit-able and could not do, just saying. Anyway, is this the right area to land my background? I am in McKinney, TX; have a Social Work/Managment Consultant background and spent 11+ years in Healthcare up in Massachusetts. I moved to McKinney, TX in Dec. 2014 and live with my Partner/Significant Other, Isabel. I am also a Professional Photographer. I have a Coaching/Meditation Practice having No Clients as yet. Helping others is my Passion; let me know if there is anything I can do for you! I look forward with getting to know others here! Namaste!
    • I am becoming a fount (I should have said "font") of malapropisms. I had at least 2 in my last post: "immanent" in place of "imminent," but best of all was "spiritualism" in place of "spirituality." The interesting thing about that last one is that in the 19th Century seances were very popular social activities as were Ouija boards when I was a kid. It is though many of us long for greater connection--to others and to something larger and more mysterious than ourselves--and we are willing to invest credulity in pseudoscience or the supernatural to fulfill that longing. Since Gillian introduced the Rick Hanson video into this thread, I want to draw attention to his recent book NeuroDharma that relates Rick's understanding of no-self, from his perspective both as a neuroscientist and as a practitioner of formal Buddhist methods, in chapter 8. The book is the topic of a bookclub on this website, but no one as of yet has really commented on this chapter. In my experience, nothing is harder to discuss with people than this topic even among people who are purported followers of Buddhist teachings in which anatta, variously translated as non-self, not-self, or no-self, is a major tenet. Moving from egocentrism to what Rick terms "allocentrism," goes to the heart of what I think Jeff has been saying. What I have observed is that people interpret this concept in accordance with other broader metaphysical beliefs, which are so varied among people and usually held with such moral conviction that it is hard to have a discussion about this topic. So, I offer Rick's book as at least one vehicle for arousing curiosity in it, investigating it, and maybe loosening a little our unquestioned clinging to our own beliefs. It is hard to get along with others in such a multi-cultural world that technology has made smaller and more accessible if we have to be right but have not sufficiently examined the basis for our beliefs.
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