When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

When the Waters Were Changed

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A story:

Once upon a time Khidr, the Teacher of Moses, called upon mankind without warning. At a certain date, all the water in the world which had not been specially hoarded would disappear. It would then be renewed, with different water, which would drive men mad.

Only one man listened to the meaning of this advice. He collected water and went to a secure place where he stored it, and waited for the water to change its character.

On the appointed date the streams stopped running, the wells ran dry, and the man who had listened, seeing this happening, went to his retreat and drank his preserved water.

When he saw, from his security, the waterfalls again beginning to flow, this man descended among the other sons of men. He found that they were thinking and talking in an entirely different way from before; yet they had no memory of what had happened, nor of having been warned. When he tried to talk to them, he realized that they thought he was mad, and they showed hostility or compassion, not understanding.

At first he drank none of the new water, but went back to his concealment, to draw on his supplies, every day. Finally, however, he took the decision to drink the new water because he could not bear the loneliness of living, behaving, and thinking in a different way from everyone else. He drank the new water, and became like the rest. Then he forgot all about his own store of special water, and his fellows began to look upon him as a madman who had been miraculously restored to sanity.

-Idries Shah, from Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years

When the Waters Were Changed: Legend repeatedly links Dhun-Nun, the Egyptian (died 860), reputed author of this tale, with at least one for of Freemasonry. He is, in any case, the earliest figure in the history of the Malamati Dervish Order, which has often been stated by Western students to have striking similarities with the craft of the Masons. Dhun-Nun, it is said, rediscovered the meaning of the Pharaonic hieroglyphics. This version is attributed to Sayed Sabir Ali-Shah, a saint of the Chishti Order, who died in 1818.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Now that's an interesting story.
Jyet, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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I love this story and can totally understand why he drank the new water eventually. As someone who has been on the sidelines watching the world and human crowd behavior for all of his life. Suspicious of the human tendency to form a group mind around whatever topic that group or society fancy at the moment. Maybe it would just have been easier to hold the same beliefs as the majority? 

What water do we need to drink here at Dho to fit in?

It also made me think about this classic book which I haven't read but seen referenced many times with the intriguing title.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds


  • "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one."
  • "We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first."


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_Popular_Delusions_and_the_Madness_of_Crowds
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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What water do we need to drink here at Dho to fit in?

Do we need to fit in?
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Chris Marti:
What water do we need to drink here at Dho to fit in?

Do we need to fit in?

I don't fit in here at the DhO. And I'm one of the moderators! =D

I was feeling lonely and sad awhile back and asked a mentor, "Where do I fit in?" His reply: "You don't. And you never will." Brutal.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Well, Andromeda, you were the first person to reply to me when I was new here, so to me you will always be the norm. Spooky, huh?

Sad story. There is a Swedish short novel by Niklas Rådström (?) that has a very similar storyline. It’s about a man who woke up in the morning and told his wife that he had dreamt that there was no Eiffel tower. ”What Eiffel tower?”, his wife replied. ”You are still dreaming, silly, there is no Eiffel tower. You must be thinking about the statue of Liberty that Eiffel built”. And she told their friends about that time when her husband dreamt that there was an Eiffel tower, and they all laughed. For a long time the man tried to explain that he hadn’t dreamt that there was an Eiffel tower, but that there wasn’t. And they laughed, because there had never been an Eiffel tower, and it was so funny that he was still caught up in that weird dream. After a while it wasn’t funny anymore. They all thought he was nuts. And so he resigned and played along, laughing about that time when he dreamt such a convincing dream about a tower that had never existed.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Well, Andromeda, you were the first person to reply to me when I was new here, so to me you will always be the norm. Spooky, huh?

!!!
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
Chris Marti:
What water do we need to drink here at Dho to fit in?

Do we need to fit in?

I don't fit in here at the DhO. And I'm one of the moderators! =D

I was feeling lonely and sad awhile back and asked a mentor, "Where do I fit in?" His reply: "You don't. And you never will." Brutal.

e komo mai, bra...

perhaps we could join a club for misfits (laughs)...

t
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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I don't know about the rest of you but I didn't develop and deepen a spiritual practice so I could fit in. It's the antithesis of fitting in, frankly, and yet it satisfies.

emoticon
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Chris Marti:
I don't know about the rest of you but I didn't develop and deepen a spiritual practice so I could fit in. It's the antithesis of fitting in, frankly, and yet it satisfies.

emoticon
aloha chris,

   If everyone agrees that we don't want to fit in...it's like saying that we all agree that common sense can be dispensed with. As andromeda says, "and I'm a moderator."

terry




from demello, 'the song of the bird'



DOMESTICATED REBELS

He was a difficult man. He thought differently and acted differently from the rest of us. He questioned everything. Was he a rebel or a prophet or a psychopath or a hero? "Who can tell the difference?" we said. "And who cares, anyway?"

So we socialized him. We taught him to be sensitive to public opinion and to the feelings of others. We got him to con­form. He was a comfortable person to live with now. Well adjusted. We had made him manageable and docile.

We congratulated him on having achieved self-conquest. He began to congratulate himself too. He did not see that it was we who had conquered him.



A big guy walked into the crowded room

 and yelled, '1s there a fellow by the name 

of Murphy here?" A little fellow stood up 

and said, "I'm Murphy. “



The big guy nearly killed him. He cracked 

five of his ribs, he broke his nose, he

gave him two black eyes, he flung him in

a heap on the floor. Then he stomped out.



After he had gone we were amazed to see 

the little fellow chuckling to himself

"I certainly made a fool of that guy, “ 

he was saying softly to himself, "I'm 

not Murphy! Ha, hal”




A society that domesticates its rebels has gained its peace. But it has lost its future.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Chris Marti:
I don't know about the rest of you but I didn't develop and deepen a spiritual practice so I could fit in. It's the antithesis of fitting in, frankly, and yet it satisfies.

emoticon

Me neither. But historically not fitting in can be a dangerous thing to do. Especially when it comes to spirituality. 

I'm grateful for friends, families, and mentors who have basically told me, "We think you're wonderful just the way you are, but you should hide like 90% of that so society doesn't shun you." Loving, but realistic. I'm lucky to have found workplaces where being a bit weird is more or less the norm and it's competence that counts. I overheard someone at work say today, "I don't think any of us could survive in a regular office with normal people." Me, with mock indignance: "Are you talking about ME?" Everbody just laughed.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Normality is overrated.

Now I’m tremendously curious about that 90%. emoticon
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Now I’m tremendously curious about that 90%. emoticon

I really set myself up for that one, didn't I? emoticon

It is mostly just the tendency to have very intense and often unusual interests and not caring about a lot the things most people do. That combined with a sort of Teflon resistance to socialization, plus having been raised by parents with some of these traits and spending a lot of time alone especially early on in life.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

Now I’m tremendously curious about that 90%. emoticon

I really set myself up for that one, didn't I? emoticon

It is mostly just the tendency to have very intense and often unusual interests and not caring about a lot the things most people do. That combined with a sort of Teflon resistance to socialization, plus having been raised by parents with some of these traits and spending a lot of time alone especially early on in life.


That doesn’t sound very different from me, but there are of course lots of ways of fitting that description.
Jyet, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:

I was feeling lonely and sad awhile back and asked a mentor, "Where do I fit in?" His reply: "You don't. And you never will." Brutal.

Ah brutal honesty! I have mostly made peace with the reality of not fitting in anywhere. I can't even try to take on the group mind. Sometimes I wonder though? Could this be a step on the spiritual ladder? Drink the water and become like everybody else? At least become like everybody else within a spiritual group and take on their group mind.....

Andromeda I’m happy to hear that you have found that kind of workplaces. I’ve always hid myself to some degree at mine, painful. Slowly executing on my plan to not have to work again.

Defiantly dreaming more of being a Sage than a Mage……..

Can totally see have this could be labeled escapism.....
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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The thought of becoming like everyone else within a spiritual group fills me with horror. Not my cup of tea. Doesn't sound like a very awake way to live. What would be the purpose of that?

The reality of not fitting in anywhere is something I've had to make my peace with again and again. I still need human connection just like everyone else and feel a strong urge to contribute to the wider world, though, so I keep working at doing that skillfully while also not submitting to conformity and groupthink. And not freaking people out too much by being overly honest at the wrong time. It's a tricky balance. I was neurodivergent from the beginning and deep spiritual practice has increased that, so I keep finding new parts of myself that don't fit in and having to integrate them.

As for workplace environments, I've worked hard over many years to be able to carve out accepting niches for myself. And I still hide a lot, more than most people--I'm a very private person anyway. But the combination of accepting environment plus having done so much work on myself in terms of communication/social skills plus spiritual practice means that it's mostly comfortable and rewarding rather than painful. Most of the time, I function as a sort of role actor and I do so joyfully. Wearing the mask of a professional persona is a good way to lose oneself, immerse oneself in experience with others, and get shit done efficiently and effectively. As Shakespeare put it, all the world's a stage. And work for me has been a very important part of practice for many reasons, not least of which that it challenges my ability to remain present under pressure. If we never put ourselves in difficult situations then we can't grow.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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I stopped trying to fit in long ago, although I do make an effort to keep people comfortable. I find that there are ways of not fitting in that make people relax about their own ways of not fitting in, and that can be an important contribution. I enjoy talking about diversity in ways of functioning, and luckily many people around me appreciate that. I suppose the rest of them have fled away by now.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I stopped trying to fit in long ago, although I do make an effort to keep people comfortable. I find that there are ways of not fitting in that make people relax about their own ways of not fitting in, and that can be an important contribution. I enjoy talking about diversity in ways of functioning, and luckily many people around me appreciate that. I suppose the rest of them have fled away by now.

That's key in my experience--I try to make other people comfortable. And when you get right down to it, there's really no such thing as "normal" and everybody is weird in their own way, so working to help others feel accepted really is an important  contribution.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Yeah, I embrace being fabulously weird, and surprisingly there are lots of cool people who appreciate that. Then again, my notion of what is cool is probably divergent too. I see coolness in most people who are otherwise often considered awkward or who feel awkward.
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Yeah, I embrace being fabulously weird, and surprisingly there are lots of cool people who appreciate that. Then again, my notion of what is cool is probably divergent too. I see coolness in most people who are otherwise often considered awkward or who feel awkward.


me too
(laughs)
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Regarding not fitting in, having to show a public face that involves a lot of acting (particularly when doing things like being a doctor), and the like, the DhO and its forum was created due to me living in Northern Alabama, wanting to have people to discuss meditation and related topics with, being flamed off of basically all available dharma forums at the time for talking about what I am into and what I was experiencing (things like insight stages, jhanas, etc., which were seriously taboo back in the day, and still are in many circles), and realizing that I probably wasn't alone in feeling alone, and so here we all are.

I am wondering what "fitting in" even is? I often don't feel I entirely fit in here, and this is my site. I have ignored the place for months when something was going on I didn't resonate with well. I have had people try to flame me off my own forum for practices I was exploring or points of view I have expressed. People have tried to take the place over numerous times and take the forum as their own. People have tried to split the community to follow them and disparriage others who stayed, and some have been at least partially successful in this. The site has been the victim of cyber attacks at points, though it is unclear if they were random or specifically targeted.

I rarely discuss my own practice here, as it is commonly misinterpreted and a cause of distorted comparisons, projections, and judgements.

Still, it is much better than the DhO not existing, I believe, and I see no better alternative for me, and so I continue to keep the place going, and I keep getting evidence that, despite the problems, it provides a lot of good for those who appreciate what is found here and the support of this raggle taggle community of misfits and weirdos, with no disrespect to those who don't feel like a misfit or a weirdo, as there are likely some of those here also, and you should feel equally welcome! ;) 
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Well Daniel, I will just say I think this site is amazing. Thank you.  And it is maybe THE pioneer of pragmatic dharma in the age of internet online learning.  But it must be really tough being a public founder, as people inevitably try to fit you into all kinds of pre-existing archetypes that bear little relationship to who you actually are (and I am guilty of that too).  But I hope you can take the diversity and turbulence as a sign of vibrancy, and success. At least you are avoiding the cult-like features that follow so many spiritual pioneers!

Anway, I was reading this thread ealier and I couldn't help but think of the classic scene from Monty Python's The Life of Brian.  Brian is trying to persaude the adoring crowd to leave him alone, and he cries out "Look, you are all individuals!".  And the crowd replies in perfect unison "Yes, we are all individuals!" ... except for one lone voice at the back who calls out "Er ... I'm not."

We should get that last guy on to the DhO. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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We totally should.

And I agree that this is an amazing site. It’s a life saver.

And as much as I would be very interested in reading about Daniel’s own practice, I respect the decision not to share it here. Being subjected to all sorts of projections and comparisons and distorted interpretations - I can see why it sucks.

As for fitting in - I was recently recommended to join this site, as it would probably suit me, so apparently I at least fit some stereotype.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Oups... I think I just did the ”Er... I’m not” thing. Curious, mission accomplished. emoticon
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Oups... I think I just did the ”Er... I’m not” thing. Curious, mission accomplished. emoticon

Ha! Monty Python's Life of Brian, I should watch that again. I was just re-reading the internet classic What is the Monkeysphere? from Cracked.com last night and it made me laugh just as hard as years ago. We silly monkeys have it hard, misfits or not, especially when we get together in groups, even if they are just internet-based groups. Thank goodness for humor.

I'm glad this place exists, even if it is the Wild West. And it's been pretty low-drama lately which has been nice. 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Wild west? De ja vue. This isn’t the first time I have unknowingly joined a forum that was like that and found it to be very nice and cosy.

In one forum I used to chat with a guy about how he was creating a paradise for his hamster. I thought it was so cute. It turned out that he was the dysfunctional troll that had rampaged the forum for ages. After a while, he realized that he had shown a vulnerable side, disappeared and never came back. I missed the guy.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Yeah, I don't have a lot of patience for rampaging dysfunctional trolls. They tend to just use people as sources of narcissistic supply in various ways and generally spoil things for everyone else. They wreck communities because the people who care and can play reasonably well with others won't stick around that kind of dysfunction. I used to play a lot of online video games where you run into those sorts of people on pretty much a daily basis, but most games developed features that make it fairly easy to boot them from groups or mute them. It's trickier with internet forums.
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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This site has not always been fun and inviting. There have been times when it was not worth the time to visit, elt alone participate. Its value has hinged most often on who is managing during Daniel's various times of being absent. That caused some of the splinters or, as shargol would say, the schisms.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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He didn’t use me. I deliberately led the conversation into nicer stuff. When he wrote hostile things, I ignored it, and so did everybody else at that time. When he wrote about his hamster or art, I responded. So for a while he was really nice. Then he realized it and couldn’t cope with it, so he took off, probably to a place where people reacted to his rampaging. Too bad. There was some hope for him. He wasn’t narcissistic, but he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. He never came back again. This was eight years ago or something like that. Before I came to the forum, he had been banned about 15 times and come back. I scared the poor guy off by seeing the good in him. He couldn’t take it.

Why is it that being vulnerable scares people so much? I don’t get it.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
He didn’t use me. I deliberately led the conversation into nicer stuff. When he wrote hostile things, I ignored it, and so did everybody else at that time. When he wrote about his hamster or art, I responded. So for a while he was really nice. Then he realized it and couldn’t cope with it, so he took off, probably to a place where people reacted to his rampaging. Too bad. There was some hope for him. He wasn’t narcissistic, but he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. He never came back again. This was eight years ago or something like that. Before I came to the forum, he had been banned about 15 times and come back. I scared the poor guy off by seeing the good in him. He couldn’t take it.

Why is it that being vulnerable scares people so much? I don’t get it.

What makes you certain the reason he left is that he was scared because you saw the good in him? "Don't feed the trolls" is pretty standard internet advice. When trolls don't get fed, they go somewhere else where they can get what they want. I'm just sayin'!

My brother-in-law has borderline personality disorder and spent years in dialectical behavior therapy learning how to manage it. Now he works in the mental health field and helps others with similar issues. We've talked a lot about personality disorders and he feels strongly that failing to set and enforce appropriate boundaries on bad behavior is harmful to everyone involved, but especially the person exhibiting the bad behavior.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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That’s a pattern I have seen with more people with similar behavior. After displaying vulnerability, they disappear. It’s rather predictable, sadly enough. And that IS not feeding the troll. The troll is the need for feeling invulnerable and in control.

What makes you think I don’t set appropriate boundaries? You can rest assured that I do.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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My comment wasn't about YOUR boundary setting--good to hear that you do. The point I was trying to make is that it isn't good for internet forums (or anywhere else) to let trolls rampage around with bad behavior. Sorry if that was unclear. I was thinking vaguely of the concept of "tragedy of the commons" and not you specifically.

I should say, my perspective on this has been colored by plenty of my own experiences. And I've done a fair bit of informal counseling of people who've been victimized or who are in dangerous relationships. Just this week, in fact. A big part of my spiritual path has been martial arts and I don't like seeing people acting as doormats for abuse because of their conditioning. Call it karma, if you will. My Catholic grandmother let her husband (a violent psychopathic criminal) beat her for years because her pastor told her divorce was a sin and she thought that if she loved him enough he would change. Fortunately, she did eventually leave before he killed her but she and her children were permanently scarred by the experience with devastatic consequences. Of course, there was good in him like there is good in everyone. But it would have prevented a lot of pain if she'd walked away from that bad behavior sooner.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Right. Thanks for clarifying! I felt that there were some ”energies” (sorry for the new agey wording) in motion between the lines but couldn’t tell what it was. If you had to deal with that so recently, I understand. That’s tough. Horrible to see.

Well, this kiddo stopped rampaging the forum altogether and started talking about his hamster, whom he loved deeply, and then he disappeared. Nobody was hurt in the process. He probably continued his rampaging somewhere else instead. I’m pretty sure ha had never had a relationship. He had been bullied as a kid and hated people. The only one he had ever trusted was his hamster, and he devoted all his time to creating a huge paradise for that hamster. That and trolling forums.

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. That was really poor advice from the pastor. I have encouraged people to leave relationships like that, too. The last case was successful. That friend is now very happily in love with another friend of mine instead. If I saw anybody starting a relationship with that ex of hers, I would warn the person off first thing. There’s not much hope for that guy in this life, unless a miracle happens. I grew up with abuse within my family and I’m not reproducing it.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Dear Andromeda,

Were you to change the DhO along the lines of your vision of what it would be like if you really did feel you fit in, how would it look, in an optimal version of the world? Or, said another way, what specific needs to you dream the DhO could or should reasonably fulfill that it is not?
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Andromeda,

Were you to change the DhO along the lines of your vision of what it would be like if you really did feel you fit in, how would it look, in an optimal version of the world? Or, said another way, what specific needs to you dream the DhO could or should reasonably fulfill that it is not?

I think the DhO is great just the way it is now. Me not fitting in anywhere is a me thing, not a DhO thing, and it isn't even a bad thing most of the time. Also, it's not like I'm the only one here not fitting in. It's the Island of Misfit Toys! 

Seriously, as long as the trolls and cults and drama are generally kept to a minimum so the focus stays on spiritual practice, I'm happy. 

Nice to see you on the forum, by the way.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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The Island of Misfit Toys sounds like a great name for a band.
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
The Island of Misfit Toys sounds like a great name for a band.

Google says it already is a band!

But the movie is still better.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Haha!

I can’t decide if it’s sad or comforting that so many people feel like misfit toys that there is already a band with that name. Maybe it just is.

As a child, I tended to love the misfit toys more than the others.
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Diversity is always the greatest strength!  No sustainability without diversity.

But I think the community also evolves and learns, as does western pragmatic dharma. Ideas get tried, resolutions get reached, things move on. People develop and change. Of course, the equilibrium may still be punctuated in new unexpected ways in the future. 

I wonder if there is a model for community development that is useful to apply here?
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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curious:
Diversity is always the greatest strength!  No sustainability without diversity.

But I think the community also evolves and learns, as does western pragmatic dharma. Ideas get tried, resolutions get reached, things move on. People develop and change. Of course, the equilibrium may still be punctuated in new unexpected ways in the future. 

I wonder if there is a model for community development that is useful to apply here?

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about diversity. 

Models for community development, hrm... I dunno. As you say, this community is evolving and learning as are the people in it, as we develop and change. Maybe that's for the best and we shouldn't try to fit it to any particular model. What do we know, anyway? The DhO is kind of like its own living organism. One of the most amazing things about this place is that it is a fantastic databank of useful stuff for serious practitioners that grows with every thread. We don't want to accidentally blow the place up and lose that.

Personally, I don't even think of myself as being a "pragmatic dharma" type, not really. A lot of people here do, but for all we know that could change in another 5 or 10 years. Who knows? I do hope the DhO will still be around, whatever happens.

I think I'm going to keep posting stories, though, because this has been a fun thread. 
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Also... Over the past couple of years, I've basically been doing off-site consulting for a meatspace spiritual community and it's one of those rare gems that is actually about waking up. And so I've seen firsthand what a delicate and precious thing that is, and how much work is required to make it happen. The Sufis apparently didn't think groups were conducive to real spiritual practice at all as they tend to degrade into either cults or a tea and cookies situation. And I think we've seen that plenty here in the West, and will continue to see more of it. I would hate for something like that to happen to the DhO. I care deeply about practice, and practice that leads to waking up--and staying awake!--in particular. 
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
Also... Over the past couple of years, I've basically been doing off-site consulting for a meatspace spiritual community and it's one of those rare gems that is actually about waking up. And so I've seen firsthand what a delicate and precious thing that is, and how much work is required to make it happen. The Sufis apparently didn't think groups were conducive to real spiritual practice at all as they tend to degrade into either cults or a tea and cookies situation. And I think we've seen that plenty here in the West, and will continue to see more of it. I would hate for something like that to happen to the DhO. I care deeply about practice, and practice that leads to waking up--and staying awake!--in particular. 
aloha andromeda,

   The sufti group is essential to sufi practice. There were "hidden sufis" but being a sufi involved affilitation. Every sufi had a "sheik," the head of his "order." These were not monastic orders, as the prophet, peace be upon him, recited "there is no monkery in islam." Sufis might be married or be wanderers, but they generally embraced poverty; the typical dervish wore a patched wool cloak (sufi means wool). Sufi orders were highly organized and exclusive, for the most part. Sufi "saints" were often regarded as saints by other religions as well. Sufism predates islam, being based on neo-platonism, especially the work of plotinus as transmitted by iamblichus' syrian school. "The sufis" by idries shah is good introduction.

   The forming of a sufi group is critical to sufi practice, and alternates with periods of isolation. The spiritual dynamics of groups is in my view the real genius of sufism. Of islam, even: the greatness of islam is the absence of racism, the breaking down of the distinctions people fight over and set boundaries for. That spoonful that everyone is fighting about, where even love is doled out as if in short supply. Islam means submission (to the will of god).


terry



from "the sufis" by idries shah, pp322-324:


Almost all Sufis, at one time or another, are members of one of the Ways which are called by Western scholars "Orders," in allusion to their supposed similarity to the Christian religious orders of the middle ages. There are several very important differences between the two kinds
of organizations.

The Order, for the Sufi, is not a self-perpetuating entity with a fixed hierarchy and premises, forming a training system for the devotee. The nature of Sufism being evolutionary, it is by definition impossible for a Sufi body to take any permanent form as rigid as this. In certain places, and under individual masters, schools appear and carry out an activity designed to further the human need for completion of the individual. These schools (like that of Rumi and Data Ganj Bakhsh, for example) attract very large numbers of people who are not Moslems, although Sufi schools have always, since the rise of Islam, been presided over by people who originate in the Moslem tradition.

Again, while Sufi Orders have specific rules and set forms of dress and ritual, these are not invariable, and the extent to which the Sufi adheres to these forms is determined by his need for them, as prescribed by his master.

Some of the great Ways have detailed histories, but the tendency to divide into departments of specialization means that schools at times share each others' nominal characteristics. This is because the Way is being developed by means of an inner necessity, not piloted by the externals of its apparent organizational framework.

So secret are many of the schools that when one of the greatest of all Sufis, Hujwiri (died 1063) wrote a book dealing with Sufism and the Orders in the eleventh century, giving inside information about them, it was actually assumed by some that he had invented or concocted part of the material.

Even this development itself, contrary to what people assumed, was a part of inevitable dervish policy . Data ("dervish" in Hindi) Ganj Bakhsh (Munificent One) is the name by which Ali el-Hujwiri is known in India. Born in Ghazna (Afghanistan), he is referred to by the Sufis as "the Selected," the man chosen to make known certain facts about Sufism and Sufi organization, for the purpose of its projection in the Indian field. Although by no means the first Sufi to settle in India (he is buried in Lahore, Pakistan, and his beautiful tomb is venerated by people of all creeds), his task was to establish there by his life and works a claim that Sufism was thoroughly consistent with the principles of Islam. His importance can hardly be overemphasized. As the Christian writer John Subhan says: "Ali el-Hujwiri's tomb may still be seen in Lahore near the Bhati gate. It has been an object of veneration and a place of pilgrimage for the best part of nine hundred years. All sorts and conditions of men, kings and beggars, have resorted to it through the centuries, seeking spiritual and temporal blessings. Most of the Moslem invaders and wandering dervishes, on entering the land, made a point of paying their homage at his shrine."
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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There is a sweet spot, isn't there, between dispute and agreement? Some constructive flow of ideas that energises a group. It's always amazing when it emerges, even more so when it sticks around. And I take the point about pragmatic dharma. "Pragmatic" is just a construction. All there really is the dharma, and the metaphors we weave around it. (And the idea of metaphor is itself just another construction.)

Thanks for the thread Andromeda! I hope we can live up to Daniel's vision.
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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[quote=curious

I hope we can live up to Daniel's vision.]





personality cult?

rather live down...

t
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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curious:
There is a sweet spot, isn't there, between dispute and agreement? Some constructive flow of ideas that energises a group. It's always amazing when it emerges, even more so when it sticks around. And I take the point about pragmatic dharma. "Pragmatic" is just a construction. All there really is the dharma, and the metaphors we weave around it. (And the idea of metaphor is itself just another construction.)

Thanks for the thread Andromeda! I hope we can live up to Daniel's vision.


all language is metaphor
a tree trees
a snake snakes
a real tree
a real snake
being real
is Unique
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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curious:
Diversity is always the greatest strength!  No sustainability without diversity.

But I think the community also evolves and learns, as does western pragmatic dharma. Ideas get tried, resolutions get reached, things move on. People develop and change. Of course, the equilibrium may still be punctuated in new unexpected ways in the future. 

I wonder if there is a model for community development that is useful to apply here?


try "dhamma and development" by joanna macy, about the sarvastavadin self-help movement in sri lanka...I don't know if it would help here but wonderful things can happen when communities work together to make life better for everyone... of course, we ourselves live in a society which lives high on the hog at the expense of most of the world...we would need more emptiness, more personal poverty, to really help each other...

perhaps we can evolve and unlearn...


t
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Andromeda:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
He didn’t use me. I deliberately led the conversation into nicer stuff. When he wrote hostile things, I ignored it, and so did everybody else at that time. When he wrote about his hamster or art, I responded. So for a while he was really nice. Then he realized it and couldn’t cope with it, so he took off, probably to a place where people reacted to his rampaging. Too bad. There was some hope for him. He wasn’t narcissistic, but he was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. He never came back again. This was eight years ago or something like that. Before I came to the forum, he had been banned about 15 times and come back. I scared the poor guy off by seeing the good in him. He couldn’t take it.

Why is it that being vulnerable scares people so much? I don’t get it.

What makes you certain the reason he left is that he was scared because you saw the good in him? "Don't feed the trolls" is pretty standard internet advice. When trolls don't get fed, they go somewhere else where they can get what they want. I'm just sayin'!

My brother-in-law has borderline personality disorder and spent years in dialectical behavior therapy learning how to manage it. Now he works in the mental health field and helps others with similar issues. We've talked a lot about personality disorders and he feels strongly that failing to set and enforce appropriate boundaries on bad behavior is harmful to everyone involved, but especially the person exhibiting the bad behavior.

aloha,

   It seems to me that not feeding the troll and shunning a human being are equal. I like linda's approach. People respond positively to a smile and a welcoming gesture, to interest in their hobby horses. Trolls are not happy people; like demons, beneath it all they want love, acceptance, respect and intimacy. We may have to withdraw from them for a time, but not by denying their humanity or rights.

   I think the practice of using anonymous handles leads to abuse. If people can't so easily pretend to be someone else, maybe they will take more responsibility for their behavior. This is a village, after all. 

terry



Don't imitate me -
it's as boring 
as the two halves of a melon.

~basho
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
Yeah, I don't have a lot of patience for rampaging dysfunctional trolls. They tend to just use people as sources of narcissistic supply in various ways and generally spoil things for everyone else. They wreck communities because the people who care and can play reasonably well with others won't stick around that kind of dysfunction. I used to play a lot of online video games where you run into those sorts of people on pretty much a daily basis, but most games developed features that make it fairly easy to boot them from groups or mute them. It's trickier with internet forums.


dysfunctional = misfit
only a matter of degree...

"and I'm a moderator" = "and I am one of the judges who condemn and ban..." (non-moderators can only criticize and shun)

you'll know about being a misfit when you are shunned...simply "feeling like" a misfit is not enough to know, everyone without exception feels that way...the more they feel that way, the more they conform...

t
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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terry:
Andromeda:
Yeah, I don't have a lot of patience for rampaging dysfunctional trolls. They tend to just use people as sources of narcissistic supply in various ways and generally spoil things for everyone else. They wreck communities because the people who care and can play reasonably well with others won't stick around that kind of dysfunction. I used to play a lot of online video games where you run into those sorts of people on pretty much a daily basis, but most games developed features that make it fairly easy to boot them from groups or mute them. It's trickier with internet forums.


dysfunctional = misfit
only a matter of degree...

"and I'm a moderator" = "and I am one of the judges who condemn and ban..." (non-moderators can only criticize and shun)

you'll know about being a misfit when you are shunned...simply "feeling like" a misfit is not enough to know, everyone without exception feels that way...the more they feel that way, the more they conform...

t

You're a bit late to this conversation and it looks like you might have taken some things out of context, Terry. I'm a bit of a misfit, yes, but not dysfunctional. Actually, to be technical about it, I'm what they call "high functioning" autistic. Mostly people don't notice these days because I've spent an enormous amount of time working on my social skills, mannerisms, etc., so as to not stick out like a sore thumb and also just to make others comfortable in my presence. I've had my share of being shunned, let me tell you, but these days fortunately I'm actually quite accepted and loved and socially/professionally successful which is a wonderful thing for which I'm incredibly grateful. It still takes me a lot of effort to do a lot of things most people take for granted, though, and I won't ever really fit in. That's okay, though.

Also, in reference to your other comment about anonymous handles being ripe for abuse--this is true. But there are also very good reasons for wanting to stay anonymous on this forum (or any forum, for that matter). One of them, for me personally on the DhO, is that it allows me to feel more comfortable posting private/personal/less socially acceptable things that may help others but that I don't want to be public about. It can be normalizing for a frightened person having had a strange experience to have someone say, "Yeah, happened to me too, no big deal." And so I stay anonymous, and feel free to share things that are helpful. Also, being on the internet (especially as a woman) can be a scary experience but especially if people can find out where you live. I've been cursed and given explicit instructions for how to kill myself just in the past month, so I'll take the anonymity. It may not be ideal, but nothing in life really is.

Be well, Terry.

A
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
terry:
Andromeda:
Yeah, I don't have a lot of patience for rampaging dysfunctional trolls. They tend to just use people as sources of narcissistic supply in various ways and generally spoil things for everyone else. They wreck communities because the people who care and can play reasonably well with others won't stick around that kind of dysfunction. I used to play a lot of online video games where you run into those sorts of people on pretty much a daily basis, but most games developed features that make it fairly easy to boot them from groups or mute them. It's trickier with internet forums.


dysfunctional = misfit
only a matter of degree...

"and I'm a moderator" = "and I am one of the judges who condemn and ban..." (non-moderators can only criticize and shun)

you'll know about being a misfit when you are shunned...simply "feeling like" a misfit is not enough to know, everyone without exception feels that way...the more they feel that way, the more they conform...

t

You're a bit late to this conversation and it looks like you might have taken some things out of context, Terry. I'm a bit of a misfit, yes, but not dysfunctional. Actually, to be technical about it, I'm what they call "high functioning" autistic. Mostly people don't notice these days because I've spent an enormous amount of time working on my social skills, mannerisms, etc., so as to not stick out like a sore thumb and also just to make others comfortable in my presence. I've had my share of being shunned, let me tell you, but these days fortunately I'm actually quite accepted and loved and socially/professionally successful which is a wonderful thing for which I'm incredibly grateful. It still takes me a lot of effort to do a lot of things most people take for granted, though, and I won't ever really fit in. That's okay, though.

Also, in reference to your other comment about anonymous handles being ripe for abuse--this is true. But there are also very good reasons for wanting to stay anonymous on this forum (or any forum, for that matter). One of them, for me personally on the DhO, is that it allows me to feel more comfortable posting private/personal/less socially acceptable things that may help others but that I don't want to be public about. It can be normalizing for a frightened person having had a strange experience to have someone say, "Yeah, happened to me too, no big deal." And so I stay anonymous, and feel free to share things that are helpful. Also, being on the internet (especially as a woman) can be a scary experience but especially if people can find out where you live. I've been cursed and given explicit instructions for how to kill myself just in the past month, so I'll take the anonymity. It may not be ideal, but nothing in life really is.

Be well, Terry.

A

aloha andromeda,

   I didn't say you were dysfunctional. Quite the opposite: you aren't a misfit, in my view. You are, as linda says, the norm. You think "normalizing" some one is helping them. In this we could hardly disagree more.

   As for people wanting to kill you, perhaps it is some fictional "andromeda" (the judge) they want to kill and not you at all. You, my friend, are clearly a nice guy, thoughtful and compassionate, trying to do the right thing. "The moderator" symbolizes power and control. Your persona, as it were. Death to the persona, eh? You may miss it, but it isnt you, and even "you" are transient. 

   Like police, moderators are necessary for a community. Like police, being hated goes with the territory. It fits in.

   I'll take the ideal, and make my stand here. Being shunned or banned  is like being in jail: only humiliating if you deserve it. For martin luther king or nelson mandela it was an honor and  a distinction. People committed to spirituality may actively seek martyrdom. Normal people find this inconceivable.

terry
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Daniel M. Ingram:
Regarding not fitting in, having to show a public face that involves a lot of acting (particularly when doing things like being a doctor), and the like, the DhO and its forum was created due to me living in Northern Alabama, wanting to have people to discuss meditation and related topics with, being flamed off of basically all available dharma forums at the time for talking about what I am into and what I was experiencing (things like insight stages, jhanas, etc., which were seriously taboo back in the day, and still are in many circles), and realizing that I probably wasn't alone in feeling alone, and so here we all are.

I am wondering what "fitting in" even is? I often don't feel I entirely fit in here, and this is my site. I have ignored the place for months when something was going on I didn't resonate with well. I have had people try to flame me off my own forum for practices I was exploring or points of view I have expressed. People have tried to take the place over numerous times and take the forum as their own. People have tried to split the community to follow them and disparriage others who stayed, and some have been at least partially successful in this. The site has been the victim of cyber attacks at points, though it is unclear if they were random or specifically targeted.

I rarely discuss my own practice here, as it is commonly misinterpreted and a cause of distorted comparisons, projections, and judgements.

Still, it is much better than the DhO not existing, I believe, and I see no better alternative for me, and so I continue to keep the place going, and I keep getting evidence that, despite the problems, it provides a lot of good for those who appreciate what is found here and the support of this raggle taggle community of misfits and weirdos, with no disrespect to those who don't feel like a misfit or a weirdo, as there are likely some of those here also, and you should feel equally welcome! ;) 

aloha
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Andromeda:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I stopped trying to fit in long ago, although I do make an effort to keep people comfortable. I find that there are ways of not fitting in that make people relax about their own ways of not fitting in, and that can be an important contribution. I enjoy talking about diversity in ways of functioning, and luckily many people around me appreciate that. I suppose the rest of them have fled away by now.

That's key in my experience--I try to make other people comfortable. And when you get right down to it, there's really no such thing as "normal" and everybody is weird in their own way, so working to help others feel accepted really is an important  contribution.

comfort is overrated...
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Andromeda:
The thought of becoming like everyone else within a spiritual group fills me with horror. Not my cup of tea. Doesn't sound like a very awake way to live. What would be the purpose of that?

The reality of not fitting in anywhere is something I've had to make my peace with again and again. I still need human connection just like everyone else and feel a strong urge to contribute to the wider world, though, so I keep working at doing that skillfully while also not submitting to conformity and groupthink. And not freaking people out too much by being overly honest at the wrong time. It's a tricky balance. I was neurodivergent from the beginning and deep spiritual practice has increased that, so I keep finding new parts of myself that don't fit in and having to integrate them.

As for workplace environments, I've worked hard over many years to be able to carve out accepting niches for myself. And I still hide a lot, more than most people--I'm a very private person anyway. But the combination of accepting environment plus having done so much work on myself in terms of communication/social skills plus spiritual practice means that it's mostly comfortable and rewarding rather than painful. Most of the time, I function as a sort of role actor and I do so joyfully. Wearing the mask of a professional persona is a good way to lose oneself, immerse oneself in experience with others, and get shit done efficiently and effectively. As Shakespeare put it, all the world's a stage. And work for me has been a very important part of practice for many reasons, not least of which that it challenges my ability to remain present under pressure. If we never put ourselves in difficult situations then we can't grow.

aloha andromeda,

   There is a problem with becoming the person that you act like. Act crazy and be crazy; act happy and be happy. You can be what you want to be. Unfortunately, being a designer self depends on our woefully insignificant knowledge of who that self should be, in any case a shifting target.

   Adapting oneself to others for the sake of accomplishing group goals is being a human being: we are a social species, indeed we have no identity without a group. Retaining one's individuality while cooperating with others is what spiritual practice is about.

   "Losing oneself" by means of "wearing a mask" is not only dangerous in the sense of losing one's integrity, it is a confusion with the idea of "losing oneself" in higher awareness of the oneness of all being. One may "forget oneself" in work, even in social work, and it is a major blessing. One can also adopt a persona and act a part which creates more ego and confuses one's essence as others perceive it. The difference may appear subtle, especially if one is attracted by the ease of hiding one's true feelings and pretending to feel the way others pretend to feel.

   Bob marley said,"Every day we pay the price with the rebel sacrifice/ Life is worth much more than gold." Real freedom is often expressed by walking out of situations that a spiritual person can't tolerate, even if it means deprivation. There are also situations where remaining at one's post in the face of severe pressure is the path of the spiritual person. The only way to judge is to determine which way most serves Love. 

   As you say, brother, real growth is caused by "double bind" situations in which we can see no way out but must act anyway. It is in the darkest of times that we are most truly blest. The beloved most loves the broken ones.

   
terry



from "the discourses of rumi" ("fihi ma fihi") trans arberry:


This is like what Shams said, “The other world is like a sea, and this world is foam from that sea. God desired to keep this foam in order. Therefore, He set certain people with their backs to the sea so this foam would not fall into ruin.”

A tent was pitched for a king, and he kept certain people busy constructing this tent. One says, “If I don’t make the tent-ropes how will the tent stand up?” Another says, “If I don’t make the pegs, where will they tie the ropes?” Still, everybody knows these people are servants of the king. If the weavers gave up weaving and sought to be viziers, the whole world would be naked and bare. So, they were given a joy for their craft. They are content with weaving. Therefore people were created to keep the world of foam in order, and this world was created for the Saint.

God bestows contentment and happiness on everyone in the work that is theirs, so that even if their life should last a hundred thousand years they would still find love for their work. Every day the love for their craft becomes greater, and subtle skills are born to them, which bring them infinite joy and pleasure.

Nothing exists that does not proclaim His praise.

There is one praise for the rope-maker, another for the carpenter who makes the tent-poles, another for the maker of the tent-pins, another for the weaver who weaves the cloth for the tent, another for the saints for whom the tent is made.

Now these seekers who come to us, wanting some time with us, if we say nothing they are disgusted and hurt. Yet if we say something it must be beneficial to their level of attainment. So we approach cautiously, and they leave, criticizing us, saying, “They are holding back what they know. They are hiding from us and running away.”

How should the fire run away from the cook pot? It cannot. The truth is that when we see that the vessel is weak, we draw back some distance to protect it. So, it is really the pot that runs away. Our running away is their running away. We are a mirror. If they move to run away, it appears to them in us. We run away for their sake. In a mirror people see themselves. If they see us as weary, that weariness is theirs and a reflection of their weakness. There is no room here for weariness; what use do we have for weariness?




The Chimes of Freedom

In between sundown's finish, an' midnight's broken toll
We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing
As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds
Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing
Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight
Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight
An' for each an' ev'ry underdog soldier in the night
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Through the city's melted furnace, unexpectedly we watched
With faces hidden as the walls were tightening
As the echo of the wedding bells before the blowin' rain
Dissolved into the bells of the lightning
Tolling for the rebel, tolling for the rake
Tolling for the luckless, the abandoned an' forsakened
Tolling for the outcast, burnin' constantly at stake
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Through the mad mystic hammering of the wild ripping hail
The sky cracked its poems in naked wonder
That the clinging of the church bells blew far into the breeze
Leaving only bells of lightning and its thunder
Striking for the gentle, striking for the kind
Striking for the guardians and protectors of the mind
An' the poet and the painter far behind his rightful time
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
In the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for-granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an' blind, tolling for the mute
For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chained an' cheated by pursuit
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Even though a cloud's white curtain in a far-off corner flared
An' the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting
Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones
Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting
Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail
For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale
An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing
Starry-eyed an' laughing as I recall when we were caught
Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended
As we listened one last time an' we watched with one last look
Spellbound an' swallowed 'til the tolling ended
Tolling for the aching whose wounds cannot be nursed
For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones an' worse
An' for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe
An' we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing

Songwriters: Bob Dylan
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Terry. Having a professional persona is, in my opinion, the professional thing to do. It helps the people around me feel confident in my abilities. My workmates have gotten to know me more personally over the years during downtime and outside events, but when we're on the job we're focused on getting things done and helping others, with integrity. 
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

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Andromeda:
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Terry. Having a professional persona is, in my opinion, the professional thing to do. It helps the people around me feel confident in my abilities. My workmates have gotten to know me more personally over the years during downtime and outside events, but when we're on the job we're focused on getting things done and helping others, with integrity. 

aloha andromeda,

   Nice to get to know you better. It takes courage to stand up. (bows)

   I struggled with this dilemma, being real vs being perceived by the average unconscious sufferer as "a professional" my entire "professional life." To complicate matters, I entirely gave up haircuts when I was discharged from the navy; to this day I have a trademark pony tail. As a medical technologist I wore a white coat and spent all day (or night, often both - for most of my career in addition to the daily grind I was on call 24hrs/day, usually for ten day stretches and getting called in to the er all too often) dealing with medical professionals and patients, doing my individual thing. I was a never miss venipuncturist and so idiosyncracies were tolerated in deference to the need for my skills. Sometimes I found my niche and my stride and life played on like a pianola. Sometimes I was less fortunate and struggled. I wanted my children to have everything and live in paradise, and to this end I clocked (not to say, "worked") 65 hours a week for one eight year stretch. They were lucky I showed up at all, and they knew it well. Nobody else would take so much call; they had one person doing the job of two, or four.

   If you live in the right-sized town, everyone is a character, and idiosyncracies, like honesty and intelligence, don't stand out so much. No one feels like they need to hide; in any case your neighbors all know you and gossip (the coconut telegraph), so there is no escape from your village reputation. Eventually you tend to act they way you are expected to act, as long as it isn't too much out of character, which they wouldn't like either. I still live in the same little town still but I spend half of my time isolated in my little cabin 100 miles away (it's a big island).

   I expect you are right in saying we disagree. My behavior tended to make what was acceptable in a professional depend more on skill and compassion and less on humbug. On the other hand, I didn't go to work with the smell of alcohol on my breath; which means, if you are on call, you can't abuse substances at all, especially ones which are detectable via the whiff test. I dressed as a professional and insisted my subordinates do so as well. I made sure my work was impeccable. I was a  professional, and my peers generally agreed. My bosses had other standards and priorities, and those I had the occasional problem with. Next to bosses, the two most difficult and demanding classes of people to deal with in stressful situations are patients and doctors; for obvious reasons.

   We all do the best we can. Whether we know it or not, we are all servants of god.

   You say, "We're focused on helping people and getting the job done, with integrity." You don't say, "We are focused on presenting a professional image." But that is what you were talking about. To me, there is a dilemma here, between being a professional and acting like one. I understand if you think this distinction obscure or even non-existent. You can argue that being a professional involves presenting a professional image. So, we can disagree. To me all this professional and social work is grist for the spiritual mill. If we pursue wealth and a reputation for being a good professional, our spiritual life will justly suffer. Such suffering may be what is needed for our spiritual development. Some face the sea, some face the foam.

terry



The squid-seller's call
mingles with the voice
of the cuckoo.

~basho
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 393 Join Date: 1/15/18 Recent Posts
A dilemma between being a professional and acting like one: for me, in my profession, they are one and the same. I work with the public and need to establish trust and rapport in seconds, and so I start with clear intentions making sure there is nothing that gets in the way of that as my ability to help effectively depends on it. To be is to act and there is no separation. I think of it as embodying archetypes and shifting fluidly between then.

To bring it back to practice, I've been looking at things through the lens of something I learned from Ken McLeod's writing on the four ways of working (ecstasy, power, compassion, insight) but which you can also see in the archetype framework described in the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, and Angeles Arrien's book on shamanismThe Four-Fold Way, and the brahma viharas. They are more or less the same things and there seems to be something universal going on here.

Just to give an example of how things might play out using this framework--I start by immediately open into the senses, visually, emotionally, energetically (ecstatic/lovingkindness), then see the entire situation clearly, with equanimity (insight), then letting go of all agenda and seeing what needs to be done (compassion), then actually doing what needs to be done using power (presence in action) which is intrinsically joyous. This is how I get my flow on at work, which is absolutely a form of spiritual practice. 
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Andromeda:
A dilemma between being a professional and acting like one: for me, in my profession, they are one and the same. I work with the public and need to establish trust and rapport in seconds, and so I start with clear intentions making sure there is nothing that gets in the way of that as my ability to help effectively depends on it. To be is to act and there is no separation. I think of it as embodying archetypes and shifting fluidly between then.

To bring it back to practice, I've been looking at things through the lens of something I learned from Ken McLeod's writing on the four ways of working (ecstasy, power, compassion, insight) but which you can also see in the archetype framework described in the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, and Angeles Arrien's book on shamanismThe Four-Fold Way, and the brahma viharas. They are more or less the same things and there seems to be something universal going on here.

Just to give an example of how things might play out using this framework--I start by immediately open into the senses, visually, emotionally, energetically (ecstatic/lovingkindness), then see the entire situation clearly, with equanimity (insight), then letting go of all agenda and seeing what needs to be done (compassion), then actually doing what needs to be done using power (presence in action) which is intrinsically joyous. This is how I get my flow on at work, which is absolutely a form of spiritual practice. 

if to be is to act, there is no actor, and certainly no persona...which renders the discussion moot (works for me)...

so to say: my act is my self...to play hamlet is to be hamlet (all the world's a stage) (the play's the thing)

I agree there is no real distinction; my point exactly...we are unique/Unique

our depths are unfathomed...

integrity is being one, individual,
spontaneous, innocent, sincere

(I found all that stuffy professionalism humorless and stifling; sometimes all the air was sucked from the room; you have to laugh or you go crazy)


t



from "tales of the dervishes," idries shah:



SUCH was the repute of Abdul Qadir that mystics of all persuasions used to throng to his reception hall, and the utmost decorum and consideration for the traditional manners uniformly prevailed. These pious men arranged themselves in order of precedence, of age and according to the repute which their teachers had enjoyed and their own precedence in their own communities.

Yet they vied with one another for the attention of the Sultan of the Teachers, Abdul Qadir. His manners were impeccable, and nobody of low intelligence or lack of training was seen at these assemblies.

One day, however, the three sheiks of Khorasan, Iraq and Egypt came to the Dargah, guided by three illiterate muleteers. Their journey from Mecca, where they had been on a pilgrimage, had been plagued by the inelegance and caperings of these men. When they saw the assembly of the Sheikh they were made as happy to think of their release from their companions, as they were by their desire to glimpse the Great Sheikh.

Contrary to the usual practice, the Sheikh came out to meet them. No sign passed between him and the muleteers. Later that night, however, finding their way to their quarters, the three sheikhs glimpsed by accident the Sheikh saying goodnight to the muleteers. As they respectfully left his room, he kissed their hands. The sheikhs were astonished, and realized that these three, and not they, were hidden sheikhs of the dervishes. They followed the muleteers and tried to start a conversation. But the chief muleteer only said: 'Get back to your prayers and mumblings, sheikhs, with your Sufism and your search for truth which has plagued us during thirty-six days' travel. We are simple muleteers and want nothing of that.'

Thus is the difference between the hidden Sufis and the superficial ones.


The Jewish Encyclopedia and such authorities upon the Hasidic mystics as Martin Buber have noted the affinity between this school and the Spanish Sufis, as far as chronology and similarity of teaching is concerned.

This tale, attributed to the Sufi, Abdul-Qadir of Gilan (1077-1166), is also found ascribed to the life of Hasid Rabbi Elimelech (who died in 1809).
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 5375 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Good to hear from another fabulously weird person. emoticon I’d like to clarify, though, that I didn't say that Andromeda was the norm, only that she was for me. I wouldn’t recognize the majority norm if it were clinging to my nose, quite frankly. I have a hunch that it might be something boring, and Andromeda is definitely not boring.

I’m also autistic and I have to be fairly professional at work, as a researcher and teacher. Somebody who isn’t autistic has no clue as to how much adaption is required just to function in this world that is totally constructed for the benefit of majority brains. I have autistic friends who get checked out by the police regularly just because their gaze differs from what is normal. It’s just not safe not to adapt, unfortunately. People are afraid of the unfamiliar, and from fear to hate is merely a short step. There are parents to autistic people writing books and doing films and photography exhibitions about the ”great tragedy” that stroke the family as their autistic child was born. Some of them make public statements about how disgusted they are by the fact that their autistic child may have a sex life some day, and so they fantasize about sterilizing their child by force. There are even parents who give chlorine anemas to their children because they believe that will ”cure” them from who they are. I could write a whole book, or a few, about all these things; this was nothing. So telling an autistic person that she is wrong to adapt is not very helpful, although I believe you meant well.

On the other hand, telling us that we need to adapt more is often directly harmful. So many people do that and fail to acknowledge the huge amount of effort we are already making. I appreciate that you didn’t do that. I really wish it were safe not to adapt at all. I’m lucky insofar as I have found contexts where I can skip much of the adaption. Many autistic people are not so lucky. In that regard, I agree that comfort is overrated. Maybe the two of you are talking about different kinds of comfort, though. Caring about people’s wellbeing is always a good idea, I think, but it can be done in different ways.
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terry, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Good to hear from another fabulously weird person. emoticon I’d like to clarify, though, that I didn't say that Andromeda was the norm, only that she was for me. I wouldn’t recognize the majority norm if it were clinging to my nose, quite frankly. I have a hunch that it might be something boring, and Andromeda is definitely not boring.

I’m also autistic and I have to be fairly professional at work, as a researcher and teacher. Somebody who isn’t autistic has no clue as to how much adaption is required just to function in this world that is totally constructed for the benefit of majority brains. I have autistic friends who get checked out by the police regularly just because their gaze differs from what is normal. It’s just not safe not to adapt, unfortunately. People are afraid of the unfamiliar, and from fear to hate is merely a short step. There are parents to autistic people writing books and doing films and photography exhibitions about the ”great tragedy” that stroke the family as their autistic child was born. Some of them make public statements about how disgusted they are by the fact that their autistic child may have a sex life some day, and so they fantasize about sterilizing their child by force. There are even parents who give chlorine anemas to their children because they believe that will ”cure” them from who they are. I could write a whole book, or a few, about all these things; this was nothing. So telling an autistic person that she is wrong to adapt is not very helpful, although I believe you meant well.

On the other hand, telling us that we need to adapt more is often directly harmful. So many people do that and fail to acknowledge the huge amount of effort we are already making. I appreciate that you didn’t do that. I really wish it were safe not to adapt at all. I’m lucky insofar as I have found contexts where I can skip much of the adaption. Many autistic people are not so lucky. In that regard, I agree that comfort is overrated. Maybe the two of you are talking about different kinds of comfort, though. Caring about people’s wellbeing is always a good idea, I think, but it can be done in different ways.

aloha linda,

   My younger son is subclinically autistic, and clearly not so high functioning as you and andromeda. He would certainly not post messages; I can barely get 100 words per day out of him, and even then at times you want to tell him to shut up. Lucky for him - and his parents, as he lived with us until he was thirty - he has an understanding, supportive wife and her two chidren are as sweet as they come.

   I totally understand how someone who identifies with being autistic feels that being normal is a healthy goal. I was brought up in suburban long island, in the shadow of the big apple. New yorkers either passionately want to be normal or equally passionately want to be abnormal. I was amazed when I moved west to see dresses that were identical on the rack at stores. You would never see that in new york: no women would be caught dead in a dress that might closely resemble another woman's.

   Helping a child or a mentally handicapped person function more smoothly in society when they are having trouble coping is kind and compassionate, our very brahmaviharas in action. Helping a person in authority feel good about exercising that authority is something else again.

   I know some very seriously autistic people as well - one I work with every week -  and accepting that they don't relate normally and want to be regarded as fully functional participants in the life of the community anyway helps more than "normalizing' them, which they usually find traumatic. I find treating people as equals regardless of differences leads more quickly to mutual respect than any sort of handling. 

   Telling people what to do is not generally appreciated, especially if it is unsolicited. No doubt you've noticed. (smile)


terry
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Andromeda, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: When the Waters Were Changed

Posts: 393 Join Date: 1/15/18 Recent Posts
Elias Canetti, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote a book called Crowds and Power. A short excerpt with lots of snips from the chapter Domestication of Crowds in the World Religions:
Religions whose claims to universality have been acknowledged very soon change the accent of their appeal. In the beginning their aim is to reach all who can be reached and won. The crowd the envisage is universal; every single soul counts and every soul shall be theirs. But the fight they have to sustain leads gradually to a kind of hidden respect for adversaries whose institutions are laready in existence. They see how difficult it is to hold one's ground; institutions which offer solidarity and permanence seem more and more important to them. Stimulated by those of their adversaries, they make great efforts to introduce institutions of their own, and these, if they succeed, grow in importance with time. The dead weight of institutions, which have a life of their own, then gradually tames the impetus of the original appeal... A sense of the treacherousness of the crowd is, so to speak, in the blood of all the historical world religions... The stories of mass conversions appear miraculous to them, and so they are. In the heretical movements which the churches fear and persecute, the same kind of miracle turns against themselves and the injuries thus inflicted on their bodies are painful and unforgettable... What they want in contrast to this is an obsequious flock, It is customary to regard the faithful as sheep and to praise them for their submissiveness.

In another chapter he describes four traits of the crowd:
1. The crowd always wants to grow.
2. Within the crowd there is equality.
3. The crowd loves density.
4. The crowd needs a direction.