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Anyone here practice meditation of any kind?
Posted: 09 September 2011 12:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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George - 08 September 2011 08:12 AM

Well, neither is my watching of the juicer infomercials. But I guess it would be difficult to attract people to “juicer-infomercial retreats,” for $300 a day.  cool grin

I don’t know, George. You have no meditation experience your self, but still you seem to know that it is all nonsense. Nobody forces me to go to the retreat once a year and pay about $1000 for it, but I feel the importance of it, and I definitely know it compares to nothing like boring juicer-infomercials. For somebody on the CFI forum, a place for rational discussion, based on empirical facts, your empirical basis is pretty close to 0 here. Why the sarcasm?

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Posted: 09 September 2011 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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dougsmith - 08 September 2011 07:57 AM

Forgot to mention this. FWIW, psychologist and CSI Fellow Susan Blackmore is also a practitioner of Zen meditation. IIRC she discussed a little of that on her 2006 interview with DJ Grothe on Point of Inquiry. You can listen to it HERE.

Thanks for mentioning her. See here for more on her position concerning Zen, meditation and science.

A small reflection I find funny (hope Stephen reads this too):

(...) visual experience is just a lot of scraps that seem convincing while we are manipulating them with our minds, but just disintegrate when we stop. We never realise this because - like the light in the fridge - every time we look again the world comes back.

Like many deep meditators, this neuroscientist thinks we are deeply deluded about our own minds.

Ever since I learned about the refrigerator light illusion I’ve felt as though I’m going around trying to catch my inner fridge out - can I open my mind quickly enough to see how the darkness looks?

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Posted: 09 September 2011 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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GdB - 09 September 2011 12:04 AM
George - 08 September 2011 08:12 AM

Well, neither is my watching of the juicer infomercials. But I guess it would be difficult to attract people to “juicer-infomercial retreats,” for $300 a day.  cool grin

I don’t know, George. You have no meditation experience your self, but still you seem to know that it is all nonsense. Nobody forces me to go to the retreat once a year and pay about $1000 for it, but I feel the importance of it, and I definitely know it compares to nothing like boring juicer-infomercials. For somebody on the CFI forum, a place for rational discussion, based on empirical facts, your empirical basis is pretty close to 0 here. Why the sarcasm?

Correct me if I’m wrong but a 10 day retreat at $1000 would be $100/day. It’s a reasonable amount since you’re typically getting room and board. $300/day would be less so. Checking a few local places, they charge around $100/day for meditation retreats.

But you don’t have to go on retreats to do meditation.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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GdB - 09 September 2011 12:04 AM

Why the sarcasm?

I don’t know. I guess it’s because people who meditate look as funny as people who pray. I just can’t take them seriously.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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dougsmith - 09 September 2011 04:32 AM

But you don’t have to go on retreats to do meditation.

I take this ‘you’ as a ‘one’, i.e. ‘you’ in general. Personally, I miss the discipline to meditate in daily life. Too many distractions around… So my only option is to go somewhere where they are all meditating. And having a Zen teacher is useful too. And a complete retreat in such a surrounding is not too bad too…

zendo+haus_in_winter.jpg
Meditation hall and guest house.

panorama_view.jpg
The view from there.

From the village where I live the right highest mountain can be seen (just not from my house).

Retreats are held in silence, also during dinner etc, which adds to the concentration of the mind.

[ Edited: 09 September 2011 06:47 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 09 September 2011 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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GdB - 09 September 2011 06:45 AM

I take this ‘you’ as a ‘one’, i.e. ‘you’ in general.

Right. It’s not necessary in general. Just like there are many people who probably wouldn’t enjoy meditation, there are also many people who would enjoy meditation but wouldn’t get into the whole ‘retreat’ vibe, which is a good deal more hardcore than just sitting at home for awhile as desired.

As I say, I did a short retreat many years ago and have done half-days since then. I find them hard but very rewarding.

The other issue about retreats is that you do have to make your peace with the religious/monastic aspects of Zen practice. Best would be a secular retreat of some sort, but I don’t know of any. (Except perhaps the few that Blackmore leads in England?)

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Posted: 09 September 2011 07:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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George - 09 September 2011 06:44 AM

I guess it’s because people who meditate look as funny as people who pray. I just can’t take them seriously.

If you look at them from an ignorant point of view, most people look funny. People exercising look funny. People playing sports look funny. Professional musicians look funny. Opera, choir singers and rock stars look very funny indeed. I’m sure westerners often look quite funny to people from non-western cultures. “Looking funny” is a product of unfamiliarity and unease; it isn’t an argument for or against.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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dougsmith - 09 September 2011 07:16 AM

it isn’t an argument for or against.

No, it isn’t. It’s just my opinion. People who do Tai Chi look funnier than people who pray or meditate and they look funnier than people feeding pigeons.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I look funny pretty much all of the time, so this is not an argument that bothers me.  LOL

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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dougsmith - 08 September 2011 07:57 AM

Forgot to mention this. FWIW, psychologist and CSI Fellow Susan Blackmore is also a practitioner of Zen meditation. IIRC she discussed a little of that on her 2006 interview with DJ Grothe on Point of Inquiry. You can listen to it HERE.

Thanks! I just downloaded that episode and will have a listen this weekend.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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dougsmith - 09 September 2011 07:00 AM

The other issue about retreats is that you do have to make your peace with the religious/monastic aspects of Zen practice. Best would be a secular retreat of some sort, but I don’t know of any. (Except perhaps the few that Blackmore leads in England?)

I know Blackmore recently also practices with the same teacher as I do. Obviously she also sees through the ‘clouds of ritual and belief’.  See e.g. here and here.

For me, the rituals boil down to having respect. For whatever there is. The bowing for the empty meditation cushion where I start meditating is one of the strongest rituals for me.

Respect is not necessarily religious, is it?

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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GdB - 09 September 2011 08:12 AM
dougsmith - 09 September 2011 07:00 AM

The other issue about retreats is that you do have to make your peace with the religious/monastic aspects of Zen practice. Best would be a secular retreat of some sort, but I don’t know of any. (Except perhaps the few that Blackmore leads in England?)

I know Blackmore recently also practices with the same teacher as I do. Obviously she also sees through the ‘clouds of ritual and belief’.  See e.g. here and here.

For me, the rituals boil down to having respect. For whatever there is. The bowing for the empty meditation cushion where I start meditating is one of the strongest rituals for me.

Respect is not necessarily religious, is it?

Right. A secular liturgy could involve aspects of ritual respect without getting into more religious issues. The problem is not that there’s no way to do it, but rather that there are too many ways, and different secular participants would have different thresholds and interests.

I think the key example in Zen has to do with the readings and chants, such as the precepts that Blackmore mentions. To what extent is it all a form of artistic poetry or chorus, and to what extent is it pledging allegiance to an idea? If the latter, then it is religious in the strict sense of the term: a binding. That’s not a problem if you’re completely in agreement with what you’re saying, and some of it is admittedly quite close to a sort of secular humanist declaration, but I’m not quite on all fours with all of it.

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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GdB - 09 September 2011 08:12 AM

Respect is not necessarily religious, is it?

No. But bowing before a cushion is extremely funny…  grin

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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George - 09 September 2011 08:41 AM
GdB - 09 September 2011 08:12 AM

Respect is not necessarily religious, is it?

No. But bowing before a cushion is extremely funny…  grin

Actually, it is. LOL

And what are you supposed to do if you see the Buddha in the road?

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Posted: 09 September 2011 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I don’t know. What?

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