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8/19 Bohm Dialogue — Mindfulness

For August our topic is Mindfulness.

“Mindfulness helps us freeze the frame so that we can become aware of our sensations and experiences as they are, without the distorting coloration of socially conditioned responses or habitual reactions.”

– Henepola Gunaratana

“Mindfulness of the body is awareness of… the taste and smell of this moment.”

– Steve Hagen

“Mindfulness meditation doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart’s capacity to accept life as it is.”

– Sylvia Boorstein

“Mindfulness is about falling awake rather than asleep.”

– Shamash Alidina

“Mindfulness has helped me succeed in almost every dimension of my life. By stopping regularly to look inward and become aware of my mental state, I stay connected to the source of my actions and thoughts and can guide them with considerably more intention.”

– Dustin Moskovitz

“Mindfulness means being aware of how you’re deploying your attention and making decisions about it, and not letting the tweet or the buzzing of your BlackBerry call your attention.”

– Howard Rheingold

“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

“I like mindful people. Fear prevents mindfulness, and then greed marches in because you are fearful, so you feel like you have to shore everything up.”

– Ursula Goodenough

“Disassociating, mindfulness, transcendence-whatever the label-it’s a sort of loophole in our contract with reality, a form of self-rescue.”

– Diane Ackerman

“The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.”

– Peter Matthiessen

“The Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of suffering is this: It is simply the Noble Eightfold Path, namely right view; right thought; right speech; right action; right livelihood; right effort; right mindfulness; right concentration.”

– Pali Tipitaka

“I came to the conclusion then that continual mindfulness… must mean, not a sergeant major-like drilling of thoughts, but a continual readiness to accept whatever came.”

– Marion Milner

Mindfulness to me is just attending to the present conscious moment – whatever thoughts, feelings,  sensations and intuitions are there right now, not getting swept up in them, not judging or interpreting them, just noticing them, and beyond that, noticing the noticing itself. What’s so hard about that? It’s easy to get swept up and stop noticing. But that’s OK, just let the thoughts, etc. pass, come back to the moment and resume noticing. That’s it.

Why do it? Well, for me the alternative is to be always trapped by the automatic flow of thoughts, etc., and believing they are more real than they are. So mindfulness is seeking freedom from that, it’s the practice of freeing yourself. Other benefits accrue. What’s your experience?

Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday August 18 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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7/21 Bohm Dialogue — Human Reasoning

For July our topic is Human Reasoning.

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
―Thomas Paine

“In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.”
―Thomas Jefferson

“We must trust to nothing but facts: These are presented to us by Nature, and cannot deceive. We ought, in every instance, to submit our reasoning to the test of experiment, and never to search for truth but by the natural road of experiment and observation.”
―Antoine Lavoisier

“NOUMENON, n. That which exists, as distinguished from that which merely seems to exist, the latter being a phenomenon. The noumenon is a bit difficult to locate; it can be apprehended only by a process of reasoning – which is a phenomenon.”
―Ambrose Bierce

“The philosophy of reasoning, to be complete, ought to comprise the theory of bad as well as of good reasoning.”
―John Stuart Mill

“All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.”
―Blaise Pascal

“When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself.”
―Bertrand Russell

“To say that man is a reasoning animal is a very different thing than to say that most of man’s decisions are based on his rational process. That I don’t believe at all.”
―Rex Stout

“The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog!”
―Bill Watterson

Is reasoning our noblest faculty? It has been suggested that human reasoning evolved as a group process, with speakers arguing to persuade the group and listeners trying to poke holes in the arguments. By this reasoning, individual reasoning is apt to go astray.

Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday July 21 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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6/16 Bohm Dialogue — Spirituality and Religion

For June our topic is Spirituality and Religion.

“I think there’s been a big problem between religion, or organized religion, and spirituality.”
―Dave Davies

We are looking to brands for poetry and for spirituality, because we’re not getting those things from our communities or from each other.”
―Naomi Klein

“Religion is for people who are scared to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”
―Bonnie Raitt

“There are several different meanings of the words religion and spirituality, all of which are important. The whole point about an integral or comprehensive approach is that it must find a way to believably include all of those important meanings in a coherent whole.”
―Ken Wilber

“Religion is the organization of spirituality into something that became the hand maiden of conquerors. Nearly all religions were brought to people and imposed on people by conquerors, and used as the framework to control their minds.”
―John Henrik Clarke

Some say they’re the same thing. But don’t tell that to the “Nones” – the spiritual but not religious. Here’s a story if you like about “Nones” moving in with Catholic “nuns” for six months: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/31/style/milliennial-nuns-spiritual-quest.html

Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday June 16 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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5/19 Bohm Dialogue — Socialism

For May our topic is Socialism

Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism. — Earl Warren

Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.  — William Howard Taft

To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It’s asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America that we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It’s one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live.  — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude. ―Alexis de Tocqueville

A basic principle of modern state capitalism is that costs and risks are socialized to the extent possible, while profit is privatized.
— Noam Chomsky

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. — Winston Churchill

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. – John Maynard Keynes

Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.  — Bernie Sanders

Socialism – the word brings much heat and smoke but little light. For a heated debate on a usually civil channel see: https://iai.tv/video/socialist-dreams

For the difference between socialism and communism: https://www.dictionary.com/e/socialism-democracy/

Last time we settled the “hard problem” of consciousness — NOT! This month it’s Socialism! At least we promise to be civil. Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday May 19 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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3/17 Bohm Dialogue — Consciousness

For March our topic is Consciousness.

Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. – H. P. Blavatsky

 

A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe.” He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace. – Albert Einstein

 

Although you appear in earthly form Your essence is pure Consciousness. You are the fearless guardian of Divine Light. – Rumi

 

There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem. – David Chalmers

I know I have it and you seem to as well. But what is it, this “hard problem”? Wikipedia says:

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined variously in terms of sentience, awareness, qualiasubjectivity, the ability to experience or to feelwakefulness, having a sense of selfhood or soul, the fact that there is something “that it is like” to “have” or “be” it, and the executive control system of the mind.”

Hmmm. Some say consciousness is before anything. Others that it is a byproduct of brain activity and some claim it is an illusion. But doesn’t “illusion” presuppose a consciousness to be illuded? Jan and Mark requested this topic so I asked them for their definitions. Jan replied:

My current favorite is Lisa Feldman Barrett’s model of consciousness (experiencing Reality):

“Your experiences are not a window into reality. Rather, your brain is wired to model your world, driven by what is relevant for your body budget (allostasis), and then you experience that model as Reality…”

Christof Koch’s Four ad hoc definitions of consciousness
1) common sense – our inner mental life while awake.
2) behavioral – a checklist of actions or behaviors we use to certify consciousness, for example, the Glasgow Coma Scale.
3) neuronal – the functioning of the cortico-thalamic complex and the brain stem
4) philosophy – what it is like to feel something. (p.33)

Feinberg & Mallatt (2016) propose a nice simple definition of Phenomenal Consciousness (Sensory):
p. 111: “But to us, real consciousness is indicated by the (optic tectum) making a multi-sensory map of the world and then attending to the most important object in this map and then signaling behaviors”… based on the map. 

from jch.com/notes/Consciousness.html

Hmmmm. Mark said:

Jan has captured my favorites from Koch. Here is a pithy one from Antonio Damarion: the self in the act of knowing.

But what then is “the self” and how can it be separated from knowing?

Let’s get together to settle this damned “hard problem” once and for all! Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday March 17 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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2/17 Bohm Dialogue — Death, Loss and Transition

For January our topic will be Death, Loss and Transition.

In 2015 we dialogued twice on the topic of death, first with Being Mortal, which turned into a practical, medical, end-of-life information session, and with the second (Death) we got back to our more intellectual/philosophical/spiritual charter.

All transition and loss is stressful and for most of us Death seems like the ultimate transition – we may dread it or welcome it, but why? For materialists it is simply the end of consciousness and thus suffering, and that thought can be a great comfort to the living. For others it is simply a gateway we must pass through to who-knows-what. The continuance of consciousness may be consoling but the prospect of the unknown and possible further suffering — maybe not so much.

Join us to listen to what others think and to share what you think.  The Religious Exploration Salon is a group that meets 3rd Sundays to discuss various topics in the format called Bohm Dialogue which emphasizes respectful listening and balanced, synergistic sharing. For more details about how Dialogue works, please see this intro.

Everyone is welcome. You are welcome to think about the topic beforehand but no preparation is required or expected — come as you are with whatever thoughts/intuitions you have, ready to listen, learn and contribute.  We next meet Sunday Feb 17 at 7pm in the Brackett Room.

Contact Paul Reising, Tom Yelton or Jan Hardenbergh for more information.

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