Posted in Buddhism, Podcasts, practice, Relationships, tagged Christopher Titmuss, Dharma, friendship, intimacy, practice, Relationships on June 30, 2010|
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When I saw that Vince Horn was interviewing Insight meditation teacher Christopher Titmuss on Buddhist Geeks on the issues of sexuality and love in the practice of Dharma (episodes 176 & 177) , I heard myself exclaiming, “At last!” As lay practitioners we deal with these issues everyday yet few Buddhist teachers in their Dharma talks explore the ways of being a sexual being and a Dharma practitioner. Probably because there is not much said about it in the traditions or because these questions are not often asked? A the same time, I cannot help but notice that many people around me, including those practising Buddhism, have been going through separations and divorces and often see those relationships ending as a failure.
Here I could not agree more with Christopher when he points out that in our modern world defining a successful relationship as long-lasting, monogamous, heterosexual, etc is not helpful to us. I find that by putting a label on the relationship (many of which are simply too narrow for our modern lives) or deciding what it is supposed to be like we put an additional pressure on it which can lead to its premature ending, at least in its current form. I realise it is not the label per se that puts pressure on us but the expectations we associate with it and the static, Polaroid-like image in our head of what it should be like. It is then even more important to bring attention and exploration into these areas and observe the whole dynamics as the relationship unfolds.
The questions I ask myself about anything when I feel stuck, including all areas of the heart are
What is the most important thing for me in this area?
What does it ask from me on a daily basis?
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Natasha Mitchell of ABC Radio National and Radio Australia had another interesting guest on All in the mind show – German philosopher of mind Thomas Metzinge spoke about his research of the self as well as the first hand accounts of out of body experiences and lucid dreaming. Metzinge published his conclusions in the book “The Ego tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self” and needless to say I am quite eager to engage my brain cells with it. As I understood from the interview, not only it brings the light on the mechanics of the process of selfing (right, Metzinger views the self as not a thing, something solid that exists somewhere – where? – but the ongoing process, the construct) but also discusses how and why it evolved. Why do I so badly need to believe into my self ?
Glad to hear more scientists are catching up on what Buddhism saw already two thousand years ago – there is no self, but rather a set of experiences and our memory that connects them. (Metzinger is actually a long time meditator himself).
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They certainly got my attention there: what IS the modern Zen perspective anyway? The other day I listened to the first episode of Life Zero – a new podcast that discusses Lifestyle Design and aspires to “follow the modern Zen perspective”. The more I listened to it the clearer it became that the word Zen was used rather freely with little if any anchoring in Zen practice and teachings. Still listening to this show triggered some personal response and made me think of how the practice reflects on my lifestyle design.
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