I’m excited, because it’s working.
I’ve been trying for years to develop my sense of mindfulness and mental control, and I’m starting now to get a very direct taste of what that feels like.
And it’s thrilling.
So here’s what happened: last night, I was having a conversation with Jean (my friend, housemate, mentor and project partner) and the subject of epistemological arguments came up. I’ve had some conflict with some of my other housemates in this area, and while part of it is theoretical there is also a practical concern, because ultimately we base our decisions on what we (think we) know, and so has felt threatening to the relationships to be unable to use certain ways of communicating information. Threatening, I think, for both sides.
I want to note that this conflict isn’t a shallow one. I wrote last year about how I overcame some of my stress around the subject of astrology. It had been a hot topic for me for several years due to heated arguments with girlfriends-at-the-time-of-the-arguments. At my first CFAR workshop, I brought up some of this stress, in a controlled environment and then worked to calm myself down, and it gave me a strong sense of what this concept of againstness feels like. (The relevant post contains a video, if you want to see it in action.)
Have you ever been talking with someone, and the two of you essentially agree about the topic at hand, but you still find yourself arguing your point violently? You know what that feels like? That feeling is againstness. And it takes mental skill to extricate yourself from the mode of vehemently asserting the thing you believe so strongly, and to instead have a productive conversation about it. And that’s the skill I’m learning. » read the rest of this entry »