Wednesday, December 27, 2006

subText

"Hi!"(I'm empty can you fill me up?)
"Hi.."(I'd like to get away, you're sucking my energy, but I have to be polite, I must be polite)

I wonder in how many interactions between people, do both sides gain something. I notice in my interactions there is a lot of the following.

-I condescend someone to get an ego-boost.

- I try to put someone down in an aggressive way, I'll only be satisfied when he's miserable.

-I try to get someone's approval , I try to show off.

-Someone else try's to show off to me\get my approval.

-Someone using his status to condescend me.

Some of this may seem extreme things to say about yourself, but I think that unconciously, most people do aggresive\mean stuff all the time.

It comes out in a subtle way because on the surface level we're all making sure we adhere to society's rules. In places like a university, or a high-tech company there is probably no physical or even clear verbal violence. But the people there are just people, they have aggression and fear inside, and for the most part they haven't evolved out of it, they just repress it.

So how does subtle violence take place?
Well, take the example above.
Suppose you're talking to someone in a way that you're sucking their energy,
and he's just staying there because he feels he has to be polite.
I see two forms of violence here. The first is the violence of this person forcing himself to stay there, and if someone is violent towards himself he treats others in the same way. The second is that you're using the fact that he has this compulsion inside of him to keep him there so you can keep sucking his energy. You may say, "How can I know what's going in his head? Maybe he's having a great time talking to me? If he doesn't say anything how can I know?"
Well in my opinion, subconciously you feel everything that is going on. In particular, subconciously, you know he's not free to leave, and you're using that.
I think that part of 'Charisma', is simply people that don't do this stuff as much. Not just conciously, but also subconciously, they do not behave in this way, not even in a subtle way that they would not be aware of. So people instinctively feel safe and accepted around them.

I really want to stress that when I think about these things. The intent is not to judge these behaviours and blame. On the contrary, the intent is to develop a calm acceptance and awareness of these parts of myself and others. Because this calm acceptance and awareness is exactly what seems to make these behaviours and tendencies fade away.
If you're violent and you punish yourself for being violent in some way, you're just strengthening your tendency for violence.

In any case, I think anyone that can read this and examine himself to see
if it connects and not just get totally defensive, is doing pretty well compared to most.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A stack analogy for being spontaneous

A friend of mine told me the following story(paraphrased to suit this entery): He was in a hurry to get to a meeting and was leaving his son at his grandfather's house. His son started crying "I don't want to go to grandpa!". His first impulse was to say "stop! I don't have time for this!", he observed that impulse run through him said to himself "I don't want this, next, what else is in here?". The next impulse came, it was to pacify the child, "Oh, come on, will get you some icecream and you'll have a great time!" he observed that impulse run through him said to himself "I don't want this, next, what else is in here?".
And then he felt the desire to just sit with the child and listen to him.
He wrote a song about this 'a child's cry' in his blog:
http://blog.myspace.com/pomerus

A stack is a storage device with the 'last in first out' property. For example,
if you have an empty stack, and you first put a red ball inside of it, and then put two black balls inside of it you are going to have to take out the black balls
first if you want to reach the red ball. The red ball is the deepest inside and is covered by the black balls that are on top of it.
Imagine you have a stack of impulses for action. In this stack there are two basic kinds of impulses: Spontaneous and Compulsive. More suggestive names to the way I'm thinking about this is: 'I want to' impulses, and 'I have to' impulses. Once in a while, an impulse is shot out the top of the stack and runs through the body. If you choose to act on the impulse, an impulse of
the same kind is put again on the top of the stack.
So, if you act out of compulsion, out of 'I have to', a new 'I have to' impulse
is put on the top of the stack.
Suppose that, for a long period of time, you always act on the 'I have to' impulse. Then, in all this period an 'I want to' impulse has never been
on the top of the stack. So, for all this time an 'I want to' impulse
has never been shot through your body. As time passes, your memory of
what it's like to want something from a natural spontaneous place grows dim.
As in the story above, by simply observing the compulsive 'I have to' impulse
run through your body without acting on it, a new deeper level will arise at the top of the stack and new options arise.
As an example: When talking to people in various contexts I have an instinct
to justify my behaviour about something, and when I don't get into the justifying, when I just basically say "Ye, that's how things are" a new level of
more honest communication immedatiliy opens up.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

To feel or not to feel- an energy barrier

I just did a primal workshop (see http://www.rishi.co.il/Schedule/?about=142 for very limited details-or search the net for primal\primal feelings)
I would like to leave some thoughts that have come to me following the workshop.
A lot of self-help resources talk about conciously choosing to feel good. For example, an excersise given is to catch a negative sentence you say to yourself (e.g., people hate being around me), write it down, think of a positive one to replace it with (e.g., people love being around me), and say it to yourself instead. I think this stuff can be great and can help you a lot.
However, I now think there's a more fundamental decision we make. The decision of whether to feel at all. In this workshop I have noticed how much I refuse to feel. I managed to refuse without noticing I was doing so, using the following 'mind trick': I would notice that I was feeling bad and say to myself 'OK, I'm feeling bad, I'm aware I'm feeling bad and now, like the spirtual teachers say, I'm not going to fight it, and instead I'll just wait patiently till this emotional wave passes and I feel good again'. Actually, this state of 'waiting to feel good again' was a refusal to really accept the current pain, and to feel it fully. It was an alleged acceptance of the negative emotion motivated by the agenda of feeling good again. Of course, there are subtleties here to what I mean by 'alleged' as of course the point is to eventually feel better.
There is a child inside who is frustrated because you do not accept his rage, his fear, his pain. You just want his bliss, facsination, energy and euophoria. Just like a parent who always wants his to child to be 'representative' and 'managable' I was being this kind of parent to myself.
The child inside doesn't trust me, because my accpetance of him is conditional.
Anyways, it seems you cannot really make this choice of parital acceptance. If you turn
the volume knob down, the bad parts won't bother you that much (at least on a superficial concious level) but you barely hear the good parts too. You turn the volume knob up, everything has power, but you'll also here the nails going down the chalkboard very loudly.
If you want to feel the bliss and love and inside you intensely and really live , you are going to have to feel the rage and fear and pain inside of you too.
However, this does not seem to be such a tragic dillema as it may sound, since I'm finding out more and more in these last years that feeling what is there is never suffering. Suffering is caused only by avoidance of feeling, by a conflict beetween your conciousness and the current reality.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Getting yourself to do things

This is something I read by Moshe Feldenkrais recently. Most people know that you
cannot get someone else to do something he doesn't want to do and he doesn't understand
what's the point of doing just by trying to force him and yelling at him. So why assume you
can force yourself to do things? But first, who is the you that is forcing and who is the you
that is being forced? In this context, I think the you that is forcing is basically the concious\high-level mind and the you that is forced is the more low-level mind that actually controls and moves the body. Goes back to understanding. If you don't reach a point where the deeper level of your mind understands why you want to do what you want to do it will not cooperate. If you try anyway, the result is action that is inconsistent. You start a diet and stop. I decide to be super-social and outgoing at a party but after 20 minutes I'm just sitting alone with a drink like a zombie. The part of the mind that actually controls the body enjoys\is addicted to the previous behaviour patterns. From it's point of view, by sitting alone with my drink, I generate the emotional state that I am addicted to. It understands the motivation for this action-generating the emotional state, and currently doesn't have data that implies what your trying to force
it to do has any point to it. You need to work through experience and not just abstract logic to
get this deeper level of the mind to understand things. For a great concrete demonstration of this- try the Feldenkrais method for improving your body awareness\movement.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Gap between reality and image

"The more that we acknowledge where we've deluded ourselves for the sole sake of preserving a FALSE self-image, the more we can IMPROVE ourselves in the REAL WORLD, and not just IN OUR HEADS."

-Tyler Durden

This , in my opinion, is an incredible quote. It is taken from the following article:
http://www.bristollair.com/outer-game/skills/state-control.html

This article is one of the most amazing things I have ever read. It's written in the specific
context of approacing women but I think it is relevant to any area you can think of.

People don't make progress because they do not want to admit, even to themselves, where they are now. Suppose you want to get to level 3. Currently you are at level 1, but you
think you are at level 2. You will never get to level 3 because you keep
trying to take the steps that will take you from level 2 to level 3.
The condition gets worse with time beacuse although the actions you take aren't
actually making you progress, they ARE making your self-image 'progress'. Specfically,
after a while of performing actions that are meant to take you from level 2 to level 3,
you begin to think of yourself as someone who is on level 3. Thus, the Gap between self-image
and self-reality deepens, making it harder to admit the truth. Ofcourse, at a deep level, you know EXACTLY who you are. Therefore, this gap builds a tension inside of yourself. A tension,
between the deep level of the mind and the rational\conscious mind with all of its abstarct, imaginary ideas. To keep this self-image you need to detach from yourself.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

All true improvement comes from understanding.

When you see a person that, in your perception, is "better than you", you may have an instinct to think "that person is braver\more dillegent than me", thereby judging yourself. But excibitng courage\dilligence as you probably precieve them in that context, is something that takes effort, and now matter how strong a muscle is, its use is temporary. One person may be able to hold a large weight over his head for 30 minutes, while you can only hold it for 5 minutes, or 5 seconds. But neither in your case, or his, is this state of holding the weight the "base state" of the person. Thus, if someone else seems CONSISTENTLY "better" than you in some sense, the difference beetween you is in something more basic, most importantly, something that does not require effort. I think people should always look for a way that 'fits' them better, rather than judging themselves for not working hard enough in the current way.

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Hi! I am a computer science postdoc. For some reason google is not finding my new homepage so I added a link from this profile