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TOPIC: omg somebody say something

omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 14:35 #5378

:P

(and @chris, if you reply "something"... you will, I know you will)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 14:49 #5379

Nothing to say....

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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 16:46 #5380

How about "It's 3pm and 102 degrees." Ptthththththth
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 16:55 #5381

True-- the forum was 'dark' all Superbowl Sunday. Perhaps our participants have secret predilections for more conventional entertainments than we imagine?
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 17:01 #5382

I was watching Downton Abbey. :P
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 17:05 #5383

Okay, here's something random. I noticed last year I can induce all sorts of states just by saying them. Like right now I can say "Let there be grief" and grief wells up in my heart and tears fill my eyes. Then I can say "Let there be joy" and my heart fills with boundless joy and a big smile comes across my face. The feelings are genuine - I'm not "pretending".

So I mentioned this in a post on my blog and a friend replied he'd used the same trick to overcome insomnia when on retreat (when I meditate intensively I don't sleep much, I'm assuming that's what he meant). He said he'd just say "Let the body be weary, let the mind be consumed by sleepiness" and it would.

Anyone else played with this trick? When did you notice it could be done? I only discovered it last June, by accident, and was quite entertained for a while until the novelty wore off. Not sure there's much use in it. Does it teach one anything? Not sure.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 18:13 #5384

Let there be a conversation.

edit -- needed to add:

:)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 19:09 #5385

I have some experience with this, Ona. I first noticed my ability to evoke emotion responses via intention by practicing metta (i.e. "May I be happy..."). Happiness just sort of happens.



Most emotions are made available to us through verbal (i.e. language) relations; that's my view, anyway. Some think that because emotions are depedent on verbal relations, one needs only to dismantle the verbal relations in order to make the emotions go away. But, this view shows an immense lack of understanding regarding how human language works. That is, it works by addition, not subtraction. We can learn to see through things we have already learned, but we can just unlearn things, the way one would uproot something concrete in the physical environment.



As long as we have a language history, we will have emotions. It's no different than having a biological history. We can't just get rid our or heads to get rid of a headache. We would no longer be human.



When I talk about emotions, I often remember the Serenity Prayer. I don't know that acceptance, courage, and wisdom are gifts granted from beyond. But, I know they can be practiced and cultivated.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:07 #5386

What do you mean dismantling verbal relations to make emotions go away? I don't understand the verbal-emotional connection you are referring to. I'll wait to comment further until I understand that bit. :)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:25 #5387

Good question, Ona.

Shame is a good example to use. Shame as an emotion is maintained within a social context, and is thus dependent on language. Put simplistically, shame is what one feels when what they've done, or who they are, is viewed negatively by others, and has negative social consequences - such as rejection, isolation, loss of status, etc. It's based on not being acceptable; about falling out of one's graces. But this context is mostly "verbal," in that it isn't primarily based on direct environmental contingencies. Without the verbal context, bodily feelings would not contelate into what we know as shame.

The thing is, one we know shame, it can arise as an emotion whenever our context and our history come together. For instance, if your sister were to say to you, "Hey, do you remember when dad caught you peeking at your Christmas presents when you were 8?" If you put yourself back in that place, you're going to feel something like what you felt then. There's not getting rid of our learning history.

Of course, we can spend time trying to supress it. But that's a terrible way to live, and it doesn't usually work at all. It tends to increase the importance of one's history, which makes it more likely to come up.

I think I'm just rambling now ;-) I'll let someone comment so I can re-focus.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:33 #5388

I'd say this is also about memory and being able to project situations and context into the future. For example, when I think about me creating some massive screw up at work, thus invoking a shame response, it's not really verbal as much as it is conceptual, situational, a product of internal images, memories and projections.

Maybe....
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:35 #5389

I see. But there are emotions that are felt pre-verbally. Shame is a complex feeling, dependent on recognizing things like social status or anticipating isolation, etc.

But even pre-verbal babies or minimally-verbal animals can demonstrate frustration, anger and fear. ie if you take away something they are enjoying (food, friend, toy, sense of comfort, safety). Or likewise express playful joy, happiness, when given something they do like (friends, body comfort, pleasant touch, food)

(Just to add, I strongly dislike using the term "emotions" only to refer to certain feelings we don't find pleasant.)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:38 #5390

Simple test -- do people who are deaf from birth have emotions?

Is language dependent on words (verbal) or is it symbolic (representational)?

Just thinking....
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:48 #5391

Perhaps we need to define what emotions are and which we are discussing? I've seen dogs and horses clearly communicate:

Joy/playful happiness
Worry/fear (not unlike grief)
Anger/fear (fear plus aggressive/protective response)
Frustration/anger
Impatience
Contentment

off the top of my head.

They communicate with gesture and are social animals that live in groups, which may make a difference. Not sure solitary animals have the same range. But even a turtle can express self-defense/fear, self-defense/aggression, and contentment/relaxation.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 20:52 #5392

Ona, I guess it depends on what we mean by "verbal." My use of the word isn't very clear. I really mean language in general, which includes images, signs, concepts, and so on.



Yes, animals have varying shades of emotional complexity. I would argue that the more sophisticated a species is as more complex forms of language, the more complex and rich their potential emotional life will be.



For example, we know a dog understands "images." If you throw a ball behind a fence, it doesn't think the ball just disappeared. It will probably jump the fence to go get it, because it understands the object is still there, even when it isn't seen. Dogs also understand basic signs. They can associate the words walk, bath, vet, sit, stay, fetch, etc. with the actual referrents. They experience the emotions made possible by these relations.

But, there's no evidence that a dog understand complex concepts like, say, world peace. For language-able humans, this concept is related to an abstract referent, and can evoke different emotional qualities. I'm not sure what the limits are, but they're there.

Because human language is so complex, we can fabricate all kinds of abstract referents that mean something to us. And opens us up to all kinds of new emotional experiences, which are complex constellations of feeling. We can feel happy and sad at the same time, and call it bittersweet. We can have love-hate relationships. The possibilities are vast.

The pleasant comes with the unpleasant. And, in most cases we cannot simply undo what has been done. We can't unlearn, forget, erase, or otherwise uproot our history. And our history has a funny way of meeting us in the present when the approriate conditions arise. We can learn to relate to emotions in a way that is workable, and trying to get rid of them, or prevent them, is perhaps the most unworkable thing we could possibily do with them. It's funny how we treat our memories as thought they are spots on a mirror that can just be wiped away.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:05 #5393

Chris, I would consider sign-language "verbal," even though it doesn't include vocalizing. A hand gesture can refer to an abstract concept just as well as an utterance. (Just talking this through; I know you understand and suspect you agree.)

So, yeah :-)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:07 #5394

So is what you are getting at that this ability to say "let there be grief" or whatever works because we are designed to have emotions triggered by all sorts of conditions, from memories to events to words? So it's easy enough to "build a button" that triggers a state or feeling?

The repression thing doesn't seem important to me right now. But it does seem to be a hangup for a lot of people, and it certain is true that memories or habitual reactions to certain scenarios can be very, very uncomfortable and disruptive at times. They were for me for many years (ie chronic anxiety triggered by certain memories and situations...). I find some stuff simply doesn't come up anymore, and other stuff comes up but it's just not particularly problematic. Trying not to look at it doesn't make it go away. Somehow embracing it doesn't necessarily make it go away, but does seem to transform it radically.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:21 #5395

Yes - when the thought "Let there be grief" arises, it becomes a part of one's experiential context. This context is what allows a feeling to arise in that moment, which also arose in other contextually relevant moments in one's learning history. This works due to the "bidirectionality" of verbal relations. If you felt fear in the presence of an actual tiger, and afterward you learned that the spoken word "tiger" is associated with the actual tiger you were afraid of (i.i. "That was a tiger."), and then you learn that "le tigre" is "the tiger" in French, guess what happens if you're walking down the street and someone yells, "Le TIGRE!!!" It is likely that you will feel some degree of fear.

So, when "May I be happy," is thought or said, we remember what it's like to be happy based on our learning history, and we tend to feel happiness... until the context changes, and more of our history meets and greets us right there (or here) in the present.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:28 #5396

"Trying not to look at it doesn't make it go away. Somehow embracing it doesn't necessarily make it go away, but does seem to transform it radically."

Yeah! In psycho-speak, we might say that changing the context of experience (choosing to embrace emotion for what it is, rather than what it says it is) transforms its function. That partly how meditation works. When we set up conditions for seeing thoughts as thoughts, and feelings as feelings with lots of subtle features, they can become much less distressing. They serve a different function in our lives; in our very being. We also see that we can experience difficult emotions without experiencing the terrible consequences that we imagine will happen.

I'd like to note that I'm not saying meditation is about beneficial because we're seeing things the "real" way. The only "real" thing to get, in my opinion, is how changing the way we perceive results in changes in our experience. Perception, however, is just as empty as anything else. It's no use trying to view things in one particular way all the time, because then we're still clinging. Taking on different perpectives on purpose, and noticing the results, is what allows us to let go of control altogether. In fact, without going through the process, we can't even know how to let go.

(Boy, I sure am having a hard time staying on topic today!)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:43 #5397

Remember that the topic is "omg somebody say something," which pretty much allows for anything to be pertinent ;-)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:52 #5398

I love shiny things.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 21:59 #5399

Great conversation on the DhO about memory loss related to spiritual awakening. It was started by Daniel Ingram.... and .... well....

Shit, I forgot what I was going to say.
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 22:00 #5400

I'm expected to become a father July 31, 2012.

(Yes, that's for real.)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 22:05 #5401

Jackson! How wonderful! Congratulations. :D A virtual hug to you and the other person involved. ;)
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omg somebody say something 06 Feb 2012 22:11 #5402


Great conversation on the DhO about memory loss related to spiritual awakening. It was started by Daniel Ingram.... and .... well....
Shit, I forgot what I was going to say.


-cmarti

You mentioned this the other day - the forgetting. It does seem like there's a shitload of stuff we normally carry around in short-term memory that's not really important. Like I can't recite for you what I've done today unless I sit and think a moment. It just doesn't really matter. But I don't tend to forget people's names or appointments or recipes or how to tie my shoes or what I read in a certain book or anything like that, at least no more than I always did or didn't. It's more like just being in the moment, on autopilot, too much for all the peripheral unimportant details to stick.
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