The Philosophical Self-Inquiry Discussion Group meets in Eugene on alternate Tuesdays at Cafe Roma (825 E 13th Ave) and Corvallis on alternate Wednesdays at Corvallis Public Library. Meetings begin at 6:00 pm and run until 8.
Those curious to learn more about themselves are invited to air their views
and hear what others have to say on the discussion topic in an atmosphere of
friendly investigation. Meeting guidelines.
Tuesday, November 20 and Wednesday November 21 2012:
Stretching the Mind
From the book Stuff White People Like:
"#15 Yoga: Though its roots are in India, the global tree of Yoga has most of its branches in rich white neighborhoods. Yoga has been so thoroughly embraced by white people because it requires large amounts of money and time, two things that white people have a lot of.
"Yoga is essentially stretching with guidance. Advanced Yoga is just regular Yoga done in a very hot room.
"You might think that since Yoga is such a minimalist activity, it can be done almost anywhere. But you would be wrong. Yoga must take place on hardwood floors at a studio. Exposed beams are generally believed to enhance Yoga experiences by 40 percent.
"Being non-competitive, you might think that Yoga can just be done in any type of clothes that allow for a full range of motion; again you would be wrong. Yoga is much more than just an activity, it is a chance to showcase $80 pants that are tailor-made for the rigors of Yoga.
"And last, but not least, Yoga feels exotic and foreign. It has become sort of like a religion that prizes flexibility and expensive clothes. Also, deep down, white people feel that their participation makes up for years of colonial rule in India."
Can you seek answers to your deepest questions without paying $80 for attire?
Tuesday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 5 2012:
Unending fear, lust,
toil and devouring.
Hell is not elsewhere.
~ Bart Marshall
2011 Annual Fall Intensive Retreat "Casting off Illusion"
Sunday-Friday, Nov. 13-18
Objective: Find complete & permanent X (Truth, Love, Security, Satisfaction, Reality, Being, etc.)
Objection: Yes, but ... how do I go, sink or dive within?
The tiger's in a cage...
An opportunity arises, and he jumps
Headlong into freedom,
Only to find himself trapped again
The tiger or the mouse
Discovers there's always been a means of egress
Behind him, back through the projection
Off self and other, into
for more information.
2011 Annual Summer Men's Intensive Retreat "The Next Step"
Sunday-Friday, Jun. 19-24
Like a bus ride
Waiting for the bus, it finally appears
We're carried along faster & farther than our own energy would carry us
It offers certain comforts, maybe also some interpersonal frictions
But the ride ends, becomes a memory
It may be the last bus ride
All experience disappoints, leaves us unfulfilled.
How did life's bus ride get you to where you find yourself?
What is your life-objective?
How would you evaluate your progress-to-date?
What is your next step?
Individual presentations, group discussions, and workshops combined with plenty of time for silent contemplation and nature walks....
FELT DIMLY in the soul, by world-man unconceived;
Unknown Goal of all yearning;
The Fullness that fills the inner void,
Completing the half-forms of outer life;
The Eternal Beloved, veiled in the objects of human desire;
Undying, Timeless, Everlasting;
Old as Infinity, yet ever new as upspringing youth;
Pearl beyond price, Peace all-enveloping;
Divinity spreading through all.
"Blown-out" in the grand conflagration of Eternity,
Death destroyed as a dream no longer remembered.
Life below but a living death,
Nirvana the ever-living Reality....
~ From Franklin Merrell-Wolff's "Nirvana"
for more information.
Tied Up In Knots?
Once an earnest beginner in the pursuit of Tao came to visit Lao Tzu. As soon
as Lao Tzu saw him, he asked, "Who are all those people whom you have
brought with you?" The disciple whirled around to look. Nothing there.
Panic! Lao Tzu said, "Don't you understand?" This only added
confusion to his panic. Lao Tzu then pressed him to tell him what was ailing
him. The disciple said (to use the version of Thomas Merton):
"When I don't know, people treat me like a fool. When I do know, the
knowledge gets me into trouble. When I fail to do good, I hurt others. When I do
good, I hurt myself. If I avoid my duty, I am remiss, but if I do it I am
ruined. How can I get out of these contradictions? That is what I came to ask
Lao Tzu replied: "A moment ago I looked into your eyes. I saw you were
hemmed in by contradictions. Your words confirm this. You are scared to
death, like a child who has lost father and mother. You are trying to sound
the middle of the ocean with a six-foot pole. You have got lost, and are
trying to find your way back to your own true self. You find nothing but
illegible signposts pointing in all directions. I pity you."
The disciple asked for admittance, took a cell, and there meditated, trying
to cultivate qualities he thought desirable and get rid of others which he
disliked. Ten days of that! Despair!
"Miserable!" said Lao. "All blocked up! Tied in knots! Try to
get untied! If your obstructions are on the outside, do not attempt to grasp
them one by one and thrust them away. Impossible! Learn to ignore them. If
they are within yourself, you cannot destroy them piecemeal, but you can
refuse to let them take effect. If they are both inside and outside, do not
try to hold on to Tao just hope that Tao will keep hold of you!"
John C.H. Wu,
The Golden Age of Zen
The meetings serve as forums for discussing issues related to
self-inquiry and self-definition. This is a tricky proposition using the mind to understand the mind. To expedite the process, a facilitator directs the discussion.
Typical meeting formats are round-robin style, where participants have an
equal amount of time to air their views. The object of this airing is to help
each person clarify contradictions, tracing them back to prides and fears
that cloud our mental processes. One of the ways of doing this is a friendly
mode of challenging, or confrontation, not of the person but of his or
her assumptions, beliefs, values and ethics. The facilitator is not to be
confronted, as this disrupts the flow of the meeting.
A successful interchange relies on the cooperation of all participants and
their willingness to "play the game." No one should preach or be
subject to preaching. As much as is humanly possible we should try to:
Listen actively, without interrupting, maintaining a felt connection with
Keep the focus on each participant in turn, avoiding the temptation to
shift the attention to ourselves either out of a desire to rescue the
person from tension or a desire to be the center of attention ourselves. When
such a shift occurs, the facilitator or other participant should point it
Try to understand the speaker's point of view and challenge him to
question his own thinking, not argue with him or try to sell our views.