“Life is a mask through which the universe expresses itself. We assume that all of humankind and its supportive life forms represent a natural community.”
Frank Herbert

Children of Dune

What Shines Through?

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The Murky Mind post left an open idea I wanted to address. When mind is still what is it that shines through? To answer this I will call upon two Sanskrit terms Cit (pronounced Chit) and Citta (pronounced Chitta). Citta can be interpreted as mind (though that does warrant an extended debate). Cit can’t be translated directly. It is the source of clarity that shines through when the mind is still and contained.

I am not keen on using religious terms, but I take comfort in the fact that the text I am calling on The Yoga Sutra is not a religious text and it dances with grace around the idea of god. God, in yoga and Vedic philosophy has many names & manifestations – one of which is Brahman. Brahman is an eternal unified existence – a greater force from which all consciousness originates. Then there is Atman – a name attributed to the manifestation of Brahman in each and every one of us. Atman & Brahman are one and the same – simply different names used and indicative of different contexts. Atman is that part of Brahman which is in me (and you) – but Brahman has no parts… so remember – context!

Cit is my personal experience of Atman that is within me. Cit is also referred to as the seer (as in that which sees). If you’ve ever practiced any kind of meditation – Cit is that which can observe that your mind is wondering off (since your mind has wondered off – it can’t be the one doing that for you!). If you’ve ever been a situation where you’ve seen “through” a person – realizing something about that person which is not directly stated (this usually happens when mind does not interrupt a subtle channel of perception and communication!) – that too is Cit. Cit can be seen as an intuitive facility.

brahman_bumps

Cit & Citta (mind) have a kind of love-hate relationship. Cit can be a perfect clarity – but it can’t relate to the world beyond it – it is an isolated existence.  To do that it needs Citta. Citta is connected to the world – it can take information in through the senses and act on the world by (for example) manipulating body. So Citta is a life-saver for Cit – but it comes with a price – a price of murkiness. Cit can now relate to the world around it – but sometimes, when Citta develops it’s own ambitions, Cit can find itself shoved aside from the drivers seat. This, according to Yoga,  is what we are. A convergence of a potentially integrated, eternal, clear & sweet perception with a murky mind that feeds on and manipulates.

If you recall – the definition of Yoga as put forth in the Yoga Sutra – chapter 1, sutras 2,3,4 is:

1-2: Yoga is the containment of the mind’s activities
1-3: In that moment the state of Seeing remains.
1-4: At other time the activities [of the mind] are presented.

An ad-hoc interpretaion: when the mind (Citta) is settled and not bouncing around feeding on and reacting to everything that reaches it, there is clear perception (Cit). At all other times (which for most of us – is most of the time!) – the mind (Citta)  is perceiving an echo of it’s own inner workings – it observes what it expects and wants to observe.

Posted in Getting Started, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours

Yoga for a Murky Mind

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I carry with me a metaphor that very often provides me with inspiration and support. A glass of water is inherently clear, but if you introduce some dirt into it and give it a good stir – clarity will be reduced. Clarity is still a quality of the glass of water but something is now preventing it from shining through. To experience clarity again you need to let the dirt settle.

clearmurky

Applying Yoga is a similar process. People are born with a quality of clarity that cannot be taken out. Clarity can be dormant and hidden behind a murky mind but it is always there. Therefor in yoga we tried to teach the mind stillness. When the mind it still enough, clarity can once again shine through.

As a seeking individual this reminds me that mind has a nature and quality of it’s own and it get’s murky – this is not a problem, it should not be criticized nor solved. I have also found that a great place to start to quiet the mind is to surrender to it and embrace it for what it is. Clarity is with me all the time, though sometimes it is not available to me because of state-of-mind… and in the spirit of embracing… maybe there is a reason for that as well (when I am driving, I prefer a nice and murky mind taking in information, making decisions and responding).

As a yoga therapist this reminds me to appreciate and embrace an endless potential embodied in people I teach. It is not up to me nor in my hands to “make them better” in any way (physically, mentally, energetically or spiritually). I have at my disposal tools that when introduced properly and practiced with care can involve a stillness of mind. The rest is in the hands of a higher force.

CONFESSION: When I created the images above I waited to see what would happen to the murky water. The first time I did this I left the glass out for too long and half the water evaporated leaving a dirty glass surface. The second time I tried things remained afloat in the water and clung to the sides. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to go demonstrate the idea of clarity shining through again. But it’s never that simple, and indeed yoga practices are about an active purification of body & mind and not just waiting around for it to happen. So there you have it : )

Posted in Getting Started, Models & Metaphors, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 8 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-07

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Atha Yoga Indeed

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Today, after quite a long time, nothing got in between me and a complete asana practice. The weather was fine, the house was quiet, my mind did not resist and my body welcomed.

I thought this would be a great opportunity for a “behind the scenes” yoga thingy. This is what I practiced – it is a basic but comprehensive asana practice.  IN = inhale, EX = exhale, R4=repeat 4 time, R4/_=repeat 4 times both sides. Click on the image to open the full-size practice plan.

previewpractice

Posted in Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Lucky Number Slevin

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I have a great time every time I watch this movie. Enjoy : )

Posted in Coming Through, Enjoy, inside, Movies | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

How FEM Happened – Faith & Fear

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FEM is an online application designed to assist women who take an interest in what is often called Fertility Awareness Method. This is a journey of awareness which begins in the physical body and the changes it goes through during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It embodies, like other tools of awareness, a potential to open up new and unlimited paths of exploration.

Over the past two weeks Andreea & I have been testing FEM with a few users from Romania. This past weekend we completed the work and introduced an English version. This is by no means an end, it is merely a stop on the way but it feels like a good place to stop, appreciate, embrace and share. There are numerous energies that led us to this point – they all seem to start about a year after Andreea & I met.

Subject Matter

Andreea initially trained in Aromatherapy. She had amazing luck and got to study in intimate settings with two of the most prominent teachers in Israel. She worked in various circles as a masseuse for some time. Over time she focused on working with women. She then trained as a doula – a strange word I learned to admire – describing a servant role to a woman giving birth. She also trained in some specialized techniques for women and pregnancy. She has also studied and applied in her life the Fertility Awareness Method. This is all fueled and intertwined with her personal ambitions and journey of discovery.

During these years I completed my training as a Yoga therapist. We have over the years developed a common interest, shared perception (and some differences as well) and vocabulary in which we approach our own lives and the lives of people we encounter in therapeutic settings.

Going Online

About 2 years ago Andreea started a  blog in hebrew (Nashiyut) dedicated to femininity, fertility & pregnancy.  Though the blog has some unique content and accumulated a readership – it has not struck a cord with a resounding and motivating resonance. This led her to seek online connections in her birth country – Romania. There she found a resonance that pulled her in.

About 4 months ago we setup Feminitate – the online equivalent of her hebrew blog. This time she encountered a thirsty, supportive and responsive community. She responded in kind and most of her attention and work since then has been invested in Feminitate.

Not long after that (shortly after we moved to Elkosh) she tried to setup a simple tool that she could share online to bring the Fertility Awareness Method to women in Romania. She tried creating something in excel and a PDF document that could be printed out. When she consulted with me on it I (maybe a little brutally?) put down her efforts and my mind quickly starting thinking about an alternative.

Over the new few weeks we talked about what such an application should look like (Andreea had used some existing online tools and we wanted to do something different – and hopefully better). I then did some initial sketches of the basic UI concept and soon after got to work on developing the application.

The objective was to develop a tool in Romanian – a language I neither speak or read.  So from the start we approached FEM as a multilingual tool – initially so (a) I can develop in English and (b) we could easily translate to Romanian. We now have the capability to easily translate FEM into practically any left-to-right language. This has empowered us to reach more women and we definitely inted to put this to use.

Technology

The technology issue is for me an amazing perspective on, of all things, faith. Though I had a long IT/technology career I did very little development (because I never really liked – and still don’t!). I do have good foundations and experience in systems analysis, SQL databases, software architecture and user experience. I had absolutely no experience coding in a web-environment. So how did FEM happen?

WordPress – 3 years ago I encountered wordpress and made my first steps in online hosting (a place to install and run the blog) and basic HTML/CSS/PHP to get some degree of control over the look of the blog. As I built a few more blogs I gained more control and experience using these tools. WordPress has a special place in my heart.

SweetClarity – this project was born from my involvement in creative exploration over the past few years – my heart and soul are in it and is intended to affect the flow in inspiration on a global scale. If you don’t get it, it’s OK, most of the business people we encountered didn’t either. SweetClarity was founded in the summer of 2007. An initial demo system was implemented using an affordable content server and a little paid custom development. The project continued to evolve and we did not manage to secure any funds. So for ~6 months I searched for developers who would be willing to join the project without pay. When this didn’t work I relcutantly decided to brace myself and get to work.

Lynda – I came across Lynda when I reviewed a CV I received from a developer who was looking for paid work. I have always been an independent learner and Lynda was just what I needed. I took courses in HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript, Flex/AS3 and more. I was learning as I go and going as I learned and in i6 months SweetClarity was reborn. It is made up of 4 systems: HTML editing environment, HTML adminitstrative tools, front-end Flash player and a web wrapper. It turned out to be quite a bit of code (and I still consider it a pilot system).

A few weeks before we moved to Elkosh I decided to set SweetClarity aside. I was transferring personal financial pressures onto SweetClarity and the people who were trying to help. I realized this was wrong and decided to let it breathe. I focused on packing a house and preparing to move. Then not long after we finished unpacking the last crates – FEM emerged and began to consume most of our time.

My technological learning curve is motivated by my passion and tempered by my (lack of) patience for technology. I studied enough to achieve my goals. I do appreciate and recognize good development – so I know that my technological work is mediocre, but I also know where it can approve. This is how I improve from one project to the next and within project iterations.

Project Management

Hahaha  – there was a systemic lack of it. One of the reasons I left my technology career was the hypocrisy of project management. Everyone talked about being on schedule and being in budget, nobody ever was and quality was always left out because of blind adherence to fashionable management ideas.

A new learning began with SweetClarity but really escalated during the development of FEM. When I was working on SweetClarity everything was open ended. FEM is more specific and condensed and also taking place under even more financial pressures – with a more impressionable limit.

I learned that all the pressures I was experiencing have very little to do with the work at hand – and should not affect it. I would often notice how a pressure to “finish” awakens in me and how that pressure creeps into my heart and my fingertips – and suddenly I am under pressure, not enjoying my work and messing things up.

I made it a point to take my time. I made it a point to do physical work in the land around the house or take walks. I rested when I felt like resting. I took days off when I either felt I needed them or reminded by Andreea that I needed to. I always answered “I don’t know” when people asked when we would be finished. I made it a point to take my time and not to push myself.

In under 2 months we thought up a product, planned, designed, developed, tested and deployed it – and we didn’t let any management ideas get in the way of enjoying life while doing it.

Business

It was Andreea that took the first step in changing the “business” aspect of her life. She was the first to become an independent worker – not on anybody’s payroll, I passionately supported her – I didn’t want her to make unnecesssary compromises and sacrifices I felt I had made in pursuing a “steady” career. I always feared that this was an impossible and painful bureaucratic process. When she took the first step we both learned it wasn’t that painful. Her experience paved the way for my first steps of independence.

When I left my career I had grown tired of the experience I had come to know of “doing business”. I was amused that artistic exploration brought me full circle and made me face it again with SweetClarity.

I love that change is coming. I love that wide-spread ideas of business, thought up by really smart people are crumbling. I am beginning to develop a new sense of what business may be, but I don’t yet know what it is.

I love that we have been able to create something useful. I love that I have been able to put into it all of my skills – from Yoga to HTML. I love that is was born in the country-side. I love that Andreea & I can be together at home and work passionately on a project together. I love feeling and believing that all this work can also translate into a relationship with the world and an exchange of energy that will support us and provide us with the freedom to continue pursuing our lives.  This can tell you something about what I think business can be and will become.

FEM

The name FEM was born when I needed a temporary place holder. We didn’t talk about a name but I needed something to act as a design as placeholder. FEM is the first 3 letters of the word Feminitate and also a prefix of the same word in english (and I am guessing other languages). When I placed it on the screen, I called out to Andreea and told her the application is called “FEM” and so it came to be.

When I worked with Andreea on translating some texts from Romanian to english I noticed the close relationship between FEM and FAM (Fertility Awareness Method). This is a welcome side-effect 🙂

Personal

So much to say – I am not sure where to start, what to leave in and what to leave out. I will try to let this flow as it may.

All this has happened in a difficult and challenging period for Andreea, myself and our shared life. When we first met Andreea was a foreign national. Our growing relationship encountered an menacing obstacle – her visa expired. The only way for us to continue to pursue our relationship was for us to get married. But, in Israel this is not possible – there are only religious marriages. So we found ourselves in battling the state of Israel – both it’s unclear essence (a Jewish state?) and political bureaucracy. After a year of fighting the ministry of internal affairs – we lost. Andreea left to Romania (she left as an illegal alien and her passport was stamped by a smiling government official telling her she would never be able to return) to arrange her papers, we met in Cyprus to get officially married, she went back to Romania and I returned to Israel (leaving her stands out as a very difficult moment in my life). We both prayed that a recently instated civil process would allow me to have her brought back to Israel – luckily it did. She was back in a month. Since then we were required to visit the ministry of internal affairs once a year to validate the authenticity of our marriage. Last summer this process came to an end – and Andreea received her citizenship.

In the sumer of 2006 I left behind my career and the salary that came with it. I realized that I was not making any substantial financial progress and I was not enjoying myself. I decided to give my a self an enjoying life. Within a week I met Shahar and have been since immersed in magic – a substantial part of it is expressed through StillCreation. SweetClarity was also born in this process.

Since then both Andreea & I have been pursuing our passions.  Though we both had some income during this period we have been largely living off savings – which are running out (as all savings do). I know this has been difficult for Andreea – but don’t want to speak on her behalf. I can say that this has brought me face to face with two amazing forces: fear and faith. As I write these words both are dancing within me. Right now faith has the upper hand.

Pregnancy

I have often, in teaching, talking and writing about Yoga, bring up a core idea that Yoga is a system dedicated to a study of mind and not as it usualy mistakenly associated with body. An inspiring idea that Yoga has to offer about pregnancy is that it occurs in the minds of two people before it manifests in the body of one.

I think that it is safe to say that the greatest dividing issue in our relationship continues to be a child.  When Andreea & I set out on our shared path I was fearful and against even talking about children. Today I am still afraid but also curious and open to the idea. On a good day you can even catch me admiting I want it. A few years ago two people on two separate occasions indicated to us they perceive an aura of our future child nearby. It made me angry but now I am happy and embrace it. When people ask me if we have children I say that we do in soul but not yet in body.

Pregnancy is indeed in in mind before in body. We have been pregnant for a long time. I have faith that the birth of FEM will soon create a space for it to occur in body as well.

Posted in AltEco, Business, Featured, Israel, outside, SweetClarity, Yoga | You are welcome to read 7 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-31

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  • 13:33 #
  • this is what happens when lost souls and unprepared minds encounter sacred knowledge:http://twurl.nl/moo2g0 #
  • on Motivation & Mind: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1030 #
  • 11:00 yeah! #
  • @erangalperin if you haven’t already then have a look at phpBB in reply to erangalperin #
  • 22:22 #
  • to set a mind free it must first be collected #
  • and when a mind is collected it stays put and something else is set free #
  • is there a way to interface with WordPress via PHP to create users that originate in a different system? #
  • @erangalperin that’s what I want to do, in the end I guess it’s a table update, but things like password/permissions??? in reply to erangalperin #
  • @erangalperin if I can capture password on creation (it’s my system)… how would I go about WP encryption? in reply to erangalperin #
  • @erangalperin thank you …. then I will give it a try and see what happens 🙂 in reply to erangalperin #
  • Make a life not a living. #
  • doing at least a little nothing is a great part of my day #
  • soon I hope to also have not-doing as part of my daily schedule #
  • RT “That sort of company is not one I would wake up every day and feel passionate about working in.” @photomatt: http://twurl.nl/zggd32 #
  • Quentin Terentino & Bill Clinton could collaborate on a definite porn hit “Lick Bill” #
  • Amazon should sell Kindle with a gift certificate values at the Kindle price, eligible for buying ebooks at amazon! #
  • I just tried talking on the inhale instead of on the exhale… it was funny at first, then it worked and continued to be funny #
  • Male & Female – Space & Place: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1038 #
  • Wooohooo FEM is now available in English http://en.myfem.org – an online fertility awareness application for women #
  • @adambn thank you 🙂 in reply to adambn #
  • woke up 03am,paypal integration,food,flex debugging,eating,html tweaks,eating,laying stone path,ice-cream, now dinner and a movie 🙂 #

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Male & Female – Space & Place

n

Some time ago I encountered a metaphor I liked about one aspect of a relationship between male and female qualities. It suggested that male creates a space in which female can express itself. Male will do hunting and gathering and in doing so enable female to create family. I often need to remind myself that male & female is not man and woman. We all have a measure of both in our personal constitution. Please keep this in heart as you keep reading and I will do the same as I continue writing.

Another metaphor that stuck with me from my creative work with Shahar is “space & place”. It comes up often when we explore relationships between a performer, a performance space, other performers, elements in a performance space, audience, intents, motivations, movement, etc. It is a perspective that inspires me.

I see a connection between Male & Female and Space & Place. A space is empty, it contains a potential for something to happen. I have often observed Shahar create a space – it is a practical task of removing unnecessary objects, bringing in light & air, cleaning the floor, stirring energy. It takes an active pursuit of intent to create a space (in which creativity can reveal itself) – it feels to me like a male quality of doing. Then when a space is present there is a feeling of delicacy – there is a divine container. I have often observed Shahar (and others) enter and move in a space – and it feels like a female quality, a soft embracing, inviting, curious, appreciative state of being. When this happens a space becomes a place – it absorbs context, it becomes specific.

It occurred to me that this metaphor can also shed light on womb. Womb is an expression of male that exists inside a female. It takes male presence to transform this space into a place – a place where life is born, a space of creation. It takes a female presence to nurture it with patience and sacrifice.

A few minutes ago I read these words from a book called Spirit Babies: How to Communicate with the Child You’re Meant to Have:

On a divine-consciousness level, we always feel whole and connected. On a basic human level, we yearn to experience this sense of connection and unity. We generally seek this experience through our relationship with others… This desire to re-experience this unity is the basic force that draws parent and child together… The karmic forces that draw parent and child together represent their commitment to explore the divine aspect of life.

I have an image in which male and female dance one within the other. As if there is endless pattern in which one gives birth to the other – female in male in female in male. A pattern in which a continuous spiritual existence can resonate freely. A pattern that embraces human existence and survives it. It gives me hope, it gives us hope.

Posted in Books, Coming Through, Expanding, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Motivation & Mind

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It’s great to be in a position where you want to understand something. This is a situation in which two great things are happening for you. First something is shimmering for you and catching your attention. Second you are motivated to get your mind around it – to create an understanding. You now have energy to move and a clear direction in which to move. How wonderful is that?

Motivation is usually hooked up to something deep inside, something beyond the mind, because if you think about it is not a sensible thing. Motivation can bring you into situations that to the mind may seem impossible.  Yet all the motivation in the world will not get you moving – for that you need mind. Mind is capable of creating movement – it can use senses to create movement inwards (smell, touch, sight, etc.) and it can express itself and create outwards movement (speech, motion, etc.).

This is a charged situation. Motivation wants to move towards some shimmering thing and it depends on mind to do it. Mind is facing what may look like an impossible direction (completely irrelevant to more important survival duties with it is charged) and is compelled to move towards it by motivation. Because this relationship carries a tension it can be useful to remember who is in charge of what – otherwise the relationship gets messed up. Motivation is responsible for choosing which way to go. Mind is responsible for going there.

This understanding comes in handy when perceptions gets clouded, and if you are driven by motivation then it is very likely that you will encounter cloudy perception. Movement towards something shimmering is not a straight path, it is a twisted and challenging path. Your mind will constantly issue progress updates. At times, when the mind feels that it is clearly moving in the “right” direction, it feels it is aligned with motivation and it will send reassuring thoughts. At other times it may feel like it’s moving in the “wrong” direction and it will send distressing thoughts.

When you encounter distressing thoughts from mind it’s time to review what is actually happening. Remember – motivation tells you in which direction to go and mind does the going. Your mind is (rightfully!)  now applying pressure to change direction and before you do that you can stop and consult with your motivation. If your motivation agrees with your mind then by all means reassess and if necessary change. But if your motivation remains true to it’s original course then you have an opportunity to make a choice.

Who will you listen to – motivation or mind?

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-24

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  • finally the tasks list seems to be emptying & private launch is nearing… women of the world r u ready for my woman? #
  • this new morning – something on purpose: http://twurl.nl/1r1ilg #
  • @SirKenRobinson 4 new site: check out BuddyPress – with some good intentions, implementation, mediation I feel would work great with ur work in reply to SirKenRobinson #
  • we have launched FEM in Romanian, pilot users ready and willing … english version coming soon … more on that soon 🙂 #
  • @SofiaMB @ronenk I don’t recommend hosting with GoDaddy if that is what you are considering #
  • @SofiaMB @ronenk – buying a domain with GoDaddy is fine 🙂 in reply to SofiaMB #
  • Can you recommend quality but not intellectually challenging movies to watch? for some down time in front of the TV 🙂 #
  • where is a good place to put an “I told you so” for the day the shit hits the fan & stench spreads from google users all over the planet? #
  • new iPod model 1TB storage: http://twurl.nl/zq8kzs #
  • FEM launch going good, 4 invited users registered, using the application and enjoying it 🙂 wooohooo! #
  • barefoot walking season has officially opened! #
  • @shaharsol I want to create a boxee app that will deliver SweetClarity contents toBoxee viewers 🙂 in reply to shaharsol #
  • @shaharsol being in touch with you again is very pleasant for me 🙂 thank you! in reply to shaharsol #
  • being in “touch”, being in “contact” – there is a physical element in these words #
  • this has been brewing for some time: Static Quality – Stuff of Life: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1008 #
  • FEM launch update: all 5 invites users are active, 5 more users registered for trial period. English version coming soon…feels good 🙂 #
  • if you want something to happen you have to believe it can happen before it actually does happen #
  • 15:55 #
  • it is so tempting and so wrong to apply my perspective & experience as a truth to someone else #
  • are you going after what you think society wants from you or after what you want for society? #
  • if feels like people are not spending time together, most people call me when they need/want something from me #

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Static Quality – Stuff of Life

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Before Dynamic Quality

Last time I wrote about quality I focused on Dynamic Quality. This time I want to focus on Static Quality. I often catch myself favoring Dynamic Quality over Static Quality – and I know this to be a misapprehension. I cherish moments in which I experience Dynamic Quality – they are a precious experience to me. But then my dogmatic mind kicks in and instantly identifies that because Dynamic is good, static must be bad. This it the nature of my mind, but it is wrong. Static Quality is everything that leads to and away from Dynamic quality. Static is the ordinary routine of life – it is where I spend most of life, and it is what paves the way for me to encounter  Dynamic.

So I think Static Quality deserves a bit more attention. It seems that Robert Pirsig did too. His second book Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals is dedicated almost entirely to this subject. Though I found it to be less inspiring then “Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, I have found in it a perspective that supports me in life. As I write these words I realized that indeed “Zen…” is an inspiring book that often comes to mind in creative context (Dynamic Quality) while “Lila” is a more intellectual book that comes to mind in dealing with day-to-day life (Static Quality).

Static Quality

This article was born when a visual image came to me. I hope it turns out to be an effective means of communication. This image starts with a blank canvas where static & dynamic quality meet and coexist. It may seem kind of empty – but actually for me it contains a core idea: all of life, existence & perception is a result of a meeting between static quality and dynamic quality.

sdq_empty

This meeting of qualities gave birth to inorganic patterns of quality. This feels to me very close to a core concept in Samkhya Vedic Philosophy – which claims that existence is a meeting of two forces (qualities?) – consciousness (Purusha) and matter (Prakriti).

sdq_inorganic

If I recall correctly Pirsig speaks highly of carbon and the choices it made (and continues to make). It seems that carbon felt it would be a good idea to continue to evolve into organic patterns – living cells and tissues. We should be grateful for this choice – these bodies in which we reside are a result of the choices carbon made when it encountered dynamic quality.

sdq_biological

These biological patterns (you, me and your average human being and a huge diversity of forms of life) started to make their way in life and realized it would be a great idea to group together and face dynamic quality in packs instead of individually. And so social patterns emerged.

sdq_social

Our lives are flooded by social patterns – family, friends, work, hobbies, religion, neighborhoods, cities, countries, laws… it really is an endless list. Many of these patters are buried so deep inside us that we never notice their existence. It seems that social patterns were indeed a great choice since they gave birth & life to another  set of patterns – ideas – patterns of intellect.

sdq_intellectual

An Interplay of Patterns of Quality

Robin Williams claims that “God gave men a brain and a penis but only enough blood to operate one of them at a time”. Many truths are bundled into this hillarious observation. We are constanly at war.

Patterns are co-dependent and co-exist. I have great ideas because there is time and space for me to have them. I have time because of social patterns that do a lot for me – so I don’t need to put up a shelter and go hunting every day.

Patterns are at war. When I am ill biological patterns take over and make sure I do what they need me to do to get better (!). Concentration and focus become fuzzy and primitive patterns can take over – resting & eating.  It would take tremendous effort (battle!) on my part to reassert social and intellectual patterns when biology is in play.

Patterns are vicious. Primitive patterns inhibit evolved patterns. Evolved patterns attack primitive patterns on which they depend to achieve freedom to continue and evolve. Revolutionary intellectual patterns are enemies to the very social patterns in which they grew. Society has very little tolerance for ideas of change and will usually work against them. Ideas of change struggle with existing social patterns – initially on the brink of survival and sometimes to sustain change. Struggle has been and continues to be a theme in my life.

Static patterns are doing their best. One thing patterns have in common is that they are all doing their best – and so they feel and believe that way. When I have a great idea my intellectual patterns are sure they know best (and can be rather vicious if they encounter other intellectual patterns that don’t agree).

Dynamic is better. Yet another thing patterns share is that they are all facing dynamic quality. Better is always just around the corner, out of reach and unknown. Better is something that comes at me, not something I can go to. I can be open to it and realize when it visits me or I can be dull and miss it even when it looks me in the eye. I noticed that the phrase “Dynamic is better” stimulates my mind into action and my mind attacks it – takes it apart, explains it and argues it. When this happens I try to remind myself that “Dynamic is better” is not an idea – it is a truth I choose to embrace. My minds reaction to this – coming to life with energy and movement – supports my choice. It is not a matter of rational or understanding it is a choice of faith.

Applied Quality

Dynamic quality is a source of inspiration for me. It is not “applicable” to anything – any attempt to apply it mindfully is futile – everything slips off it. I have faith in Dynamic Quality. My experience is that  it comes to me when I least expect it. The path to it is approached and paved with surrender, patience, clarity and intent. It is a sweet experience.

Static Patterns are the stuff of life. In my short indulgence of philosophic studies I recall (1) a criteria – that a system of philosophy needs to be available and applicable by non-philosophers;  (2) that the systems of philosophy that were then placed before me lacked inspiration and definitely lacked applicability.

Pirsig’s philosophy is, in my mind special because (1) it has traveled down the academic road and has evolved into a system of philosophy known as Metaphysics of Quality and (2) is a useful tool in facing many issues that appear before me and occupy my mind. I have a recurring experience of trying to work my way through a topic of interest to me, getting lost and then recalling the ideas of Static Quality which then show me a simple, sensible and interesting path.

Closing Words

sdq_intellectual

I take comfort in the development of this visual image because of the empty space that remains where Dynamic Quality exists.

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Quality, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

The new iPod

n

When the first Gulf War was raging in 1991 Israel was under constant attack. People were walking around with gas masks and injections awaiting the sirens. During one of these days my little sister, then 6 years old, accompanied my mother, who was a teacher, to school. My mother said that at one point, in the midst of an alarming siren my sister sat there drawing a serene picture – something like flowers and the sun (I don’t recall the details). My sister’s perception at the time was focused on a different plane then that of the people around her.

What if I were to tell you that this is not a phenomenon of children but of people?

What if I were to tell you that we all have an individual focus which affects what we percieve, what we sense and what we conclude about the world?

What if I were to tell you that there are people with a complete different perception then yours & mine?

What if I were to tell you that these people see and know things that you and I don’t?

What if these people claimed that something big is happening right now?

What if these people knew that we were heading into a storm most of us simply cannot fathom?

What if these people told you that if you only knew what they knew, you would be able to see how petty your worries are?

What if these people told you that was happening is for the better, even though you may not be able to identify what it is that’s getting improving?

Would you be able to listen? Would you have enough doubt inside to find an opening and a space for a different perspective? Would you be sensitive enough to appreciate their effort and draw strength from it?

It’s happening anyway.

10000002

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-17

n
  • @joi maybe there is something you can with the bamboo… eg, did u know they make bamboo floors: http://twurl.in/ ?RvHq2 #
  • yoga breath and movement series continued: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=984 #
  • RT PhilanthropicRT @GarryParkes: The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. -Henry David Thoreau #
  • bring some inspiration into that LCD hanging in your lobby- check out: http://www.sweetclarity.com you haven’t seen anything like it! #
  • yoga is not the physical practice for which it is famous. Then what is Yoga? http://www.iamronen.com/?p=51 #
  • RT indeed amazing … @SaraJChippsincredible HD video http://www.vimeo.com/4167288 #
  • “I am dead because I lack desire;I lack desire because I think I possess;
    I think I possess because I do not try to give; #
  • In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;Seeing you have nothing; you try to give of yourself; #
  • Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing;Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become; #
  • In desiring to become, you begin to live;Rene Daumal http://www.iamronen.com/?page_id=39 #
  • Dear Friends at Mozilla Firefox: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=988 #
  • “…can’t seem to loosen my grip on the past… and I miss you so much… we’re stilling making love in my secret life” Leonard Cohen #
  • RT @Yael_80 Fucking hell…either get on the bus or don’t. Make up your bloody mind people! #
  • “but now it’s come to distances… your eyes are soft with sorrow, hey that’s no way to say goodbye” Leonard Cohen #
  • I don’t know if I’ll ever find a place where I feel I belong, I do hope to find one where other people don’t mind that that’s how I feel #
  • @SofiaMB theme building is sticky in all the CMS tools I know… maybe I can help u? in reply to SofiaMB #
  • @SofiaMB iamronen@iamronen.com if/when you feel I can be of help 2u 🙂 #
  • @SofiaMB I don’t know what it is that I do exactly… but this is a fairly recent snapshot: http://www.iamronen.com/?page_id=7 in reply to SofiaMB #
  • I still show signs of result-addiction, much less but still there… #
  • 22:11 #
  • 01:01 should go to bed #
  • RT @Philanthropic: “Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.” -ACamus #
  • 15:16 (and maybe even :17) #
  • you can bitch about it, explain why it didn’t work out, or you can do something about it #
  • more on my inquiry into economy and ecology: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=992 #

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The Story of Stuff

n

Next time you encounter a $20 DVD player … enjoy 🙂

Posted in AltEco, Business, Coming Through, Enjoy, inside, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Dear Friends at Mozilla Firefox

n

Dear Friends,

I have taken these few moments to write you because Firefox has had a place in my heart for quite some time – I have enjoyed it, benefited from it & passionately  recommended it to others.

Recently (some months) Firefox is failing terribly – it is constantly crashing. This causes much frustration because, as I am sure you know, the browser is an core application and most of what I do at the computer relies on it.

The real harm though is that Firefox is loosing it’s place in my heart. I have witnessed over the past years your amazing uphill battle to become a competitive browser and I have seen the world embrace you. To lose this would be a waste and a shame. Please don’t let this continue.

Please do what it takes to make Firefox work properly, please don’t leave a hard earned and well-deserved vacant space in my heart. Please be aware that this time, time is NOT on your side.

Respectfully Yours
Ronen

Posted in AltEco, Business, Coming Through, outside | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Yoga & Breath – Locational Breathing & Movement

n

Now that we have a familiar basic movement and some experience of locational ujjayi breathing, we can try to bring the two together and create a complete experience of breathing and movement.

Revision

We will be using the same movement we used when we first introduced movement – raising the hands above the head. A quick reminder: the starting position will be lying on your back, arms along side the body, knees bent & feet standing.

supine_feetstand

Then as we inhale the arms are raised above the head (remember: to really get your entire arm onto the floor, this may require that you release the shoulders and bend at the elbows – check to see that you get all 10 finger nails, both elbows and both wrists on the floor).

supine_feetstand_armsraised

Try just this a few times to make sure that the basic movement and breath experience is available to you.  The basic coordination is arms are raised during the inhale and returned on the exhale.

Next, place your hands on your body, one on your chest the other on your abdomen. Take a few breaths to recall the ideas of locational breathing: inhale to the chest, exhale from the abdomen. If you don’t remember the nuisances, go back to the previous article in this series and take time to assimilate the ideas. When you’re finished reading, again practice for a few times. It’s not enough that the mind learns, the idea is to give the body a chance to learn. Practicing gets the job done!

Inhale to Movement

Assume the starting position and prepare as if you are going to raise your arms above your head. Then begin locational ujjayi breathing but don’t actually move your arms. Instead brings your attention to your shoulders. If you can bring the inhale effectively into your chest, you will find that the expansion in the chest will cause movement in your shoulders. As if the breath itself is bringing motion into the shoulders. Take some breaths to get this sensation.

When you can feel your breath affecting your shoulders I invite you to go ahead and lift your arms. This time you will be continuing the momentum that has originated in your breath. Focus. Make sure that you first feel movement in the area of the shoulders that originates with the breath, then let your muscles come into play and continue that movement. Repeat this a few times. When you have finished release your breath and stay attentive, give your entire system time to relax and assimilate the experience.

Exhale to Movement

Now let’s try to find an anchor for experiencing the relationship between exhale and movement. To do this again assume the starting position and as you inhale raise your arms above your head all the way to the floor, but this time leave them there. Continue breathing locational ujjayi breathing, but leave the arms resting on the floor above the head.

Now bring your attention to the exhale and the active involvement of the abdominal muscles. Try to use the abdominal muscles on every exhale to press the lower back to the floor. Repeat this a few times (arms still not moving). Get a sensation of pressing the lower back to the floor. When you have that then again bring your attention back to your shoulders. You may now find that when you exhale your shoulders are now being pulled back toward the center of your body. Keep practicing until you get some sensation of this.

You can now reinstate movement and resume a dynamic practice, but stay focused on the exhale and the returning arms. Again try to make sure that first you feel the pulling in the shoulders and then have the muscles join that effort and bring your arms back. Repeat this a few times.

Full Circle

What’s left to do now is of course to bring it all together – exhale, inhale and movement of the arms. Stay focused on the shoulders and the affect of the locational breathing on them. Try to let the breath lead you into movement.

As we continue to build the relationship between breath and movement we are accumulating more details and more subtleties. Take time to review, to go back and to make sure your attention contains the many details we have explored.

If you feel you have got a good sense of locational breathing and movement I invite you to try one more thing. Repeat all of the excercises in this article but this time change your position. Stretch your legs so that they are straight on the floor. All the rest remains the same. See what happens : )

Posted in Basic Movement, Breath, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-05-10

n
  • this morning http://www.iamronen.com/?p=962 #
  • this is a two-edged blade: “Nobody can be anybody without somebody being around”
    John Wheeler #
  • I find it amusing and enlightening that in movies Israeli actors are used to portray Arab terrorists #
  • beautiful is what is before me, suffering is what I want there to be before me #
  • looks like I’ve had a smooth transfer to the new VPS hosting… there were a few bumps… but all in all a smooth transition 🙂 #
  • “… it is easier to overcome people’s judgments than to overcome our own self-judgment…” Arianna Huffington #
  • consequences are of no consequences… and it you disagree with that, then you are absolutely right! #
  • 07: #
  • 07 #
  • “Take good advice, make sure it is good advice, then do it your way.”
    Vidal Sassoon #
  • 21:12 a pleasant weekend to you! #
  • today feels not happening… I’ll just try to ride it out in peace… #
  • 13:13 taking a break, some coffee sounds good… #
  • get good tools http://www.iamronen.com/?p=975 #
  • yoga & energy series continued: fire http://www.iamronen.com/?p=979 #
  • business cards are great for puling out dirt that has settled between the keyboard keys #

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Energy – Fire

n

My teachers often refer to a model of energy which describes a fire burning inside us, it is the combustion sub-system of our energy system (there are other sub-systems that play other roles). It is said to be located in the abdominal (apana-stana) area – it feeds on air that comes from the chest area (prana-stana) and burns ashes that are located in the lower-abdominal area.

Fire governs digestion and elimination. Like a combustion engine, it runs on a mixture of air and fuel. Air is supplied by the breath. Nutrition plays a key role in supplying fuel. The quality and quantity of the fuel can affect the fire. When it burns well food is digested effectively and efficiently, and wastes are eliminated in a timely and regular fashion. Otherwise – it can cause the system to overheat and become acidic – causing ineffective digestion (heartburn) and elimination (constipation/diarrhea).

yogaenergyfire

The ideas of digestion and elimination also reflect interestingly on qualities of the mind. Digestion can be viewed as a quality of perception. When the fire burns healthy there is clear perception, when it burns low things can go unnoticed, when it burns high we misapprehend – we imagine things that are not there (a quality of over doing). Elimination I feel warrants a deeper exploration – but for now I would align it with purification of perception. For example, when memories of the past and expectations of the future are purified – there remains a clear sense of that which is present.

Yoga practices affect the fire, established practitioners can use yoga techniques to manipulate the fire. Breathing, as both a dedicated practice such as pranayama, and in conjunction with asana, can have a drastic and immediate effect on the fire. Breathing techniques can and do affect the fire in seconds or minutes. Intake and digestion of food usually takes at least a few hours to transform and affect the quality of fuel (and indeed you will find that some intense yoga practices require a careful diet – often one that supplies the body with nutrition which can be easily and quickly transformed into fuels). Both fuel and air have short & long term accumulative effects on the system.

Posted in Breath, Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 4 comments and to add yours

Good Tools

n

I have this image of a metal-worker who has just finished manufacturing a fine tuned machine part. I see him running his fingers over it’s surface to feel it. This affectionate gesture is a key ingredient in quality assurance.

This came to me as I am working on some code (PHP server with a Flex/AS3 client).  I encountered  some poorly implemented components and the quality thing to do was to improve them (this is sometimes referred to as re-factoring). I have decided not to do that and it’s bothering me, but I am sticking with my choice.

Working with code means there is nothing tangible to run my fingers over. Actually “running my fingers over a component” in programming is called unit-testing – it is achieved by “activating” the component independently and checking that it behaves properly. Debugging tools are required to do this – they provide a means to activate, control and inspect the component. The environments & tools I am working with (all open-source) are missing functional debugging capabilities and tools.

I am not running my fingers over my components because I don’t have the tools to do it.  Because I don’t have tools to run my fingers over my components I make lower quality components, which sometimes don’t function as expected, which force me to fix and change my components. Because I have a lot of fixing and changing to do, a lot of the time I spend coding I am in a “failed” state of mind. Because I am in a “failed” state of mind I am not passionate about what I do. Because I am not passionate about what I do I create mediocre components – which require quite a bit of “running fingers over”… and on and on…

Why is this bothering me? I like to like what I do. I like quality, I have great faith in quality.

Why did I choose to stick with what I have? There is a bigger picture in front of me. The code is part of a larger project. The quality of the project can tolerate the existing code. Quality needs context – I can continue to pursue the highest quality code, but that would be at the cost of a higher quality process. If & when it will become relevant, the project will create a context for me to go back and to improve the code.

My take on this:

  • Get good tools
  • Appreciate the tools I do have
  • Aim for uncompromising quality
  • Compromise quality when it’s relevant
  • Have a bigger picture so I know what is relevant and what is not
  • Get good tools
Posted in Business, Coming Through, Expanding, inside, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

This Morning

n

I woke early this morning, just after 5am, sneezing with a runny nose. I’ve had some kind of allergic reaction for many days now. I surrendered to it when it arrived, got out of my bed and on with my day. This morning the allergy surprised me because it had let up over the past day or two (I think Andreea made some kind of personal sacrifice to make it go away).

There were very fierce winds outside. Though we live in the hills, the winter is pretty much over and the winds were not typical. Around 6:30 I got an SMS from Doron and we set to meet at 07:00 to go for a walk. I stepped outside to find that the air was warm despite the intense winds. As I started walking I really took in the wind, it felt like a powerful force of change. It seemed to have an agenda. I though that wind is my element and opened up my arms to take it in and let it take me.

On the way I picked up a rock. It called to me. There didn’t seem to be anything special about it, but it did call to me. I picked it up and took it with me. If fit nicely in my hand. The wind was unbelievable. It was all over the place with no clear direction. It’s sound had layers – there was a sound close to the ear of howling, there was rustling in the trees, there was a roaring sound coming from high in the sky, like a jet plane, only it wasn’t passing by it was steadily there, and there were also short moments of silence.

I reached Doron at 07:00 as planned and we set out for a walk in the hills. We had a chance to touch base, we don’t meet often and rarely have time to share, Doron is a very busy person. We talked about our lives, work, about life in general. It was a nice walk. There was revealing and revelation in the air. The wind did not relent. What powerful forces of change.

When we reached Doron’s place we separated and I continued on my way home. It was now just past 08am. I noticed the rock again in my hand, I had forgotten about it though it was me the whole time. By now the rock was a power object. Shortly after it came back to my attention I saw on the left side of the street a young boy, he was waiting for a school bus. He noticed me too, and shifted position to see me. He was standing behind a low fence and he came near the fence to look over it at me. As I saw him move I realized the stone in my hand was for him. I approached him, handed him the stone and told him it was a magical stone and that he should it keep with him all day.

He accepted the stone from me in both hands and the first thing he did with it was take it to his nose and smell it. I wished him a good day and continued my way home.

Posted in Expanding, inside | Tagged | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours