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White People are Scary

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Re: White People are Scary

Postby lok91 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:57 pm

goddess wrote:A slight criticism that I would have of Byron Katies process from what I see in the video is that I feel almost like her student was flipped into the other side of the duality namely 'white people are comforting'. Holding that paradigm is just as erroneous as holding it's opposite. I am not sure where her process goes from there but once the opposite is contained in my view both need to be released. When that release happens, you are operating from a place of purity, rather than dancing with the conceptuL reality you are holding inside.

That was the best part of the show, in my opinion. The method for influencing negative associations. I think people generally don't realize how fluid our subconscious associations are, and consequently how easily influenced they are, and furthermore, how easily manipulated they are.

Did anyone notice that in the video Katies repeated over and over again that "white people are comforting," like a hypnotizing mantra. Yet, when the black woman said that "black people are scary" Katies only repeated several times that "black people are scary," and did not say even once that "black people are comforting." This is understandable, being that her audience was white.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby lok91 on Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:02 pm

chicka-Dee wrote:Much of our spiritual practice is a form of inquiry. Meditation, looking inward. Many, many teachers use some form of self-inquiry. Many Buddhist ones! Who am I? Who is the one asking? It's really a very natural part of things, a curiosity about the world and how things 'work'. And in spiritual practice we turn this around to look at ourselves. And it can be completely free! I'm not asking anyone to go out and pay for a teaching. But many of us do!! I've paid dana and fees to go on retreats, learn meditation, yoga, attend dharma talks and sessions.

So let's just please not turn this into a bashing thread. This is just a way to skirt the real issues at hand. If you have some constructive criticism, this can be helpful.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Buddhists believe in anatman, yet when it comes to self-inquiry they so often focus on the self? :lol2:
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby partofit22 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:09 am

chicka-Dee wrote:Yes, I think so, partofit -- children see the world much more 'purely', and are so observant! And honest.

But largely, isn't fear something that is learned through experience? We do seem to have instinctual fears, but does a newborn baby have fear? They cry from overstimulation, hunger, feeling uncomfortable -- but when does actual 'fear' enter their experience? This is an interesting question.

And where does suffering come from?

As part of a class that I took on the 4 Noble Truths, using the book "Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering" by Phillip Moffitt, we examined our experience of suffering (dukkha). Some questions the teacher asked us to look at:

"When a feeling of dukkha has arisen in your mind, ask yourself how much of this suffering is an objective fact and how much of it is my emotional resistance to it?"

And: Ask yourself "Am I suffering in this moment"? Experiment with separating the physical or emotional difficulty from your mind's reaction to what's painful. Which is worse?

We don't want to suffer, but instead of examining our suffering, we turn away from it, try to to cover it up with more pleasant things, tell ourselves all kinds of stories about it.

Isn't this what many of us are really here for (engaged in spiritual practice)? To find the truth of our suffering? And yet how much do we really talk about it or look at it?


chicka-dee, i don't know- i'm oblivious to the origin of fear- it seems our reaction to it aims to be useful- though once struck we don't pull it out quickly enough, as pointed out in the story of the poison arrow-
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby goddess on Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:19 am

New born babies do have a fear 'reflex'. It's when they kind of grab out with their arms and try to hold on.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:40 pm

lok91 wrote:That was the best part of the show, in my opinion. The method for influencing negative associations. I think people generally don't realize how fluid our subconscious associations are, and consequently how easily influenced they are, and furthermore, how easily manipulated they are.

Did anyone notice that in the video Katies repeated over and over again that "white people are comforting," like a hypnotizing mantra. Yet, when the black woman said that "black people are scary" Katies only repeated several times that "black people are scary," and did not say even once that "black people are comforting." This is understandable, being that her audience was white.


Lok, I wonder if we can stop and take a look at your comments here, because you are implying that this is all a show, and then you seem to have some serious accusations -- that Katie is trying to hypnotize this woman and perhaps maliciously manipulate her? Isn't this a rather serious allegation? What do you have to back this up with? I'm hoping that I'm misunderstanding your intent here.

I'm also wondering how much you actually know about Katie and her work, and about methods of manipulation. Do you believe that she is intending to be malicious?

I suppose it might be easier to believe that she is a money-grubbing shyster than believe she could be a compassionate, benevolent being who has a handle on truth and is helping people in large numbers (and so yes, has to charge a fee because space rentals and travel and such don't come for free).

What does this say about our society when we've come to expect to be 'taken'?

So far from what I know about her, there is nothing to lead me to believe that she is acting maliciously in any way.

And I've addressed the bit about the opposite thought, did you see this?

It is a good question, and what this 'flipping' technique is about, is once you've identified the thought behind your suffering, you question the truth of it. And a way of doing this is looking at different forms of the opposite thought, and finding whether the opposite is as true as the thought we are holding onto (grasping). This is actually a way of releasing the grasped thought, or moving to hold both thoughts equally (when they are held equally, one or the other is not grasped) -- usually the grasped thought has some deep roots, and so by finding 3 reasons that the opposite is also true, it helps to uproot the thought that was causing us suffering.


And besides, all of this implication is a smoke-screen from what I'm here to talk about:

What is the cause of our suffering?

I thought I'd made that part quite clear.

If you want to build a case against Byron Katie and charging money for seminars, please start your own thread.

Thanks. :)
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:28 pm

goddess wrote:New born babies do have a fear 'reflex'. It's when they kind of grab out with their arms and try to hold on.


Hi goddess and partofit and all --

This seems like a good place to start. This reflex that 'kicks in' when I'm supposing the baby feels like s/he is falling. When would we say that fear sets in? How about suffering? I'm not an expert in this, but from my knowledge here is how I think it would 'go down':

The baby's inner ear would detect a sudden movement and send a message to the brain that triggers this reflex. Simultaneously, the baby would feel a sensation of "falling" and various neurotransmitters would course through her body, increasing her breathing and heart rate. Her body would respond and her arms would reach out and try to grab for something and hold on. (Sorry, I'm not a scientist, so whatever 'order' all this occurs in I may be getting not quite right). The baby is startled, and starts to cry.

Here is what wikipedia says about Fear:

Fear is a distressing emotion induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger and flee from it or confront it, also known as the Fight or Flight response. Some psychologists such as John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that fear belongs to a small set of basic or innate emotions. This set also includes such emotions as joy, sadness, and anger. Fear should be distinguished from the related emotional state of anxiety, which typically occurs without any external threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.[1] Worth noting is that fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable. Fear could also be an instant reaction to something presently happening.


So in this case, there is a fear instinct, based on what is happening presently. This is 'wired' into us, as a means for survival.

So where does suffering come in? Does fear = suffering?

I'm thinking that the baby will cry, be comforted by her parent, and then 'move on'. This event may be stored in her memory, but if she received sufficient comfort, perhaps not for long. We might say her suffering has been minimal.

The really interesting part, I find, is what I've placed in bold, above. This is where we can really start to examine suffering.

But I found for myself, it was best to start with something in the present, say with physical pain. The best time (since I don't routinely suffer from pain) was during meditation, when a leg would fall asleep or I had back pain, or even something annoying like an itch. Instead of shifting around trying to make it more comfortable, I would focus my attention on the unpleasant sensation itself, and notice the quality of the sensation, if it was constant or came and went, if it was getting more or less intense, etc. And then I started noticing my mental reactions to the pain or the itch -- what was I telling myself about it? Which was contributing to my suffering more -- the actual sensation, or my mental formulations about it? Could I focus only on the sensation, and if I did, did my suffering change?

I'm sure many of you have done such exercises in mindfulness -- what do you find? You can only try it for yourself and see.

And what of suffering based on something that is perceived and not actually present? This is where we have the most influence over our experience of suffering. This is where we can really start to question the truth of what we are perceiving as a threat.

So suffering can be our invitation to look closely. Why am I suffering? What do I believe is a threat? Is this true right now? Is this always true? How much of my suffering is caused by my thoughts about what I think might happen? What is happening now? Is there any direct threat to me right now? If not, why am I suffering?

It might be best to start with 'smaller' things, and then work our way on.

All of this sort of work, btw, has been suggested to me by Buddhist teachers and books. Another resource I've used is: "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" by Pema Chodron. And of course my own suffering.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby partofit22 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:06 pm

Hi goddess and partofit and all --
When would we say that fear sets in? How about suffering?
So where does suffering come in? Does fear = suffering?
I'm thinking ... And then I started noticing my mental reactions to the pain or the itch -- what was I telling myself about it? Which was contributing to my suffering more -- the actual sensation, or my mental formulations about it? Could I focus only on the sensation, and if I did, did my suffering change?
I'm sure many of you have done such exercises in mindfulness -- what do you find?
And what of suffering based on something that is perceived and not actually present?
Why am I suffering? What do I believe is a threat? Is this true right now? Is this always true? How much of my suffering is caused by my thoughts about what I think might happen? What is happening now? Is there any direct threat to me right now? If not, why am I suffering?


:)

PARABLE 092: (EMPTY) METAPHYSICS

"It is as if a man had been wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and kinsmen were to get a surgeon to heal him, and he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know by what man I was wounded, whether he is of the warrior caste, or a brahmin, or of the agricultural, or the lowest caste.' Or if he were to say, 'I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know of what name of family the man is -- or whether he is tall, or short or of middle height'... Before knowing all this, the man would die.

Similarly, it is not on the view that the world is eternal, that it is finite, that body and soul are distinct, or that the Buddha exists after death that a religious life depends. Whether these views or their opposites are held, there is still rebirth, there is old age, there is death, and grief, lamentation, suffering, sorrow, and despair...I have not spoken to these views because they do not conduce to an absence of passion, to tranquility, and Nirvana. And what have I explained? Suffering have I explained, the cause of suffering, the destruction of suffering, and the path that leads to the destruction of suffering have I explained. For this is useful.'"

Smith: 142-143

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Thus_Have_I_Heard:_Buddhist_Parables_and_Stories
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby lok91 on Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:41 pm

chicka-Dee wrote:
lok91 wrote:That was the best part of the show, in my opinion. The method for influencing negative associations. I think people generally don't realize how fluid our subconscious associations are, and consequently how easily influenced they are, and furthermore, how easily manipulated they are.

Did anyone notice that in the video Katies repeated over and over again that "white people are comforting," like a hypnotizing mantra. Yet, when the black woman said that "black people are scary" Katies only repeated several times that "black people are scary," and did not say even once that "black people are comforting." This is understandable, being that her audience was white.


Lok, I wonder if we can stop and take a look at your comments here, because you are implying that this is all a show, and then you seem to have some serious accusations -- that Katie is trying to hypnotize this woman and perhaps maliciously manipulate her? Isn't this a rather serious allegation? What do you have to back this up with? I'm hoping that I'm misunderstanding your intent here.

How do you get malicious, manipulation does not imply malice. People don't achieve the success that Katies enjoys by being malicious. On the contrary, and what I was suggesting, is that people often achieve business success by giving people what they want. And I wrote, like a hypnotizing mantra.

As for being a show, let's look at that. A black woman who supposedly has a crippling fear of white people goes center stage, of her own accord, to the middle of a large group of white people and bares her soul to them. Isn't that like someone with arachnophobia walking into a big spiderweb and exposing their neck (for a quick kill-shot) to the alpha spider? But it's too cool right, a bunch of white folks helping a black woman overcome her self-perpetuating delusions about white people.

In the show biz they call this 'suspension of disbelief'.

I'm also wondering how much you actually know about Katie and her work, and about methods of manipulation.

I know a little about both. I also know a little about cognitive therapy, social psychology and marketing.

I suppose it might be easier to believe that she is a money-grubbing shyster than believe she could be a compassionate, benevolent being who has a handle on truth and is helping people in large numbers (and so yes, has to charge a fee because space rentals and travel and such don't come for free).

There's no denying her successful marketing techniques. I didn't suggest that she was greedy or malicious. Again I doubt that she could have achieved her success being malicious.

What does this say about our society when we've come to expect to be 'taken'?

What does it say about our society when we are so easily taken?

Isn't it good to question the validity of our thoughts? If it is, then isn't it also good to question other thoughts? or are we drawing a hard line between ourselves?

So far from what I know about her, there is nothing to lead me to believe that she is acting maliciously in any way.

Agreed. :)

It is a good question, and what this 'flipping' technique is about, is once you've identified the thought behind your suffering, you question the truth of it. And a way of doing this is looking at different forms of the opposite thought, and finding whether the opposite is as true as the thought we are holding onto (grasping). This is actually a way of releasing the grasped thought, or moving to hold both thoughts equally (when they are held equally, one or the other is not grasped) -- usually the grasped thought has some deep roots, and so by finding 3 reasons that the opposite is also true, it helps to uproot the thought that was causing us suffering.

My only real critique of this technique is that "thoughts" are just one part of "suffering." To put it another way, we can't always find a thought for our maladaptive emotions.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:12 pm

Malicious: motivated by wrongful, vicious, or mischievous purposes

Telling people what they want to hear in order to make a profit isn't malicious?

Maybe my moral code is too strict. :blush:

You're entitled to your opinion, lok. Thanks for elaborating. I have no interest in trying to defend anything or convince you of anything.

Your last comment interests me: "we can't always find a thought for our maladaptive emotions."

I used to think this, too. I can't recall the source at the moment, but I learned that there is always a thought behind our emotion, even when we can't identify it.

For example: We see danger, we think the thought: danger! (or have a mental concept of this) And then a fear response is triggered. This is my understanding.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:04 am

chicka-Dee wrote:For example: We see danger, we think the thought: danger! (or have a mental concept of this) And then a fear response is triggered. This is my understanding.



hmmm.. for as my contemplations has took me, in a rudimentry way.
The "energy" before thought and feeling, is formed into sensation first, and is then triggered to an idea or thought. For feelings are traded in for ideas [ in nanonanomicroblabla thingies] after that ideas are traded into feeling again [the conventional ones, like vindictive stuff] and then we get 99% of what people call emotions, which is traded again into the idea of that it's inherent to being human

What a sly trick eh? we even take our ideas/emotions serious then.
But when the clowns bed down.... who is the light that still burns?
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby lok91 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:25 am

chicka-Dee wrote:Malicious: motivated by wrongful, vicious, or mischievous purposes

Telling people what they want to hear in order to make a profit isn't malicious?

Please... of course it isn't. And I never suggested that that was ALL Katie does. Material wealth may be of little importance to her and marketing is only one part of her business.

Your last comment interests me: "we can't always find a thought for our maladaptive emotions."

I used to think this, too. I can't recall the source at the moment, but I learned that there is always a thought behind our emotion, even when we can't identify it.

What am I missing? How is not identifying a thought different from not finding a thought?

For example: We see danger, we think the thought: danger! (or have a mental concept of this) And then a fear response is triggered. This is my understanding.

It's well known that sense data is processed first through the base or primal regions of the brain, and this is where 'fight or flight' is triggered. The cerebral cortex evolved literally on top of this process, as an addition. We are talking about milliseconds though.

It's not clear but you may be referring to a sign which indicates danger. Literally the word DANGER! and in that case a sense of fear could be triggered after cerebral processing, however the sense data would still have been processed in the primal regions of the brain first. Why does that matter? A person could have a stroke or some other brain trauma and loose their memory of the sign, for example, but showing them sign that reads DANGER! might still cause fear or anxiety, if that sign were strongly associated with pain, fear or whatever. Benign stimuli or a harmless object can cause anxiety in people for no apparent reason. While it's a good idea to investigate the reasons for irrational fear answers will not always be forthcoming. Most importantly, answers are not essential to overcoming irrational fear.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:36 am

fukasetsu wrote:
chicka-Dee wrote:For example: We see danger, we think the thought: danger! (or have a mental concept of this) And then a fear response is triggered. This is my understanding.



hmmm.. for as my contemplations has took me, in a rudimentry way.
The "energy" before thought and feeling, is formed into sensation first, and is then triggered to an idea or thought. For feelings are traded in for ideas [ in nanonanomicroblabla thingies] after that ideas are traded into feeling again [the conventional ones, like vindictive stuff] and then we get 99% of what people call emotions, which is traded again into the idea of that it's inherent to being human

What a sly trick eh? we even take our ideas/emotions serious then.
But when the clowns bed down.... who is the light that still burns?
:ghug:


Thanks, Fuky. I'll defer to you on this!

But when the clowns bed down.... who is the light that still burns?


Now you're making me all weepy! :lol2:

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Re: White People are Scary

Postby fukasetsu on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:43 am

chicka-Dee wrote:Now you're making me all weepy! :lol2:


Ah, just wait, I'll send some magpies over to fix that :PP:

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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:04 am

lok91 wrote:
For example: We see danger, we think the thought: danger! (or have a mental concept of this) And then a fear response is triggered. This is my understanding.

It's well known that sense data is processed first through the base or primal regions of the brain, and this is where 'fight or flight' is triggered. The cerebral cortex evolved literally on top of this process, as an addition. We are talking about milliseconds though.

It's not clear but you may be referring to a sign which indicates danger. Literally the word DANGER! and in that case a sense of fear could be triggered after cerebral processing, however the sense data would still have been processed in the primal regions of the brain first. Why does that matter? A person could have a stroke or some other brain trauma and loose their memory of the sign, for example, but showing them sign that reads DANGER! might still cause fear or anxiety, if that sign were strongly associated with pain, fear or whatever. Benign stimuli or a harmless object can cause anxiety in people for no apparent reason. While it's a good idea to investigate the reasons for irrational fear answers will not always be forthcoming. Most importantly, answers are not essential to overcoming irrational fear.


No, I was talking about seeing something in the environment we perceive as dangerous.

And sorry, I think I misunderstood what you were saying about emotion and thought.

What I'm trying to get at is, the emotion we associate with suffering has a thought or idea/concept behind it.

I'll take this a step further -- we can trace the cause of our suffering to a thought or idea. Sometimes this can take considerable work with deeply burried thoughts/ideas.

By seeing that we are grasping a certain thought or idea and holding this as "true" we can question it.

When we sincerely find that the thought is not ultimately true, the mind releases the thought, and there is no more personal identification with that thought.

No identification, no suffering.

I hope I got that right. :peace:

What I'm trying to say is, it can be a valuable practice to examine the source of our suffering, instead of pushing it away, avoiding it, covering it up, which does not ultimately relieve suffering. This can go hand in hand with our spiritual practice. Everyday life is part of our spirituality!

We can read the teachings and mull them over as concepts all we want, but until we actualize them, we aren't doing much. Examining our suffering is a way of putting things into action.

So, enough talk, more doing! :)
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:07 am

fukasetsu wrote:
chicka-Dee wrote:Now you're making me all weepy! :lol2:


Ah, just wait, I'll send some magpies over to fix that :PP:

:daisy:


:lol2: I remember you told me magpies are good luck! How about crows? They were harping at me this afternoon when I was cleaning up the yard!

:daisy:
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby christopher::: on Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:16 am

I got the sense that Byron Katie is sincere in her belief that she has an understanding and process that is beneficial, that can help others. I can understand that some are uncomfortable with the situation she creates, helping someone face their fears publicly like that, being videotaped. There may be marketing and business motivations mixed in with her sincere desire to help others. I don't think we need to deny that business aspect in order to recognize the helpfulness of her approach.

Her core message is on target, imo. It's these dualistic ideas we have about our selves and "others" that create a lot of fear, hostility and suffering in this world. Examining the truthfulness of those beliefs is the only way to dissolve them, let go, and to gain some freedom from those fears. I don't put my students in a situation where they have to publicly examine their thinking, but I do try and teach this same message, try to get them to examine and question these conceptual filters through which we view the world.

"Don't believe everything you think"

Thanks for the video link, Dee.

:Namaste:

P.S. - Right now over at Facebook I'm observing this same kind of thinking with some of my Jewish relatives and friends from childhood. They have a black/white view of Palestinians and Israel, where Palestinians/Arabs are scary and bad, Israelis/Jews are good. I wish they'd examine that belief and would like to say something, but just don't know where to begin.
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby Linda Anderson on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:08 am

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Re: White People are Scary

Postby lok91 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:16 am

christopher::: wrote:I don't think we need to deny that business aspect in order to recognize the helpfulness of her approach.

Well said, thanks Christopher.

"Don't believe everything you think"

If I may further that though, "don't believe everything anyone thinks." :)
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Re: White People are Scary

Postby Linda Anderson on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:29 am

Lok,
what do you think. Sometimes, it's good to notice that. Contrary is helpful as long as we notice what we mean by it. i like your spirit, but what do you know of brain science directly.

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Re: White People are Scary

Postby chicka-Dee on Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:48 am

Thank you, Chris. :heya:

I think the large group thing might be understood better when we consider that a supportive atmoshere of sharing can make it easier for people to open up and share themselves. I'm thinking of something like the Dale Carnegie groups or Toastmasters where people with a fear of public speaking come together in a supportive way to learn to overcome their fear and speak in a group effectively.

Also, we saw a 10 minute edited glimpse, and didn't see what occurred before the video started. Had we been there in the crowd, a part of the group itself, it may have felt much more comfortable and inspiring to some people watching. This is how I felt, as an audience member sharing in something quite amazing for this woman.

I'm sure there must be some "marketing" that takes place -- but marketing takes place all over in spirituality. Every time I drive by the local church, there's a big sign with the quote of the week, asking me to turn towards God. Buddhism has it's marketing too. ;)

And even though I wasn't quite understanding your objections, Lok, I really like your spirit, too. Your comments and questions pressed me to look a little deeper, and that's always a good thing. :)

Thanks to all for sharing here.
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