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Friday, August 2, 2002

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  • Jerry Katz
    [Image] #1154 - Friday, August 2, 2002 - Editor: Jerry - Home: NINA POWER OVER VS. POWER WITH ... we must stay open
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 4, 2002

      #1154  -  Friday, August 2, 2002  -  Editor: Jerry  -  Home: <http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm>



      "... we must stay open to the wider flows of
      information, even when certain information seems
      inimical to our self-interest, where the needs of the
      whole, and other beings within that whole are seen as
      commenusurate with our own. Only then can we begin to
      think and act together. For this we need a 'boundless
      heart'. This I believe we have within us by virtue of
      our nature as open systems. If we can grieve with the
      griefs of others, so, by the same token, by the same
      openness, can we find strength in their strengths,
      bolstering our own individual supplies of courage,
      commitment, and endurance."

      "This kind of power may be most familiar in a
      relationship to a partner, spouse or child. As you help
      them develop their strengths and skills, your own sense
      of well-being increases. This power, which enhances the
      power of others, does not originate in you, but you have
       been party to its unfolding. You are are its channel,
      its midwife, its gardener." (Joanna Macy, Ecopsychology,
       Sierra Club Books, p 257)

      For another take on this power model:

      I have been thinking about this power model for several
      reasons. Obviously, some dynamic on this list has
      prompted me to share thoughts on power over vs. power
      with, but for this post I will concentrate on the other
      reason this model has surfaced as 'important' in this

      First, a note: the model has taken on the language of
      "vs." through common use. In my view of this use of
      language, the "vs." connotes an inherent conflict
      between the two forms of power and doesn't allow for
      the spectrum that exists between the two. It suggests
      that one must choose one or the other as primary mode
      of operation. This is not necessarily the case...

      The situation in my life that has prompted a thinking of
       power over and power with is taking place at work. A
      colleague, R, has become disproportionately invested in
      the design of the firm's new office. When approached
      with others' concerns for lighting, desking, and color,
      R becomes highly defensive, using phrases such as "I am
      not afraid of <insert what it is he wants to do>!" I
      recognize what he is going through, as I have suffered
      from the same designer's fever, but this time I find
      that I am remaining blank in the face of his fury. His
      fury is not inciting fury on my part.

      However, the issues of comfort in this new office still
      persist. Blankness does not equate to knowing how to
      handle this situation. So, I go searching for a means
      to communicate, in the way R is most likely to hear,
      the concerns of the laborers for which he is designing.

      I realize that the situation will move forward only if I
       can manage to present these concerns as his concerns,
      or at least as concerns that work with what he is
      after. In the end, if opening is achieved, the "flow of
      information" is wider for everyone involved.

      (This is a cooperative use of 'power over' and 'power
      with'. I am not blind to the probable fact that my
      skills of 'power through' have come from necessity
      given the particular social circumstances in which I
      have found myself.)

      Some may argue: "why do anything at all?" Why not just
      laissez-faire it? Why not just reside in that area of
      blankness? Good questions. I have wondered about these
      things myself.

      I recognize these issues as 'real world' issues. I'm
      clear on what they key into as regards my workings,
      clear enough that I'm utterly(, surprisingly) blank
      about it. I'm also clear on the importance of a happy
      resolution to the overall well-being of the machine that
       earns my bread. The solution is based on 'what is
      possible' in this moment.


      i think residing in that blankness does not necessarily
      mean to do  nothing.. to me it means to 'act from
      blankness'.. as such, residing  in blankness 'operates'
      the body and spontaneously extends the 'being  blank'
      towards the specific situation.. in that way, blankness
      is  effortlessly 'distributed'.. this operating from
      blankness may take a very different form regarding the
      situation.. sometimes it  might look rather active,
      sometimes more passive.. in any case, it is  neither of
      the two; it is blankness..

      to believe you can 'handle the situation' is an
      illusion.. 'handling  the situation' becomes a 'letting
      blankness act' and an 'embracing'  of it is peace..


      It seems there are two 'handlings' going on...

      The first is the blankness (that doesn't roil into fury
      in the face  of another's fury). It is the blankness
      that persists into the  second 'handling'.

      The second comes from the recognition that a path has
      been  initiated  that is headed in a potentially
      unhealthy direction. (For the  purpose  of this
      discussion, I am going to assume that some directions
      are  more beneficial than others, given a particular
      aim, in my  particular  case: the health of a 'corporate
      culture'.) The second 'handling'  is  action based on an
      understanding of a situation and where it might  lead.


      hi nina, when understanding where the discussion might
      lead, i tend to ask the  person(s) in the specific
      situation what they are getting out of it,  and why they
      are so keen on protecting this specific form of
      behaviour.. sometimes adding that in my experience their
      behaviour is  a form of unnecessary 'rule following'
      (conditioning) and an  obstruction to effortless
      (peacefull) living..

      as i'm not working, i give you a family example.. i hope
      this helps..

      this morning my dad got pretty irritated because i did
      not throw the  peels of the oranges immediately after i
      ate the oranges in  the 'compost barrel' in the backyard
      (usually we only throw the  organic garbage in the
      barrel when the small garbagebox in the  kitchen is
      full.. we do not go for every peel to the barrel in the
      backyard)..  now my dad insisted that orange peels had
      to be brought immediately  to the backyard.. because
      this sounded a little absurd to me, i asked  him why he
      insisted on this.. when he said, still annoyed, that
      leaving the peels there was dirty, i said i didn't think
      so at all..  adding that if he really wanted it like
      that, i would do as he said..  there was a turning
      moment..  i sat down and realised there was some unease,
      anger with this  moment.. but almost immediately i
      realised that i had to accept 'his  decision' (viz. the
      moment) and 'i' could do nothing more.. so i let  go the
      effort (to get angry) and i (blankness) changed
      subject.. to  movies.. and we had a relax chat about
      some movies he saw lately..  notably 'y tu mama tambien'
      (and your mother too) and 'habla con  ella' (talk to
      her).. coincidence? :-)

      he said he liked 'habla con ella' but that he didn't
      always  understand the funny, freaked-out scenes in it..
      adding that they are  not necessary to understand the
      movie.. (f.e. for 'no reason' one  secretary says to her
      collegue that she just took a huge, great  shit).. i
      laughed out loud and asked him if that wasn't a 'touch
      of  mad genius' (implying that these things are not to
      be understood)..  he looked at me and although he had a
      little smile on his face, i saw  he didn't really get
      the mad touch.. but a sense of lightness and  peace were
      there.. how did you 'manage' at work?


      "{when understanding where the discussion might lead, i
      tend to ask  the person(s) in the specific situation
      what they are getting out  of it, and why they are so
      keen on protecting this specific form of  behaviour..
      sometimes adding that in my experience their behaviour
      is a form of unnecessary 'rule following' (conditioning)
      and an  obstruction to effortless (peacefull) living.."

      J, that is direct, and if you are able to pull it off,
      you are one  notch smoother than I... or you are dealing
      with people who would not  blow their tops when
      confronted in such a way. <g> Or with people who  would
      not turn those words around on you...

      Honestly, given the perspective of the person, the
      accused could do  this and be validated. Afterall, in
      the scenario I described earlier  today, 'I am
      apparently wanting something', too. Who says an office
      should be comfortable for laborers and not simply a
      beautiful  marketing piece? Who is to say that
      comfortable laborers are happy  and productive? Who is
      to say that laborers can't be comfortable in a
      beautiful marketing piece?

      Where are these questions going? Nowhere, apparently!

      " as i'm not working, i give you a family example.. i
      hope this  helps.."

      Ok, what I got from your example, feel free to correct
      me if I am  misreading the story:

      - There was contention.
      - The contendor's reasoning seemed absurd.
      - The contendee allowed that despite the absurdity, what was demanded
      was ok and agreed to do follow the demands. (This was the 'acting
      from blankness' that you wrote of in your earlier message.)
      - The contendee changed the subject to something more relaxing. (This
      was another action from blankness..)
      - There was a moment of realization of the differences and
      commonalities between the contendor and contendee.

      Yes, I see now what you were saying in your earlier

      There is something about the word 'blankness' that
      niggles, though.

      I am recalling the 'blankness' I would visit as a child:
      essentially  denial. Closing my eyes, ears, and self to
      whatever absurdity was  being hoisted on me. Becoming
      clearly bounded.

      I begin to see a difference between what you have
      described and what  I have described directly above.

      "how did you 'manage' at work?"

      I managed by standing aside and letting things run their
      course. I  see that things are already working towards
      the direction of balance  due to the particular
      combination of personalities and interests in  this
      office. In this particular case, I need do nothing.


      from ShaivaYoga

      A Spontaneous Chant

      To the Auspicious of all Auspicousness, to the Good,
      To the Accomplisher of all objectives,
      To the Mother who gives refuge to all,
      To the Goddess who is effulgence,
      Salutations to you.

      Om Shanti,



      Words can never be shared as nutrients
      until the speaker first tastes them,
      absorbs them,
      and allows digestion to complete its cycle
      by the excretion of all waste.
      If they are too bitter,
      the tongue thrusts them out prematurely.
      Too sweet,
      and they can cause nausea with accompanying vomiting.
      Somewhere in between
      is where they survive long enough
      to become actual nutrition.


      Thank you for the ideas/views shared. And the good food
      for  thought.

      After I read your words , I asked myself, "JP, what
      words could a  person possibly share that are pure and
      undefiled enough and  ideal for the nutrition of

      I have moments when I fantasize what it may be like to
      be a  Buddha who is described as having unlimited
      skillful means at  her/his disposal. With countless
      manifestation bodies, able to  appear and speak to
      anyone according to that being's condition,  capacity
      and needs. And leap tall buildings in a single bound.

      But I have a hard enough time skillfully communicating
      my most  basic of perceptions to other humans - and to
      my own self. Or  being skillful at helping my self or

      Can we just share what we can share - as best we can?
      Bitter,  sweet, nutritious, "just right", whatever we
      can? Some people  share through their silent presence.
      Some speak little. Some  speak a lot. Many different
      ways for different people.

      Sometimes, an immediate response, however it comes out,
      can teach us a great deal. Even if we find our foot
      lodged in our  mouth. To just say it and be with it and
      accept it and learn from it.  We can of course, also
      have an intention to be helpful to another  also.

      What would be an example of "waste" to be eliminated?
      Are you  referring to an ideal of being able to speak
      undiluted Wisdom or  Truth, from one's direct
      experience, without the filter of  personality or ego?
      To speak with total authenticity at all times?  It's a
      very, very lofty ideal but a challenge for humans.

      Does it really matter if a person's personality or ego
      is noticeable  when they share? Could such a person be
      viewed by us as not  "spiritually" pure enough for our

      The throwing up metaphor was very interesting. It
      reminded me  of Bulimea that affects the lives of
      millions of humans who suffer  from it. Including the
      lives of loved ones in my life. Not being  good enough,
      capable enough, perfect enough, beautiful  enough -
      these mind loops of belief create great suffering in

      Many of us know the human experience of self-hatred in
      its many  forms and disguises. I still battle with these
      feelings that can  arise and sometimes overwhelm.

      On the so-called spiritual path, we can create very
      intense  ideals of perfection for ourselves. We want to
      be enlightened,  wise, compassionate, authentic, pure.
      Very, very pure. And we  can condemn ourselves - punish
      ourselves - when we fall short  of the high ideals we
      aspire to embody.

      Then, we can also project onto others and when we see
      them as  being less than "pure", we can become
      disappointed and begin  condemning them.

      I feel also that if we self-hypnotize ourselves enough
      by constant  affirmations/self-speak of not being
      anything at all; of being  "beyond" all this and being
      one with the One, we may deny what  is happening
      in/through us.

      On a lighter note:

      There is mention in nondual-speak of being in a state of
       equanimity and that all things experienced have "One

      If this is the Pure Land after all - perhaps chunks of
      hurl can be  as much a delicacy as a slice of New York
      cheesecakeca or a  simple, organically grown orange?

      Whatever is spoken - by anyone - can be a source of
      nutrition for  the hearer, yes? It's up to the hearer.

      The words are meaningless until we give them meaning and
       then interpret them as pure or impure or in any other
      way. Or give  them power over us.

      Perhaps the words of H.P Lovecraft or the Marquis de
      Sade can  be as divine and nutritious as the words Rumi
      or Guru Nanak.  Maybe flame wars on an internet list can
      be as beautiful and  inspiring as delicately crafted

      Howzabout we try this. Next time we go to a public
      restroom, let's  view the graffiti on the bathroom
      stalls as sacred words.

      A hug to you Norma.

      JP who is guzzling down some Pepto Bismol


      Hi JP,
      Yes. I hear what you are saying. Yet, I also hear what
      experience has  taught me. And although spontaneity is
      life's finest means of expression, I  find that I am
      responsible for allowing its presence to come forth in a
      way  that does not harbor anything "other" than itself.

      I'm not sure if it can be understood easily how valuable
      language is, not  only in its release but also in its
      reception. And if a person needs to  release old beliefs
      in an attempt at emptying, than that must be understood
      without the need for interference by interpretation,
      especially if the  interpretation comes from a "wounded
      healer" under the pretense of an inner  knowing that is
      untainted by anything at all.

      It is fairly understood, the mechanism of
      thoughts....and how easily it can  be for thoughts to
      take hold of things. And so, therefore, I find it so
      important to have an appreciation for words that can
      become trigger points  for the mind.

      An example might be the word, "complexity".....There is
      an understanding that  as life moves past thoughts, a
      deeper sense of awareness develops, and  perhaps this
      can be seen within the description of complexity, but I
      also  know, from my own mind, that...the moment
      complexity becomes the goal, is the  moment that the
      mind creates a ball......if that can make sense......I'm
      not  sure...

      Yes, you are right.......sharing must never be so
      guarded that we must  carefully design words for
      presentation based only on cognition....for that
      defeats all spontaneity....but some consideration must
      always be taken as to  exactly what the words represent
      for the speaker, and can possibly reflect to  and for
      the receiver. I would much rather radiate the healing
      that is taking  place within me, than hurl pus onto the
      screen as a gorilla does its  excrement to onlookers.
      And I am not at all saying anyone here is or has  done
      that....No not at all.....and even if they do...I'm sure
      there is plenty  of hydrogen peroxide and sterile gauze
      around here to help assuage the  wounds....My words are
      just an expression of where I am coming from...at this
      time in my life, is all....


      Norma and JP, I liked what both of you wrote. It is all
      in the eye of  the beholder, nicht Wahr?

      Reminds me of Tonglen. What comes is transmuted and then
      leaves as  another texture... only... how can that
      texture be so different? It  is, afterall, only the
      breath. In and out. In and out.




      "Painstaking observations of a kind of subatomic dance
      suggest that the  universe may contain a shadowy form of
      matter that has never been seen  directly and is
      unexplained by standard physics theories, a team of
      scientists working at Brookhaven National Laboratory on
      Long Island  announced yesterday."



      On the movie, The Fast Runner:

      John Metzger wrote:
      "Anybody seen this one yet?"

      Yes John, I have seen this fine film and loved it! I
      took a while to acclimate to the style of filming, the
      people, landscape, culture, etc. but was soon drawn
      deeper and deeper into this mystical world. The vivid
      starkness of the environment is beautifully contrasted
      with the complexities of our human nature.

      ...and the music is absolutely the best!!

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