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#1522 - Wednesday, August 13, 2003

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  • Know Mystery
    Freedom - Photo by Alan Larus Music: Within_You from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panhala/ ... #1522 - Wednesday, August 13, 2003 - Editor: Joyce
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 15, 2003
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       Joe Riley ~ HolyGeek & Alan Larus, photo

              Freedom - Photo by Alan Larus

              Music: Within_You from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panhala/




      #1522 - Wednesday, August 13, 2003 - Editor: Joyce (Know_Mystery)

      Mouradrashad ~ AdvaitaToZen

      Robai-shin "Grandmother-mind"

      As told by Taisen Deshimaru RoshiTetsu was taught by Master Dogen. He
      was young, intelligent, good zazen, good samu. Later he became the
      third Patriarch of Eihei-ji. Tetsu was "perfect" and very capable:
      sutra, posture, zazen, comportment, everything was very good. But he
      had one weak point: he didn't yet have robai-shin ("grandmother-
      mind"), the empathetic mind of a grandmother, and so he could not
      truly follow the cosmic order. Dogen, just a little while before his
      death, told him this: You understand all of Buddhism, but you cannot
      go beyond your abilities and your intelligence. You must have robai-
      shin, the mind of great empathy. This empathy helps all of humanity.
      You should not think only of yourself. We have in us this mind,
      neither rare nor special, of Buddha. We should believe in it,
      unconsciously, naturally, automatically. This is true faith. Buddha
      and ourselves are not separate. It is necessary to go beyond the
      power of Buddha or God. This is to lose ones ego and have the mind of
      empathy. But this doesn't come from intelligence, ability or




      Photo by Alan Larus

      Dogen (1200-1253)

      When all things exist, there are enlightenment and delusion, practice, life and death, Buddhas and ordinary people.  When all things are without self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no Buddhas, no ordinary people, no life and no death.  Buddhism is beyond being and non-being; so there are life and death, delusion and enlightenment, ordinary people and Buddhas.  Thus, when flowers fall we are sad, and when weeds grow we are annoyed.
      To start from the self and try to understand all things is delusion.  To let the self be awakened by all things is enlightenment.  To be enlightened about delusion is to be a Buddha.  To be deluded in the midst of enlightenment is to be an ordinary person.  Then there are those who are enlightened beyond enlightenment, and those who are deluded by delusion.  When Buddhas are truly Buddhas, they don't need to be aware of themselves as Buddhas.  But they are enlightened ones.  They advance in enlightenment.
      When we see forms or hear sounds with our whole body and mind, we understand them intimately.  But it isn't like images in a mirror or the moon reflected in water.  When we look at one side, the other is dark.
      To study Buddhism is to study the self.  To study the self is to forget the self.  To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.  To be enlightened by all things is to drop off our own body and mind, and to drop off the bodies and minds of others.  No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly. 
      When we first seek the truth, we think we are far from it.  When we discover that the truth is already in us, we are all at once our original self.  If we watch the shore from a boat, it seems that the shore is moving.  But when we watch the boat directly, we know it is the boat that is moving.  If we look at the world with a deluded body and mind, we will think that our self is permanent.  But if we practice correctly and return to our true self, we will realize that nothing is permanent.
      Wood burns and there are ashes; the process is never reversed.  But we shouldn't think that what is now ashes was once wood.  We should understand that wood is at the stage of wood, and that is where we find its before and after.  There is a past and a future, but its present is independent of them.  Ashes are at the stage of ashes, and that is where we find their before and after.  Just as wood doesn't become wood again after it has turned into ashes, a person doesn't return to life after death.
      Thus it is taught in Buddhism that life doesn't become death.  For this reason, life is called the Unborn.  It is also taught that death doesn't become life.  So death is called the Undying.
      Life is complete in itself; death is complete in itself.  They are like the seasons.  We don't call spring the future summer, or winter the past of spring.
      Gaining enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.  The moon doesn't get wet; the water isn't broken.  Although its light is broad and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.  The whole moon and the whole sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.
      Enlightenment doesn't destroy the person, just as the moon doesn't break the water.  The person doesn't hinder enlightenment, just as a dewdrop doesn't hinder the moon in the sky.  The depth of the dewdrop is the height of the moon.  The time of the reflection, long or short, proves the vastness of the dewdrop, and the vastness of the moon in the sky.
      When the truth doesn't fill our body and mind, we think we have had enough.  When the truth fills our body and mind, we realize that something is missing.  For example, when we look at the ocean from a boat, with no land in sight, it seems circular and nothing else.  But the ocean is neither round nor square, and its features are infinite in variety.  It is like a palace.  It is like a jewel.  Only to our eyes, only for a moment, does it seem circular.  All things are like this.  Although there are numberless aspects to all things, we see only as far as our vision can reach.  And in our vision of all things, we must appreciate that although they may look round or square, the other aspects of oceans or mountains are infinite in variety, and that universes lie all around us.  It is like this everywhere, right here, in the tiniest drop of water.
      When a fish swims, it swims on and on, and there is no end to the water.  When a bird flies, it files on and on, and there is no end to the sky.  There was never a fish that swam out of the water, or a bird that flew out of the sky.  When they need a little water or sky, they just use a little; when they need a lot, they use a lot.  Thus, they use all of it at every moment, and in every place they have perfect freedom.
      But if there were a bird that first wanted to examine the size of the sky, or a fish that first wanted to examine the extent of the water, and then try to fly or swim, it would never find its way.  When we find where we are at this moment, then our everyday life is itself the manifestation of the truth.  For the place, the way, is neither large nor small, neither self nor other.  It has never existed before, and it is not coming into existence now.  It is simply as it is.
      Thus in our practice of Buddhism, when we master one truth, we master all truths; and when we complete one activity, we complete all activities.  The place is here; the way leads everywhere.  So understanding is not easy, because it is simultaneous with the complete attainment of the Buddha's teaching.  Even though we have already attained supreme enlightenment, we may not realize it.  Some may, and some may not.
      From, The Enlightened Mind, An Anthology of Sacred Prose, edited by Stephen Mitchell.

      Robert Cooper ~ DailyDharma


      "I never look at the masses as my responsilibty; I look at the individual.
      I can only love one person at a time--just one, one, one. So you begin. I
      began--I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I
      wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand. The whole work is only a drop
      in the ocean. But if I didn't put that drop in, the ocean would be one drop
      less. The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same
      thing in your church, your community. Just begin--one, one, one."

      ~ Mother Theresa ~

      From the book, "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry,"
      By Jack Kornfield published by Bantam Press.

      Xan ~

                      Sufi Heart

      This meditation is by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

      Every school of meditation offers a way to still the mind, because spiritual experiences take place beyond the level of the mind. The mind is known as "the slayer of the real"; its thoughts keep us isolated in a world of illusion. The mind keeps us identified with the ego, and the mind's continual chatter separates us from the deeper levels of our being.

      Watching our thoughts, we can see how often the mind thinks us, and not the other way around. We are prisoners of our mind and ego, but meditation can help set us free.Different spiritual traditions use different techniques to still the mind. Sufism is a path with love. Love is the greatest power in creation and in Sufism's deep prayers and meditations, it takes us beyond the mind and beyond the self: the lover is taken into the presence of the Beloved.

      In these states we may experience the intimacies of divine love: a tender caress, words whispered into our heart. We may feel the wonder of being loved, or taste the peace of our soul. But for the mystic, the journey goes even deeper, into the infinite emptiness that lies beyond the mind: "The dark silence in which all lovers lose themselves."

      For the Sufi, the mystical journey is from form to formlessness, from the presence of our own self to the presence of the Beloved for whom our heart longs. On this journey, love leads us back to love. God, our Beloved, comes into or heart and calls us, seducing us with the sweetness of touch, with an intoxicating taste of union. The work of the lover is to surrender to this mystery of loving, to allow the heart to be opened. And although most of this work happens secretly within us, in the very core of our being, there are ancient techniques to open us to the beyond, to the wonder that is within our own heart.

      The Sufi meditation of the heart is a method of lifting the veils of separation and awakening us to what is real. It is a simple but effective way to use the energy of love to still the mind and go beyond the ego.

      It is best practiced for at least half an hour every morning.

      In This Meditation We Imagine Three Things

      1) We must suppose that we go deep within ourselves, deeper and deeper into our most hidden self. There in our inmost being, in the very core of ourselves, we will find a place where there is peace, stillness, and above all, love.

      2) After having found this place, we must imagine that we are seated there, immersed into, surrounded by, the Love of God. We are in deepest peace. We are loved; we are sheltered; we are secure. All of us is there, physical body and all; nothing is outside, not even a fingertip, not even the tinniest hair. Our whole being is contained within the Love of God.

      3) As we sit there, happy, serene in God's presence, thoughts will intrude into our mind- what we did the day before, what we have to do tomorrow. Memories float by, images appear before the mind's eye.

      We have to imagine that we are getting hold of every thought, every image and feeling, and drowning it, merging it into the feeling of love.

      Every feeling, especially the feeling of love, is much more dynamic than the thinking process, so if one does this practice well, with the utmost concentration, all thoughts will disappear. Nothing will remain, The mind will be empty.When we become familiar with this meditation, we no longer use the imagination. We just fill the heart with the feeling of love and then drown any thoughts in the heart.

      Emptying the mind, we create an inner space where we can become aware of the presence of our Beloved. God is always with us, but our mind, emotions, and the outer world are veils which separate us. God is silent emptiness, and in order to experience God we need to become silent. In meditation we give ourselves back to God, our Beloved, returning from the world of forms to the formless Truth within the heart.

      Freyja ~ AdvaitaToZen

      Awaring Sans Awarer

      I had the occasion recently to get lost in observation of
      a group of children--maybe fifteen in all, playing in
      a play area which had tunnels and slides, structures
      to climb over, and a little track around the perimeter.
      The children ranged in age from about 12 months to
      four years old.

      Everywhere i looked there was activity and interaction--
      children were running, jumping and creating little games
      with each other.

      One baby, who had just learned to walk kept running
      around the perimeter with his hands straight up in the
      air waving them, laughing joyfully. As he passed by, i could not
      help but laugh right along with him, so contagious was
      his un-self concious joy. Watching and knowing....... this baby
      is not even aware of itself enjoying itself.

      Neither were any of the other children. Not one of them
      knew they were being watched, or observed. There was complete
      engrossment in the current involvement that was there.

      One baby, in a pram stroller, was sitting up, and looking up
      with its mouth open, at a slightly older toddler, totally absorbed
      in what was being seen as the other child's activity, but not
      aware there was watching or seeing or that there was a 'him'
      or an other child.

      In watching one little girl, about 18 months old, in one moment,
      i glimpsed her standing on one of the play structures with a boy
      of about four. Everything about her--her facial expressions, her
      smile, her posture, the way she held very still for a moment in
      anticipation, with her full attention on the boy standing in front of
      her in that instant--her very energy....communicated to the little boy,
      exactly what was the next step to take, and little interactive game
      commenced....all without one word spoken, and without knowing that
      it was happening.

      Observing the children non-awaring, was to be taken out of time.




      Scott Reeves ~ AwarenessTheWayToLove


      The Haji who lived at the outskirts of the town was said to perform
      miracles, so his home was a center of pilgrimage for large crowds of sick

      The Master, who was known to be quite uninterested in the miraculous, would
      never reply to questions on the Haji.

      When asked point-blank why he was opposed to miracles, he replied, "How can
      one be opposed to what is taking place before one's eyes each moment of the

      Anthony de Mello, SJ


      Look! Here am I right within you.
      Not in temple, nor in mosque,
      Not in Kaaba nor Kailas,
      But here right within you am I.

        ~ Kabir ~

      Joyce Short ~ AdvaitaToZen

      "You'll gather that..."

      "You'll gather that I'm NOT one of those spiritual teachers who give their
      pupils the option: 'Either see Who you are, or else surrender to me. If you
      aren't ready to find the true Guru in yourself, at least find Him
      provisionally in me, as a first step. The second step, from me as your
      authority to yourself as your real Authority, may then follow.' Those
      teachers include some great souls, and I'm not saying they are wrong. It's
      not that this roundabout road to enlightenment via devotion to a guru is
      closed, but that it's a long a difficult diversion, and few they are that
      emerge from it on to the main highway. I still have to meet a devotee who
      has come through and will tell you so. Accordingly my message, day in and
      day out, to anyone who has half an ear, is: What, for heaven's sake is
      wrong with the direct approach to Yourself? It couldn't be better paved and
      easier going and safer -and shorter. In fact, all you have to do is face in
      the right direction, and, like a shot - you've arrived at the Place you
      never left! That 180 degree turn-about of attention is enough to see you
      right Home instantly. But you are responsible for making it. Your
      attention is not something I can get hold of like a wrong pointing signpost,
      and twist it around to point in the right way. It's you who have to do

      From: The Trial of The man Who Said He Was God
      D.E. Harding

      Pete ~ DirectApproach


      Identities give us a false sense of security, of familiarity.
      We think we know when we give things names. We
      wallpaper the mystery with these name tags and believe
      we have  explained it away.

      To live with the mystery that we are, and that surrounds
      us. To rest in it without false explanations. What delightful
      insecurity that is!



      How language stunts creativity
      As the brain dies, new artistry is born
      Brad Evenson 
      National Post

      Scientists have viewed distant galaxies, but until recently they knew next to nothing about why people sing, paint and write poetry. Alone among species, we create art as naturally as we breathe and walk. Now, using powerful tools to view the brain, scientists are making surprising discoveries. ..

      In general, the left hemisphere of the brain controls language, memory and emotional control, while the right side is dominant in visual and musical ability. Damage to the left hemisphere may liberate the right side to express itself.

      Dr. Miller began to think of the left side of healthy brains as a bully, suppressing the creative instincts of the other side.

      "I've wondered whether this dominant hemisphere which shapes our linguistic perceptions of the world may in some ways dampen our visual ways of thinking, which is, I think, at the core of great art," he says.





      Okay Then

      Photo by Alan Larus

      Joyce ~ SpiritualFriends  &  Alan Larus ~ TrueVision




      Photo by Alan Larus

      The Most-Sacred Mountain
      Space, and the twelve clean winds of heaven,
      And this sharp exultation, like a cry, after the slow six thousand
      steps of climbing!
      This is Tai Shan, the beautiful, the most holy.
      Below my feet the foot-hills nestle, brown with flecks of green;
      and lower down the flat brown plain, the floor of earth,
      stretches away to blue infinity.
      Beside me in this airy space the temple roofs cut their slow curves against the sky,
      And one black bird circles above the void.
      Space, and the twelve clean winds are here;
      And with them broods eternity -- a swift, white peace, a presence manifest.
      The rhythm ceases here. Time has no place. This is the end that has no end.
      Here, when Confucius came, a half a thousand years before the Nazarene,
      he stepped, with me, thus into timelessness.
      The stone beside us waxes old, the carven stone that says: "On this spot once
      Confucius stood and felt the smallness of the world below."
      The stone grows old:
      Eternity is not for stones.
      But I shall go down from this airy place, this swift white peace,
      this stinging exultation.
      And time will close about me, and my soul stir to the rhythm
      of the daily round.
      Yet, having known, life will not press so close, and always I shall feel time
      ravel thin about me;
      For once I stood
      In the white windy presence of eternity.
      ~ Eunice Tietjens ~

      Joe Riley ~ NDS
                                                          We're Back

      An invitation: Submit your antiwar poetry!

      The War Goes On (and so does poetsagainstthewar.org)

      More than ever, we need to speak out against war, share our poetry, and take action to end this war -- which is not over, despite the words of the Bush Administration. More than ever, we need to demand that the actions of the US be constrained by the legal sanction and moral approval of the international community and the United Nations, that the US refrain from further immoral, unilateral and preemptive wars, and that the US take full responsibility for repairing the enormous damage caused by its military assault on Iraq.

      Submit your antiwar poetry! Help us make a powerful statement for peace, joining with thousands of other poets around the world. Go to http://poetsagainstthewar.org/submitpoem.asp.

      Join and support Poets Against the War! Your membership donation of $10 or more can help us publish the web site and continue building a broad-based movement against war. With a donation of $100 or more, you'll get a free PAW T-shirt. Go to http://poetsagainstthewar.org/donate.asp.

      Organize a poetry reading against the war! Gather with other poets to make a public statement for peace with your poetry. Announce your reading at http://poetsagainstthewar.org/createreading.asp.

      More: http://poetsagainstthewar.org/


      Lobster ~ insightpractice

      In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful computer error
      messages with Haiku poetry messages. They're used to communicate a
      timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning and powerful insight
      through extreme brevity. Here are 13 actual error messages from Japan:

      1. The web site you seek cannot be located, but countless more exist.

      2. Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent and reboot. Order shall return.

      3. Program aborting: Close all that you have worked on. You ask far too

      4. Windows crashed. I am the Blue Screen of Death. No one hears your

      5. Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Windows is like that.

      6. Your file was so big. It might be very useful, but now it is gone.

      7. Stay the patient course. Of little worth is your ire. The network is

      8. A crash reduces your expensive computer to a simple stone.

      9. Three things are certain: Death, taxes and lost data. Guess which has

      10. You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. This page is not

      11. Out of memory. We wish to hold the whole sky, but we never will.

      12. Having been erased, the document you're seeking must now be retyped.

      13. Serious error. All shortcuts have disappeared. Screen ... mind - both
      are blank.

      Web Address :
      or send a blank email to: HolyGeek-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      "I really love what you've started over at HolyGeek, Lobster!
      It's really useful and lively and has good people participating."

      "so do i, so do i!
      thanks, my ocean friend"

      Computer advice shared, shorn and shone . . .



      PS. Attention Attention Attention

      In my efforts to serve the web footed
      Buddhas of the future and under the
      direction of the 'Astral Dolphins'
      I have been learning to program.

      My first tentative efforts
      can be seen taking shape here :-)

      ARTE Development

      One of the inspiration scripts that
      will be used will be devoted to

      What words would you find
      useful/inspiring in such a program?

      from the evolutionary-psychology home on yahoogroups
      'I wanted to show how niceness evolves'
      David Sloan Wilson says plankton can tell us a lot about God and human morality.
      By Andrew Brown
      Thursday July 24, 2003
      The Guardian
      David Sloan Wilson's career as a biologist started with zooplankton in the depths of the ocean and has ascended to God. He is convinced the same theoretical tools can be used to analyse the patterns of animal behaviour and human belief; and that the kinds of equations that tell you whether fish will be brightly or dully coloured, depending on the part of a river they live in, will also tell you why Calvinism thrived in 16th-century Geneva but the church of England is in decline today.

      This ambition may smack of standard sociobiological imperialism - the belief that the other ways of looking at the world should defer to evolutionary biology. But Wilson's version has two twists. First, he does not believe biological understandings could or should replace the methods of the social sciences. He wants a commonwealth of knowledge, not an empire.
      Secondly, he believes an essential tool for understanding social life is group selection. Anyone who has read the Selfish Gene will know the canonical history of modern biology starts with the rejection of group selection. Organisms are not selected for the good of their groups, but for the good they can do their genes. That seems to be the insight from which everything else springs; and it looks theoretically rock solid. If organisms appear to be acting altruistically, they must really be acting for the good of their genes
      The basis on which this argument rests is almost as simple as natural selection itself, says Wilson: "The fundamental problem of social life is that selfishness beats altruism within a group. But altruistic groups trump selfish groups. It's amazing that you can take such a controversial theory and describe it in two sentences."
      From the Archive of News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences

      Joyce ~ DeepWell
       It Is An Elevation

      "The previously unstudied emotion of elevation is described. Elevation appears to be the opposite of social disgust. It is triggered by witnessing acts of human moral beauty or virtue. Elevation involves a warm or glowing feeling in the chest, and it makes people want to become morally better themselves. Because elevation increases one�s desire to affiliate with and help others, it provides a clear illustration of Fredrickson�s (2000) broaden-and-build model of the positive emotions...
      "This brief essay applies Fredrickson's model to a new positive emotion that has not been described thus far by academic psychologists: elevation. Elevation is a warm, uplifting feeling that people experience when they see unexpected acts of human goodness, kindness, and compassion (Haidt, Algoe, Meijer, Tam, & Chandler, 2000). It makes a person want to help others and to become a better person himself or herself. Elevation makes sense when viewed through Fredrickson's broaden-and-build model..."

      By Gareth Cook The Boston Globe
      Show people scenes from the life of Mother Teresa, laboring in the filth of Calcutta, and they will get a feeling often described by prophets and poets, but not recognized by science.
      Even a glimpse of human kindness - a hand placed on a leper's forehead, or a newborn, once fragile and abandoned, being lifted from its crib - can be enough to evoke what University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls "elevation." A branch of the vagus nerve is activated, he said, giving the chest a "sensation of expansion," provoking chills, causing the tear ducts to well up, and, in some cases, clenching the throat.
      Haidt has embarked on a quest to prove that elevation deserves recognition as a distinct emotion, like anger, with its own constellation of physical symptoms. "People of many cultures imagine a ladder with God above and the devil below. When we see someone move down, we feel disgust," said Haidt. "But what if we see someone move up?"
      Modern psychology has been rediscovering emotion, as brain imaging improves dramatically and researchers share a sense of embarrassment that, to date, they have agreed on only six emotions - happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, disgust, and anger - and that most of them are downers. Amusement and relief are now in their sights, but the greatest feeling, love, is still too elusive to be defined by sudden physiological changes.
      Haidt's initial research is especially interesting, researchers say, because there are hints that elevation functions as a kind of moral inspiration, motivating people to be more social and more giving. And if scientists can identify the emotional roots of charity, and the conditions that foster them, that would bring closer the dream of religious visionaries like Mother Teresa: a society in which the season of giving lasts all year.
      "In the last 30 years, we've come to see emotions as important for survival, for making good decisions. What Haidt is doing is showing that they also have these moral functions," said Dacher Keltner, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley who is studying the feeling of awe. "To the extent that you can find a state that makes people adhere to moral principles, that suggests you can improve things."
      From the beginning, the inspiring behavior of some people has posed what evolutionary theorists call "the problem of altruism" - that is, why does charity exist at all? In the Darwinian crucible where only the fittest survive, one would expect that creatures who give away food would quickly go extinct. Any altruistic tendencies should have disappeared, washed away in the acid bath of competition.
      Yet, this theory can be difficult to reconcile with the fact that, for example, Americans gave $190 billion to charity last year, according to Giving USA, an annual philanthropy report.
      The solution, scientists think, lies in the insight that humans, like chimpanzees or dolphins, are social animals that communicate and cooperate to survive in a hostile environment. Even the simple innovation of having someone keep watch for threats while others sleep would bring huge evolutionary advantages.
      Thus, they theorize, a system of "reciprocal altruism," in which members of a group trade favors over time, could take hold.
      In a seminal paper nearly three decades ago, Robert Trivers explained how this system would create the foundations of morality, in which creatures commit acts that will bolster the group's survival, and even punish those who break the rules and threaten stability. As animals adapted to function in the complex new social order, they would develop a capacity for sympathy and trust.
      "We have built up our morality on a firm foundation that you can see in the animal world," said Frans de Waal, author of "Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals." He has shown that chimpanzees share, mediate, console, and reconcile after conflict. "We have a lot of psychological continuity with chimpanzees," he said. Still, de Waal said, humans are unique in that they will help strangers.
      Israeli biologist Amotz Zahavi argues that charity is just a form of "showing off," of gaining social status, or impressing potential mates. Even anonymous donors, he said, could be trying to impress their spouses, or secretly hoping that their identity gets out.
      Others theorize that as humans have developed the ability to reason abstractly, they have also broadened their notion of who belongs to their tribe, so that they can feel kinship with, and thus sympathy for, someone they have never met.
      The answer has not been settled, but, still, biologists are increasingly convinced that the roots of goodness run deep. Morality, they say, is not solely a human creation, invented by philosophers and religious leaders to tame a sinning beast, but part of our core being, driven by instinct and emotion.
      To study elevation, Haidt and University of Virginia student Anita Tam divided subjects into two groups. One was shown a television documentary on Mother Teresa, and, to distinguish elevation from happiness, the other group was shown "America's Funniest Home Videos."
      The results, which have not yet been published, showed that viewers reported different physical responses, and that the comedy viewers were more likely to be focused on themselves, while the Teresa viewers were more likely to feel like doing "prosocial" activities such as volunteering.
      The next step, which Haidt has begun, will be to describe more precisely what the physical elevation response is, in the laboratory, and then demonstrate that it is distinctive and reproducible.
      Also crucial will be showing that the results hold in different cultures, said Paul Ekman, who established the list of six basic emotions that have been widely accepted as benchmarks. Ekman is a professor of psychology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco.
      For a response to qualify as an emotion, researchers will need to show that it is an immediate reaction to a change in the environment - not a broader "sentiment," like love - and that, while activated, it causes a person to think differently.
      Ekman and others speculated that elevation might be a kind of awe, which has become a favored topic of research among emotion specialists. Just as the dizzying, rough-hewn walls of the Grand Canyon can inspire a transforming feeling of being in the presence of something greater, so can acts of what Haidt calls "moral beauty."
      Haidt said that he became interested in elevation after he studied what he considers its opposite - the kind of "social disgust" one feels at hearing that someone has, for example, sold a child. Just as that feeling is nature's warning of someone to avoid, Haidt reasons, elevation could be a signal that you are near someone that would be good to cooperate with.
      And if these feelings are, as Haidt thinks, an essential part of us, then the theory would help explain how moral leaders such as Jesus or Buddha or Mohammed could have such a foundation-shaking influence on so many.
      It could also explain why nonviolent protest, of the kind championed by Gandhi or Martin Luther King, can have such power. Righteousness, they argue, would by its example go straight to a person's heart, literally changing it.

      More on Elevation

      "November 18, 2002  Positive emotions (78)

      "From Jon Haidt's paper on positive emotion, "Elevation and the positive psychology of morality"
      "If disgust is the emotional reaction that we feel when we see people move down... then is there a corresponding emotion we feel when we see people move up? ... I have called this emotion elevation"
      "To begin, my students and I did a simple recall study, asking college students to recall and write about times when they had been in one of four positive emotion-arousing situations. The prompt for elevation was to "think of a specific time when you saw a manifestation of humanity's 'higher' or 'better' nature." Control conditions included instructions to "think of a specific time when you were making good progress towards a goal," which is the appraisal condition described by Lazarus (1991) as the elicitor of happiness. In a second study we induced elevation in the lab by showing participants 10 minute video clips, one of which was about the life of Mother Teresa. (Control conditions included an emotionally neutral but interesting documentary, and a comedy sequence from the television show "America's Funniest Home Videos"). In both studies we found that participants in the elevation conditions reported different patterns of physical feelings and motivations, when compared to participants in the happiness and other control conditions. Elevated participants were more likely to report physical feelings in their chests, especially warm, pleasant, or "tingling" feelings, and they were more likely to report wanting to help others, to become better people themselves, and to affiliate with others. In both studies happiness energized people to engage in private or self-interested pursuits, while elevation seemed to open people up and turn their attention outwards, towards other people. Elevation therefore fits well with Fredrickson's (1998) "broaden and build" model of the positive emotions, in which positive emotions are said to motivate people to cultivate skills and relationships that will help them in the long run."
      The question is, how do we figure out a way of connecting the notion of elevation to the dynamics of the network effect?"

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