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Underbelly: 10 Things - Knowing

Underbelly: 10 Things - Knowing
By Wendy Kelly • Issue #18 • View online
#85 in a series of wild and precious things to help you know that it is okay to not know.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I learned about knowing. Or, really, not knowing. It’s really not that big of a deal when we don’t know stuff. Honestly.
I’ll try to explain. There was an article in the Washington Post recently that was shared on social media. The article dredged up a thing that fooled a bunch of people back in 1983, and again in 1995.
The idea is that, if you can’t see quickly that “di-hydrogen mono-oxide” or “DHMO” is the same as H2O, you obviously can’t be trusted to make decisions about much at all. In the current scenario, that’s Covid.
The article then used this “fact” to shame a bunch of people who had not yet heard of this meme into feeling that they do not know enough to make decisions about, well, anything. That was my take on it. And I was, frankly, livid. I checked with my family, we all knew the meme. We are literate in basic chemistry and obscure memes. But — so what? The logic that these articles (and, as you might imagine, since this little trick has been out in the wild since 1983, there are a few) tries to use is weak.
What happened this week for me was honestly me getting quite agitated at a seeming focus on “knowing random stuff” versus a deep knowing, a calm wisdom. The weight needs to be on knowing when to pull back, lean in, show compassion, filter our words.
(I honestly am still in preschool most days lately.)
2. Quote
“In other words, the effects of mindfulness can be different for people depending on the way they think about themselves. This figurative “water” can really change the recipe of mindfulness.
Of course, water can be filtered, and, likewise, how people think about themselves is fluid: We’re all capable of thinking about ourselves in both independent and interdependent ways at different times.”
3. Prompt
So: a recent revelation about mindfulness as practiced in a secular way is that it can have rather poor outcomes.
Mindfulness does come to us from Buddhism, and is integral to the philosophy. Mindfulness, when reduced to “a tool for focusing attention and improving well-being, a conception of mindfulness some critics have referred to as “McMindfulness.” ” (Michael Poulin, same article as above…honestly, read this article…) can create humans who are less generous, less kind, more focused on selfishness, etc.
It all depends on your focus. Are you an independent person, a dependent (adult) person or an interdependent person?
Good outcomes have very little to do with how well you know basic chemistry or how in touch you are with random memes.
Good outcomes in life, in society, in our communities have a lot to do with our inner knowing: how well we practice interdependence, caring for ourselves well enough so that we can care for others, who will be there to care for us because they care for themselves.
So…practicing interdependence, even when it’s challenging. Gearing up for another loving-kindness practice, a metta quest, this week:
What person in your life are you most grateful for? What do you admire about them?
What do you admire about yourself that you could offer that person, or another person, in gratitude?
4. Quest
Body Position
Close your eyes. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. Relax your whole body. Keep your eyes closed throughout the whole visualization and bring your awareness inward. Without straining or concentrating, just relax and gently follow the instructions.
Take a deep breath in. And breathe out.
Receiving Loving-Kindness
Keeping your eyes closed, think of a person close to you who loves you very much. It could be someone from the past or the present; someone still in life or who has passed; it could be a spiritual teacher or guide. Imagine that person standing on your right side, sending you their love. That person is sending you wishes for your safety, for your well-being and happiness. Feel the warm wishes and love coming from that person towards you.
Now bring to mind the same person or another person who cherishes you deeply. Imagine that person standing on your left side, sending you wishes for your wellness, for your health and happiness. Feel the kindness and warmth coming to you from that person.
Now imagine that you are surrounded on all sides by all the people who love you and have loved you. Picture all of your friends and loved ones surrounding you. They are standing sending you wishes for your happiness, well-being, and health. Bask in the warm wishes and love coming from all sides. You are filled, and overflowing with warmth and love.
Sending Loving-Kindness to Loved Ones
Now bring your awareness back to the person standing on your right side. Begin to send the love that you feel back to that person. You and this person are similar. Just like you, this person wishes to be happy. Send all your love and warm wishes to that person.
Repeat the following phrases, silently:
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain. 
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be free from pain.
Now focus your awareness on the person standing on your left side. Begin to direct the love within you to that person. Send all your love and warmth to that person. That person and you are alike. Just like you, that person wishes to have a good life. 
Repeat the following phrases, silently:
Just as I wish to, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you live with ease and happiness.
Just as I wish to, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you live with ease and happiness.
Just as I wish to, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you live with ease and happiness.
Now picture another person that you love, perhaps a relative or a friend. This person, like you, wishes to have a happy life. Send warm wishes to that person.
Repeat the following phrases, silently: 
May your life be filled with happiness, health, and well-being.
May your life be filled with happiness, health, and well-being.
May your life be filled with happiness, health, and well-being.
Sending Loving-Kindness to Neutral People
Now think of an acquaintance, someone you don’t know very well and toward whom you do not have any particular feeling. You and this person are alike in your wish to have a good life.
Send all your wishes for well-being to that person, repeating the following phrases, silently:
Just as I wish to, may you also live with ease and happiness.
Just as I wish to, may you also live with ease and happiness.
Just as I wish to, may you also live with ease and happiness.
Now bring to mind another acquaintance toward whom you feel neutral. It could be a neighbor, or a colleague, or someone else that you see around but do not know very well. Like you, this person wishes to experience joy and well-being in their life. 
Send all your good wishes to that person, repeating the following phrases, silently:
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from all pain. 
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from all pain. 
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from all pain. 
Sending Loving-Kindness to All Living Beings
Now expand your awareness and picture the whole globe in front of you as a little ball. 
Send warm wishes to all living beings on the globe, who, like you, want to be happy:
Just as I wish to, may you live with ease, happiness, and good health. 
Just as I wish to, may you live with ease, happiness, and good health.
Just as I wish to, may you live with ease, happiness, and good health.
Take a deep breath in. And breathe out. And another deep breath in and let it go. Notice the state of your mind and how you feel after this meditation. 
When you’re ready, you may open your eyes.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Try to make a loving-kindness meditation part of your daily or weekly (or whatever rhythm you like) practice.
6. Video: This is really straight forward and full of thoughtful ideas.
From Independence To Interdependence: Alana Conner at TEDxPacificPalisades
From Independence To Interdependence: Alana Conner at TEDxPacificPalisades
7. Podcast
‎Mike Birbiglia's Working It Out: 48. Judd Apatow Returns: Judd Has Notes on Apple Podcasts
8. Poem:
Body Encounters Barrier, or Stairs (Not a Metaphor) by Tara Hardy - Poems | poets.org
9. Hero: I often can’t listen to her comedy because it’s just too much for me…but the more I learn about her, how she came up, why she does what she does, etc…I am a fan.
Sarah Silverman - Wikipedia
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10. Connect:
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Underbelly: 10 Things

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