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Dharma PhD (the podcast) Episode 7

Greetings, Friendlies!

Episode 7 is ready to go. I’m super excited about this one because two things: Thing one, this is the _final_ in Peacock’s series Buddhism Before the Theravada. Can you believe it? The end of an era.

Thing two, I’m excited because we are finally starting to talk about taṇhā, upādāna, and models of mental processes/cognition. This is what I’m particularly interested in exploring in the Independent PhD.

As always, send us a line; we’d love to hear from you.

John Peacock's "Buddhism Before the Theravada" Part 6 – EP7 Dharma PhD

Welcome to Dharma PhD! In this episode we talk about John Peacocks' talk, "Buddhism Before the Theravada, Part 6". We talk about paṭiccasamuppāda (Dependent Origination) as a Buddhist model of cognition and about how having a framework such as this one to understand our experience can help us deal with craving and grasping loops. A few things referred to: Dr. Judson Brewer (https://drjud.com/). The Independent PhD project (https://dharmaphd.com/2020/07/10/the-independent-phd-and-why-you-should-start-one/). I recently posted on the blog about overlapping models of perception/cognition, one more cognitive-science-y compared with dependent origination: https://dharmaphd.com/2021/11/01/modeling-cognition/. Hedonic Tone, also called "feeling tone" is my preferred translation of the Pāli word "vedanā". I talked about it over on my other podcast in a few episodes: https://www.buddha-bites-podcast.com/episode/buddha-bites-ep23 A transcript of and link to John Peacock's talk is available here: https://dharmaphd.com/2021/11/13/john-peacock-buddhism-before-the-theravada-part-6-2011-09-04/ And a transcript of this podcast episode is available here: https://dharmaphd.com/2021/11/13/dharma-phd-the-podcast-episode-7/ Want to get in touch? We'd love to hear from you! Email us at hello@dharmaphd.com.

Below is an AI-produced, hand-touched transcript of the episode. Your mileage may vary.

[00:00:00] Shannon: Greetings, friendlies. Welcome to Dharma PhD: conversations about the science philosophy and culture of mindfulness and secular Buddhism. I’m your host. Shannon M Whitaker joined once again by my fabulous cohost Jeff street. Welcome Jeff. 


[00:00:13] Jeff: Hello. Do the listeners know what my middle initial is? 


[00:00:17] Shannon: Oh, I don’t know if they do. Some of them do for sure. Cause some of them are people that know you. I don’t know if in general… 


[00:00:24] Jeff: Listeners I’ll, I’ll let you in , on a secret. It’s F. F is my, my name is Jeff F Street. 


[00:00:32] Shannon: I invite your submissions for a t-shirt. 


[00:00:38] Jeff: the Fs. 


What are we going to talk about today?

[00:00:41] Jeff: What are we gonna talk about in the podcast today? 


[00:00:45] Shannon: Ah, yes. Thanks for asking. Today’s episode is a big deal for two reasons, two reasons. So we finally come to the last, in the series of six talks by John Peacock. I know it’s amazing. So we’re really just the end of an era here. 


[00:01:00] Jeff: Who, whoever thought that we would make it this far. 


[00:01:03] The second exciting thing about this episode is that we’re finally also getting to the thing that I am really excited about working on. So I have this Dharma PhD, an independent PhD, and I jokingly say that it’s four or five years of study and practice and discourse that will end in a book that no one will read. 


[00:01:24] Shannon: And we finally get to that topic, the topic about which I want to write the book that no one will read. 


[00:01:30] Jeff: So today’s podcast is on the same topic. 


[00:01:32] Shannon: Yeah. Yeah. We finally get there. Very excited. 


[00:01:34] Shannon: This is a two hour talk. It’s a very long talk. So we’re not going to cover all the material in there. 


[00:01:41] it’s a great talk though. Listeners, please go and have a listen to the original talk, but as I was listening to the talk, and as I heard him start to talk about this topic, one of the things that I also realized was I’m finally getting to the point in the independent PhD project where I’m transitioning from sort of the freshman stage where you’re learning and absorbing and listening to other people’s talks and doing all the research by reading other people’s material. And I’m finally ready to start talking about my stuff. What I think is new and bringing my own thing to it. 


[00:02:12] Jeff: Okay. That’s a big step transformation. 


Brief review

[00:02:14] Shannon: So just to reiterate, what we’re talking about, we’ve been covering a series of six talks by John Peacock. The talks are titled, “Buddhism Before the Theravada”, and this is a series of talks from 2011. So I’m sure that John Peacock’s ideas have grown since then. It’s been 10 years, but it’s still, for me has been a really good, fundamental introduction to a lot of these topics.  


[00:02:41] Shannon: what we’re going to talk about today is the same broad topic that we’ve talked about the last two episodes. This concept, paticcasamuppada, dependent origination is the usual translation. Although you won’t be surprised to know I’ve found some others but we’re not going to 


[00:02:59] Jeff: Are we going to talk about your favorite translation today? 


[00:03:01] Shannon: Not today. 


[00:03:01] Shannon: No, that’ll be another time.  


Model of Cognition

[00:03:05] One of the things we’ve previously highlighted was how many varied ideas have come out of this single concept. I wrote a really big blog post about this. That’s still out in the world to prove the point today. We’re going to talk about potential Simon Pata in a new way. 


[00:03:23] Shannon: We’re going to talk about it as a model of cognition. 


[00:03:26] Jeff: Okay. 


[00:03:27] Shannon: in this talk, actually one of the participants asked is this Dependent Origination a Buddhist model of mental processes? And John Peacock said, it’s not entirely exhaustive because it can be broken down much finer. 


[00:03:44] And then, he didn’t say this, but as I’ve been thinking about it, the difference is that the difference one way to think about how Gotama was teaching stuff, first of all, he wasn’t a neuroscientist. He didn’t have these kinds of techniques or the same understanding we do, but also he was mostly concerned with experience. 


[00:04:01] Shannon: He wasn’t concerned with neurons or whatever was behind it. He wasn’t worried about why the brain worked that way. He was just worried about how, what our experience was like. so the chunks are a little bit, shall we say, bigger, as far as the way that these mental processes are described.  


[00:04:19] Shannon: That’s something I think is really important is to recognize that we’re talking about subjective experience. We’re not talking about neurons firing, but we can still talk about our mental cognition in that way. And it can still be helpful and maybe more helpful sometimes than talking about neurons firing. 


[00:04:39] Jeff: That makes sense. we’re dividing into a couple of different levels. 


[00:04:42] Shannon: Yeah, exactly. You can zoom in, you can zoom out. You can look at it through different lenses, so to speak. 


[00:04:48] So this is just one particular lens and it’s the lens of subjective experience and particularly subjective experience in order to flourish, in order to live a better life. The way you would say it if you were a philosopher, as you would say, it’s political. Or if you were, if you were on the staff at Bodhi college, you’d say it’s ethical. 


[00:05:05] Shannon: It’s about how to live well. We’re not just looking at how the brain functions out of , intellectual curiosity. we want to know what is our experience like in order that we can live better. Does that make sense?  


[00:05:18]  


Start with a body and mind.

[00:05:19] Shannon: in talking about these mental processes,the Buddhist model of cognition, we’ll call it that they start off by saying you have a body and you have a mind. 


[00:05:31] Shannon: Yeah, exactly 


[00:05:33] Jeff: I’m with you so far 


[00:05:34] Shannon: Reasonable.  


Senses.

[00:05:36] Shannon: So we have a body and mind, and then we have senses we have the regular senses, sight smell, taste, touch hearing. I might’ve anyway, those, but also, thoughts, the mind is also a sense modality. So if you have a thought, it affects the mind in the same way that a touch affects the skin, 


[00:05:56] so it was like an incoming impulse or incoming, then it comes into the inbox. 


[00:06:01] Shannon: Yep. Comes into the inbox. Exactly. We could go into a bunch of details on that, but I don’t know that that’s necessary for  


[00:06:06] Jeff: brightness  


[00:06:06] Shannon: now. 


[00:06:06] Shannon: Let’s  


[00:06:07] Jeff: try quick and  


[00:06:07] Shannon: dirty. 


[00:06:07] Shannon: Okay. There’s quick and dirty. so you have these senses and I really like the way that Leigh Brasington phrases them: you hang your senses out in the environment. Yeah. I love it. and those senses are then impacted by whatever’s in the environment. If we were talking about, if we were talking about this in a technical term, we might say that there’s a distal stimulus and that there’s a physical process. So light waves bounce off of the shoe. And then the light waves hit your eye, whatever we have these senses, we hang them out in the environment. They come in contact with an object, their object, right? Eye has an eye object. Ear has an ear object. They come into contact with those objects and the word that they actually use is “contact”.  


[00:06:55] Shannon: So we have a mind and a body then these sense modalities, and then we have contact when those things engage with something in the world outside. 


[00:07:04] Jeff: Could be a fish, could be another thing 


[00:07:05] Shannon: Yeah, exactly. And it could be, I see a fish, it could be I touch a fish. It could be a taste a fish. it can be all these  


[00:07:10] Jeff: different  


[00:07:11] Shannon: smell of fish. Think about a fish. 


[00:07:15] Jeff: Okay. wish for a fish fish is a fish, is where wishes. 


[00:07:22] Shannon: So 


[00:07:23] Jeff: all these things, all these, the various aspects of a fish come, come to the inbox. 


Vedanā

[00:07:28] Shannon: talk  


[00:07:35] Jeff: about  


[00:07:36] Shannon: a lot. I’m really, and this is where I get excited. 


[00:07:38] This is the focus here. 


[00:07:39] Shannon: thing. So I’m gonna try to make sure to speak more slowly because I will get really 


[00:07:44] Jeff: a little riled up 


[00:07:46] Shannon: but it’s kind of long. So a lot of people 


[00:08:06] Jeff: okay. So so our inbox contains all the aspects of a fish and like the 


[00:08:10] Jeff: taste  


[00:08:10] Shannon: pick one though. Can we just pick one, just for simplicity sake, pick an aspect of the fish that you’d like 


[00:08:15] Jeff: Oh, I would like, the one I’m wishing for right now. 


[00:08:19] Jeff: Let’s I feel like the sense ones. I feel like I get how those work. but I feel like, I don’t know about the mind one. 


[00:08:26] Shannon: Okay, 


[00:08:27] Jeff: Let’s talk about that one. 


[00:08:28] Shannon: I actually am going to ask that you table that one  


[00:08:31] Shannon: for right now Because  


[00:08:33] Shannon: I think talking about why thoughts are a sense modality and why I think that’s actually helpful will derail us from the 


[00:08:42] Jeff: okay, let’s go through, let’s go through a sense one then. Okay. Well so the taste of a fish is the part that I want to have right now. 


[00:08:52] Shannon: Okay. So we have the taste of the fish. 


[00:08:54] Shannon: We could call it neither pleasant or unpleasant. 


[00:09:04] Jeff: Pleasant unpleasant or neither. Yeah. Okay These are the three values 


[00:09:08] Shannon: are the three values. Yeah. Yeah. and it’s not a 1, 2, 3. It’s not a,it’s, you know from super, super pleasant all the way down through. 


[00:09:16] Shannon: Okay. now I don’t even notice it at all. And then all the way started getting bad and it’s really bad yet. It’s a total spectrum 


[00:09:21] Jeff: total 


[00:09:21] Shannon: from one very extreme pleasantness, to one very extreme unpleasantness 


[00:09:27] Jeff: These three pleasant, unpleasant, or neither is it like a linear thing? So like pleasantness might go from, negative to positive or something, but it seems like neither suggest that maybe there’s several other dimensions. 


[00:09:39] Shannon: Oh, that’s interesting. I think it’s more linear. And I think neither is, as things get less pleasant, we pay less attention to  


[00:09:47] Jeff: them 


[00:09:47] Jeff: more in the middle, 


[00:09:48] Shannon: and then they fade out and they just don’t have. Get through sometimes our subconscious, right. All the things that are happening in our peripheral vision, for example, that our mind is processing that we, from a subjective experience standpoint, it never even gets through to consciousness until I say, what does the sole of your left foot to  


[00:10:07] Jeff: like 


[00:10:07] Shannon: and then you’re like, oh  


[00:10:08] Shannon: yeah. 


[00:10:08] Shannon: Okay. It’s kind of neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but maybe it’s a little bit pleasant. Like there’s maybe, it’s not bad. 


[00:10:14] Jeff: touching the carpet. And I see it’s a nice clean, it’s nice warm carpet. Yeah. I’m into it, 


[00:10:19] Shannon: But. 


[00:10:20] Jeff: but it’s not a, it’s not a large degree of pleasantness. it’s not dominating my experience right  


[00:10:24] Shannon: Yes. Yes And then you can also continue moving down the spectrum down. 


[00:10:28] Shannon: You can moving towards unpleasantness where it’s a little bit unpleasant, but you don’t, you know that like nagging thing in my lower back, I don’t really notice it until it gets very bad. And then I notice it and then it’s very unpleasant. So the, neither is sort of a space where we don’t even pay attention. It doesn’t even come into consciousness a lot of times. It stays subconscious or unconscious in our experience. Does that make sense? 


[00:10:52] Jeff: So I’m eating a fish and it might be delicious. It might be terrible. 


[00:10:56] Shannon: You might not notice that you’re  


[00:10:57] Jeff: eating it. 


[00:10:57] Jeff: Or I might be more focused on the conversation. 


[00:11:00] Shannon: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 


[00:11:02] So that raises an interesting point though, because there are a couple of ways to eat a fish. One way is to eat a fish in a space with no other stimuli happening at all in my experience. So this is the only one. And then it falls somewhere on this spectrum, but that’s not the case most of the time. Most of the time you’re receiving, really a lot of stimuli. 


[00:11:24] Jeff: They get sorted, maybe like maybe we’re having a very nice conversation, but our listeners, maybe, maybe, maybe we’re eating fish right now. 


[00:11:30] Jeff: You don’t know, but we’re maybe more focused on the podcast then than we are on the eating fish we need the,  


[00:11:36] Jeff: you know  


[00:11:36] Shannon: Our listeners may be eating fish 


[00:11:37] Jeff: there may be even fish. Let’s hope they’re more focused on the podcast and that they’re eating delicious fish, but it might be that you have a few, a sensory inputs and one might be dominating another one. 


[00:11:49] Jeff: Yeah, 


[00:11:49] Shannon: Absolutely.  


[00:11:50] Jeff: so we’re eating a fish. It’s either pleasant, neutral, unpleasant. 


[00:11:55] Shannon: And I kind of like how you said pleasant, neither or unpleasant.  


[00:11:57] Jeff: Neither  


[00:11:58] Shannon: I might, I think I’m going to try and use neither. We’ll see. I don’t know. It might not work, but I’m going to try it for now. Let’s stick with neither.  


[00:12:06] Jeff:at this fish has? 


[00:12:15] Jeff: that  


[00:12:15] Shannon: let’s Let’s keep it open and then we can play around with it  


[00:12:18] Jeff: And  


[00:12:18] Shannon: next step.  


[00:12:19] Shannon: So we, have a mind and a body, we have these senses hanging out in the breeze, we brush one of them up against a fish, 


[00:12:26] Jeff: in this case. 


[00:12:28] Shannon:ctly. 


[00:12:36] Um this hedonic tone, which is of three parts and  


[00:12:41] Jeff: sorry I have three parts or having three possible valuesWell not not really though. 


[00:12:47] Jeff: Just coming back to the continuum, it’s not three possible values. Yes. It’s three, three, these values are for convenience because we have not established, like a scientific scale. 


[00:12:56] Shannon: Yes, that’s true. 


[00:12:57] Jeff: Okay. But some continuum in there. Okay. I’m pushing on this a little bit just to make sure I understand it 


[00:13:04] Shannon: Absolutely. And I think it’s really important because we this this is Cognition works. We put things in boxes, but it’s important to recognize experience is not the same thing as language. This may be my second independent PhD, talking about how language and experience are not the same thing, that we fall into that trap all the time.it seems like one of those paradoxes of languageive a hundred percent. Okay. 


[00:13:38] Jeff:e line where you can have positive a million percent like this this is a really good  


[00:14:01] Shannon: fish.  


[00:14:03] Jeff: This fish is blowing my mind. like that kind of thing. And then it could be that later on you have, another fish that’s like positive 2000000%. You didn’t even know that was a thing that could happen. Cause that kind of matches my experience. my, my fish experience a little bit. 


[00:14:18] Shannon: Well, here’s, here’s what I’ll say, . 


[00:14:20] Jeff: maybe this is not useful. 


[00:14:22] Well the reason I think it might not be useful is because it’s it might be getting into neuroscience where we say, well, how much pleasure, how much dopamine can you get into your brain at any one time? 


[00:14:32] Shannon: Maybe there is a maximum amount, maybe the way that the brain is structured, there’s a maximum amount of dopamine that can be processed at any one time. And that might be a hundred percent positive. I’m guessing here. and maybe dopamine is the wrong chemical and people are slapping the cells in the forehead saying she should know better, but that’s the kind of thing. 


[00:14:50] maybe it’s 


[00:14:51] Jeff: true. We get saturated somewhere. 


[00:14:52] Jeff: Maybe there’s a saturation point at which we cannot experience greater pleasure. that’s my guess that is in fact, the case, we probably have a saturation point for our processing ability. until you put butter on the fish 


[00:15:04] Jeff: And the little lemon juice, little squeeze lemon on there. okay. So it is possible to go to a million percent. I thought so. Okay We can move on to the next thing I’m poking and prodding here a little bit just to, to understand it. 


[00:15:16] Shannon: Yeah, no, that’s great. That’s what it’s for also, I’m learning a bunch of talking to you about it. I really appreciate that. Yeah.  


Anurodha

[00:15:24] Shannon: at list of models of cognition, depending on which one you cause different traditions have different models of cognition that overlap a little bit 


[00:15:42] Shannon: Like lists of senses?, Not senses, but Does come? Does that cognitive bias? Does it come before the body? Does it come after? The items that I’m telling you sometimes are on some lists sometimes they’re not on some lists. Actually let me find the quote, Peacock does say in here, he says, as I always say, if it’s Buddhist, it’s gotta be a list. 


[00:16:06] Jeff: That matches my experience. Listeners, write in, if you would like to see this on a t-shirt. 


[00:16:14] Shannon:

[00:16:22] Jeff:

[00:16:26] Shannon: Yes. one of the things that’s really interesting about that point, this liking and disliking, some of our listeners may be thinen considered in these lists, at least in the Theravadan tradition that I am familiar with. But if I look at my personal experience, it’s not often easy to tell when there’s pleasant or unpleasant hedonic tone, but it’s pretty obvious when I like and dislike things. For me, it’s much more obvious when I like a thing I can feel liking.  


[00:17:06] Shannon: Hedonic tone is very fast. It’s not a thing that lingers at all. The way Akincano Weber talks about it. He says it’s the Ooh or the ehhhhh in And it’s only associated with the stimulus. So the moment the stimulus stops, if you’re still feeling something t 


[00:17:28] Shannon: Yeah. Or you’re thinking about the thing now I’m thinking about the 


[00:17:31] Jeff: I don’t like fish. I had a bad fish once I’m done with fish, that kind of  


[00:17:35] Shannon: Yeah. 


[00:17:35] Shannon: Now you’re no longer working with the stimulus of the particular fish. Now you’re working with something else. 


[00:17:40] Jeff: Is this liking or disliking a binary thing one or zero, or is it a scale as well? I really dislike fish. 


[00:17:46] Shannon: Interesting that you ask. It is not talked about very much in the Buddhism with which I am familiar. And I think that’s super its. 


[00:18:02] Jeff: That’s an impossibly small number. 


[00:18:04] Shannon: I know  


[00:18:04] Jeff: pages. 


[00:18:05] Shannon: Five P yeah. And the fifth page wasn’t full. It was like two, two items on the fifth page. That’s very, that’s 50 things or something. That’s nothing. 


[00:18:15] Jeff: in scholarship. Yeah. 


[00:18:17] Shannon: Yeah. So I was super surprised by  


[00:18:18] Jeff: this. 


[00:18:19] Jeff: Is there an alternative spelling? That’s it seems like maybe it’s that kind of thing. 


[00:18:24] I’m curious about why it hasn’t been explored more. I’m curious about why it hasn’t come up in the literature. In the, you know they had 2,500 years to write about this and they’ve chosen not to what’s that all about? There are other concepts that are missing are not present in Buddhist teaching, like grief isn’t really in there, fear isn’t really in there. It’s not the only thing that feels strangely absent. But that’s for another talk.  


[00:18:50] Shannon: Do you have any, do you have any questions about liking and disliking before we move on? 


[00:18:53] Jeff:

[00:18:56] Shannon: We have a mind and body we have senses. Yes. 


[00:18:58] Jeff: All right. 


[00:18:58] Jeff:one, and that’s an instantaneous thing while that sense input is happening. Yes. And then we form a liking or disliking, which is a more abiding sort of sensation or memory. And then that brings us up to where we are in  


[00:19:21] Shannon: now, or yes. And for our listeners liking and disliking, think citta.. That’s I’m going to say about that. Moving on.  


Taṇhā

[00:19:29] Shannon: So the next step after liking disliking or after hedonic tone, if you don’t want to think about liking and disliking, cause it’ 


[00:19:52] Shannon:hos in it. 


[00:19:59] Jeff: I need fish. 


[00:20:01] Yeah. it’s craving that is insatiable, 


[00:20:04] Shannon: you  


[00:20:05] Jeff: need all the fish. 


[00:20:06] Shannon: Have you ever experienced, okay. I experienced this. I don’t have an off switch for Indian food. I will sit down to a buffet 


[00:20:14] Jeff: and you and everybody  


[00:20:15] Jeff: physically uncomfortable or food baby level. 


[00:20:19] Shannon: yeah. but bad food, baby. I’ll also do this with, yeah. I’ll also do this with, sour candies. 


[00:20:25] Jeff: Like a sour patch kid, 


[00:20:26] Shannon: Yeah. But I’ll eat so many that my teeth hurt. where you, you put it in your mouth and before you even swallowed it, you’re already reaching for the  


[00:20:33] Jeff: second  


[00:20:33] Shannon: one. 


[00:20:34] And. That kind of insatiable craving 


[00:20:41] Jeff: Let me ask you though, is that is the amount of craving also on a scale because not everyone has a craving for fish. Some people, 


[00:20:48] No 


[00:20:48] Shannon: no It’s not a craving for everything. we’re talking about a model of cognition, so you have an experience, you like a thing and now you’re craving it And this craving is 


[00:20:57] Shannon: Isn’t just, I’ll have a little bit and it’ll be fine. it’s I need more and I need more and I need more fish may not be the most. Something like sugar is a lot, maybe more appropriate because we, many of us have had this experience at eating sugar until we’re  


[00:21:14] Jeff: sick, or eating sugar, even though we know it’s not good for us, particularly in those formations of quote-unquote addictions, that is where you really start to see this kind of craving. 


[00:21:25] And I really liked Judson Brewer’s definition of addiction, which is continued use despite adverse consequences. So I know sugar’s not good for me. I know it’s ruining my teeth. I know it’s gonna, have ill effects on my health. I continue to consume it at quantities above what is helpful. 


[00:21:44] Jeff: Do things like alcohol and tobacco and other, drugs fall into this. 


[00:21:50] Jeff: Okay So we’ve reached a place in the model of cognition where, all things we could say that our mind is, conscious of have foll everything gives us, a  


[00:22:09] Shannon: craving  


[00:22:11] Jeff: right. 


[00:22:11] Shannon: Yeah, absolutely. 


[00:22:12] Jeff:ral or a neither liking or disliking value. We would neither like nor dislike.  


[00:22:25] Shannon: would just ignore basically, 


[00:22:28] Jeff: And then would not 


[00:22:30] We wouldn’t fall into the craving loop. 


[00:22:32] the things that had a neither, or maybe a name. liking or disliking value would not give us a craving. 


[00:22:37] And if we dislike, we can also crave to get rid of. the experience that comes to mind is like being in a meeting at the office and the person that is talking is just and I just want it to stop and I want to stop really hard , so we can also crave to get rid of 


[00:22:54] Jeff: Casting about for an excuse to leave. 


[00:22:56] Shannon: Uh an anti addictive, whatever the opposite of addiction isis, you know, now, okay. I’m thinking about, I don’t want to go into the office cause I don’t wanna hear that person talk you know and when we develop these, unskillful habit patterns where we start to crave to get rid of something, even though the thing isn’t there, we’re craving to get rid of it. 


[00:23:13] Shannon: It revulsion. Yeah. That’s it. that’s a really good term 


[00:23:16] Jeff: anti craving 


[00:23:17] Shannon: anti craving  


Upādānā

[00:23:18] Shannon: So the next step in the model after the craving is, 


[00:23:26] Jeff: optional craving, 


[00:23:27] Shannon: optional craving, is grasping. So we crave a thing. It’s one thing to want a thing. It’s another thing to actually go after it, to pursue it, to grasp it. Right. And this graspingthis grasping can both happen to things we don’t have. 


[00:23:43] Shannon: So I pursue an object that I don’t have, but it can also happen to things that we already have. So I win. Right I want my cake and I want to eat it too, but I also want to have it, canonical example might be, I have this really beautiful China and I never eat on it because I don’t want anything bad to happen to it. 


[00:24:03] Shannon: And then I get some other nice China tea to use. Then I’m like, that’s pretty nice too. So I ended up eating on paper plates, even though I have three sets of nice China in the cupboard, because I’m grasping after what I have. So we can both grasper things we don’t have, and we can grasp for what we do have, but we want to protect somehow and keep unchanging. 


[00:24:20] Shannon: Does that make sense? 


[00:24:21] Jeff: Sure. Yeah. I’ve experienced this. 


[00:24:23] Shannon: Yeah.  


[00:24:23] Jeff: it’s nice to have a, have one, one scratch on everything. Then it’s a little, 


[00:24:27] Shannon: get stuff from Craigslist. It’s already scratched when it shows up. 


[00:24:30] Jeff: It’s a liberating kind of thing. And so the thing that you’re liberated from is from the grasping, 


[00:24:35] Shannon:‘s where things are really happening. This transition from craving to grasping is where we get into trouble. 


[00:25:00] Shannon: And it’s also, from a Buddhist perspective, where we can be liberated where we can get out of trouble, where we can get the wedge in. you had talked earlier about some things lead us to craving and some things don’t, but this place between craving and grasping, just because this is something that I did not understand until my thirties, just because I want something doesn’t mean I have to go get it. Wanting craving to use the same language throughout is just, it’s just craving. 


[00:25:33] Shannon: It’s just a feeling, 


[00:25:34] Jeff: you knowI was talking with a friend, my friend Evan, and he was saying that he likes to be hungry sometimes. Like not in a formal fasting way. It didn’t, I didn’t have the sense that  


[00:25:47] Shannon: he he  


[00:25:48] Jeff: had a particular program of, the schedule of eating. But he said that he liked to experience this feeling. Yeah. Because it reminds him  that’s an okay state of affairs. It’s okay to be hungry. You do not need to go eat right now. You will be fine. Your body will fine for several days.  


What’s the point?

[00:26:09] Shannon: Remember we said at the very beginning, we’re talking about subjective experience and we’re talking about how do we live? Wellthat’s the point of all of this. It’s not just to give you another list of things to memorize or learn. I know that’s what you think. You’re he’s nodding and winking at 


[00:26:23] Jeff: Does it seem like the Buddhists are into lists? 


[00:26:25] The point of this exploration is to be able to recognize, oh, I’m in this state. And of course, as we said earlier, this is a spectrum. It’s not one thing. And then another thing, it’s  


[00:26:37] Shannon:ong terms, we can probably change our hedonic tone, but not in the moment it happens unconsciously. But from any point from liking on, we can get the wedge in.  


Oreos

[00:26:58] Shannon: the metaphor I came up was Oreos because this person , has a weakness, 


[00:27:04] Jeff: strong Strunk, Raven 


[00:27:05] Shannon: a weakness for Oreos. So I see a picture of an Oreo on an advertisement, and I think I want Oreos, right? Like the craving happens. And then the grasping is actually getting up and getting in the car and going to the grocery store. 


[00:27:19] Shannon: Right. And getting to the Oreos and buying them and putting them in my mouth. At any point, along that trajectory, I have the ability to stop this. At the point of seeing the ad and feeling the desire arise. I can say likeoh rightthere’s the Oreos. Again, 


[00:27:34] Jeff: I suspect that a lot of people may not experience that as a conscious, they may not have the experience. Maybe many of our listeners areare people that are, uh students of this process and agree, but I wouldI would guess that most people, myself included largely don’t feel like this is a thing that is consciously available to  


[00:27:55] Shannon: us,  


[00:27:56] Jeff: or maybe not consciously, but what available in any case. 


[00:27:58] Shannon: Yeah, absolutely. and it probably isn’t when we’re not paying attention, it’s just habit. 


[00:28:03]hing I was going to say is if we become aware, if we become aware at any stage in that process, we can get the wedge in. So if at liking, if I see the ad and I find Ooh, Oreos, oh, okay. 


[00:28:24] Shannon: That, Nope, that was an advertising agency doing a great job of triggering my craving. And I’m just going to put that down. Like I’m uncomfortable right now because my body is telling me to go get Oreos, but this will pass. 


[00:28:36] Jeff: Tell me more about this. 


[00:28:37] 


[00:28:45] Shannon: technically I have an idea of an Oreo. I don’t actually have the Oreo in my mouth. I have an idea of an Oreo. And then I like  


[00:28:52] Jeff: Soyou didn’t get like the taste of an Oreo, right? you got, was the idea of someone handed you the idea, an advertising agency. 


[00:28:58] Jeff: They said, Hey, here’s a good idea. And you know you have a good product. If all you have to do is say the name of that product, 


[00:29:06] Shannon: And then I start salivating,yeah, like Pavlov’s pets. Totally. 


[00:29:08] so you have this idea of the idea of Oreo,positive Oriel Veda and you’re using this phrase, get the wedge in. Yeah Tell me more about what that means in practice. 


[00:29:18] Jeff: whatare the what are the verbs?  


[00:29:23] Shannon: I am having a craving for Oreos, 


[00:29:25] Jeff: having a conscious 


[00:29:26] Shannon: yeah. Recognizing likeah, I’m having a  


[00:29:29] Shannon: craving for  


[00:29:30] Jeff: back from your mental processes a little bit and 


[00:29:31] Shannon: little bit  


[00:29:32] Jeff: here, Kara comes down the pipe, there’s a craving for REO. 


[00:29:35] Jeff: I see it over there. The Veda here’s thehere’s the liking getting a whole lot closer. 


[00:29:40] Shannon:cause it lingers a bit,is typically where I would notice. 


[00:29:51] Shannon: And particularly in craving, I often don’t notice this until I hit craving. 


Jamison

[00:29:55] Shannon: I don’t know if this would be an interesting example or not. I was biking home from school when we were, in Baltimore, I was biking home from art school. So I’ve been at art school all day. It was, four 30 in the afternoon. It was a sunny day. I was bicycling home. And there’s a huge advertisement for Jamison whiskey by the freeway there as you’re coming down. 


[00:30:14] Shannon: I don’t know if you remember this ad. It And I came down the hill and I looked up four 30 in the afternoon on Tuesday and there’s this enormous bottle of Jamison. And I thought, yeah, glass of Jamis would be really nice right now. And then I realized, ah, okay, I don’t want a glass of whiskey right now. 


[00:30:33] Shannon: These advertising agencies have put this thing into my brain. I I do like the glass  


[00:30:37] Jeff: of 


[00:30:37] Jeff: wine, a glass of whiskey. 


[00:30:39] Shannon: And what arose was the craving for whiskey. And if I had been mindless, if I hadn’t have realized one, if I hadn’t been paying attention and two, if I didn’t understand how my mind worked, if I didn’t have these models to frame my cognitive processes, I would have thought, oh my gosh, I need a glass of whiskey. I would have bicycle. There were three bars on the way home. I could have stopped at any one of them and had one or several glasses of whiskey before I came home. But instead I was able to say, ah, the craving is arisen. It is because of this condition. They have put this enormous bottle in front of me and my brain doesn’t know the difference between seeing a bottle of whiskey and seeing a picture of a bottle of whiskey. 


[00:31:16] Shannon: My brain thinks it’s the same thing. And now the craving has arisen. And I know from my own experience, because I’ve been practicing with letting go of these things. If I just wait, this craving will go away. Now I want to say. But there are some things for which cravings do not go away. And I’m not trying to say that like mindfulness, cures, everything. 


[00:31:39] Shannon: That is not what I’m trying to say. I am however saying that in lots of cases, a little bit of hunger, a craving for Oreos. I like Oreos better than whiskey because it’s, has a little bit less of a, of an edge to it. When I say get the wedge 


[00:31:52] Jeff: it doesn’t have a physical addictive quality,  


[00:31:55] Shannon: false 


[00:31:56] Shannon: sugar is more addictive than cocaine to the brain because sugar is what the brain eats. 


[00:32:01] Jeff: I don’t know that I didn’t, I know that shirt, I didn’t know that it was, I had this addictive 


[00:32:06] Shannon: Yeah. I will try to find the paper in which umfrom which my understanding comes from, and I will try to put it in the show notes, but I don’t remember off the top of my head, but I do remember having read studies where they compared, it was in rats. It was not in humans. addictive qualities of cocaine versus sugar and sugar. 


[00:32:24] Shannon: wins because it is so addictive. 


[00:32:27] Jeff: So you have these Sam, these cravings, and they’re like some different techniques to deal with them. And one of the techniques is go get thing. 


[00:32:36] Shannon: Yes. I used to have this poster because this is the person I was as a young person. I had a poster that said the only way to get rid of desire is to yield to it. That’s how I lived for 30 years. Yeah. 38 38. 


Physiological and Hedonic Hunger

[00:32:52] Jeff: Well, let me ask you, let me ask you this. so I just went, cycling. And this was not a particularly long ride, but sometimes go for a really long 


[00:33:00] this was not a particularly long ride for you listeners. It was only two hours. 


[00:33:04] Jeff: I went two hours. I went 50, 58 kilometers or something like that. 


[00:33:08] Shannon: Okay. Anyway, 


[00:33:09] Jeff: It wasn’t a particularly long one for me. but sometimes I’ll go for much longer rides and I’ll get to the end of the ride or sometimes during and I’ll experience. 


[00:33:16] I’ll experience not going to use any of the technical words that we’ve just used. Now I’m gonna, I’m gonna tell you my experience, then you might tell me whichwhich of the ones that I’m. 


[00:33:26] Shannon: Yeah, totally. 


[00:33:27] Jeff: So, so I’ll get, I’ll get hungry. Yes. Get to the end of the ride. And I say very hungry. how does that fit with the model of the list that we’ve just  


[00:33:35] Shannon: great question. So here’s what I understand today. This is my understanding right now to answer your question. there is a difference between what is called hedonic hunger and physiological hunger. 


[00:33:47] Shannon: Physiological hunger is when your body needs calories or  


[00:33:51] Jeff: rotate all the  


[00:33:52] Shannon: it needs the things that you need. You know it needs the nutrients, whatever the nutrients are that is physiological hunger. 


[00:33:57] Jeff: So in a long ride, all like today’s ride was about a 2000 calorie ride. But other rides would be three or 4,000  


[00:34:02] Shannon: Yeah. 


[00:34:03] Shannon: absolutely. So on those rides, your body actually does. 


[00:34:06] Shannon: Those nutrients. it doesn’t need, like I’m going to die need, but your body knows, Hey, we just depleted a lot and we need to refill the tank. So that is water. Yeah, absolutely. For water. Yeah. so the answer is the thing you’re feeling is physiological hunger. In which case it’s probably a good idea to succumb to that,to put food in the tank. 


[00:34:27] Jeff: and in this case, it’s fairly straightforward to know that. Cause you’ll remember how I just did a bunch of exercise, the kind of thing that gives you 


[00:34:35] Shannon: RightAs opposed to hedonic hunger, which is I’m feeling grumpy. And I know that if I eat something with sugar in it, that I’ll feel better because that’s happened before. So I’m just going to go and eat some sugar so that I feel better so that I can function through this meeting. 


[00:34:47] Jeff: I got like a soothing eating, 


[00:34:48] Shannon: Yeah. Soothing. 


[00:34:49] Jeff: a, like an eating that addresses different 


[00:34:52] Shannon: Emotions as opposed to food. Yeah, absolutely. And one of the ways that I’ve heard this express really well, again, this was by Akincano Weber at that retreat that I’m always talking about. He said, there’s a difference between needs and wants. And it’s not always clear what the difference is because our wants masquerade as needs and our needs, if not met, we’ll often go deep, underground and come out as weird, Freudian expressions, so it’s not always clear which one is which, but the way that he explained it, which I found really helpful, a way to think about it is wants, if they are ignored and not satisfied, they go away. If I want that shiny green purse from Zara. If I wait maybe a day, maybe a week, certainly in six months, I will not remember that bag. And probably if you show it to me, I won’t want it anyway. wants go away over time needs. Don’t go away. 


[00:35:51] Jeff: Not really buying this because if you take, if you take like a hunger, for example, 


[00:35:56] Shannon: which one, physiological or hedonic. 


[00:35:58] Shannon: Okay.  


[00:35:59] Jeff: so 


[00:35:59] Jeff: you haven’t done massive exercise. 


[00:36:01] Jeff: So you say you’ve just been, going through your life and it gets to be dinner time. And so you’re feeling a little hungry. But if if you, if you choose not to eat my experience of that, maybe the level of hunger is that you’ll be hungry for awhile. And then if you hear, sometimes I’ll be working on something and forget to eat. 


[00:36:19] Jeff: And what that means is I was feeling a little bit hungry and I was, I can, I don’t have time to do a thing. And then it’ll just go away until maybe the next meal time. And then it’ll come up again. And I think there’s an argument that there’s, that there are two aspects to that kind of hunger. 


[00:36:34] there’s a physiological one. You do need to keep feeding your body, but it’s not an urgent, It’s not an urgent thing. You’re not gonna, you’re not gonna die or experience lasting harm.  


[00:36:45] Shannon: Yes.  


[00:36:46] Jeff: and then there’s a desire like, well, this is habit read every day. At this time we have food. All right, great. It’s time. 


[00:36:51] Shannon: Yeah absolutely. But like you said, if you don’t respond to that want, it goes away and that is how, you know okay. 


[00:37:01] Shannon: by need, I mean a thing that , that we will be harmed if we do not get the thing. 


[00:37:06] Jeff: So you’re making the case that with this kind of like a daily one, one meal, hunger, that there’s a large component of want a small component of need yes. 


[00:37:14] Jeff: To that. And then as you ignore it, the wanting bit stays the same ish and the needing bit goes up because your body will say, no, no, no, for real, this time, 


[00:37:24] Shannon: Yeah. you’re wanting actually goes down for awhile and then it comes back because again, our bodies are  


[00:37:28] Jeff: right If you make a graph over time, 


[00:37:29] Shannon: Yeah. The reason that we get hungry at certain periods of time is because we’ve trained our bodies for that. And so our circadian rhythms, we have these chemicals that get released and they cue us to be hungry because that’s the time that we normally eat. 


[00:37:39] Shannon: So yeah. So the wanting goes up and then also falls off again. But yes, over time the need would get more and more, right? Like , my understanding of people who do long fasts, I do 24 hour fasts and would like to try longer ones. But haven’t yet my understanding is after you’re very hungry on day two and day three. 


[00:37:58] Shannon: And then on day four, you’re fine. But then depending on all kinds of physiological things, whether or not you’re taking vitamins, blah, blah, blah, blah, after a certain period, I’m sure it gets to the point where it’s like, you need to eat your body is starting to digest itself. This is a problem. 


[00:38:14] et cetera. But yeah, those, I think that I’m in agreement with everything you’ve said, which is that we have that want for, for a normally scheduled meal, the want arises. If we sit it out, if we are doing, let’s say a 24 hour fast that want fades away, whether it’s because we’re busier, because we’ve just made it, we’re being mindful and we’re making a decision not to eat at this time. 


[00:38:36] but then yes, of course, over time, the need is going to ramp up and it’s going to say Hey, you really need to eat. Yeah. 


[00:38:41] Jeff: Okay. So any, any particular thing can have a component of needing and wanting like 


[00:38:46] Shannon: Oh yeah, absolutely.  


Getting the wedge in

[00:38:48] Shannon: . So we were talking about getting the wedge in and one of the things I wanted to say is that basically anywhere from liking or if you notice it back at hedonic tone, even earlier, if you know that certain stimuli. Create cravings. 


[00:39:03] Jeff: watch out for Oreos. 


[00:39:04] Shannon: Yeah. You, if you don’t go to may, maybe at some point there was a line at the grocery store you could go down that didn’t have candy in it and didn’t have porn magazines didn’t have. 


[00:39:15] Shannon: And so you could just, there was a, like a line that you’d  


[00:39:17] Jeff: go  


[00:39:17] Shannon: the didn’t have that stuff. Yeah. you can make choices about th this is a big thing in some addiction programs where they say, like, try to avoid the things that trigger you. Now that doesn’t work forever because, especially with things like cigarettes, if your trigger was having a cup of coffee for breakfast, it’s kind of hard to avoid, coffee, especially in Seattle, a lot of coffee around, but it can help 


[00:39:39] Jeff: Well especially if you’re if you’re, making a, like a transition, if you’re trying to train to get started, move from a steady state to a different state, you can change a routine. 


[00:39:48] Shannon: Yeah, certainly changing the routine, removing some of those triggers, especially if there are specific triggers that do things that are easy to remove, right. That turning off the light switch, once we get the trigger and all that stuff, anywhere along that line, it’s okay to get the wedge in. 


[00:40:02] Shannon: And I think this is really important to remember, because let’s say I see the picture of the Oreo. I have the thought about the Oreo. I like it. I want it. I get up. I drive to the grocery store. I reach out and I touch the bag with my hand. It is not too late. If I wake up in that moment to realize this is not good for me, this craving came from an ad agency. 


[00:40:31] it is okay. When the third cookie is in my mouth. 


[00:40:35] Shannon: Oh, I see what’s happened.  


[00:40:37] Jeff: Okay.  


[00:40:37] Shannon: I need to put these down. I think the trouble that sometimes I get into, and I think other people get into it is that we kind of feel like, to heck with it, I’m this far along, I might as well eat the whole 


[00:40:46] Jeff: oh, there’s or there’s no stopping it. Now I’m on a, I’m on  


[00:40:50] Shannon: too late. I’m already there, 


[00:40:52] Jeff: The avalanche is coming down the mountain 


[00:40:53] Shannon: right. But actually it’s not an avalanche, it’s a box of Oreos and it’s okay to walk down the hallway and give them to your friend, or whatever, it’s, it is okay. At any point from liking all the way through to stop 


[00:41:09] Shannon: to let it 


[00:41:10] Jeff: it’s a valid, you’re saying to say, you know what I have eaten every one of these Oreos and I’m down to the last one in the box and this is an okay time. 


[00:41:19] Jeff: You know what put it down 


[00:41:21] Shannon: Yep. And if we don’t get it, even if we get all the way through the whole box and wake up afterwards, it’s still okay. this is a thing that Judson brewers program is really good at, I think because we can look back on the experience and say, ah, how did it happen? Where did I get triggered? What was the process of getting into the craving? 


[00:41:40] Shannon: What was the process of the grasping? How did I get there? Are there things I can do in the future next time, blah, blah, blah. 


[00:41:48] Jeff: You know what this is interesting because we’re talking in a way so far in the conversation as though we’re outside observers of our mental processes. And I find that for me, that is not often the case. Most of the time, I feel like. mental processes happened to me rather than by my consent or with my involvement. 


[00:42:12] Jeff: but rather I often feel that they act upon me. and so II don’t feel like the idea of, oh, and now I will, you know  


[00:42:23] Jeff: in 


Observing the flow of experience

[00:42:24] I, you know I feel like I understand them the model, that we’re talking about, the different thethe different steps. and I feel like it matches my experience to a degree, but what I feel like, uh it’s still is still a little remote for me because the process of choosing to interrupt that flow, That’s it, that’s a thing that I’m notI’m not very familiar with. 


[00:42:44] Shannon: yeah, absolutely. and you’re not wrong to feel that way. Even with mindfulness practice, even being a person who’s into contemplative stuff, when you’re inside of anger, you can be like, ah, I am anger. there is anger happening. 


[00:42:58] Shannon: Anger is around. And it doesn’t like, it’s still anger. when you have the anger glasses on, it’s hard, One to take them off. Sometimes they don’t come off on their own. 


[00:43:09] Shannon: They have to just, you have to just wait it out. what do I want to say here? I want to say yes, you are absolutely right. The problem with having minds is that we are inside of our own minds. And so our experience is colored by these emotions and by these cravings. and yet there is a way out is the thing I would say. 


[00:43:30] Shannon: And that is the part where Peacock was saying like, this is the crux, this is where we can make changes. there’s a lot of different philosophies about how to do that. it’s pretty clear the one I’m into, what I will say is you’re absolutely right. That it is very easy to be lost in our experience, but I’ll also say it is possible from being in an experience of an emotion or of a craving to still be aware and to still have, what’s the term. Ego functioning or, like your frontal lobe online. Like it is possible to be inside of anger to be angry. And also to say like I’m very angry right now  


[00:44:10] Jeff: uhan external perspective to it 


[00:44:13] Shannon: A little bit. 


[00:44:14] Shannon: Yeah. There’s a little bit of observation and that, and it’s painful andand yet knowing that is on the spectrum, moving towards this place of being mindful is not about being distanced from experience. 


[00:44:32] Shannon: Some people think oh, I’m just going to be a cold unthinking, uncaring, automaton. 


[00:44:37] Jeff: hovering in the field 


[00:44:38] Shannon: I’m bringing a field right in full Lotus, in my opinion, that is not in my opinion. That is not my goal. That is not what I am pointed to. And that is not dare I say it, the Dharma I teach. My experience is to help myself and others become more sensitive to what is happening. 


[00:44:58] Shannon: So that from inside of anger, I can know, ah, 


[00:45:03] Jeff: I’m really into now 


[00:45:04] Shannon: I’m super in it right now. Yeah. I think the other day, the other day, I don’t know if you remember this or not, but I was like crying on the couch about something. And I said, you knowfor somebody who’s a philosopher of human flourishing, I sure do cry a lot. And then we both laughed as I was still crying. And I was really sad. I was afraid I had chosen the wrong path for my life and that what I was doing was not going to help or make a difference. And I was wasting my time and I should go get a job. And I had chosen wrong. I was saturated in that. 


[00:45:41] Shannon: And yet I was able to see likeHey dude, you’re really in this thing right now. And it hurts and it’s so uncomfortable, but it will pass. 


[00:45:54] Jeff: And did you, and you, do you say to yourself, something like, yeah, these are these a big questions. This is the thing to think about.  


[00:46:02] Shannon: And I 


[00:46:02] Shannon: was  


[00:46:02] Jeff: yetand yet this overwhelming sadness is maybe not a thing that’s helping me to do that. so let’s, let’s go through the process of being a, being sad, the emotional, the physiological  


[00:46:14] Shannon: both  


[00:46:15] Jeff: that’s and that’s and that’s okay That’s not that’s not a thing that’s defining me. It’s not defining the decision I’m making here is that, it’s a thing that I’mthat I’m going through right now. 


[00:46:25] Shannon: Yeah, absolutely.  


[00:46:28] Shannon: So I do think that these emotions are important and necessary and are part of being a human being. My goal is not to, to never have them again, my goal is to work skillfully with them when they arise. And I mean to be fine if I was in a place where I didn’t have anger, but we’re humans, maybe we can’t, 


[00:46:47] Jeff: hovering sense, fun 


[00:46:49] Shannon: I don’t know. 


[00:46:50] Jeff: emotion, the sovereign, like more hover hoverboard 


[00:46:52] Shannon: yeah. Okay. Yeah. Hovering sounds amazing. but yeah, the emotionless part, that was actually something that really turned me off from this kind of stuff. When I first learned  


[00:46:59] Jeff: about 


[00:46:59] Jeff: it, 


[00:47:00] Shannon: I was I like having emotions. 


Why Bother?

[00:47:03] Shannon: when I was preparing for this episode, I wasn’t sure how to talk to you about this. I didn’t want it to be giving you another list, another Buddha’s list. Right. I really wanted it to make it about, mm. I asked myself, why is this important? Why would we even care about. 


[00:47:26] The phrase that Peacock used was unraveling the thread. 


[00:47:29] Shannon: He said, moment you start looking at this experience, it’s like a piece of, he says a wool in a sweater. And as soon as you pull that thread, it just starts to all come apart. And it’s no longer this. You had said I’m inside my experience and I can’t get outside of my experience to notice that 


[00:47:47] Jeff: often I feel that way  


[00:47:48] Shannon: But when we start to see these aspects, we can say like, oh, there’s a threat and kind of grasp at something and then like pull on it a little bit. And then the whole thing sort of starts to unravel the solidity of that emotion, the solidity of that experience. 


[00:48:01] Jeff: You kind of can kind of be 


[00:48:02] Shannon: Yeah. You kind of peak through and start to realize, oh right. 


[00:48:05] Shannon: I am experiencing anger in a big way. But that is not the entire universe that is, this, this little me that is having this experience right now. And it’s, it’s real, but it’s in context. It can sometimes be seen in context. Maybe that’s a way to talk about, does that make sense?  


[00:48:24] I like this model of mind function, because I feel like it’s enough to start to get our teeth into our experience and sort of start parsing out our experience so that we can begin to see more clearly where stimulus happens, where there’s the gap where we can take action and just bring more skillfulness in general to our behavior and to our lives.  


Guilt

[00:48:49] Shannon: One of the other aspects of these mental models that I really like is I feel like they reduce a little bit of the guilt around behavior that maybe we don’t like. For me anyway, knowing that I have a body and senses that are hanging out in the environment and those senses are impacted, , you know, I told the story about seeing the billboard with the Jamison whiskey and then having this craving, recognizing. 


[00:49:14] Shannon: It wasn’t my quote, unquote fault. I didn’t need to feel quote unquote guilty because I had this craving. Like, it’s just what happens when senses are impacted by the environment. For me, a lot of that guilt can fall away when I understand a little bit better, how my mind works, what it evolved to do and how it’s responding to its environment. 


[00:49:37] Jeff: That makes sense. It’s interesting to hear you say that because I’m, I’m having the opposite. this top of the word discussing makes me feel, much more responsibility, much that it is much more my fault, um to have these, likings dislike things. , the cravings. Yeah. I feel as though those are much more of my responsibility because of what we’ve been saying. 


[00:50:03] Shannon: Can I offer something? Can I respond to that? So, yes, I hear what you’re saying. Like all of a sudden, oh my gosh. I’m supposed to do something between stimulus and response. Oh, no. 


[00:50:14] Jeff: Right. 


[00:50:14] Jeff: Here’s a model. And this is exactly where, 


[00:50:16] Shannon: Right. One thing I would offer you is that there’s a couple different ways to look at that, right? One is I’m doing it wrong. 


[00:50:23] Shannon: And dah, dah, dah, another way to look at is, has freedom as agency. , I now know that there is agency here and I may not have a lot yet. I may just have the tiniest and that agency may literally just be looking at it and seeing it. And then it wizzes by, and I’m still where I was before, but now I have the agency turn towards an identity. 


[00:50:43] Shannon: I was a facilitator for Judson Brewer’s habit change program.  


[00:50:47] Shannon: And he is huge on this idea of you don’t have to do anything in the beginning. In the beginning all you have to do is know you can keep doing the behavior. Yeah. The first step is just, no, in fact, he says, don’t take any action when he does. 


[00:51:03] Shannon: My speech is speeding up. He says, don’t take any action. When he has classes or had classes for smoking cessation, he would tell people, go home and smoke, but pay very close attention to what it’s like. And they say, what do you want me to go home and smoke? And he said, yes, but I want you to pay very close attention.  


[00:51:24] Shannon: So what I invite you to do is when that guilt comes up, see if it’s okay to , oh, it’s guilt again, look, I’m like, I’m having guilt. Okay. What does, what does that feel like? Well, 


[00:51:36] Jeff: Oh. Is guilt. The thing that comes through this process, , what’s one of these thoughts that we were talking about a thought , can come in here. 


[00:51:43] Jeff:

[00:51:47] Shannon: yeah. 


[00:51:49] Jeff: That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. It’s a little meta.  


[00:51:52] Shannon: Yeah.  


[00:51:54] Jeff: Hmm. Interesting. That, that seems powerful. Okay, let me think about it for a little bit. 


[00:52:05] Shannon: Okay. You’re welcome.  


Conclusion

[00:52:11] Shannon: Is there anything else, how has this landed for you? Is there something else that you haven’t said that you’d like to say? 


[00:52:15] Jeff: I think I’d like to return to it in the future. I don’t know if listeners would be interested in that, but I feel like, let it, let it percolate. and then, and then talk about it again, 


[00:52:26] Shannon: awesome. I’d love to you. Won’t be surprised to know. That’s all. I have listeners. Thanks so much for being here with us. And may you be well. 


Outtakes

[00:52:36] Shannon: let’s see if this translates to the microphone. 


[00:52:45] Jeff: Do we have a, do we have a button on the road caster that we 


[00:52:47] Shannon: a drum roll? I don’t know if I have a 


[00:52:49] Jeff: Let’s try all the buttons just to find out. I like this one. 


strum

[00:53:12]  


strum

[00:53:12] Jeff: You’re sliding down lower and lower in your chair until you’re completely under that table. 


strum

[00:53:18] Shannon: you might say something clever and adorable enhancement like you always do. And, uh, , people will be very disappointed if I didn’t capture that. 


[00:53:30]  


strum

[00:53:31] Shannon: I was messing up phenomena and phenomenon in the last episode 


[00:53:35] Jeff: Phenomenon, 


[00:53:36] Shannon: Do, do, do, do do.

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