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 Pranayama and nausea?
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Aug 29 2007 :  11:09:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message

Hello all,

I'm guessing my situation is related to basic housecleaning, but because this is new to me and sometimes I have a sensitive response to things, I value a bit of input from experienced travelers.

I started meditation early Aug and started pranayama 5 days ago. I've noticed a slight headache after pranayama - no big deal. What is a little less "fun" is the nauseated feeling I have after spinal breathing. It is subtle (kind of like mild morning sickness) and it hangs on for a few hours. This morning during pranyama, in addition to the nauseated feeling, it felt like there was a tight band gripping almost at the bottom of my rib cage. It wasn't uncomfortable, just tight.

On a good note, It is common and enjoyable that the same meditative peace I experience during deep meditation spontaneously flows into my day at unplanned times. On a not such good note, now the nausea often shows up after the peace and hangs on for awhile.

Breathing isn't a problem. I'm aware of my breath suspending some when I get to the third eye, but this doesn't feel uncomfortable and I assume it is simply part of the breath journey that will shift as I continue to practice. I probably complete no more than 10-15 breath cycles (up-down) per pranayama session, so it is actually less than 5 min. I'm guessing. (Of course, meditation 15-20 min./2x daily.)

I used to start deep meditation wearing a shawl wrap because I get cool but now with one breath cycle of spinal breathing I do not need any extra help for warmth!

If this is just part of the "normal" stuff and I simply need to stay aware, smile as best I can, and know that this too will pass....I'm good with that.

One more small thing, which most likely is unrelated but I offer just in case. The day after starting my spinal breathing my jaw (left side) moved out of place. No clear trigger. Just chewing and OW! It wasn't locked but close. (This was a first for me.) I couldn't chew because my teeth could not touch on the left side. Actually, they still don't touch but they are getting closer after my chiropractic tx yesterday.

I appreciate your input.

Kathy

SuperTrouper

USA
49 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  09:02:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From my experience during the last year of practicing kriya/spinal pranayama -- you'll go through many physical and psyhochological phases during your practice. Not everyone is the same, but there're many similarities. Some are horrible, but when they pass, you usually end up in a much nicer state than any time before. Even the good ones don't always last and usually you hit another icky phase... and it flip flops like this through the internal cleaning process. Usually the icky ones also have a good feelings mixed into it, because meditation is almost always delicious no matter what.

When I first started I went through these symptoms (some I can't recall): popping sensations and sounds in my spine/head/brainstem (like popcorn popping), pain in my brainstem/brain (not like a normal headache), physical disorientation, mental disorientation, feeling emotionally awkward, depression, wonderful feeling of elation, strong appetite, almost no appetite whatsoever for days on end, no sexual desire (and this is something that continues to deepen. I've never had a period of strong sexual desire while practicing kriya, which is, to say the least, very atypical for me), hypersensitivity to physical sensations, hypersensitivity to other people, hypersensitivity to others' feelings/actions/words... there're more, but I can't recall them all.

Almost all of that is past, except the reduction of sexual desire and occasional feelings of emotional awkwardness or depression, but those feelings quickly pass within a day or two. Now, mostly what I experience is a deepening peace, reduction in all desire altogether, significant reduction in both conscious and subconscious thoughts (which really helps a person slip into meditation, or "inner silence" as it's called here), sensitivity (not hypersensitivity) to negativity, cruel or unkind thoughts/feelings towards others, mental indifference to others' negative traits (sarcasm, lies, meanness, etc.), occasionally imperturbable to harsh events in daily life that would normally throw me into a tailspin (it's as if they didn't even happen). And a general, widespread, and growing feeling of peace, intense happiness coupled with joy, wholesome elation, and compassion and understand for everyone/thing and their problems. One note on the desirelessness -- it touches everything outside of the practice of meditation/kriya and the state that slowly grows from within as a result of practicing; so that no longer does one care for anything, except practicing, and this state. It comes to mind of many Indian saints who were so absorbed in something other-worldly that they couldn't even feed themselves, because the body was of no consequence in comparison. It feels to me that this growing state created by kriya is the same state that they abide in, in which, for them, not even the desire to eat arises.

Hope that helps some
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  09:58:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome, Kathy

Yogani speaks again and again about "self pacing", and how we must watch for symptoms, outside practice, that indicate that we must scale back. This is particularly true when we add new practices on. In fact, the main reason we take lots of time before adding on a new practice is so that it's easy to determine which practice is causing the problem. Since you just added pranayama, that's the culprit. And the answer? Scale back. Cut in half the time you're allotting to pranayama, then watch results for a couple of weeks. If all goes smoothly, try adding a minute a week (or every two weeks). If problems continue, scale back more. Self pacing!

The AYP plan gives us one single and very simple control switch which we are expected to use wisely: we can do more, or we can do less. We make that decision based on how we feel in our daily life. If we do too much and go too fast, we can get unpleasant side effects (if you go MUCH too fast, they get VERY unpleasant) and if you go much too slow, you don't get any result at all.

This is a classic example of self-pacing. So you know what to do!

J&K

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Aug 30 2007 10:03:01 AM
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SuperTrouper

USA
49 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  11:27:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, I agree completely. A subtle, but perfect balance between too much and too little - just right. The Buddha was an absolutely huge proponent of finding the "perfect balance"... the middle way.
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Victor

USA
910 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  12:06:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Be sure to wait at least 3 hours after eating a meal before practicing pranayama and don't do any breath retentions with the head in an upright position
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  4:26:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! Thanks for the support!

SuperTrouper, your very thorough response is greatly appreciated. The list of changes and shifts on all levels is not surprising really but it is informing. I'm sure your post will serve as a helpful reference as I continue on. Thank you.

Jim/Karma, the reminder about symptoms outside of practice is good. Right now I'm trying to find the balance between the cleansing discomforts (which I expect to get through without much extra attention) and those things that signal a greater concern. Here is an analogy. Professionally I work as a psychotherapist. My ethical guidelines state that I should not work with someone whose symptoms/dx are unfamiliar to me. Yet, how do I learn or stretch if I stay within my comfort zone? I expect this next year to be fabulous, incredible, sometimes painful, but all worth it in terms of working with AYP. Two years ago I started living like I was dying. So I live a lot more! I want to be safe with my practice but I don't want to always be sensible. I'm not sure what that distinction is yet, but I'm guessing Shakti will give me some clues! Thanks for your input.

Victor, I do fine with no food at least 3 hours prior to pranayama. In fact, I double checked that as it seemed like an obvious connection. You mention no breath retentions in upright position....I'm guessing this would include the suspension of breath at third eye I observe when doing pranayama. I don't think laying down is my first choice so I can work with pulling my attention back down the spine sooner. I think I started suspending my breath secondary to waiting for my breath to catch up with my attention at the third eye. Within a couple of days I realized I was forcing and making it unnecessarily difficult but the end result is a seemingly natural hold at the third eye. Thanks for the suggestions.

Kathy
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  6:55:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by matangi

Right now I'm trying to find the balance between the cleansing discomforts (which I expect to get through without much extra attention) and those things that signal a greater concern. ...... I want to be safe with my practice but I don't want to always be sensible.


Kathy, this practice is a wimp's delight. It should feel somewhere between calm and relaxing and smashingly great the whole way. There should be no discomfort whatsoever ever...EXCEPT (big 'except'!) when you overdo. And you will overdo sometimes, as have we all. But that's when you scale back...to the point of no discomfort at all. That's the aim.

A bit of ongoing overdoing discomfort may seem like something you can tough out in the interest of spiritual development. Hey, we all have bhakti here! We're all gung-ho! We can relate! But this path unfolds in spurts and plateaus. And if you're right on the edge - right OVER the edge - you have no headroom for the spurts. If a chunk of purification breaks off all at once, and you're right on that edge, you can find yourself in a drastic situation.

I, and some others in this forum, can attest that that sort of serious overdoing is not something you ever want to encounter. It can set BACK your spiritual work considerable time as you 1. heal, and 2. overcome the negative reinforcement. Yogani uses the analogy of the car driving up the mountain. Go fast, and you may swerve off the road, delaying your trip. Slow and steady works best. If you haven't read through a lot (or all) of the lessons, you may want to. Yogani paints a very persuasive picture of how self-pacing should work. No need to wait for Shakti to give clues; the territory's been charted! :)
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  10:08:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

Jim, your post evokes laughter :) Gee, do I feel seen! Okay, I'll focus on completing the AYP Lessons book to get a better overall view. At my core I understand the idea that less is more. Bhakti does forget that though!

Thanks!

Kathy

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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Aug 30 2007 :  10:49:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Kathy, I can relate, believe me. Anyone with enough bhakti to get here and to start practicing is inherently pretty revved up (what percentage of the human race is doing daily spiritual practice long term? Maybe .001%?).

Short-term gung-ho comes easily to me. I'm a great one for crash programs followed by long periods of sloth. But AYP requires a twice daily commitment over decades. I've found it really hard, but have managed to keep it up for the most part (I probably miss more slots than most forumites, alas). Even for people less capricious than me, it's still a pretty serious obligation to keep this up long term, month after month. So I guess the thing to do is harness that gung-ho bhakti into long term endurance, rather than maximizing today's purification. Marathon, not sprint.

If you figure out an easy way to keep that going, please tell ME how! :)

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Aug 30 2007 10:50:29 PM
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Victor

USA
910 Posts

Posted - Aug 31 2007 :  02:30:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Kathy,
I didn't mean that you should lie down when doing breath retentions. What I mean is that if you are doing spinal breathing without any retention of the breath then the head should be upright. If you do breath retention (khumbaka) you should keep the chin dropped in Jalandhara Bandha or do the Dynamic Jalandhara but otherwise the sitting posture is the same, only the head is lowered. I tried an experiment once with trying to do Khumbaka without Jalandhara and it gave me some very uncomfortable symptoms that went away when I resumed the bandha. That said, I am referring to intentional retention of breath not simply a brief pause before exhaling
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2007 :  1:32:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello any and all,

As I read my post of Aug. 29th, I can barely believe it given how pranayama has now opened up for me.

First, Victor, thank you very much for your suggestions of Jalandhara Bandha or Dynamic Jalandhara with khumbaka. Dynamic Jalandhara was exactly what I needed for releasing what I am now calling my energy blocks. I definitly experienced ecstatic conductivity! The following shared experiences occured without siddhasana, uddiyana, mulabandha, or yoni mudra. Just dynamic chin pumps, pranayama, and kundalini!

My experience was spontaneous and somewhat surprising. Briefly, after feeling frustrated with difficulties during spinal breathing pranayama, I tried the basic chin pump. It felt too stilted and added to my sense of frustration. I studied and briefly practiced the technique for the dynamic chin pump. Sunday night while once again practicing spinal breathing pranayama I just let my head go to the right and then roll down.

After a couple of full head rotations my body took over. I became free of thoughts assessing head here, breath here, no breath here... and ecstatic energy flowed! At some point, my hips and lower back moved from side to side, the dynamic chin pumps continued changing sides as the body energy deemed right, my left jaw fell into place, my spine popped several times upward (better than a chiropractic adjustment!), my tongue curled toward the roof of my mouth (!), my sinuses opened, and my back wanted to be very straight, shoulders pulled back. Even the next morning and much of the next day my back remained very straight ("fully erect" were the words my significant other used!) and in a way it felt like my body wanted to do a back bend. Deep meditation after this was incredible, centered, peaceful. I slept great!

The next morning I just did spinal breathing because it was all my body wanted. Interesting thing though, is before, my spinal breathing attention was kind of like a wavy, crooked road moving up to ajna, except for the couple of times my attention swirled up the spine. That morning my attention moved up and down my spine like a gliding on a greased slide. it still does this but it doesn't seem as dramatic to me.

Not all sessions have been as ecstatic as the one I just described but energy is moving. My body is yearning for certain arm movements often as I move into meditation. I'm thinking they might be asanas but i'm not for sure. For instance, arms extended straight out at my sides for some time during meditation has been the first one....then palms together, fully extended above the head, fingers pointing up until my body says enough. It all seems good.

Last night I tried the dynamic chin pumps again and I felt LOTS of energy running up the front of my body and it was so strong it ached in my heart area. After a couple of times of that and feeling that it was a bit too strong, I intentionally sat more erect and the energy centered in my body and was easily comfortable. Then I was curious, so I slouched forward a bit and the energy moved again up and down the front of my body.

As I moved into mediation, more arm movements that felt wonderful. Also, for the first time ever, I had the sense to lay down during the middle of my meditation. Two "arm exercises" in lay flat position during mediation. I lost awareness for awhile but doubt very much I was asleep.

I'm not sure what this is all leading to but when I found the AYP site on July 19th I felt as if I had found gold. It felt so precious to me that I hesitated to chose the button to connect to the home page link for fear I would lose this precious discovery. After assessing enough to believe that I wasn't involving myself in worthless craziness, I internally committed to one full year of sincere dedication to the AYP process before making any final conclusions about yoga in my life.

Thank you Yogani for making AYP information available. A grand experiment indeed!

Thank you all for your support, both directly by response to my questions, and indirectly through sharing your experiences on these many threads on the AYP site.

Thank you for listening.

In Joy and Gratitude,

Kathy
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Victor

USA
910 Posts

Posted - Sep 05 2007 :  11:51:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow! What a wonderfully dramatic opening!
I am glad that we could be of help in getting you past that block and that the energy is flowing. I would let the energy guide you but also focus on as regular and steady practice as you can at this point. Just stay with the form but not too tightly (as you have been doing). Keep us updated :)
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 07 2007 :  12:06:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey, I've seldom felt so gratified to be wrong! I'm really glad you've solved the impasse, and so quickly.

Good thing Victor stepped in with that advice. I'd always thought that the Jalandhara bandha dictated by BKS Iyengar in pranayama was part of his effort to prevent kundalini awakening. Clearly not!

Kathy, one thing...you say "The following shared experiences occured without siddhasana, uddiyana, mulabandha, or yoni mudra. Just dynamic chin pumps, pranayama, and kundalini!", but don't ignore the possiblity that mulabandha and uddiyana were occuring spontaneously without your noticing. In fact, I'd bet they were!

I know what you mean about a new practice feeling "stilted". AYP notes that there's always a bumpy period where a new practice feels less than easy and natural. I think of it like asana: it takes a while to find ease and repose in a given pose...the first bunch of times, it just feels uncomfortable. Many AYP practices are similar.

The sinus thing is something I experience, too. it's weird, and makes me conclude that people with sinus congestion have a spiritual block (it's an area doctors don't understand much, and medical mysteries often have yogic underpinnings). Shoulder straightening, too.

Just one note of caution looking ahead: yogic practice is all about spurts and plateaus. There may often even be what seems like backsliding, as things appear to dim or lose their juiciness. But do bear in mind that are "experiences", which (per Yogani's writings) are not only not the goal, but don't even always jibe with what's truly going on in your purification process. So I try to remember to "enjoy the scenery", as Yogani says, but bear in mind that what's important is the long process of purification and opening that occur largely beyond perception. One has to make self-pacing decisions based not on in-practice experience of openings and energy flow (which, again, ebb and flow), but based on real-world engagement and feelings.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Sep 07 2007 12:27:30 PM
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Sep 08 2007 :  2:35:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey Jim,

All input is useful by my way of thinking - no right or wrong. I appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts, experiences, and suggestions - albeit in your own energetic fashion!

Jim you mentioned "but don't ignore the possiblity that mulabandha and uddiyana were occuring spontaneously without your noticing. In fact, I'd bet they were!" I believe you are absolutely onto something here. I read further in the AYP lesson book about spontaneous (instinctive?) reflex in the body. Apparently my body understood what needed to happen - I just needed to get out of the way!

You know, if I ONLY receive the level of peace I do with deep mediation the fruit is juicy fine to me. In ways, I really don't understand this pranayama thing very well so I just take it as it comes. I'm not seeking enlightenment - whatever that is. What I care about to the depths of my being is sitting and feeling connected to Spirit. The joy in that touches much in my daily happenings. That's enough. I don't feel overly attached to the "scenery" in my practice.

Besides :)....it's much more fun just dancing time away on the lila express!



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Kyman

530 Posts

Posted - Sep 08 2007 :  3:05:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit Kyman's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Over time the pranayama will become clear, just keep doing what you are doing. You are blessed to be so curious about the body, it becomes devoted observation. Soon all the dots will connect on their own.

This reminds me of Tai Chi, as a youth I did not quite understand it. I enjoyed sparring and doing flips, the busy stuff. Now, after practicing yoga every day for a few years, I cannot wait to get into Tai Chi and study it. I see so much in it now that eluded me before.

Congratulations on your wonderful openings!

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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 08 2007 :  5:45:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Apparently my body understood what needed to happen - I just needed to get out of the way!


Yes. On the other hand do bear in mind that the body has never heard of self-pacing. The body innately knows and thirsts for all these practices and more, and there are times when it visibly chomps at the bit to do something, add something. The essence of AYP is, in those cases, to put brain ahead of instinct and make a smart self-pacing decision.

You may eventually reach a point of overdoing, and find, for example, mulha bandha and sambavi mudra revving up really strongly of their own accord in meditation and even at the post office. It's not a "sign" that must be heeded, it's an instinct that needs to be corralled. Our brain serves a purpose in all this: to judge the pacing of things. Just like your body might be over-the-top eager to scarf a brownie, higher-level issues must be considered by higher-level faculties. The perfect balance is to let go...but watch out! :)

quote:
You know, if I ONLY receive the level of peace I do with deep mediation the fruit is juicy fine to me.


Having inadvertantly cultivated megatons of energy (which is actually flowing smoothly), I can attest that an iota of silence is worth more than a mountain of energy.

quote:

In ways, I really don't understand this pranayama thing very well so I just take it as it comes. I'm not seeking enlightenment - whatever that is. What I care about to the depths of my being is sitting and feeling connected to Spirit. The joy in that touches much in my daily happenings. That's enough. I don't feel overly attached to the "scenery" in my practice.



The pranayama is about training your energy to take the right pathway if/when it really lets loose. It's an astonishingly important safety step. And, in so doing, it also gently prods that energy (other AYP exercises prod it still more).

I'd urge you to consider dropping your desire to feel connected to anything. It's a hindrance, coming from the realm of mind. Do the practices like brushing your teeth. Without noble aims. Without any aims at all. Just let the cosmic barber trim your hair twice per day and stay out of it! :)

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Sep 09 2007 09:39:19 AM
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matangi

USA
53 Posts

Posted - Sep 16 2007 :  09:46:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit matangi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim -

I've contemplated off and on for the past week whether or not to respond to your post. In the spirit of maybe clearing some space for other sensitive souls, I've decided to speak out.

JIm wrote: I'd urge you to consider dropping your desire to feel connected to anything. It's a hindrance, coming from the realm of mind.

Why would you choose to "urge" the direction or amount of my bhakti? Sincere, heartfelt devotion is not only fuel for my sitting practice, it is part of the fuel I use as I make my way through the hills and valleys of daily life.

Yogani wrote in his Tantra book "In yoga we don't surmount or overcome our obstacles. We dissolve them so the inherent inner light can shine through. This is the secret. Everything is changed by that one simple principle, and by the practices that stimulate the reality of it in our nervous system." (p. 90)

If and when my desire to feel connected to anything becomes a problem, it seems much easier, loving, and accepting to simply allow it to dissolve through my daily practices.


Kathy




Edited by - matangi on Sep 17 2007 08:03:43 AM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 16 2007 :  11:37:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Practice is about discovering and identifying with the deeper parts of us that are beyond mind. So coloring our practices with goals of the mind (including the goal of TRYING to discover and identify with the deeper parts beyond mind!) tethers us more tightly to that which we're trying to transcend. You'll find that the mind wants to manage the process (that's what the the mind does; it's like an over-eager concierge!). It builds up, until the whole thing just becomes a mind trip. The antidote is to make it as mindless as tooth-brushing.

Throughout our lives we take actions in pursuit of goals. We strive endlessly to shape and mold our existence. Spiritual practices are a few minutes we take every day where we opt out from all that. It's not doing, it's letting.

Having high-minded reasons to initiate a sadhana (practice) is fine. Whatever it takes to get things started! And everything Yogani says is absolutely true. But insofar as you try to propel yourself in one direction or other within that actual practice - even very deep, beautiful directions - you are paddling with the mind, and yoga is beyond mind and beyond paddling. It's beyond striving. Your greatest gift is unavailable to your self-stewardship (I'm plagiarizing myself, from http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=1189 )


As for why I'd urge you or anyone else to do anything, and whether my advice is valid for anyone but me...this is a public discussion where thoughts and input are solicited and offered. If my input isn't useful for you, absolutely feel free to ignore it. I'm just a dude typing away on the Internet. Take what's helpful and leave the rest! :)

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Sep 17 2007 10:35:57 AM
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 16 2007 :  11:48:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
BTW, "fun" is absolutely as good a reason as I've ever seen anybody ever give for any of this. It's a beautiful thought. Thanks!
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Jim and His Karma

2110 Posts

Posted - Sep 17 2007 :  10:14:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
woops, fwiw I had the wrong link two postings up. should be: http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....OPIC_ID=1189
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