Shaping our words to match the Receiver

Communicating with words Zero Parallax is shaping our words to match the receiver. It’s like a device in a computing system knowing exactly how to format a message so that the device it is sending the message too understands how to decode the message. It is the unimpeded (free) flow of information. Failing that it is understanding the impedances that affect transmission so that we can take them into account, so that we can calibrate for “viewing error.”
Being able to account for parallax or to zero it allows us to function better as well as everyone around us because there is no error in the system. All the parts relate perfectly. And all the parts become free to realize their best potential.

Knowing Where we are Sitting in the Airplane

A friend who is a pilot told me about zero parallax in the context of flying.
A pilot has to be aware of their position relative to the instruments so that they can account for viewing error. They can then zero parallax.
Because they are sitting off of the plane’s center line they also have to be aware of their relationship relative to the aircraft.
Looking out the window they have to know where they are in the plane so that they can align it with the direction they are going in, so they can trim it. To do that they have reference points on the airplane that they can use to align the plane with the direction they are going in. These are the points they use to calibrate themselves with straight ahead. They know that when they use these points to line the plane up it will actually be flying straight ahead and lined up with straight ahead.
This is especially important when landing.
Now suppose a beginner pilot gets comfortable flying from one side of the aircraft but then they have to switch positions and learn to fly from the other seat.
They then have to learn new reference points.
However once these points are learned they can then fly the plane from either seat.
Knowing where they are in the plane they can account for their position and fly the plane straight. It’s like they are centered in the plane even though they are positioned to the side. They are centered in the airplane because they are aware of how they relate to it.

Driving a Land Rover in the army while on an exercise, my co-driver Taff taught me about rally driving.
In rally driving corners are graded according to how tight or open they are. If a corner has a higher number it meant that it is tighter, a lower number means that the corner is more open. The lower the number of a corner the faster we can go around it. Other information that the navigator gave the driver was the direction of the turn, left or right, and a countdown to the beginning of the turn.
Looking ahead Taff told me the direction and the grade of each turn and gave me a countdown to it. I focused on listening and adjusting my speed appropriately.
As we rounded each corner I found that his grading for each corner felt very natural so that it was easy to trust his assessment of each corner.
I think part of the comfort level was the way he described each turn. It was unambiguous and natural and direct. Because he was describing exactly what he was seeing, he was providing me a direct view of the way ahead. And I was allowing him to give me that view. Neither one of us second-guessed the other. He focused on navigating and I focused on driving and together with the vehicle we were in we made the idea of driving real. And even though we weren’t actually rallying, all we were doing was that he was seeing and I was doing, it felt good to work with him in this way and I got a sense of what actual rallying and teamwork could be like.

A long time ago for one of my Chinese Calligraphy projects I tried to come up with my own translation of the first verse of “The Dao De Ching.” One line in particular I found troublesome and interesting. “The name of a thing is not the thing.”
Thinking back to the time I was rallying with Taff I began to understand one possible translation of that verse.
When we know what it is we are talking about, if we say what we see, plainly and clearly, so that the person listening can see what we mean then the words (the name) becomes the thing.
If we express our truth so that the person is listening can see our true selves, the words become the thing we are talking about. When we understand something completely, so that it is a part of our experience, then the name becomes the thing.
So how is this relevant here?
When Taff told me exactly what he saw and I understood him it was so easy to connect to him and trust him, easy to let go. And I imagine that with a good lead that is how a partner feels when they are dancing, like she can let go. And perhaps it is a letting go on both parties parts, in the context of driving the navigator relaxing enough, trusting that their driver will understand and so saying what they see without modification, the driver relaxing enough to trust implicitly what his or her co-driver is saying.
Zero parallax, words reflecting their meaning for both the person saying the words and the person listening to them.
Zero parallax, allowing ideas to drive the words that we say.
If two people are flying together, one flies, working the controls of the plane; connected to the plane, the other does the navigating; connected to the earth. And they connect to each other by working out a means of communicating so that they can share information, when it is needed. If the connection, the language they use, is good, then they can communicate with zero parallax, zero error. The words match the same meaning for both the sender and the receiver. The words become their meaning so that when the navigator tells the pilot where they are or which direction they need to go, the pilot has an image of what is coming up as if they are seeing it with their own eyes. And when the pilot asks the navigator for a specific piece of information, the navigator knows, exactly what the pilot needs.
They become one with each other and the plane they are in.
Part of it is the words that we use, using words that match their meaning, part of it is both of parties knowing exactly where they are, in relationship to each other and in relationship to what they are doing. Part of it is sharing the same idea for what they are trying to do.
Being able to account for parallax, we see the limits within which we can move and we move within them.
Prior to rallying, Taff explained to me what we were going to do. For myself, I understood Taff well enough (despite the Welsh accent ha ha) when he described to me how rally drivers and their copilots work together that I could actually do it. So as well as understanding the pieces, the individual ideas, I understood the point of all those pieces joined together. We both did.

Communicating Efficiently by Understanding the Idea of what we are trying to say

When I teach yoga I endeavor to use language that directly relates to what I am talking about. I teach based on what I understand and I try to let what I understand drive the words that I use. Rather than worrying about the words I focus on the idea that drives those words. I’m helping my students to change their body so I use the change that I’m trying to create drive the words that I use.
I also explain the language that I use so that people can get on with doing yoga. For example when they understand what I mean when I say, “Roll the pelvis forwards” they can do it. And if they haven’t yet got the full ability to roll their pelvis forwards they can work on developing that ability as opposed to wasting time trying to figure out what I said.
Watching the people in my class when I explain rolling the pelvis forwards (and backwards) I can see if someone doesn’t get it and explain it to them in a different way, perhaps having them look in a mirror at both myself and themselves so that it is easier for them to duplicate the action.
Some people might not be able to do the action easily because of tight muscles or the position they are in and looking at my students I can detect this problem and act on it. I can suggest a change in position so that it is easier to them to move their pelvis and to learn to feel it.
Why have them modify their position? So they can move their pelvis and learn to feel it moving. Once they can move their pelvis and feel it moving then they can slowly move to the limit of their ability and then push that limit back.
What is the pelvis, it is a Component Idea in the Big Idea of the body. It is the “Bony Bowl” that connects the legs to the spine. In some instances we can think of it as an extension of the spine, an extra large vertebrae that gives us leverage so that we can use our hip muscles to act on the spine. In other instances we can think of it as the base of the spine and in other instances as the center of the body. These are some of the ways we can view the idea of the pelvis.
Why do I teach people about the pelvis? It is a logical and real element of the body. I teach them so that they can learn to sense and control it.
What is a Yoga Pose, it is a way of positioning each part of the body, perhaps with a specific intent, to strengthen or stretch particular muscles of the body or to put the body in a particular shape for some energetic benefit or to benefit the organs of the body in a particular way.
Each yoga pose is an idea, a Big Idea (the intention of the pose) made up of the Component Ideas of what each part of the body should be doing (the intention for each part of the body).
In any pose where the pelvis is required to roll forwards, that is the idea of what the pelvis does in that pose. Learning this idea my students can do it and they can learn to do it without having to think about it.
Imagine me as the teacher being able to say “Roll your pelvis forwards” and everyone doing it almost as soon as the words are said. We have an efficient transmission of information. I can say it and they can get on with doing it. We Zero Parallax and we make the best use of the time that we have.
To get to that stage I have to teach them their body and before that I have to teach them a common language and even before that I have to understand what I am trying to get them to do.
When I understand the ideas of the body and the idea of what each part is doing in a yoga pose I can teach efficiently and effectively. I can do my job well. Understanding the ideas of the body and yoga I can give clear instructions and my students can easily pick up on the purpose of what I am trying to say.
To think in terms of ideas and talk in terms of them we have to know what we are talking about. We also have to understand how we relate to the idea. It forces us to ask the question, how do we define this particular idea? How do other people define this idea? What change does it create for my self? What change does it create for others? Understanding ideas from different points of view we can learn to communicate effectively. We can Zero Parallax.

Centered in the Idea of Our Selves

Centered in the idea of ourselves, we know where we are in relation to the plane. We are centered not because we are positioned at the center of the airplane. We are centered because we know where our center is in relation to the center of the airplane, and we know where the plane is in relation to the earth.
When conditions become adverse, by staying aware of where we are in the plane and where the plane is in relation to the earth, we can fly it to the limits of its ability and our own no matter what is happening outside or because of what is happening outside. We can handle whatever is happening around us and still stay in one piece.
We can ride the edge without falling off of it.
Extending this idea to handling adverse conditions ourselves, perhaps we are in a relationship that isn’t ideal but for whatever reason we decide to stay in it instead of disconnecting from it.
The relationship might be with a partner or spouse or other family member. Maybe it is with someone we work with or perhaps it is a friend. If we fight a lot with that person or they fight us or berate us despite our efforts to be peaceful, then we can make the choice to stand up for ourselves. Or in my case what I did was decide that if I was going to be berated then I would use the time productively and meditate at the same time. As the verbal abuse piled on to me I focused on feeling my body, in particular my center. I did that and what I found was that instead of staying quiet I decided to fight back, but instead of random words, the equivalent of empty punches, I fought back from my energetic center.
Afterwards I still ended up sleeping on the couch, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t feel drained afterwards and I also didn’t feel like I had been beaten up. I had given myself room to move when someone else was trying to take it from me.
The interesting thing was that the next day when I went to Tai Ji, I applied this same feeling to doing Tai Ji, being centered not just physically but energetically. I think I had the best Tai Ji practice I’ve ever had. I was able to stay aware of key aspects of what I was doing and I was able to balance easily. The sense was like in some gong fu movies where the fighters jump from the top of one pole to the other easily. I was just moving from one leg to the other while trying to control my sword but I felt a similar sense of presence, ease and grace. I flowed.
And that is one of the interesting things about doing martial arts, or doing something that is challenging. By learning to handle adverse conditions or adverse relationships and still stay centered we can flow no matter what the circumstances.
What happens then if two people who fight are both experts at staying centered? They don’t fight so much as they dance together. Fighting (in some instances) then becomes not about conflict but about having fun, not because we are hurting each other but because we are challenging each other and helping each other to grow.
Centered in the idea of ourselves we can learn to enjoy our selves no matter what situation we are in.

Understanding Our Own Point of View so that we can Zero Parallax

Zero Parallax is the term I use to describe the state where we understand an idea completely. The idea can be that of our body or of something outside of our self. The idea can be something that helps to unite us with the person we are with.
I first learned about Parallax in Chemistry class. We had to learn how to measure quantities of chemicals accurately. What was important was how we related to the instrument when we took our readings. Also important was having an instrument that could measure accurately.
Measuring liquid into a graduated beaker we had to stand so that our line of sight was level with the measurement graduations so that we measured consistently. If all of us in the class adopted the same position taking turns to measure using the same beaker we would all see the same results.
Now if we all measured at a viewing angle of 30 degrees we would also all get the same results. The measurements would be wrong, but we’d all be wrong in the same way.
However, if one of us measured at an angle of zero degrees and another of us measured at an angle of 30 degrees then we would all have different results measuring the same thing.
The point was to be consistent.
To be consistent we had to share a point of view. To be consistent with the norm we had to measure at zero degrees. The “error” we got when we made a measurement not at zero degrees is called parallax.
If we all measured at zero degrees then we have a state of Zero Parallax, zero viewing error. We all relate to the same thing in the same way.
Looking at the old fashioned types of clocks with hands and a face instead of a digital readout we can stand directly in front of the clock and see that it is 12 o’clock. However if we stand to the left enough 12 o’clock actually looks like 12:02. Not a big difference but enough if we have to be somewhere else in one minute’s time.
Understanding that when we stand to the side we introduce viewing error we can take this viewing error into account. We can stand to the side of the clock, notice what it looks like it is saying then shift so that we are standing in front of the clock to see what it is actually saying. Then whenever we stand at the side we know what time it actually is despite our viewing angle. We can calibrate for viewing error.
When we understand the clock and how our relationship to the clock changes the time we see we can take our relationship to the clock into account when we read it. Being able to take our relationship to the clock into account we no longer have to be directly in-front of the clock to see the right time. We don’t have to move to see the correct time because we have taken the time to calibrate for different positions.
(The assumption here is that the clock tells time accurately and is set to the right time.)
Understanding where we are standing with respect to what we are looking and how our relationship affects what we see we can zero parallax.