2009.11.21 19:00 - What is the Something Else?

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Pema Pera. The comments are by Pema Pera.

    Pema Pera: hi Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Pema :)
    Pema Pera: just thou and me again, hey?
    Eliza Madrigal: For a few minutes I guess :)
    Pema Pera: not much Saturday night fever so far . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: Hah, I might have exhausted everyone at the afternoon session...
    Pema Pera looking forward to reading that session
    Pema Pera: this is your third session today?
    Eliza Madrigal: Actually most were talkative... It was interesting
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes :)
    Pema Pera: wow!
    Pema Pera reminiscing about his three sessions a day, in the beginning of PaB . . . :-)
    Pema Pera: what was the topic this afternoon?
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm, well it ranged from ideas about accomplishment/success, to expectations, multitasking...mindfulness...
    Eliza Madrigal: Comparisons, state of flow...
    Eliza Madrigal: Many threads :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: mindfulness in multitasking surely is a challenge -- but not impossible
    Eliza Madrigal: And in a way, we touched on illogical ways of doing things, yes like that...
    Eliza Madrigal: So for instance, attending three sessions today may seem like a lot..
    Eliza Madrigal: and from a certain angle it is...
    Eliza Madrigal: but if it helps me to be in good company to allow a kind of hm..
    Eliza Madrigal: untangling, then time more than well spent, regardless...
    Pema Pera: oh sure!
    Pema Pera: it's four times a day that becomes a bit tricky, sleep wise :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Well yes thankfully I've not thought of attempting that... seeing you do it was enough :)
    Pema Pera: I guess this is one of the goc-less slots? Shall I take it?
    Pema Pera: oops, too late . ..
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm, well I did... so only if you would like to
    Pema Pera: so there :-)
    Eliza Madrigal grins
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks :)
    Pema Pera: you've already picked up so many!
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Don't mind
    Pema Pera: :)
    After settling all that, we again typed in sync.
    Eliza Madrigal: What's on your mind tonight, Pema :)
    Pema Pera: is there a topic you'd like to talk about?
    Pema Pera: hehehe, simultaneous questions
    Eliza Madrigal: Relative and Absolute at the same time?
    Pema Pera: well, this morning
    Pema Pera: you are reading my mind
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Pema Pera: I was just about to type that, yes
    Pema Pera smiles back
    Pema Pera: funny thing is, when you read the chat log, you have no clue as to what appears within a split second, and what has a three minute gap
    Pema Pera: so part of the humor is lost there . . .
    Eliza Madrigal nods, true
    Pema Pera: anyway, yes, relative and absolute
    Pema Pera: the big challenge of any more radical form of practice is to keep in mind that nothing needs to be done, while still caring very much about anything you do
    Pema Pera: it would be wrong, of course, to deny our needs
    Pema Pera: for sleep, food, emotional shelter, etc
    Eliza Madrigal: yes
    Pema Pera: but it also would be wrong to totally identify with those needs
    Pema Pera: so how to juggle both? do you have a suggestion?
    Eliza Madrigal: Well I think I can only point to instances where that 'both' seems natural
    Eliza Madrigal: But I do see how much pressure it takes off of one to think in that way...
    Pema Pera: do you have an example from your own experience?
    Eliza Madrigal: So no worry about not having needs and being spiritual, and no worry about not being spiritual and caught in needs
    Pema Pera: yes, that's the ideal balance!
    A new visitor had approached us, during the 90 seconds pause.
    Pema Pera: Hi Cor, please feel free to join us!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Cor :)
    Eliza Madrigal: hm..well dealing with my children of course brings me opportunities to care deeply, to be very involved in intricate aspects and details going on... in three 'other' lives... but it would be crazy making if I couldn't trust in a larger sense of Being caring
    Pema Pera: sure, Cor!
    Pema Pera: We get together a few times a day to chat about the nature of reality, and everything else, and we have a wiki http://playasbeing.wik.is/ -- We record our conversations there. Do you mind being included in our blogs?
    Pema Pera: and please feel free to sit down here
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: yes, that's a great example, Eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: small "i" can't be with them at all times, whispering "go here not there"
    Pema Pera: we can only do so much, and the challenge is to do what you can, and then to leave the results to the Universe, so to speak
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: thank you, yes :)
    Pema Pera: and they shout "don't wanna go there!"
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh yes they do! :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: Or, "What, don't go there? Thanks for pointing there out so I can go!"
    Pema Pera: Cor, you are new to Second Life, this is your first week, right?
    Cor Wylder: Yes I am a noob
    Pema Pera: hahaha, Eliza! yes, I know, I've been there myself :)
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Eliza Madrigal: Welcome, Cor :)
    Pema Pera: are you enjoying SL so far?
    Cor Wylder: thanks
    Cor Wylder: sure, it is a little weird
    Pema Pera: it sure is :)
    Pema Pera: it takes a while to get used to it, it's like immigrating into a new culture
    Eliza Madrigal: But a fun culture in many ways :)
    Pema Pera: are you looking for anything in particular, or just surveying what is happening in general in SL?
    Cor Wylder: juar looking - I like ideas and discussions and dialogs
    Cor Wylder: i meant to say just
    Cor Wylder: go on please I don't mean to interrupt
    Pema Pera: we are a rather unusual group; the only thing that connects is that we like to take short breaks in what we do a few times an hour
    Pema Pera: like mini-meditations you could say
    Pema Pera: or nano-meditations
    Pema Pera: there are a few dozen of us coming here regularly
    Eos joined us, so there were four of us, a quiet crowd still for a Saturday evening.
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Eos :)
    Pema Pera: Here is another one :) Hi Eos!
    Eos Amaterasu: hi Eliza :-), Pema, Cor
    Pema Pera: Meet Cor, new to SL, since a few days
    Cor Wylder: hi, eos
    Eos Amaterasu: Hi Cor!
    Pema Pera: curiously, the fact that we all like to take short breaks seems to attract people with relatively little tendency to judging
    Pema Pera: most of us don't have any particularly strong view, at least in the sense that we are curious to hear about many other views
    Cor Wylder: i am a curious person also
    Eliza Madrigal: yes definitely... a sense of playfulness with topics and ideas that arise
    Pema Pera: we have some Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, but also people who are not particularly interested in those kinds of traditions
    Cor Wylder: I like philosophy
    Cor Wylder: but not religious
    Pema Pera: what kind of philosophy?
    Cor Wylder: tao and comparative religion and hegel
    Cor Wylder: but I am an amatur just starting into it
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, nice :)
    Cor Wylder: i surf wikipedia
    Pema Pera: fascinating topics! Have you read some phenomenology too, by any chance? Like Heidegger or Husserl?
    Cor Wylder: starting to do that
    Cor Wylder: got a recommendation?
    Pema Pera: and by the way, while we normally take short breaks, 9 seconds or so, in RL (Real Life), here in SL we like to take 90 seconds breaks; another one is coming up in just a minute
    Pema Pera: I suggest we spend those 90 seconds to focus on the simplest kind of exploration we like to do here:
    Pema Pera: drop what you have to see what you are
    Pema Pera: (in whatever way that works :-)
    Pema Pera: (free form)
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, great :)
    Pema Pera: ((I'll respond to your other questions afterwards))
    Cor Wylder: will do
    After the end of the 90 seconds break, we were watching Eliza type for a while . . .
    Pema Pera watching Eliza write a short story :)
    Eliza Madrigal giggles... where do you see that? :)
    Pema Pera: oh, there was a lot of typing going on from your side, off and on
    Eliza Madrigal: Not that you're wrong
    Pema Pera: so I was waiting, not wanting to interrupt
    Pema Pera: you can see it by the dots appearing under your name on the screen
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh, no please do... to my view I am still (view of av)
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: did you want to report about your experience?
    Eliza Madrigal: Okay... I wrote:
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah! Relative for Absolute. What I have: worries concerning kids, relationships, work... What I am: Being loved and protected, in a sense.. along with all that entails perhaps...
    Pema Pera: what a nice inventory!
    Eliza Madrigal: So...just seeing that the excercize is the same question...
    Pema Pera: yes, very much connected
    Pema Pera: for me, I noticed how time changes so dramatically, often when I focus on what I am . . . .
    Pema Pera: in a moment the sense of linear past-present-future time-as-railroad drops away and something opens up in a much more fluid way
    Pema Pera: directly connected with de-emphasizing needs, what we talked about this morning
    Pema Pera: how about you, Eos?
    Eliza Madrigal: hmm, nice Pema :) Illuminating
    Eos Amaterasu: I've been upgrading to a better computer, so I have better organs of perception :-)
    Pema Pera: hahaha, you and Goethe
    Eos Amaterasu: more adequate to appreciate the truth & beauty around me
    Pema Pera thinking of little red riding hood . . ..
    Eos Amaterasu: :-)
    It turned out that Cor was jumping in right away without hesitation.
    Pema Pera: Cor, did it make any sense at all, that notion of "dropping what you have to see what you are"?
    Cor Wylder: maybe, i dont know, I noticed the birds, then wondered what kind they were, then noticed that I was thinking that and stopped, so then I guess I dropped that but not sure about the Being part
    Pema Pera: that's a great start, Cor !
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, perceptive
    Pema Pera: thanks for joining in right away!
    Cor Wylder: Y W
    Eos Amaterasu: the birds are very helpful :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: we come here four times a day
    Pema Pera: believe it or not
    Cor Wylder: wow
    Pema Pera: 1 am 7 am 1 pm 7 pm SLT
    Pema Pera: not all of us, of course
    Pema Pera: whenever we have time and feel like it
    Eos Amaterasu: (it's rare that any one individual does all 4 sessions in a day )
    Pema Pera: so please feel free to join us at any ofthose times
    Pema Pera: (very rare!)
    Pema Pera: Eliza has a chance though, this is her third today!
    Cor Wylder: i might, you seem a nice bunch
    Eliza Madrigal is here for a 3rd today... time well spent :)
    Pema Pera: thanks, Cor, you too :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks, Cor :)
    Given that Cor had arrived in SL only a few days ago, I gave some hints about catching text.
    Pema Pera: did you catch the URL of our group, Cor? http://playasbeing.wik.is/
    Pema Pera: do ou know how to open the "local chat" window?
    Cor Wylder: OK will check it out
    Cor Wylder: i figured it out
    Pema Pera: and did you know that you can capture the text in a local file?
    Pema Pera: which is very handy for reference
    Cor Wylder: cut n paste I think
    Pema Pera: go to top bar: edit->preferences->communication and then click all boxes to "on" by letting the little "v" appear there; all but the very top one (that's what I do; you can of course choose your own mix).
    Cor Wylder: ok
    Pema Pera: that way you can find the logs in your own files; look at
    Pema Pera: the "change path" at the bottom of that window
    Pema Pera: it tells you where to find it on your computer
    Pema Pera: handy for URLs and the like
    Cor Wylder: i use different computers
    Cor Wylder: is it on the hard drive?
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: and you have to configure the choices, as I just indicated, separately for each computer, I believe
    Pema Pera: I think those choices are stored locally on your hard drive
    Pema Pera: pretty sure
    Cor Wylder: i am on a friend's computer - demoing sl because it seems cool
    Pema Pera: and btw, you asked about phenomenology books/articles: I find it hard to know what to recommend, since much of it is so stilted and overly scholarly
    Pema Pera: one option would be to look at a wiki of our weekly workshops:
    Cor Wylder: yes, is there a source that is not so stodgy
    Pema Pera: http://sites.google.com/site/phenomenologyvip/
    Pema Pera: if you click on the transcripts of the eight or so meetings we have had, you can find a lot of introductory material already
    Cor Wylder: sounds promising
    Pema Pera: each session was an hour, in text, but you can read it in ten to fifteen minutes
    Pema Pera: and feel free to come to our future meetings: Fridays at 2 pm SLT, you can find the information there
    Pema Pera: or you can always IM me if you get lost
    Pema Pera: or send email (piet@ias.edu)
    Cor Wylder: thanks!
    Pema Pera: yw!
    Meanwhile Eliza discovered that not all avatars are equal :-)
    Eliza Madrigal is still looking for the dots to appear under names and thinks Pema has a special gadget... super power...hah
    Pema Pera: are you in mouse look, Eliza?
    Eliza Madrigal: No, I don't think so...
    Eliza Madrigal: is that where it is?
    Pema Pera: no
    Pema Pera: in normal look; odd that you would have a different setup . . .
    Pema Pera: there are so many parameters with which to configure SL . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: yes it does seem that way, hm
    Pema Pera: Cor, if I may ask one more question: within philosophy, is there any particular main question that draws your curiosity?
    Cor Wylder: good question, I might think a bout it a bit
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: sorry, didn't mean to be nosey :)
    Cor brought up a fascinating philosophical question, the end of which became the title for this session.
    Cor Wylder: ok, all we have are perspectives, plus something else. What is the something else?
    Pema Pera: ah, that sounds surprisingly similar to what connects us here!
    Pema Pera: we focus on what we are, apart from our identifications
    Cor Wylder: can we think, without language?
    Pema Pera: we say "I am male, I am this or that profession, etc" but it means we have a gender, we have a profession
    Pema Pera: they are perspectives in some sense
    Pema Pera: and what we are, if thereis any such thing, yes, goes beyond language, I would say
    Pema Pera: whether we would call that thinking is perhaps a matter of definition
    Pema Pera: we can certainly intuit or "grasp" in a non-verbal way, at least I would say so
    Pema Pera: what do you think?
    Cor Wylder: we do it a lot. but it doesnt get much attention
    Cor Wylder: is it worthwhile?
    Pema Pera: and how about, for the next 90 seconds pause, when fog appears above the fountain, doing the exploration you suggested, Cor: let us try to relax, without taking up any perspectives!
    Cor Wylder: because the philosophers dont seem to give it much heed
    Pema Pera: let's try to just be present, without choosing a perspective, to the extent that is possible
    Pema Pera: well, we can leave the philosophers to their game :-)
    Pema Pera: we can explore whatever we like
    Pema Pera: here comes the bell
    And again, Cor was a good sport, happily going along with our little rituals of exploring and sharing.
    Pema Pera: how did that feel, Cor, if I may ask, being present without perspective(s) ?
    Cor Wylder: it felt relaxing, but I thinkI had the perspective of sitting "inside my head"
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Cor Wylder: i dont get 'no perspective'
    Pema Pera: it may be (nearly) impossible to drop perspectives, but just starting to "wear them lightly" as we like to say, does feel a lot more relaxing right there!
    Eos Amaterasu: we notice the perspectives we have
    Pema Pera: what did srike me, this time, is how "letting go of perspectives" directly felt like "letting go of judgments" (again to the extent possible)
    Eliza Madrigal: and getting comfortable with not defining... which is difficult in a discussion labeled as philosophy sometimes
    Eos Amaterasu: and each perspective is a type of awareness
    Eliza Madrigal: hm
    Eos Amaterasu: perspectival intertwining :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: kaleidoscopic . . . .?
    Eos Amaterasu: yes, defining happens; getting comfortable with that, and with letting that go, and with little gaps of non-defining, between definings,
    Pema Pera: yes, cultivating them, at first simply allowing them . . .
    Eos Amaterasu: i was feeling a bit tired, but there was also a bit of a feeling that the awareness of tiredness was not itself tiredness
    Pema Pera: !
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Whilst I, am ravenous and am going to say Goodnight. Thanks so much Pema, Eos, and Cor (Pleasure to meet you)
    Pema Pera: well, you see, Cor, we like to intersperse little explorations/exercises with talking about them -- and we often chat about whatever we like; today you somehow got us in a more serious mood -- perhaps we're showing off for you :-)
    Pema Pera: bye Eliza!
    Pema Pera: it's bed time for me too
    Eos Amaterasu: bye Eliza, see you tomorrow
    Eliza Madrigal: Night! :) Yes Hasta Manana :)
    Eos Amaterasu: I must go as well, good night Pema and Cor and Eliza!
    Pema Pera: you're not coming here at 1 am SLT Eliza ?
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: bye everybody!
    Eliza Madrigal: =P~ Not saying NO..but Hm..not intending :)
    Cor Wylder: by, thanks, goot 2 meet you!
    Eos Amaterasu: :-)
    Pema Pera: nice to meet you, Cor!
    Cor Wylder: same, man
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