2012.07.19 19:00 – Theme Session “We Are The Experiment!”

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    This was a theme session, part of a series of discussions to be hosted by Pema & Boxy. This was the first in a series of 8, about the role of science in Play as Being. There were two preliminary sessions, held on Mondays at 7 am, July 9 and July 16. The next ones will be on Mondays 7 pm and Thursdays 7 pm.

     In attendance were  Pema,  oO0Oo,  Paradise, stevenaia, Korel, Eliza, Aphrodite, Eline, druth and Santoshima.

    Pema Pera: hi O!
    oO0Oo Resident: Hi Pema.. Connection is a bit dicey, but hoping it holds together.
    oO0Oo Resident: ntsy
    stevenaia Michinaga: greeting Pema, Samud, ELiza, Korel
    Korel Laloix: Hey everyone.
    Korel Laloix: This is Eline.
    Pema Pera: hi all who dropped in!
    Eline Adjani: hi
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Everyone, Eline - nice to meet you
    Korel Laloix: Eline is a new friend of mine here in SL.
    stevenaia Michinaga: did anyone wake Boxy up?
    Pema Pera: welcome, Eline!
    stevenaia Michinaga: hi Eline, welcome
    Korel Laloix: These conversations are recorded and put on a wiki.
    Pema Pera: hi druth and Aph!
    Eliza Madrigal: I know that Bleu has mentioned she would not be able to make the session this evening, but we do have her question to work with perhaps
    Eline Adjani: thank you very kind
    druth Vlodovic: hey all
    Korel Laloix: Do you mind if we keep your name in the transcript?
    Eline Adjani: ok
    stevenaia Michinaga: smiles at Druth
    Pema Pera: hi Paradise!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Paradise, Druth, Aph
    Aphrodite Macbain: Isn't this going to be a theme discussion?
    Pema Pera: Paradise, I hope you don't mind us to use your session as a special theme session, this week, and the next three weeks.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Hi Eliza
    Paradise Tennant: of course not I have been looking forward to this .. my apologies for running a bit late :) you have done the introductions I am assuming :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: Is it laggy here or is it me?
    Pema Pera: Paradise, it would be nice to have the logs posted relatively quickly, like in the next 24 hours or so, so that those who cannot be here can follow the ongoing thread of the discussion. Since we already took over your session, shall we ask for volunteers to post the session right away, to make your life easier?
    Korel Laloix: It is laggy and you... smiles
    Pema Pera: we haven't started yet :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: Is Boxy coming?
    Paradise Tennant: ok will do it before I go to bed tonight :)
    Pema Pera: thanks a lot, Paradise!
    Pema Pera: So this will be session 1 in a series of 8, about the role of science in Play as Being. We've had two preliminary sessions, on Monday 7 am, July 9 and July 16. The next ones will be on Mondays 7 pm and Thursdays 7 pm.
    Aphrodite Macbain: Waves at San
    Pema Pera: As a brief background: I think that science has focused on only 1/3 of experience, namely the object pole of the subject-interaction-object nature of experience.
    Pema Pera: So while science is correctly proud to be empirical, based on experience, in fact it has been only 1/3 empirical, and my guess is that in the next few hundred years the other two sides will become more fully developed.
    Aphrodite Macbain: and not empirical?
    Pema Pera: The beginning of object-oriented modern science, four hundred years ago, was very simple: Galileo dropping balls from towers and down inclined planes, using his own heartbeat to measure time.
    Pema Pera: Perhaps we can do similarly simple experiments with subject-oriented science.
    Pema Pera: So science is 1/3 empirical, I would say, currently, Aph
    Pema Pera: and I'd like to make it fully empirical
    Korel Laloix: Why?
    Pema Pera: Bleu mentioned working with a hypothesis
    Aphrodite Macbain: meaning repeatable
    Korel Laloix: Sort of limits it if it is solely empirical
    Pema Pera: right now it is not fully empirical, so it seems like a good idea to make it more empirical, Korel
    Aphrodite Macbain: Because it will then be more reliable and true?
    Pema Pera: I guess the first hypothesis to test is: can we find ways at all to study the subject qua subject, in contrast to typical psychology experiments, where a psychologist tests other people, called "subjects" in the experiments but actually functioning as objects (the English language is especially confusing here!).
    Pema Pera: I have a specific suggestion for a simple experiment that we can all try to do, at least those of us who feel like playing with it. Shall I first describe the experiment, before we discuss all the background?
    Aphrodite Macbain: no kidding
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes please
    Eliza Madrigal: please
    Pema Pera: so it would be an experiment / exploration /adventure in which the subject is studying the subject
    Pema Pera: or awareness is studying awareness
    stevenaia Michinaga: ...listens
    Aphrodite Macbain: nods
    Pema Pera: and when we all do that for a while, both during the next break, in ten minutes, and if you like also during the next few days until our next session on Monday
    Pema Pera: we then have a shared body of experience that we can fall back on in our discussions
    Pema Pera: so here is the idea
    Pema Pera: traditionally, spirituality has suggested that the world is not as fixed and solid as it seems
    Pema Pera: images like seeing the world as a dream have often been used
    Pema Pera: a modern metaphor would be a movie
    Pema Pera: but it is not so easy to know what to do with that
    Pema Pera: how to really go about living your life in a dream-like way -- typically it takes quite a bit of mediation / contemplation experience to do that in a deep and meaningful way that can be integrated effectively in your life
    Pema Pera: so I'm suggesting something simpler
    Pema Pera: where traditions, like Zen, talk about form and emptiness
    Pema Pera: or in dream terms appearances and the lack of reality behind them
    Pema Pera: I would like to introduce a third term, in between what appears and what may be really there
    Pema Pera: I will give it a simple name: quality
    Pema Pera: here is an example
    Pema Pera: if you like at a ray of sunlight hitting a beautiful flower, you can enjoy the beauty of what you see
    Pema Pera: but a ray of sunlight can also hit a piece of garbage, and that can also hit you as truly beautiful
    Pema Pera: what it is that can show its beauty, independent of the conventional judgments, I'd like to call "quality"
    Pema Pera: so we can experiment with shifting from the normal content of our everyday life, to the quality in all that we see and sense and think and feel, and perhaps later to the open emptiness in everything but that's not for now.
    Aphrodite Macbain: seeing things with new eyes?
    Pema Pera: during the next break, let's see whether we can find ways to shift from normal impressions that we interpret in our normal value system, using our normal concepts, to something like `quality' inherent in anything
    Pema Pera: yes, Aph, like artists often do
    Pema Pera: artists can bring out and make visible in some ways what normally isn't
    Pema Pera: including this "quality" dimension of awareness
    Pema Pera: does that make some sense?
    Korel Laloix: Sort of.. can you condense a little please?
    Pema Pera: okay
    Korel Laloix: At the edge of my English.
    Aphrodite Macbain: nods  But what may be considered beautiful to one may not be to another. Is it not all subjective
    Aphrodite Macbain: and un-measurable
    Pema Pera: just look around you, and see how you label things: a chair, a table, a cloud, a tree; and then see whether you can enjoy whatever you see independently of the labels, for the beauty inherent in its very presence
    Pema Pera: does that help, Korel?
    Eline Adjani: could it be described as a simultaneous oneness and difference?
    Aphrodite Macbain: appreciating their appearance...
    Korel Laloix: It does ... thanks.
    Pema Pera: yes, Eline, and the more we share our experience, the more precise that can become
    stevenaia Michinaga: wants to exchange beauty with quality
    Eline Adjani: there is a term for that in Hinduism
    Paradise Tennant: appreciation versus categorization :)
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Aphrodite Macbain: Is it desirable that we all come up with the same experience?
    Korel Laloix: Do tell please
    Pema Pera: hahaha, I don't think we can, Aph!
    Pema Pera: fortunately we are all different
    Aphrodite Macbain: Good
    Pema Pera: but we can compare notes
    Pema Pera: and see parallels
    Pema Pera: help each other to see more
    Pema Pera: from different angles
    Pema Pera: inspiring each other
    Korel Laloix: What is the term Eline?
    Aphrodite Macbain: Unlike science which want all the results to be identical if it is to be considered true
    stevenaia Michinaga: a term, Eline?
    Eline Adjani: acintya-bhedabheda-tattva
    Korel Laloix: Can you tell us more about the Hindu view of this?
    Korel Laloix: How does that translate?
    Pema Pera: so let's spend the next 90-second break looking of "quality" in all that pops up in our awareness
    Pema Pera: and then share our experiences
    Pema Pera: (theory can come later)
    Aphrodite Macbain: nice idea
    Pema Pera: (description first)
    Pema Pera: would anyone like to share their experiences?
    Eline Adjani: water and its taste
    Korel Laloix: Can you say more?
    Eline Adjani: well...you seek water to quench thirst, but you avoid its taste if it is salty
    Eline Adjani: for instance. not a very good explanation I am afraid, but it is the relationship between different aspects of the same thing
    Eline Adjani: I am not sure if this is what Pema was driving at, apologies if it is not
    Pema Pera: that's fine, Eline!
    stevenaia Michinaga: difficult in separating the "enjoy" from the object, since "sense of enjoying" an object seems to permeate everything all at once
    Pema Pera: yes
    Aphrodite Macbain: I see the pool as the hub of a circle around which we neutrons and electrons of particle beings dance and circle, darting in and out with our comments.
    Eline Adjani: the thing and its effects
    Pema Pera: so therefore let's take specific experiences, rather than abstract categories -- indeed as Aph just did
    Pema Pera: during the break, I looked out over the harbor of Kobe, Japan, where I'm visiting now, enjoying the rain filled scene and the misty clouds around the mountain tops of the next island, viewing it all as if I was part of a movie. That in itself changed my mood / atmosphere / sense of presence.
    Pema Pera: less of a sense of "I have to go here or there" and more "ah, isn't it all so ethereal!"
    Paradise Tennant: I sometimes try to see people and situations in a different light to get away from negative judgement - but it is still judgement just with a more positive spin .. this exercise seems to be stepping out of judgement and into being.
    Pema Pera: yes!
    oO0Oo Resident: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: today there is 'stand still' quality, not what I'd normally call stillness but 'stand still'... almost stopped, but it doesn't have the pleasurable sort of peacefulness I associate with stillness usually.
    Korel Laloix: Take care all... darn RL..
    Pema Pera: bye Korel!
    Eliza Madrigal waves to korel
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite korel :)
    Pema Pera: thank you, Eliza! And what I call "quality" does not necessarily have to feel pleasant or beautiful, it can just go beyond such categories
    Pema Pera: or it can turn out to be a much deeper / other form of what might still be called joy or peace or whatever
    druth Vlodovic: it just "is" until there arises a necessity to react to it?
    Aphrodite Macbain: What feeling is it Eliza? A sort of stressful waiting?
    Pema Pera: yes, that can be part of it, druth, for sure
    oO0Oo Resident: hard to find words.. and also to involve memory in a fruitful way.. also notice that after.. the experiences shared by others.. starts to affect something of how I might share.. subtle
    Pema Pera: yes, that's very important to notice that, Sam!
    Pema Pera: we tend to edit in so many ways . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: wouldn't say stressful no , Aph... hard to describe without making too many comparisons
    Eliza Madrigal: (90 approaching)
    Aphrodite Macbain: Each time I stop, the experience is different
    Aphrodite Macbain: so I find it impossible to make comparisons or judgements
    oO0Oo Resident: noticed myself concertedly stopping to do this.. and some kind of will involved for several seconds.. to let go.. of.. hmm.. everything.. then a series of noticings, interspersed with letting goes, and layers of watcher noticing watcher watch, or label
    Pema Pera: the easiest way to do this experiment is to look around or to "hear around" or to use other sense impressions. But another way is to close our eyes and focus on thoughts and feelings -- shall we do that, for the next 90-sec break, to watch what pops up in our awareness, without labeling and judging, just appreciating it?
    Aphrodite Macbain: yes
    Aphrodite Macbain: I do that when I meditate too
    Aphrodite Macbain: Instead of focussing on my breath
     Pema Pera: many little thoughts were vying for my attention, like ripples and cross currents on a lake with a breeze . . . . and I was wondering about the thought that was making up that image when the bell rang
    Pema Pera: (and thank you, Sam, seemed you were anticipating what I was about to suggest!)
    Pema Pera: anyone else?
    druth Vlodovic: all I could think was that emotions are evaluations, so to put one aside the emotions and associated thoughts stop
    stevenaia Michinaga: I do got a greater sense of "now" by hearing what the moment is made from ... all the parts one after the other, the wall, the fan, the light
    Eliza Madrigal: try different this time… closed eyes and experienced quite a lot of movement, ocean-like, whereas before it was like stepping outside to a day with no breeze, no people, no traffic (defaulting to comparisons anyway :)
    Pema Pera: is that what you experienced, druth, that thoughts stopped, or did you think that they would/should stop?
    Aphrodite Macbain: could you rephrase that druth?
    druth Vlodovic: when I try this all thoughts and emotions stop, nothing but grey if I think about it, less than that if I don't
    Pema Pera: very nice, Steve, yes, that resonates with what I tried to call "quality" to give it a name
    Pema Pera: thanks, druth!
    Pema Pera: I'm curious what would happen when you do that for a longer time
    Pema Pera: whether some other thoughts start filling in again
    druth Vlodovic: my eyeballs dry out :(
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Aphrodite Macbain: lol then close your eyes
    stevenaia Michinaga: let your ears see
    oO0Oo Resident: a hand on a surface.. feeling gentle wind of computer fan.. then feet on the floor.. and parts of them tingling.. then sensation in mid section.. then mind evaluating the sense of these as separate, rather than whole.. like consciousness was a hand.. then feet.. then... sound of fan... Less bound in idea of singular body..
    Pema Pera: wonderful, Sam, thanks for such a detailed impression!
    Pema Pera: the more we try this kind of experiment, the more details we can learn to discern
    Pema Pera: actually not judging helps to see more
    Pema Pera: rather than being led astray by the first judgments
    Pema Pera: we have five minutes left
    Pema Pera: I suggest that we continue these explorations in RL
    stevenaia Michinaga: will there be a place on the wiki to ... place our experiences until Monday
    Pema Pera: as much or as little as you have time and interest
    Pema Pera: good idea, Steve!
    Pema Pera: Eliza, do you have a suggestion?
    Paradise Tennant: smiles like a 99 day log ? rather a " we are the experiment" log :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: how about the one that already exists?
    oO0Oo Resident: is the wiki the place?
    Pema Pera: I like that, "we are the experiment!"
    Eliza Madrigal: Well my question was would people prefer something like 99 days, or something like time sessions - those are the two basic formats for these types of things
    oO0Oo Resident: wondering about openness and non judgement knowing that things become publically posted
    Eliza Madrigal: time sessions had homework pages, whereas 99 days was a message board set up in comments section
    Pema Pera: (I have to leave now, lunch starting in Japan at 12 noon sharp -- happy to leave it to you all to decide -- will read the conclusion in the log!)
    stevenaia Michinaga: perhaps comment to this log might work
    Paradise Tennant: or pictures :))
    Eliza Madrigal: it is a good place to begin Stevenaia
    stevenaia Michinaga: then everyone will know where it is
    Pema Pera: thank you all, and see you Monday evening 7 pm !
    Eliza Madrigal: bye Pema, thank you very much
    Pema Pera: bfn
    stevenaia Michinaga: enjoy lunch Pema
    Eline Adjani: thank you
    Paradise Tennant: thank you so much Pema :) really enjoyed it :)))))
    Santoshima Resident: bye
    oO0Oo Resident: ty Pema
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite san :)) sweet dreams :)
    Santoshima Resident: I am not leaving yet
    Aphrodite Macbain: Thanks everyone
    Eliza Madrigal: so for now comments at the bottom of these sessions seems the plan, thanks everyone and nice to meet you Eline
    Paradise Tennant:  sorry
    Santoshima Resident: just standing, seems courteous thing to do
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Paradise Tennant: :)
    Santoshima Resident: bye Eliza
    Aphrodite Macbain: Eline, I hope you will join or merry band
    Aphrodite Macbain: Have your found this interesting?
    stevenaia Michinaga: Korel will fill you in on the details, I’m sure
    Eline Adjani: possibly, but it is a very late hour for me
    Eline Adjani: it has been interesting, it was nice to give a little input
    Aphrodite Macbain: Please come during some of the discussions
    Aphrodite Macbain: Like 7AM and 1PM slt
    Paradise Tennant: smiles :)
    Aphrodite Macbain: Bye everyone
    Santoshima Resident: bye
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite aph :)))
    stevenaia Michinaga: I still have work to do, night all
    Eline Adjani: goodnight
    Santoshima Resident: bye stevie
    Paradise Tennant: nite nite stev :))
    oO0Oo Resident: I'll go too. ty everyone :)
    Paradise Tennant: I should go too :) thank you all for the wonderful conversation and company :)
    Paradise Tennant: a pleasure to meet you Eline hope to see you again :))
    druth Vlodovic: 'night all
    Santoshima Resident: bye Paradise
    oO0Oo Resident: bfn
    Santoshima Resident: bfn
    Paradise Tennant: namaste my friends :))
    Eline Adjani: namaste
    Santoshima Resident: namaste
    Santoshima Resident: bye for now

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    One thought that came to mind after we had this discussion -was how similar being in love was to the exercise Pema gave us to work on. Love really is stepping out of judgement or subjective criticism and into a state of joyful cherishing. The giddy heart racing romantic version and the measured deep abiding kind both embrace a version of reality - that stretches the subjective I into a "we". To get there you drop what is unnecessary – namely subjective criticism. Perhaps love is not so blind. ;)

    In a way practicing this exercise is a way of being in love - not with a person but with the present moment - no matter what it holds.

    Posted 22:05, 20 Jul 2012
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