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    I met Maxine Walden in Second Life on October 8, 2008 at her house on the beach with the sound of the waves as a backdrop. We discussed the beauty of the surroundings and Maxine noted that among other things, she enjoyed the rhythms and horizon views. I wanted to understand a view of the transition from the small gatherings of 2-3 people at the teahouse to the more complex group PaB is today.  I began by asking Maxine how she got into PaB.

    Maxine Walden: OK, I began to be aware that I wanted to move beyond my discipline, my professional identity about a year ago, not 18 mo or so.
    Maxine Walden: I know Princeton from twice yearly meetings with colleagues over 25 plus years, so knew of the IAS
    Maxine Walden: Went to their webpage, and checked out the various schools or departments, having in mind the hope
    Maxine Walden: to be able to converse with professionals from different fields, hoping that
    Maxine Walden: what I have studied for ove 40 years might be helpful to others, and they to me
    Maxine Walden: hoping for cross fertilization of a sort.
    Maxine Walden: So saw Piet’s webpage and thought the interdisciplinary school at IAS would be a good bet. Wrote Piet
    Maxine Walden: and asked if I could meet him sometime when I was in Princeton for my 6monthly meetings. Met him last March
    Adams Rubble: How timely
    Maxine Walden: during that weekend and it just so happened that he was beginning the PaB in April so the timing was very nice
    Maxine Walden: yes, very timely
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Maxine Walden: That is how I got to PaB which coincided with my intro to SL, as I had no exposure to the virtual world previously, none at all
    Adams Rubble: And so you had to learn SL skills at the same time as beginning PaB
    Maxine Walden: yes, indeed and not being too proficient with computer it was a bit of a learning curve
    Maxine Walden: In face I realize that I felt somewhat disoriented at first, and thus was probably rather stilted and viewing SL only as a vehicle for PaB
    Maxine Walden: The newness of SL, this whole new world as it were, was quite startling to me, and that took a bit of time to get used to. Probably especially for a seeming ‘grownup’
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Maxine Walden: Folks of course were very patient, Pema recommended a book on SL which I still have at hand…but the sense of feeling small in the midst of this ‘new world’ was an interesting and humbling one to contend with
    Adams Rubble: Yes, we all went through something similiar but not at the same time
    Maxine Walden: can imagine
    Adams Rubble: Did you begin the 9 seconds from the start?
    Maxine Walden: yes, I did, from in fact March 15, that weekend I met Piet at Princeton
    Adams Rubble: Ah, so you started PaB in RL
    Maxine Walden: actually I did
    Adams Rubble: Do you remember what you felt at the beginning?
    Maxine Walden: you know I recall better what it was like as I started SL, because I did have very intense discussions with Pema which offered a kind of structure but also a container for immersion
    Maxine Walden: into the experience.
    Maxine Walden: Having someone to speak with, to share the experience, as a kind of guide seemed vital
    Maxine Walden: as I had not really been interested in meditative things previously.
    Maxine Walden: Now there is another aspect I should mention as it comes to mind:
    Maxine Walden: that part of what I was also interested in, and felt would be explored would be
    Maxine Walden: different ways of knowing, how each of us might be exploring reality, different ways to explore reality
    Adams Rubble: Did that happen?
    Maxine Walden: not really. On several occasions I brought some thoughts to Pema, but he seemed most interested in exploring the 9 sec and PaB as he was thinking about them.
    Maxine Walden: At first that did not seem too much a problem, but after a few weeks I did begin to wonder about having to curb, our not being able to explore and value other ways, or being to learn from one another
    Adams Rubble: It seems that at the beginning most of the sessions were one or two people with Pema. Do you have that sense?
    Maxine Walden: I do have that sense of one or two with Pema. Often just he and I. And that was wonderful and exhilerating; actually I thought that we both enjoyed those discussions a lot partly because of the personal feeling of discussing minds
    Adams Rubble: They are wonderful to read :)
    Maxine Walden: oh, yes, when I reread them a few weeks ago, I also felt that exhileration, felt a bit wistful
    Maxine Walden: as that was an exciting time, as new beginnings often are
    Adams Rubble: Yes, I understand :)
    Maxine Walden: I think there was another wondering that crept in: I seemed to be
    Maxine Walden: in the doubting minority when Pema began to think expansively and buy land and turn a lot of attention to expansion.
    Maxine Walden: I was fearing that the focus was being lost re the inward exploration and that worried me a bit
    Maxine Walden: I can now see things in a different light, but that shift did make me realize that I needed to stay boundaried by what made sense to me, could not just go along with others out of excitement
    Adams Rubble: Was this in May?
    Maxine Walden: I do believe it was mid-May or so.
    Maxine Walden: There was an interesting thing that happened in early June for me:
    Maxine Walden: I had been meeting with Pema and others often couple of times a day, but for nearly a week in early June
    Maxine Walden: I was away at a conference where I had not email access
    Maxine Walden: When I returned I think I brought my more boundaried self back, not with all the previous excitement, but with the ‘me’ I had known over the years.
    Maxine Walden: There were also more people, things in PaB seemed to be changing, think there was a bit of re-equilibration after the ‘newness’ seemed to be wearing off
    Maxine Walden: As to my 9 sec practice: I flung myself into it very early on, as the chatlogs record, and in some ways lost my familiar self. After early June I realized that I really needed to proceed with my whole self, and whole mind, that is most important, and so I was a bit more withdrawn
    Maxine Walden: retaining my whole mind, and my own learnings from the 9 sec practice, and hoping to bring some interesting evolutions to the discussions, but there seemed to me to be more and more focus on Pema’s view, so I felt a bit disappointed
    Maxine Walden: I realize that he was building the community and needed to do that to get the number of guardians to man the schedule. I can appreciate that, am just relating what the experience over that timespan was for me
    Adams Rubble: Do you feel you were ready for a next step and all the new people had to go through the first step?
    Maxine Walden: what do you mean by ‘next step’?
    Adams Rubble: Hmmm. You were ready to discuss things in a different context?
    Maxine Walden: that which I had been hoping to do? that different context or are you thinking of something else?
    Adams Rubble: I am sorry if I am putting words in your mouth. I guess I was asking if it seemed the discussions had to go back to the beginning for the new folk
    Maxine Walden: oh, yes, I see what you mean, that the newbies required back to step one
    Adams Rubble: yes
    Maxine Walden: Yes, I was chomping on the bit, wishing for more continuity in the discussions. mentioned that to Pema a few times, but was also feeling a bit in that ‘older sib feeling that the new babies are taking up too much room’ , worried about that feeling which of course can be inhibiting
    Maxine Walden: but more continuity, next steps readily at hand, would have been good. Still, having said that, there is always merit in back to first steps, always more to learn…
    Adams Rubble: Did the move to the pavilion have any effect on your experience?
    Maxine Walden: I don’t think so, the teahouse was intimate, but the first pavilion was a perfect ‘next meeting place’ and this most recent move is to a still more spacious place. Think that the physical locale does not make that much difference to me
    Adams Rubble: The second question may be a contrast with my experience
    Adams Rubble: I was overwhelmed by the number of people when I first came. It took me possibly weeks to get veryone straight
    Adams Rubble: What is your experience as the group grew? Did they just come in a few at a time so it was easy to tell them apart?
    Maxine Walden: oh, sometimes, but there seemed to be clumps of new people also. So I felt a bit at a loss, like ‘where did that person come from?’ Several seemed to have been there for sometime and they were new to me, so I felt on shifting sands for awhile
    Maxine Walden: and finally felt that there would just be folks that I would not really get to know or others whose discussions I really valued; like the ‘quality’ (from my view) of the comments would sort out who I would get to know/value and who I would not. Felt that way about your contributions, this is someone I could talk to and felt it reciprocal, if I may say so
    Adams Rubble: (thank you, yes it was and is)
    Maxine Walden: but are you asking a more specific question about the ‘hordes’ of folk? The effect upon one’s experience?
    Adams Rubble: I think you answered it :)
    Maxine Walden: OK
    Adams Rubble: Do you have anything you would like to add about the subsequent months :)
    Maxine Walden: Let’s see. I am realizing with some sadness that my becoming more boundaried (for the reasons mentioned) that I have also been less communicative, such as my blog not being added to for several weeks/ maybe months. I am constantly self-monitoring
    Maxine Walden: and am trying to understand the creative aspects of the boundaries but also the impediment to the learning/sharing that I also value so much here. I have been hoping to continue dialogs with valued others, Pema especially, but realize a couple of things may impede that:
    Maxine Walden: one, that I may appear more withdrawn than I feel in terms of my earnestness about this endavor, and that 2) the largeness of the community may make the more intimate discussions less possible. Must say re 2) the current experiment re dialog make me hopeful that it is still possible

    The following were responses to my email questions:

    How PaB has impacted my dreams (or vice versa): I think my relationship to my dreams is a kind of meditation, a kind of being open to my inner cosmos, and in that way the general sense of opening to Being is like opening to my dreams even more than before.  I find them perhaps even more informing because of my enhanced openness, which is to say that the potential information may always have been there, and that I have become more able to read more deeply because of the practice.  There seems to be such wisdom in dreams and from that inner cosmos of the unconscious for me that is one reason I nearly equate it with Being.

    And as to what has kept me engaged:  think that I am on a quest generally at this stage of my life toward the bigger issues, and exploring the nature of reality seems like a very worthy topic to focus on in these latter decades of life.  The tenets of buddhism are so close to what I have come upon in the course of my experience in psychoanalysis over the past decades there seems to be a natural confluence.  The individual practice of the 9 sec has not always been steady for me, but the trend of investigation within the PaB community feels very compatible.


    Next: Solobill 

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