Pema: Some Reflections on Playing as Being

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       During the PaB `urban retreat' in San Francisco, April 2010,
       one of the topics that came up was the question of how exactly
       we "play as Being"; what is it that we do in RL, when we take
       our frequent short breaks, and what is it that we do while we
       are logged into SL and meet each other there?

       For me, the retreat was a kind of wake-up call.  Even though
       I have been involved deeply into the whole notion of playing
       as Being, to my own surprise I came to see the enormity of the
       whole notion, as if for the first time.  Isn't it amazing how we
       sometimes can stop to watch a flower, or a close friend, or even
       an idea, in what feels like a completely fresh way?

       I felt more deeply how utterly radical it is to set aside the game
       of playing myself.  Our whole society is geared toward fitting into
       the roles that we are supposed to play, and each moment we are part
       of a web of expectations.  Somehow it hit me how much I still see
       myself as defined through those expectations, and how much more I
       can let go of all that.

       And the paradox is: the more I refused to let myself be defined
       by that web of expectations, the more I could actually play along
       better and be a better friend for my friends, colleague for my
       colleagues, family member for my family.  Playing as Being playing
       me in my current role felt so much more relaxed and open than just
       me playing me with all my little anxieties and concerns.

       This kind of increased openness and relaxation has carried on into
       the PaB sessions that I have attended this last week, following the
       retreat.  More than before, I'm trying to avoid any multitasking,
       and just be there, in the pavilion, with my PaB friends.  Even if
       no one writes anything for a few minutes, I don't go into my email
       or other little chores, no matter how urgent they may seem.  I may
       watch my breath and my posture, or I may look up and enjoy the feel
       of the room in which I'm sitting, sensing the integration of my RL
       presence in front of the keyboard while also being present in SL.

       I've always tried to be present that way, especially when PaB was
       still this brand new exploration, two years ago, but I realize how
       easy it is to fall into a pattern, and to let that freshness slip.
       The RL retreat has been a very welcome reminder to me to return to
       a beginner's mind, a kind of PaB newbie mind.

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