2008.04.22 07:00 - Whipping up a Fog

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    When Maxine materialized, this morning, she found herself outside the tea house, since that’s the place where she had left from, the evening before.

    Pema Pera: Hi Maxine, can you find your way in?
    Maxine Walden: hi, Pema, on my way
    Pema Pera: Yes, I can see you through the window, walking by from the place where you left yesterday.
    Pema Pera: isn’t this a beautiful window, half transparent, that Dakini created?
    Maxine Walden: exactly, I seem to just log out and then reappear again when I come back. Yes, a beautiful window…
    Maxine Walden: rather like the view of dreams upon wakening, half transparent
    Pema Pera: how nice to express it in that way!
    Maxine Walden: thanks…
    Pema Pera: I hadn’t thought about that image, but yes, it fits
    Maxine Walden: sort of at the point of transitions or going from one ‘world’ to another…
    Pema Pera: Also the uneven narrow wood beams criss crossing the circular opening give the window such a natural touch
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: and you now have your world of blogs in addition!
    Maxine Walden: yes, kind of melodic the crosshatching
    Maxine Walden: oh yes, and I felt so touched to have your and now Storm’s responses to that first posting…
    Maxine Walden: making me realize that the doubts etc are more a product of
    Maxine Walden: being alone with one’s uncertainties, and then the sense of being in an accepting
    Maxine Walden: community really relieves the shadows of doubt…very interesting

    What Maxine had told me reminded me of connections with science.

    Pema Pera: and the circularity of the opening and the squareness of the little wood beams also contrast very nicely with each other: the supporting structure of the wooden grid and the roundness of the opening itself . . . .
    Pema Pera: as for doubts
    Pema Pera: that is the key point of any real research project
    Pema Pera: and at the center of any scientific investigation
    Pema Pera: what makes science possible is the community of peers, that both support and critize each other.
    Pema Pera: What we are doing here feels very much like scientific research in that sense.
    Pema Pera: We often talk about spirituality and yes, definitely, that component is here, and I’m grateful for that.
    Pema Pera: But in my mind at least that is almost like an extra, an invited guest that graces us with an unplanned presence
    Pema Pera: The key method, in so far as we are using any method, is what I like to call `life as a lab’
    Pema Pera: to view and treat our lives as laboratories, in which we are probing the unknown
    Pema Pera: every day
    Pema Pera: every quarter of an hour in a little mini-probe complete with lab journal entry
    Pema Pera: and with an opportunity to touch base every six hours, to compare notes with each other if we like
    Pema Pera: research = doubt + peer support
    Maxine Walden: love this equation, it makes doubt part of a quest as opposed to an internal erosive element and I much prefer the former
    Pema Pera: If I may combine what we have just been talking about here: the openness of the window next to us is like the doubt we all feel, while the crisscrossing beams is like the support we give each other.
    Maxine Walden: think that when I wrote you way back in 07 I was searching for companions for such a quest,
    Maxine Walden: oh, I really like that image for the window
    Maxine Walden: it is like that…openness is likely always companioned by doubt and the support keeps the doubt cautionary and investigative
    Pema Pera: and each of the little beams is different: some wider some narrower, some more central some more toward the side, and together they form this beautiful pattern . . . .
    Maxine Walden: the atmosphere you describe also nicely counters, in a gentle way, the edgier aspects of ‘possession’ of the idea, often subtle wishes to be the ‘central support of the window’ (individual ambition)
    Maxine Walden: and that is what I think I have been trying to evolve beyond at least in my discipline, that ‘central guru’ thing
    Maxine Walden: you know, had another thought as I was preparing to come today, not long awake, etc: remembrance of how being in the experience of beauty helped me to have the quiet strength to do a painful but liberating thing in RL awhile back. But the notion of that quiet strength that can come from being amidst, a part of beauty…
    Pema Pera: you touch upon another key in scientific research: we admire great scientist, but don’t venerate them to the point of being uncritical — they are subject to peer review like everyone else, and there are many examples where they got things wrong too — I have to think now of one of Storm’s favorite sayings: holy men can be wrong ;-)
    Maxine Walden: I really am interested in this notion of evolving scientific thought via the critical and supportive discourse amidst respect and compassion
    Maxine Walden: it does seem the way to go…for the explorations which will get us beyond the trappings of personal issues

    I returned to what Maxine had said, a bit earlier.

    Pema Pera: . . . did I cut off your earlier thought when you wrote “, a part of beauty”? Sometimes our sentences tumble over each other out of order, when we are both typing . . .
    Maxine Walden: yes, the tumbling is actually just fine; when there are two interesting strands at the same time that is bound to happen and I felt torn between the ‘beauty’ comment and this re scientific discourse toward paradigm shifts, etc
    Pema Pera: please continue with beauty :-)
    Pema Pera: it is part of the SL texting culture that we can allow various strands to evolve and grow in parallel . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . another nice metaphor perhaps!
    Maxine Walden: oh, well, yes…it seemed that this remembrance ‘wanted’ to come to the teachouse this morning:
    Maxine Walden: and I recalled very specifically being amidst that beauty, which was for me being part of a small women’s choir singing some of that haunting music
    Maxine Walden: of the medieval period, and at one point, one exquisite chord in the piece, I was just struck
    Maxine Walden: by being a part of that chord, and I then knew what I had to do
    Maxine Walden: in order to extricate myself from a painful situation, had the glimpse of insight
    Maxine Walden: needed to do what was necessary and would be libertating
    Maxine Walden: and it seemed that the beauty of that momentary experience
    Maxine Walden: the beauty was a source of strength
    Maxine Walden: it seemd beauty as strength was the point, the thought
    Maxine Walden: that wanted to come to the teachouse
    Maxine Walden: it may be akin to the experience of awe re the cosmos, being a part of something so vast
    Maxine Walden: and so encompassing; perhaps that is part of the ’strength’
    Pema Pera: . . . chords in a piece of music . . . crisscrossing beams in the opening of a window . . . beauty and strength . . .
    Maxine Walden: being amidst this lightening atmosphere…is like being amidst those chords…
    Maxine Walden: yes, similar resonances perhaps
    Maxine Walden: the dawn light of early morning is so exquisite…as promise of the new day…
    Maxine Walden: and that is what I have been experiencing in the past few minutes here in the tea(c)house
    Maxine Walden: interesting too, that while here time really loses its meaning
    Maxine Walden: and I need to keep an eye on the clock for RL obligations at a certain point, but it is astounding how
    Maxine Walden: insignificant the element of time seems to be in SL experience
    Maxine Walden: also…it seems that in these early morning ‘awakenings’ that the ‘things to do’ in the RL day just become obvious and simple, tangles recede
    Pema Pera: yes, it is something that I feel I have just started to explore . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . RL and SL intertwining . . . .
    Maxine Walden: I too; at first with my familiar boundaries I felt hesitant about such an
    Maxine Walden: intertwining, and in ways I am still so, because boundaries do feel important to me
    Maxine Walden: in terms of providing the bounded space i find necessary for quiet evolving thought
    Maxine Walden: but there does seem to be a liberating aspect of some of the loosening of the boundaries…what is your experience so far?
    Pema Pera: yes, boundaries can be seen as supporting structure . . .
    Pema Pera: bones and shells support bodies
    Maxine Walden: like the crossbars of the window

    Quietly, Storm had walked up and sat down with us. It had fallen dark, and after a while Storm created a nice little lamp in the room, in the form of a white cone hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room, giving us a circle of light in the center where we were seated.

    Maxine Walden: hello, Storm
    Storm Nordwind: Hello both
    Pema Pera: Hi Storm!
    Maxine Walden: appreciate your response to my posting in my blog, Storm.
    Storm Nordwind: Oh good. I hoped you’d see it :)
    Maxine Walden: yes, it was moving. Thank you
    Pema Pera looking on in wonder at Storm’s white triangles . . . .
    Maxine Walden: I do need to ask it seems that here in SL the dawn has been coming and then receding several times is that usual…oh, that is a Storm creation!
    Maxine Walden: Storm, what significance to the triangles, or is that for each of our inference?
    Storm Nordwind: Well I have only make a single cone (as my viewer sees it)
    Storm Nordwind: It was dark in here. I just made a light.
    Storm Nordwind: You’d prefer a sphere
    Storm Nordwind: maybe?
    Maxine Walden: oh, he brings in a light…cone of light is great
    Storm Nordwind: Perhaps a warmer glow
    Maxine Walden: there has been an interesting shift back and forth between dawn and dark here in SL at least to my perception in the last 20 or so minutes
    Maxine Walden: so thanks for the glowing light
    Storm Nordwind: The night is not yet half way through - though it is only an hour
    Maxine Walden: Is that Romeo’s line ?

    At this moment Storm made another creation: he let a shining white fog appear, rolling over the center of the room.

    Pema Pera: wow!!!
    Pema Pera: a sea of mist . . . .
    Pema Pera: bathing in light . . . .
    Maxine Walden: oh, my,
    Maxine Walden: yes, bathed in light…a bright mist
    Storm Nordwind: I don’t see this as the fog of illusion. It is too comfortaing and reassuring for that :)
    Pema Pera: a Storm whipping up a mist . . . . rather than dispersing!
    Storm Nordwind: If it is too much I can lower it a little
    Maxine Walden: it does make me wish to get a wrap, a shawl of some sort
    Pema Pera: maybe we need a little heater in addition to the little lamp . . .
    Storm Nordwind: I can arrange that
    Maxine Walden: perhaps I feel I spend a lot of time in my own mists internally…
    Maxine Walden: so this is both not too unfamiliar and also a little alien to experience here in SL

    Storm then changed the color of his fog to a warm dark yellow shine.

    Maxine Walden: oh, here comes some sunlight sort of, flowing into our room
    Maxine Walden: I think Arthur asked Merlin to do such wonders out on the coasts of (can’t recall ) Tintagle I think
    Storm Nordwind: The place is claimed by many different sites in the UK, all wanting it to be their heritage!
    Maxine Walden: I will need to go in a couple of minutes, just to say so that I don’t seem to disappear all at once…
    Storm Nordwind: Before you go, please scan your camera back to look at this tea hourse from outside
    Maxine Walden: yes, I had encountered that in the UK, …I will scan back…to see the flow of light and heat?
    Storm Nordwind: yes
    Maxine Walden: it will be a wondrous sight I am sure
    Storm Nordwind: It looks as though a fire has caught hold under the floor
    Maxine Walden: to the uninitiated that could seem quite dangerous or worrisome
    Pema Pera: the glow of Play as Being :-)
    Maxine Walden: I had better go, and Pema will know that i need to navigate a bit to leave the teachouse and look back…yes the glow of PaB

    Maxine walked out the door and looked back at the tea house, standing there under a starry sky, in the middle of the darkness. However, the glowing fog that Storm had created somehow was seeping under the floor and out a bit to the side, to the point that there was a deep glowing visible near the foundations of the tea house.

    Maxine Walden: oh, the glow is just wonderful, really is!!
    Storm Nordwind: Bye Maxine!
    Pema Pera: warm too, isn’t it?
    Maxine Walden: bye for now! yes and warm too
    Pema Pera: bye, Maxine!
    Storm Nordwind: yes - if i knew all the colours I could control this things properly!
    Pema Pera: oh, but you’re doing a wonderful job!
    Storm Nordwind: I’m sorry if I interrupted before - I have no clue what was going on before I arrived. I just came straight in with extra light. You might even have been preferring the dark!
    Pema Pera: oh no, it’s always great to have you drop by, Storm
    Pema Pera: and you were not interrupting at all
    Storm Nordwind: I never want to stifle the flow of people who do not quite have the devil-may-care confidence that I have!
    Pema Pera: I will let you know if ever there is a particularly delicate conversation going on
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you. And you know that I will never be offended by that :)
    Pema Pera: I know, and I appreciate that!
    Storm Nordwind: This tea house looks great from the outside. In RL I would have called the fire brigade!
    Pema Pera: hahaha, yes
    Pema Pera: all that wood in the structure, dangerous!
    Storm Nordwind: But cheap and plentiful
    Storm Nordwind: It was good to see those other blogs
    Storm Nordwind: I was inspired by Dakini’s to tinker with the config of my own
    Storm Nordwind: I just hadn’t bothered before apart from choosing the theme
    Storm Nordwind: Not knowing, of course, whether or not I would ever use it
    Storm Nordwind: Merely reserving the name on an important URL as I usually do
    Pema Pera: good habit
    Pema Pera: nice photograph!
    Storm Nordwind: The RL photo was taken by my fiancee in Denver after I arrived there just before Christmas
    Storm Nordwind: The SL one I took yesterday myself
    Storm Nordwind: She took out the background of the RL one
    Storm Nordwind: Houses sometimes are less than interesting!
    Pema Pera: haha, yes, I just clicked on her web site, since you linked it — beautiful art!
    Pema Pera: just looking at the paintings
    Storm Nordwind: I don’t think she puts her best stuff on there, or at least not presented as it should IMO be!
    Pema Pera: presentation is an art in itself
    Storm Nordwind: But that is the person you have met here with me
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: I understood

    It was time again to leave.

    Pema Pera: well, I’ll have to go soon
    Storm Nordwind: ok
    Pema Pera: have to inspect a new science exhibit in SL
    Storm Nordwind: cool :)
    Pema Pera: The web site looks fine to me
    Pema Pera: but everything can always be improved of course
    Pema Pera: want to come along?
    Storm Nordwind: What’s the exhibit?
    Pema Pera: trying to remember
    Pema Pera: so much happening. . . .
    Pema Pera: ah . . .
    Storm Nordwind: haha!
    Pema Pera: expanding universe
    Pema Pera: big bang
    Storm Nordwind: wow!
    Pema Pera: educational exhibit
    Pema Pera: by Emileigh Starbrook. She is REALLY good as a building in SL
    Storm Nordwind: Do I go dressed like this or in “civvies”?
    Pema Pera: either way is perfectly fine!
    Pema Pera: she is open minded
    Pema Pera: I’ll go over and tp you
    Storm Nordwind: Let me remove the effects first
    Pema Pera: and you can respond to the tp when you are ready — no rush
    Pema Pera: thanks for cleaning up ;>)

    We then went over and admired the new Big Bang exhibition that was being built.

    But that was not all that happened for me, that morning in Rieul. While we had been talking away inside the tea house, I had noticed that another visitor had strolled by, Padre Hamer, and when I looked at his profile, I was that he had a rather broad interest in many topics related to our conversations. So afterwards I IMed him, and we embarked on the following conversations.

    Pema Pera: Hi Padre! Just saw your walking by the little tea house in Rieul, a few minutes ago, but you tp-ed away before I could say hi. Saw your profile though, and was intrigued. If you have some time and interest, now or later, please do feel free to drop by — as for our activities, which are very informal and mostly just having informal conversations, see http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Padre Hamer: Hey
    Padre Hamer: Namaste
    Pema Pera: Namaste!
    Padre Hamer: Are you part of the Universal Sufi Center of SL?
    Pema Pera: no, but I deeply admire what Sufis are giving to the world . . .
    Padre Hamer: I mean the group on SL
    Pema Pera: ah, I am subscribed to a group, yes
    Pema Pera: but haven’t heard from them yet
    Padre Hamer: I’m the same person as Aldo Gustafson, the creator of the group. That account was cancelled because the payment did not go through.
    Padre Hamer: So you will not be hearing from the group;-)
    Pema Pera: ah, your av definitely had all the signs of an alt, haha
    Padre Hamer: alt?
    Pema Pera: alt, I mean, born very recently, no payment on file, yes, mature looking in description and with many groups . . . .

    At this point Padre offered me group membership in “Second Life Interfaith Ministry”.

    Pema Pera: what do you plan to do, for your new group?
    Padre Hamer: I send out faily inspirations, we will have group discussions so we can learn from eachother, and someday I would like to open up a Universal House of Worship/Spiritual Library.
    Pema Pera: *daily?
    Pema Pera: sounds like a great initiative!
    Padre Hamer: LOL…faily
    Padre Hamer: A new word!
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: we have to fail — as to who we think we are — in order to wake up to what we really are . . .
    Padre Hamer: So like Sufism?
    Pema Pera: yes, very much so
    Padre Hamer: Same here;-)
    Padre Hamer: Clearly…
    Padre Hamer: :-)
    Pema Pera: daily presence in SL can be very powerful . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . any spiritual tradition is supported by continuity . . .
    Padre Hamer: Can you do a favor for the group?
    Pema Pera: what is that?
    Padre Hamer: Invite all the friends you might think would be interested in joining to the group.
    Padre Hamer: The more people we have, the more teachers we have:-)
    Pema Pera: oh, sure, by mentioning it in my blog I’ll reach quite a few people already.
    Pema Pera: that sounds similar to what I am trying to do in my group — we don’t use the word teachers, but rather peers and mentors
    Pema Pera: May I ask about your background?
    Pema Pera: Have you been in SL for a long time?
    Padre Hamer: I created Aldo Gustafson on I believe February 18 of 07, and actively used it from that time until October of 07.
    Padre Hamer: So yeah, I have been :-)
    Pema Pera: Did you have many meetings with your previous group?
    Padre Hamer: Well, I gave 3 messages, lead 2 prayer services, and lead 2 or 3 Zikrs.
    Padre Hamer: I was active for a month or so.
    Pema Pera: with interfaith
    Padre Hamer: yes
    Pema Pera: do you mean primarily monotheistic traditions?
    Pema Pera: or also say Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, . . . .
    Padre Hamer: Well, I try to keep what I say universal, and I have had people of both monotheistic and polytheistic religions listen to me. I’m personally panentheistic, so I probably have a tendency to sound more theistic. I don’t know though.
    Pema Pera: perhaps no reason to set a strict agenda
    Pema Pera: and instead to see who comes and what will emerge naturally

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