2008.05.02 19:00 -The long and the short

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    The guardian at this meeting was Pema Pera and the comments are his.

    That evening, I could not get to the tea house in time, since in RL I had a formal dinner at work that did not allow me to leave early. Therefore, I had asked Dakini to be present and keep a log of the conversation. She kindly did so, and provided her own commentary, just as Storm had done, five days earlier.

    From here on, in the rest of this blog entry, the narrative is all Dakini’s.

    This is Dakini, filling in for Pema, who was not supposed to be here for the Friday 7PM session. Thorberg showed up for the tail end of our zazen practice and we waited together until time for Playingasbeing, chatting about Buddhism and one of SL’s hot topics, virtual land.

    Thorberg Nordlicht: the area where we are now is perfect for your building project here
    Dakini Rhode: well, this was a little more interesting until i accidentally flattened it today
    Thorberg Nordlicht: haha, i know what you mean
    Dakini Rhode: I intended to flatten the bit along the new fence, but…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i’ve owned a number of lots in SL and have obsessed over terraforming trying to get things just right and then accidentally flattening it all again
    Dakini Rhode: I ended up flattening the whole Zen Retreat!
    Dakini Rhode: I’ve done this twice now
    Thorberg Nordlicht: well i think your area here is terrific! you have quite a knack for creating just the right atmosphere
    Thorberg Nordlicht: my building projects tend toward much more austere skyboxes
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’m also fascinated with making use of SL features like having walls that are transparent (windows) from the inside but opaque from the outside
    Dakini Rhode: When I was very new here, the Avatarian Zen Retreat was in this spot
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I see, so this has been a Zen Retreat for a while even before you got here
    Dakini Rhode: I came here a lot, as a newbie you could set it to Home
    Dakini Rhode: yes
    Dakini Rhode: In short time, the group split up and all their lovely gardens and temples poofed
    Dakini Rhode: the Zen Retreat was just a flat empty plot of land - very Zen
    Thorberg Nordlicht: There’s a clothing store in SL called House of Zen (or some such). They used to have a Zendo secreted away on their Island, but I visited recently and it’s all been remodeled.
    Dakini Rhode: I wasn’t accustomed to how fast things change in SL
    Dakini Rhode: I was attached to the old Zen Retreat
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes, time passes more quickly here.
    Dakini Rhode: So I bought the land to restore it
    Dakini Rhode: It was really quite different from this
    Dakini Rhode: I started out trying to make it the same, but now it’s quite different
    Dakini Rhode: I’ve also added on quite a bit of land
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Your 20 minute zazen seems about right for the SL pace rather than 40 minutes in RL
    Dakini Rhode: Not sure that people would do 40 minutes here
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes, I agree
    Dakini Rhode: I get a lot of real beginners
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Seems like 20 minutes is about right
    Dakini Rhode: It usually turns into 30 minutes, we get started late
    Dakini Rhode: then if people stay to chat, it’s an hour
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I lost track of the time and showed up late, about when you were done
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’ll try to be on time in the future
    Dakini Rhode: yes, just before we were done
    Dakini Rhode: Of course you’re welcome to sit here anytime
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes, thank you
    Dakini Rhode: I was spending sooo much time in SL - I got caught up in learning to build things
    Dakini Rhode: I thought I’d better practice here - so I started having the sittings every night
    Dakini Rhode: Something to get myself back into a routine
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good plan; I understand
    Dakini Rhode: I’m glad to find other people who are interesting in this practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: So, in regard to “Play as Being” I’m not real clear on where that’s headed but seems like an interesting discussion
    Dakini Rhode: we seem to be the playasbeing group tonight
    Thorberg Nordlicht: fine with me
    Dakini Rhode: the group is doing a certain practice
    Dakini Rhode: 9 seconds every 15 minutes, for one hour a day or however much time we’re willing to devote to it
    Dakini Rhode: Short breaks throught the day to “play as being”
    Dakini Rhode: As I understand it, and try to practice it, it’s a pause to sort of shift my focus
    Thorberg Nordlicht: As I deepen my formal Zazen practice, I find that I spontaneously come back to “following my breath” often during the day.
    Dakini Rhode: My tradition has the concept of “post-meditation practice” which is similar
    Dakini Rhode: To retain the thread of our practice, as we go about our daily tasks
    Dakini Rhode: Outside of formal sitting practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes, likewise in Soto Zen teachings
    Dakini Rhode: This way, perhaps our practice will be more integrated
    Thorberg Nordlicht: carrying the Zazen perspective into the rest of our daily lives.
    Dakini Rhode: I think its beneficial
    Dakini Rhode: to do the longer sitting practice AND the short practice
    Thorberg Nordlicht: agree
    Dakini Rhode: the short practice and the long practice are different experiences, really
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes
    Thorberg Nordlicht: So, Pema’s idea is to meet periodically and report/discuss the effects of short practice periods throughout the day?
    Dakini Rhode: And he logs the discussions in his blog
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, I looked briefly at his blog, but will have to go back and read it in more detail
    Dakini Rhode: that’s quite helpful, I find I can feel connected and feel a continuity even when I can’t make the meetings
    Dakini Rhode: I’ll be logging our chat, if it’s OK with you
    Dakini Rhode: at least starting from 7PM
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, that’s ok with me
    Dakini Rhode: just to keep up the tradition
    Dakini Rhode: this is my first time “facilitating”
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i see
    Dakini Rhode: I dont actually know what Pema does
    Thorberg Nordlicht: will you add to Pema’s blog, then?
    Dakini Rhode: yes!
    Dakini Rhode: if that’s oK with you
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, that’s fine with me
    Pema Pera is Online

    Waitaminute, was that Pema Online? But… Pema wasn’t supposed to be here!… Pema slowly rezzed before our eyes, sporting a Mohawk haircut…

    Thorberg Nordlicht: ah, speaking of Pema…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: we were just talking about you :-)

    Pema had been speaking to us in the IM window instead of the chat window.

    Dakini Rhode: the ghost of Pema!
    Dakini Rhode: Maybe switch to chat, Pema?
    Pema Pera: I was wondering what happened
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: gassho did not work
    Dakini Rhode: hey
    Pema Pera: dead give away
    Dakini Rhode: gassho does not work in IM
    Dakini Rhode: lol
    Dakini Rhode: Thorberg and I have been the PaB group tonight
    Pema Pera: no gassho-at-a-distance
    Pema Pera: (physics joke : action-at-a-distance
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sorry, a little slow on the uptake
    Pema Pera: did you have fun playing?
    Dakini Rhode: thank you for explaining that it’s physics
    Dakini Rhode: haha
    Pema Pera: nerd joke;>)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: i should have gotten it… oh well
    Dakini Rhode: Pema, you seem to be sinking
    Pema Pera: sinking?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: into the ground
    Pema Pera: I need green tea clearly
    Dakini Rhode: The physics of this place is not working tonight
    Chawan : Don’t you feel at one with nature now, Pema Pera so peaceful and relaxed.
    Dakini Rhode: shall we convene in the teahouse?
    Pema Pera: sure!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: sure
    Pema Pera: nice to see you have your owner’s place, Dakini

    Thorberg enjoyed several cups of green tea in quick successsion…

    Cha-No-Yu Japanese Tea Ceremony (Taupe): Please enjoy your ceremonial cup of cha, Thorberg Nordlicht-san. Goziemashta arigato.
    Pema Pera: like the first time I set foot here
    Cha-No-Yu Japanese Tea Ceremony (Taupe): Please enjoy your ceremonial cup of cha, Thorberg Nordlicht-san. Goziemashta arigato.
    Dakini Rhode: the door?
    Pema Pera: or set calves here
    Cha-No-Yu Japanese Tea Ceremony (Taupe): Please enjoy your ceremonial cup of cha, Thorberg Nordlicht-san. Goziemashta arigato.
    Chawan : Mmmm, delicious green cha made in the ceremonial Japanese tradition, Thorberg Nordlicht, so refreshing!
    Pema Pera: this cushion next to the tea set
    Dakini Rhode: yes, I have the hosts’ door and cushion
    Pema Pera: in charge yes
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: door!
    Dakini Rhode: at your service, yes!
    Pema Pera: that door
    Pema Pera: haha
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I came at 1 AM last night, but was the only one here.
    Pema Pera: misleading
    Chawan : Mmm..
    Pema Pera: seemingly in service but in that way in control, no?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Sat on the hanging teapot and surveyed the room for a while :-)
    Dakini Rhode: I didnt’ make a short door,too hard to enter in SL
    Pema Pera: ready to throw out drunkards
    Pema Pera: yes
    Dakini Rhode: haha you’re not the first to sit on that teapot
    Chawan : Don’t you feel at one with nature now, Thorberg Nordlicht so peaceful and relaxed.
    Pema Pera: we have a very forgiving hostess Thorberg
    Dakini Rhode: does it make the whole room spin>?
    Pema Pera: left clicking with alt will do that to
    Dakini Rhode: haha yes
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, if you go to “mouseview” your see the room turn around you
    Dakini Rhode: Pema I do not come to SL to play the part of stern hostess lol

    Thorberg made a brilliant suggestion…

    Thorberg Nordlicht: Dakini, you should have something inside the teapot, so when folks explore by moving their camera around they discover some little surprise in there
    Dakini Rhode: Not sure why I come here, but not for that
    Pema Pera: So you were already playing as Dakini as Being before PaB
    Dakini Rhode: ooh good idea! I little gremlin or something?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: your choice
    Pema Pera: Dakini is not so little and certainly no gremlin ;>)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, Dakini was being an excellent host
    Dakini Rhode: lol but she is a poor typist
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’m delighted to find like-minded folks in SL
    Dakini Rhode: I don’t even bother to fix the typos anymore, by the time they show on the screen I’ve gone way past them
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’ve made the rounds of various “clubs” etc. but just not places I want to hang out
    Dakini Rhode: I agree, Thorberg!
    Pema Pera: I’m really glad you took root here so quickly Thorberg!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I appreciate you all being so friendly to a newcomer
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I’m still getting used to developing an avatar persona that’s not too different from my real life self
    Pema Pera: well, I certainly hever have worn a mohawk in RL . . . .
    Pema Pera: and probably never will ;>)
    Dakini Rhode: One of our newer members inspired me today… he said the avatar affects his RL thinking
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I have another male avatar — much younger — that I use from time to time, but crossing gender is a little advanced for me.
    Pema Pera: Yes, Dakini, Sky talked about that too a while ago
    Dakini Rhode: So I thought I should try something totally different
    Pema Pera: how she imagined herself as a fox
    Pema Pera: and it gave her peace in a tense RL situation
    Pema Pera: totally different?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: oh, and then I have THIS avatar…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: oops, that’s just the box; haha
    Dakini Rhode: But then I thought, this helpse me to be more comfortable with my real self
    Dakini Rhode: haha
    Dakini Rhode: love wearing those boxes!
    Pema Pera: haha yes
    Pema Pera: butterfly how nice!
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I kind of enjoy this…
    Pema Pera: hard to sit thought
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I like to fly along the roads and buzzz newbies
    Dakini Rhode: haha maybe the tiny cusion would work I need to see this
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: we’ll call you when we get the next newbie
    Thorberg Nordlicht: haha, ok
    Pema Pera: you know, aha, how about a “butterfly out of a bottle”
    (like a ghost out of)

    So 45 minutes into the PaB session, the conversation turned to analysis of virtual reality memories vs. consensual reality memories…

    Thorberg Nordlicht: but back to your previous point, Pema…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I think it’s interesting how some SL thinking crosses over into RL
    Pema Pera: memory is interesting
    Pema Pera: my SL memories and RL memories seem to be in just about the same place
    Pema Pera: very different from email and phone conversations
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I sure we all — as part of our inner dialog — imagine conversations we might have with people, I find that when I’m thinking about talking to a real life person, somehow the feeling of SL avatar interactions kind of creep in.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Hmmm, that didn’t come out very clearly….
    Thorberg Nordlicht: but definitely something interesting going on there.
    Pema Pera: yes I think I know what you mean
    Pema Pera: looking at people in the street for example Thorberg Nordlicht: Like my mind doesn’t make as much distinction between RL interpersonal interactions and SL interactions as I might have expected.
    Pema Pera: You know, when you come out of a movie theatre, the first minute or so you seem to be still walking in a movie . . .
    Pema Pera: similar to coming out of SL
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes, I know what you mean…
    Pema Pera: but you do that more often than coming out of a theater
    Thorberg Nordlicht: And then there’s wanting to use alt-drag in RL life and realizing “oh, this is RL, can’t do that here”
    Dakini Rhode: haha
    Pema Pera: yes!!!
    Pema Pera: I know that feeling
    Pema Pera: or looking behind a wall . . . .
    Thorberg Nordlicht: wouldn’t that be nice in real life is you could just swing your POV around to different perspectives like you can in SL?
    Pema Pera: zoom in and turn around
    Pema Pera: yes!
    Pema Pera: lol
    Thorberg Nordlicht: right, we were both typing the same point…
    Dakini Rhode: Virtual reality gives you quite an interesting perspective on what is real
    Pema Pera: or the sit trick
    Pema Pera: do you know that one?
    Pema Pera: to tunnel through a wall?
    Pema Pera: without using a door?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: It surprises me that RL and SL are apparently not a cleanly paritioned in my mind as I might have expected.
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Yes!
    Pema Pera: clever idea
    Pema Pera: natural in a way
    Thorberg Nordlicht: ((thinking: ok, now the conversation is getting interesting))
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: looking for new tricks?
    Thorberg Nordlicht: also, wanting to IM people in RL so you can carry on a “private conversation” on the side
    Dakini Rhode: Um, I do that
    Pema Pera: for me the transition from SL to RL is interesting because traditionally the image of wider insight has been waking up from a dream . . .
    Pema Pera: yes, lol, indeed!!
    Pema Pera: very inconvenient, RL
    Pema Pera: so SL gives a new metaphor
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes, RL is so limiting
    Pema Pera: which could go either way, by the way!
    Pema Pera: waking up from which to which?
    Dakini Rhode: Its neither here nor there
    Pema Pera: waking up to greater degrees of freedom when going into SL
    Thorberg Nordlicht: “monk dreaming he was a butterfly or butterfly
    dreaming he was a monk”
    Pema Pera: waking up to more a sense of traditional reality when
    going out
    Pema Pera: yes, exactly!
    Pema Pera: avatar dreaming she was an alt
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Pema, expand on “…image of wider insight…
    waking up from a dream…”
    Pema Pera: traditionally, the starting idea of spiritual training is that of a long and tedious path
    Pema Pera: but then when a deep insight has arisen
    Pema Pera: the general response is:
    Pema Pera: Hey, how strange, it was there all along, I tried to grasp for it reach for it but it was closer than my own nose, my own bones . . . .
    Thorberg Nordlicht: I see
    Pema Pera: so the metaphor for that is then “waking up from a dream”
    Pema Pera: no distance needs to be crossed
    Pema Pera: only “eyes” have to be “opened”
    Pema Pera: but not the physical eyes nor the dream eyes
    Pema Pera: “eyes” is yet another metaphor
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Maybe I’m free-associating to something you didn’t mean, but what comes to mind is the distinction between “knowing” and “knowing that you know”…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: when you suddently “know that you know”, you realize the basic know had already been there a long time
    Pema Pera: perhaps like searching for your glasses everywhere and then realizing that you were wearing them all along . . . .
    Thorberg Nordlicht: yes! like the ox herding pictures…
    Thorberg Nordlicht: you were riding the ox the whole time you were looking for it
    Dakini Rhode: oops caps
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Pema Pera: I wondered about the SUDDEN INSIGHT haha
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Interesting mix of conversation… definitely a different tone than real life conversation…. but to me, something good/nice happening here
    Pema Pera: more like a ballet of words . . .
    Thorberg Nordlicht: haven’t experienced this before in SL
    Thorberg Nordlicht: hello
    Pema Pera: welcome!

    So an hour into the session, Maurizio materialized on one of the cushions,
    sporting a full head of long, spikey standard SL hair.

    Maurizio Collas: hello
    Pema Pera: greetings, Maurizio
    Dakini Rhode: Hi, Maurizio
    Maurizio Collas: thank you, hope to not disturb
    Pema Pera: suddenly my hair looks fairly normal here . . .;>)
    Pema Pera: not at all!
    Dakini Rhode: you’re very welcome to join us
    Maurizio Collas: thank you
    Pema Pera: many people drop in when they pass by
    Thorberg Nordlicht: We’d be hard pressing to catch you up on what we were talking about, but join the mix; welcome
    Pema Pera: have you been here before?
    Maurizio Collas: no, never before, what this place is about?
    Pema Pera: well . . . . . .
    Pema Pera: Dakini, do you want to start with the history
    Pema Pera: back when the tea house was a glimmer in your eye?
    Dakini Rhode: this is a teahouse
    Dakini Rhode: and outside is a retreat space
    Dakini Rhode: We have some scheduled events here
    Thorberg Nordlicht: Dakini built the place; Pema promoted this regularly schedule discussion group; and I’m a relative newcomer
    Dakini Rhode: Zazen - sitting meditation pactice - and discussions
    Maurizio Collas: well, it’s very good, i lke meditation and relaxation
    Maurizio Collas: and also, discussions
    Pema Pera: my role here is to bring in the play element; calling it Play as Being: see http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/ — but Dakini was playing here already long before I did — I institutionalized it, so to speak ;>)
    Pema Pera: Maurizio, what I suggested we do here is to do a very very short type of meditation
    Pema Pera: all of nine seconds believe it or not
    Dakini Rhode: haha back
    Pema Pera: many times a day
    Pema Pera: so every fifteen minutes I suggest to do a 9-sec suspension of normal awareness . . . .
    Pema Pera: so for a few hours a day, we pay a 1% time tax: every 15 minutes = 900 sec a 9 second break
    Pema Pera: and then four times a day we gather here to compare notes and chat
    Pema Pera: for those who want to come
    Pema Pera: each time different mix of people
    Pema Pera: I have been fascinated by how well it “works” how is seems to affect most people, including myself
    Pema Pera: even though the duration is so short
    Thorberg Nordlicht: some folks who show up also maintain a regular, more formal meditation practice, and others are new to meditation, entirely
    Pema Pera: yes, Thor, we have a fascinating mix
    Maurizio Collas: i’m just looking the website, still don’t understood 100% what is all about
    Pema Pera: there is a LOT of stuff there
    Dakini Rhode: Maurizio, *I* don’t understand 100% what it is about
    Pema Pera: the real meaning will, hopefully, emerge out of the fog of many dialogues . . . .
    Pema Pera: I don’t either, haha
    Pema Pera: but something is coming out
    Pema Pera: like out of a shell . . . .
    Pema Pera: egg shelll
    Dakini Rhode: it takes its own direction
    Maurizio Collas: mmm..
    Pema Pera: it’s a bit like first experience of going into SL — far more dramatic than you might have guessed; similarly with taking ten 9-sec breaks and then you see that your live becomes lighter, different — according to many accounts; we are only beginning to get an idea what that is all about . . . .
    Pema Pera: something about trading duration for frequency
    Pema Pera: trading meditation for integration
    Pema Pera: but I suggest you just try
    Maurizio Collas: it sounds soo new and soo interesting to me
    Pema Pera: and see what happens
    Maurizio Collas: yes, i will try sure
    Pema Pera: ten sessions is still less that the time needed to brush your teeth (if you include flossing :-)
    Pema Pera: so we are here at 7 am 1 pm 7 pm and soon even at 1 am
    Pema Pera: ’cause I’ll be in Japan starting on Monday
    Pema Pera: to take the graveyard shift
    Pema Pera: in full daylight there
    Maurizio Collas: ehhe, japan, what a nice country
    Pema Pera: love it
    Maurizio Collas: never been there, but i know i would like it
    Maurizio Collas: hey, excuseme now, but i have to run out
    Maurizio Collas: may i return tomorrow?
    Dakini Rhode: please!
    Maurizio Collas: ok :)
    Pema Pera: of course!
    Pema Pera: please do so
    Pema Pera: see you!
    Maurizio Collas: tnx for the ospitality
    Maurizio Collas: looks very nice people
    Pema Pera: thanks for enlivening the atmosphere!
    Dakini Rhode: nice to meet you, Maurizio
    Maurizio Collas: bye bye :)
    Thorberg Nordlicht: good bye bye for now
    Pema Pera: and for making my hair look simple!
    Maurizio Collas: ahahhaha :D
    Pema Pera: well, I will do a reverse awakening soon . . . .
    Pema Pera: ready for it
    Dakini Rhode: :-)
    Pema Pera: we soon need a bar
    Pema Pera: for overflow

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