2008.06.07 13:00 - Humans are Flat

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    That afternoon, Storm was the guardian. He sent me the following chat log, with his comments included.

    Storm was standing in (or rather “kneeling” in) for Dakini in the tea house. Fael joining quickly before the hour had even arrived and we started talking about some old Zen stories that have been in print for a long time but are now all over the Web.

    Fael Illyar: I was reading some Zen stories and reflecting on them for an hour now.
    Storm Nordwind: Which particular ones?
    Fael Illyar: Well, there was one I didn’t quite understand. In addition several made me quite thoughtful.
    Storm Nordwind: In a book or online?
    Fael Illyar: http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/zenstory.html
    Storm Nordwind: I will read.
    Fael Illyar: Gutei’s Finger is the one I didn’t quite understand
    Storm Nordwind: Ah yes the 101 Zen stories.
    Storm Nordwind: What were your thoughts on it so far?
    Fael Illyar: Unusual for me but I can’t quite find a thread in there to pick up. even to know what to ask.
    Storm Nordwind: I am not a Zen monk and perhaps I should leave it to one to comment before me!
    Storm Nordwind: But we can discuss it if you wish.
    Fael Illyar: If you think you understand the story, I’d like to discuss it.
    Storm Nordwind: I think this is a story that cannot be discussed! It is one of those that sink in in the background.
    Storm Nordwind is aware of contradicting himself!
    Fael Illyar: Well, it certainly is hard to find a thread from.
    Storm Nordwind: Perhaps thinking of reality. The boy was mimicking Gutei, but was not him. Gutei removed the thing that he was relying on and then said “What now? What is the real me and the real finger?”
    Storm Nordwind: Of all the 101 stories, it is one of the least obvious, and to some it is one of the least satisfying.
    Storm Nordwind: But I have had that book of stories for 30 years. It is well worn!
    Fael Illyar: Yes, those stories are quite interesting :)
    Storm Nordwind: I can can keep coming back to them, year after year, and still I enjoy many of them.
    Fael Illyar: the Elephant and Flea had me laughing :)
    Storm Nordwind: Yes there are some lovely ones. My favourite is, however, not in that set. Let me see if I can find it…

    While I scurried round to find the story - which is a modern joke in reality - Pia joined us.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Pia
    Fael Illyar: Inside
    Pia Iger: ok. Come in.
    Fael Illyar: umm, come in?
    Storm Nordwind: Hello Pia
    Pia Iger: Hi, Storm, How are you?
    Storm Nordwind: Fine thank you. And you?
    Fael Illyar: We were discussing stories on this page http://www-usr.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/zenstory.html

    I’d found my story/joke.

    Storm Nordwind: My favourite story is not there and goes like this: ‘Five wise, blind elephants were discussing what humans were like. They decided to answer the question by direct experience. The first wise, blind elephant felt the human and declared, “Humans are flat.” The other wise, blind elephants agreed.’
    Storm Nordwind: But one has to know Indian spiritual folklore to understand that one

    The deafening silence suggested to me that perhaps I was the only one to have heard the original fable, of which this joke is a parody. It goes something like this. “Once there were five blind men who were discussing what an elephant was really like. They decided to answer the question by direct experience and somehow found an elephant. The first blind man reached out for the elephant and, finding its trunk, declared, “An elephant is like a snake.” “No, no, brother,” said the second, who had found an ear, “an elephant is like a large leaf.” “You are both mistaken,” exclaimed a third at the elephant’s side, “An elephant is like a wall!” The fourth man clutched hold of a leg and said, “How can any of you be right when my experience shows me that an elephant is like a tree trunk?” The fifth man, who had found the tail, said simply, “You are all wrong. An elephant is like a rope.”

    Meanwhile it was time to embarrass myself in not knowing Pia!

    Storm Nordwind: Anyway, please excuse my bad memory Pia, but have you visited this tea house before?
    Fael Illyar: Pia has been here quite often :)
    Storm Nordwind: OK - perhaps when I have not been concentrating!
    Pia Iger: Yes. since last weekend. But I started to read blog from april 1st.
    Storm Nordwind: really?
    Fael Illyar: The same as me, actually :)
    Pia Iger: but I’ve never met Storm in person in SL.
    Storm Nordwind: I see. You have read my blog or the Play as Being blog (or perhaps both?)?
    Pia Iger: Fael has been very active since the start.
    Pia Iger: both.
    Pia Iger: both blogs.
    Storm Nordwind: Wow. An audience! I hope you found some parts not too boring! :)
    Pia Iger: not at all. I am amazed so many people come here, so many topics were talked here.
    Storm Nordwind: This is true. It is very diverse.

    I touched on the PaB practice and got into a wonderful example of a “chat tangle”.

    Storm Nordwind: Have you tried the 9 second practice yourself?
    Fael Illyar: That makes the logs very interesting to read :)
    Pia Iger: Fael, Yes. once you know how to read the cross-woven conversations, it is fun to read blog. Otherwise, it is confusing.
    Pia Iger: Storm, Yes. I tried the practice.
    Storm Nordwind: very true
    Fael Illyar: I’ve years of experience :)
    Pia Iger: how so? Fael?
    Fael Illyar: reading cross-woven conversations that is
    Storm Nordwind chuckles
    Pia Iger: ok.
    Storm Nordwind: A good example!

    Moon joined us.

    Fael Illyar: Hello Moon :)
    Storm Nordwind: Have you shared your thoughts or experiences about the practice here before? (Again I apologise for not having read any of your comments)
    Moon Fargis: hello everyone
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Moon
    Pia Iger: Yes. I talked a bit when Maxine, Stim were here.
    Storm Nordwind: Cool
    Pia Iger: At work, I have PC set up to pop up a window reminder every 15 min.
    Pia Iger: Hi, Moon,
    Storm Nordwind: excellent - here we tend to have gongs and bells!
    Fael Illyar: At work visual reminder is less likely to bother other workers :)
    Storm Nordwind: Very true
    Pia Iger: Gong is good at home. My boss will be surprised if gongs go off from my pc.
    Moon Fargis: hehe “your pc is gonnging, - well boss be glad he isnt screaming!”
    Pia Iger: Haha. Fael, I was thinking to pick up the topic you had this am about fear of wasp.
    Fael Illyar: I finally got my alarm moved to gonging too :)
    Pia Iger: How did the practice make you less feared?
    Fael Illyar: (so far it had been voice saying そうですよ (soudesuyo))

    Pia touched on what can be, for some people, a delicate question.

    Pia Iger: Storm, Moon, if you do not mind, I think it is good to talk about fear/anxiety, and how the practice can help us handle them.
    Fael Illyar: but how did it make me less fearful … Well, Mostly noticed one flying at my t-shirt yesterday walking back home and I just stared at it until it flew away. No panic.
    Moon Fargis: sure
    Storm Nordwind: Pia, it is a good idea!
    Moon Fargis: fael: yes you have become aware .. they dont to something to me so i dont to something to they
    Fael Illyar: I’m not quite sure what you’re asking though
    Pia Iger: and Fael, you think it is because of the practice?
    Moon Fargis: and vice versa
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I do
    Moon Fargis: maybe you also doesnt see it as wasp anymore
    Moon Fargis: just a being
    Moon Fargis: a leaf on a tree
    Fael Illyar: I can’t explain why I think it’s the practise.
    Storm Nordwind: For some people, this kind of practice (using the term very widely) helps people separate pain from suffering.
    Storm Nordwind: And when you separate pain from suffering you will certainly feel less fear
    Pia Iger: not clear to me how to separate pain from suffering. Can you give an example?

    In the middle of this topic, Moon heard something that surprised him. The 15 minute interval bell had rung outside the tea house reminding people about PaB practice, but it had been followed by another deeper and more ancient note.

    Moon Fargis: whot was that
    Fael Illyar: Moon, what do you mean?
    Moon Fargis: hehe i heard an unusual gonnng
    Storm Nordwind: You can experience things coming and going, arising and passing away. Pain simply becomes just another thing you are not attached to
    Moon Fargis: more like a donnng
    Fael Illyar: Oh, my own gong is so loud I don’t hear the one here over it.
    Moon Fargis: ahh
    Storm Nordwind: Moon you are talking about my Enryaku-ji monastery bell, from Mount Hiei, Kyoto
    Moon Fargis: ahh this donnnng came from you storm ?
    Storm Nordwind: Yes. I will stop it if it bothers you!
    Moon Fargis: no i just wondered

    We continued talking about PaB practice and longer meditations

    Fael Illyar: Pia, I’m not doing just the PaB explorations anymore. I’m also doing a 20 minute meditation every morning.
    Moon Fargis: btw fael does storm know the official pab some we made ?
    Moon Fargis: song
    Fael Illyar: oh, it’s official PaB song now ?)
    Moon Fargis: hah no :)
    Storm Nordwind: What makes it official?
    Moon Fargis: just a joke but iheyl et me dream a bit :)
    Moon Fargis: haha just found the imagination funny
    Storm Nordwind: 20 minute meditation each morning is very good practice in my view
    Pia Iger: oh, Fael, that is great you can do 20 min too. I am trying to do 9min in the morning.
    Moon Fargis: playin this in rl
    Moon Fargis: ohyes 20 mins are good since yur mind is already down
    Storm Nordwind: I always enjoy morning meditations more that evening ones!
    Pia Iger: how so, Storm?
    Fael Illyar: Only problem I have is that my back sort of starts feeling somewhat heavy quite fast. It distracts me a bit.
    Fael Illyar: I’m trying to mimick the Zazen poses I’ve seen in SL
    Moon Fargis: fael: yes finding the right sitting position might take years
    Storm Nordwind: Simply that I am tired in the evening and that distracts. And the amazing buzz I feel is lost in sleep instead of lifting me into the rest of the day
    Storm Nordwind could once do a half-lotus, but that was 35 years ago!
    Moon Fargis: :)
    Pia Iger: Morning meditation gives a good start to the day.
    Moon Fargis: i didnt even get to halflotus with myk nees
    Storm Nordwind: I agree Pia

    Xavien joined us and we did some introductions that veered in an interesting way.

    Fael Illyar: Hello Xavien
    Moon Fargis: hi xavien
    Xavien Paine: hi
    Xavien Paine: is that private?
    Storm Nordwind: Welcome
    Storm Nordwind: You are welcome to join
    Storm Nordwind: This is a regular meeting
    Storm Nordwind: Every 6 hours
    Xavien Paine: oh thnk u very much
    Xavien Paine: about what?
    Storm Nordwind: We talk about Play as Being
    Storm Nordwind: It is a project being run here in SL
    Xavien Paine: ?
    Storm Nordwind: I can refer you to the web page here
    Storm Nordwind: http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Storm Nordwind: The project itself involves RL practice
    Xavien Paine: im fat…as in rl
    Storm Nordwind: It’s a kind of a way of exploring different ways of looking at so-called reality
    Fael Illyar: No reason to limit yourself to what you are in RL, here
    Moon Fargis: well lets say its some kind of.. 9 second mini meditation every 15 minutes
    Storm Nordwind’s RL photo is already out there!
    Xavien Paine: be fat isnt a limit here
    Storm Nordwind: It is a limit everywhere only to the extent people think it is
    Fael Illyar: I was mostly referring to imitating RL. If you want to be fat, then be :)
    Moon Fargis: well.. exept there are physical limits somewhere i guess as for everyone of us
    Xavien Paine: in rl is a physic limitation but here is only aesthetic
    Storm Nordwind: Anyway, to return to what we’re doing here, Play as Being - the meaning is in the name
    Xavien Paine: im spanish…my english isnt very good
    Storm Nordwind: OK
    Storm Nordwind: We start by thinking of things not as real themselves
    Storm Nordwind: We see them as being shown to us by something that we can call Being
    Storm Nordwind: That Being may be God for a Christian, or Dao for a Daoist etc etc
    Storm Nordwind: Or it may bust be Being
    Storm Nordwind: *just
    Storm Nordwind: And during these 9 second meditations we play at seeing what it would be like to be that Being, to be presenting those apearances for us to see
    Xavien Paine: the role of a god?
    Storm Nordwind: So we don’t just watch what Being is showing us, we imagine ourselves to be Being
    Storm Nordwind: more than the role. God itself
    Xavien Paine: all are roles all masks
    Storm Nordwind: yes indeed
    Fael Illyar: Storm, that sounds like a misunderstanding just waiting to happen to me :)
    Storm Nordwind: please explain Fael
    Fael Illyar: suggesting taking the role of God
    Storm Nordwind: No I am not suggesting that
    Fael Illyar: I know
    Storm Nordwind: In fact I am saying avoid roles
    Xavien Paine: just be in silence?
    Storm Nordwind: In Tantra it is called self-generation
    Moon Fargis: maybe be nothing and everything
    Storm Nordwind: The point of the practice is to throw away your personal ideas and just try and see
    Storm Nordwind: and to record what you find
    Storm Nordwind: It is an exploration
    Storm Nordwind: So my description and idea is far too limiting as it is only words
    Storm Nordwind: and my words are way off target
    Storm Nordwind: they mean one thing to me and another thing to someone else

    Moon interjected an important point while Spock joined us.

    Moon Fargis: well i think it also depends what everyoe does in his 9 seconds
    Storm Nordwind: yes it does
    Moon Fargis: normalle me as a zen buddhist i do other things in it
    Moon Fargis: well infact i do nothing hehe
    Storm Nordwind: yes. But that is not what the founder of our project is asking people to try
    Fael Illyar: Hi Spock
    Xavien Paine: hola
    Spock Yuitza: hi Fael
    Moon Fargis: exploring means to me, not following a path someone already suggested
    Xavien Paine: de donde sacaste el traje de trekkie
    Spock Yuitza: Hola Xaven
    Pia Iger: To me the direct result from practice so far is the increased awareness and appreciation of life.
    Spock Yuitza: del museo Star Trek
    Moon Fargis: hi spock
    Storm Nordwind: Excellent Pia
    Pia Iger: I like Moon said about exploring is not following a path.
    Fael Illyar: I’m feeling like I’m dropping a haze through which I’ve been trying to peer for years.
    Storm Nordwind: Experimentation is good Moon, but Pema has given us a loose structure to start with.
    Pia Iger: yes. Fael, it is similar.
    Pia Iger: The other day, I was cooking. suddenly I see the vegetable is so green, it says ‘nurturing’ loud directly to me.
    Pia Iger: Hi, Spock,
    Spock Yuitza: Hi Pia
    Moon Fargis: well maybe you understood my words a bit wrong.. or my english is not that good today.. i mean with to be noting is to drop the ego for a while.. the thoughts
    Storm Nordwind: Pia, I love that heightened sensitivity
    Moon Fargis: i once called being also awareness
    Xavien Paine: i dont know what ill do…

    I reiterated the web info for Xavien, and Fael came in with a suggestion.

    Storm Nordwind: Xavien, if you would like to try this project for yourself, please take a look at this address
    Storm Nordwind: http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/hints-for-playing-as-being/
    Storm Nordwind: That has the best introduction to the practice
    Pia Iger: Xavien, if you ever think it is possible that life is not what we usually think it is. You can give this practice a try.
    Fael Illyar: I’m getting the feeling that we should setup an object somewhere that offers to open that link directly if you click it
    Xavien Paine: and what can be?
    Storm Nordwind thinks Fael’s idea is excellent!

    Xavien conjured up memories from 1985 of something by Opus - or something that sounded almost like it anyway!

    Pia Iger: it may open a new door to you. You will see a lot of things differently.
    Xavien Paine: ive said and what can life be?
    Pia Iger: We don’t have final answer yet. This is experiment.
    Xavien Paine: life is life
    Xavien Paine: sounds like a song
    Fael Illyar: Very promising one. Many people like what happens.
    Moon Fargis: na na na naana
    Xavien Paine: :)
    Pia Iger: but it is a happy song, or sad song to you?
    Storm Nordwind: It’s great to be part of that experiment. It’s not a cult or a religion. It’s a project. And many people are finding it beneficial and fun!
    Xavien Paine: more exactly life is “…”
    Fael Illyar: Xavien: yes, rather hard to put to words.
    Xavien Paine: ive had to read that …i think i havent understand exactly

    An experiment and a song - lovely image of musicians extemporising together! I mentioned our tea house times to Xavien while I had the chance.

    Storm Nordwind: One other thing that you need to know Xavien is this: we meet here at 1am, 7am, 1pm and 7pm SLT every day
    Storm Nordwind: So please come along at any of those times
    Xavien Paine: ill try if i read
    Storm Nordwind: We usually talk for between 30 and 60 minutes
    Storm Nordwind: And that bell marks 60 minutes!
    Pia Iger: usually it feels very fast for 60min, here.
    Fael Illyar: Yes, very fast.
    Storm Nordwind: I agree. Time flies like an arrow (and fruit flies like a banana)
    Pia Iger: haha..
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Pia Iger: I try to keep the rythem of 60min every time.
    Pia Iger: I will be back at 7pm.
    Xavien Paine: what have you do in the last 9 seconds?
    Storm Nordwind: Excellent

    It really had passed quickly! We’d being going over an hour so we started to wrap up.

    Storm Nordwind: Please read that webpage Xavien and it will give you all the details
    Moon Fargis: xavian: looked at us and smiled
    Fael Illyar: Yes, the webpage also has logs from our chats here… speaking of which, you don’t mind your lines being logged there, do you?
    Pia Iger: or come more, you will feel how this group do.
    Moon Fargis: realizeing that evryone of us is just a little byte in a distad computer
    Moon Fargis: and all o see are red and green dots
    Moon Fargis: oh and blue
    Storm Nordwind thanks Fael for anticipating his next question
    Storm Nordwind: Xavien, do you mind us mentioning you by name in the blog? It is public access.
    Xavien Paine: you don’t mind your lines being logged there, do you?
    Storm Nordwind: We don’t mind. I am recording all of this.
    Storm Nordwind: But if you want to be anonymous, I will remove your text
    Xavien Paine: i said that because i dont understand
    Xavien Paine: its ok
    Xavien Paine: no problem
    Moon Fargis: ok my friends i have to go
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you. We appreciate that
    Storm Nordwind: Me too
    Moon Fargis: see you later then
    Fael Illyar: See you later Moon, Storm :)
    Storm Nordwind: Bye for now Moon
    Pia Iger: see you later, every one.
    Storm Nordwind: Namaste
    Xavien Paine: byebye
    Xavien Paine: namaste

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