2008.07.02 01:00 - Nothing Unreal Exists

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    That night, when I arrived at the pavilion, to my surprise I saw that Bertrum, Fael and Meesha were already there. Quite a crowd, given that I’d been just by myself a number of times at 1 am SLT, recently.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema :)
    Meesha Cuttita: hello pema
    Bertrum Quan: Hi Pema
    Pema Pera: Hi Everybody!
    Pema Pera: Hi Meesha!
    Meesha Cuttita: :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Fael, Bertrum
    Pema Pera: I had a lot of trouble getting into SL, but finally succeeded
    Bertrum Quan: I invited Meesha. Fael sent her the web blog
    Pema Pera: Welcome, Meesha!
    Pema Pera: Is this your first time here?
    Meesha Cuttita: thank you
    Meesha Cuttita: well, not in this location, but first that i ever met anyone here
    Meesha Cuttita: it was always empty
    Meesha Cuttita: i was looking forward to some discussions or anything on buddhism
    Meesha Cuttita: so i’m happy to be here
    Faenik: ah :)
    Pema Pera: We get together here four times a day, so it isn’t empty for long anymore :)
    Meesha Cuttita: i’m happy to know that

    We talk a bit about Play as Being.

    Pema Pera: What we do is not exactly Buddhism
    Pema Pera: but it’s not unrelated either
    Meesha Cuttita: yes, i saw the blogspot
    Meesha Cuttita: sort of vipassana?
    Pema Pera: Yes, it has overlap with that too, but not explicitly
    Pema Pera: Rather, the 9-sec method is very open and general
    Pema Pera: anyone can experiment with different ways to fill in that time
    Pema Pera: The most important thing is to do it frequently
    Pema Pera: and then we can use the time here to compare notes about what is is we do frequently and what we find
    Meesha Cuttita: i see
    Meesha Cuttita: can i stay and listen to you?
    Pema Pera: Did you try it yet?
    Pema Pera: Oh, of course!
    Pema Pera: This is open for anyone
    Meesha Cuttita: yes, i meditate as often as i cen, so getting out of the body/mind regular perception is on my agenda
    Pema Pera: what type of meditation have you worked with, if I may ask?
    Meesha Cuttita: well primarily samatha
    Meesha Cuttita: to develop concentration
    Meesha Cuttita: my mind is in a mess
    Meesha Cuttita: :)
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: Have you tried the 9-sec practice?
    Meesha Cuttita: no, this is the first time i’ve heard of it
    Pema Pera: to do that every 15 minutes or so, for a while?
    Pema Pera: It is described on the blog
    Meesha Cuttita: it sounds great, i’ll do it
    Pema Pera: But the basic idea is to just drop what you’re doing for those 9 sec
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: you can use the time for samatha, vipassana, or anything you like
    Pema Pera: a simple way to say it is:
    Pema Pera: “drop what you have to see what you are”
    Pema Pera: I look forward to hear how it will be, when you try it!
    Meesha Cuttita: ok, very simple and straightforward
    Meesha Cuttita: ok, thank you very much
    Pema Pera: Everybody has different experiences, there is no right or wrong — I’m always interested to see what everyone finds
    Faenik: why not?

    I remembered that Bertrum had asked me a question the other day, to which I did not get much of a chance to respond then.

    Pema Pera: Bertrum, you asked about meditation the other day
    Pema Pera: I did not answer you very well, I think
    Pema Pera: You were asking how it felt, right, for me?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, that’s right.
    Pema Pera: And I answered that meditation is like life, hard to summarize :)
    Pema Pera: Even so, there are many specific mediation techniques, about which you can say a lot.
    Pema Pera: I have tried quite a few, with different teachers and groups as well as things I explored by myself.
    Pema Pera: So I could say a lot about how each technique worked for me, what I experienced, and so on
    Pema Pera: But by and large that would not be very helpful I think.
    Pema Pera: There are experiences, but they come and go, and more important are the more lasting transformations
    Pema Pera: and for those to really be meaningful, they have to be integrated with the rest of your life
    Pema Pera: so that your life is transformed in a lasting way
    Pema Pera: And that is what PaB, Play as Being focuses on.
    Pema Pera: I don’t know, is this more of an answer to your question?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes. But I was wondering about the experiecne that leads to the transformation… some description
    Pema Pera: hmmm . . . so many experiences!
    Pema Pera: and all so different!
    Bertrum Quan: One example?
    Pema Pera: Hahaha, well . . . .
    Pema Pera: sometimes just sitting can make you feel absolutely calm
    Pema Pera: in a way that you may never have experienced before, or only rarely
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: sometimes you feel not calm at all, but you can completely accept the restlessness without it bothering you
    Pema Pera: but of course sometimes things come up that are very shocking and bothering and they may really disturb you
    Pema Pera: and you then learn from that too
    Pema Pera: Not looking away is important
    Pema Pera: Just looking it in the face, whatever you encounter
    Pema Pera: that is an important aspect of meditation — but no reason to get fascinated either:
    Pema Pera: don’t deny and don’t cling — a middle way
    Pema Pera: So that were three examples, I guess :-)
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, thank you. I can relate to them.

    My turn to ask a question to Bertrum.

    Pema Pera: How has the 9-sec exploration been for you, Bertrum?
    Bertrum Quan: I do not always seem to be able to take the “time out” even though it is only 9 seconds!
    Fael Illyar: for doing the explorations, mindfulness clock can be useful http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html
    Pema Pera: What do you mean with that, Bertrum?
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Fael!
    Bertrum Quan: My work is absorbing…one could also say distracting!
    Fael Illyar: mine too, just had me afk for 15 minutes
    Fael Illyar: well, doesn’t happen often, thankfully
    Pema Pera: Ah, you mean it is hard to drop what you are doing for 9 seconds?
    Fael Illyar: Ah, no, not in that way for me :)
    Pema Pera: Bertrum?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes. Even though that sounds absurd.
    Pema Pera: oh no, I understand
    Pema Pera: that is the momentum of the ordinary mind
    Pema Pera: once that momentum can be really dropped, we can really “see”
    Pema Pera: see reality
    Fael Illyar: It’s sometimes harder to drop the things you’re doing :)
    Pema Pera: but seeing that we have trouble stopping the momentum is already a very important first step
    Bertrum Quan: I agree.
    Fael Illyar: for me it often helps to remember that I’m not throwing them away, just putting them down for a few seconds.
    Pema Pera: So what happens, Bertrum, when you try to stop, but it doesn’t seem to work? Can you describe that?
    Pema Pera: Interesting, Fael!
    Pema Pera: Meesha, another thing I didn’t mention yet is that we try to write down a few words, after each time we stop for 9 seconds — like a lab journal.
    Faenik: could be
    Bertrum Quan: To answer your question, what happens is more of an intellectual experience…
    Bertrum Quan: thoughts… preparation for the explanation…
    Bertrum Quan: or, alternatively, a reflection upon reflecting… but not meditating as I understand it… Does that make sense?
    Pema Pera: Yes, that makes a lot of sense!

    I always like to make an analogy between the PaB explorations and research in science.

    Pema Pera: The approach we are following is to try to separate intellectural explanations for the actual experience of exploration
    Pema Pera: I’m a physicist, and in physics, we use theory in order to plan for an experiment, and also for analyzing the results
    Pema Pera: However, it is very important to not worry about theory while actually doing an experiment
    Pema Pera: The best experimenter just writes down what happens
    Pema Pera: and later tries to make sense of it
    Pema Pera: So I suggest that when you try to stop for 9 secs, you write something down
    Pema Pera: Even if you feel that you failed completely, write “I failed completely”
    Pema Pera: In that way, as an experimenter you succeeded!
    Pema Pera: You succeeded in accurately reporting what happened, in the sense of what you felt at that moment
    Pema Pera: (independently of whether it was correct to judge that you failed or not, that’s a different point)
    Pema Pera: My experience is that once you start writing down THAT you can’t stop
    Pema Pera: we are already beginning to get into the habit of stopping :-)
    Pema Pera: would you like to try that for a few days?
    Bertrum Quan: Yes. Is it acceptable to simply take the 9-seconds as one block of time?
    Pema Pera: oh, sure, you can do it in many ways
    Pema Pera: the important thing is the exploration
    Pema Pera: try this and try that
    Meesha Cuttita: Pema, do you think that letting go at regular intervals could actually rewire your mental habits?
    Pema Pera: like a car mechanic opening the hood
    Pema Pera: and wiggling the wires
    Fael Illyar doesn’t understand what it means to take it as one block of time.
    Pema Pera: honking the horn, kicking the tires :)
    Fael Illyar: Meesha, it does
    Pema Pera: yes, I agree with Fael
    Meesha Cuttita: Like reprogramming your thinking process
    Pema Pera: Another way to say this, Meesha
    Pema Pera: is that our mind is naturally very freely flowing
    Meesha Cuttita: yes
    Pema Pera: and our training while growing up has taught us to make a canal out of the river
    Pema Pera: dam in it in many ways
    Pema Pera: and breaking the dams restores the natural flow
    Pema Pera: so it is more of a return than a novelty or esoteric transformation :-)
    Meesha Cuttita: i feel such a relief when i lett everything go
    Faenik: ah :)

    From unprogramming to defragmenting and readjusting.

    Pema Pera: that’s a great sign to listen to!
    Pema Pera: unprogramming is perhaps even more accurate than reprogramming
    Meesha Cuttita: yes you’re right
    Meesha Cuttita: i saw the mistake there
    Bertrum Quan: My metaphor is defragmenting…
    Meesha Cuttita: getting out of the self
    Meesha Cuttita: mine would be just let the system crash, it isn’t me anyway
    Meesha Cuttita: :)
    Pema Pera: getting out of rigid identification with a certain kind of self
    Pema Pera: yes :-)
    Fael Illyar: … defragmenting … something about that feels a bit off to me.
    Pema Pera: yes, nice images
    Meesha Cuttita: yes, like readjusting
    Pema Pera: continuity is key for PaB — heals fragmentation
    Meesha Cuttita: right. can i ask you something about that
    Bertrum Quan: Yes.
    Meesha Cuttita: how do you remeber to do it?
    Pema Pera: how to do what, Meesha?
    Meesha Cuttita: with all the best intentions, i forget
    Meesha Cuttita: you know every 15 minutes, take 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Meesha Cuttita: i am lazy
    Pema Pera: Different ways.
    Meesha Cuttita: i would need a nudge
    Pema Pera: Fael pointed you to a time clock
    Fael Illyar: I use alarms. I’ve got a bell sound playing every 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: so that is one way, to be strict about it
    Pema Pera: Others prefer to do it whenever they feel like
    Meesha Cuttita: really, Fael, sorry i didn’t see it
    Fael Illyar: http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html

    I describe how I usually do the PaB exploration.

    Pema Pera: The way I happen to do it — just only one way — is to have either a piece of paper or an open computer file, and several times an hour I look at the paper/file and my watch
    Meesha Cuttita: thank you
    Pema Pera: And when I have already written something in the quarter of an hour I am in, I just move on
    Pema Pera: and when not, I stop for 9 seconds, and then write down a few words
    Pema Pera: and when I notice that I have missed one or more previous quarters, I make a mark
    Fael Illyar: We also have a scripted bell that gives out a bell sound every 15 minutes.
    Meesha Cuttita: how long have you been doing this?
    Pema Pera: a horizontal dash
    Pema Pera: just to indicate that I forgot or that I was too busy perhaps
    Meesha Cuttita: i see
    Fael Illyar: one of them is in this pavilion
    Pema Pera: that way I keep a trace, and I can see at the end of the day in one glance how successful I have been in remembering to do my 9-sec explorations
    Meesha Cuttita: Pema, did you come up with this system?
    Pema Pera: So that is my way, Fael has a more precise way, others do it when the mood strikes them :-)
    Pema Pera: Yes, I did — but who am i?
    Pema Pera: I mean it bubbled up as an inspiration
    Meesha Cuttita: yes that is my strategy for meditation and it’s not working
    Pema Pera: but the results of influences of many people and traditions, I’m sure :)
    Meesha Cuttita: it’s good i think
    Pema Pera: I suggest you try either Fael’s system or mine

    Meesha brought up an interesting approach that we hadn’t talked about yet in this group.

    Meesha Cuttita: the course in miracles has something similar but not the same
    Pema Pera: or both
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Meesha Cuttita: maybe you know it…
    Meesha Cuttita: doesn’t matter
    Pema Pera: I have heard of it
    Pema Pera: don’t know much about it
    Pema Pera: but the first two lines of the book are enough perhaps :-)
    Pema Pera: do you remember those?
    Meesha Cuttita: they have a daily idea that they repeat at regular intervals
    Meesha Cuttita: who you are can’t be changed
    Meesha Cuttita: sth like that?
    Meesha Cuttita: what is true doesn’t change
    Fael Illyar: my take on that depends quite a bit on what exactly is meant by “who you are”.
    Faenik: indeed?
    Pema Pera: Nothing real can be threatened.
    Pema Pera: Nothing unreal exists
    Meesha Cuttita: there you go
    Pema Pera: Those are the first two lines — and they make a lot of sense

    I remembered that I had once written those lines down in my journal; I just had to do a search to pick them up again.

    Meesha Cuttita: haha
    Meesha Cuttita: yes all the sense
    Meesha Cuttita: in buddhism it’s called non-self
    Meesha Cuttita: but that’s just calling it names
    Meesha Cuttita: i suppose
    Pema Pera: what we have is unreal and what we are is real — if we use those terms
    Pema Pera: yes, but we have to use names and words to talk :)
    Fael Illyar: the way you said it at first is just begging for a lot of people to misunderstand the meaning :)
    Fael Illyar: this “who you are cannot be changed” lines that is
    Meesha Cuttita: yes, discussions on this subject are so easily lead into misudnerstanding
    Meesha Cuttita: i meant yes, your thue reality, is unchangeable
    Meesha Cuttita: but it isn’t really yours
    Pema Pera: absolutely — and one reason to have meetings so frequently is that if we get into a misunderstanding at one time, very soon we can unravel the problem and try again
    Meesha Cuttita: yes
    Pema Pera: or you can say it is yours, but for the you that is the true you
    Pema Pera: namely Being
    Pema Pera: as in “Play as Being”

    I remembered another loose end.

    Pema Pera: Oh, Fael, that reminds me
    Meesha Cuttita: ok
    Pema Pera: in a session where I wasn’t present
    Pema Pera: you compared Christianity with God vs. humans
    Pema Pera: with Being vs. us
    Pema Pera: as both having to some extent somewhat of a master-slave relationship, right?
    Fael Illyar: master - servant
    Pema Pera: ah yes, sorry
    Pema Pera: Of course, every metaphor is only partly correct
    Pema Pera: but the hand vs. handpuppet is more radical
    Pema Pera: the handpuppet is not a servant
    Pema Pera: cannot do anything at all
    Pema Pera: I think that’s an important difference
    Pema Pera: Perhaps we can say that the master is playing a game of being a servent — perhaps that is what you meant?
    Pema Pera: *servant
    Faenik: ah :)
    Fael Illyar: I was thinking and comparing christianity’s master - servant relation and your handpuppet one when I was talking about those.
    Pema Pera: Yes?
    Fael Illyar: mostly, trying to see if there were similarities.
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: There are some, and there are differences, like what I just pointed to — although some Chrisitan Medieval mystics came quite close to the notion of the hand puppet
    Pema Pera: Interesting topic

    Alas, I couldn’t stay longer.

    Pema Pera: but my battery is almost empty
    Pema Pera: and the hour is up
    Pema Pera: so I’ll have to take off
    Fael Illyar: Ok, talk to you again some other time :)
    Pema Pera: Looking forward to continuying this another time!
    Meesha Cuttita: thank you pema, you have been most helpful
    Meesha Cuttita: great explanations
    Pema Pera: Meesha and Bertrum, I look forward to hear what you’ll be finding with the 9-sec exploration in the next few days!
    Pema Pera: We meet four times a day, 1 and 7, am and pm SLT
    Meesha Cuttita: great
    Pema Pera: if I’m hear I can directly hear your reports
    Bertrum Quan: Pema, I also want to thank you for the article AVATARS ARE FOR REAL… marvelous!
    Fael Illyar: yes, next meeting starts in 5 hours :)
    Pema Pera: and when I’m not here I get the chat logs and will read them adn post them
    Pema Pera: Oh, btw, Meesha, is it okay with you to add this conversation to our blog on the web?
    Meesha Cuttita: sure
    Pema Pera: thanks!
    Fael Illyar: Bye Pema :)
    Fael Illyar: oh, you aren’t leaving yet?
    Pema Pera: oops sorry
    Meesha Cuttita: can you tell me how i can get a chat log?
    Pema Pera: hehe
    Pema Pera: it will be on the blog
    Meesha Cuttita: i found it :)
    Pema Pera: http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Fael Illyar: you can have your SL client keep logs of everything you say and hear too.
    Fael Illyar: which is how we get the logs for the blog
    Bertrum Quan: How do you do that?
    Pema Pera: okay, now I’m really ready to leave — just wanted to snap a picture with all of us seated :-)
    Pema Pera: for the blog
    Pema Pera: bye for now!
    Fael Illyar: Ok, Bye :)
    Meesha Cuttita: bye bye
    Bertrum Quan: bye Pema

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