2008.07.14 01:00 - What is Real?

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    That night, I found Fael and Sky already at the pavilion, when I entered at the stroke of the 1 am bell.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Sky, Fael!
    Sky Szimmer: hey there Pema!
    Pema Pera: Interesting new outfit, Fael — have you gone shopping again recently?
    Fael Illyar: … wow, 28 unread emails in my inbox :)
    Fael Illyar: no, this is older :)
    Sky Szimmer: Hi Pema. Been very confused lately.
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: Yes, Sky?
    Faenik: indeed?
    Sky Szimmer: so who is creating the dream?
    Fael Illyar: why does someone need to create the dream?
    Pema Pera: why do you think there is a “who”?
    Pema Pera: haha
    Pema Pera: thinking in parallel
    Sky Szimmer: ok why is there a dream
    Pema Pera: within what context do you expect a why — a why with respect to what assumptions or basis?
    Sky Szimmer: ok. tell me about dream
    Pema Pera: :)
    Sky Szimmer: from your projector analogy. there light, and then there is the movie
    Sky Szimmer: is there a connection?
    Sky Szimmer: aside from the light enabling the movie?
    Pema Pera: In general, why questions can help explorations, I think, to help us probe, but at some point we drop those extra stimulants and try to just look at what is at hand, trying to see it better — but I’m not trying to escape your question!
    Pema Pera: Yes, life is like a dream in various ways — partly so, partly different of course
    Pema Pera: but can you say a bit more about what part of that is puzzling?
    Fael Illyar: there are dreams that are more lifelike than the most :)
    Pema Pera: more than life is lifelike, yes :)
    Pema Pera: Sky, you said you are confused — but about what, or how?
    Pema Pera: what aspect of dream and/or life?
    Sky Szimmer: about dreams
    Pema Pera: actual dreams or the dream-as-metaphor?
    Sky Szimmer: dream as metaphor
    Sky Szimmer: does it matter?
    Pema Pera: matter for what?
    Pema Pera: sorry, but it is hard to answer a question in completely generality — there would be too many different answers possible!
    Sky Szimmer: see.. i told you i am confused.

    I tried to understand more fully what Sky’s questions were.

    Pema Pera: how about describing the confusion
    Pema Pera: how does it feel?
    Sky Szimmer: ok. i know that i am.
    Sky Szimmer: that is clear.
    Sky Szimmer: i don’t have a clear understanding of the life that is seen as a dream
    Sky Szimmer: maybe it is just getting late and I had a long day. perhaps this is something i should sleep on and it will be more clear later.
    Sky Szimmer: or just go away as a question
    Pema Pera: It is very natural, Sky, to ask that way,
    Faenik: could be
    Pema Pera: and it is the right way to approach questions we have in daily life
    Pema Pera: as well as in the more important deeper aspects of our life
    Pema Pera: but with respect to ultimate reality, questioning like that doesn’t work
    Pema Pera: You can’t expect anyone to give you an answer, not even “God” or “Suchness” or anything . . .
    Pema Pera: Perhaps the best thing you can do is befriend the “am” you talked about
    Fael Illyar: I think the dreamlikeness refers to past. The past isn’t practically very different from a dream. Except that it’s shared with other people.
    Pema Pera: and walk with “am” during the day
    Fael Illyar: you can talk about past but can’t return to it, just like a dream
    Sky Szimmer: i dont’ know about that Fael
    Sky Szimmer: as we speak in the now, the dream is happening
    Sky Szimmer: i am dreaming that i am having a sl conversation with you.
    Sky Szimmer: so to speak
    Fael Illyar: I have to say I can’t quite relate “now” as a dream but “one second ago” I can.

    I was intrigued by the point that Fael had brought up, but I wanted to make sure to follow up first with the earlier questions that Sky had started with.

    Sky Szimmer: so, wondering about the movie that is being played is not a useful question
    Pema Pera: it is
    Pema Pera: but I suggest that there are two ways of working with that
    Pema Pera: and I think that your way is somewhere in between
    Pema Pera: let me try to say briefly:
    Pema Pera: one way is to recognize the “am” is what is — even the “I” in “I am” may be too much — but “am” is there, right? As you just said
    Pema Pera: So
    Pema Pera: this one way is to just stick to the “am”, not particularly questioning, not expecting a solution, just sticking with it, like a mother with a child, or a lover with a beloved.
    Pema Pera: The other way is different, and is more like strong questioning
    Pema Pera: the way Adams does it
    Pema Pera: not giving up, but repeating the question and just sticking to it
    Pema Pera: tenaciously, like a dog biting down on a bone, not letting go
    Sky Szimmer: but then i am confused. am is Being
    Pema Pera: In that way of tenacious questioning, it is not good to stop
    Sky Szimmer: so there is no problem there
    Pema Pera: Stopping to say “I am confused, I need more instructions, I need more answers, perhaps this is not the right way, ah, I’m just tired” — that won’t work, most likely
    Faenik: could be
    Sky Szimmer: the dream is part of Being too…
    Pema Pera: Either fall in love with “am” or go all out with “why/what/how” may well work, I think
    Pema Pera: Does that make sense, or do you see that differently, Sky?
    Pema Pera: musing about “what it can be” is neither of the two I described
    Sky Szimmer: don’t know pema
    Fael Illyar: Hi Kat
    Kat Lemieux: Good evening
    Kat Lemieux: or morning…
    Pema Pera: totally falling in love with it or totally fighting it
    Pema Pera: Hi Kat!
    Sky Szimmer: sorry pema. lost you there.
    Sky Szimmer: hi kat.
    Pema Pera: but musing is not “totally”
    Sky Szimmer: must about what it can be. what it are we talking about

    Kat had joined us, and Gaya quickly followed her.

    Pema Pera: Fael, do you see what I am trying to say? If so, perhaps you can say it differently?
    Sky Szimmer: musing
    Fael Illyar: Hi Gaya :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: hello
    Pema Pera: Hi Gaya!
    Pema Pera: Quite a crowd here at 1 am !!
    Fael Illyar: Yes… unfortunately, I’m getting distractions from RL so I didn’t have time to really read your explanation properly.
    Sky Szimmer: we can stop this thread. i will have to think about what you said
    Pema Pera: Kay and Gaya, Sky said she was confused about an image of “life as a dream” that I have been talking about, and I suggested two ways to work with that confusion.
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah daoism
    Pema Pera: either take the image as is, and live with it, embracing it — or very intensily scrutinizing it — if you want, sex and violence, to say it very coursely :) there is a reason that those two attract an audience
    Pema Pera: In Zen there are two schools, in Japan at least, Soto and Rinzai
    Pema Pera: In Soto you just sit, in Rinzai you just struggle
    Fael Illyar: I tend to just take the image, then wait and see.
    Pema Pera: That would be the “just sit” one
    Pema Pera: the embrace, rather than the fight.
    Pema Pera: So I told Sky, who is a long-time RL friend, so I can say what I like :) — Sky, you should either embrace or fight, but not just muse about it . . . but Sky, is that fair or unfair?
    Sky Szimmer: musing is what i enjoy : )
    Pema Pera: btw, Adams fights, Fael embraces
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: as you can see on our blog
    Pema Pera: Adams more Rinzai, Fael more Soto
    Pema Pera: but of course those categories only partially hold
    Gaya Ethaniel: think musing is also valid as reflection?
    Pema Pera: as a first approximation
    Pema Pera: intense musing, yes!
    Pema Pera: continued musing
    Pema Pera: not stopping, not just for a while
    Sky Szimmer: i can see life as a dream. but i guess the question is more about the dream.
    Pema Pera: yes?
    Fael Illyar: interesting how I’m completely at peace right now even though I’m being tugged in 3 directions at once.
    Fael Illyar: … ok, mildly amused for some reason as well
    Pema Pera: which 3, Fael?
    Sky Szimmer: the dream is formed somehow
    Pema Pera: (Sorry Kat and Gaya, we were just in the middle :)
    Kat Lemieux: o problem. Just absorbing
    Sky Szimmer: we can stop…., i can sleep on it and maybe the confusion will clear up.
    Gaya Ethaniel: np just feel free to continue, interesting to listen really

    At this point I was not sure about Sky’s way of stating that she was happy to drop the topic. This was one of those cases where in RL you have so many more clues about each other’s state of mind, through voice and body language and eye contact. I instinctively chose to focus on perseverance, knowing that Sky would correct me if that was not her main concern.

    Pema Pera: well . . . . stopping is the problem, Sky! I have seen you stopping so many times . . . .
    Pema Pera: the name of the game is to continue, not to stop
    Sky Szimmer: really! i think it is because i keep seeking
    Sky Szimmer: should maybe just stop.
    Pema Pera: that’s fine!
    Fael Illyar: Pema, just other people demanding my attention in addition to this meeting
    Pema Pera: either fully seek or fully stop
    Pema Pera: ah, okay, Fael :)
    Pema Pera: or fully something in between, perhaps, Sky, if you can find somethign in between, but FULLY whatever it is!!!
    Pema Pera: No maybe or perhaps or well, let’s see
    Pema Pera: honestly!
    Pema Pera: pick something, anything
    Pema Pera: then continue
    Pema Pera: hehe, I’m being harsh today, aren’t I?
    Sky Szimmer: you read my mind : )
    Pema Pera: And you’ve asked me the same questions for four years now . . . wonderful questions but you’ll have to solve them yourself!
    Pema Pera: the direction of asking is not wrong, but you have to keep going — sorry to repeat myself ; you see, I keep going too, too much perhaps :)
    Sky Szimmer: gee. i feel like i have come a long ways since the four years : )
    Pema Pera: You have, yes!
    Fael Illyar: but still the same questions :)
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: I wouldn’t have dared to be so harsh a few years ago
    Pema Pera: that would probably have been counterproductive at that time
    Pema Pera: but now it’s time to switch tag
    Pema Pera: Hi Bertrum!
    Pema Pera: Kat and Gaya, would you like to add something?
    Gaya Ethaniel: hi bertrum
    Sky Szimmer: haha
    Gaya Ethaniel: yeah i had a strange experience yesterday in sl
    Fael Illyar: Hi Bert :)
    Bertrum Quan: Hi all.
    Kat Lemieux: I’m kind of zoned out — it’s 3:30 a.m. here.
    Kat Lemieux: Hi Bertrum

    Bert joined us, so there were half a dozen of us.

    Gaya Ethaniel: wow real late there kat
    Pema Pera: was wondering about that, Kat!
    Pema Pera: Thanks for helping us with the domain name, btw
    Kat Lemieux: YEah, and busy day tomorrow, just not in the mood for sleep. YW.
    Pema Pera: Kat acquired “playasbeing.org” for us, soon after we started
    Fael Illyar: Ah, I’m not the only one who stays up late sometimes :)
    Pema Pera: Great catch — we are now transering it to the wiki
    Kat Lemieux: It’s a long-established habit for me.
    Gaya Ethaniel: do you feel attached to your avatar emotionally? ex feeling relaxed on a sim that is peaceful
    Pema Pera: to help friends or to stay oup late, Kat?
    Pema Pera: or both?
    Kat Lemieux: Definitely, Gaya
    Kat Lemieux: Well, maybe both, Pema ;-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: or embarrased if lost of control on your avatar by tech glitch
    Pema Pera: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: i was surprised by that…
    Gaya Ethaniel: i begin to treat my avatar as some sort of myself projected which i didn’t expect
    Kat Lemieux: Some cognitive scientists have come up with a theory about extending one’s “personal space” into the metaverse
    Kat Lemieux: via the (some part of the brain I can’t remember this time of night)
    Gaya Ethaniel: that’s fascinating…
    Pema Pera: Yes, Gaya, I felt similarly, and was similarly suprised.
    Fael Illyar: Gaya your AV is what you have the most direct control of in SL. I’d think that’s normal.
    Kat Lemieux: Do you ever feel it in your midsection when your avatar “falls” a long distance?
    Gaya Ethaniel: but i was sure that i won’t be emotionally attached to my AV like that
    Gaya Ethaniel: first i did kat
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Kat Lemieux: I still do
    Fael Illyar: but my own connection is such that falling makes for no feeling at all.
    Fael Illyar: I tend to be bothered if my AV does things that I believe others might interpret as something but other than that, I don’t really care.
    Pema Pera: Embarrasment is an interesting aspect, Gaya. I well remember the first time I attended a meeting — Kat had invited me to a senate meeting in the SciLands. It just turned night when I entered, so I couldn’t really see which seats were occupied and which not, and I did not yet know how to change the lighting — frankly, it was a bit terrifying . . .
    Fael Illyar: Hi Joseph
    joseph Ruhig: Hi, people?

    Briefly there were seven of us, with Joseph walking in, but then Sky had to leave. Quickly after that, Joseph’s friend Sirio arrived as well.

    Sky Szimmer: ok. cheers all. got to go to bed. adios!
    joseph Ruhig: Is it a reunion?
    Gaya Ethaniel: hi joseph
    Gaya Ethaniel: good night sky
    Pema Pera: Hi Joseph, long time no see — wie geht’s?
    joseph Ruhig: Yes!
    Pema Pera: By Sky!
    Kat Lemieux: Hi Joseph
    joseph Ruhig: I was meditating
    joseph Ruhig: Hey, guys, My friend come from Italy
    joseph Ruhig: The Syrio
    Fael Illyar: Hello Sirio
    Sirio Constantine: hi, I’m sirio
    Gaya Ethaniel: hi sirio
    Kat Lemieux: Hello Sirio
    Pema Pera: Hi Sirio!
    Sirio Constantine: nice to meet you
    Bertrum Quan: Hi Sirio
    joseph Ruhig: Pema-san! congratulations! The place is perfect!
    Pema Pera: Dakini created this space
    Sirio Constantine: very nice!
    Pema Pera: she also built the tea house
    Pema Pera: where we met before
    Pema Pera: but it became too small
    Pema Pera: or we became too large
    joseph Ruhig: You are doing a very good work here!
    Pema Pera: as a group :)
    joseph Ruhig: hahaha
    Pema Pera: thanks, Joseph, we’re doing it all together here
    Sirio Constantine: joseph, you can enter in an enghlish group or a deush group
    joseph Ruhig: yes, in theory :-)
    Sirio Constantine: for playing with the swords
    Sirio Constantine: or pwers
    joseph Ruhig: I don´t intend to play
    Pema Pera: Fael, I think we have a record for 1 am, 7 simultaneous, 8 in total, don’t you think?
    Sirio Constantine: search rpg
    joseph Ruhig: I love speak with persons
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: Pema, yes, quite a record :)
    joseph Ruhig: with the time, you will fill that too, Sirio
    Sirio Constantine: I feel now!
    Sirio Constantine: sorry but I have to go, for the training
    Kat Lemieux: Sometimes I think RL is a RPG
    Gaya Ethaniel: bye sirio
    Sirio Constantine: :)
    Kat Lemieux: Bye Sirio
    Sirio Constantine: see you lather
    Gaya Ethaniel: all the time or specific periods kat?
    Fael Illyar: bye Sirio

    Sirio left us; back to half a dozen.

    Kat Lemieux: Oh, just at times, Gaya
    Bertrum Quan: Pema, I was interested in the story you were relating about coming into the room…
    Kat Lemieux: Mostly when I’m depressed
    Gaya Ethaniel: yeah would be worrying if all the time no?
    Kat Lemieux: For sure
    Gaya Ethaniel: have u found any trigger for your depressive periods yet?
    Kat Lemieux: Hmmm, hard to say, but many different things can do it
    Kat Lemieux: It’s more internal than external, though, mostly
    Gaya Ethaniel: how does that make you to play a ‘role’?
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh i c
    Kat Lemieux: i think I just sometimes feel everyone is playing a game instead of being “real”
    Kat Lemieux: But then you have to wonder what is real?
    Pema Pera: but to some extent we are all playing a game, don’t you think? What would it be like to totally not play any role?
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes… the ‘real’ can change all the time, not permanant so i try not to think in those terms
    Kat Lemieux: Good question, Pema
    Pema Pera: life is like a game, like a dream, like an experiment, like an adventure . . . .
    Pema Pera: what else COULD it be?
    Fael Illyar: that sounds like something you could use as a metaphor when explaining Being :)
    Pema Pera: yes, Nagarjuna used such metaphors
    Kat Lemieux: ISn’t the scientist’ job to try to discover what is real?
    Pema Pera: 2nd century , almost two thousand years ago
    Fael Illyar: yes, for certain definitions of real :)
    Pema Pera: what is real about matter i s quantum wave functions
    Pema Pera: not too reassuring perhaps :)
    Kat Lemieux: Not reassuring at all!
    Pema Pera: hahaha
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Kat Lemieux: Esp. since I’m not a physical scientist, nd don’t really understand quantum theory
    Pema Pera: the sense of liberation that comes with seeing that nothing is “real” is hard to desribe . . . .
    Pema Pera: *describe
    Fael Illyar has seen several times quantum scientists quoted saying that you don’t understand quantum physics if you claim you do :)
    joseph Ruhig: We have to feel it, only
    Pema Pera: and physics is pointing a bit in that direction now
    joseph Ruhig: I know what you mean Pema
    Pema Pera: yes, Joseph
    Gaya Ethaniel: my question would be ‘is there anything permanant’ even in quantum level?
    Gaya Ethaniel: or constant?
    Pema Pera: well, that is hard to say, Gaya . . . so many different interpretations
    Faenik: なるほど^^

    Faenik agreed.

    Fael Illyar: I’d answer nothing is permanent but everything is :)
    Kat Lemieux: Does real have to mean permanent?
    Pema Pera: not at all, no
    Gaya Ethaniel: well by the definition of people being ‘real’, there is a sense of permernance attached to it
    Pema Pera: true, Gaya
    Kat Lemieux: But people are definitely not permanent
    Pema Pera: :)
    Kat Lemieux: Esp. if you look in geological time, or astronomical
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes you understand why now i don’t worry too much about how people are being like (well as much as i can handle)
    Pema Pera: even cells of your body are replaced every few weeks . . . .
    Pema Pera: we are a pattern at best
    Bertrum Quan: What is permanent really? Nothing.
    Kat Lemieux: If that’s so, I want a new template ;-) One with a good back
    joseph Ruhig: Yes! The nothing
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: whenever i feel down a bit i remember what dalai lama said
    Gaya Ethaniel: a british politician a buddhist was asked whether a disabled person is what he is because of his bad karma in previous life
    Pema Pera: If we go back in our memory, to the times that we felt most “real” or “complete” or “authentic” — often those were occasions where time seemed to drop away . . . so even the question of permanent or not would not arise there, could not arise
    Gaya Ethaniel: he said yes and his political career ended more or less at that point
    Pema Pera: the law of karma for him, Gaya?
    Gaya Ethaniel: sorry pema u were saying
    Fael Illyar: I guess when you see Being, you stop caring about templates or what is real or illusion :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes fael i cannot agree more
    Fael Illyar: or at the very least not worry about it that much.
    Gaya Ethaniel: though it’s hard as we are trapped in a physical world where suffering affect us
    Fael Illyar: suffering is mental, not external.
    Pema Pera: (sorry, meant that as a joke; karma leading to losing his job when talking about karma)
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Gaya Ethaniel: think it’s both for me body & mind
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh i see pema - just to finish off the story so the lama was asked about whether the politician should have said it
    Fael Illyar: I don’t see pain and suffering as equal.
    Fael Illyar: you can be in pain, yet not suffer.
    Gaya Ethaniel: he said what said was true but politician shouldn’t have said it
    Pema Pera: :)

    A nice Dalai Lama story!

    joseph Ruhig: the pain is real, but the suffering depends of you
    Kat Lemieux: I agree, Fael. One can have pain but not suffer. Suffering is frame of mind, something you can choose not to have.
    Gaya Ethaniel: :) brutal/harsh truth for some but he’s very straight no
    Pema Pera: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: i don’t think i’ve reached such a level yet fael
    Gaya Ethaniel: i try to embrace physical world and reflect how it affects my mind
    Fael Illyar: it only affects your mind when you allow it.
    Gaya Ethaniel: just a beginner still here fael
    joseph Ruhig: Buy, friends. I have to go.
    Fael Illyar: Bye joseph
    Pema Pera: bye Joseph!
    Gaya Ethaniel: bye jeseph see u again
    Pema Pera: Thanks for stopping by!
    joseph Ruhig: thank you all!
    Kat Lemieux: I need to go, too, or I’ll be choosing to suffer tomorrow!! (Later today, that is).
    Kat Lemieux: Bye all!
    Pema Pera: bye Kat
    Gaya Ethaniel: good night kat lovely talking to u
    Pema Pera: great to see you hear again!
    Fael Illyar: Bye Kat :)
    Kat Lemieux: See you again!
    Pema Pera: I have to take off too
    Pema Pera: battery is running out
    Bertrum Quan: Bye Kat
    Fael Illyar: See you later Pema :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :) good night pema thanks for ur time
    Pema Pera: thanks for coming here, Gaya
    Pema Pera: and Bert and Fael!
    Bertrum Quan: Bye Pema
    Pema Pera: Only a few weeks ago there was almost nobody at this time
    Pema Pera: half the time I was here by myself
    Pema Pera: it’s wonderful to see the group growing
    Pema Pera: take care, everybody!

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