2008.07.21 07:00 - Seeing the Path

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    That morning, at 7 am SLT, I met Gaya in the pavilion. Knowing that she was on European time, I greeted her accordingly. Gaya was wearing “Emotional Wreck” as group title.

    Pema Pera: Good afternoon, Gaya!
    Pema Pera: Lovely shades of green, in your flowing clothes
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh hello Pema thanks :)
    Pema Pera: And I hope your emotional wreck is only a passing title :>)
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh… best to read my latest profile and group charter to get a close meaning to what i’m trying to do with it
    Pema Pera: Hi, yes, just read it!
    Pema Pera: metaphorical ways of speaking are so interesting, aren’t they.
    Gaya Ethaniel: hope it makes sense a little why i’m wearing it
    Pema Pera: we know what a ship wreck is, or a car wreck, and it is fascinating to see what aspecs of that we transfer to, for example, emotional situations
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes a friend said somewhere to be reborn
    Pema Pera: Yes, a ship or a car can be wrecked
    Pema Pera: but can a cloud be wrecked?
    Pema Pera: can a gentle breeze be wrecked?
    Pema Pera: what do we want to be?
    Gaya Ethaniel: little difficult in my mind when comparing nature with man-made things
    Pema Pera: Hi doug!
    Gaya Ethaniel: with metta
    doug Sosa: morning!
    doug Sosa: so to speak.

    Doug dropped by, and being in California in RL, it truly was morning for him. Almost at the same time, Adelene stopped by as well. It was her first visit.

    Pema Pera: Hi Adelene, please come join us!
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah… you’re so SL doug
    Adelene Dawner: hi :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: with metta
    Pema Pera: with metta, in what sense, Gaya?
    doug Sosa: so sl?
    Gaya Ethaniel: i’m wishing everyone, including myself well
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes always aware of SL details doug (i often forget) - good morning then you immediately add so to speak
    Gaya Ethaniel: it’s a greeting Pema
    Gaya Ethaniel: look at me pls
    Gaya Ethaniel: with metta

    Meta meaning loving-kindness in Pali.

    doug Sosa: it is interesting that the light here just matches the light at my home.
    Gaya Ethaniel: Embodiment… Adelene that’s an intriguing word
    Adelene Dawner: Yup. :) I can’t claim credit for it, though. My friend Mark - Threedee, here - uses the concept.
    Adelene Dawner: It references the idea that you can’t really work with the mind and the body as two separate entities - they’re too closely entwined.
    Pema Pera: yes, indeed!
    doug Sosa: the idea that they might be seprate is really strange
    Pema Pera: Have you been to our group before, Adelene, Play as Being?
    Adelene Dawner: Most people try, though. The phrase “all in my head” is a good example - as if something that’s happening mentally is somehow less real than something that’s happening physically.
    Adelene Dawner: And no, I haven’t :)
    Pema Pera: yes, like when people talk about “my brain feels this and that”
    Pema Pera: a very strange expression, but heard more and more these days
    Adelene Dawner: mm. Not that there aren’t useful things to note about ‘where’ a sensation is coming from, but the original location is less important than the meaning.
    Pema Pera: Adelene, we get together here four times a day, to talk about a simple kind of exploration we do, a kind of mini-meditation, 9 seconds every 15 minutes ; see http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Adelene Dawner looks
    doug Sosa: the economy wnts to divide you out from the rest of the world, so that you see the world as if an independent atom, easily manipulated.
    Adelene Dawner scoffs.
    doug Sosa: “as if you wer an..
    Adelene Dawner sighs. “I’m having trouble with the web page - it’s on my end. Could you give me a more concise description, Pema?”
    Pema Pera: oh sure, I’d be happy to

    I summarized Play as Being.

    Pema Pera: The idea is simple
    Pema Pera: for a few hours a day
    Pema Pera: you pay 1% of your time in a kind of time tax
    Pema Pera: 9 seconds each fifteen minutes
    Pema Pera: During that time you stop what you’re doing, or at least drop your exclusive focus on it
    Pema Pera: and instead you look at what is
    Pema Pera: or what you are
    Pema Pera: or at “I am”
    Pema Pera: and one way to do that is to look at what you have
    Pema Pera: we normally say “I am a plumber” instead of “I have the profession of plumber”
    Pema Pera: we say “I am English” instead of “I have the English nationality”
    Pema Pera: so if we try to rigorously scrutinize all that we have
    Pema Pera: then we may see what is left over, as what we are
    Pema Pera: temporarily shifting focus away from what we have
    Adelene Dawner: Now *that* sounds interesting and useful.
    Pema Pera: temporarily dropping the role play
    Pema Pera: and the remaining 99% we can play all our roles as much as we like, in RL and SL both
    Pema Pera: Here in SL we get together four times a day
    Pema Pera: to talk about our experiences in RL in the four times an hour practice:
    Pema Pera: 1 am 7 am 1 pm 7 pm SLT
    Pema Pera: Thank you, glad to hear that!
    Pema Pera: If you’d like to try it, you can start right here, just pick a 9-sec interval :-)
    Adelene Dawner is not sure if a 9-second interval is appropriate to her rather nonstandard brain-function-mode (autistic, in this incarnation) but will find a good modification of the useful base premise.
    Pema Pera: you may want to just play with it for a few days, and then if you like, you can share with us what happened
    Pema Pera: or what kind of questions you have about it
    doug Sosa: this time when i tried it things stayed the same but the space around them became much more real and present.
    Adelene Dawner: mm-hmm :)
    doug Sosa: adelene, seems you will get this quick
    Adelene Dawner: It won’t surprise me if I do, no.
    Pema Pera: may I ask, Adelene, how you feel about SL, given what you described as your autistic function-mode?
    Adelene Dawner: That’s a very broad question, Pema, could you be more specific?
    doug Sosa: bell. i must depart.
    Adelene Dawner: c’ya, doug.

    Doug left, and Adelene talked about being autistic in a free and open way that I found very inspiring.

    Pema Pera: I am fascinated by the similarities and differences between RL and SL and dreams and movies and other ways of representing reality
    Pema Pera: and I wonder whether your mode of functioning makes the transitions between those modes different than they may be perceived by others
    Adelene Dawner: I consider SL to be ‘real’, as much as anything else is ‘real’. The laws of physics are different and more comfortable here, as are the rules and limits of social interactions.
    Pema Pera: it may be a very difficult question to answer — since each of us only directly experiences his or her own transitions
    Pema Pera: Yes, one thing many of us here in this group agree about is that RL and SL are surprisingly similar, more than most people in SL seem to think
    Adelene Dawner: … similar how? (Not disagreeing, mostly just not sure quite what you mean.)
    Pema Pera: similar in being “real” in some important way, as you said
    Adelene Dawner: That, yes.
    Pema Pera: and also similar in the sense that the most fundamental questions we are dealing with carry over here very much.
    Adelene Dawner: Any world with humans will be similar in that way.
    Pema Pera: we cannot eat and drink here, for example, but our greatest anxieties and hopes and yearnings and quests and worries we carry with us through transitions between RL and SL and into dreams and so on
    Gaya Ethaniel hasn’t decided on how similar SL and RL are
    Adelene Dawner nods. “Those things are intrinsic to being human… or being a person, to be more accurate… the world in which we spend our time doesn’t and can’t change them.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: and perhaps we can even go one step further
    Pema Pera: from the roles we play (in RL and SL) to the human being we are to something even wider, dropping the “role” that we play when we say we are a human being
    Pema Pera: the widest we can perhaps experience is to identify ourselves in some way with Being
    Pema Pera: the totality of Being
    Pema Pera: of what is
    Pema Pera: and as soon as we can some taste of that, we see that it is actually Being that is playing the role of me
    Pema Pera: but to get started, if we identify ourselves with our current role
    Adelene Dawner chuckles. “That’s almost exactly what I was thinking of when I said that your meditation was useful. I actually identify more closely with being autistic than being human, and ‘being autistic’ was the first thing that I thought of when you said “[7:21] Pema Pera: and one way to do that is to look at what you have [7:22] Pema Pera: we normally say “I am a plumber” instead of “I have the profession of plumber”
    Pema Pera: we can try to “play as Being” before letting Being play as us — hence the title of our little initiative here
    Pema Pera: oh, that’s fascinating, Adelene!
    Gaya Ethaniel has been pondering about Being being bigger than herself
    Pema Pera: Thank you for sharing that with us
    Pema Pera: does the possibility of dropping the roles of both human and autistic mean anything, appealing or not, or does that sound totally impossible?
    Pema Pera: Gaya, perhaps Being is both the biggest and the smallest . . . in some sense
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes… it’s kind of indescribable in words for me at the moment

    Adelene gave a vivid description of our exploration.

    Adelene Dawner: It doesn’t sound impossible, but I don’t know what it would mean… I see the path, but I don’t know what’s at the end of it, if that makes sense. But I see that it’s a good path to explore.
    Pema Pera: wonderful, Adelene!
    Pema Pera: I think you’ve come to the right place here :)
    Adelene Dawner: Yes :D
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Pema Pera: I hope you will join us, since it is clear you are both open to these ideas and have worked with them already, in thinking the through to some extent
    Pema Pera: We have a very collaborative attitude, we all learn from each other
    Pema Pera: you can be both teacher and student here, as we all are :-)
    Adelene Dawner: I think I will. I may be able to make the 7pm meetings on a daily basis.
    Pema Pera: Something tells us we can learn a lot from you
    Pema Pera: as you from us
    Adelene Dawner nods.
    Pema Pera: ah, this is the bell
    Pema Pera: every 15 minutes here too :)
    Pema Pera: but Gaya here only joined us ten days or so ago, I believe
    Pema Pera: is that right, Gaya?
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes since 11th July
    Pema Pera: the amazing thing about Play as Being, PaB for short, is that I have seen so many people here really getting deeply into it right in the first week they come here.
    Pema Pera: That’s what happened to you too, Gaya, wasn’t it?
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes then i went sort of ‘madness’ period where my mind is too noisy
    Adelene Dawner: The format seems good for that. I was at another buddhist group place yesterday - they were so busy reading quotes from a book that every time the conversation started to gain depth, the leader cut it off. I was not pleased. :(

    I explained about the notion of guardians.

    Pema Pera: we have no leader here :)
    Pema Pera: we have a group of “guardians”
    Adelene Dawner: :D
    Pema Pera: Both Gaya and I are guardians
    Pema Pera: what that means is that for each session, one of us guarantees to be here
    Pema Pera: to “guard” the time and the place
    Pema Pera: to make sure that at least one person is here at this place at each time
    Pema Pera: 1 am 7 am 1 pm 7 pm
    Gaya Ethaniel: and everyone gets some sleep in shift
    Pema Pera: so that people who come by for the first time always find someone to talk with
    Adelene Dawner: good :)
    Pema Pera: yes, Gaya, very important :)
    Gaya Ethaniel nods
    Pema Pera: Gaya was amazingly quick in becoming guardian :-)
    Pema Pera: most people spend a number of weeks exploring what we do
    Pema Pera: and if they really like it, and continue to come, they may take on that role
    Gaya Ethaniel: Adelene one has choice to delay/refuse - no obligation to accept if we approach anyone for guaridan role
    Adelene Dawner: hmm. Either one of my neighbors is baking chocolate chip cookies, or the deep parts of my brain are expressing happiness at having found this place. Either seems likely.
    Pema Pera: perhaps your lucky day, and both are true :-)
    Adelene Dawner: :D
    Gaya Ethaniel: could be ours too
    Pema Pera: yes!
    Adelene Dawner: As to the guardian role - I may be willing at some point, but I’m not sure that my schedule is reliable enough to take on the responsibility.
    Pema Pera: oh sure, no rush at all, Adelene
    Pema Pera: and there are people who come regularly who are not guardians
    Pema Pera: I mainly mentioned this in contrast to having a leader
    Adelene Dawner: mm-hmm. I like it.
    Gaya Ethaniel: and it’s not a job for life Adelene - everyone has a choice
    Pema Pera: Although I started this initiative in April, I don’t consider myself a leader
    Pema Pera: I consider myself pretty friendly — but if you want to see me angry, try calling me “leader” a few times, hehe
    Adelene Dawner chuckles. “I couldn’t even guarantee that I’ll be here tomorrow, much less next month or next year. Planning ahead… not a strong suit here.”
    Gaya Ethaniel whispers leader
    Pema Pera: Pema reaches for his guns
    Pema Pera realizes his inventory is a mess . . . and no guns
    Gaya Ethaniel: just do what your heart tells you Adelene - in regards to what we do here, that doesn’t mean much
    Gaya Ethaniel: in this sense
    Gaya Ethaniel breathes sigh of relief
    Pema Pera: hahaha

    I commented on the bird shape of Adelene’s avatar, and the many purple feathers.

    Pema Pera: You have a wonderful outfit, Adelene
    Adelene Dawner nods. “I’m sure I’ll be around, now that I’ve found you.”
    Pema Pera: did you find that somewhere
    Pema Pera: or made part of it?
    Adelene Dawner: Thanks, Pema. :)
    Adelene Dawner: It’s a conglomeration of several bits and pieces from different avatars from Grendel’s Children, which I modified.
    Pema Pera: it nicely combines the two ends of the spectrum, like a unity between opposites in a colorful way
    Pema Pera: oh, wow, you made it yourself then, impressive!
    Adelene Dawner: and actually, while I’m thinking of it, let me switch to my usual coloring. :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes, never seen anything similar before
    Pema Pera: oh, before I forget, we like to include our discussions on our blog on the web, do you mind if we include our conversation there too?
    Adelene Dawner: Go ahead :)
    Pema Pera: thank you!
    Pema Pera: different coloring?
    Adelene Dawner: The black is more intense, not as suitable for introducing myself in a neww, unknown place. But it’s more comfortable for me.
    Pema Pera: (btw, I have to leave in a minute, to an astronomy meeting, also in SL, one of my professional activities here)
    Gaya Ethaniel: good day Pema thanks for coming
    Adelene Dawner nods.
    Pema Pera: Black like a New Yorker :)
    Pema Pera: I live in New York, and half the people there were only black, it seems
    Gaya Ethaniel: hope to see you again Adelene - i must be going also
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Adelene and Gaya, for coming over!
    Gaya Ethaniel: with metta
    Pema Pera: See you both soon again
    Adelene Dawner: Ok. I’ll be back later, I think :)
    Pema Pera: with metta :)

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