2008.11.20 07:00 - Dialog: Sheer Appearance

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    This session was a dialog about appearance between Pema and Maxine for about 30 min after which the entire group joined in.  CH 


    Caledonia Heron: hey there Maxine :)
    Maxine Walden: hi, Cal, good to see you
    Caledonia Heron: hi vraja :)
    Caledonia Heron: same here Maxine :)
    Caledonia Heron: hey there Corvi :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hiya!
    Maxine Walden: Cal, I did something to the fountain, after Storm's suggestion, is it OK for our discussion this morning? Well, maybe so as Corvi is sitting on the no-fountain area
    Caledonia Heron: sure, that's fine :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire grins.
    Caledonia Heron: it would be nice if we could spin Corvi around to speak to her front :)
    Caledonia Heron: hey there Pema :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: mmmm
    Maxine Walden: hi, Pema
    Pema Pera: Hi Everybody!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: an even smaller, circle!
    Caledonia Heron: maybe you can join us on the same ring Corvi?
    Maxine Walden: yes, I changed it according to Storm's suggestions
    Caledonia Heron: there we go :)
    Pema Pera: Took me a long time to log in this morning . . . .
    Pema Pera: Hi Sundhi!
    Caledonia Heron: hi there sundhi :)
    Maxine Walden: you know, yesterday I could not get in...and feared the same this morning
    Pema Pera: Sundhi is here for the first time, I invited her to come over
    sundhi Joubert: hello
    Caledonia Heron: welcome :)
    Maxine Walden: oh, welcome Sundhi



    Pema Pera: On the "grid status page" http://status.secondlifegrid.net/ there is info
    Maxine Walden: yes, went there a few times
    sundhi Joubert: hello everyone:))
    Pema Pera: We’re arranging a partial outage on Thursday morning, November 20, 2008, for an upgrade to a group of inventory databases. There will be groups of residents affected by this between 6:30 and 8:00 a.m. PST. Groups of affected residents will not be able to log in during this time.
    Pema Pera: so not everybody might be able to join us this morning
    Adams Rubble: hello everyone :)
    Caledonia Heron: hey there Adams :)
    Maxine Walden: right
    sundhi Joubert: hello adams
    Caledonia Heron: shall we begin?
    Maxine Walden: sounds good to me
    Pema Pera: Fine!
    Caledonia Heron: or wait a bit more ?



    Maxine Walden: Shall I just pose the topic we thought we would dialog about?
    Pema Pera: yes, please!
    Caledonia Heron: certainly
    Maxine Walden: Pema has spoken about 'appearance' in the PaB practice and the last time he did so ...
    Caledonia Heron: hi Umbriel :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi, Umbriel.
    Adams Rubble: Hello Umbriel
    Umbriel Levenque: Peace and Love
    sundhi Joubert: hello umbriel



    Maxine Walden: at the session I was at, it seemed to me that several folks got quite focussed upon appearance such as 'on the surface' , how I appear to others....how I appear to myself...
    Maxine Walden: so I thought it might be a good idea for us to clarify different ways to think of and value appearance
    Maxine Walden: Maybe we could then begin with Pema stating his thought/description of appearance in the way he is meaning for the practice
    Maxine Walden: I will then say a thing or two
    Pema Pera: Yes, thank you Maxine!



    Pema Pera: Indeed, my use of the word appearance was intended to be very different from "on the surface appearance"
    Pema Pera: I summarized it yesterday evening in an email, by making a distinction between "mere appearance" (on the surface) and "sheer appearance" (free from identifications)
    Pema Pera: Let me see how I summarized that . . . .
    Pema Pera: When used as "(outward) appearance rather than what is really the case"
    it is used as a kind of "mere appearance", and not what I have in mind.
    When used as "what is most directly given, stripped of idenfitications"
    it is used as a kind of "sheer appearance", which is what I have in mind.
    Maxine Walden: yes, and then I speaking from perhaps a naive point might say, 'but part of my makeup and history is to value what my senses bring to me, that is what I see, how things appear...that is a part of my reality
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: yes, that is part of the story in which we live -- we are part of the story too
    Pema Pera: The very radical nature of Play as Being invites you to dare to look beyond the story . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . while respecting the story, for sure, and everything in it.
    Pema Pera: but without declaring the story closed, the only and ultimate reality
    Maxine Walden: but then I might say that you are asking me to bypass, to deny, aspects of my reality
    Pema Pera: Denial is always wrong!
    Pema Pera: And so is bypassing in the sense of ignoring
    Pema Pera: rather I am hinting at seeing in a different light
    Pema Pera: My favorite example is that of a movie: if I really believe that the story of the movie is real, and my neighbor in the theater tells me it is only a play of light, I might get upset thinking that my neigbor wants me to deny what is going on right in front of me -- but in fact, when acknowledging that the movie is a play of light, we can *really* be open to all that is going on there, *really* appreciating the movie as it is, with all its ups and downs, from murders to the most inspiring love scenes
    Maxine Walden: yes, I like that analogy which you have mentioned. But I will try to stay in role: then you are suggesting that I stretch my view of reality without giving up my considerations of appearance re 'on the surface' or the several layers of meaning and appearance that might be available ?
    Faenik: なるほど^^



    Maxine Walden: I think you may be asking me to change my usual mode of perceiving appearance, that is my eyes or ears...may be asking me to attend to appearance with a wider mind
    Pema Pera: The only way to see the real reality of a movie is to "see" -- arguing may help to prevent us to close our mind for the possibility of seeing. But "seeing" is what counts. Before and after you "wake up" to what a movie really is, you notice the same objects and people on the screen, but you "see" them in different ways, "as real" and "as light", respectively
    Pema Pera: so what I am asking to change is the "as" in "seeing as", yes
    Maxine Walden: seeing as makes it one of many concurrent possibilites...rather than 'seeing' as an absolute thing?
    Pema Pera: seeing is always relative, I think, always a seeing as, a seeing within a context, a seeing with eyes that focus on a particular story
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: but we normally don't consider our reality a story -- we live and behave as if our reality as we perceive and interpret it, is all there is . . . . .
    Maxine Walden: yes, I agree that we usually feel what we 'see' is the absolute reality. The relative nature of seeing...that seems fundamental in what you are saying
    Pema Pera: so PaB is an invitation at loosening our habitual idenfications between what appears and what we think is underneath
    Maxine Walden: please say more about 'what we think is underneath'
    Pema Pera: But we should do both: we should continue to play the role we have to play in the story
    Pema Pera: Like in watching a movie
    Pema Pera: it would be silly to walk out of the theater after realizing "it is only a play of light"
    Pema Pera: on the contrary, *then* we can really appreciate the art in the movie



    Pema Pera: So about "underneath"
    Pema Pera: The more we realize the relative nature of our story, by seeing the empty openness ("light") that makes up the whole story, the more we can then appreciate the *content* of the story
    nikola Mirajkar: what are you doing... what is this
    Pema Pera: And within the *content* there is the different between the superficial appearance and the deeper reasons (within the story) behind it -- and that, too, is very interesting to explore
    Caledonia Heron: [im-ing nikola]
    Pema Pera: (thanks!)
    Pema Pera: Movie critics who don't realize that a movie is not real would not be very good critics, so
    Pema Pera: similarly, the best way that we can understand what happens within the story of our life, and the best way to help others and ourselves, is to be open to the relative nature of the story
    Pema Pera: does that make sense?
    Maxine Walden: yes, I think you are encouraging me/us to loosen the sense of absoluteness in what we perceive as appearance, so as to be more open to perceive the various elements you are suggesting, the more complex story/physics/art o the 'movie
    Maxine Walden: (seems I lost my last comment. will type it again)
    Pema Pera: yes, I invite a very simple shift . . . . one that the world literature is full of, but that is so hard to put into words



    Pema Pera: How to describe seeing that a dream is a dream, that a movie is a movie?
    Pema Pera: nothing changes and everything changes . . . . . .
    Pema Pera: any pointing is bound to be misunderstood
    Pema Pera: until one gets a glimpse of the shift
    Pema Pera: and then it's the simplest thing in the world . . . .
    Maxine Walden: I think the notion of 'shift' as you are describing it is essential to keep in mind in terms of this notion of appearance
    Maxine Walden: I am noting the time, is it time to open it up to others to comment?
    Faenik: indeed?
    Pema Pera: getting there :-)
    Maxine Walden: maybe no one else has had any confusion about the notion of appearance
    Pema Pera: hahaha, I doubt that!



    Caledonia Heron: are we open for comments now?
    Pema Pera: sure!
    Adams Rubble snickers
    Maxine Walden: yes, open for comments
    Caledonia Heron: ok, thanks Pema and Maxine .... any thoughts from the peanut gallery? :)
    Umbriel Levenque: appearances to me suggest reality that is ‘filtered’ through ourselves whether it is ‘sheer’ or ‘mere’…
    Caledonia Heron: I was thinking about the notion of the movie and watching the movie and was reminded I once was watching a movie and made a comment like I was the movie, like I was in the movie and someone said, jeez, that's the movie and I was back being myself watching the movie
    Caledonia Heron: a shift in orientation, what had appeared to be real and what was real
    Caledonia Heron: or so I thought :)
    Pema Pera: yes, that's a kind of shift, Cal -- and there are many! You did not really think that someone murdered in front of you would be really murdered, so you had already made one shift in realizing that, but then you made a shift in a second way, realizing it more explicitly -- there are so many layers of waking up . . . . !
    Pema Pera: Umbriel, can you say more?
    Caledonia Heron: if we release identifications to observe sheer appearance, say for example from a tree; no bark, no leaves no species, not plant, nothing labeled or strip identification from me; a human, woman, worker, mother,... we are still compelled to identify what is left, even if it's after the fact... as what though? energy? is-ness? figments? make-believe?
    Pema Pera: no that is not what I meant, sorry
    Pema Pera: when watching a movie, and seeing a tree, and realizing it is only light, we don't have to deny the treeness of what we see as tree -- we can still fully acknowledge the bark, the leaves, the species, all of that stays
    Pema Pera: it is *also* only light
    Pema Pera: and it is *also* (within the story of the movie) *precisely* still what is was before!
    Pema Pera: no denial
    Pema Pera: no bypassing
    Umbriel Levenque: just trying to see differences between the relationships of ‘sheer appearances’ & reality vs. ‘mere appearances’ & reality
    Caledonia Heron: a multi-seeing... seeing what is, seeing what is not?
    Pema Pera: yes!



    Pema Pera: Umbriel, perhaps it is easier to explain in a series of shifts
    Pema Pera: from seeing an object, say a tea cup, "as"
    Maxine Walden: yes, this multi-seeing seems at the heart of the matter
    Pema Pera: You can see a cup "as" matter, that's what we normally do
    Pema Pera: But when we spend three hours taking photographs, we may see the cup "as" light
    Pema Pera: Same cup, same details
    Pema Pera: then we can shift to seeing the cup "as" our conscious experience of the cup
    Pema Pera: also valid
    Pema Pera: how it is given in our experience
    Pema Pera: and *then* we can make one final shift
    Pema Pera: to see our experience as not "ours" and with no "ex" -- just as sheer appearance
    Faenik loves wells!
    sundhi Joubert: without referring back to ones experiential database?
    Pema Pera: appreciating the presence of that sheer experience
    Pema Pera: we can refer back to our database, Sundhi
    Pema Pera: but in doing so, that referring is also an appearance
    Pema Pera: and the data base is appearance
    Pema Pera: and the sense of I is appearance
    Pema Pera: all layered on emptiness, on openness
    Pema Pera: no denial -- no suppression -- no forgetting
    Maxine Walden: I think Sundhi brings up an important point. I think we have trouble getting beyond our experience base...it feels so fundamental



    Pema Pera: we have to drop "I" and "time" both, and that seems impossible :-)
    Caledonia Heron: peeking at sheerness can overwhelm, how to not be shy? practice?
    Pema Pera: there is appearance of I and appearance of time, that is all . . . .
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: Great question, Cal!
    Pema Pera: How to see!
    Pema Pera: Now HERE is the conundrum
    Caledonia Heron: I feel shy when I see
    Pema Pera: methods don't work and no methods don't work either . . . . .
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: yes, there is the initial shyness, at the awe of it all . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . that is the original sense of the sacred . . . .
    sundhi Joubert: or sheer terror
    Caledonia Heron: lol
    Pema Pera: yes, that too :)
    Pema Pera: but really only mere terror
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: awe
    Pema Pera: you can get over that
    Pema Pera: with a little help from your friends :)
    sundhi Joubert: :)
    Adams Rubble: :)



    Pema Pera: Methods don't work. Why? Let me summarize
    Caledonia Heron: yes, overcome better fits than shy I think
    Pema Pera: Any method posits a lack of something and a way to get it.
    Pema Pera: THAT IS WRONG!
    Pema Pera: we don't lack anything
    Pema Pera: we already got it all, it's staring us in the face, right here!
    Pema Pera: So as soon as we buy into the notion of a method, we are even further away from seeing
    Caledonia Heron: whole
    Corvuscorva Nightfire looks about for Avastu.
    Umbriel Levenque: :-)
    Pema Pera: But . . . . . hehe, Corvi . . . . not doing anything doesn't help either.
    Pema Pera: So what to do?
    Pema Pera: This is the core of every Zen koan
    Caledonia Heron: nothing :)
    Pema Pera: damned if you do, damned if yuo don't
    Pema Pera: doing just nothing won't help either
    Caledonia Heron: no thing
    Adams Rubble: nine seconds :)
    Caledonia Heron: but that is a method?
    Pema Pera: aAfter pondering this for most of my life, my best approach so far has been indeed the nine seconds, as a no-method method :)
    Pema Pera: it is too short to have the look and feel of a method
    Pema Pera: less likely to trick you into reaching, grasping for a goal
    Umbriel Levenque: maintain interest/curiosity?
    sundhi Joubert: may i ask what 9 seconds is
    Pema Pera: yet it stops you in your tracks
    Caledonia Heron: a method over time perhaps
    Pema Pera: stopping -> seeing
    Pema Pera: that is the no-method method
    Pema Pera: Sundhi, that is described on our web site
    sundhi Joubert: ok
    sundhi Joubert: ty
    Caledonia Heron: http://playasbeing.wik.issundhi
    Pema Pera: http://playasbeing.wik.is/
    Pema Pera: :)



    Pema Pera: And then, the jump from stopping to seeing is still a bit too large so . . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . as a stepping stone, I introduced "appreaciating appearance"
    Pema Pera: hoping to let it be used also as a no-method method
    Pema Pera: appreciation is much lighter than grasping
    Pema Pera: and appearance is minimal identification
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Pema Pera: It is like a cosmic joke: ALL of use have made this shift, many times already!!!
    Pema Pera: We just keep forgetting that we did
    Pema Pera: because it does not fit into our memories!
    Caledonia Heron: why do we forget I wonder
    Adams Rubble: :)
    Pema Pera: The structure of memory excludes that
    Caledonia Heron: ah
    Pema Pera: we have been raised as children to identify
    Pema Pera: twenty or more years long
    Pema Pera: absolutely essential!
    Pema Pera: but the rest of our lives we'd better learn to de-identify
    Pema Pera: wearing all the acquired identifications much more loosely
    Caledonia Heron: so we learn early to label and later, to see, we learn to de-label
    Umbriel Levenque: what fun that is :-)
    Pema Pera: our society is the first one in history not appreciating that last part, it seems, very odd . . . we have thrown away the sacred, the freedom of seeing, it has all been petrified, by and large, into systems . . . .
    Pema Pera: yes, exactly, Cal
    Pema Pera: It's really simple!!!



    Maxine Walden: also it may be difficult to remember 'timeless' elements as memory does seem a register of ourselves placed in time
    Pema Pera: exactly, Maxine!
    Caledonia Heron: so maybe when needed, we can shift back and forth .... when it seems ok to do so
    Maxine Walden: and the 9 sec is in the register of the timeless, I think
    sundhi Joubert: remove our training wheels?
    Pema Pera: The one who "sees" is never the "I" that I think I am -- so the "I" has no clue, can never remember!!
    Caledonia Heron: I agree Maxine
    Pema Pera: yes, all the time, Cal!
    Pema Pera: yes, Sundi, indeed!
    Pema Pera: I used the image of the handpuppet
    Pema Pera: Being is the hand
    Pema Pera: we think we are the puppet
    Pema Pera: but the puppet has no power
    Caledonia Heron: so, what about when the gearshift gets stuck, .... we stop? to see?
    Pema Pera: has no way -- as puppet -- to really know what's going on
    Pema Pera: nothing can ever get stuck -- the puppet is always stuck by itself! The hand never gets stuck
    Pema Pera: we, we who we really are, don't need to get unstuck . . . .
    Caledonia Heron: hmmm, silly puppet
    Pema Pera: hehehe, yes, all of us
    Pema Pera: avatars and typists!
    Pema Pera: SL is a wonderful metaphor . . . .
    Maxine Walden: ( have about 3 min before I have to go)
    Pema Pera: we *feel* we are stuck, then believe it and buy into the stuckness and then we say "I am stuck" -- silly puppets indeed
    sundhi Joubert: ooooooh..poor puppet...needlesspain
    Pema Pera: exactly, . . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . but of course deeply felt
    Pema Pera: seeing this means room for compassion



    Adams Rubble: Before Maxine goes, this was a great way to start the session today :)
    Pema Pera: Thanks, Adams!
    Umbriel Levenque: My typist is logging me off I'm afraid. Enjoyed the session, thank you. Have a good day all.
    Maxine Walden: part of what 'sticks' us, is the sense of the need for power and importance of the ordinary self, need to feel important and not just a puppet
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Umbriel Levenque: Peace and Love
    Adams Rubble: bye Umbriel :)
    Caledonia Heron: having a physiological reaction to getting the puppet idea
    Pema Pera: Bye, Umbriel & typist!
    Faenik: ah :)
    sundhi Joubert: bye umbriel
    Caledonia Heron: bye Umbriel :)
    Pema Pera: best not to force it, Cal
    Pema Pera: these ideas need time to grow
    Caledonia Heron: it's just there
    Adams Rubble still working on the movie idea
    Pema Pera: yes, if it is not heart-felt, gut-felt, seeing is not really seeing . . . .
    Adams Rubble: yes
    Pema Pera: it's so amazing to see . . . .



    Pema Pera: . . . nothing else compares
    Pema Pera: and it comes and goes
    Pema Pera: first a few glimpses
    Pema Pera: then more and more
    Pema Pera: first by chance
    Pema Pera: then you can learn to invite it
    Pema Pera: and then it's almost always there
    Pema Pera: but still you lose it easily, often . . . .
    Pema Pera: and there are so many levels of seeing
    Pema Pera: and seeing more clearly and more clearly
    Pema Pera: but even the first glimpses can be a total liberation
    Pema Pera: freeing you from the largest worries and fears
    Pema Pera: forever



    Maxine Walden: better go, all, nice discussion. See you all soon
    Pema Pera: bye Maxine!
    Adams Rubble: bye Maxine :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ye1!
    Caledonia Heron: bye Maxine :) thank you
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Bye!
    sundhi Joubert: bye maxine



    Pema Pera: Hi Moon!
    Adams Rubble: hello Moon :)
    Moon Fargis: greetings
    Moon Fargis: wow serafim is still here
    sundhi Joubert: hello moon
    Pema Pera: she is growing roots!
    Caledonia Heron: a ghost avatar
    Moon Fargis: ahh i see
    Corvuscorva Nightfire giggles.
    Moon Fargis: seems like a server mistake
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Moon Fargis: is he banable?
    Caledonia Heron: yes, they call them ghosts
    Adams Rubble: In my field they are statues
    Caledonia Heron: lol
    Pema Pera: what happens if Serafim logs in and meets Serafim?
    Moon Fargis: eh
    Caledonia Heron: :)
    Moon Fargis: what was that
    Moon Fargis: they clones!



    Pema Pera: Sundhi, about the 9-sec:
    Moon Fargis: omgs they will ovverrun us!
    Pema Pera: we are all engaged in a kind of practice in RL
    Pema Pera: a very simple and easy one:
    Pema Pera: every day we like to spend a few hours in the following way: stopping what we do for 9 seconds, once every 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: if you do that, say, ten times, it takes you only 1.5 minutes
    Pema Pera: the same time as brushing your teeth
    Moon Fargis purrzzzzzzzzz
    sundhi Joubert: ok...time efficient
    Pema Pera: so you can never say that you don't have time to stop a few times for 9 seconds
    Pema Pera: but the strange thing is: all of us have reported that even after a few days it makes a real difference
    Pema Pera: trading duration for frequency seems to work
    Pema Pera: it seeps into your life, somehow . . . .
    Corvuscorva Nightfire nods.
    sundhi Joubert: and..by stoppping u mean..?
    Pema Pera: that's our non-method method :-) yes, stopping:



    Pema Pera: the simplest way is to
    Pema Pera: look at what you have, and drop to see what you are
    Pema Pera: (dropping in the sense of no longer buying into it so tightly, no denial!)
    Pema Pera: (dropping as keeping, but not identifying with it totally)
    Pema Pera: From "I am Dutch" -> I have a Dutch nationality
    Pema Pera: from "I am male" -> I have a male gender
    Pema Pera: etc
    Pema Pera: cleaning our windows, or opening the curtains of "have"
    Pema Pera: to see what "is"
    Pema Pera: like ati yoga, in short :-)
    Pema Pera: like zen
    Pema Pera: like many of the deepest and most radical form of practice
    sundhi Joubert: ok....i relate
    Pema Pera: :)



    Pema Pera: I have to get back to RL I'm afraid
    Pema Pera: Thank you all for coming!
    Pema Pera: I hope I didn't talk too much . . . . but I wanted to be clear; will try to say less next time!
    Caledonia Heron: it was the perfect amount
    Adams Rubble: bye Pema :)
    Caledonia Heron: I have to go also
    Adams Rubble: Me too
    Caledonia Heron: thank you everyone, nice to meet you sundhi
    Adams Rubble: Yes, nuce to meet you Sundhi
    Adams Rubble: bye all :)

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