2009.07.25 19:00 - Thinking Groundlessly

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Pema Pera. The comments are by Pema Pera.

    Eliza Madrigal: :) Hi Pema
    Pema Pera: Hi there Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: All well?
    Pema Pera: No Saturday night fever here, so far :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Not yet :)
    Pema Pera: who knows what rowdy parties may show up . . .
    Pema Pera: and how are you?
    Eliza Madrigal looks around
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Well , thanks
    Eliza Madrigal: I've been enjoying reading the PaB logs for the last few days
    Pema Pera: glad to hear that! Any comments, ideas, responses?
    Eliza Madrigal: I enjoy the way you walk people through excercizes, and find that I jump in there too
    Pema Pera: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: It adds a kind of sharper focus
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm learning to think 'groundlessly' and realizing that is openness that you often mention... to allow Being to see
    Pema Pera: yes
    Eliza Madrigal: It tends me make me a little 'underground' though, so I've been talking less :))
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Pema Pera: that's certainly all good to hear! And yes, sometimes the right response feels like just remaining silent. Was there anything specific that resonated with you?
    Pema Pera: any particular exercise/exploration, or specific aspect thereof?
    Eliza Madrigal: I related very much to what Gen said re: therapy, and the 'if' koan
    Eliza Madrigal: And after that, when sitting many things floated up to the surface that I then attached metaphors to...
    Eliza Madrigal: tried to work them out :), then heard so clearly to drop those metaphors
    Eliza Madrigal: and it was very simple to do. As soon as I saw that, they were already gone
    Eliza Madrigal: So then I think I saw 'Seeing is enough" more clearly in that...
    Eliza Madrigal: ...that by the time I hear "drop that" it has been gone for a while
    Eliza Madrigal: May sound odd, but that's been my experience thus far
    Pema Pera: no, sounds perfectly reasonable and simple :-) thank you for sharing that!
    Pema Pera: these are the directions I have always hoped PaB would grow into:
    Pema Pera: simplicity, stopping, dropping . . . .
    Pema Pera: and of course we've been talking about that in the group as a whole for more than a year now
    Eliza Madrigal smiles. Yes.
    Pema Pera: but hearing it is one thing, getting acquainted with it quite another, really beginning to taste it again quite something else, and so on
    Eliza put her finger on it:
    Eliza Madrigal: 'Experience first' is exactly that....
    Eliza Madrigal: I think there are many ways in which I've been right in there, understanding at whatever capacity allowed that moment...
    Pema Pera: as I tried to express at the end of the session you refered to, by now I often feel that when I look back a few months, or a month, or even just a week, I shake my head seeing how limited my understanding was then, and how much deeper I now "get" what the same words were trying to point to
    Eliza Madrigal: yes! It honestly is a wonderous thing
    Pema Pera: yes, and that is the other side of the coin: often when we fall into a really deep experience, we realize we felt/saw something very similar way back when, but we couldn't integrate it then and we seemingly lost it again
    Pema Pera: it is very non-linear, not a steady progress
    Eliza Madrigal: Oh my goodness, yes
    Eliza Madrigal: It is extremely difficult to 'pin down' this type of learning....
    Eliza Madrigal: it isn't supposed to be :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Once in a while someone asks me a question, and I find I can't say "this began here" or "there"
    Pema Pera: perhaps it is more like the way you learn to love someone: one day you just can't stand your partner, another day you feel so very peaceful, just being with the other.
    Eliza Madrigal: yes perhaps
    Pema Pera: the devotion aspect is important, but a bit hard to talk about in our culture . . . . we are suspicious of devotion
    Pema Pera: yet any great scientist is totally devoted to her/his research, for example!
    Pema Pera: or any great sports player or musician, artist, you name it
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, and that is what I love about what you were saying last night re: scepticism
    Pema Pera: devotion is the base, also for PaB . . . .
    Pema Pera: yes, thanks :)
    Pema Pera: but in PaB it is not devotion to a deity or person, it is something else . . .
    Pema Pera: would you care to try to put words on what devotion could be in PaB ?
    I realized it was a bit of a direct question, and I hoped Eliza didn't mind me asking it, but she jumped right in, with gusto.
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm
    Eliza Madrigal: When you spoke to I think, Vajra, about atheism, I realized that THAT to me is PaB,
    Eliza Madrigal: that we can sit and speak in terms of God, Not God, Being, Emptiness, etc...
    Eliza Madrigal: and we are on the same page at heart
    Eliza Madrigal: That is an impossible thing in most setting
    Eliza Madrigal: *settings
    Eliza Madrigal: That is inspiring to me
    Eliza Madrigal: something I can feel 'devoted' to
    Eliza Madrigal: The benefit of the doubt/ good skepticism is the thing there... the openness
    Eliza Madrigal: Or that's what I'd say this second :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: yes, I find that almost miraculous -- that we can be so widely open to all orientations, far beyond what normally is called "eucumanical", "interfaith", etc, including humanists, atheists, anyone really -- and yet not become flat of superficial
    Pema Pera: there is the fear that spreading wide leads to the effect of the lowest common denominator
    Pema Pera: being left just with "be kind to yourself and to others" -- which is a great point, but perhaps not the only point to work with :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: We aren't hiding most of ourselves in order not to make waves or conform to some ideal
    Pema Pera: yes, there is the openness of play, and also a great amount of trust and respect
    Pema Pera: just being together is somehow very powerful in our group
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Eliza Madrigal: My specifically buddhist practice (very new) is quite enhanced by being here. I don't leave it at the door, which is so nice.
    Pema Pera: this "being with", "being together" by itself is a nice local representation of the more universal notion of "Being" in Play as Being
    Pema Pera: oh yes, it fits right in!
    Pema Pera: but so does Christianity, Islam, humanism, and so on
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, exactly!
    Eliza Madrigal: Helps to perhaps not be so serious I must say.
    Pema Pera: I'm so glad we have guardians like Cal, Sophia, Geo, with an orientation that is more non-religious, Christian, Islamic, respectively.
    Pema Pera: oh yes, indeed, being playful is key -- but in most settings I know dropping seriousness often leads to just being silly
    Pema Pera: which is fine of course, and necessary from time to time
    Pema Pera: but what we have is far more than just decompression
    Eliza Madrigal: Indeed
    Eliza then remember a great quote.
    Eliza Madrigal: In one of the recent logs someone said "What I need here, is this group of people"
    Pema Pera: there is the willingness to look at ourselves, our own identifications, and to question them, now THAT is really remarkable for the large group that we have, not just two or three people
    Pema Pera: a lovely quote indeed!
    Eliza Madrigal: and I thought it was such a beautiful statement... so simple and sincere. It really touched me.
    Pema Pera: yes, me too
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, a very large, very dynamic group
    Eliza Madrigal: I didn't expect to spend so much time here when I first arrived :)
    Pema Pera: good thing too!
    Pema Pera: you might have been scared away if you'd known :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hah!
    Pema Pera: I myself was originally thinking of ten minutes per session, a few times a day
    Pema Pera: and I told people so, the first day
    Pema Pera: April 1, 2008
    Eliza Madrigal: Ten minutes?
    Pema Pera: yeah, seemed long enough, much longer than 9 sec, right?
    Eliza Madrigal: Hard to imagine that with so many interesting ideas
    Eliza Madrigal smiles, yes perhaps
    Pema Pera: I was *thinking* of ten minutes -- but already the first day it grew into more like an hour per session
    Pema Pera: and has stayed that way ever since
    Eliza Madrigal: So it took on a life of its own in a sense
    Pema Pera: oh, very much so
    Pema Pera: we play as Being, but PaB seems to have its own momentum
    Pema Pera: its own character
    Pema Pera: its own flow
    Pema Pera: like a river
    Pema Pera: with many bends and twists and turns and unexpected white water rapids
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, yes
    Eliza Madrigal: times of stepping softly
    Pema Pera: and sometimes very peaceful dreamlike flows too
    Pema Pera: yes
    This let me to reflect on the very early history of Play as Being.
    Pema Pera: as an example of the way PaB evolved by itself: after the very first session, I just jotted down a few lines as summary, on the wiki (was a blog then, but later copied to wiki): http://playasbeing.wik.is/Chat_Logs/2008/04/2008.04.01_07%3a00_-_Our_First_Meeting
    Pema Pera: then the same day, six hours later, for the first time I included a "snippet" of the chat log, on http://playasbeing.wik.is/Chat_Logs/2008/04/2008.04.01_13%3a00_-_Reminding_yourself_of_the_0-sec_rule
    Pema Pera: then that evening, still on the same day, I decided I might as well include the whole chat log for that session -- and that pattern has stayed, for 1500 or so sessions so far. :-)
    Pema Pera: but that was never planned, it just spontaneously appeared as a pattern during the first day
    Pema Pera: but felt like the right thing
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, do you know someone asked me one day, what the purpose of the logs was
    Eliza Madrigal: and I said that they create continuity. In all my reading (and there has been plenty), I hadn't read these pages.
    Pema Pera: yes, continuity is key
    Pema Pera: The most honest and direct answer, speaking for myself, is that it just felt like the right thing to do -- but upon reflection I can recognize many inspiring and useful aspects; as so often happens: we feel that something is right, first, and then, second, we begin to see more and more in detail why that might be good
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, it grew organically
    Pema Pera: like scientific research: the important step is a new intuition, something totally non-rational; only at the second step of verification does rationality weigh in, as a late-comer, quality-control kind of thing. In that sense, the core of science is not rational at all.
    Eliza Madrigal: Be ready for strange leaps then
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: yes!
    Eliza Madrigal: For myself, the logs allow me to hear voices I might not otherwise
    Eliza Madrigal: and to see how someone else hears in a completely 'new to me' way
    Eliza Madrigal: even if talking about the same idea which was discussed before
    Pema Pera: yes. someone during one session compared it to Indra's net
    Pema Pera: where each knot in the net has a jewel that reflects all other jewels
    Eliza Madrigal: :) yes, I like that analogy very much
    Eliza Madrigal: very fitting... a resonance not restricted by time
    Eliza Madrigal: Well Pema, sorry no rowdy parties tonight
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: outwardly not no
    Pema Pera: but the power of the ideas we talked about is quite a bit more rowdy than the parties people can think of for Saturday evenings . . . .
    Pema Pera: dropping self, dropping time, compared to that any party I've ever seen is very very tame :)
    Eliza Madrigal grins. Yes, a nice evening. Thank you :) I really enjoy hearing your vision for PaB too.
    Pema Pera: Thank you for a great conversation, Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks Pema. Have a good day.
    Pema Pera: and I enjoyed the refreshing simplicity and directness of your descriptions!
    Pema Pera: And a good night to you, Eliza
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