2009.09.03 07:00 - Weird Wu-Wei

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Eliza Madrigal, filling in for Gen. The comments are by Eliza Madrigal.

    A very nice session in which we begin to discuss Wu-Wei, 'anew'. 

    First though, Pema asks me about the 20 minute nighly sittings at Zen Retreat... 

    Pema Pera: Hi Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Pema :)
    Pema Pera: You are one of the people keeping the zen retreat silent meditation going, I believe?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, I suppose that's true
    Pema Pera: is that still taking place in the old open-air spot in Rieul?
    Pema Pera: Hi Adelene!
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, 6PM every night :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Adelene! :)
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Adelene Dawner: hi ^.^
    Pema Pera: I'd like to drop by again one of these days -- has been quite a while
    Eliza Madrigal: That would be wonderful, Pema :)
    Pema Pera: I have fond memories of the place
    Eliza Madrigal: It is probably the most consistent place in SL for me, aside from here :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: I didn't know you went there, but know of course that PaB started in the tea hut :)
    Pema Pera: After I visited there, Dakini offered me the use of the tea house nearby, and then a few weeks later I started PaB
    Pema Pera: yes :)
    Pema Pera: and then I got so busy with PaB that I didn't have much time left for other SL activities
    Eliza Madrigal: :) yes of course!
    Pema Pera: Are you gathering there every night, also on weekends?
    Eliza Madrigal: Not on Saturday evenings
    Eliza Madrigal: The rest of the time yes, and there are four of us who ring consistently
    Eliza Madrigal: When I found the spot, I was surprised that sitting in an online group meditation could be tangible
    Pema Pera: yes!
    Pema Pera: very much so
    Eliza Madrigal: I really get that now obviously :)
    Pema Pera: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Shall I grab the session, btw?
    Pema Pera: sure, thank you!
    Pema Pera: I think Genesis is the guardian on call today
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, thought she might talk about the retreat this morning :)
    Pema Pera: yes, that was the plan
    Pema Pera: and Storm will talk this afternoon
    Eliza Madrigal: Ade, so nice to see you too :)
    Pema Pera: six hours from now
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, will try to be here for that, thanks
    Pema Pera: How are you, Adelene?

    "Perhaps all of us are quite weird. . . " Pema says, which reminds me of a line of Adelene's I quoted a few weeks ago: "There's a definite upside to knowing from the get-go that 'normal' isn't going to work for you."  :)

    Adelene Dawner: I'm okay - in a weird mood today.
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes me too. You're in good company. :)
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: haha
    Pema Pera: perhaps all of us are quite weird . . . .
    Adelene Dawner: hehe :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Do you think so?
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: Stim keeps telling me I'm crazy :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: hahah, yes and he is so clear and balanced perhaps you should listen ;-)
    Pema Pera: oh, I've been listening for the last 13 years, since I met him
    Eliza Madrigal: what's the phrase 'if this is crazy I don't want to be sane?'
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Pema Pera: nice :)
    Eliza Madrigal: It is interesting to hear the way the two of you approach things together... have been reading the dialogs
    Pema Pera: I hope it is somewhat interesting -- we meander a lot
    Eliza Madrigal: yes that helps the reader (me) probably... the meandering
    Eliza Madrigal: can take a kind of moment to process
    Pema Pera: Some of what we say may be hard to guess, given that we've been talking for so many years already -- there must be all kind of context that is not explicitly mentioned
    Eliza Madrigal smiles to Squee
    Pema Pera: Was there any specific aspect that you found especially interesting, or puzzling?
    Pema Pera: or just "weird"?
    Eliza Madrigal: haha, no, not weird :) And if weird, good weird :)
    Eliza Madrigal: For me I see leaps that at first I don't see a lead up to...
    Eliza Madrigal: but then it seems you both go back
    Eliza Madrigal: and that's your way of finding where to go back and clarify
    Eliza Madrigal: or go in more ?
    Eliza Madrigal: Hm...and specifically, the not practicing....
    Eliza Madrigal: or this idea of practicing from a different stance... but those would be my words
    Pema Pera: the notion of wu-wei?
    Eliza Madrigal: yes.... and it is helpful to have many explanations of that isn't there?
    Adelene Dawner: oh, that reminds me
    Eliza Madrigal: we've been using the term a lot, but you're opening it up more

    An interesting idea and way of thinking about wu-wei...

    Adelene Dawner: I saw an article I wanted to share - reminded me of wu wei.
    Adelene Dawner: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindsight
    Eliza Madrigal looks...
    Pema Pera: yes, blindsight is a fascinating phenomenon
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Pema Pera: how does it remind you of wu-wei?
    Adelene Dawner: Well, from the description (and that's not the only place I saw it described, but I lost the other article in a FF crash) it sounds like using blindsight is an exercise in wu wei - since you don't *know* what you're seeeing, consciously, and you have to trust... 'instinct' isn't accurate there, really, but something other than conscious thought.
    Eliza Madrigal: AHhhh, neat idea!
    Pema Pera: yes, that is interesting
    Eliza Madrigal: like something activated from seemingly 'nowhere'?
    Pema Pera: we do know more than we know we know :)
    Eliza Madrigal: or knowhere..hehe
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: now do we have the knowherewithall to talk about it . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: :) this seems distinctive... you said before that talking about experiences in excercizes was a new approach...can see that
    Eliza Madrigal: talking out of that blindspot... like when you think you don't understand something at all, then hear yourself explain it
    Eliza Madrigal: an odd and wonderful thing
    Pema Pera: yes, that is a key part of research too
    Pema Pera: joint research, two or more individuals groping in the dark, sharing what they think they've seen so far
    Pema Pera: and then trying to form hypotheses, no matter how flaky or confused at first
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, I like that... not discouting what seems off-the-wall
    Eliza Madrigal: *discounting
    Pema Pera: but to really give the glimmers of possible new insight a chance, everybody in the group has to be receptive
    Pema Pera: ready to wait, open up, not waltz over new ideas
    Eliza Madrigal: Some may seem non-receptive but not be and visa versa? different activation times?
    Pema Pera: yes, and we all learn together
    Eliza Madrigal nods
    Pema Pera: it's a rather fine balance
    Pema Pera: if everybody is too careful, it can become stifling and sleepy, lacking freshness
    Pema Pera: but if too many people jump up with new input too often, new tentative ideas get lost in the fray
    Pema Pera: wu-wei is the perfect balance between the two

    I shared a dream which seemed to fit the conversation...

    Eliza Madrigal: I had a bit of a wu-wei dream last night... a kind of lesson... set in a traditional kind of context
    Eliza Madrigal: It was about eating salad :)
    Eliza Madrigal: I was sitting with a teacher and asking all these questions...
    Eliza Madrigal: why this and what about that...
    Eliza Madrigal: and he kept pointing to my salad
    Eliza Madrigal: And I kept saying yes yes, I ate that yes..fine
    Eliza Madrigal: and then thought, Oh, of course, he is going to tell me that I need to eat this MINDFully...
    Eliza Madrigal: and felt discouraged but ready to say "yes, you're right..."
    Eliza Madrigal: and then he shook his head and pointed to the salad again...
    Eliza Madrigal: and all these things I'd been hearing floated up and I realized trying to eat the salad mindfully was the problem
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: if I paid attention to the deeper things...the things I actually wanted to do...
    Eliza Madrigal: am drawn to and run to...
    Eliza Madrigal: the salad would be eaten mindfully because that's the natural way
    Eliza Madrigal: End story :)
    Pema Pera: what a nice dream!
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, indeed :) I laughed...first learning from animals now food
    Eliza Madrigal: thanks :)
    Pema Pera: :)

    What wu-wei can be...

    Pema Pera: yes, we tend to have an idea of what wu-wei is, and that idea helps us to find more of it
    Pema Pera: and that then helps us to refine our idea in turn
    Pema Pera: but then we stick to that new idea
    Pema Pera: and we have to learn to let that go in order to see/feel/experience more exquisitely what wu-wei can be . . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: :) MM, yes, the idea of eating mindfully certainly is a good thing in itself... not about getting rid of that
    Eliza Madrigal: and doing something 'else' that is 'better'?
    Pema Pera: each situation asks for a unique response, unique to that situation . . . .
    Pema Pera: and the more we learn to see, the more we intuitively respond in the proper way
    Pema Pera: improvising on the spot
    Eliza Madrigal: immediacy
    Pema Pera: yes, no hesitation
    Eliza Madrigal: Well really learning to live that way yes, would be radical :)
    Pema Pera: wu-wei showed itself in two quite different ways, during the retreat: one is that by and large we all gaave each other room to talk;
    Pema Pera: another was that whenever someone used that room to convey something really delicate, often that person felt a bit shy, unsure,
    Pema Pera: and before long someone would then add a quietly encouraging response
    Pema Pera: typically quite tender
    Pema Pera: that was really marvelous to see and experience
    Eliza Madrigal smiles yes it sounds that way
    Pema Pera: and of course, we often do that here in SL too
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Pema Pera: that's probably how we learned to do that as a group
    Eliza Madrigal: that's an aspect of 'permission' you mentioned coming up there
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm surprised a little, that you were surprised Pema... and so very glad it was that way for you all
    Pema Pera: I was surprised at how well it worked, and how constantly
    Pema Pera: it's one thing to see that happen between two old friends . . . or perhaps even three or four when they *really* know each other -- but twelve? That was the surprise
    Eliza Madrigal nods, yes makes sense

    Two aspects...

    Pema Pera: So the two aspects here: giving room and responding, are complementary
    Pema Pera: knowing when to pause, and knowing when to step in, and how
    Pema Pera: The first part, no doubt, we have learned to do better with the 9-sec break, and the 90-second pauses here.
    Pema Pera: do you have a suggestion as to how we have been learning the second part here, the responding?
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm sure that I'm not the best person to suggest when to step in... constantly doubt myself as to whether I'm giving someone too much space/not enough
    Eliza Madrigal: is certainly a skill :)
    Eliza Madrigal: But talking about that is good!
    Eliza Madrigal: Saying it openly... having permission, knowing there is benefit of the doubt, etc
    Eliza Madrigal: We learn to trust each others' basic intentions to sharing
    Eliza Madrigal: so even when clumsy, it is in love, in a way
    Pema Pera: yes
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, have to run...lunch date. I'd love to hear more about this from you both
    Pema Pera: thank you too, Eliza!
    Pema Pera: have a good day!
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks for such a nice morning! :) Bye for now

    I did have to run, though I was enjoying the conversation very much. Adelene and Pema catch up a bit, and talk about virtual worlds... 

    Adelene Dawner: So how have you been, Pema?
    Pema Pera: A nice connection Eliza made, between love and wu-wei . . .
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Pema Pera: I have been very quiet, during the retreat, and I am very busy now, catching up :-)
    Adelene Dawner: ^.^
    Pema Pera: an interesting challenge to preserve the peace of mind in the middle of the hubbub
    Pema Pera: how about you?
    Adelene Dawner: I'm at the opposite point in my schedule - just finished a large, and honestly annoying, project, and now I don't have anything on my to-do list but preparing for my trip to Colorado at the end of the month.
    Pema Pera: Ah, you're going to visit Three?
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm
    Pema Pera: how nice, say hi to him from me
    Adelene Dawner: We're going to a tech convention to advertise for 3de. Should be fun.
    Pema Pera: 3de is his/your company?
    Adelene Dawner: his. I'm still technically a freelancer.
    Pema Pera: is most of your work directed towards SL applications, or also outside SL?
    Adelene Dawner: SL and OpenSim, still.
    Pema Pera: is a large part of the tech convention oriented to virtual worlds?
    Adelene Dawner: I'm actually not sure, I haven't asked Three - doesn't sound like it.
    Pema Pera: so you'll be advertising both your own products and SL !
    Pema Pera: and OpenSim
    Adelene Dawner: mmhmm :)
    Pema Pera: you just might ask some Linden whether there would be interest in having a Linden Lab booth near yours . . .
    Pema Pera: to mutually reinforce the interest
    Adelene Dawner: Well, *I* wouldn't. But I'll mention that to Three. ;)
    Pema Pera: you as an example of SL activities, they to provide the background
    Pema Pera: they don't often do that, but you never know
    Adelene Dawner: It's very soon, anyway, I don't think they'd want to try to put something together so quickly.
    Pema Pera: it may depend on whether they have someone in the area; they may have enough canned presentations
    Adelene Dawner: true.
    Pema Pera: I'm puzzled as to why SL is so slow in penetrating the main stream . . . many young people I talk about it have never heard of it
    Pema Pera: and when I explain what it is, they don't seem interested
    Adelene Dawner: Maybe you're highlighting the wrong parts?
    Pema Pera: I wonder whether VWs are just slow to catch on, or whether we are waiting for a different company with a different approach . . . perhaps one of the OpenSIm startups?
    Adelene Dawner: A lot of what SL does well is also done well (but not as well) in other online medums... it is hard to pin down the difference :)
    Pema Pera: yes, the highlighting is important, I agree
    Adelene Dawner: And yes, OS might get more interest.
    Pema Pera: but people are so used to facebook, say, it's hard to tell them _in_words_ what it feels like to be face to face, with a shared presence
    Pema Pera: it all sounds so much like video games which they discarded when they grew up :-)
    Adelene Dawner: :)
    Adelene Dawner: Well, we'll be doing our bit to advertise. We're going to have demo machines there for them to give it a try, and I intend to be building in realitme during the convention, so that should get a little interest, I hope. :)
    Pema Pera: wow, that sounds great!
    Pema Pera: Are you going to provide videos of what you do?
    Pema Pera: would be neat to have a mixed RL/SL video, though that would be a lot of work to do right
    Adelene Dawner: We haven't taken any video of any project I've been on, so probably not.
    Adelene Dawner: Getting to watch me work should be just as good, I think :)
    Pema Pera: oh sure, on the spot; but if you have a web site, and put a video there, you can reach far more people
    Adelene Dawner: true :)
    Pema Pera: I'd better go; another SL meeting coming up soon
    Pema Pera: Enjoy Colorado!
    Adelene Dawner: ok, see you around. ^.^
    Pema Pera: bye for now!


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