Roles, Teachers, and the SL Retreat

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    Part I 

    One thing I"m sure of, is that we deeply appreciate Pema and the vision of Play as Being. As Pema talks about in this session, the PaB vision is not really a hierarchial one. We often appreciate each other by creating space in which 'roles' are allowed to drop away.    :)

    Part II

    Though no one is more fond of the sessions being recorded than I am, there was a distinct flavor to discussions regarding 'Letting go', that took place at an online retreat site put together by Adams last week.

    The second part of this page is devoted to that experience.

    So let's begin with Bertram's question... 

    Bertram Jacobus: in my mind there is a nearly heretical question : how much of all this would be possible without pema ?

    Adams Rubble: I don't believe that is a heretical question Bertram but it is irrelevant

    Adams added an important note to that days log:

    I reacted a little strongly to the question because I think the message is more important than the messenger. I feel just as strongly about questions like "what would Buddha think?" or "what would Christ think?" or Lao Tze or Mohammad or Steven Tainer or Tarthang Tulku or anyone else. To me it how we apply the things we have been taught. But I did not consider "Pema Seeing" as I was about to find out. Pema disappears just as we begin the discussion and returns a bit later to tell how he sees it.

    Bertram Jacobus: i hope, this doesn´t hurt somebody, and i asked pema before IM because i was not brave enough to ask it local, but he meant i could do it
    Isadora Davidov: In my limited experience I would say (aside from the amazing creation of the group, PaB etc..) the open, non-hierarchical style and his non-egotistical presence is significant...the language, topics and styel of epxperimentation is a modern re-casting of ancient concerns...
    expressed by many highly gifted spiritual teachers, philosophers throughout time, East and West
    Bertram Jacobus: so you see, at least for me, he´s a help
    Adams Rubble: If you mean to ask whether we are grateful Bertram, then I am sure the answer is yes
    Bertram Jacobus: No adams. that was not my question, sorry - and so my fears take place ... not to be understood with such a question and similar ...

    Adams Rubble: A better question might be what are we doing with what is being given to us
    Gaya Ethaniel: We can worry about what to do if Pema runs away from us then anyway :P
    Adams Rubble giggles

    :) Pema doesn't run from this conversation at all...

    Eliza Madrigal: I wonder about the question you are asking though Bertram, whether it isn't really about our own responsibility levels and the extent to which we can easily project onto people... Is that what you mean?
    Pema Pera quietly reading Gaya's notecard about what I missed
    Pema Pera: funny, that SL dropped me when you started to talk about me :-)

    A Teachable Moment about the Group

    Pema Pera:but I do think it's an interesting question that Bert asked -- certainly for me it is an ongoing concern. I'm happy to help and share where I can, but I also am eager to let the group grow in its own way, far far more broadly in its collective wisdom that what any of us could provide
    Adams Rubble: Funny that the discussion of the retreat should be reflect on the future of the group
    Pema Pera: and I must say that is one of the main things I learned during the retreat, for myself, about ways to let things go without trying to steer or "help" more than minimally necessary
    Bertram Jacobus: sorry eliza, that was the second fear i had : that i wouldn´t exactly understand all the following discussion and i try to react : it was simply meant as asked, constructive and a question, how much pema helps and how much would get lost without him for example
    Isadora Davidov: THis is a grand cultural experiment...we are from different cultures in some ways...and we gather and talk across great distances.
    Pema Pera: of course, Adams, a sign of a good retreat is that you want to come back for more :-)
    Eliza Madrigal: and to bring what richness was developed back?
    Pema Pera: yes, Eliza, sharing it all . . .

    Global Vision

    Isadora Davidov: so a leader who leads "lightly" is highly valuable...and we are learning to lead (perhaps) in this style...which can be inclusive for a broad range of people..spread across distances and cultures
    Isadora Davidov: people...which is our global circumstance in this time of "liquid modernity"
    Pema Pera: In a way, you could say that humanity as a whole is now at a point where an individual practitioner gets sooner or later in her/his practice: realizing that the old ways of thinking don't work any longer, and feeling disoriented, no longer knowing where to stand, without any clue as to where to find handholds . . .
    Isadora Davidov: Integrating a diverse group is not so easy..even with those "familiar" with democracy
    Pema Pera: we are facing a planetary koan
    Pema Pera: how to sustain our life and that of the planet
    Pema Pera: without any concrete guidance from the past
    Isadora Davidov: We may have "hints", traditions...but never before this dire global challenge

    Gaya Ethaniel: Sorry I am a bit lost ... was this a theme for a practice or a consensus that grew out of the meeting ... or ?
    Pema Pera: it came up from time to time : it was not central, but it did hold people's interest

    Pema Pera: so perhaps PaB could be a sandbox for learning to approach really important questions in a playful way, irreverent way even
    Pema Pera: by turning upside down, we have to grope in the dark, I mean
    Eliza Madrigal: which speaks directly to Bertram's question in a way... regarding 'teachers' and the extent to which we rely or project?
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah
    Pema Pera: because we don't have manuals to guide us
    Isadora Davidov: certianly a model for integrating groups while reducing agression
    Pema Pera: yes, related Eliza

    Switching from feudal to democratic...

    Pema Pera: I see a shift from individual to group-based
    Pema Pera: from feudal to democratic
    Pema Pera: from hierarchical to shared
    Pema Pera: daring to swim in uncertainty as a group
    Pema Pera: without panicking and appointing a leader
    Pema Pera: appreciating *everyone's* inspiring contributions
    Pema Pera: while also appreciating that some of us just happen to have more experience and perhaps are somewhat better initially at conveying ideas
    Pema Pera: but we all grow
    Pema Pera: together

    Pema Pera: so I think Bertram's question set in motion an important train of thought here, thank you, Bert!
    Pema Pera: "holding things open", "not believing and not disbelieving" is at the core of PaB -- and rather scary at first; so appointing a leader or council is typically the way to avoid that kind of collective responsibility

    Pema Pera: Stim made a very interesting point: that what we are doing in PaB is actually quite close to very early Buddhism, the first few generations after the Buddha lived.

    In Stim's Monday session, he asked for reports on Play as Being specifically...

    Mickorod Renard: I have not been on PaB too much lately
    Mickorod Renard: I think we have lost some of the focus
    Stim Morane: but i mean, re applying the methods and emphases in your life ...
    Mickorod Renard: but thats my opinion, and maybe incorrect
    Stim Morane: what do you notice, Mick?
    Stim Morane: What seems to be the difference?
    Mickorod Renard: When I first came on we seemed to focus on issues,,like appa or whatever
    Mickorod Renard: but I think we have become more relaxed
    Stim Morane: yes ... well, we can fix that.
    Mickorod Renard: which is nice too
    Stim Morane: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Summer may have something to do with that... less structure in life in general too?
    Stim Morane: true, Eliza
    Mickorod Renard: yes
    Stim Morane: that's a big factor
    Bertram Jacobus: for me all that is still quite new. i even don´t know, what appa means exactly : appreciation of the presence of appearence ? not exactly -
    doug Sosa: close.
    Stim Morane: What is beyond practice is most important for our fulfillment, but "practice" itself is usually
    essential, along the way. I recommend it on a daily basis, preferably many times a day. That was the point of Pema's exercises in the first place, too.
    Stim Morane: Once the summer releases us from its grip, perhaps that emphasis can be revived.
    Wol Euler nods
    Stim Morane: start today, somehow!

    Wol Euler: When you need a teacher, or when you recognize that somebody has something to teach, learn from them: when not, not. Where's the problem?

    Eliza Madrigal: :)) there is a sense though... of having a teacher for a specific kind of spiritual learning...
    Eliza Madrigal: being able to go to them specifically and they be commited to being bothered :)
    Bertram Jacobus: in the east there is the practise to go the way with the teacher until to the very end, enlightenment. after long time of proof a decision is made and then total devotion follows. i have the impression, that´s may be the fastest way, but here, in the west nearly nobody seems to be able for that
    Eliza Madrigal: yes the west is a whole new thing it seems....
    Eliza Madrigal: and so is PaB :)
    Wol Euler: well, this relates to the discussion a few days ago, about going on a "retreat" that was twelve years long.
    Wol Euler: the idea that time and life are nearly infinitely long, and that you can spend as much time as you wish on anything at all
    Bertram Jacobus: when you beliefe in rebirth ...
    Wol Euler: sure, then it would make sense to spend twelve years at a retreat
    Eliza Madrigal smiles... as much as you wish on anything at all... love that
    Wol Euler: because you wouldn't be "missing" anything.
    Eliza Madrigal: yes
    Wol Euler: but if you don't believe in rebirth, then those twelve years have a very different value

    Wol Euler smiles. Another fine definition of the importance of how people look at the world.

    Eliza Madrigal is, for the record, not signing up for a 12 yr retreat any time soon
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Wol Euler: Bert sees that choices are infinite and therefore that I miss most of them, and concludes:
    going for a 12 yr retreat makes no difference, do it.
    Eliza Madrigal: Though, I feel like I've been on a parenting retreat for 20 years... giggles
    Bertram Jacobus: yes wol. ty :-)
    Wol Euler: I see that chioces are infinite and therefore that I miss most of them, and conclude:
    it is very important not to waste time on a retreat that lasts 12 years
    Wol Euler chuckles at Eliza.
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    Bertram Jacobus: lol. so people are different :-)
    Wol Euler: :)

    The Second Life Retreat Snapshot_015.jpg

    Adams Rubble: We've enjoyed the retreat center in Bieup this week
    Pila Mulligan: that was a nice idea Adams
    Adams Rubble: it would be nice to see something permanent there
    Wol Euler: yes, thank you for making that
    Pila Mulligan: Storm will not mind, very elegant
    Adams Rubble: well everything is crooked, Storm does such beautiful building
    Pila Mulligan: and I agree, a permanent kind of retreat place there is a good idea
    Wol Euler nods

    Adams shows Pema the Second Life Retreat Site...

    Pema Pera: that was such a nice gesture . . . .
    Adams Rubble: Being away from the log we were able to talk about "letting go" in a very personal way
    Pema Pera: did you have a mix of practice and discussions?
    Adams Rubble: Paradise and SophiaSharon also joined us for part of the time, and Wol for a bit :)
    Eliza Madrigal: We held the idea... letting go...and each day it took on different aspects
    Eliza Madrigal: funny to hold letting go
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: :-)
    Adams Rubble: We started out more meditative and discussed more as we went along but we mixed
    that with the Zen Retreat zazen
    Adams Rubble: so we meditated there
    Adams Rubble: I think it would be useful to make some kind of permanent setup for that
    Pema Pera: letting go more and more of your ideas of letting go can be . . . a wonderful progression!
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Shedding
    Pema Pera: very interesting idea, Adams
    Pema Pera: or of course we could designate some of the PaB sessions for that
    Adams Rubble: you mean no logs?
    Pema Pera: we have 28 every week, so why not use some of those?
    Pema Pera: ah, okay, the log aspect is different of course
    Pema Pera: how important did it feel, not to have logs?
    Adams Rubble: it too would be nice to just have a place to go at a personally convenient time
    Pema Pera: yes
    Adams Rubble: I felt it was very important Pema
    Adams Rubble: for me anyway
    Adams Rubble: and I have been pretty open here
    Pema Pera: yes, I can see that, Adams, good point

    (We TP to the spot)

    Adams Rubble: I think one problem with the logs, which overall are a great thing, is sometimes we start to talk to the microphone, also we can't talk about the realy personal things
    Bertram Jacobus: some people may feel comfortable with that, some less
    Adams Rubble: yes Bert
    Adams Rubble: there are many things we would prefer not to have printed on the wiki
    Pema Pera: ah, but here it is okay, right?
    Eliza Madrigal: I'm a little conflicted about the logs, because being able to read them gives me continuity and yet, yes, there is value to having another layer like this :)
    Adams Rubble: Yes, Eliza, this as a supplement

    Pema Pera: yes, I think it is an excellent idea to have off-time sessions, spontaneously, without logging
    Adams Rubble: talking about "letting go" can get very personal
    Adams Rubble: especially when deep things start to move
    Pema Pera: when we get more and more guardians, it is possible that we'll have an (almost) constant present here forming a kind of . . . what? . . . monastery? . . . neighborhood cafe? . . . community park?
    Adams Rubble: Let me add something else
    Adams Rubble: we can talk personally many places but this week this spot allowed us to get away and focus on something specific
    Pema Pera: yes, Adams, I can see that!
    Pema Pera: one other option is to add bits and pieces of the chats here to a session, if everyone agrees, occasionally
    Pema Pera: for example, what we just said here could be appended to the session we just came from
    Pema Pera: to share with our readers our further thoughts about using this place, don't you think?
    Adams Rubble: yes, this one could :)

    Yakuzza asks a great question:

    Yakuzza Lethecus: i just fear that seprate groups could be created
    Eliza Madrigal: yes there is a little concern there Ya
    Eliza Madrigal: but this being a pab site....
    Eliza Madrigal: this also allows for it to be part of the whole
    Eliza Madrigal: rather than splintering
    Adams Rubble: I think that has happened along the way Yakuzza and they last for a while and then disappear

    Eliza Madrigal: ... so the thing would be to have a place, outside of session times...
    Eliza Madrigal: where the same spirit of openness and good will pervades
    Adams Rubble: This too is a supplement...takes place in off PaB hours
    Adams Rubble: not a substitute

    Eliza Madrigal: AND, ultimately it is our own choice to nurture it in the same way....


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