Retreat Reports from Pema Osel Ling

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    Hearing reports from the RL retreat has been a real pleasure, and something I know will continue as we gather to share...

    dougSosa: being here after the retreat i feel like i've had a very extensive massage. My body feels that loosness and my mind slightly mushy.
    Eos Amaterasu: which was beautiful, and I thought a powerful experience
    Gaya Ethaniel: ah :)
    Eos Amaterasu: Relaxed, lots of free time open space (for being!) and some intensive sessions discussions
    doug Sosa: Wonderful friendliness, not in a big deal way, just comfortable and tolerant. People listen more than talk.
    doug Sosa: rather rustic and shockingly bright blue skies.
    Eos Amaterasu: Food was great :-)
    Gaya Ethaniel: What did you get? :)
    Eos Amaterasu: More sessions, often several practices for sessions, meant it could go a bit deeper
    doug Sosa: fish, shrimp, scallops, soups and salads. Healthy, tasty.

    Gaya Ethaniel: doug any suprises about people in terms of their RL avatars vs. SL avatars?

    doug Sosa: yes, of course, given my weird sensitivities. The texture of the space in terms of body presence is so different, sitting in this group and that.
    Eos Amaterasu: I myself felt that the RL body quickly went to background, and that the self I had met in SL was still there
    Wol Euler smiles and nods.
    doug Sosa: In the retreat the modesty and muted colors were obvious.
    Eos Amaterasu: although expressed in richer ways
    doug Sosa: Piet had a Paul Klee shirt and it seemed to me a wonderful expression of play and econstruction. I suggested we take Klee as a mascot and actually use the paintings. He was a sophisticated buy : of play and deconstruction..

    Curious?  (

    Eos Amaterasu: Turns out Pema is a t-shirt aficionado

    doug Sosa: ah, well in the retreat sitting mean you have to think through posture and keep quiet and look like you are deep and gone. Here the avatar just floats in pixels and i can be floating in my hot tub.

    Pema Pera: somehow in some strange way, PaB discourages the usual extremes of those who want to push themselves too much to the fore, and those who want to be led -- instead, everybody was quite balanced. I've rarely if ever seen that in any group I've been part of.

    Pema Pera: as for the practices, Pila, mostly APA(AP), but only half that -- the other half were new practices
    Pila Mulligan: what kind? the new ones?
    Pema Pera: hmmm, would take quite long to type that all out here, while making it understandable . . .

    Roughly speaking: we tried to switch for an every-day perspective to more of a Being perspective
    (which is not really a perspective), in five steps:
    At each step we appreciated something, and then dropped or de-emphasized that in the next step

    -We started with personal history
    -Then personality
    -Then just being alive as a human being
    -Then a focus on time, while dropping the emphasis on being a being
    -And finally a focus on Being

    Pila Mulligan: well, there's an understandable description, thanks
    stevenaia Michinaga: nice sumary

    Pema Pera:
    -So the heart sutra, say, talks about form and emptiness

    ( )

     Or relative and absolute
    -In that way there are two steps: normal world and Being
    -My use of the notion of phenomena, or appearances gives a stepping stone,
     making it three steps: normal notions, phenomena, Being
     and the one above made it five or six steps

    Pema Pera: it was surprisingly natural to weave practice periods and discussion periods
    Pema Pera: sometimes 12 minutes practice, half an hour discussion, 6 minutes practice, etc
    Pema Pera: it was great to share our experiences after each sitting period
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I think the problem with timing a sitting is that it ends.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire laughs.
    Eliza Madrigal: That's probably the most interesting... the weaving... because not a particular tradition, but PaB...such a mix
    Pema Pera: yes, Eliza, most meditation traditions would shudder at the thought of a group's discussion of what everyone experienced!
    Pema Pera: but our exploration is really more, how to express it? democratic, peer-to-peer, non-hierarchical, shared, open. It may be a really new approach to meditative explorations

    Dream.. dream, dream, dream... 

    Pila Mulligan: Doug mentioned a dream he had there, was there discussion of dreams during the week (thinking Maxine was there)
    Pema Pera: as well as day dreams
    Paradise Tennant: :)
    Pema Pera: or dreamlike experiences while awake, during our sessions
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Sounds heavenly
    Pila Mulligan: ah, lucidity :)
    Pema Pera: yes, but without sleeping
    Fox Monacular: interesting
    Pema Pera: Maxine and Lia mentioned those, and me too
    Pema Pera: Corvi also jumped right in
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: One of the things that happened for me was that I dreamed while awake.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: or sorta dreamed
    Paradise Tennant: :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Maxine talked about dreaming while awake and it gave me "permission" to do so.
    Pila Mulligan: sometimes it seems gatherings enhance dreaming, doesn't it
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: normally I don't remember dreams.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: nods.
    Pema Pera: giving each other "permission" for new angles on exploration was a recurrent theme, spontaneously, during the retreat

    Corvuscorva Nightfire: It certainly felt like a way of speaking to myself..telling myself about the process I was engaged in..finding a path.

    Pema Pera: Adams, is it okay with you to let Isadora talk about her experiences during the retreat, during this session, as I suggested in my email yesterday?
    Adams Rubble: Of course Pema

    Isadora Davidov: Well, I can say that I met (RL) some quite distinguished individuals...and friendly too..all with highly distinct personalities... not to mention Pema's style of Being in this embodiment (2009)
    Isadora Davidov: THe place...Pema Osel LIng...,,Pema (a Tibetan pronunciation of skt. Padma = lotus). osel+Tib. light or sun's ray's, ling+ Tib "place"...and I think our little group in it;'s collective way expressed that vision...the lotus unfolding...and all rather sunny Beings (in the happy mood we were in to be all together, on "vacation" (except Pema and Genesis worked hard...and surely it was a lovely place
    Isadora Davidov: THe discussions were remarkably high level, in my experience...I think people felt free and unintimidated to express themselves honestly and openly
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Isadora Davidov: No one got "corrected" for being insufficiently "developed"
    Isadora Davidov: WE gathered for meals..had a lot of fun getting to know one another personally and then we all sat together for sessions , did some meditation type experiments and then had intense discussions afterwards
    Isadora Davidov: Everyone was forthcoming and made sincere attempts to express the nature of their experience...even things that were very hard to put into words. So..I would highly reccommend day...when you get the chance...meeting such people all together... if nothing my idea of an ideal community

    "Secrets of the Universe"

    One thing we really miss in SL, is getting to see someone blush...

    Isadora Davidov: AND...I got to quiz Pema on the beginning of the cosmos...and he very well knows the secrets of the universe
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Thanks, Isadora :) You give such a clear picture, especially that no one was corrected for not being more developed... it seems like that is something easy to impose on oneself too, unless the environment counters it
    Pema Pera: . . . :)
    Bertram Jacobus: which secrets are they ?
    Eliza Madrigal: hehe
    Isadora Davidov: Oh you know...before time was time
    Eliza Madrigal: oh, that :)
    Bertram Jacobus: ah. sounds nice ...
    Isadora Davidov: the food was delicious and I ate a great deal...various men did dishes
    Isadora Davidov: I saw that with my own eyes
    Pema Pera: :)
    Isadora Davidov: But thing we experimented with was..umm...experiencing the presence of appearance as a presentation of Being...oh..I have not said that right!
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Isadora Davidov: So in that sense...the relative truth of phenomena
    Pema Pera: almost: appreciating the presence of appearance as a presentation of Being, (or "by Being")
    Isadora Davidov: the interdependent arising due to causes and conditions...phenomena including thoughts, the sense objects...seemingly solid material objects..persons and our experiences, mental, physical, etc. There were discussions of dreams and dream-liuke waking experiences.. dream-like
    Isadora Davidov: We discussed levels of consciousness and questioned the nature of know, chit-chat
    Isadora Davidov: We discussed the arising of emotions and feelings that came over it blended in and colored our experiences that Pema and others suggested, ANd the great mystery of how it is all combined within a person (so that you can hardly distinguish there things unless you are pretty careful)
    Isadora Davidov: these things...these various elements comprising the "person"
    Isadora Davidov: Going from a level of personal history, to "personality" , to ...umm we.., you have to ask Pema...he's very good at verbalizing!
    Gaya Ethaniel nods :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: But I like your 'verbalising' too Isadora.
    Eliza Madrigal: You seem to be too, Isadora :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)) Gaya
    Pema Pera: I'd say so!

    Maxine Walden: I have been trying to think of how to convey my experience...
    Maxine Walden: so many levels of experience at the same time and some still percolating I think...still a bit foggy
    Maxine Walden: but the sense of retreat...of getting away from the daily events, news, tasks, etc...certainly did allow for a more concentrated focus on the 12 people there, from all over the world, and the explorations we all had together
    Maxine Walden: Also, amidst the natural setting, rather hot during the day but pleasant for the most part at night...really able to focus on the natural world, internal as well as external

    doug Sosa: i like yours.. met in a small house, room to seat 12, kitchen to the side, couple of bedroom,s and the rest of us in other small cabins.
    doug Sosa: food was good, easy, tasty, and could keep from eating too much.
    Eos Amaterasu: Food was superb!
    doug Sosa: But of course it was the people and the task..
    doug Sosa: more listening than talking.
    Maxine Walden: Eos, some of your impressions?
    Eos Amaterasu: Lots of open space - it wasn't as jam-packed as some programs/retreats can be
    Maxine Walden: there was lots of space, wasn't there, physical, but also temporal
    Eos Amaterasu: Lots of focus on doing the "practice", 15 minute, 12 minute, 6 minute sessions
    Eos Amaterasu: One thing I realized is that just dong that, doing it, is enough - it "works" if you do it
    Eos Amaterasu: Although what is "works" was the subject of much discussion
    Eos Amaterasu: Meeting the RL of the SL was interesting too, learning more about the RL lives
    doug Sosa: Actually, very simply, it was PaB only the setting was different.. it felt much like being here.
    Wol Euler smiles
    Eliza Madrigal: Did it feel like another layer off, or another layer on, Eos?
    Eos Amaterasu: For me the person was there, whether SL or RL, different manifestations
    Eos Amaterasu: Felt closer to people
    Maxine Walden: My experience as well, Eos
    Eos Amaterasu: the intense time together
    Eos Amaterasu: Lots of humor
    Eliza Madrigal: : )
    Eos Amaterasu: Both light and focussed
    doug Sosa: yes, it was more interpersonal, more the ebb and flow of bodies, from sleep, eating together, coffee, tea..
    Maxine Walden: yes, humor to perhaps also balance lots of the emotional experience at some depth
    Eos Amaterasu: It helps to have specifics, boundaries, seems to actually allow greater freedom
    Maxine Walden: that was one thing I noticed, the issue of boundaries, within oneself, with respect to others' sharings, and of course as one opens up more and more (receding boundaries, perhaps)

    Maxine thoughtfully inquires:

    Maxine Walden: How was it for others? Imagining what was going on at the retreat? Often curiosity or the feeling of being left out can be considerable. I thought about all of you not at the retreat a lot during the retreat itself.

    Wol Euler: yeah, very curious and also envious
    Wol Euler: I really wished I could have taken part in the silent day.
    Eliza Madrigal: I took advantage of a kind of make believe window, to read, and to attend the SL retreat spot in the evenings
    Eliza Madrigal: consider 'letting go'
    Eos Amaterasu: :-)
    Eos Amaterasu: Sharing time if not space
    Eliza Madrigal nods... kind of both... you all took the SL space with you I'm sure :)
    Maxine Walden: ah, yes...we may have been in touch more than we knew...
    Eos Amaterasu: In fact there was fountain there, much like this, larger
    stevenaia Michinaga: did group initution arise?
    Eos Amaterasu: We were mostly indoors, sometimes on a porch around a redwood tree
    Maxine Walden: group intuition, Steve?
    stevenaia Michinaga: sensing more about each other
    Eos Amaterasu: I certainly felt group presence, Being presence, "the space in the middle"
    stevenaia Michinaga: saying things that others thought of saying
    Eos Amaterasu: Plus the distinctiveness of each of our approaches, styles, presentations
    Maxine Walden: agree with Eos' comment...grew to feel the presence of the group but also individuals as well
    Adams Dubrovna: How was it different or the same as our gathering last October Maxine?
    Maxine Walden: Times was interesting to experience for me: it seemed to pass quickly while also feeling we were there for a very long time...simultaneously
    Eos Amaterasu: There was more of a intention and focus on dropping for whatever time, and then reflecting on it, listening to it, listenting to others' expereiences
    Eos Amaterasu: People have such distinctive ways of experiencing and of communicating
    Maxine Walden: Adams, quite different from our gathering at Princeton last October, at least for me. More 'mature' focus on the practices...I thought because we 'knew' each other better and more comfortable with the practices at hand
    Maxine Walden: and indeed most of the group was far more experienced than I at this kind of retreat...
    Eliza Madrigal: So a very concentrated kind of experience then, Maxine?
    Eos Amaterasu: Birds there as well as here
    Adams Dubrovna: That is interesting Maxine
    Maxine Walden: yes, Eliza, quite concentrated for me
    Wol Euler smiles
    Maxine Walden: yes, birds, but raucous blue jays and crows!!
    SophiaSharon Larnia: smiles
    Maxine Walden: Corvie was impressed
    Maxine Walden: bigger crows than she had seen previously

    doug Sosa: One of the jokes was "A mind is a terrible thing to watch."

    doug Sosa: the warmth of people in the room actually helped I think.
    Eos Amaterasu: Some of us have extenisive experience with retreat, sitting meditation, etc
    Maxine Walden: I think for me, the personal presence, which involves more of one's history/experience/'presence' ...these elements were quite additive for me re my experience of the other person
    Eos Amaterasu: others have more of an approach through imagery, dreams
    Eliza Madrigal: :) Isadora mentioned this morning that she was impressed that there was no sense of correction of anyone being 'less developed'
    Eliza Madrigal: which sounded really nice
    Eos Amaterasu: yes, a group of explorers of the phenomenon of Being
    Eliza Madrigal: yes :)
    Maxine Walden: right, Eliza, agree...there was a sense of equal explorers and no one with the 'answer'
    Eos Amaterasu: return to "beginner's mind"
    Eliza Madrigal: that's really special I think
    Maxine Walden: yes, agree
    SophiaSharon Larnia: that struck me too
    Eos Amaterasu: quite wonderful to see different approaches
    Eos Amaterasu: I learned a lot
    Maxine Walden: agree, Eos, different approaches and appreciating the differences rather than put off by them
    Pila Mulligan: interesting that you could feel those more in person too
    Eos Amaterasu: Pema created little frameworks, playgrounds, which helped to peer into the openness
    Eliza Madrigal hopes to learn from what you all learned
    doug Sosa: The time helped, just continually together morning to night.
    Pila Mulligan: yep
    Eos Amaterasu: "continuity furthers"
    Eliza Madrigal: So no one ran screaming? heheh
    SophiaSharon Larnia: lol
    Eliza Madrigal: (kidding) (giggles)
    doug Sosa: We learned that even the question was a bit vague, and it was ok.
    Maxine Walden: yes, following doug's comment,many times it was clear we each understood the exploration slightly differently and so had different ventures... but it was all quite additive

    What is a Silent Day? Maxine tells us it is a place... a wordless, pristine, sublime place...

    Pila Mulligan: 'When the desire for silence comes, not a single thought arises; he who is looking inward suddenly forgets that he looks.'

    Pila Mulligan: this may be off-point, but I was wondering if you got the news on Wednesday that Sen Kennedy passed away that day -- it led to a session topic here Wednesday

    While those at the RL retreat were silent, those at Play as Being in SL were discussing death.

    Eos Amaterasu: (did not learn till Friday)
    Maxine Walden: you know, I did not know Sen Kennedy died til at least a full day later...
    Pila Mulligan: I guessed so, since you were in the wilderness
    Pila Mulligan: that was yor silent day too
    Wol Euler: indeed.
    Maxine Walden: right, Pila
    Wol Euler: so, c'mon, how did the silent day go? what did you do? how?
    Eos Amaterasu: Rather than "absolutely no talking", we took a "functional talking only" approach
    Pila Mulligan: pass the butter?
    SophiaSharon Larnia: grins
    Eos Amaterasu: So it was indeed pretty much silent
    Eos Amaterasu checks inventory
    doug Sosa: yes, no "pass the butter."
    Wol Euler: and did you have sittings and sessions silently too?
    Eos Amaterasu: no talking sessions till the slence period was over after dinner
    Maxine Walden: We had prepared the previous day with the schedule, written out so we could stay oriented. Sat for a hour with 4 15 min sessions; then couple of hours of walking meditation...meals as usual (could talk like to the cook if needed) and another hour together in the afternoon and then 2 hours of open time for walking, etc.
    SophiaSharon Larnia: dawn to dusk sort of thing?
    Eos Amaterasu: dawn to dusk
    Maxine Walden: It was interesting, I thought we would burst out with talking at 7pm when we broke the silence, but we all remained silent for perhaps 10 min or so, till a couple of us mentioned that it might be hard to return from a wordless place
    Wol Euler: :)
    SophiaSharon Larnia: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Adams Dubrovna: :)
    Maxine Walden: And it was difficult to return for me; the silence was a kind of sublime place
    doug Sosa: after not talking.. why talk?
    Wol Euler: I think I would have felt that way too.
    Maxine Walden: in fact ending each of the practices was a bit sad, leaving a pristine place
    Eos Amaterasu: the retreat lasts a bit after the retreat :-)

    A bit of lighthearted 'next retreat' planning...

    Wol Euler: We *must* have a Europe retreat!
    Wol Euler: with a silent day, and a beer day :)
    Eos Amaterasu: :-)
    Bertram Jacobus: would be nice wol
    Maxine Walden: yes, Wol, I think that a European location is in the planning
    Eos Amaterasu: WE drank no booze, interesting
    Eliza Madrigal giggles... Wol, yes brought that up last night at Pema's session...hehe
    Wol Euler: :)

    The bunny that went on retreat...

    Maxine Walden: I had this lovely little relationship with a small bunny, palm of your hand big with button ears...
    Wol Euler: awwww :)
    Eliza Madrigal smiles to Maxine :))
    SophiaSharon Larnia: smiles
    Paradise Tennant: ;)
    Eos Amaterasu: Some deer visited in the evenings
    Maxine Walden: yeah, RL bunny and me. Just a snippet of experience, but he/she and I grew to be comfortable with each other; met each morning at the same place and passed a few seconds of curiosity
    Wol Euler smiles
    Eliza Madrigal: How very sweet :)
    Paradise Tennant: :)
    Maxine Walden: very moving for me...
    SophiaSharon Larnia: "few seconds of curiousity" ... yes :)
    Adams Dubrovna: :)
    Maxine Walden: another kind of meditation
    Eliza Madrigal: communion :)
    Eos Amaterasu: The trees, many tall redwoods, had presence also
    Maxine Walden: (have to go in a moment). Yes, Eliza, communion is the word
    Paradise Tennant: yes

    Wol Euler: I am quite envious.
    Eos Amaterasu: I think going deeper was enabled both by being together for a while
    Eos Amaterasu: and by having frequent sessions
    Eos Amaterasu: with immediate discussion on the sessions
    Eos Amaterasu: in a way that's all it takes, it seems
    Eos Amaterasu: (and beer to toast it!)
    Paradise Tennant: awareness :)
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: well, it would be silly to travel all the way to Germany and not sample the beer.
    Eos Amaterasu: Sitting together in RL, in approximate circle, doing this together, creates some presence of its own
    Paradise Tennant: kind of a shared consciousness that .. picks up the energy of the group .. give some force to it
    Wol Euler smiles.
    Eos Amaterasu: Interplay between formality and openness, lightly held guidelines for an exercise, helped

    The Wonderful World ...

    Wol Euler: even in its imperfect state, I find it pretty grand.
    Eos Amaterasu: That actualy came up (perhaps) - Doug brought it up, among others - about "this"/Being and "improving the world"
    Pila Mulligan: Doug's doing a big project on that idea I hear, Eos
    Eos Amaterasu: Yes, sustainability, with that not being primarily a technical problem
    Eos Amaterasu: And, how does action emerge from "Being"?
    Pila Mulligan: maybe it is nonaction?
    Eos Amaterasu: "if the horse don't pull you got to carry that load"
    Eos Amaterasu: indeed, wu wei - grokking is doing
    Pila Mulligan: improving the world may be an invisible task
    Eos Amaterasu: Sexes were equally represented, 6 men, 6 women
    Eos Amaterasu: Wide age range as well
    Pila Mulligan: all North Americans but for Tarmel?
    Wol Euler: an ex-north american :)
    Eos Amaterasu: No, people from mideast, England, Aussie (ex Canadian).... plus No Ammos
    Pila Mulligan: ah, Storm of course
    Eos Amaterasu: Nice to meet RL Storm (maybe more hurricanes :-)
    Pila Mulligan: transplanted, but fresh
    Paradise Tennant: ;)
    Pila Mulligan: and I forgot Fef also
    Eos Amaterasu: Thought is to do it every 4 months
    Pila Mulligan: sorry guys
    Paradise Tennant: wow
    Wol Euler: that would be good.
    Paradise Tennant: progressive too if you attend a few in a row
    Pila Mulligan: the quiet and remote environment seems important
    Pila Mulligan: and the food :)
    Eos Amaterasu: Key thing for me is actually doing this, in SL and in RL, is enough
    Paradise Tennant: yes ..practice :)
    Eos Amaterasu: Two aspects:
    Eos Amaterasu: 1 - frequency, doing often
    Eos Amaterasu: 2 - trusting "just dropping", just letting go
    Paradise Tennant: yes
    Eos Amaterasu: is enough, has its own wisdom that's allowed to emerge
    Paradise Tennant: yes
    Eos Amaterasu: We need language to talk about it, whether verbal, visual, musical, and these are all distinctive but coming from openness allows appreciation of distinctiveness
    Pila asks, "Stim, would you please share some thoughts on how the PaB retreat compares with your usual retreat situation?"

    Stim Morane: they're quite different, not much overlap.
    Stim Morane: We've known all along that PaB was a different kind of thing than traditional approaches to contemplative practice.
    Pila Mulligan: yes, that's a question in itself :)
    Mickorod Renard: did you make any great discoveries that you may wish to bring here or to WoK?
    Stim Morane: :)
    Stim Morane: I'll let you know if something comes to mind.
    Bertram Jacobus: why do you think that stim ? :-)
    Stim Morane: Pila, I'm always bad at reporting about retreats I attend ... I'm never sure how to sum all that happens in such contexts.
    Pila Mulligan: ok
    Stim Morane: Bertram, the focus of PaB is pretty broad compared with more traditional views.
    Mickorod Renard: I was wondering whether the retreat was found to be more orientated towards those with more traditional budhist practice , rather than the variety of backgrounds we find in Pab?
    Stim Morane: I wouldn't say so, no.
    Gaya Ethaniel: What did you like about the retreat Stim?
    Wol Euler: :)
    Stim Morane: everything, but again, it's hard for me to sum such things up.

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