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    I had a discussion with Solobill Laville and he suggested I ask people to help me. I then talked to him about the Chronicles and he kindly agreed to write his own impressions of his first few weeks in Second Life and Play as Being. There are differnces in the ways we came into PaB, and in what we were seeking, but at the same time, there is a  wonderful familiarity in our various experiences. The following was written by Solobill:

    I came into SL back in January of 2008 based on a friend’s recommendation. I am in the learning and education industry and thought SL may offer some new tools in terms of both academic and professional interests. So, I did some searching and wandering. My first word search was for “zen” or “buddhist”, as I saw what cool things could be done in SL for universities and wondered what existed in terms of these other two more personal topics. I soon found Zen Retreat and Kuan Yin Terraces, and spent a good deal of time just simply escaping there. Through my wanderings, I met Storm, Bunan, and Dakini early on. Whilst on one of my wanderings in April of 2008, I recall Pema shouting greetings from a distance as he was speaking with someone else as well ( We chatted for a bit, and I started attending PaB sessions at the Tea House. After a few sessions I decided to try to figure just what the heck was “really going on”, so I put forth all my powers of internet research and discovered the Ways of Knowing website. I read for hours and hours late one night as that small group experimented and shared; I was floored. So, I came back recharged and now had a better idea on how PaB was framed against my background.

    I recall so many different hesitations I had in those first few months. I recall at first the focus on getting attendees at the Tea House to write blogs. Pema had asked me directly I believe twice to do that; but I was and still am hesitant as I don’t feel that I can commit to what I envision such a blog to be. I also recall how I felt so much more structured through my personal practice than what I thought PaB was about, and how that made me feel out of step. I also was very aware of what to me felt like a subtle research-like structure of PaB. As things were beginning to develop as a group, there were many typical organizational development occurrences that are inevitable; I was interested in how Pema’s attitude was always that this was an organic self-defining group. That is very counter-intuitive to my normal way of dealing with large groups (“manage what you measure”, etc.), and I am glad to see how it has worked out so well. A final concern was for the individual issues that can arise during these kinds of “meditative” efforts and the ineffectiveness of dealing with those in SL.

    As we grew and moved from Tea House to Pavilion, and Pavilion to Playgoda, I had struggled with the qualitative aspect of the PaB sessions. From a starting point of “eff-ing about the ineffable”, to what I considered to be a lot of intellectualization, I grew a bit impatient about what I perceived as a lack of a general practical effort with PaB. It was then that I wrote my “Intentionality” piece, which I tried to handle with a soft touch, but underneath wanted to spur people on or even light a fire, or at the least to get some to become less dogmatic. I realize, of course, that all of this was about me, but my voice of one voice adds to the PaB chorus…

    In terms of my personal relationship with PaB, I believe it is firmly based on the value and benefit of human communion. It is at this point for me less personal than it is community-based; sharing others’ successes, reinforcing others’ practice, sharing when asked, trying to lend a simple practice-based approach. Of course, this is a wonderful two-way street in terms of benefits.

    Personally, PaB as both group and practice functions well as part of my life; life itself as practice. I frame PaB as two things – 1) a form of mindfulness practice. This is not a discounting in any way. Mindfulness is paramount; 2) a mirror to myself though the practice itself and others’ sharing. Through the act of stopping and dropping, bliss can just spill over; being aware of your surroundings, washing your hands, hearing children yelling as they play outside, seeing the sunlight come in through the bathroom window in the morning…it is all just right there.


    Next: Storm 

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