G. Month of May

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    The first PaB session of May was the first month anniversary; the concensus of voices in the sessions of early May was that it seemed longer than a month since the group started. It was recognition not only that SL time moves more quickly but also that PaB had become so much a part of the lives of the participants.

    Throughout the month of May the group continued its growth and attendance increased at meetings especially at the 19:00 session every day which followed zazen at the zen retreat.

    The first meeting of the guardians took place on May 3 an hour before the scheduled 13:00 pm meeting. Until then a few of the participants had coincidently attended a session but some had not yet met each other. Among other things was a discussion of how to eject and ban troublesome people; Maxine volunteered to demonstrate ejecting and she shot the good-natured Storm 100m into the air and down....into a nearby pond.

    This is Pema's summary of the part of the meeting not logged:

    That afternoon, some of us got together an hour early, in preparation for the new schedule, starting next week. The idea was to spread out from three to four meetings a day, now including the night shift as well. Given that I would be awake during the SLT night, while in Japan, it would be natural for me to take the 1 am, 7 am, and 7 pm shifts. The afternoon shift, at 1 pm, would be at 5 am in Japan, so I will happily leave that to others.

    To fill the afternoon slot, seven regular participants had volunteered to each take responsibility for one day of the week. During that day the person responsible would act as a kind of greeter, making sure no one would come to an empty tea house between 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm, SLT. And instead of greeter, we had dreamt up a better term: guardian, guarding the mid-day time in the heat house. Each guardian had agreed to either be there on his or her day, or else to make sure someone else would be there, in case he or she would have a conflicting schedule.

    Storm had come up with a few alternative naming for the days, depending on who would be on duty, and I added a few more names to the list, so that we wound up with the following new names for the seven days of the week, starting with Monday (our new schedule will start on Monday, 5/5): Skyday, Genday, Calday, Stormday, Soloday, Dakday and Maxday.

    The original guardian group began their guardianships on Sunday, May 4 with Maxine. The original schedule looked like this:

    Monday:    Sky Szimmer
    Tuesday:   Genesis Zhangsun
    Wednesday: Caledonia Heron
    Thursday:  Storm Nordwind
    Friday:    Solobill Laville
    Saturday:  Dakini Rhode
    Sunday:    Maxine Walden

    With Pema in Japan and the new guardians taking shifts, the group met more without Pema and the guardians began to take more of a role leading sessions.

    A German summary of Pab was added on the website in early May. http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/summary/einfuehrung/

    Land buying was begun in April  but picked up in May with land close to the Zen Retreat. The vision was for a large forest that would connect Rieul with the sea with paths, huts for guardians and meeting places. During the month, there was a major effort purchasing land  with Storm, Dakini and Pema forming a thre person group for land deeds. This is the land on which the two pavilions would be built and the land on which the guardians have plots of land. In one instance in early May, Pema bought the three plots of coastal land moments before boarding a plane for Japan. He describes packing his laptop into his backpack and running toward the gate with five minutes to spare before the plane took off. Later Pema wrote:

    Well, after we acquired a sizeble piece of land near the sea coast, with tidal waters, I dropped the words "wouldn't a mangrove forest be nice here" within ear shot of Storm.  Today I met Storm, and he showed me what he had done -- the beginning of a real mangrove forest ! ! !  Amazing.  Y'all come see -- we need to plan an excursion! 

    By the end of the month Play as Being owned 3 sims of land.

    This was the first time Pema had crossed continents since the beginning of PaB although not in the virtual worlds and it was a cause for reflection about the contrast beween the great changes in RL while everything staying the same in the virtual world. Pema wrote:

    All these reflections and moods are part of our ongoing exploration of what immersion in SL really means. It will be quite a while before we’ve sorted that out. For me at least, I keep being surprised at the vividness of yet again different experiences, even while having been in-world now frequently for a few months.

    As the chronicler, I found it intriguing that while reading over these events, I almost felt as if I was traveling with Pema and felt I was in Japand too in Pema's conversation with Dakini the next morning. This too speaks to the power of the virtual worlds. It is a real contrast with what I have subsequently felt in PaB when I was left behind as Pema went to Japan.

    The first 1 am session was on May 6 although Pema was alone. he reflected:

    I was also dreaming about the future. One day, hopefully not too far into the future, I could see a permanent presence here, like in a neighborhood cafe in a city neighborhood that doesn’t sleep, where you can drop by and always find food and friends. Wouldn’t that be nice! Perhaps we can realize that within a few months? Let’s see how it all develops.

    The original Sunday morning guardian meeting was born early in May too. Originally it took place at 7 am, then was moved back to 7:30 am. Later still it became 8 am. The first meeting was in the tea house in the Zen Retreat but quickly moved to the Hall of Appearance because the tea house was too small.

    As the group continued to grow, people began to feel the tea house was too small. It is interesting that there was discussion of whether to split  into smaller groups or build a larger place. Of course, the latter solution was chosen.

    All during this time Storm had been busy landscaping and scripting balloons to tour the new lands, asking himself what else he could do to further the venture. Storm envisioned "Play as Being Guardian" group tags and a logo for PaB. Toward the end of the month, Storm laid out the first guardian plots and they were offered. At one time there was a consideration of providing retreat houses for the guardians.

    Voices of May:

    Many themes that would become more prominant later appear in these first couple of months. This inspiring exchange on May 21 at 07:00 is an example:

    Maxine Walden: yes, could you say anything more about how or what or the experience of the threshold of your awareness slipping into a dreamlike state?
    Maxine Walden: in the awakened state?
    Pema Pera: The way I like to do that, is to hold a certain idea in mind, very loosely, in a relaxed way — a place I would like to visit, a person I may want to meet, possibly a historical figure, whatever
    Pema Pera: And then I take a comfortable position, close my eyes, and let myself drift into a dream-like state in which I visit there.
    Pema Pera: The first few times I tried to do that, I was convinced that I failed, that nothing had happened.
    Pema Pera: But I had told myself beforehand: this is a laboratory-type experiment, you HAVE to make an entry lab-style, like in a lab notebook
    Pema Pera: So I did, and I started writing something like:
    Pema Pera: “nothing happened, nothing whatsoever, this was a failure.
    Pema Pera: actually, I added, there was this vague feeling of being on a large plain
    Pema Pera: and yes,
    Pema Pera: there was actually a sense that I was walking over that plain
    Pema Pera: and come to think of it, there was a house on the plain
    Pema Pera: and I walked up to it
    Pema Pera: went in it
    Pema Pera: saw this and that
    Pema Pera: and so on.
    Pema Pera: You see: what had happened was that I had gone into a different state of awareness, and after getting out of it, I at first had no recollection
    Pema Pera: just like waking up from a dream, if we don’t train ourself to remember, we often cannot get back to the dream story
    Pema Pera: I found this fascinating
    Pema Pera: and after some training it became much easier
    Pema Pera: I can now easily get into such a state, have quite a bit of adventures in just a few minutes, and then write about it
    Pema Pera: but if I don’t write, it is still sometimes tricky to get back to it
    Pema Pera: writing is for me like pulling the tip of a table cloth:
    Pema Pera: once I have a grip on it, the rest can be pulled along.
    Pema Pera: Does that make some sense?
    Maxine Walden: yes, what comes to mind is that your insisting on notation, perhaps a continuation of attention, that such notation maintains the connection, with the tablecloth so to speak. I think that makes a lot of sense, because
    Maxine Walden: when we/I let go of the attention, ‘things’ often slip over the horizon out of view as it were…it is a fascinating element to ‘train’ ones attetnional/notational capacities to ’stay in touch’ with what would otherwise slip over that horizon (for me back into the unconscious realms)
    Riddle Sideways: wow what an adventure

    Or the following example in which Genesis recalled Pema's analogy of the jazz musician needing to forget things in order to improvise

    genesis Zhangsun: so first a musician must understand his instrument, reading music, the structure, the form
    genesis Zhangsun: but then at some point in order to truly make new music, to jam you have to let go of everything you knew
    genesis Zhangsun: to prevent all of your learning from binding you, keeping you from making something new
    genesis Zhangsun: something in that moment
    genesis Zhangsun: fresh
    genesis Zhangsun: beautiful
    genesis Zhangsun: profound

    Caledonia Heron: the improvisational moment leaves me thunderstruck
    genesis Zhangsun: how so?
    Caledonia Heron: the sheer audacity of making something up on the spot out of nothing but ingrained knowledge and gut, something from nothing which is based on everything a player has internalized coming straight out of their heart….awesome
    genesis Zhangsun: what you just did right there, describing the beauty of improvisation was a perfect example of the beauty of improvisation

    Meanwhile Isen and Storm discussed Buddhism in a session from which this delightful snippet is derived (May 22, 13:00):

    Isen Enzo: Well, I learned something!
    Isen Enzo: A definition of “dukkha”
    Storm Nordwind: Oh please tell :)
    Isen Enzo: a literal translation…
    Isen Enzo: It’s been a sort of mini-epiphany…
    Isen Enzo: You know how people always say that the first noble truth…
    Isen Enzo: some times as “life is suffering”
    Storm Nordwind: hmm… yes
    Isen Enzo: or “life is dukkha”
    Storm Nordwind: sure
    Isen Enzo: and there is always the heming and hawing…
    Isen Enzo: about the multiple meanings…
    Isen Enzo: so as not to give the impression that Buddhism is nihilistic…
    Storm Nordwind: I try not to get involved in the multiple meanings!
    Isen Enzo: Well-
    Isen Enzo: get this…
    Storm Nordwind: shoot
    Isen Enzo: the literal translation is…
    Isen Enzo: (drum roll please)
    Isen Enzo: “wobbly axle/wheel”
    Isen Enzo: (rimshot)

    After Fael describes a 9-second stop in which Fael is in the middle of the river on May 31 13:00, Stim note that the "postion" is a new dimension and goes on to say:

    Stim Morane: Oh. Well I originally thought of Play as Being in terms of interrupting the ordinary mind’s heedlessness and lack of appeciation of certain fundamental facets of being.
    Stim Morane: That is, as a way of coming back to the sacred dimension of presence.
    Stim Morane: But now I see it can also include expressive, “playful”, artistic intuitions
    Stim Morane: This is very helpful
    Dakini Rhode: ah
    Dakini Rhode: i think you’re touching on something i’ve been trying to understand about the practice
    Dakini Rhode: there is the return to awareness of presence, or being, if you will
    Dakini Rhode: and there is the instruction to write something
    Dakini Rhode: it seems that lately, i return to silence
    Stim Morane: yes, that too is an important option or facet of all options

    Fael and Faenik

    Fael Illyar is introduced at the May 30 07:00 session at an impromtu session on the beach in Buyeo due to the fact the Rieul sim had closed down. With Fael came a shoulder kitten named Faenik. Fael had scripted Faenik to repeat some random lines which were typical responses to chat. Faenik was to delight many of us for many months with seeming insight with comments on our statements like "why not?" and "could be".


    New guardians in May were Hotaru Myoo, Moon Fargis, Riddle Sideways, stevenaia Michinaga, Friedrich Ochsenhorn and Rajah Yali.


    Next: My Subsequent Weeks in the Month of June 

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