2010.06.12 19:00 - Witnessing, Playing, and Being

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Pema Pera. The comments are by Pema Pera.

    Pema Pera: Hi Druth!
    Pema Pera: good evening
    druth Vlodovic: hey Pema
    Pema Pera: I'm trying to remember: have you been here before?
    Pema Pera: hi Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Druth, Hi Pema :))
    druth Vlodovic: hi eliza
    Eliza Madrigal: Nice to see you again
    Eliza Madrigal: oops... signed on too soon. brb
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: We recently moved to a new wiki, Druth, perhaps you heard about that already? It is http://wiki.playasbeing.org/
    Pema Pera: may I ask, have your tried to take some short few-second breaks, a few times, to see what that was like?
    druth Vlodovic: I've checked it out
    Pema Pera: do you have any questions, or comments?
    druth Vlodovic: I guess that means no all 'round :) have you tried it pema?

    In response to Druth's questions, I gave a quick but probably much too terse reply.

    Pema Pera: oh sure, I like to take those little breaks -- like meditation for lazy people :-)
    Pema Pera: only a few seconds at a time, rather than half an hour or a day ; but what is surprising is that it still works to some extent
    Pema Pera: in my own experience, at least, being reminded is half the message
    Pema Pera: sitting then for another half hour can be nice, but doesn't seem to be the most central point
    Pema Pera: btw, I love the quote in your profile "Coincidentally truth always seems to lie right where we stop looking for it." -- so true (^_^)
    druth Vlodovic: :)
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi, apologies, here :)
    Pema Pera: how did you hit upon that, by experience :-) ?
    Pema Pera: wb Eliza!
    Eliza Madrigal: ty
    druth Vlodovic: seemed logical
    Pema Pera: So you're modifying the saying "it was in the last place I looked" by saying "it was in the first place I didn't look" . . . I really like that!
    druth Vlodovic: fatigue has created more philosophies... lol
    Pema Pera: hahaha, lazy = good, it helps to find shorcuts, and to cut through knots
    druth Vlodovic: you said "being reminded is half the message" reminded of what?
    Pema Pera: reminded that we tend to get caught up in the story of whatever we are focused on right now
    Pema Pera: while paying too little attention to all the beauty around us
    Pema Pera: we also tend to inflate our own importance, and the importance of all our little tasks, and a short break can shoot a little hole in that inflation
    Pema Pera: we are mesmerized by our little endeavors - I'm speaking from my own experience at least -- and I always appreciate reminders to smell the flowers
    Pema Pera: or "to drop what I have to see what I am"
    druth Vlodovic: do you tend to look in or out when you do this?
    Pema Pera: both, while trying to see whether there is really any difference, there may not be
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Pema Pera: "in" and "out" are labels, ideas, like plastic covers that we put on an expensive sofa before we sit on it
    Pema Pera: when I look around me, I see my experience that is offering me the world -- and when I look inside me, I see all the judgments of others that I take so seriously, all the praise and blame, and all the fragility for which I'm trying to use the outside world as a crutch
    Pema Pera: it's all so intermingled . . .

    After my somewhat complex attempt to show the difficulties separating inner and outer, Eliza gave a more gentle tour guide impression of the 9-sec break.

    Eliza Madrigal: sometimes the pause just kind of softens my view... it isnt always that I stop and am quiet... sometimes I'm just relaxing with the same thoughts...
    Eliza Madrigal: go from trying to nail them down to letting them roll a bit... :)
    Pema Pera: yes, stopping the frantic attempts to hold our story together
    Pema Pera: we all play as having (all kind of problems and limitations)
    Pema Pera: but we could play as being (part of the Universe, or even all of Being)
    Pema Pera: we have the choice, and a little break reminds me not to continue the track of having
    Pema Pera: having, carrying, sweating it out, trying to carry the world upon our shoulders .....
    Pema Pera: Hi Dream, please come join us!
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Dream :)
    Dream Wrexan: hi, thank you
    druth Vlodovic: hi
    Eliza Madrigal: Nice to meet you Dream :)
    Pema Pera: Dream, we get together a few times a day to chat about the nature of reality, and everything else, and we have a wiki http://wiki.playasbeing.org/ -- We record our conversations there. Do you mind being included in our blogs?
    Dream Wrexan: Thank you, Eliza - same here
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    Dream Wrexan: No, I don't mind.
    Pema Pera: thank you!
    Pema Pera: we were just talking about the difference between having and being . . .
    Dream Wrexan: having seems like ownership (temporary or otherwise) of an object - something foreign to our being
    Dream Wrexan: like an emotion
    Pema Pera: yes, it creates (the illusion of) a separation
    Dream Wrexan: we have emotions but we are not our emotions
    Pema Pera nods
    druth Vlodovic: afraid, perhaps, of loss of control

    This was my first time to meet Dream, and I was delighted to see us jumping into core issues like the distinction between having and being right away.

    Dream Wrexan: can you say more about your thought of "illusion of separation", Pema?
    Pema Pera: yes, afraid to be "led by emotions" -- but the alternative is to "go into emotions", becoming one with them
    Pema Pera: not just "facing them" but bridging the gap
    Dream Wrexan: can we go into our emotions without becoming them?
    Eliza Madrigal: woudln't that be emotions having us? :)
    Pema Pera: not becoming but realizing and appreciating that they were never separate from us
    Dream Wrexan: I'm going to have to think about that one more, Pema
    Pema Pera: we are like actors in a play, wrestling with our scripts
    Pema Pera: but we can drop the script and spontaneously improvise
    Pema Pera: speaking from what is
    Pema Pera: rather than trying to have this and that (like good experiences, good emotions)
    Pema Pera: thanks, Dream, for letting me wax on, sorry to use so many words, but I'm excited about these simple keys to life (^_^)
    Pema Pera: but of course I'd love to hear more about your view too!
    Pema Pera: always happy to learn and compare notes
    Eliza Madrigal: An actor, knowing they are an actor, can kind of pour themself into a role and all its emotions and know that will fall away with the role ...
    Pema Pera: and already fall away each moment, not only at the end of the play -- each moment she/he remains her/himself . . .
    Eliza Madrigal: like a dream maybe :)
    Pema Pera: yes, a lucid dream
    Dream Wrexan: I've always approached emotion as an observer when possible, rather than immersing myself into them
    Pema Pera: ah, but there is a third way!
    Dream Wrexan: As though I watch this body (meat suit) acting it out

    I tried to sketch was I see as a way out of the dichotomy of immersing and observing; I do think we can have it both, in some sense, the immediacy of immersion and the clarity of observation, without the dangers of being captured in an immersion or being aloof in observation.

    Pema Pera: *If* we start with the understanding that we are separate from our emotions, *then* we have only two choice: stay outside (observing) or get inside (acting out) -- but what if we are not separate from our emotions in the first place? what if it is a mistake to take what IS and split it into a "me having emotions" and "emotions held by me"; perhaps we can avoid that split in the first place!
    Dream Wrexan: What would be the advantage?
    Pema Pera: that could be the ultimate magic . . . .
    Pema Pera: there would be no problems anymore
    Dream Wrexan: So if I merge with my anger I don't have a problem?
    Pema Pera: normally, when we say "I have a problem" we try to solve the problem
    Pema Pera: or if we are desparate we might eventually commit suicide to get rid of the "I" who has the problem
    Pema Pera: but we forget that there is a third way: to get rid of the "have"
    Pema Pera: and to fall back on the "be:
    Pema Pera: and I know, this may sound abstract, sorry, so we'll have to unpack it with concrete examples
    Pema Pera: like the one you gave
    Pema Pera: the point is not to "merge with your anger"
    Dream Wrexan: I don't want to *be* anger
    Pema Pera: hi Calvino
    Pema Pera: let us go slow . . .
    Dream Wrexan: good idea
    Pema Pera: you don't want to merge what you think is you with what you think is anger
    Eliza Madrigal: Hi Cal :))
    Calvino Rabeni: Hi, Pema, everyone :)
    Pema Pera: and I totally agree!
    Pema Pera: but let us look where we came from
    Pema Pera: somehow the Universe produced us,
    Dream Wrexan: stardust
    Pema Pera: whether we like the scientific creation myth -- yes, exactly -- or another
    Pema Pera: and then we became self-conscious, we lost our innocence
    Pema Pera: and we separated from our emotions, or at least we pretended to do so, we play that ongoing game
    Pema Pera: and I am not suggesting that we play a second game within the first game in which we try to force the two together, the I and the emotions
    Pema Pera: but rather I'm suggesting we look at the first game and smile, like a mother smiling at a child playing and pretending this and that
    Pema Pera: does that make sense?
    Dream Wrexan: absolutely - that's the "witness" I spoke of earlier
    Pema Pera: yes, I see better what you mean now, thank you!

    So nice to be on the same page in this kind of conversation, where you can so easily lose each other.

    Pema Pera: the question is then to what extent the witness is still separate from the emotions, and possibly from the I having the emotions
    Dream Wrexan: For me, the witness is my true being, the eternal part of me
    Pema Pera: ah, yes, that makes it much more clear, thank you -- words are so tricky
    Pema Pera: When we talk about "witness", we can talk about a judging witness, like an official outsider; or a loving witness, like a mother or a lover; or possibly something even more intimate . . . like Being
    Dream Wrexan: yes, like Being
    Pema Pera: when you wrote "As though I watch this body (meat suit) acting it out" I probably misunderstood that as taking some distance; can you say more about that?
    Dream Wrexan: It is distance of a sort
    Dream Wrexan: Going beyond the experience and witnessing it as an observer
    Dream Wrexan: Without judgement
    Calvino Rabeni: Sounds like a great discussion :) but have to slip out, thanks
    Pema Pera: bye Cal!
    Dream Wrexan: trying to understand motivation, previous experience,
    Dream Wrexan: all things that go into our present understanding of a situation
    Dream Wrexan: dispassionately observing
    Dream Wrexan: Of course, this is an ideal for me - not always achievable in the heat of emotion
    Pema Pera: yes, that's a wonderful kind of exploration, a real adventure, I'm always amazed when I remind myself to do that
    Dream Wrexan: but I'm getting better.
    Eliza Madrigal smiles
    druth Vlodovic: "the examined life" :)
    Dream Wrexan: exactly, druth!
    Pema Pera: yes, and that's why we have this "9 seconds break every 15 minutes" as a trick to remind ourselves regularly

    And how nice to share this kind of intention among four friends!

    Pema Pera: but I'm still curious, if I may: I agree that taking that kind of stance is very illuminating and also practically helpful -- but do you think it is the ultimate solution/approach, or do you think there may still be something else, possibly even more effective?
    Dream Wrexan: I'm open to ideas. :-)
    Pema Pera: what puzzles me just a bit is the notion of distance, of separation, between the witness and what is witnessed . . .
    Pema Pera: can that be the final answer, that that distance remains, or do you think that drops away somehow, somewhen?
    druth Vlodovic: or would that be a step back
    Dream Wrexan: I imagine it depends upon one's idea of nirvana
    Dream Wrexan: For me it is peace
    Dream Wrexan: and to me peace is not subject to the tides of emotion
    Eliza Madrigal: :)
    druth Vlodovic: 'night all
    Eliza Madrigal: Night druth :))
    Pema Pera: bye Druth!
    Dream Wrexan: What do you think, Pema?
    Pema Pera: yes, to go beyond distinctions, including the pull and push of emotions, is such a relief, such an eye opener . . . if more people could do that, wars would end, so would ecological destruction
    Pema Pera: *if* we could go beyond
    Dream Wrexan: I have hope we can
    Pema Pera: but perhaps the "we" that we think we are cannot go beyond -- perhaps our self image is more like a cartoon figure, we cannot try to "liberate" Donald Duck from the pages of a magazine and make him walk on the street
    Dream Wrexan: LOL!
    Pema Pera: but we *can* drop the self image that we have of ourselves
    Eliza Madrigal: hah
    Pema Pera: that is a far deeper kind of liberation
    Dream Wrexan: Perhaps we can drop our body as easily as we can "quit" SL

    Yes, dropping is the key; dropping body and mind, both.

    Pema Pera: aspiration and intention is essential, to change and improve your life -- but ultimately all those helpful ideas need to be dropped too, otherwise we just exchange one problem for another
    Pema Pera: we can drop our image of what a body is and all our images of the good and bad aspects of the body
    Dream Wrexan: yes
    Pema Pera: perhaps we can become like children, innocent . . . .
    Dream Wrexan: Recovering innocence seems a difficult task.
    Pema Pera: ah, as a task it is impossible
    Pema Pera: the idea of a task assumes already separation
    Pema Pera: children don't feel they have a task to be children :-)
    Dream Wrexan: Thank you for a most enlightening discussion, Pema and Eliza
    Pema Pera: allowing your innocence to come out -- opening the door of your heart is enough, you don't have to "recover" anything, only to set it free
    Eliza Madrigal: Thank you, Dream... really enjoy your questions :)
    Pema Pera: thank you, Dream, I deeply appreciate your engagement with these questions
    Dream Wrexan: ... and I'm afraid it's time to set myself free from SL
    Pema Pera: your very approach is so inspiring!
    Eliza Madrigal: hah
    Dream Wrexan: It's worked for me :-)
    Dream Wrexan: Thank you again.
    Pema Pera: I hope you will come back, Dream -- I'd love to conitinue our conversations
    Dream Wrexan: Namaste
    Eliza Madrigal: Bye for now Dream. Namaste :)
    Pema Pera: bye Dream!

    Time for all of us to leave.

    Eliza Madrigal: I should get going also :) Thank you Pema.. really nice discussion
    Pema Pera: yes, I enjoyed it too -- hope I didn't talk too much . . . it is rare to find such deep and serious engagement, and willingness to really delve into the issues!
    Eliza Madrigal: Ah, no! Really interesting :))
    Eliza Madrigal: really the heart of so much... being engaged while not stuck....
    Eliza Madrigal: distance and immersion... both. Tricky :)
    Pema Pera: yes, I very much hope that she will come back to continue this kind of joint investigation
    Eliza Madrigal: yes, me too. Very much so
    Pema Pera: thinking things through together -- I'd love to hear your views in the matter too
    Pema Pera: but I realize it's getting late for you
    Pema Pera: here it's the middle of the day still
    Eliza Madrigal: Yes... quite late here by now (for the very boring-hah) but Have a wonderful day :))
    Pema Pera: u 2, Eliza, thanks for joining us!

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