The second week was still very much in the spirit of starting up our new exploration. Yet at the same time several participants reported very seriously about the initial results of their attempts to play with the 9-second practice.
By and large, we seem to have found a natural balance between having fun as a group and talking seriously about forms of practice. And even though all of our reporting and discussing takes place in SL, what we have reported about is largely what happened to us in RL. And in turn what we have learned from our conversations is clearly applicable to RL, judging from the stories we have heard on a number of occasions.
We have now had 31 different participants, during these two weeks, of whom 18 have attended at least twice, with 11 of them have joined us at least four times, and 4 of those at least eight times. I find it very encouraging to see such a steady community forming. Here are brief daily summaries.
2008, April 7, Monday
Storm continued to help me with the new building that he had constructed on the land I had purchased, a little to the west of the tea house where we gather every day. When he asked me for a name for the building I hit upon Hall of Appearance. It reminded me of a favorite sentence of mine: “appreciate the presence of appearance as a presentation by Being” — appearance as what appears, raw, direct, before turning it into ex-perience, by a subject of an object. That afternoon we talked about the sense of peace involved in texting, rather than talking, in SL, and in the evening we had a cheerful and sometimes raucous session in which we mixed the serious and the hilarious. We had four participants per session, on average.
2008, April 8, Tuesday
We started with an in-depth report of a week worth of Play as Being exploration, in the morning. That afternoon, we continued improving our new building, the Hall of Appearance. The evening saw quite a crowd, eight people dropping by, who would not have fit into the humble tea house, were it not for the fact that the came at different times. Apart from the size of the population, this session was also special in being bilingual, held in a combination of English and Japanese. There were five of us per session, on average.
2008, April 9, Wednesday
Today was quite remarkable, in that we heard two reports about significant applications of SL experiences in RL. Maxine told us how dreams of things falling apart signaled for her a journey into the unknown in a very powerful and positive way. And Sky spoke about how her fox identity had inspired her to import the serenity of the fox sitting on a cushion in a tea room directly into RL. In addition, Autumn, who joined us for the first time, hinted at the many lessons she had learned in SL about herself in RL as well. A rich harvest for one day! We had three participants, on average, per session.
2008, April 10, Thursday
That morning we talked about the joy of Being, and the process of waking up in the morning. When we emerge from sleep, if we are really alert and pay attention, we can observe how we take up our body and mind. The process is a bit reminiscent of `rezzing’ in SL, where you appear out of nothing, first as a grey shape, and then your skin and hair and clothes are added in that order. In both the afternoon and evening new visitors arrived, and we talked about topics ranging from the purpose of life to what we can learn from quantum mechanics. As the day before, there were three of us on average.
2008, April 11, Friday
We had three new visitors today, which gave me the change to summarize what we are trying to do here. I always enjoy summarizing playing as Being, since each time I find myself expressing it in somewhat different terms, triggered by the situation and the reactions and personality of the person or persons I am talking with. I feel that each time I talk about it, I learn more about it. More and more I feel how Being is playing me — or even more accurately, Being is just playing Being and what seems like me happens to be part of the play. Today also saw the entry into SL of my long-term collaborator, Steven Tainer, from whom I have learned more about contemplation than from anyone else. I look forward to his participation in some of our sessions. Today again we had on average three participants.
2008, April 12, Saturday
We had a very nice discussion, early in the morning, about the pros and cons of writing notes while doing the 9-sec explorations. After that, Storm invited his RL fiance, Jobe Nurmi in SL; they told me the story of how they had met in SL first, in a clothes shop. That afternoon we had an in-depth discussion of time, including the notion of a fourth time. Finally, in the evening, we welcomed Dakini back to her home turf, after she had been gone for a full week — no less than 21 sessions of Play of Being! Our average participation was four people per session.
2008, April 13, Sunday
Another day full of varied experiences. Talk about building a bar, discussions about Nisargadatta’s “I am That”; learning how to sit and walk around in SL; conversations about the meaning of immersion in SL; a review of some of what SL has to offer, from space craft models to art created by stroke victims; and finally the role of compassion. As the day before, four people per meeting, on average.