08 December 2008

Birthing Experience in Second Life

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When I discovered that people had created for themselves, and were buying, the entire experience of birth on Second Life (from conception to finish), I thought wow if that's possible, I want to become a nun and meditate every chance I can! Can I buy that on Second Life I wonder? That would save a whole lot of suffering, I wouldn't have to move to that nunnery in Nepal after all, take restrictive vows, and live in trying conditions.

But then that's not really what Second Life is about. (If you don't know much about Second Life, don't worry there are only? some 50,000 users around the world, but it is growing. Today it's the Wild West, but who knows, tomorrow it may evolve into a cultural and spiritual portal).

For me, it is very possible to become a professional meditator and move to Nepal and meditate in a nunnery day and night. It would be hard, but I have been fortunate enough to create a life where I have that possibilty available to me, that possibility could easily be birthed. I would hazard a guess and say
those desiring a birthing experience on Second Life are unable to have that experience. They may desire it, they may believe they need it, but it is not ready to come to fruition in this life and via their very physical body reality and all its limitations.

And, that's it.

The alternate reality of Second Life was itself conceived by a guy, Philip Rosedale, who deeply felt the limitations of what humans desire to create, and what they can in actuality produce in their lives. (For a thought provoking but tad shallow talk check out his Second Life presentation on TED.)

It's about the infinite horizon where anything is possible, eventually. Computer generated landscapes are compelling for that very reason. Gazing at them I am always drawn by the feeling of freedom and possibility they contain. This nether world exists in Second Life, or if not yet, it will be available in the next generation of alternate realities soon to explode out of the internet.

As in meditation, meeting the vastness of mind is breathtaking and liberating. Even if what we are meeting is only the color spectrum of associations going off like firecrackers when we close our eyes, it is experienced as infinite. And experiential learning is probably rivaled only by learning through visual symbols (but that's a different tangent).

All of these places and spaces we gaze into through a computer, or through the internet, or through meditation, is a call to what is missing in the unknowing knowingness of quantum physics - the many parallel universes that exist beside one another, yet never meet and so, we can never meet their inhabitants. Like 5000 Ebay shoppers all competing for a product, shoulder to virtual shoulder but forever destined to be strangers, unable to turn to one another and say 'hey we like the same things!'

And here we are, so many meditators around the globe and beyond reaching these great places, these broadened understandings in our minds (great because they are newly reached and newly discovered), yet unable to turn to the next meditator and say 'hey we discovered the same thing, funny meeting you here!'

But you can, on Second Life.

'The wise', a much cherished Bon teacher, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche said, 'always invest time and energy in what is open and ripened to you now; the foolish expend valuable time and energy in places that aren't ripe, aren't open'.

The experiences that haven't ripened, will never ripen, in this life time? Maybe we can give them a nudge, birth them prematurely in a virtual world. Is racing to meet what is expanding in your life through virtual portals that are all around gaping open like Second Life a wise, or foolish thing? Just like in real life, it all comes down to quality of experience and quality of (virtual) life. If your virtual life is satisfying and enabling the mind to grow and expand, why not?

"Queerer that we can suppose: the strangeness of science", Richard Dawkins, the loved and hated, but truely awesome atheist scientist states. Dawkins has said that if children now can grow up fully integrated into the infinite, multi-dimensional realms of computer games and computer realities, they might begin a shift in evolution that moves humans out of what he calls 'middle earth' reality. The 'middle earth' reality where humans understand things to be solid (rather than perceiving the space in atoms) because quite simply it suited our evolution, our survival. In that light, virtual realities may be furthering humans evolutionary process of perceiving and operating in realities that are more ethereal and less concrete after all. (Google 'Dawkins' and watch his talk on our 'bizarre universe - he's always mind and paradigm shaking to say the least).

Even if there is no monastic real estate on Second Life there are meditational spaces (and there was even a Tibet vigil inworld on the virtual 'Common Wealth Islands').
As soon as a nun avatar is available - I'd probably, like so many others, sign-up for the parallel life I've always wanted to create.

Would you?

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