Saturday, April 2, 2011

SL/RL Synthesis Note (42): "Going Home"

I can’t sleep. Its 5:30AM and my mind is racing so I decided I might as well get up. I have been restless since yesterday. I met someone, a very nice person who is reengaging after having left Second Life a few years ago. He had deleted his avatar at that time, appreciating that he “had to” because his “real life” depended upon it. Pretty drastic, but not unusual. Like so many others, the allure of this place called to him again and he is back, ready for a second round of immersion in this virtual space.

I meet lots of people, on regular basis. It’s one aspect of Second Life that I truly enjoy. I love people, and when I found the grid, I was at a point in my life when I had all but completely closed myself off to the world, relationally. I had begun to isolate myself having felt betrayed, unappreciated, unvalued….unloved.

Second Life seemed like Heaven. I could be anyone I wanted to be and hide behind my avatar. This prospect was exhilarating, because I’d lead such a “vanilla, appropriate, socially acceptable” life. I loved the idea of being and doing something else. Over the course of 2 years, I proceeded to explore every possible curiosity to include the darker, more repressed aspects of myself. I’d done the whole “squeaky clean thing” and my existence boiled to a head with me feeling like my life had no meaning. Over and over I met with my understanding about life and myself crossing new ideas and perceptions that challenged my understanding about what was good, bad, real or unreal. I became frustrated about some of those crossroads deciding that those who had guided me were delusive and had left out some really important stuff. I began to realize, everything that I understood as “bad” was not…only subjectively evaluated as such… although some things still, I decided really WERE bad *for me* but not necessarily for all.

I’ve formed some very intense relationships as a result of my life on the grid. Challenging judgments opened the way for me to allow people into my life, I might have avoided in the tangible world. Relationships are TREMENDOUSLY important in this process because it allows us to actually “test” these ideas about “being” via the reactions, experiences and connections we create with others while in this new skin. All relationships, of various kinds are important and we are drawn to them, in an almost hypnotic way, sometimes seeking the same painful experiences over and over trying to make sense of this urging we feel.

..and then in 2009, the wall came crumbling down and I realized that my second life was seeping into my first one and my core was rocked in a way, I can not explain. So I began asking different questions, and looking for others who felt the same. I needed to know I was not loosing my mind and that someone else knew exactly what it was I was talking about. …and a group of 500 members; a friends list of over 700 and nearly 100 live discussions later I realized this experience is prevalent and calling to many MANY people as technology and social networking evolves the way people of the world relate to one another.

People come to Second Life for a myriad of reasons…business, education, research…There is a special population of us, however, who are here to discover who we truly are. We are the residents… generally people who heard about Second Life somewhere in the media or via recounts of another resident fully immersed and were so intrigued by what we heard that we came to see for ourselves…and moved in.

As I reflect, I have redefined my understand of “purgatory” the place in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” between hell and paradise where the souls “purge” their thoughts and ideas about themselves and the way they lived their life. Most say it’s a place of punishment… but a deeper understanding reveals it is a place of purification… where a “burning off” of these thoughts allows the soul to become “free and pure” of those ideas that no longer serve it and over time guides the soul toward paradise…and paradise isn’t even “Heaven” the mystical place of golden streets and angels, eternal peace…as most religions describe… it is Eden… a place on EARTH where the soul continues its ascension toward something all encompassing but with a more “serving and meaningful” existence on the next plane.

This is the soul’s journey… one that happens for everyone over the course of a lifetime. The Internet, social networking and especially virtual worlds have provided a space where this process of liberation happens at a tremendously hyper rate… it is unprecedented…we are connecting, growing and exploring in a way never seen before.

I don’t know where this journey is leading me now, there is a new longing in my chest that is urging me to ask, and I wait patiently for an answer. Under every challenge is an opportunity to ask… the really hard question, and find redemption and release in the answer.

In less than a week I will be 40….40 years in the wilderness…I am asking…and praying for a renewal of my mind…and a place in Paradise.

Peace and blessings XO


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