Spiritual Journey in SL

BY ASSISTANT EDITOR PAYPABAK WRITER

Over the past month or so, I’ve used my sister alt, Pay Writer, to join groups in order to receive notices and explore groups and sims that seriously pursue contemplative practices in Second Life. I did so because Pay is stripped down in groups and friends so as to explore such things without as much disturbance as I might encounter. Pay underwent quite a transformation from her usual wild-eyed neko form to something more approaching normal, using a Body Doubles modifiable version of Selene from Underworld (Kate Beckinsdale) as her shape. She was told by group leaders on numerous occasions that there is no discriminating based on appearance. Indeed, she saw many unusual avatars meditating as she visited the various tranquil destinations.

We’ve done our best to seek as many groups and sims as possible, perving participants’ group listings as well as using SL’s lamentable search functions. Even though there are numerous religious-based groups in SL, save for the Buddha Center, we stayed away from them, seeking the ecumenical paths and thus keeping the list a bit more manageable. The following is merely a survey of groups involved in spiritual practices in SL:

Buddha Center
3983 members
Zino March, Founder
BUDDHA CENTER (G-rated)
buddha center simCharter: The Buddhist Center: The basic tenet is that Buddhism must be unequivocally and purely taught by experienced monastics and lay people of Second Life. This is a non- profit organization that allows all individuals the opportunity to gather and hear Buddhist monastics and lay people speak of various Buddhist practices. Weekly Dharma discourses will be held, as well as occasional forums where the audience can present questions regarding all aspects of Buddhism dharma
Info: Buddha Center Website

Conducted in voice sometimes, introductions are made before meditation, explaining Buddhism. Larger gatherings than anywhere else but goes without saying since membership is so much larger.

“We will begin silent meditation with 3 rings of the bell and end it at 9:00 with 1 ring.
Let us start by becoming aware of the cycle of our breathing:

Breathing in, cool air expands body and mind.
Breathing out, body and mind let go.
You feel peace in the here and now
and welcome the new cycle of breathing with a smile.”

_/\_

“Even Socrates,
who lived a very frugal and simple life,
loved to go to the market.
When his students asked about this,
he replied,
“I love to go and see
all the things I am happy without.”
–Jack Kornfield
Buddha Center library
Two cats, Yin and Yang, wander about the grounds. The library next door to the meditation hall has many books on which you can click and receive a notecard with a synopsis of the wisdom within it. This is a full sim dedicated to meditation and Buddhist teachings.

We noted that there is a Deer Park setting mentioned also by the Meditations in SL notices. Some kind of teaching lesson was playing, and there was more chat among the participants than usual before people settled down to silence.

Friends of St. Benedict’s Monastery
23 members
Webservant Abbot, Founder
>may not exist any more<
Charter: Friends group to think good thoughts about and/or pray for each other & the monastery.
Not-so-often news & announcements.
The only expectation of group members is they follow their own heart.
We welcome you and everyone else, regardless of your religious affiliation, beliefs, practices, or any other distinctions whatsoever. All persons are encouraged to freely inquire into any sacred writings and practices they deem appropriate to their own spiritual growth.
“God is Love.”
Work & Pray!
Peace

Nothing to report since there doesn’t appear to be a place to meditate.

The Gurdjieff Foundations
35 members
Sonjia Albatross, Founder
>no apparent sim<
Charter: Gurdjieff Work

The cool thing about this group so far as I can get from sis, is that the group tag title is Miracle Seeker. Nowadays, that’s a pretty nice thing to aspire to.

Inner Peace Garden
26 members
PeaceLeaders (for the leaders of this IPG)
Soraya Till, Founder
Garden of Peace (Mature-rated)
Charter: This group holds a daily meditation meeting (7am SLT) at The Garden of Peace, a zendo in a beautiful and inspiring natural setting. All are welcome to join us for 20 minutes of silent meditation. There is no cost to joining this group.

inner peace gardenGraine Macbain: We will begin after three rings of the bell, and finish twenty minutes later with a final ring.
Pay Writer nods and closes her eyes, beginning her breathing
Graine Macbain: With body, speech and mind in perfect oneness
we send our hearts into the sound of the bell
May the hearers awaken from forgetfulness
And transcend all anxiety and desire.
_/|\_

Pay really liked this group of people as well as the effectiveness of meditating with them. As Soraya said to her: “the intention of the group” inspires one to sit silently at the computer (or whatever one actually does) to meditate.

Kannonji
2187 members
Adam Tebbe (aka Caspian Ingelwood), Founder
Kannonji Zen Retreat (M-rated)
Charter: Kannonji Zen Retreat is a group owned & operated Buddhist retreat hosting visits from real-world Buddhist teachers. To learn more about Kannonji Zen Retreat please visit our website.

Kannonji Zen CenterDefinitely a very well-developed retreat center, I got all excited when I discovered a CogCalendar Event Board prominently mounted with a plethora of events displayed. Click the Koan box for a random example. Read the sign on the picture of the main landing area and you can see Canoe Tour, Sweat Lodge, desert experience, hot air balloon tour, among other areas in this sim. Will be going back for a more extensive visit and report soon.

Meditation in SL
229 members
Jane Atkey, Founder
A Higher Porpoise underwater retreat (G-rated)
Charter: This group aims to keep you informed about the different meditation sessions happening throughout Second Life.

Jane is the voice of the meditations you can hear at A Higher Porpoise underwater retreat. You can now also hear the meditation of the week in RL on my website. They are written by my friend Baji Bourjade and we have brought out a cd together (see picks). I also run the Enneagram Group, do individual Enneagram typing interviews and offer Enneagram and NLP coaching.

We will very likely get back to Jane for an interview and discuss Enneagram and NLP coaching at a later date.

Peacemaker Institute
169 Members
Vivienne Cassavettes, Founder (retired from SL)

Charter: Daily morning meditation…join this group for exact time & place notices.
Peacemaker Institute offers integral trainings for effective social change grounded in a nondual perspective.
From the Website: Peacemaker Institute:

“The Commonwealth Islands host an activist community. Up to 15 organizations (their staff, boards and volunteers) use the SL platform to build capacity, promote progressive values and foster social change. The Commonwealth group in SL includes, in addition, 500+ individual activists, academics, wonks and geeks who may or may not be affiliated with the resident organizations. Set draw to 256 and enjoy!”

Pure Land Buddhist Practice
309 members
Doctor Blauvelt, Founder
Pure Land Buddhist Pracice
Charter:Pure Land Buddhist Practice.
Amitabha Buddha name recitation.
Kwan Yin .. Great Compassion Mantra.
Education
Daily Service at 6:30 AM, 10:30 AM and 8 PM SLT
Formal service is about 15 min followed by 15 min of open discussion.
Buddha – Buddhism – Buddhist – Amida – Amituofo

Three different places for meditation. The announcements also go out through the Meditation in SL group.

Second Life Pilgrims
44 members
Caoilin Guthrie, Founder
St. Matthew’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Chapel (G-rated)
Charter: Second Life Pilgrims is a group of spiritual seekers who are exploring the many ways people of faith have worked to express their faiths in Second Life (SL).
We have found that SL provides a unique opportunity to explore faith traditions in ways that we oftentimes cannot explore in Real Life.
SL Pilgrims provides information on events & places of interest to spiritual seekers of all faiths.

A very lovely sim! There’s a small labyrinth hovering above the landing point, to which you can fly and walk, or take a seat and meditate with forests, water falls, and mountains in the background. There do seem to be some commercial aspects with various components of the forest for sale and what appear to be Meroos placed about the premises. But the overall effect of this sim is very calming and meditative.

Spiritual Awakenings
113 members
Lola Lykin, Founder
>no sim<
Charter: A group for all healers and therapists to advertise your classes, sessions, events and spiritual get togethers here on SL, and for all followers of the spiritual path to find details of classes etc.
We embrace all faiths, cultures and belief systems.
Healers and therapists please send a notecard to Lola with details of your sim to enable sending notices in this group.

Namaste & Bright Blessings, Lola

Talked with Lola and may interview her for a follow up. Stated that she has done healing works via SL. “Distance healing works just as well … it’s all about the intent.” Soraya Till (of the Inner Peace Garden) seems to be sending out notices regarding 20-minute silent (centering) mediations so there’s an association between groups.

The Prayer of the Heart
143 members
micael Rossini, Founder
St George Orthodx Christian Church
Holy of holies area of churchCharter: † Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on me,a Sinner?
† Doamne,Iisuse Hristose,Fiul lui D-zeu, miluieste-ma pe mine,pacatosul/a?
† Señor Jesu Cristo, Hijo de Dios,
ten piedad de mi un peccador.
† ???? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ????
† Herr Jesus Christus, (du) Sohn Gottes, erbarme dich meiner
† Romania-Rugaciunea Inimii
The Soul is the Church of Christ
Personal blog
Website

I`m a disabled person in RL from Romania of the old continent of the primordially civilization and culture,so don`t be afraid to chat with me!:))

Visiting the church, the music was smooth jazz, so you have a choice for what to listen to during meditation! There were no organized group meditations per se … this is a place to experience on your own terms.

Viriditas Contemplative Center
103 members
Isabelle Oaklourne, Founder
Viriditas Contemplative Center (Moderate-rated)
BrochuresCharter: Viriditas is an ecumenical center for Contemplative Christianity committed to supporting individuals pursuing an integrated path of contemplation and engaged compassion. On-going contemplative practice groups, education, interfaith spiritual direction, and resources are offered online and in SW Idaho.
Viriditas Website
Twitter: viriditascenter

My meditations, with a group, at this center have been very calming and effective. The building is modern, open, and of course, in a beautiful forest near the sea, so the ambient sounds lend themselves to the contemplative atmosphere. Much like the Buddha Center, this sim strives to provide a lot of excellent information on spiritual practice; this one from the Christian traditions.

******
If this listing has whetted your appetite for exploring spiritual practices in SL, my recommendation is to join the Meditation in SL group, where announcements overlap with some of the other groups, so you can keep from gettings IMs capped yet find a schedule for meditation that fits your times of being inworld. Sis could pretty much meditate all morning and into the afternoon on a steady diet of announcements from all the groups she to which she applied (that’s US Central time, 2 hours ahead of SLT). I will have more to write on particular sims as well as the experience.

2 Responses

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  1. shauna
    shauna September 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm |

    Funny you were checking those out. I’ve been exploring and trying to find good churches in Second Life that meet at times I’m awake. My search is more narrow than these though, as I’d be seeking Christian places specifically (not interfaith). Perhaps I’ll report some of my findings soon too. I think it is wonderful that SL can be used for people to meet this way.

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