Impromptu pilgrimage

I was looking for solace yesterday. "I" was Alt #11. I had a bad experience with a would-be lover which brought up issues that have their roots in my childhood.

First, I went to the Basilica Cardinale. It didn't feel right. Then, I thought of going to the Kannonji Zen Center, so I looked for it in Search. But as I did, I found another place called the "Kundalini Awakening Information Center" and I decided to go there instead to see what it was like.

I landed at the foot of a mountain by the water. I noticed another dot on the minimap, so I moved to the opposite end of the beach. There were many objects that gave information when touched, and I was looking at them when he said "Hello" in public chat.

He was a very pale-skinned young man with long blonde hair that went down to his waist. He wore a black leather jacket that was open in the front and matching black pants. He mentioned a school of Buddhism that he was "drawn to" but he looked more like a goth vampire with blonde hair than a Buddhist monk.

We had only been chatting for ten minutes when someone else teleported in. The newcomer was just as pale as the blonde, but with dark messy hair. He's less than a month old and we had to help him turn off his typing animation.

Their avatars had the same feel to them, and I initially thought that they could be alts of the same person. But they couldn't be more different.

As I as camming around the sim earlier, I found a sacred labyrinth at the top of the mountain and I noticed a path spiraling up the side of the mountain. I decided I would walk up mountainside path and walk the labyrinth. After all, the sacred labyrinth was supposed to be walked as a form of meditation.

The blonde told us about the jetskis which could be rezzed from a billboard by the dock, before he himself took off in a jetski wearing his "church clothes". I invited the dark-haired one to join me on my trek. He was worried that he would be bumping against objects along the way, but I told him he could use the trek to practice walking, so he tagged along. The blonde got tired of the jetski quickly and decided to join us anyway.

So, up the mountain path we went, with me in the lead, sashaying in my ultra-high heels and white haute couture knee-length dress, which would have been more appropriate on a catwalk than a mountain path.

The mountain wasn't bare. There were places to sit and meditate along the way. A tree with a pillow at the base and more meditation pillows higher up. A series of yoga mats. A few altars. An office. A tea house. A wall to bang your head against.

At each one, we stopped and tried the pillows and the poses and I learned more about the two men. The blonde lives in the southeast US, claims to be "nocturnal" (it was almost 3am his time), and is a performer (singer and dancer). The dark-haired one is Irish, hadn't slept all night, and ought to be a comedian.

Our conversation went from the sublime(chakras) to the mundane (knickers).

"Look, I'm levitating! I'm a boddhisatva!" said the Irishman, sitting on one of the meditation cushions on a branch, after climbing the tree with a radioactive-green bottle of absinthe in his hand. Only ten minutes earlier, he said, "Oh, believe me, absinthe can be a very spiritual thing when used properly." :D

The Irishman complimented me almost as often as he took a friendly jab at the blonde. And the blonde held his own with his dry wit.

It was at the tea house when I realized that we were actually on a pilgrimage of sorts. Three people who had absolutely nothing in common, except we were all "spiritual seekers" in a virtual world, who happened to come to the same place at the same time. Had we chosen to teleport directly to the labyrinth or to fly up the mountain, we wouldn't have had the experience we had. We would have missed enjoying each other's company. As the Irishman said, "It's all in the journey."

When we reached the top of the mountain, the two men were still batting back and forth about knickers, so I told them we would have to walk the labyrinth in silence. I declared that it was the most spiritual part of the pilgrimage. They agreed.

Then we walked into the labyrinth. All the way to the center, then all the way out.

Somehow, when we came out, the air had changed. *We* had changed. The men resumed their bantering, but, this time, it felt friendlier and less competitive. Some experiences change us inside; this one subtly did. I cannot yet define how, but I am certain that it did.

Had I gone up the mountain alone, it would have been a different experience. Had I gone up with only one of the men, it would have been another experience. But all three of us going up created a synergistic energy with its own unique imprint.

We started out as three strangers at the foot of the mountain and ended up as friends at the top.

Shared experiences. Shared accomplishments. These are what bind strangers together. These are what virtual worlds are about.