BeiYin: This our place under the fig tree is a private space, we can trust that there are only people who belong to this circle. 
   Mark: The above line is a turn-off to me. I'm not too interested in joining private clubs at rather public, open, free discussion lists. I think that trust is great -- and trust is much higher in a public setting, not a private one. I want to have trust that there are free-thinking people here. 
   BeiYin: The word 'private' was used to say that we can feel like among friends who are also interested to get to know each other, to understand the other and are sensitive enough to respond to a personal situation. What means to be aware of the other person and their needs. When you write that 'trust' is much higher in a public setting, then I guess this is a different trust. It is the trust that nobody can touch you if you don't want, that you don't need to be responsible and that you can disappear when ever you like without feelings of guilt to have hurt somebody. This is not the trust I would like to create 'under our cyber fig tree'. 
   If you are looking for discussions and for being free from responding with a certain responsibility, then better use news groups or discussion mailing lists. I am tired of 'discussions' were the main goal is to hold one's position, defend it and find weak spots in the arguments of the adversary. This all to confirm oneself and to make one's thinking and feelings react. Just to feel oneself being alive, on costs of the others and one's surrounding. I believe this will not happen 'under our fig tree'.
   I watched news groups and participated for more than two years in several and had to notice that they might be usefully to get information but on a personal level most of them they don't give anything. The discussions are not personal at all and there is no expression or response which might enclose the feeling level. I am convinced that this is the main reason why most of the news groups are dead and those which have still traffic are mostly used by people who are representing dogmas or wanting to sell their products. The Internet is not what it could be, there is very little sharing or exchange, when this happens then in a private way like with email. There should be other ways and I believe that mailing lists are a possibility to rise the level of the Internet and this surely has to do also with 'trust' and expecting something more personal and trans-personal.
   I don't know exactly what a 'free-thinking' person is. I guess you mean that this person is not bound to certain fixed dogmatic ideas. But even if a person is not directed through adapted ideas, that doesn't mean this person is free in one's thinking. Thinking and feeling are reactions from the personal system and this is all conditioned and structured... at least in an average person like you and me. We are all longing for freedom, we are dreaming of it, but what is it we are doing for it? Even the limited freedom we have to make decisions, we are not using to get out of our cage to reach unknown fields... 

   BeiYin: I go to this place because I need to express myself. Here I feel safe, this space is protected. There is nobody who will use my vulnerable state to attack me. Isn't self expression the most important in one's life? It seems to be difficult in our society that people freely express themselves. We are not allowed to show feelings, it is not possible to show that one is vulnerable. This is like being weak and this is against the image of how one has to be. 'A man doesn't cry', what a nonsense! As if men doesn't feel hurt. At least they are not allowed to show it, only in the way that they cover there pain in the many ways which are socially accepted, like getting drunk etc. 
   It hurts to see people walking through life with such a strong armor, they are protecting themselves permanently, against attacks from outside and as well against feelings from themselves. People don't allow themselves to feel and if it happens, if it can't be avoided then they will not show it, because they might be rejected or not accepted.
   I don't want to walk around with an armor which makes me inflexible and doesn't permit to receive from my surrounding. Even if this world is hurting me I prefer to stay unarmed and also without weapon. I don't need to defend myself... Isn't this 'defense' the reason why there is so little communication? Or why there is hardly any real communication? People who can't feel and can't receive are not able to communicate, that's pretty clear, isn't it? 
   Myra: I am of the same mind on this, though I visualize it more in terms of "walls" instead of "armor". The walls of protection that we erect to keep out hurt also prevent us from receiving the warmth and love of others (as well as making it difficult for us to send out those good feelings).
   It is my desire to live an emotionally unguarded life with those closest to me, even though I run the risk of being hurt from time to time. To me, that kind of emotional vulnerability is essential to developing a really deep relationship with someone, and the potential benefits far outweigh the risks. I'm reminded of the old saying -- "It takes both the sun and the rain to make a rainbow." To avoid the pain is to also avoid the pleasure.
   BeiYin: In this two years in the Internet I had quite a lot of exchange with all kind of people, interesting discussions, yes, but when I think back: There was not one person who dared to express some feelings. I mean feeling which were felt and then expressed and not those 'new age phrases which mostly pretend something. Well, it is indeed difficult to open oneself in the Internet, knowing that all around there are the vultures just waiting that someone shows a soft spot, to attack immediately without mercy. 
   Myra: I know that's very true on the newsgroups, where it seems most people are just lying in wait for an undocumented statement so they can leap on it with criticism. I suppose "flame wars" are a sort of hobby to some folks!
   However, in my e-mail correspondences I've found quite the opposite -- I've made some warm and caring friendships in the last year that I expect to last a long time. After the initial "getting-to-know-you" phase passes and a certain level of trust and respect are established, it's easier for me to share honest thoughts and feelings with a friend via e-mail than in person. I think it's because I have time to formulate my thoughts when I write, and I don't get flustered or emotional and forget to say something.
   BeiYin: I don't fear those people. I want to live. I want to express myself and I want to share with other people. I want to communicate without holding back, without armor, without protection. I am not feeling well at this moment and I don't know how I can take this world any longer in its reality which is so inhuman and were people are that much separated from each other. I don't know how I can continue. I can try to create my own reality which is the expression of me and my reality. So there is this space under the fig tree, this is a reality which is different from what goes on out there. We may allow to show ourselves, we don't need to pretend anything to be accepted. Someone said today: But how can you expect that this will happen in the cyber space when it didn't happen in twenty years under this real fig tree? Well, it had happened sometimes under the real fig tree and I am sitting there quite often. Our cyber fig tree exist and now there are about twenty people sitting under it. They are there, they just have to realize that this place is safe and that they are allowed to show themselves.
   Myra:This place does feel safe, and I'm sure more of us will make ourselves known to the group as the days pass. There is a gentle presence here, and you've been the one who has set the tone, Bei-Yin. Thank you for planting this cyber fig tree so we can benefit from it, as you have benefited from the real one. I'm very glad I found this list, and I think it will help me in my efforts to be the best person I can be.
   BeiYin: I am absolutely sure that we will come together. We have nothing to loose. It is the moment, we can start something new, something we feel we have to do it, because it is needed. We must use the cyber space for something creative, something personal, we must show ourselves to understand ourselves, to see that there are spaces which are waiting to be discovered. Yes, words are limited, misused, worn out and there are many words which doesn't yet exist so we have difficulties to express ourselves, indeed, but this will not stop us from opening up and going forward, because "Liberty beckons"!
   Myra:The Internet is such a powerful tool -- one whose influence will change the world (as it already has) in ways we haven't begun to realize yet. 
   Those who feel the need to write on this list can express themselves, and those who don't feel comfortable doing that will surely benefit in some way from reading the words of others. Sounds like a win win situation to me -- and indeed liberating! 
   Jean: So far in this life, 'self-expression' has brought ridicule, hostility and attack. Result: STRONG armor. I strive toward Self belief. Right now, that armor is a way of life, survival. How do I survive without its weight? How do I survive without its protection? I surround my Self with optimism and Self belief, then validation and support will be the result. Then, this life can be more than just survival.
   I no longer want to slink, unobserved, in the background, feeling unworthy. I will no longer be an emotional chameleon, emulating Miss Congeniality, suppressing intuition and feeling. Though, knowing this, I need more time to trust, to be able to present my Self.
   I am not clear, in my mind, as to the extent of my participation in this group. I have to stand, look at my fears directly, and know I can accept any consequences. This will result from Self worth/work. I'm unsure outside communication is necessary for me, currently.
    I can admit, I sure enjoy the fig tree, even in silence.
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