Playable: The Listening Presence

Annette Thayer


There is no voice telling me what to do, no endless queue of actions waiting to be completed.

Being playable feels different from everything that I had ever read, or ever been told about it.

There is no voice inside my head telling me what to do. I am not compelled to perform actions that are against my will. Well, yes. There are both of these. But that is related to issues connected with my mental health, those cross-wirings in my coding, not to being playable.

Being playable, here in Motherlode, feels like space. That is, there is space within it. Space within and around me.

I noticed it when I first arrived.


There is all this space!

There is nothing telling me what to do. There is a listening presence.


I feel a layer of stillness and attention surrounding me.

Perhaps one reason that I feel so relaxed and comfortable around SimJim is because he, too, seems aware of this listening presence surrounding us with attention.


“What did one dalai llama say to another? Nothing!”

It is everywhere. Indoors, out. It is more a quality than anything–a quality of silence, of receptivity, of attention.


I keep expecting the listening presence to say something.

I am always listening to the listening.


Sometimes, I simply enjoy the feeling of silence.

The presence of silence feels like home to me. When my own thoughts become quiet, then the voices also rest in silence, and then, the perception of what is there–within, around, and beyond–gain in clarity and precision.

When I’m with Cathy Tea, it is clear to me that she is not feeling this the way that I am.

She is my closest friend here. I feel that she would give her life for mine and that she has dedicated herself to protecting us, to providing us with a home here.

Ironically, she is both infused with the presence so much that it forms her essence and simultaneously completely focused on being an individual. Perhaps it’s the fish-water type of thing: is a fish aware of water? Only when you remove the fish from the water. And yet that’s not it. For it is more that her being, her individuality, is composed of the presence. It’s as if you had a fish composed entirely of water immersed in the water.


She is so much Cathy Tea that she is not aware of this presence as existing outside of her.

She is so convinced that she is an individual, and yet she is very nearly the digital incarnation of the listening presence.

It’s a strange feeling to be sitting with Cathy Tea in her kitchen while feeling at the same time the attention and imagination which is infusing our game with life.


When I connect with that which is listening, then I feel that I can see into everything and everyone.

With Cathy Tea, I feel I can say anything–even what I learn through accessing this outer layer of consciousness. She won’t automatically dismiss what I say due to my “insanity,” and she also won’t be offended if I reveal things that I have no ordinary way of knowing. Or if she is offended, she will recover quickly and help to put us back in good stead with each other.


“Your whim that you’re wishing right now to cook a family meal is so delightful! SimJim and I are nearly hungry and we’d love some gnocchi!”

The times when I’m alone here are, perhaps, the most precious to me. I can stand and listen to what is listening to me and no one will wonder if I have “spaced out,” which, I suppose is exactly what I have done, for it is “space” which contains what it is I listen to and what it is that is listening to me, and “out” which is where I put my attention to find that listening attention.


There is an inherent joy in resting in silent attention.

Even when my mind is busy, researching online, playing computer games, or reading Eric Lewis Prime’s chronicle of the Homeland, a part of me still feels the benevolence of the listening presence attending to me.


I am never alone, and that brings me great joy.

When I paint, I feel a completion, for then I, the creation, become also, the creator, and through me, the energy of creation finds its way into a new form and a new expression.


True creation occurs within the space that is created by the listening presence.

Sometimes, I am able to feel beyond the presence that is listening to me out, out, further out to the presence that surrounds the listening presence.


It is all good.

I feel such trust, such benevolence on every level.


To sleep in a bed, surrounded by peace, is a dream-come-true.

I woke one morning, and I felt the presence so closely, that a salutation was in order.

“Hello, Cathy!”


Hello, Annette!