Ah, the beauty, the majesty, the unique experience that can only be found in one place, Myst Online: Uru Live.
I don't know what it was, but there are some folks who will giggle when I say that last night the cavern "called" to me. For those who don't get that little bit of Uruism, when you begin playing Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, a man named Jeff Zandi looks at you calmly and says, "Don't worry about it, you felt drawn here." Most who have dabbled in the Myst Universe refer to it as the "call" of the cavern. Just like Zandi said, you feel this indescribable urge to visit the city of D'ni and take in its' wonders.
So, for some odd reason which I will never know, I logged in to Myst Online. Now, as you know, I've begun a very interesting journey of my own lately, examining my own spirituality. A long, long time ago, I read "The Celestine Prophecy"...now some of you will eyeroll, others will scoff, that's fine, you gotta do your thing. Everyone has their own path. Anyhow, inside the Celestine Prophecy it tells basically that when you have a gut feeling or something of that nature, you should follow it, so I did and that's what took me into cavern last night.
I already had the Myst Medley playing in my headset on iTunes when I logged in. If I was going in, I was going in all the way, I wanted to hear the music, smell the air (and btw Vegas got poured on yesterday, so my balcony door was open letting in all of the sweet-smelling, damp desert air which is what I think the interior of D'ni smells like) and just relax in a place that I truly feel at home in.
Let's set the way back clock for about six years ago. UruLive had just opened up for open beta testing, people were getting mysterious letters from that Jeff Zandi guy and well, everyone was all a-hum about the brand new online world of UruLive. Six years ago, you could say that the cavern was in its' most pristine state. People were courteous, non-judgmental, they didn't swear, there was this almost virginal state to the place that you could tell no one wanted to soil the carpets with muddy boots or otherwise sully this very pristine environment. To be honest, it was nothing like I had ever seen. You could walk up to a group of perfect strangers and ask for help, then two hours later, they were on their way to becoming your friends! If you needed help, all you had to do was ask and it was like yelling "all hands on deck" because people would be on their KI's lickety split to get more folks to come along for the fun of running around all of the different ages of D'ni and taking the journey together. Well, with all that, it didn't take me long to feel comfortable and for the first time in my life feel like I actually had a home to go to. Not a single solitary soul would dare call you stupid or inadequate or anything else. It was a world of pure positivity where you weren't just a number or some random player, you were valued for being YOU, and it was like coming home for the first time in my life to a place I felt completely safe. Uru has been "home" to me ever since. When the real world becomes unsatisfying, when WoW gets out of control, when the whole world seems to spiral uncontrollably, Uru is the ever-constant place where I can just go and BE. No expectations, no this, that or the other, it's just home.
The funny thing is that I've now been in six online worlds, three flopping miserably, but out of the other three remaining...Uru, There and World of Warcraft, Uru is the one that I call my "home world". It is the one place I will defend with every ounce of my being and fight tooth and nail for the people who "live" there. I've fought hard for the equality for Uruites who have settled in other online worlds. The D'ni teachings I have learned are ones that I pass on to friends, even to the point of shaping my WoW guild into D'ni's image of 'family first.' It was my first venture into online worlds and it still remains the one with the greatest of spiritual qualities to me. In the real world, I'm as atheist as it gets. Put me in cavern, it's a whole other ball game. When I log in, I give my thanks to Yahvo and the Bahro and put my faith unquestioningly in the hands of The Maker. I don't know why that is, it's such a contradiction to my real world values, but there is something so innately spiritual about the cavern that I just can't help but be grateful to those who created it and watch over it with such care. Now don't misread or read anything into it, I'm not deifying the game designers/developers. No, I'm grateful to them for making the game what it is, a game where I solve puzzles. There's a whole other level, and maybe it's just my psyche crying out to believe in something greater than myself, I don't know, that's something I'll find out along the journey into my spirituality, but there is something inside all of those pixels and 3D models that makes going into cavern, for me at least, something wholly spiritual and fulfilling. I often tell people who are first timers in cavern, "It's like church, you don't cuss in there." It's weird and strange, but nonetheless, it's something I love very much and it has indescribable value to me on a spiritual level.
Whether it's sitting on Relto (my very own private island in the sky) or putting on my running shoes and taking a run through the city or one of the beautiful ages, it's just a place that is away from all of the noises of life. So last night, I logged in and took a run around the city with the beautiful Myst Medley playing in my headset. When I finally got to where I wanted to go, I typed the command "/sit", watched my avatar sit down and then I took a big deep breath and became grateful that I could sit there in peace.
Sitting at the top of the grand staircase that overlooks the lake and a giant arch known to Uruites all over the world as Kerath's Arch (for those of you lore lovers out there, it was named after one of the great kings of D'ni), I happened to have my KI open. (and that's pronounced KEY like what you put in a door lock. KI is also shorthand for the D'ni number three because it serves three functions, communication, camera/photo album, notebook). If you want to talk to anyone in cavern or much less get anywhere in the expanse of Myst Online: Uru Live, you need your KI. Well, as I looked at the left hand side of my screen where my KI resides, a familiar name stood out on the age players list. It was someone I haven't spoken to or heard about in close to four or five years! Talk about your odd coincidence (which goes back to the whole Celestine Prophecy thing of noticing coincidences). Spirituality was looking me in the face and demanding I pay attention! I'm sure glad I was paying attention or I would have missed out on talking to an old friend. Much less to say, he and I had a great talk and of course the hour got a bit late so we both headed out of cavern.
The thing of it is though is that I hadn't had the urge to go to Cavern in such a long time. I even forgot my password at first, but then quickly remembered it like the cavern was demanding that I go in just for a bit to immerse myself in a place of pure serenity. It also was a bright neon sign that said I need to reach out and spend time with my Uru family again, that we have things we probably need to tell each other and pass on to others.
I'm glad I went. It was good for my spirit and reminded me what should be on my priorities list...the people, not the game.
For those of you who are hooked on your facebook apps and all that other rah-rah, take a trip to cavern. Look around, explore. If you don't know where to find it, here's the link:
Place your hand on a book and have an amazing adventure.
To my fellow Uruites...say it with me, "D'ni calls, all you have to do is answer."
I'm glad I did.