Good day, everyone!
I hope you are well and taking good care of yourself during these challenging times.
I’m writing today to tell you about some programs I intend to create for those who would like to have more support for practice in their daily lives. I have been aware for some time that there is a need and a desire for supports of this kind, but it was not until the advent of the virtual groups in January that it began to feel possible to implement the ideas I have had. A beautiful thing has happened since January: a sangha (a spiritual community) has formed. Before we began holding the weekly meditation and discussion groups on Thursdays and Sundays (over Zoom) there was a group of people who knew each other from being on retreat together, but the group was small and the association was loose. Mostly support for practice consisted of one-on-one conversations with me. Those conversations were (and are) lovely, and people seemed to derive great benefit, but it always felt to me like there was something missing. There was no way for people to practice together on a regular basis and so provide the inspiration and support for each other that I know is possible from my time at the monastery.
This changed in January, however, when we began getting together on line to meditate and process. The result has been deeply satisfying for me. There is now a community of people devoted to this practice who see each other and hear from each other every week. The teaching is transmitted now back and forth between people, from their own experience in practice and their own insight, not just from me—a development that I absolutely love. And it’s just plain fun to be with people in practice week after week: to follow others on their journey, to hear about their challenges and breakthroughs, and to learn from them and grow with them along the way.
(If you would like to have more information about the virtual groups, or to join in, go here: https://www.theoneopendoor.org/virtual-meditation-groups/ )
In May I took the next step and offered an online class called “Living from the Heart in Challenging Times.” It was a wonderful success, I thought, and I enjoyed myself immensely. For the past seven weeks we have had a conversation on line, backed by exercises I created and offered via video, which has provided an even deeper experience of sangha. I hope to offer another class, this one called “Conscious Relationships,” in September. Stay tuned for information about that.
I would now like to set up three more programs for support and inspiration. I will be sending out detailed information on each of these over the next several days. In the meantime I’ll tell you that the three are:
1. “Practice Partners”
This program will pair people together for a once a week process call. One person will process something going on in his/her/their life while the other person practices facilitation skills. Half way through the call the roles will reverse, so the each person has the opportunity to process and facilitate. I will provide training in the facilitation skills that I practice so that everyone understands what they are practicing during their facilitation portion of each call.
2. Morning Meditation
I will be pleased soon to invite anyone who likes to join me each morning for meditation. My plan right now is to sit for an hour each day in such a way that folks can accompany me online. I will seek input on the time from those who wish to participate. People may meditate with me for the entire hour, or for any portion of that hour that they choose. At the end of the hour I will likely read something interesting/inspiring to set a tone for the day.
3. Virtual Retreat Day
I plan to begin scheduling occasional at-home retreat days in August. As I see it now the retreat days will be a mixture of together time online, where we will gather for meditation and discussion, and off-line time, during which people will practice on their own and work on assignments that I will offer. I will schedule the first retreat day when I announce this program more thoroughly in a few days.
If you already know that you would like to participate in any of these programs, just let me know via email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll sign you up.
I will be seeking volunteers to help administer these programs as well. This will involve communicating with participants via email, helping to set up guidelines and protocols, and in other ways maintaining the practice opportunity. The work load will be small—perhaps an hour or so each week, if that, and more at the beginning. If you are interested in volunteering in this way to support practice, just let me know.
Thank you, everyone, for your time and attention to this announcement. Stay tuned for more details! Take care, be safe and well, and I hope to have the pleasure of practicing with you before long.