Translation:

Belonging in Shambhala, March 25, 2021

Connections

I was surprised at just putting forward the idea of belonging—how provocative. It made me think, oh, in or out. And I thought neither. And maybe neither is okay.

And I was struck by how tender the whole experience was for me, and that it made me kind of sad—feel a lot of like longing, but I’m not even sure longing for what?

And I thought maybe that is what belonging is. If there was no sense of belonging, then I wouldn’t feel that tug.

I’m hearing this repeated, that when you sit down with three or four people, and really just make space for a conversation, a lot happens. And I think we do connect, which is very dear to me.

That is part of my experience of belonging in Shambala, and then at the same time, my experience is one of aloneness. And I value that too.

Challenges

I do feel like this is a really strong meeting of Tibetan Buddhism and current Western culture. And it’s just a clash. You know, 10, 20 years ago, I would have just thought, these teachings and these people are great, and so everything will be great. It’s a time of great learning and change.

I don’t understand why there are no young people in this group that we’re having right now. Do they care? Are there young people involved?

Someone asked where the young people are, and and by the same token, I asked where the people of color are. And is that even a priority for Shambhala?

Even though there is a sliding scale, and you know, you can pay what you can, it’s humiliating knowing that other people are paying hundreds of dollars, and I’m not paying because I don’t have the funds. I don’t know how that could be addressed. But I’m attracted to little things that are less expensive or by donation.

Looking Forward

Course offerings they often require a commitment of six Sundays or six Tuesday nights in a row, and so on. If there were something where, for two hours, there’s tea, come and sit. And people would come.

It doesn’t always have to be high level teaching or anything, it can be contact, and a little bit of discussion about something as the backdrop. The kind of thing that happens when I meet my meditation instructor, only instead of just one on one, do it with a group of three or four, like we just did.

It works really well, and makes people feel like they belong and like they learned something or remembered something that they forgot.

Something in Shambala that has been maybe not focused so much on is just our ordinary human connection. Of course, we all want to meditate and wake up and be more present. But if we can apply that in other ways.

One of the people in our group suggested a book club of Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. And I thought, yeah, that could just be an ongoing Zoom group, that lasts for six or 10 times and then takes a short break, and then it starts again. And it could just be an ongoing way for people to talk about Shambhala vision and Shambhala meditation practice and the whole thing that doesn’t necessarily require prerequisites or layers of separation.

So I think things we can do that help connect people on a more human level—music also comes to mind as maybe something we could add.

It’s hard to get the casual connections going, the ones that will keep you coming back. You can go for different lessons and classes and things, but it’s the personal connections that are going to keep you coming back, and make you feel like you belong.

Appreciation

I felt a deep sense of being Shambhala.

Thank you all. I didn’t think I would contribute, but I feel very welcomed, and heard.

What I love about these kinds of meetings is, I feel like I can bring who I am to the table. And I’m not afraid to be judged by this group of people. And I think if we can expand that out, and feel like who we are, and where we’re coming from our life journey could be held and respected. Even if it doesn’t, if other people don’t agree with us, they could love us. Because we’re part of a tribe in a way, you know, a tribe of people who sit on our asses, and work with our minds and our emotions. And that’s a remarkable thing.

This reminded me that getting together with no particular agenda, and just listening to each other is very nice, really uplifting, and a cheerful thing to do. It doesn’t have anything to do with content, particularly, just having some kind of connection. And I’m always surprised that for people on Zoom, I do get that feeling of having been connected with people. It’s very sweet. Thank you.