March 2019

The members of the PT have formed several working groups (WGs) and are proceeding to develop processes and proposals to help our community face the challenges of our current situation. All WGs have met, a few of them more than once. Many have around 10-15 members, while one has more than 50. Keep in mind that this means many PT members are serving on more than one working group. We meet mostly via Zoom, and members log in from time zones around the world.

The Process Team Steering Committee (SC)

The SC is the coordinating body of the Process Team (PT), with 11 members. We have met weekly as a group since the end of January, as well as in small topical break-out groups (communications, PT engagement, technology, and process design). Our work has included:

  • Exploring our role and establishing and developing systems and structures to support the PT as a whole
  • Steering a process of this scale (in terms of both the size of the PT and the tasks before us), which can be chaotic and messy; we have worked to iterate systems and structures as quickly as possible to help the PT get organized and moving forward
  • Creating the basic structure for the main PT WGs; these WGs have now been launched with at least one SC member providing a link back to the SC
  • Organizing an online meeting of the full PT
  • Continuing to support the PT and its WGs in their establishment and development

The Healing and Protection Working Group

We had our first meeting on March 11 (prior to the release of the report from An Olive Branch), with 12 members present. Through discussion, we identified several initiatives for beginning our work:

  • Developing Trauma-Informed Care education and training programs for office holders and leaders
  • Examining the Care and Conduct Policy as well as the Code of Ethics recommended by An Olive Branch
  • Hearing from the Community
  • Creating a European Healing and Protection discussion group

We will convene subgroups for these areas and have worked on a modified meeting schedule so as to prevent meeting fatigue. In that light, we are collecting self-care resources and guided meditations.

We will continue to explore the needs of the Shambhala community, and to this end, have opened an email that goes directly to the Healing and Protection WG so that Shambhalians may reach us to share experiences and shape our activities and understanding of how to create caring and protective communities. The email is: We look forward to hearing from you.

The Processes Working Group (PWG)

We had our first meeting on March 9, with 14 members present.

  • We are developing suggestions for engaging and working together – deep listening, dialogue, and co-generation of ideas and actions – that might serve as a model for all Process Team working groups and potentially the wider Shambhala community.
  • We are also responsible for overall process design: how to gather information from the sangha in ways that can be synthesized into specific recommendations for change.
  • We have identified some basic elements of and obstacles to authentic, inclusive engagement with each other and the sangha and prioritized next steps for establishing processes and methods for open listening and genuine engagement.

The Communications and Technology Working Group

We have been working on several projects since the beginning of our time together. These include:

  • Recommending a view and path for communications within the Process Team and its working groups
  • Facilitating dialogue and information sharing between the Steering Committee and the PT, and with the Interim Board and others in Shambhala
  • Responding to communications to the SC and the PT
  • Putting into place the technology infrastructure necessary to facilitate communication among ourselves and with the sangha
  • Designing, troubleshooting, and gathering content for our PT website and
  • Collecting and disseminating best practices for online communication.

Our aspiration is that the technological tools and communication practices we are assembling will be of collective benefit in our shared process of engagement.

The Culture Change Working Group

We had our first meeting on March 13, with 14 members present. The range of topics and interests that arose included:

  • Becoming familiar with our own cultural values and manifestations
  • Being inquisitive
  • Establishing a broader view
  • Not relying on assumptions, and
  • Being open to other’s experience.

We acknowledged that sangha members from various non-dominant cultures are not engaged in this WG and the larger PT. Additionally, we recognized variations in local, regional and geographical cultural needs. As next steps, we will contemplate and explore the many facets of cultural change.

The Governance Working Group

We had our first meeting on March 14, with 26 members attending. We have 57 members total. Among what we learned is that:

  • We are a large group which represents a wide range of perspectives
  • Our effective work will require dividing into subgroups to address different areas of interest, and
  • Establishing some common foundation of understanding the scope of the work and how to engage with each other and the sangha is also necessary.

Because of this:

  • Some of our members with more specifically-defined interests are proceeding with their inquiries, while others are focusing on establishing a foundational understanding
  • Some of this work is currently underway in the Processes Working Group, and that work will be shared soon with us, and
  • Another general meeting of our working group and widespread establishment of our subgroups will not be scheduled until the way forward becomes clearer.

The Community Building Working Groups

We have two working groups within the Community Building area: Centre & Group Support, and Offerings.

The Centre & Group Support working group had our first meeting on March 2 with 10 members present.

  • Our initial conversation was around a survey to Shambhala Centres and Groups to understand their local situation.
  • Our ongoing discussion is about the relationship of that initiative to other surveys that may be in the process of being created by the PT.
  • Two “conveners” also volunteered to help organize and administer our WG.

The Offerings working group had its first meeting on March 10 with 11 members present.

  • Our initial conversation was around identifying the primary questions and interested parties in a discussion of Shambhala’s practice offerings.
  • Two “conveners” also volunteered to help organize and administer our WG.