Building a Beloved Community

For the past six years, I have been building a beloved community. The community is the Mindfulness in Healing sangha which meets on Wednesday nights at the Pine Street Clinic in San Anselmo, California from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.

This beloved community has changed a lot over the years. My original concept when it began on the summer solstice of 2009 was to offer a safe environment for people to come and express their deepest feelings about their mental, physical and emotional health. Deep listening and loving speech were the foundations of our practice and still are.

For the first several years of practice together, we would begin with an invocation and continue with extended check-ins so that people could tell us what was going on with their practice and their health. Towards the end of our time, I would most often lead a guided meditation. I discovered that I had a talent for choosing a guided meditation that fit in very well with what people were talking about.

Soon after Mindfulness in Healing began, I invited my dharma sister, Carolyn de Fay to join me as co-facilitator. We had become dharma friends from our membership in Mountain Sangha, a beloved community in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. After eight lively years of practicing together, studying together as aspirants with dharma teacher, Lyn Fine, and joining the Order of Interbeing, founded by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1966, we shared a common path.

About a year ago, our path changed. Now we begin with an invocation and silent sitting for thirty minutes. The rest of the time is devoted to activities like dharma sharing, discussion, walking meditation, songs and good cheer. Dharma sharing is a process whereby we can benefit from the experience and insights of the members of our sangha. It requires that we listen deeply to what people share about their mindfulness practice and their lives without judgment, reaction, or comment. What is said in the context of our sangha stays within the sangha.

These days, our community is very close and loving. We all look forward to being together on Wednesday nights. As Sallie Jiko Tisdale says, we have found a way “to talk to each other, to talk past the fear, the separation.”


Beloved Community | January 15, 2015

Regardless of our beliefs, we all suffer from ignorance, and we all have projected our losses and fears onto each other in one way or another. This is my dream of the beloved community: that we can at least find a way to talk to each other, to talk past the fear, the separation, and find another way to live.

– Sallie Jiko Tisdale, “Beloved Community”

Stop Cancer in its Tracks: Your Path to Mindfulness in Healing Yourself (Volume 2)

by
Dr. Jerome Freedman

Dr. Jerome Freedman is a cancer survivor for more than 17 years.

He brings to these pages a wealth of information on the 7 principles of mindfulness in healing. This book is for people who want to learn how to take charge of their own well-being and actively participate in their healing.[Read More…]

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