Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our Community Days

Three times a year we plan in a week of what we call community days. During this time we often get someone from outside the team to do some ‘training’ with us. Over the years we’ve studied with Subhuti, meditated with Kamalashila, had Achara doing our Myers Briggs and Bridget doing an NVC weekend. The rest of the time is divided between personally exploring how life is for each of us and then having a few days of business meetings. It is often the only time that we are all here together.

So that is what we have been doing the past week or so. For the first three days Abhaya joined us and we studied “Self Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness” a Padmasambhava text and explored Formless meditation, which the text is about. It was very enjoyable, I think it is good for us, given that we are so often up front and leading things, just to sit back and be led in dharma study. One of the things that I found really helpful was Abhaya’s perspective on the dharma and the connections he made between this text, which is a Dzogchen text, and the Yogacara and Zen traditions.

When Abhaya left we had some time to each talk in depth. Mostly we talked about our lives at Tiratanaloka and some of the conflicts and pulls we feel to other lifestyles, to other people. Someone said it was as if we’d bought in all our dreams and fantasies, then we were all there more fully. I guess, speaking personally, I’m aware that in choosing to live this way I am choosing not to live in other ways and some of those other ways hold a lot of attraction! It’s left me feeling that everyone on the team is here because they really want to be, even though there are other lives they could imagine living.

Then we were on to business. We planned in a couple of extra retreats with bookings looking good for next year. Did some more planning for the coming year’s retreats. Tried to anticipate any long-term expenditure we might have coming up. Had a discussion on men coming to Tiratanaloka, we are not entirely closed, but with no plans to be open…that is a whole other story! We reviewed the way we work together and finished with a fascinating, emotive, discussion on decision-making!

The whole meeting seemed to be characterised by honest and open communication with nothing that couldn’t be said, including being able to talk about various dynamics that happen between us!

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