ABOUT MEMBERSHIP – HOW DO WE SUPPORT EACH OTHER IN THIS GROUP?
Officially this meditation group is called the NM Center for Meditative Inquiry and Retreat. We also have an official group on Meetup.com called Clarifying Meditative Work. The group is really just us – the people who have asked to be on the mailing list for events.
I’ve been wondering what people are getting out of their inclusion on the mailing list. There are about 450 of us!! A small handful come to some of our monthly events. A little bit larger handful participate in some way during our retreat week. Everyone on the list gets the periodic emails in which I try to include some reflections on issues that are important – and sometimes pressing – for many of us. I hope those writings are worth your while.
To me the purpose of the group is to make it easier for all of us to do the kind of healing work that we all need. The issues that need healing may vary among us but the fact that there is a tremendous amount of unfinished processing and painful traumatic patterning that needs to come to light and heal is true for all of us. As is the need to enter deeply into the love, peace, and energy that is our natural state.
How does healing happen? I would say that we need the space, time, and ability to listen in stillness to what is going on inside and outside. This seems to happen best in a natural setting when possible. And it seems – to me anyway – to happen best when we can do this with other people. Part of doing this with other people involves dialogue – group or one-on-one. We all have deep blind spots and probably deep fear of being vulnerable around others. Learning to communicate together with trust, affection, honesty, is in and of itself part of the healing of this isolation from each other that we live in.
So I’m asking myself how, in a practical way, we can support each other – since we’ve all made at least the small effort of joining the mailing list.
One way that the official group supports our efforts together is to organize and run monthly sessions for sitting quietly and dialoguing. A second way is to run the annual retreat and to invite and encourage people to participate. These are both “top down” efforts for the “group” to try to help the “members.”
It would be very helpful if we as members can experiment with ways to support each other – to make it easier for us to begin to talk with each other honestly in a way that lets us begin to see ourselves and to see others honestly – which is the beginning of healing, isn’t it?
Maybe we can set up an email listserv in which people can share concerns or suggestions.
Maybe we need to have additional events to make it easier for people to come to a live session, sit together and have an opportunity to share concerns together. I’m thinking about maybe an evening during the week – perhaps once a month – with a sitting and, rather than dialogue – a chance for people to just speak out without others responding. What do you think about that?
And finally, for now, I’d like to put out a proposal or suggestion that might be a little unusual. I think the best way for people to support each other is for members to come to our events from time to time. Your honest presence is a powerful boost to others who attend an event. At the same time hopefully there is much benefit to you. It may be cliche but the more people make a bit of effort to reach out and communicate, the more comes back to that person. New opportunities begin to open for listening to each other and oneself. There is new energy for dealing with things that were too hard before.
Some people may not be sure what the work of this group is about or whether they fit in. A good way to find out is to come. But in many ways what the group becomes depends on the people who participate. We can explore together very honestly what helps people work together on healing and what distracts us from it.
So my proposal is that if it sounds helpful to you, could you make it a personal goal to attend 1) at least part of one monthly event per year AND 2) to attend at least part of a retreat day once every two years?
This could be an informal goal that we agree on as a minimum way to support each other in this group. Of course if you don’t want to do this, you’re still very welcome to be on the mailing list and to participate when you can.
Please do note that I’m not asking for money and I’m not asking for you to do something for the group. I’m looking at a minimum way in which we as members can support each other so that we all benefit.
There are probably around 400 people on the list who have not yet come to a monthly event or part of a retreat day. That’s a big new source of support for all of us, including those 400. Shall we see what’s possible when we make even a small effort to reach out to fresh, new listening together?
I’m going to try including a reminder about this minimum goal in the monthly emails, along with the info on your last attendance, so you can keep track if you want.
Our proposed minimum commitment to supporting each other:
Each member of the group will consider attending:
1. Part or all of at least one monthly event each calendar year
2. Part or all of at least one day of retreat every two years