Sun, January 28
- Sat, January 27 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
- Sun, January 28 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
What many of us yearn for in our spiritual lives and in our mindfulness communities is a sense of connection with others. This connection includes being known "just as we are" (and knowing others "just as they are") and also nourishing and supporting each other as we grow and change.
Companions for the Journey is a special workshop in which experienced mindfulness practitioners will come together twice each month for four months to learn skills and practice a way of deeply connecting with three to five others in a small group. Participants bring to the group their experiences of the joys and challenges of daily life in the context of an energy, or deep aspiration that may be leading or guiding them.
In Mahayana Buddhism, this aspirational energy in each of us is called Bodhicitta. Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Cultivating the Mind of Love:
When we touch our baby Buddha—the seeds of understanding and love that are buried within us—we become filled with bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, the mind of love. From that moment on, everything we do or say nourishes the baby Buddha within us, and we are filled with joy, confidence, and energy. According to Mahayana Buddhism, awakening to our mind of love is the moment the practice begins.
We may work with questions such as:
- Is there a challenge or invitation that is presenting itself in my life now?
- How am I responding to the challenge or invitation?
- How might I bring my aspirational energy to this?
An overview of the workshop:
- Companions for the Journey is intended for mindfulness practitioners who have regularly participated with the Still Water community, or another group in the Plum Village tradition, for at least four months.
- Those interested in participating begin by completing the sign-up form.
- There will be a ninety minute orientation for those who have signed up. It will be offered twice (on January 27th and 28th) and practitioners may attend one or both of the sessions..
- Then, using a ride-sharing app, we will create in-person and online groups of 4 to 6 participants. Instead of offering a geographic destination, participants will offer a meeting location, a time, and, if they like, a criteria. Some hypothetical examples:
- I would like to host a Companions meeting at my home in Silver Spring, Maryland, on the first and third Tuesday at 2 pm.
- I would like to host an online Spanish speaking group in the morning on the second and fourth Sunday of the month.
- I would like to host an in-person group for women at a coffee shop in Kensington, Maryland, times to be determined.
- Like with a ride-share board, our hope is that the groups will fall into place. If no one wants to join the car you created, then you join someone else’s car. If a car becomes very popular, it can split into two or more cars/groups.
- In addition to the orientations, we will offer written resources about how meeting times might be structured and how we might develop our capacities to speak and listen from our hearts.
- In February, the small groups begin meeting.
- Each month, February to May, we will offer online Question and Answer sessions so we can talk about what we are learning and the challenges we might be having.
- Our expectation is that the workshop will conclude in May, though the individual groups are encouraged to continue meeting for as long as they like.
- To ensure that there is a shared understanding of mindfulness practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, we ask that participants have at least six months of experience with mindfulness meditation, gained through regular participation with the Still Water MPC or with another mindfulness practice center.
The workshop will be facilitated by Mitchell Ratner, Still Water's senior teacher, and by Ann Kline, a decades-long Still Water practitioner and an experienced Group Spiritual Direction guide.
The workshop is offered on a Dana basis: each participant is encouraged to give freely from the heart in accord with his or her circumstances.With your contributions, the Still Water MPC is able to meet its financial obligations, support its teachers, develop new programs, enable participation by those with limited incomes, and offer no-cost community events.
All donations are appreciated and no donation is required.
- The suggested donation is $120 or more per person.
- The benefactor donation is $240 or more per person.