Deep Retreat in the Heart of Awakening: Contemplative Power for Living and Service
On April 24, 2010, Rose Sackey-Milligan, c-Integral’s co-director, and Julie Forsythe of the Foundation for Active Compassion co-taught a daylong retreat for an inter-generational and ethnically mixed group of people in the service and social action sectors in Northampton, MA. It was an intimate group of 15 who deeply considered, through meditative practice and dialogue, what it means to work in the world directed by, to use Buddhist terminology, “the ground of being”.
The group explored the practices of Natural Wisdom and Love adapted from Tibetan Buddhism meditation traditions. The day was spent teaching the practices, conversation, storytelling and direct application of the practices to service. Question and answer periods were integrated throughout.
With consistent application, these practices support the cultivation of one’s ability to acutely sense wholeness, wellbeing and love, which is, essentially, the core of Being. And it is that which embraces us when we face enormous injustice and suffering at the personal, professional and collective levels. Discovering this wellspring of love within, the group was able to sense how this shores up those in service in ways that the limited sense of self cannot.
These practices offer both personal and collective transformation. They soften and open the heart for those paralyzed by their anger and injustice in the world. All of humanity is part of one seamless reality, static perfection, divinely intelligent, and transcendent force. So for folks who experience the limiting impact of systemic and structural forms of oppression as they play out based on race, gender, class, sexuality and ability, awakening to this new understanding is quite liberatory. When both individuals from dominant culture and persons who are subordinated can come together to address these oppressive forms, and be supported by the transformative power of the deepest part of our being in the process, then the potential for enlightened conversations and effective resolution to the historical root cause of social and environmental injustice which continues to stand as a major obstacle to solving the most pressing issues of humanity and our planet today becomes both palpable and possible.
c-Integral and the Foundation for Active Compassion are currently discussing on-going collaborations. For more information on FAC visit www.foundationforactivecompassion.org