Harvest of Peace

Connection, Change, Community, and Celebration are words that come to mind when looking back at the Harvest of Peace day at the London Shambhala centre in September.

In the Sakyong’s Harvest of Peace speech we heard that through our confidence and sense of well-being, we can be beacons and shine. He described the sense of the sun shining, and that we can use the opportunity of the Harvest of Peace and even difficult times to look up and extend out. And that although it can be hard to acknowledge these simple principles of human kindness, love, and friendship, it is essential to our well-being and the fabric of which the community is built.

The Harvest of Peace is held at a time of transition, there’s a change of season as summer ends and new projects begin, reminding us of the bigger changes in the world and of course in ourselves. In times of change, both rewarding and challenging, the Sakyong reminded us to reconnect to our own sense of basic goodness and the twin virtues of gentleness and fearlessness, as well as to our family and community. The need for being gentle and fearless, both soft and bold: this subtlety and balance develops through meditation. One of the most simple but important things I’ve learnt is that by being more loving and compassionate to myself, I am able to treat others and the people close to me with these same qualities.

The Sakyong described a ‘tapestry of principles,’ which we explored during the day, discussing how to manifest these qualities and how to welcome people to the centre. Whilst we shared, our wonderful artists Ali and Solomon wrote our ideas on the wall accompanied by images reflecting this joint vision. An image of a cauldron stands out in my mind, with the words written boldly on the wall ‘hosting’ and ‘warmth’- which sum up not only the Harvest of Peace, but our affiliation as a whole. We discussed how Shambhala as well as being a place to practise, is first and foremost a community, where people of different orientations and ages are welcomed, and ideas are given freedom and not closed down.

We also spoke about our vision of the Shambhala Centre and how we would like it to be. Some ideas that came up were: a place where we can feel the magic of the lineage, a community plugged into London life, somewhere to support ill or dying people, and using ancient wisdom to help with the challenges of modern day. My description was a place that feels like golden light where people connect from the heart; having already experienced this feeling whilst meditating at the Centre with others, an oasis from my sometimes chaotic London life.

The Harvest of Peace: traditionally a time to harvest the crops, reconnect to the earth element and celebrate what the earth has given us – and celebrate is what we later did! The shrine room transformed into banquet and then dancing and of course it wouldn’t be a Shambhala event without a few toasts (or several).

So as autumn turns to winter, from long light days to dark, inspired by the Harvest of Peace and the Sakyong’s words, I’ll endeavour to carry internally my beacon of light, radiating sunshine to others.

 

 

 

 

Jules Bath works in documentary production and is also a yoga teacher and Shambhala Path Meditation Guide. She is a member of the London Shambhala Meditation Centre.

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