Ziji Collective – Young Meditators’ Nights

It’s 11:30pm Tuesday night, and I’m experiencing a heady mix of joy and sadness. I’m heading home from the London Shambhala Centre, having said my last goodbye to the sweet and inspiring Young Meditators’ Night group which has sprung up in my three months of co-hosting.

 

   Always looking for a reason to throw a party, I had organised a post-meditation celebration of our time together, complete with bountiful snacks, kombucha, parlour games, and brilliant musical gifts of Shambhalian Annalie Wilson. The combination of food, conversation and meditation (credit to the Sakyong) has left me glowing with the conviction that basic goodness is real and tangible. And, at the same time, I feel a stubborn resistance to the changes ahead – especially to letting go of a good thing.

 

Over the past three months of first and third Tuesdays, I have had the delight and honour of watching a community form around the practice of mindfulness and the experience of being with others in an open-hearted, supportive, playful, and contemplative way. If that isn’t a manifestation of Enlightened Society, I probably need another round of ESA!

 

   Walking down the dark shining streets away from the Centre, I felt the distance growing between myself and the warmth of this circle of co-enquirers, of young people willing to create time in their metropolitan lives to just sit together and share the experience of being human. I will miss it.

 

What a perfect experience of ‘happysad’. My sadness is the expression of my grateful heart, which recognises the preciousness and singularity of this time. My happiness is the same thing. And perhaps neither would be accessible without the gift of impermanence.

 

   Yet their is an art to letting go; it must be balanced with wisdom, determination, and effort. That is to say: sometimes it’s important to stick with things, and help them grow.

 

    Young Meditators’ Night is consistently receiving 7-11 attendees every time, with a core of about 6 wonderful regulars in their 20s. The sessions begin with meditation; then range from social practices to yoga to self-actualisation exercises, and the conversations are often very deep and vulnerable. It is a unique offering at Shambhala because of who it serves and how it serves them, and it needs support in order to continue.

 

   YMN is an excellent conduit between the treasures of the Shambhala lineage and the wider world which is in need of them. In short, it’s a way of reaching out. As we have heard many times from the Sakyong, that is an essential part of our mandate. It is my deep hope that YMN will be taken up by the London Sangha as a whole, and its leadership in particular, while continuing to express its free and youthful spirit.

 

The group is in need of hosts, MIs, and mindful activities/discussion leaders. If you feel inspired to offer support, please first attend a group in order to get a feel of what it is and what is needed. From there, let the exploration continue!

 

I wish YMN and the London Shambhala Meditation Centre a beautiful autumn, restful winter and inspirational springtime. I will stay in touch, and I hope you will too.

 

  Yours in the inception and celebration of Enlightened Society,
Katrin Welch

 

Katrin is a Ziji-Shambhalian from Northern California who’s been hosting Young Meditators’ Night since August, and will soon return there. She helps lead the San Francisco YMN and is looking forward to bringing what’s she learnt from her ‘Shambhala Exchange’ back to her home Centre. She’s also looking forward to returning to London as soon as possible.

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