Winter Director’s Letter

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Dear Community,

Here we are in the year 2015! May it be a year of relaxation of minds, openness of hands and hearts, and joyful engagement in the world for all of us!

A huge thanks to everyone who taught, coordinated, staffed, and showed up for the programs and events we’ve had in the past few months. And a special thanks to those who magnetized others to teach, coordinate, staff, and show up.

All of us can be part of this magnetizing magic…why not tell a neighbor or coworker about a class they might enjoy? I’m surprised at how many people secretly wish they had a meditation practice – and I’ve noticed that one nice thing about New Englanders is that if they’re not interested, they’ll tell you straight up, and there will be no judgment or strangeness between you henceforth. Either they come and form their own opinion, or they don’t come, and no harm done. So think about who you know that might surprise you by relaxing into the open space of our beloved Center.

Coming up at the Center are a Basic Goodness 2 course, a Shambhala Training Level One weekend, and a new opportunity to socialize on a weekly basis. Mr. Jeffrey Slayton and Ms. Rachel Haynes Coombs will be hosting a formless social gathering at 9:00 on Sundays before sitting begins at 10:00. There will be tea, cookies, and hopefully babies and children, moms and dads, and everyone else as well!

The Basic Goodness 2 course begins January 13 and runs through February 24. It will be held on Tuesdays, and there won’t be public sitting or any other offering on Wednesdays during this time. There simply aren’t enough people willing and able to staff the Center on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays right now. A positive consequence of this is that – hopefully – members and nonmembers alike will all come to this Tuesday class, and we can be together in one place, at one time, contemplating and discussing the very best question there is to ask: “How Can I Help?” Who knows what might come out of the energy and merit accumulated by this as yet unknown group of warriors gathering over five weeks around such a simple yet cosmically astonishing, beautiful question? How can WE help? We will have to come to find out!

And as for Shambhala Training Level I…it has been quite a while since our Center has offered any Level, and this should be an especially good one. The Shambhala Training weekends are traditionally the way we gain an immersive and practical experience of the dharmic teachings unique to our tradition. Shastri Bill Brauer is directing, Ms. Suzanne Jones is coordinating, and, as members, any one of us may attend in one way or another. Please see our webpage and contact Suzanne to learn how you can support or attend the weekend.

I want to close this letter with a favorite sentence about this season from Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Each day now lasts longer, although the snow will be on the ground and the trees bare for several months ahead. Chogyam Trungpa says: “Winter is lha; it is the loftiest season of all. In the winter, you feel as though you were upstairs, above the clouds; it is cold and crisp, as if you were flying in the sky.” Winter seems to be a time to reconnect with our highest aspirations, to use our intelligence, and to pacify. May each of us delight in the winter dralas, in whatever form they take for us.

Yours in the Vision of a Healthy Shambhala Center and a Gorgeously Good Wintry World,

Dia Ballou

Director, White River Shambhala Center