The Future of LMC & a bit of history

Hi Sangha,

As most if not all of you know by now, Ian and I plan to be leaving London in a year. As such we are looking to find (and develop) a few new co-leaders. Here’s a little bit of info about what prospective co-leads would be signing up for…

LMC – The realities of  a Community Group

We are a community group that is freely given the use of space at Moksha Yoga London. Ian and I (and any future leaders) are not staff, we are volunteers of LMC.  Over time Moksha ownership heard good things from those who were attending meditation and saw many of their clients being interested in the compliment of meditation and yoga. (While he and I do have a relationship with the owners) it was by virtue of the success of LMC that Moksha offered/desired to include the meditation sessions on their schedule. (That’s been a relatively recent development, actually)

Ian and I have notified the owners LMC’s efforts to transition and we will begin discussions with the owners to see if they have any requirements about new leadership and how that will become a part of our arrangements.

LMC is self-funded. Ian and I have committed our time and resources to develop this group through developing our own skills, finding resources, prepare topics etc. Donations gathered historically have been used to purchase the cushions we sit on (~60$each), and supply the tea we drink.  On Feb 19th, per post to the website, I gave notice that after some consideration I had registered for a 2nd training – and that donations gathered for the remainder of 2015 would be used to cover as much as possible my fees for that programme. As any skills I develop through this training will be passed onto my co-leaders and be of benefit to LMC Ian and I felt this appropriate.

It is traditional that a community such as ours is freely offered to the community – ie runs on donations. In the spirit of transparency, though I expect you know this, we do not gather much donations. It has taken all the years that we have been running, and the permanent loan of 4 of Ian & my personal cushions, to finally reach a point that we usually have enough cushions to participants.  This is by way of saying that in my mind, what you’re signing up for is a volunteer position – though new leadership could re-visit this.

Positions to Volunteer For

I would like folks to volunteer for the following potential positions. Once we have a collective of volunteers we will gather and discuss details such as any unfilled roles, the responsibilities of these roles, etc. And you can volunteer for more than one position!

  • Meditation Leader
  • Discussion Leader
  • Group coordinator – eg scheduling, topic development, treasury, supply management,
  • Web master (we run on wordpress, its easy to pick up)
  • Any other role you think would be useful to have!

To clarify – you do not need to have the skills already to fulfill a role you’re volunteering for , that’s what this year of transition is for. Ian and I will help you develop any necessary skills.

My hope is that we have multiple people volunteer for each role, minimizing any individuals commitment… So if you’re on the fence, or think you can only help out once in a while.. that’s all good. Let me know you’re even interested so we can gather for a ‘volunteer discussion’ and we an see how things go from there.

If you’re not sure you’re around in a year, but are interested in either helping out in the mean time, or just being part of the conversation about how LMC develops, also let me know.

Please post any questions if something’s unclear, or discuss with Ian or myself.

🙂 K. I think that’s all. Whoo. Long post. Talk to y’all soon,

Annamarie

Sunday March 29, 2015: Wrapping up our conversations on ethics

Hi Folks!

As we didn’t listen to the talk Ian posted for last week, we will do so this week. This will wrap up our conversations on the first three aspects of the eightfold path (refer back to Feb. 15th’s post for a recap) which together describe the buddhist/mindful approach to ethics (sila).

Looking forward to seeing y’all Sunday.

*Advance Notice: We will not have a meeting on the long weekend*

*Reminder: Email/Speak with Annamarie about getting involved with LMC*

Love,

Annamarie

2015.03.16 — Right Action Part II

This week, we will focus on another aspect of right action, which is avoiding stealing, or put another way, not taking what is not freely given to you.

Obviously, most of us aren’t out robbing banks or committing major acts of fraud. But what about subtler things? For example, parking at a metered spot for a few minutes and not paying the meter because you know the chances you’d get caught are really small. Or using a bathroom in a fast food restaurant or hotel when you aren’t a customer there. Or noticing that a store clerk accidentally undercharged you and not saying anything. Or buying something at a cheaper price because it was made through the exploitation of workers or the environment.

When I first learned about this aspect of ethics, I found myself creating a lot of defensive explanations for why any of the above behaviours are actually acceptable and/or feeling guilty. But I was missing the point. As we’ve talked about repeatedly, the Buddha wants us to look at our intentions. What is the intention behind taking things that aren’t freely given to us? Usually, I have found in my own explorations, it comes down to two things.  1) Some type of greediness is at work and I want more than I am willing to pay/work for. 2) I temporarily forget that all of us are fundamentally interconnected and, instead, think of myself as separate from the world.  If we take a close look at those intentions, we recognize that they don’t reflect a happy mind and they don’t foster happiness in general. Instead, greed and separateness actually hurt in a way. Acting in greedy or selfish ways strengthens the qualities of greed and selfishness in the mind. It’s a vicious cycle. This is the first reason why the Buddha asks us to refrain from taking things that are not freely given. The second is that when we refrain, we become more sensitive to the abundance that we already have in life. If we cultivate appreciation and generosity, which are the opposite of stealing and accumulation, we are planting the seeds of deeper happiness.

This week, I’d like you to be mindful (i.e., keep on your mind as much as you can) one question: “Am I taking what is not freely given to me?” Also notice in your mind if you fantasize about acquiring things or getting things without having to work for them. For example, I was waiting to leave a gated parking lot today and as the car in front of me paid the toll and left, I thought to myself, “I totally could have scooted out behind them before the gate went down!” Recognize those kinds of thoughts if you can. Finally, please don’t use this as opportunity to be hard on yourself. Cultivate a sense of curious exploration instead of a judgmental mind.

Sunday, March 9th

This week, our sharing circle will focus on our experiences being mindful of speech. Remember, in this context mindfulness is your ability to keep something in mind when you are in a variety of situations. It’s both a moment-to-moment practice as well as a life-long exploration! Because speech is such a ubiquitous part of our lives, it may take us a couple of meetings to get through the discussion.

One way that the Buddha suggested that we be mindful of our speech is by keeping in mind these five question: Is what I’m saying…

  1. True
  2. Kind
  3. Helpful
  4. Conducive to harmony
  5. Spoken at the right time

To the best of your ability, try to keep these questions in mind as you navigate the world of your communication. Try to spend some time paying attention to each of these five suggestions and see how they line up with your own intentions when you speak. Take note of times when your intentions match up and times when they don’t.

In addition to these, please also pay attention to one more thing: how you listen. In particular, I’d like you to notice how you feel when you listen. Are you simply waiting for the other person to finish? Are you preparing your response? Are you treating the conversation as a competition? Is your heart open to the other person?

Writing down the things you discover and bringing them with you to share is a great way to support our little community. If you feel too shy to share, that’s okay. You’re allowed to just listen as well…mindfully of course 🙂