“And, for me the crux of it is: we really don't know what happens next. We are in a particular and peculiar place in time where we desperately need to reconnect as a sangha, to collectively mine our depth of practice and call on help from our guides and protectors.”
From Satyavandana’s reflections after our sangha dreaming event on August 7th
The thunder was roaring, lightning flashing and the rain was bouncing off the pavements. Just after 4pm on Friday the 6th of August, an email popped up unceremoniously declaring that, at last, our GBC centre in Sauchiehall St had completed its sale. The buyers left with the keys and the GBC charity left with the 300k it had been sold for.
As a community, the GBC sangha are emerging from lockdown more fully into the homelessness we chose to embrace last year. While the Dharma will continue to be shared online, the committed sangha have been experimenting with meeting up in person together in larger numbers as Covid regulations eased. It's been hard at times.
“Dukkha is much more difficult to bear whilst disconnected, and so much easier when connected into this precious community. I have worried and agonised over the effects of lockdown on sangha, and cannot tell you how much it means to me to be in a room together.”
Our capacity to envisage what next for us as a community has been hampered by being unable to sit and meditate together and sense each other's practice in action. Without that beating heart of in person collective practice and reflection, it's all too easy to feel disengaged, not part of and maybe even anxious about the future. Our courage, creativity and resilience arises directly in relation to our connection with each other.
We are a network of friends; of people sincerely practising the Buddha’s Dharma and that collective practice has led us to the edge of this precipice. Our next steps will leave us hanging upside down over the void (a place many of us know well from our personal practice). A scary place -- yet one of tremendous spiritual importance. It's in the void that all things are possible and the previously unimagined can manifest.
“Now I understand that this cannot be rushed. It's too big, and there's too much transition happening already, with no knowledge of where or what we (in a bigger, global sense as well as a sangha) are transitioning to. And that is very uncomfortable, at times painful. Transition, as anyone who has given birth well knows, can be excruciating. But, at least then you know what's about to happen.”
We can trust what comes out of our practice. On August 7th, at our final dreaming event, there was a palpable sadness and at times grief at the loss. We have been served well by 329 Sauchiehall St, and even though it was time to move on, well beyond time to move on, we cannot help but feel the heart’s sorrow in this final goodbye. A goodbye to the place where many of us first met the dharma, where we learned to meditate, where we made our first commitment to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Honouring what has been is the beginning of a rich journey into the future, whatever that may look like. A long mined seam of spiritual coal has petered out and there is no way of knowing if our renewables, spiritually speaking, will be able to take the load. This is life in the void.
Kuladharini and Satyavandana