Last weekend was our 10th anniversary celebration and I felt that the celebration manifested some key qualities of the Mindfulness Association: practice, presence, common humanity, compassionate messiness, kindness and joy. Qualities that Lana has captured beautifully in her documentary ‘Swimming Upstream: Ten Years of the Mindfulness Association’ that was premiered at the weekend.
I am continually amazed by the power of Zoom to host mindfulness sessions and this proved so, especially with the large numbers of members attending the weekend. We upgraded our main account to host up to 500 people when the daily evening sits started and we certainly needed the added capacity at the weekend. We had to upgrade our second account on Saturday for Fay and Kristine’s session on Engaged Mindfulness. The glitches on Zoom on Sunday certainly helped with creating some messiness that we could be compassionate about!
I think that the highlight for me was the question and answer session with Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, Abbot of Samye Ling Monastery and patron of the Mindfulness Association. He advised us when we first set up the organisation to include kindness and compassion in our training from the start. This has led to Jacky’s wonderful strapline for the organisation that ‘Compassion is at the Heart of Everything We Do’. To spend over an hour in his joyfully inspiring presence certainly replenished my joy levels for the coming weeks, if not months. When I teach I often bring to mind the qualities of compassion, strength and joy which he embodies. There were some great questions from our members and I will treasure this memory. The video of the session will be made available soon for those of you who missed it, or who would like to watch again.
The other highlight was that Rob Nairn was able to join us to take questions after the documentary. Rob, the founder of the Mindfulness Association, was supposed to be at Samye Ling for the 10th Anniversary event, but of course had to cancel his trip. We have tried before to connect with Rob online, but had not succeeded and so did not think this was an option. So I was surprised to hear on Saturday that Rob had joined the Zoom session in the morning with Lama Rinpoche. So we immediately contacted him to ask him to take part in the documentary launch later on that day. It was wonderful to hear from him. Receiving his teachings has been a massive inspiration to me in my practice and turned my life in the direction that led me here. I have been so privileged to assist him teaching for many years and to have had the chance to learn so much from him. His intellect, his ability to guide meditators past all of the pitfalls, his compassion and his commitment to teaching inspire me now. I bring him to mind whenever I have particularly complex insight session to teach.
I am so proud of the organisation and everyone involved in it. Having been a witness to everyone’s journey I see how committed compassion based mindfulness practice works it’s magic, maturing each of us in individual and complimentary ways. I am so proud that we have stepped up as a team during this crisis to provide a space each and every day for anyone to join us to practice and share. I so am proud of our focus on inclusion and engaged mindfulness and hope that we can come together as a community over the next ten years to make the world a better place. I am so proud to be a part of our community of practice.
I do not have time to write much as I am facilitating the members retreat with Jacky and Kristine. I feel tired, but enormously happy and looking forward to a day off on Friday!
All kind wishes