refuge, resistance, resilience + radical self-expression

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“The Sangha is an island of peace. The Sangha is a community of resistance against violence, hate and despair.” 

— Thich Nhat Hanh

These words of my root teacher Thây live at the core of our sangha’s suchness. They have shaped our evolution into a community of spiritual friends who find sanctuary in journeying together through challenge and change; being stretched and sharpened by wisdom teachings, shared insights and loving (re)assurances; shedding skin, healing, transforming, blooming wholy into our radiant bodhisattva-ness!

We are called together to revive, reclaim and fortify ourselves with liberating contemplative spiritual practices. We take refuge in the full embrace of sangha to “remember to remember” that we have all we need — breath, willingness, enough time, connection to wise companions with gifts, skills and rich life experiences — to (re)connect with our true selves and nourish our wholeness.

“Retreating” from the madness of the world around us is not a viable option for everyone. For me, access to organized retreats set in bucolic off-the-grid environs invites us to interrogate spiritual elitism and the socioeconomic realities and other disparities and inequities among practitioners in all spiritual traditions. It points us back to the question of how we practice and cultivate justice, liberation and healing as people of faith and wonder.

So we take refuge in “the wisdom of no escape” each time we come back to ourselves wherever we are in a given moment, when conditions are not optimal, when our lives aren’t set up for leaving.

Each time we spring back from our worst moments, we strengthen our resilience, self-trust and capacity to resist being swept away by the toxicity of systemic degradation, violence and oppression that spreads like contagion.

It is my deepest hope and prayer that we know the freedom of trusting ourselves, of embodying the spirit of refuge that feeds our radical being-ness.

Who are we when we cultivate and embody refuge?

Who are we when we cultivate and embody resistance?

Who are we when we cultivate and embody resilience?

Who are we when we cultivate, embody and celebrate radical self-expression?