REFUGE. RESISTANCE. RESILIENCE.
WHO WE ARE
With my spiritual compass aligned toward wisdom traditions that affirmed simplicity, wholeness, liberation, justice, a reverence for the earth, the rhythms of nature and the feminine divine, I became a student of the dharma long before encountering my first sangha in November 2005.
But it was my immersion in the study and practice of Buddhism with fellow aspirants that was truly transformative. I had found home — a true refuge in myself, in the practice, and in the small community of new spiritual friends. Inspired to diligently and skillfully live, work, learn, grow, heal/reconcile and nurture relationships in ways that watered the seeds of compassion, I received the 5 Mindfulness Trainings in 2006, transmitted by dharma teacher Jack Lawlor (ordained by Thich Nhat Hanh in 1992; President, Care-Taking Council of the Plum Village Lineage North American Dharma Teachers Council).
In 2011, I was in my first year of parenting and feeling the strain of trying to maintain any regularity with sangha’s 2-hour weeknight practice. So I began hosting and facilitating Sunday afternoon meditation practices rooted in the Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Over the years, the time and place have changed, and the format has been tweaked to serve the interests, needs, and “dna” of the Lansing community. But my heart, intention, and vision for sangha has only expanded!
3 Jewels Yoga Sangha is an open, affirming, accessible and inclusive spiritual community where practitioners gather to study, cultivate and practice the foundations of mindfulness within a brave, transformative and safe(r) sacred space. Grounded and centered in these principles, sangha creates what Thich Nhat Hanh describes as “an island of peace…of resistance against violence, hate, and despair.” We become a space of deep refuge where we develop spiritual resilience to examine, heal and transform the causes and conditions of suffering through the sanctity of silence, diligent self-inquiry, skillful discernment and the energy of collective insight.
Sangha is open to people of spirit and wonder from all faiths and philosophies who share the commitment to foster compassion, skillful understanding, and authentic connection.
- We are a contemplative spiritual community. Not a class or an extension of or substitute for mental health interventions. We focus on our spiritual development through the study of Zen and multi-faith teachings and practices. I do not teach, promote or practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or other mindfulness techniques (such as DBT) as offered by mental health professionals. You may read more about the tensions between the spiritual/religious community and the mental health sector here:
Are You Looking to Buddhism When You Should Be Looking to Therapy? | Tricycle
(alt link: tricycle.pdf)
- You do not have to be an experienced meditator. While meditation is integral to centering, relaxing, listening, and awakening/refining skillfulness, it is one part of our two-hour practice. The guided segment offers support for preparing the body and settling the mind; the silent segment supports steadiness of awareness and concentration. Practitioners may also consider arranging private study sessions for support with developing a meditation practice and other spiritual faculties such as contemplation, inquiry, and discernment.
- You do not have to be or become Buddhist to enjoy this practice. We welcome those who consider themselves undeclared and/or who feel unclaimed by any religious or spiritual tradition. We draw inspiration from a wide range of philosophical, spiritual and secular sources to enrich our contemplation and enlighten our understanding.
- Membership is not required. In fact, we dispense with language that separates us into categories of “members” and “non-members.” What bonds us is the quality of our commitment to practice within the sacred space of community. Showing up for ourselves and for one another builds authentic connections that deepen our sense of belonging and our capacity to extend trust, care, and compassion to fellow friends on the path that supercedes any notion of being “in” or “out” of a group. This a guilt- and shame-free zone. Life happens (see my story above) and the frequency of your attendance doesn’t exclude you from fully participating in or from being fully embraced by sangha whenever you are present.
- We center justice, liberation, and healing. We turn toward and lift up that which helps us to reclaim and prioritize our joy, wellness, and wholeness over and above the madness of hate, violence, and oppression. We cultivate radical bodhicitta to strengthen our capacity to face and disrupt the realities of ableism, bigotry, misogyny, misogynoir, racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and white supremacy; and to tend to our suffering from the root causes and continuous traumatic impact of injustice and oppression.
- We are committed to accessibility and practicing mutual care. As the facilitator and curator of our sacred space, I will do what is within my capacity to honor requests for accommodations and invite all practitioners to do the same by contributing to just, sustainable and creative solutions whenever we encounter an obstacle or limitation in accommodating such requests. Likewise, for those in need of accommodations, I ask for patience and understanding of various factors that may hinder my capacity to fully or swiftly fulfill requests for accommodations.
Environmental Accessibility — Please read our statement about sharing sacred space with practitioners who have allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities: Mutual Care | Sharing Sacred Space.
Structural Accessiblity — Although Heartdance Studio is wheelchair accessible (entryway and bathroom), bear in mind that it was designed to be and is primarily used as a movement and dance space. For our meditation practice, there are chairs, cushions, blankets and two meditation benches available. All are encouraged to bring whatever “sit-upon” will best support their stability and ease. Practitioners are invited to sit or lie down, and to freely tend to their bodies as needed throughout the session.
- We welcome your curiosity, your kindness, and your open heart and mind.
WHY WE PRACTICE
3 Jewels Yoga Sangha nurtures and supports spiritual learning and resilience through a collaborative and contemplative practice.
Through our sitting meditation, we draw upon the healing power of silence and breath to develop the practice of skillful self-inquiry, awareness and discernment that gives rise to insight and understanding.
Through group dharma discussion, we develop the capacity to hold space for one another with wise and compassionate communication — listening deeply and responding skillfully. By sharing our questions, insights, challenges, triumphs and joys, we connect the threads of our daily life to the monthly topic of contemplation and collectively generate the capacity to see with “fresh eyes.” We learn from and alongside one another as “tutors” and good spiritual friends on the path.
Through diligence and commitment, we learn to embody our meditation in our daily lives by cultivating transformative and liberating practices that water the seeds of refuge where we honor ourselves with the space and time to restore body, heart, and mind; of skillful relationships that welcome us to be our whole selves; and of reconciliation that energizes and equips us to move through the world with wisdom, stability, grace, and ease.
HOW + WHERE WE PRACTICE
3 Jewels Yoga Sangha meets on select Sunday mornings and enjoys two different practice formats based on the seasons. This is not a class. It is a gathering of practitioners who cultivate the foundations of mindfulness through meditation, contemplation, and a deep listening circle.
Dharma + Discernment is our 2-hour indoor gathering to practice sitting meditation, deep listening, and skillful sharing of our lived experiences.
FLOW OF PRACTICE
Call to Mindfulness | Centering
Welcome | Introductions + Sharing Insights/Aspirations
Contemplation | Dharma Study, Inquiry + Discernment
Meditation | Guided Practice + Resting in Silence
Reflection | Deep Listening Circle + Sharing Insights/Queries
Hosted at Heartdance Studio on Lansing’s Eastside. YEAR-ROUND with Monthly Sit-Togethers in SPRING/SUMMER. | Dana/Donation(*): $5
- Walking the Labyrinth is our outdoor silent walking meditation practice. For those who wish to sit in silence after walking, there’ll be a few yoga mats placed around the labyrinth that can be shared by two practitioners. Limited seating is available on park benches. Feel free to bring your own mat, cushion, or blanket for sitting meditation. Learn more about this special practice here: Walking the Labyrinth. Hosted at Moores Park in South Lansing. SPRING/SUMMER | FREE
RSVP to attend Sangha via Facebook or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(*)About Dana/Donation: In the Buddhist tradition, contributions are made as a practice of generosity and are joyfully accepted to help sustain the community. Practitioners are welcome to give as they are able — whether donating money, time, or other skillful resources.