Laying The Field For Awakin Dialogues

Posted by Deven Shah on Jul 4, 2017
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For the last year, few of us have been meeting (online) every week to dialogue on a particular aspect of practicing values in our lives. Parag and Mihir quietly started this and now it has blossomed into Awakin Dialogues!

Prior to each circle, everyone meditates remotely for an hour. Then we meet virtually for 90 minutes, which starts with a quick check-in circle, followed by a reading and dialogue (as described by David Bohm and J. Krishnamurti). It invariably leads to awakening of some collective intelligence.

Sometimes we'll have guest speakers, like when Somik joined as the circle reflected on his piece on deep counting. Last week, our reading was Field of Blessings -- an excerpt from Heng Sure and Heng Chau's Highway Dharma Letters -- with these three seed questions:
  • Can you share a personal experience of returning to the “Field of Blessings” after going adrift?
  • How do you relate to “trying to end suffering with more suffering”?
  • In your present life what makes you overlook or become mindful of your blessings?

It generated lots of dialogue (and a rich email thread after the call) that brought up many questions like:
  • What draws one to a field of suffering? Is it compassion or is it delusion? Or both? How do we know the difference?
  • If we don't want to use suffering to end suffering, should we wait until we're completely awakened before we serve? Or is the awakening process not so linear? Gandhi claimed to be imperfect, and yet he served?
  • What is the relationship between blessings and insight? Are they aligned or inversely proportional? Was someone like Ramana Maharishi cultivating blessings or insight or both?
  • If acts of service (me-to-we) create a field of blessings, what creates a field of wisdom? When he's on his bowing pilgrimage, what kind of field is Rev. Heng Sure creating?
  • In the framework of karma, a field of blessings can be seen as an accumulation of merit. How is that different from accumulating another resource, like money?
  • In nurturing shifts like elation to equanimity and suffering to gratitude, what guides our intensity? Is intensity even a useful metric, or is that the opposite of effortlessness?
  • How is effortlessness different from laziness (or more subtly, complacency at the level of our limited awareness)? Is it possible to effortlessly crack layers of our subconscious mind?
  • What is right action, called forth by the forest? Would we even know it's the right action? Many say Dalai Lama is on the Boddhisattva path, but he says he wouldn't know even if he was.
  • What is our relationship to time? Krishnamurti tells us that past-present-future delineations keep us rooted in the illusionary field of mind, but does a field of blessings exist outside of our mind? That is, if we end time, do we end the field of blessings or perhaps our connection to that field?
Personally for me, these sentences from the letter reinforced these Truths in a deeper way:
  • If I don’t clean up my own mind and end the war inside my own heart, how can I possibly help the world?
  • My concentration adds to the larger stillness and universal peace.
  • Small worlds are large worlds; Large worlds are nothing but small worlds.
  • Cultivation is for all living beings in all worlds to the limits of empty space.
  • Everything that happens to you is the fruit of seeds planted in the past.
  • No matter how far from the true and proper you drift, a single act of goodness – a single thought of repentance and reform – can turn it all around and put you back in the Buddha’s field of blessings.
    (The word *Buddha refers to all enlightened beings, Gautama Buddha was just one of them.)
  • Just as the earth is all one, yet it puts forth sprouts each according to the seed, and it does not prefer or reject any of them, so it is with the Buddha’s field of blessings.

Given our experience with the Awakin Dialogues, we feel this could be a helpful format for cultivating deeper ties -- especially for those who aren't near an Awakin Circle, and for those who appreciate some intellectual exploration. Very importantly, the safe space created for sharing our inner experiences with authenticity and vulnerability has strengthened our friendship in ways that is difficult to describe in words. Some have talked about doing such calls around different themes as well.

We don't yet have a website for this, but we have started to post the event on ServiceSpace and invite broader participation. It's unclear what happens next, but just wanted to keep you connected to the emergence, in case it triggers more emergence for you. :) Love and Metta.

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Comments (1)

  • Antoinette Ueland wrote ...

    Hi! I would like to join next time. I signed up but didn't have the right time. :)
    Hope to try again!