Archived Blogs

image

Summary: Teen Awakin Call With Brain Conroy Posted by Alakh Kapadia, Jul 17 2021 This past Thursday, Katherine and I had the honor of hosting a Teen Awakin Call with Brian Conroy, one of the mentors for our internship this summer. This Teen Awakin Call was a project for the 2021 ServiceSpace summer internship. This Teen Awakin Call was structured similar to a regular Awakin Call, but was primarily for teens to listen and ask questions, as opposed to adults. Brian Conroy, our guest, is a storyteller and the founder of the Buddhist Storytelling Circle, which is a collection of storytellers from the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. He first encountered Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in 1976 and took refuge with the Master in 1994. Brian has also taught theater and public speaking in several public schools in San Jose, as well as performed his stories in various festivals. Brian graciously answered around thirteen questions, from us interns and others who joined. He also shared a remarkable story ... Read Full Story

image

Breaking Through Posted by Xuan Ooi, Jul 04 2021 I was invited into the Noble Friendships Pod by my former classmate. I had the simple goal of getting one step closer to genuinely treating myself as a good friend. At the time I joined, I was deep in the middle of a state in which my body and mind forced me to rest. I had just finished a two-semester long certificate program online and finally had met the limbo space of ambiguity of “What’s next?” There was so much waiting for me to do but I had absolutely no motivation to even approach them. My body tied me back into the present and out of my running thoughts through the manifestation of physical pain, an old and familiar friend of mine. I finally decided to make the focus of each day completing my daily recitation and my daily readings, practices, and responses for the pod. I didn’t expect more ... Read Full Story

image

Aslinur And Marian: A Sufi Prayer Posted by Shyam Gupta, Jul 01 2021 [In a Prayer Circle in May, amid India's covid crisis, Marian and Aslinur offered a powerful Sufi prayer. Below is a lightly edited transcript and video of their offering.] Aslinur: As-salaam alaykum, dear sisters and brothers, may peace, compassion, and blessings of the divine be upon us on all the creations and creatures. Marian: It's our great honour to be here, with all of you in this beautiful circle of companions. We are in Istanbul, and we are three days before the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer. So, it feels very meaningful to be having this global prayer circle here right now, at this moment, when hundreds of millions of Muslims, around the world, are already in an ongoing phase of fasting and prayer and introspection. So, our intention in sharing this prayer is also linking in, with this whole field of prayer, that has been going ... Read Full Story

image

Aryae + Wendy: Peace, Shalom, Namaste. Posted by Rupali Bhuva, Jun 29 2021 [In May's Prayer Circle, we heard a stirring song from Aryae and Wendy. Below is a lightly edited transcript of their share, along with video of the prayer.] We feel so blessed to be here with all of you as we are witnessing truth on so many levels of what is happening now and we are witnessing sacredness in this circle. In our tradition, when something is true and something is sacred, we say, Amen. And to all of you here, to all of the prayers, to all of the stories, we have been all witnessing I want to say Amen. When we saw the invite to the circle, we learned about the Indian tradition of "Besnu" which means sitting. Well, guess what, in the Hebrew tradition it's called Shiva and it's the same thing, it means sitting. Isn't that something? So the whole time, we are all sitting together. In the ... Read Full Story

image

Hospice Stories With Maki Posted by Meghna Banker, Jun 28 2021 A couple weeks back, a crew of us gathered for a stirring conversation with Dr. Maki Kawamura, on her powerful experiences with the dying and their loved ones. A pediatrician, global peace leader, mother of three, founder of the House of Joy center for cancer patients and Here and Now Hospice, Maki's depth of experience and spirit of service disarmed all of us as we listened to her palpable stories, wisdom, and heart. Thanks to some incredible transcribing elves, below is a lightly edited summary and partial transcript of the conversation, which spanned topics such as: What does dying teach us about living? What questions come to life on one's deathbed? What are the most common experiences people face at the end of life? What am I least willing to let go of, and why? How do the values of loved ones who've departed live on in our lives? ---------- Dying can be ... Read Full Story

image

Say Hello To Our 2021 Summer Interns! Posted by Swara Pandya, Jun 28 2021 For many summers now, a crew of service-hearted youth have come together for a multi-week internship with ServiceSpace. Circling up with a team of mentors, they dive headlong into a summer-long immersion for the head, hands, and heart -- engaging in books and talks on leading with values, personal practices like meditation and acts of kindness, project work ranging from graphics to filmmaking to writing to podcasting and beyond, and sharing reflections with each other and themselves along the way. Today, we’re thrilled to begin our 2021 summer internship with a fantastic crew of a dozen interns and mentors! Even just the interns’ application responses have taught us so much already. Here’s excerpt from each intern below. Katherine, a rising 10th grader, pointed to a need for greater balance in the framing of our social narratives, and a desire to ‘be the change’ she wishes to see: … Almost everything I read ... Read Full Story

image

Endings And Beginnings Posted by Indigo Ocean, Jun 22 2021 As I come to the end of this 2 week Noble Friendships Pod experience, I notice a commitment in myself to carry forward what I've gained and make this ending a new beginning. I noticed over the weekend that sometimes when my ego gets challenged, it causes me to not draw upon the highest aspects of myself that I would otherwise have access to. This is particularly the case when it's challenged around the idea of what is good for the collective. It's not because there's actual protection of others; that's just the story it's hiding within. That's the self-righteousness that justifies its egoic response, despite all the progress I've made in not indulging it in other contexts. I am calling myself up to a greater level of integration between my capacity to be a noble friend and my willingness to when people aren't behaving as I think they should and I ... Read Full Story

image

Bonnie: Three Quotes And A Prayer Posted by Meghna Banker, Jun 18 2021 [Below is an edited transcript of a dedication Bonnie offered last month from the Christian tradition, during a Prayer Circle for India amid the country's escalating Covid crisis.] [Or, view here in browser window.] Hello everybody. Good morning. Good evening. Good middle of the night, whatever it is for you. I am so touched by the stories that I heard. I live in Southern California and yet I have this deep connection to India from having visited there and from my close relationship with so many people from the service space ecosystem. I just remembered, as you were speaking that three years ago, on Mother's Day, we had the Jai Jagat children at our center singing, we had an animal parade for them and a lunch for them, and their presence changed so many lives. Their simple being just changed so many lives. So I think about the people that I do know ... Read Full Story

image

Yuka's Prayer: Spiritual Beings Having A Human Posted by Jane Jackson, Jun 11 2021 [Last month, during a Prayer Circle for India amid the nation's escalating Covid crisis, Yuka, on behalf of her family and colleagues, offered this stirring prayer (at midnight in Japan!), transcribed below.] [View here in browser window.] Hello everybody. Thank you so much for allowing me to be here. I see Maki, my sister also in the zoom room and of course not just Maki, my other sister Rika and our parents and our whole Goi Peace colleagues and staff are all here with you and us, at this special time. I want to first thank the two Buddhist monks that have planted the seed for this circle, and for the amazing hosts who made this possible in just two days. Thank you for the stories of courage, stories of the willingness to open to connection during the pain, thank you for the selfless service, thank you for sharing with us about the ... Read Full Story

image

My Grandma's Last Lesson Posted by Rohit Rajgarhia, Jun 09 2021 We held an informal circle recently and the topic started to gravitate towards death and dying. I was reminded of my recent experience of my grandmother passing away, which I shared in that group. As few friends suggested, I am happy to share it here too. Thank you! ..... My grandmom (maternal) passed away recently and it was my first cremation experience. In addition to many other things, I would remember her for pampering all of us with the tastiest of sweets and new clothes. :) On receiving the news, we went to their town, a 3-hour drive from where I live. We reached in the evening and the next morning, all of us performed some rituals around her body and then took her body to the cremation ground. "Offering a shoulder" or pallbearing is considered an opportunity as well as a duty in Indian traditions, and I felt grateful that ... Read Full Story

image

Over The Cliff: A Lesson In Being Alive Posted by Aryae Coopersmith, Jun 07 2021 At the tail end of a recent Awakin Circle I was reminded of a time about ten years ago when I received an unexpected lesson in the miracle of being alive. Ironically I was driving on my way to see the doctor. To get from where I live in Half Moon Bay to the doctor’s office in Redwood City, you drive over the hill on Highway 92. The narrow two-lane road takes you up to a crest high above the valley below, and winds back and forth in hairpin turns. It was raining. I was running late, so I was probably driving a little fast. The road was slippery. I came to a turn where the road goes sharply left. I turned the steering wheel, but the car kept going straight. I tried the brake, but the car kept skidding forward, straight toward the edge of the cliff. I looked around me. There was ... Read Full Story

image

Michael Penn: Hearing In The Dark Posted by Trupti Pandya, Jun 05 2021 [During a palpable Prayer Circle for India last month amid India's escalating Covid crisis, Prof. Michael Penn shared these heartfelt words of wisdom and hope, transcribed below.] [View here in the browser window.] It is such a high honor to have the chance to participate in this beautiful gathering. When Drishti opened the gathering with that chant, it just sailed right into my heart. I am so delighted to participate in this commemoration, for the sake of those who are suffering, for the sake of those who have passed away, and for the sake of those who are at the threshold of the next world. One of my very favorite writings from the Bahá'í faith says, know verily that the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem, whose reality the most learned of men had failed to grasp and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel. If ... Read Full Story

image

A Stranger's Blessing In The Condolence Line Posted by Drishti Trivedi, Jun 04 2021 [Below is Tez's touching story of a stranger and her father, from the opening circle of a retreat. Originally transcribed in March 2020.] I'm so grateful to be here. I am Tez. I have a couple of things that come to mind when I think of unexpected encounters, but one in particular is screaming to come out today. About eight years ago, I was a little bit lost. They have a saying that when you lose someone very special in your life, you go through an array of feelings. You feel hatred, you feel victimized, you feel sad, you feel joy, you feel shame, you feel guilt. And I was kind of feeling that cocktail of emotions. I lost my father after a year of suffering, but I was extremely grateful that I could be of service to him during that final year of us being together. But I was confused. I thought, ... Read Full Story

image

On Devotion And ... Basketball?! Posted by Nicole , May 28 2021 In our Devotion + Purpose Pod last month, Jin Chuan and Jin Wei joined our call and offered a stirring blessing chant. I recently switched jobs, and on my last day of work at my former job, I wanted to share gratitude for my team and colleagues, and couldn't think of a better way than to play their chant. :) Since the words they shared in our closing call also still resound in many of our minds, below is a transcript of their talk as well: Jin Chuan: Jin Wei and myself are very happy and honored to be here. Some faces are quite familiar. We see quite a few new faces, but just being able to be a part of Service Space, we definitely feel is a huge blessing. It's a chance to be part of a community that is very devoted to giving and generosity and kindness that is ... Read Full Story

image

Kindness Survives Posted by Jyoti , May 25 2021 I got a call this morning, a rare phenomena in the age of texts. My friend who called is about two decades older, and we only connect infrequently, when he needs to consult with me about a business he has wanted to get off the ground for all the years I have known him. He is a creative person who invents new things in a workshop he has locally, with a loyal freind and business partner. These inventions help people with limited mobility to enjoy the outdoors, particularly water sports, that act as therapy. He is a veteran himself and has seen enough veterans who suffer long term mobility issues that compromise the quality of their lives, although his early forays as an inventor were inspired to help his ageing father. His father was a well known professor at Cal Tech who passed away several years ago. Everytime we connected, he ... Read Full Story

image

Maki: What Is Prayer? Posted by Jaimit Vaidya, May 19 2021 [Couple summers ago, I had a chance to be in Japan for the Symphony of Peace Prayers. One act that deeply touched me was Maki-san, as one of the most important conveners of the several thousand person event, spent several hours live-translating between me and Masami-san. I was very wowed, and remember thinking that only a person of prayer could do such a selfless act for an everyday person like me. Last week, when I was on a call with all Saionji Sisters, I was remembering that. And I wanted to transcribe a share that Maki shared on that call -- perhaps in the same spirit she offers so much to the world. It is a lightly edited version of what Maki spontaneously shared on our call.] Maki: Thank you so much for all your shares. I have learned so much and I got so much inspiration. What I felt through ... Read Full Story

image

On Finding One’s Purpose Through Our Collective Posted by Wakanyi Hoffman, May 18 2021 The Japanese have a word for it. They call it Ikigai, and give it a vague description that loosely feels and sounds like what purpose is supposed to be. Everyone has it, they say, it’s what French philosophy might call a raison d’etre. It’s the one single reason why any of us spring out of bed each and every day with the intention of staying alive. When a group of us gathered from around the world to discuss what devotion and purpose means, we could mostly define purpose, yet a majority of us held our tongues from expressing what we felt when confronted with the word devotion. It invoked memories of practices tied to religious ideals, and for some it even evoked negative connotations. So we spent an intensive week reading, sharing deep thoughts and decoding what devotion might actually mean, once applied to daily life. In the words of Jin Chuan, ... Read Full Story

image

Bloom Where You Are Planted Posted by Trupti Pandya, May 15 2021 I have been working at a government shelter home for women for a few years. While some are waiting for a hearing from the court, others are on the mental health spectrum. Some of them were children when they came here. Their parents, guardians, or a cop dropped them at the shelter home, as there was no one to take care of them. Life/existence can feel purposeless and powerless with a history of difficult life circumstances, and staying in a place like this that is hardbound with barbed wire fences, high walls, and rules, life/existence can feel purposeless and powerless. In the Devotion and Purpose Pod, I went through an inner churning process with daily prompts and reflection, which helped me crystalize my personal value and refine my purpose in my being and doing. I was inspired to hold space in the shelter home, the same way space was held for ... Read Full Story

image

Two Gifts Of Devotion Posted by Trupti Pandya, Apr 18 2021 "What's an experience of devotion that has stayed with you?" While reflecting on these questions in our Devotion Pod orientation yesterday, two stories came to my mind. In my primary school years, our science teacher would start her class with a prayer. It felt unusual as none of the other teachers would do that. And as children, some of us resisted and use to make fun of her, but she would continue doing it day after day. Like everyone around me, I would also stand up, fold my hands, and listen to her singing. As a child, I did not realize what was happening, but I distinctly remember tears flowing while listening to some of the words from the prayer. As I grew up, I realized that I was finding strength from those prayers as the meaning unfolded. My teacher seeded as a child was something intangible yet omnipresent, like the goodness ... Read Full Story

image

Reading Thomas Merton And ServiceSpace Posted by Nancy Chu, Apr 03 2021 I remember the first time I read this passage by Thomas Merton. I was a student in my early 20s, and it struck me deeply. I was so moved by his powerful vision of the sacredness of humanity. Since then, whenever I realize that I have lost that sense of trust and wonder, I revisit it: In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I ... Read Full Story

<< Newer Entries | Home | Older Entries >>