Our First Awakin Circle In Warsaw!
Posted by Iwona Khandro on Jul 31, 2018
Awakin Circle in Warsaw, 21st of March 2018, Warsaw, Poland
Five volunteers were eagerly looking forward to their first Awakin Circle, an evening of meditation and community. Guests have been invited and preparations were going on until the last moment, when we all met at a Buddhist center (KDC Warsaw). Girls set up the table ahead of time: vegan sweets made from coconut and millet, mango mousse, carrot cake, fruits, holy basil rose tea. Everything made with loving hearts in the spirit of selfless service, in order to fill each guest with relish and joy.
Cushions are already arranged in circle. In the middle of the circle a glass vessel with floating spring daffodils heads; under it a black round cloth sprinkled with soft white feathers, hinting of small blessings scattered in the mystery of our lives. At four sides lotus candlesticks radiating pink light form a beautiful mandala. Delicate incense scent invites to meditation.
Meeting moderator introduces participants to the idea of Awakin Circle, clarifying the meaning of awakening to kinship, emphasizing the key role of community, connection between people.
The sound of a bell marks the beginning of meditation. We meet in the silence of our hearts.
The second part begins with an inspiring text “Small Graces”, which in its essence speaks about blessings hidden in the present moment, the simplicity of the miracle of giving, discerning and appreciating. Other inspiring quotes include Mother Theresa’s “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you” and Seneca’s “Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.”
The circle of sharing is open and everyone has opportunity to share their personal discoveries after hearing the reading. We are blessed with a short text about what’s most essential in life, captured in a metaphor of a jar filled with stones, gravel and sand. Stones need to be placed inside the jar first – they are our children, parents, partners, close ones and also our wellbeing. Pebbles come next and fill the space between the stones – these can be our possessions, our house and car. Then comes the sand, which reflects less significant things in our lives. It’s crucial to know what is most important for us and take care of it first.
Then we listen to an inspiring poem, after which another participant speaks of an important cause of caring for Mother Earth, renouncing our harmful habits for the sake of clean air, soil and oceans; about awakening of ecological consciousness, about a new community who has in mind the good of future generations.
Then our only foreign guest speaks. In English she says she’s been in Poland for a short time and this circle motivates her to study Polish. She’s been to a few Awakin Circles in her hometown in USA, found much value in them and is delighted that this initiative has reached Poland.
Another person says that she didn’t manage to satisfy her need of acquiring ever more until she arrived on a spiritual path. The happiness she’s been looking for everywhere, she’s discovered inside herself.
Someone else speaks of the value of things which are usually taken for granted: clean air and water, intimacy with people we meet every day. Stopping and trusting a stranger can be an occasion of creating mutual joy.
We also hear about the magic of a garden, moments when a butterfly sits on one’s hand, about the miracle of the blooming of flowers.
People share the gratitude for this small circle and gratitude to those who inspired it (Nipun and monks and nuns from the City of 10000 Buddhas). They showed us how to create the space of service in this country on any day, by walking the streets with smile cards, giving away sweets to children, dissolving the barrier of distrust and sadness by small acts of joy. Thanks for keeping up spreading the field of good-doing.
Then we start a second round of sharing.
A participant shares about her visit at her friend’s, who was severely injured in an accident. The depth of simplicity in life, of not avoiding emotions, living fully one’s pain as well as joy. And every day feeding of birds.
The next person says that she experiences all events in her life, even the small ones, as big and significant. Every night she remembers and feels grateful for things which happened during the day, her partner’s good mood, a nice talk with someone – all these are not small but big graces of life.
We learn that a dog can be a master of small graces: it is fully present in play, laughs with its whole body, makes people laugh, is happy for the simplest reasons. It openly demands love and touch, and by doing so it supports endorphin secretion in humans. “When I’m stroking my dog, I am becoming a better person – it brings out the good part in me and it is really something”.
We hear some beautiful stories about anonymously paying for gas for someone else’s car and about a paralyzed Croatian old lady, who in her poverty and pain found great joy, because she could feed an unknown guest from abroad.
Life is a beautiful kaleidoscope, a large array of various experiences, out of which the most valuable ones are sharing one’s heart and receiving the hearts of others. In any possible form ...