An Awakin Festival In Warsaw!
Posted by Iwona Khandro on Oct 18, 2018
Below is a photo from last October, after which few of us ended up having a spontaneous conversation at the door. That seed combined with the untiring laddership of monk Jin Wei, we started Awakin Circles in Warsaw. And last couple days, with Nipun's visit, gave us a tremendous opportunity to build on that momentum within our local community.
As Jasky, our secret weapon from France, :) said, "The weekend felt like one big lesson in skillful means for reaching hearts, on the Bodhisattva path." The boundaries of countries, languages, cultures and so much more, all seem to dissolve in presence of great compassion. One world, one love.
On the first evening, we organized a public talk by Nipun -- "Bądź samolubny. Bądź hojny." Be Selfish, Be Generous. All the ServiceSpace stories filled the room with a sublime energy, as the fragrance of compassion overflowed. Various ripples followed, like Barbara initiating "Happiness in Giving" retreats. Andrzej, our camera volunteer, spontaneously went home and put together this video for Facebook:
On the second day, Piotr had envisioned a remarkable "Awakin Festival". At the last minute, he had a health challenge and had to go to emergency, but then, rather miraculously, he not only recovered the next day but emceed and even performed. We are all very grateful to Piotr.
The festival started with a traditional Awakin Circle -- meditation, a circle of sharing, and some food offerings. Although it was a lot more people than we usually have, it was similarly powerful to hear everyone's profound stories. Our reading was on Kingly Giving. When we finished the circle, our translator asked, "May I share something?" Everyone had spoken so he could certainly share, and he started by saying, "I haven't spoken to my mother in 20 years. Or actually never, until just this month. I think forgiveness can be a powerful expression of generosity." It was a very touching share, and he added, "I can't believe I've just shared something so intimate with a room full of strangers. I don't know anyone here but I feel like you're all my family." By the end of the night, he added with folded hands, "I think I'm in love with all of you. I came in with all the problems of my life but I'm now leaving deeply transformed. I just can't thank you enough. May I humbly request that you invite me to your next circle?" :)
And then, we expanded our circle to include others for a spirited tea ceremony, a soul-stirring "sound bath" with drums and didgeridoo, poetry reading with open-mic, and a spiritual concert! Dorota, a student of H.H.Karmapa who was hosting our event, was so thrilled by the end of the night that she wants to do such events every quarter.
For people to understand the depth of gift ecology, Maja (our in-house genius!) crafted a four-page document in Polish, that explains many ServiceSpace principles:
As if all that wasn't enough, on Sunday, we held a Karma Kitchen at Leonardo Verde -- a very popular vegan restaurant in the heart of Warsaw. A dozen volunteers took over the restaurant at 8:30 AM, as doors would stay open from 10 AM to 4 PM. The bi-lingual menu described the spectacular, multi-course menu. Most of us had no experience with all this, and the restaurant owner also had his own doubts initially. :)
The day was filled with many anecdotes of giftivism and kindness. People wrote small things on the gratitude board. A young woman is keen to experiment with this in her hometown of Jerusalem. Another young pair of twins did an act of kindness right at the restaurant and now have taken on the 21-day challenge. Various musicians played, from violin to harp to guitar. Of course, all the guests got a bill of zero -- which is very radical for Poland, and perhaps everywhere. :) We not only made our costs, but the restaurant owner is also keen to host it again. :)
In the end, our bodies were tired (all of us, except Edwin, who was ready to go another few hours!), but all our spirits were definitely overflowing with happiness.
Nothing can express our gratitude for all the miracles that emerged during this beautiful autumn weekend. We were so very grateful to Nipun and Jaski for coming, for their all-embracing kindness, openness, warmth, gentle compassionate heart and bright smiles. With joy, we intend to keep spreading all this love to the world -- and we hope to see many of you in Warsaw someday too. May the ingenious power of generosity transform the whole world!