Adjusting Awakin Circles To Fit A Virtual Context
Posted by Ariel Nessel on Mar 18, 2020
I hosted our first purely virtual Awakin circle yesterday. What I always loved about these circles was their three dimensional intimate nature. My assumption was that while the virtual circle would still be lovely, it would not nearly have the same potential nor transformative impact on the sangha as did in person gatherings. I was entirely surprised by the presence, intimacy, and vulnerability each person brought to the grid (can't really call it a circle on a zoom screen, eh). It was a beautiful experience, and it invited people to participate who normally could not because of their distance.
There were a few things I mixed in to the gathering that I believe contributed to the experience. (1) At the beginning of the call, before we began to meditate, I referenced how easy it is to not commit to the same inner stillness being at home on a computer. I requested each person to treat our hour of meditation similarly to how we would treat it if we were next to one another. (2) When we did the circle of sharing, I had each person pick who the next person was to share. And (3), At the end of the call, after the two minutes of metta, we one by one offered a sentence of what we were grateful for. All in all, these three adjustments really helped (a) maintain adhitthana, (b) retain a flow and (3) joyfully close the space. I offer these to you in case they may support.
If anyone has done any of their own experiments, successful or not, I'd love to hear them. I have a feeling virtual awakins will far outlast the length of time we are isolating our physical bodies and lead to a new paradigm for community pratice.