Adjusting Awakin Circles To Fit A Virtual Context

Posted by Ariel Nessel on Mar 18, 2020
 
Double greetings my fellow Awakin Circle Hosts!

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.

With love,
ari

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Comments (3)

  • Thu Nguyen wrote ...

    Hey Ari, I also gave it a try last night with zoom and it was very intimate and heart warming shares thru the screen. The surprise and gratitude for me was having guests join the circle who never would've been able to come otherwise....from cities a few hours away and further...like New Jersey and the Bay Area :)

    That's a great idea to ask the person sharing to pick the next....I did popcorn style where people decided to go next and there was a beautiful flow to it.

    A few people could only make it for the first hour and it's much quieter to leave online when everyone is on mute.

    I also have a hunch that sharing silence thru zoom will become a weekly practice from now and beyond.

  • Trishna Shah wrote ...

    So lovely to hear about both of these experiments! We are embarking on a whole series of Virtual Awakins here in London from next week and all of the anchors are so excited to hold space in this time of fear and uncertainty, which can be ungrounding for many. Will share these ideas with our anchors too in case they'd like to experiment in a similar way. Much love!

  • Kristy Pace wrote ...

    Starting Virtual AwakinLA next Wednesday and happy for these tips, thank you. I have been blessed to sit in many virtual Council Circles these last few weeks and am inspired by the complete presence of every participant on the screen. To be in your own home surrounded by things that could distract, yet staying fully in the moment is a testament to the need for this silent, shared scared virtual time and space right now. Thanks for all who are holding and joining it.