by Carole Maurer
I’m writing this column from the cockpit of our sailboat “Sukha” as John and our granddaughter Maya are hiking the interior of Santa Cruz Island. It’s really pleasant to be sitting here in Pelican Bay anchorage, rocking gently as I look out on the deep blue waters and the distant hills and nearby terrain of the island. We all need time to rest our bodies and mind and rejuvenate our spirit. Being in nature often does that and so does meditation. Even meditating a few minutes a day helps relieve the stresses that build up in the routines of our daily lives. Of course, longer periods of meditation are even more beneficial.
White Heron Sangha is now offering several ongoing opportunities for meditating together, and I hope you all can participate in at least one of these on a regular basis. There’s our usual Sunday evening program at Unity that consists of a ½ hour of meditation, followed by announcements, tea and socializing, and an interesting talk, video, or ceremony. On Tuesday evenings at Unity, we sit for ½ hour and have a short discussion afterwards. Our North and South County Sanghas meet on Sunday mornings and offer meditation and a program, as well. Mick Malotte is now offering a meditation sitting and discussion at Crow’s End on Wednesday evenings. All of these are listed on our website calendar, so please check them out and take advantage of these offerings.
And, of course, the White Heron Sangha-sponsored retreats are excellent opportunities for furthering our practice. We are so fortunate to have dedicated people in our sangha who make themselves available to put on these amazing weekend retreats with such renowned teachers. Please see the article in this newsletter by Kristie Wells, Retreat Chairperson, who talks about the retreats coming up in September and the rest of this year.
In addition, there are other groups around the county and elsewhere that offer opportunities for meditating with others on a regular basis and attending longer retreats. Please see our newly revised Links webpage (thank you, Harry Heck!) for more information about these.
It’s never too early in life to start meditating!
September 11 is our annual White Heron Sangha picnic. We’ve invited other area Buddhist groups to the picnic as a way to begin meeting our dharma friends and sharing activities. Check out the picnic event page for specific information on times of the events and what to bring. We always have a great time and I hope to see you there.
Beginning September 18, we’ll be adding a little ritual to the end of each meditation sitting on Sunday evenings. Most teachers end a sitting with some phrase or mantra that extends our practice to all beings. Susan Quinones and the Program Committee have proposed that we recite the following version of the Brahma Viharas:
Printed copies of this recitation will be available at the meeting. We welcome your feedback.
Finally, I would like to recognize the dedication and hard work that’s involved in being the Sangha’s Treasurer. I know, first hand, how much is involved in keeping the books and reporting on the Sangha’s financial picture, as I was Treasurer for many, many years. A few years ago, we started using the bookkeeping services of Carla Sosa, which eliminated the data entry tasks. The Board has asked our current Treasurer, Greg Thomas, to put together a graph of our financial picture over the years and to come up with a budget and income that would be required if we were to have our own place. To do that, Greg, Carla, and I met to put our heads together (almost literally – see below) to review the QuickBooks and Excel features that might support this. I’ll report back on the findings at a later date.
I hope this has been a good summer for everyone. The autumnal solstice will soon be here, reminding us that fall is a season of change—a time of letting go, an opportunity to reflect on impermanence, and a perfect time to appreciate the beauty all around us and embrace every moment. Lots of grist for the meditation mill.
Till next time…