by Rahasya Poe
What is the connection of contemplative practice with responding to the needs of our communities and our world? If we have been using meditation especially as a place of refuge and healing, how do we take steps toward compassionate action? How do we bring our practices of mindfulness, lovingkindness, and wisdom into our actions? And for those of us who are already involved in service or social change, how can the resources of inner work help strengthen and sustain us?
Through talks, silent meditation practice, interactive exercises, group discussion, and creative process, we will explore these questions, providing principles to guide us and practices to take home, as we deepen our understanding of the interplay between transforming ourselves and transforming the world.
On Friday evening, as an introduction to the weekend, Donald Rothberg will give a talk, “The Engaged Spiritual Life: Connecting Inner and Outer Transformation,” pointing to how we might, despite strong tendencies to separate the inner and outer, connect the two, and how they deeply require one another, if we are to respond to the challenges of our times.
On Saturday, the theme is “The Roots of Compassionate Action.” We will focus particularly on ways of developing compassion, exploring the parallels between individual practices and compassionate responses to community and global concerns. On Sunday, the theme is “Equanimity and Committed Action.” On the basis of our cultivation of compassion, we will then work especially with ways to develop and express wisdom, equanimity, balance, and skillful action, again linking individual practices with interpersonal relationships and action in the world.
We very much recommend that participants attend the entire weekend, but it is also possible to attend each day’s event separately. The evening and two daylong sessions will be presented as a sequence.
Donald Rothberg, a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council and the executive faculty at Saybrook Graduate School, writes and teaches classes, groups, and retreats on meditation, daily life practice, and socially engaged Buddhism. He has engaged in insight and lovingkindness practice since 1976 and has been a longtime organizer, teacher, and board member for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He directs “The Path of Engagement,” a two-year Spirit Rock training program connecting inner and outer transformation, and he has also directed a two-year interfaith program, “Socially Engaged Spirituality.” Donald is the author of The Engaged Spiritual Life: A Buddhist Approach to Transforming Ourselves and the World.