By Lyn Fine and Wendy Johnson
Thay has taught us the most wonderful gift you can make to the person you love is your presence. For one nurturing weekend in late January, seven Dharma teachers of the Order of Interbeing gathered in northern California: Arnie Kotler, Therese Fitzgerald, and Wendy Johnson from northern California; Jack Lawlor from Chicago; Eileen Kiera from Washington State; Cynthia Jurs from New Mexico; and Lyn Fine from New York City. Together we shared our experience as Dharma teachers, deepened our connection with each other, and enjoyed mindfulness practice. We were sorry that the other North American Dharma Teachers were unable to join us this time. This was not a meeting for decision-making, but for getting to know each other better and deepening the relationships which are the foundation of our Sangha. The weekend was deeply restorative and inspiring. It was a special, rare opportunity to be in each other's presence, to sit together, walk in mindfulness, stand in the ocean, eat together in silence, and share our joys.
Knowing that when we take good care of ourselves, we take good care of everyone, we created a schedule for our retreat. Each day began and ended with sitting and walking meditation. The rest of the time we enjoyed outdoor walking meditation by the Pacific Ocean and beneath the redwoods in Muir Woods; discussed ongoing education and training; explored how to support the newly established centers in Vermont; and shared our experiences and the deepest issues we face as we practice and teach the Dharma. With the energy of mindfulness, we nourished humor and joy, compassion and healing.
Weekend gatherings like this give us new courage, faith, and inspiration in our daily work and practice. We would like to gather again with as many Dharma teachers as possible to continue deepening our dialogue as teachers whom Thliy entrusted to share our love for the Dharma. It is wonderful to continue to investigate together fresh and sustaining ways in which lay teachers can support each other as we communicate and deepen our love for the teachings. In these troubled and remarkable times, we see clearly the relevance of engaged Buddhism and lively, loving mindfulness.
Our deep thanks for the wonderful home that was donated for our use on this special weekend, for the anonymous donation that assisted in meeting the expenses, and for the delicious food arranged by the Community of Mindful Living. We were nurtured and refreshed by our time together.
Dharma teacher Lyn Fine practices with the New York Community of Mindfulness. Dharma teacher Wendy Johnson practices at Green Gulch Farm and with the Community of Mindful Living in Berkeley, California.