Landing Portland Shambhala

Instead of having a mid-summer’s day party, our Shambhala community met on zoom because the temperature outside was fierce, part of the heatwave affecting the Pacific Northwest.  There were two parts of our meeting, talking about the possibility of leasing a space and bidding farewell to Janie Perlstein in her role as Center Co-Director.   This blog post is about the first part of the meeting.

About 15 of us participated in the conversation.  We’re sharing the recording of the discussion with members and have followed up with a survey — which received 29 responses.

The zoom discussion covered a whole range of issues, from the desirability of a community meeting space to the importance of beauty to nitty gritty details like bathroom and space configuration, neighborhood and COVID safety considerations, and our ability to make rent.  To get everyone’s ideas and concerns on the table the conversation had a rough and tumble quality.  It was vigorous and led to a survey that was open for the following week.

Looking at the survey responses, more than half of us felt that having a physical location was important or very important.  And more than 90% of us felt that having a physical location was important for others in the future: Enabling us to help people establish a daily meditation practice, find a sangha, and connect with basic goodness.

That’s what we’re about!

Nevertheless, people were aware of the extra work and resources that a physical space would entail.  Even though most of us feel that we should lease a space, there are real issues to figure out:

  • How to increase community donations and dues. But avoiding the treadmill we were on where we had to offer classes to make budget.
  • How to deal with hygiene and COVID considerations.
  • How to maintain the gains from 15 months on Zoom — figuring out how to offer hybrid meditation sessions, community events, study groups, and classes that don’t leave anyone feeling like a second class citizen.

The bottom line is that we could not go back to “the old days” in the sense that our use of a new space would have to be be different from our previous location.  We would have to figure out a lot of things.

All of this is very exciting!

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