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Jul 13
Community Articles, Featured Stories
Tail of the Tiger in Your Neck of the Woods

Boston Shambhala Center

Boston Shambhala Center

By Jennifer Holder

Gathering Shambhalians
The second annual Applied Mindfulness Conference, July 23 – 26, reaches out by gathering professional Shambhalians together. In this conference, Tail of the Tiger is encouraging people to go beyond the question of “how can I apply meditation to my life?” Having realized that we can apply it, there is a natural desire to introduce these disciplines to workplaces or professional organizations. There are many Shambhalians who have done just that, but don’t know who each other are. The conference is a way to exchange experience, make connections with each other, and become inspired by what other people are doing.

The director of Tail of the Tiger, Patton Hyman, believes it is essential to empower Shambhalians to reach out. He is adamant that “You don’t have attain perfect, complete enlightenment before talking to people about your genuine experience and how it applies in your life. People are hungry for this connection, even if at first it is about being less stressed out. Once they connect with meditation, they realize that it is something meaningful they can do with their lives.” As he points out:

“Tail of the Tiger programs are beneficial in many ways — they introduce how people can work with their state of mind and also help people to better engage with their lives. That makes the whole thing more enjoyable. If people can connect with their basic goodness while their doing their jobs and engaging in their livelihood, a kind of confidence develops that can be extraordinarily beneficial for everyone.”

In Your Neck of the Woods
Tail of the Tiger’s current intention is to expand its programming into local centers and other venues. The director of Tail of the Tiger, Patton Hyman, says, “It is part of the initiative to help people find ways to connect more easily, bringing professionally-oriented programs closer to where they live. It just makes sense that more people are going to check out what we’re offering if they only have to travel a half hour.” Patton encourages professionals in the Shambhala community to radiate out to their colleagues and communities.

He offers the following helpful tips:

Offer programs at your local Shambhala center, at offices, hospitals, association meetings, and schools. Your local chamber of commerce is a great group to engage. If your center isn’t yet a member of your local chamber, join up; it’s a great way to get more involved with your community and to be known more widely.

In planning a professionally-oriented program, involve a Shambhala teacher who has experience in the profession. A personal and professional relationship to particular field brings knowledge and insight into what people are dealing with and gives credibility to your offering. For example, doctors and nurses have an intense challenge when dealing with time management that is only apparent when you’ve worked in an doctor’s office or hospital.

Do something that’s manageable for people, perhaps a one-day program and maybe an evening. Even a lunch hour is fine. Let people stick their toe in.

Start thinking about the livelihoods of the members of your center and work with the resources you have. You may have members working in local schools, hospitals, government or businesses.

If you’re interested in offering a program to teachers or school administrators, remember that public schools have a church/state issue, and if you can operate through an educational (rather than religious) nonprofit, such as Tail of the Tiger, some potential barriers may fall easily. Private schools don’t have the same legal issue, but there are still sensitivities that are avoided by use of an educational organization.

Don’t worry about cushions — chairs are fine. Every place has them, so you don’t need a van and the experience is less intimidating. Once people come to a Shambhala center, the environment will communicate the brilliance of the presentation.

Finally, learn a jargon-free way to talk about mindfulness-awareness meditation. Some terminology that seems meaningful to us Shambhalians can be completely mystifying to the uninitiated. The Sakyong’s book, Ruling Your World, is a masterful demonstration of how to do this.

More information on the programs Tail of the Tiger is offering can be found at their website: www.tailofthetiger.org. If you are inspired to create, host, or teach a program, Patton would love to hear from you at [email protected]

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