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Interview with Lynn Dragone

This is the fifth in a series of Kootenay Shambhala member interviews conducted by Bobbie Ogletree to explore the notion of “creating enlightened society,” a central theme of Shambhala, and celebrate our community’s diversity. Click here for all member interviews.

LYNN DRAGONE is a longtime resident of Nelson, a movement educator, caregiver, and the Kootenay Shambhala Centre’s current Director.

Lynn Dragone at Gampo Abbey

Lynn Dragone at Gampo Abbey

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Bobbie Ogletree: You recently returned from Gampo Abbey. How long were you there?

Lynn Dragone: Nine months. Three months as a lay person plus six months as a monastic.

What motivated you to leave here and go there?

I was looking for a strong practice environment. I had kind of scouted that out by doing different programs at Shambhala Mountain Center, Karme Choling, and Dechen Choling in France. I felt like the big land centres have so many programs with a lot of people coming and going. You work more like an eight-hour day. You do have practice at different hours, like I am used to at home. At Gampo Abbey, the workday is four hours and there are at least four hours of practice a day, usually five or six.

Did being at Gampo Abbey meet your expectations?

It did. It was exactly what I wanted. I had a curiosity, though, about monasticism as a way of life, and I found that it is not for me. Our lineage is the only one that offers a temporary experience of monasticism. It is a great thing to do for a period of time. It’s really good practice to be in a strong environment with 30 people where you are faced with what kind of world you are creating, noticing and working with that and being dedicated to that. It matches up with the Shambhala vision.

Did you have periods of silence and interaction with community members?

Yes, from 7:30 pm until 12:30 the next day, we were in silence. 12:30 is lunch time and lunch is the main meal. It is a social time. The work period follows. During this period, we are also encouraged to be silent. The silence helped us examine what makes speech mindful. We brought the social atmosphere to awareness. Some people were bothered by small talk, but others felt it is part of human nature. The social atmosphere provoked different things in different people.

What kind of hindrances arose from doing so much practice and being in community?

The first week I was there, I noticed the people I didn’t like. I decided right away to move towards them because I was there to examine this kind of thing. They didn’t become people I loved, but I noticed taking responsibility for my attitudes, for my thoughts was the theme of being there. Doing so really helped me change my attitude towards parts of myself that I don’t like. It helped me be more accepting. Sometimes I could feel the karma burning (laughs). There were cycles of opening to difficult stuff, clearing, feeling new growth, and again the experiencing of difficult stuff.

Did anything there really surprise you?

Sometimes it was my reaction to communication from the outside. It could really provoke me. I went through a period of time where I couldn’t have this communication. I needed to rest in the immediate space. I felt it was the gift of being there to allow myself that luxury. In nine months, I only went to town two afternoons.

Was re-entry difficult?

No, not at all. I had planned to visit ten households before I came home. I thought it could be overwhelming. It was fine, but I had to work with noticing what I was anticipating. I didn’t want to be a hothouse flower. That is what I felt vigilant about in relation to monasticism. I want the practice to encourage the Shambhala vision of more turning to the world, more openness, more flexibility.

Have you noticed anything different about the Centre or do you feel a sense of continuity?

Summer is a quiet time. I just feel very happy to be back here. I love the sangha so much. I feel its preciousness. I think I had to reconnect with what it means to be going back as Director with a renewed sense of what I have to offer as who I am.

From: Kootenay Shambhala Blog

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1 response to “ Interview with Lynn Dragone ”
  1. That is a very cool sketch.

    I agree, things are moving too fast.

    We all need to slow down and smell the roses more often than not.

    Take care,

    FW


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