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May 12
Scene and Heard
The Human Heart

Craneway Pavilion by Leslie GossettLive Report from “Creating Enlightened Society”

by Leslie Gossett
Shambhala Times Reporter

Arriving at the Craneway Pavilion is striking. Walking toward the entrance, a cutting breeze pushes into your skin, directly from the water which opens itself in front of you like endless potential. Walking through the door, your eyes scan the immensity of the space – some things familiar (the section of red and yellow gomdens against one window), and others unexpected (giant lantern-like shapes glowing on the ceiling). The hustle and bustle is not there, though people are moving back and forth, in and out, carrying trays of food, and searching for misplaced clipboards. There is a peace about the space. A lightness. And an excitement.

Sailboats pass back and forth behind the stage, and the fog rolls in and out making the skyline visible, and then not. There are rows of windows along the ceiling as well, and seagulls cast their calligraphed shadows across the tops of people’s heads, and then are gone. The light changes throughout the day, and one feels as if the world is also inside, amongst these glass walls.

Craneway Pavilion by Leslie Gossett 2The atmosphere on Saturday morning was one of camaraderie and brilliance. People were happy to see one another and to be here for this experience. In spite of the fact that the coffee ran out well before our need for it, everyone was in good spirits. Gathering with curiosity, we listened to Acharyas Skjei and Lobel orient us for the morning. We broke into groups to express how it was that we were arriving in the room and what were our aspirations for ourselves and our society. The mics were opened for people to share some of these sentiments. There were many questions about how to hold both the potential of enlightened society and the terrible situations that exist all around us. Many expressed a desire for connection, communication, understanding, and love. Others brought forth the awkwardness and uncertainty that understandably lies beneath the surface of any honest inquiry.

As one participant was sharing, a wave of awe swept through the room as we spotted Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche through the windows, walking up to the doorway beside the stage. His entourage surrounded him, holding a parasol over his head. The brightness of his orange and yellow robes sparked against the backdrop of the water behind, striking the present moment. It seemed that at just that moment, the smell of incense cloaked the space, and held us there in the profundity of our intention. As he entered, the crowd erupted into three rounds of “Ki Ki So So”. And sitting upon his seat, one could feel the gratitude – his toward those who had gathered, and ours toward his being here with us.

He spoke to us of how a meditation practice is integral to both our own being and to society as a whole. The flavor of what he had to say was very much one of workability. “The first thing,” Rinpoche said, “is to be happy with who you are – so you can relax.” He explained that creating a culture in which we feel safe enough to relax and to connect to being human allows for the natural qualities of mindfulness, curiosity, and presence to arise. He continued by guiding us all through a meditation practice which allowed us to “address the human heart and mind.” The aspects of this practice cultivated the space to really be there, and to connect with something larger.

After the Sakyong’s address, speaking to one another of our own relationship to feeling, there was certainly a sense of shared vulnerability. As humans, we allow ourselves to feel what we feel, we have the strength and dignity to be here and take up space, and we are capable of tapping into “universal goodness or potency.” Breaking for lunch on that note left us with a sense of workability and okay-ness (and also some grumbling bellies).

This weekend promises to be full of beauty and inspiration. See you there:

Stay tuned this weekend on the Shambhala Times for live reports about the weekend’s events. Thanks in advance to all of the reporters and photographers who will be on the ground gathering the reports for our readers!

Leslie GossettLeslie Gossett is a student of all things human. She lives in Silicon Valley where she works with children, words, mind, and body

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1 response to “ The Human Heart ”
  1. Lorin Krogh
    May 12, 2013

    Leslie really captured the experience of attending this event.

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