I am taking my time working my way through 'Taking Our Places', as it is all very valuable material. Here was something I read that seemed especially appropriate this week, from the chapter on vowing:
"It also helps to do such practice in the midst of a community so that we can find encouragement and support to carry on with what we know is the right thing to do, even though sometimes our energy and commitment may flag. When that happens, the others in our community pick us up and help us along - and we do the same for them. This is why religious practice over the millennia in all traditions has been communal, and includes observances to be carried out at appointed times of the day, week, month and year".
We had one such appointed time last Saturday, where we marked the beginning of our Fall Practice Period with an opening ceremony at the end of our one-day sitting. Paul had already observed in his lecture that hardly any of us has the discipline to complete a one-day sitting by ourselves (I would include myself in this), but that together we encourage each other. Practice period opening ceremonies at City Center usually involve everyone standing in a circle and stating their intention for the practice period. I have been trying to find a way to delineate the distinction between an intention and a vow, and I haven't come up with a good answer yet, but would be happy to hear suggestions. My stated intention was to try to meet everyone from a place of love and compassion and to trust that they wanted to meet me from the same place. As I looked around the room I was very happy to realise that I knew everyone's name in the circle, which strengthened the feeling of community for me; at the sitting there had been a few people I didn't recognise, including one woman who was visiting the city from Hong Kong, has found us through our website, and had wanted to experience sitting with other people; she said she had had a wonderful day.
As an aside, I notice that this is the one-hundredth post, which is a little milestone in its own way. I would like to thank Greg for getting this blog underway, and Dana for encouraging me to take it up, everyone who reads it in the four corners of the world, and those who write in with comments, all of which are appreciated. Here's to the next hundred.