If you would like contribute please get in touch with Mike Baker
You can find the Sangha Contribution archive here
Here are the offerings for this month:
“Just Put Your Body There”
I once complained to my teacher Munindraji about being unable to maintain a regular practice. “When I sit at home and meditate and it feels good, I’m exhilarated, and I have faith and I know that it’s the most important thing in my life,” I said. “But as soon as it feels bad, I stop. I’m disheartened and discouraged, so I just give up.” He gave me quite a wonderful piece of advice. “Just put your body there,” he said. “That’s what you have to do. Just put your body there. Your mind will do different things all of the time, but you just put your body there. Because that’s the expression of commitment, and the rest will follow from that.”
Certainly there’s a time to evaluate our practice, to see if it’s useful to us and worth continuing. But the evaluation shouldn’t happen every five minutes, or we’ll be continually pulling ourselves out of the process. And when we do assess our progress, we need to focus on the right criteria: Is my life different? Am I more balanced, more able to go with the flow? Am I kinder? Those are the crucial questions. The rest of the time, just put your body there.
You may think, I’m too undisciplined to maintain a practice. But you really can manage to put your body there, day in and day out. We’re often very disciplined when it comes to external things like earning a living, getting the kids off to school, doing the laundry— we do it whether we like it or not. Why can’t we direct that same discipline (for just a few minutes each day) toward our inner wellbeing? If you can muster the energy for the laundry, you can muster the energy to “put your body there” for a happier life.
Sharon Salzberg from “Sticking with it -How to sustain your meditation practice” from Tricycle magazine Fall 2011
Contributed by Mike
This week was the first anniversary of Rob Burbea’s premature death. In the commemorative last session we were in the company of the co-founder with Rob, of Sangha Seva, Zohar Lavie. This organisation offers amongst other services ‘Mediations for Activists’ and ‘Actions for Meditators.’ I knew that Rob had worked and meditated in a leper colony in India many years ago but I had not met Zohar before. She lives in Jerusalem and outside her home it was noisy with the nationalistic ‘Jerusalem day, which was upsetting for her. Much spiritual resonance and beautiful actions – she mentioned, in passing, that she goes to the West Bank at times.
She also mentioned that Rob wrote a letter to the Dharma community exploring our possible responses to the man – made climate destruction. I did not know of this letter and I am offering this for your perusal, as a possible method of liberation from the binding brought about by this situation. Already, it has helped me immensely because of its loving clarity and honesty.
Also, one of the loving carers who tended Rob as he became very weak, shared his excitement when he designed stickers to put up in the streets of rural Devon. The slogans for these are listed before the letter – they are still being stuck on lampposts, even though he is not with us in person!
For me, these actions are still inspiring and guiding me. Rob may not be on earth physically but him and his actions and teachings are even more, a huge part of my life.
You can read Rob’s letter here
Contributed by Jill
Once more they gather beneath a moon
Encircled by still sweet tone of evening
In shapes made whole with feel and form
Time moves alone without pause or mind
And Ebbs to the ancient rhythm of no god
Divine shape of space in an empty vase
As night calls like distant roosting birds
It’s guileless mood perfumed by the dark
Contributed by James
Stay together, friends.
Don’t scatter and sleep.
Our friendship is made
of being awake.
The waterwheel accepts water
and turns and gives it away,
That way it stays in the garden,
whereas another roundness rolls
through a dry riverbed looking
for what it thinks it wants.
Stay here, quivering with each moment
like a drop of mercury.
— Rumi in The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Contributed by Barbara