Gathering with the volunteers (08-06-2019)
On June 8 we had a gathering at Yeunten ling with the volunteers to discuss the challenges we are facing in Yeunten ling. This was the kick-off of a 6 month transformation journey.
We started with a speech from Lama Zeupa who explained the 6 paramitas in the context of our volunteer work at Yeunten Ling. The first paramita generosity is about giving and taking in our relationship we have with the center. We give something to the center and the center is giving us something back. We can see to it ourselves that this is in balance. But generosity is also about letting go. Sometimes we need to let go of our own opinions and concepts. The 2nd paramita, moral ethics is about not cultivating hatred and jealousy. Lama talked about the danger of divisive speech. Especially if people come here with a fresh mind and good intentions and they hear this divisive speech, their minds will get disturbed. It is ok to make mistakes, if we have good intentions, but divisive speech is not ok. Then perseverance or enthusiastic energy is about your willingness to help, it is no obligation but it comes from your intention to help others. It is also about accepting difficulties in order to have result. Concentration is not only about meditation but also in our daily life (also as a volunteer) to be aware. Patience is about not acting automatically but we should contemplate the result. If you think negative about somebody for example: you can transform that, but if you impulsively talk negative to them, you cannot take back these words afterwards. Wisdom is about our interconnection and interdependence. The students depend on the teacher, but the teacher also depends on the students. There is no superior and inferior, it needs to be in balance.
Then someone asked lama Zeupa what his dream for this center is. Lama said that in the first place, people in this society need a place to go and rest. A place with harmony and respect for each other, without pressure. We should keep a relaxed atmosphere for each other. People should also be able to express their difficulties and problems. After that we can go to a deeper level: study and practice more serious. Lama added that it is not his dream to become a company with a lot of stress how to gain money.
Lama said it is ok to have different opinions and argue and discuss how we can make things better for the next generation. And that was exactly what we also wanted to do for the rest of the day. To look for solutions for the challenges we are facing in the center now. While lama was talking, Ada had projected a slide with an inspirational quote: “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence — it is to act with yesterday’s logic.’
After positioning our minds in this great mindset, we all wrote down three values that we personally find important in this center. What came out of this was: kindness, compassion, connection, respect, authenticity, joye, serenity, peace, integrity.
The next workshop we split in smaller discussion groups to think about our mission and vision for the center. After letting everyone talk about it, our group came up with this mission statement: Yeunten Ling is a place to come home to, to come home with yourself, for sharing with others, to learn, grow and change as a person, to become a better person, to overcome your suffering, to develop compassion for yourself and others, with the guidance of an authentic living tradition and like this regenerate this Tibetan tradition and spread this in the world.
Then we had a small vision quest in our group and stepped into the future of how we picture Yeunten Ling to be in 10 years from now, after overcoming all the obstacles and growing out to its fullest potential. The things our group saw were: happiness, enjoy, peace and love, euromillions (;-), more lamas who come together, all generations doing teaching and practice all at their own level, play, peer learning and respect for each others work. Another group had drawn a tree as vision: the smell of the tree is the atmosphere our center is breathing out as a community and is being taken home by those who visit us. If other people who meet those people in turn, like the smell, they will also want to come and visit us.
The following workshop, we divided again into our smaller break-out groups and discussed the problems and challenges we meet on the different levels of the center: governance, finance management, infrastructure management, transparency, the activities, the relationship with the participants, volunteer engagement and support, guidance by teachers and relations with the administrations.
It felt good to reconnect, to be able to express our worries and the challenges we see for the center and take this in a constructive flow, start to think about solutions. Then we had to take up the challenges and solutions from another group, and think about their impact on the wellbeing for this center. Does it have a high or low impact? And is this an easy fix or more difficult thing to realise? Solutions with high impact but more difficult to realise, were categorised as long term solutions. Those with high impact and easy to realise: are high priority. Solutions which were easy to do, and with low impact, were categorised as easy fixes.
Each workshop was moderated by a moderator who had to be the time keeper and make sure every one could equally say their opinion. Someone else in the group had to write a report and report it to the big group afterwards. The day went by real quickly and we worked very hard. Even if we were tired in the end, we all had the discipline to stay and listen to all the groups their results. A lot of solutions were presented and their is a lot of work to do.
What touched me, is that we need so many people to realise all this and we are short of hands. This motivated me personally to make more of my personal time available for the center.
Many people are willing to help, but also we need to find a way to organise all this and canalise this in the good direction. We need to be able to use everybody’s talents for the right purposes.
But the most important thing of the day was that we felt connected to each other and have a constructive attitude towards the problems. And that we received recognition for the challenges we all face in a different way in the center. It felt a little like a teambuilding and generated a lot of positive energy, starting from the recognition of what is already going well, but also recognising the challenges we face.
In the end we could put action into words and had to chose 3 items of the solutions that came out this day and that we want to put into action ourselves. We also had to name 3 of our talents the center could use. This sheet was collected and will be processed later on.
So now we still have a follow-up of 6 months. We all feel that the work is not finished and we need to continue to work on this. Ada made a summary of this all and already send it to all of us and she will also present it to the General Assembly. At the end of these 6 months we will have a follow-up meeting in which we can see the results of our work.