In case you’re not on our mailing list, here’s the newsletter and monthly tip you missed:
Transformation happens in an instant; however it takes time to integrate a new level of awareness into one’s life. As we walk the spiritual path, it’s important to give ourselves the latitude to incorporate all we are discovering at our own pace. Many people create needless suffering because they tell themselves they should “know better” when they slide back into old habits after a profound realization. What we can do instead is celebrate our awareness of the so-called backslide, since that is proof of the realization. From this place of open acceptance of all that we are, we can embrace our new level of awareness and embody the transformation at whatever level we are capable of in that moment.
This transformation occurs at the individual level and at the community level. The power of the Summer Solstice radiated through our last volunteer meeting, creating a new growth spurt.
As part of our discussion, we talked about how Dharma Center is based on the concept of the Exchange of Gratitude, that teachers give their time and wisdom while students return the gift by practicing the teachings, and by supporting the teachers and their projects.
We also reviewed the growth of our community. In retrospect, we can say Dharma Center has gone through a few different versions:
- Dharma Center 1.0 – In our first phase, Dharma Center focused on the jewel of the Buddha. We created Dharma Center to share the magic and miracles of Rama, and celebrate the Buddha-nature within each of us. All we really cared about was pure meditation, and sitting with anyone and everyone.
- Dharma Center 2.0 – Over time, our focus changed to the jewel of the Dharma, and the value of the Teachings. We began charging class tuition to help students understand the importance of participating in the exchange of gratitude, and to show that the teachings have a concrete value. The students who continued with us through this transformation took the teachings more seriously and their spiritual lives blossomed in a very grounded way.
- Dharma Center 3.0 – We are now on the cusp of rolling out the newest version of Dharma Center, with a focus on the Sangha, the community of practitioners. While the Path must be walked by each individual, we are blessed to have the company of other serious and fun-loving practitioners who wish to develop and refine their love of Light.
As part of our transformation, we will be incorporating ways to make Dharma Center more sustainable to ensure the community will continue far into the future. Our current balance sheet shows us operating at a $2470 deficit for the year. (Please keep in mind at this point as a privately owned company no one is collecting a paycheck, which keeps our annual costs very low compared to other organizations.) To help with the rising costs of our expenses, beginning August 1, there will be a small tuition increase to $15 per class /$10 for members. We will also begin offering a 30-day Unlimited Class Membership of $80 per month, which will give access to all public classes with no additional tuition plus all the benefits of Dharma Center Membership.
Teresa will be taking over Membership renewal notifications and help continue developing our Membership program. Most of our financial support comes from Memberships and also our retreats and social events are designed for Members, so this is a key piece for us both financially and as a community. Please keep an eye out for emails from Teresa in the near future. Read on below to learn about our most recent Member adventure.
During the volunteer meeting, we experimented with video conferencing through Skype, which expanded the opportunity for more volunteers to share their voices and visions about the future of Dharma Center. We will continue to broadcast our monthly Volunteer Meetings free of charge to encourage more community participation. Please update your email profile to include the Volunteer list to learn how you can dial-in via Skype for our next meeting, or drop me a note and I will add you manually.
In addition to our price adjustments and new membership level, in August we also plan to begin offering at least one meditation class each month where people can join us live via Skype video. This will allow us to extend our reach beyond San Diego and welcome those who live out of town to our community of practitioners.
Thank you for indulging me by reading this very long newsletter. I promise next month will be shorter! I am thrilled about the transformations I am experiencing within my own being, and even more so with the transformations I am seeing in our beautiful spiritual community.
All of us at Dharma Center are ready to make this next leap, and we hope you are ready to join us!
We look forward to sitting with you soon!