(From Rama sangha celebration organizers) At 12 noon on February 9, 2018, we met in Carmelita’s parking lot and caravanned to the desert. A few hundred yards into our designated destination, we formed a circle and counted off. It was 2 pm when we started hiking. Even though it was winter in the desert, the sun was burning. We walked slowly, stopping to sit in a semi-circle, facing a mountain about 20 minutes up the road.
We meditated together for about 45 minutes then introduced the storytelling. We spoke of coming to the desert for the first time and experiencing the wonder of the sky turning to whirling patterns of light and color. One by one, Rama’s students stood up and faced the semi-circle. Each person told a wonderful story. The sky flipping from one galaxy to the next as we lay on our backs. Stars moving in sharp, angular patterns then exploding with light. Colored rainbows pouring into the sky. Rama skating across the sand without touching it.
Our stories are jewels, memories of pure, clear enlightenment given to us in waves of fun and love.
We talked until near dusk when it was time to return to the area where we started the hike and form a circle of power. Again, many people shared stories and we ended on a wave of gratitude, and another count off.
The caravan formed to embark on the next mission – devour delicious Mexican food at Carmelita’s (thanks, Lenz Foundation!) and drink margaritas. Everyone did well on that mission. The birthday cake for Rama was a chocolate treat, and our singing Happy Birthday Rama resonated to the hills that rim the valley.
The next morning, we gathered in a large golf club conference room – wide space, tall ceilings, amazing views. It was the perfect spot for this gathering. We meditated together, then the presentations began. The purpose of the presentations was to share cool things we have been doing and to offer the opportunity to others who want to teach to use these tools as resources.
- The day began with Gayatri celestial communication – a chant and powerful set of arm movements and mudras. The morning’s speakers were introduced.
- Rama Meditation Society spoke of a wide range of wonderful opportunities for teachers and students, including events, teacher listings, teaching broadcasts, virtual meditations and free materials downloads.
- The Lenz Foundation described creating a ground state of appreciation of Rama’s works and students, and support for the creation, maintenance and availability of Rama’s materials via the RMMC campaign; a sample video was shown
- Win-win in accounting was offered as a versatile service provided by ST2 and ST3 students
- Business as Yoga spoke of using bodhicitta as a core business practice, and the development of a helpful product based on a new protein source – crickets!
- Powerful journeys to India were described, with the presenters offering ongoing trips that others may join
- Portals to power were presented
- Success through Meditation demo’d their website and teaching tools
- A new Rama app was displayed; the app will bring light and teaching to people all day long, based on Rama’s quotes and music
- A teacher described his path to full-time teaching and development of a curriculum for students to learn current computer science skills along with meditation and martial arts. He explained how, along the way, he opened two meditation centers and a retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains.
There were other talks, but the net effect – we have a HUGE amount to offer students when we share resources – was mind-blowing.
After a lovely lunch on the wide decks overlooking the golf course, we reassembled to hear the strawman presentation on the American Buddhist Society. Four people presented. The theme was that a central organization would support and build on the efforts of teachers through knowledge and skill sharing, funding, and physical places to gather and teach.
After the strawman, we had a facilitated brainstorming session around five questions. Each session was 12 minutes long, and people had a chance to provide ideas for all five questions.
During a short break, large post-its with categorized stickie note responses were placed on the windows – so glad there were lots of windows! – and people went around and voted for the top 10 high-priority topics that we should do right away.
The afternoon ended with a singing concert.
Champagne reception, the tables now set around the room with candles, balloons and bright decorations; fine dining with wine; a concert by Bodhi and Mudra that was uncharted in its full-on Rama energy; behind Bodhi and Mudra, a montage of Rama photos was displayed, followed by the video of Rama in Samadhi. The floor was cleared of tables, then DJ Flynn (music) and a light and visual show took over. WOW! Fun, high dancing!
We left the desert (did we leave?) with a commitment to unity, to action, and to bodhicitta (please re-read The Great Path of Awakening by Jamgon Kongtrul). We all felt magic, transformation, love and respect for each other, and a commitment to following up on the most wonderful opportunity we have now – to teach and share what we know to help others. This follow-up will happen.
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