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Wake Up Toronto May 10, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend my first ever Wake Up event. This was the first Wake Up event I had heard of that was taking place in Canada, and possibly the last Wake Up event I will be able to go to, so I wanted to check it out while I had the chance.

It was the first time I met monks or nuns from Thay’s sangha, and I really enjoyed spending time with them. There were about six or seven monks and nuns who came, and I really enjoyed all of their smiles and laughter, they all seemed very joyful and happy. They also spoke about mindfulness practice, and you could tell that they were firmly enthusiastic about everyone taking up the practice to enjoy the benefits. It was very encouraging.

It was also nice to be around such a large group of people my age. There were about 40 people in attendance, as well as four people who helped to organize it. I was very excited and inspired to see so many people my age who were interested in meditation and mindfulness.

We spent over an hour in dharma sharing, and almost everyone took a turn speaking about what brought them there that day. I could see a huge variety of reasons and personal situations that affected different people. There was even some discussion about mental illness and difficulties, especially panic disorder and substance use.

At the same time, I was mindful of how many people might have wanted to come but couldn’t make it for various reasons, either because they were too busy or had to work, or were afraid of a new situation. These types of thoughts came up the last time I was on my retreat, and I think part of it is due to feelings of inadequacy, like I don’t really deserve to be “taking time off” of my usual life to attend events like these.

I could see from the dharma sharing that people do have a lot of reasons for meditation practice even at a young age. I realize now that I hadn’t really spent much time thinking about the certain causes that might make young adults even more likely than people of other ages to turn to the practice. At the same time, I haven’t really thought about the obstacles for practice for young adults.

A deep relaxation guided meditation was part of the event, and I really enjoyed it. One of the monks led it and he included many mindfulness songs, and he had such a beautiful singing voice. There was a moment where I enjoyed incredible peace and joy and I felt completely nourished and supported right where I was. A thought suddenly arose: “I am not my work.” I had been trying to leave my worries about my work behind and just enjoy the moment. It was during the deep relaxation that I felt that I was connected with my deepest self, and I felt gratitude that I had made this day more important than my work. It fulfilled a need that goes deeper than work and money.

Overall, I’m glad that I was able to meet some new people my age and feel a sense of social support in my practice. Nevertheless, I have been contemplating that maybe it might be a weakness of mine to place too much importance on needing to be around other people who share my spiritual practice. I think I let myself get discouraged in my efforts when I don’t see other people around me doing similar practices or appearing to place similar values on what I value. I know for certain that I have difficulties having confidence and faith in my own path and on making it on my own. I know that, in the past, I would seek out sources of knowledge to justify my values, for instance through reading up on environmentalism, voluntary simplicity, and feminism. I think I need to cut myself some slack, though, because I have spent the past year and a half without a local sangha or teacher. I think I have been doing all right! 🙂

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