We invite you to join a global prayer circle for supporting our brothers and sisters in India, who are facing an utterly devastating and heartbreaking surge of coronavirus.
In India, when someone's loved one passes away, there is a common tradition to go for a "besnu", which quite literally translates to "sitting". No words are spoken, but community members simply sit in silence with a wordless whisper in their hearts -- "We are in this together." While we can't wipe away others' suffering, our kinship certainly creates a field of resiliency and reminds us of the grace that lies in between the dance of embrace and release. Together, we awaken to not only help "walk each other home," but also to ignite our innate compassion to support others.
In a similar spirit, our 2-hour video call will be anchored in evoking the sacred from diverse spiritual traditions, interspersed with an array of voices who are currently in the midst of unspeakable tragedies, and the stories of everyday heroes on the ground who are finding the courage to respond with great compassion.
To join us, simply RSVP below and you'll be emailed the details.
Beyond the call, we also hope to offer various options for collective engagement around varied expressions of stillness and service. For immediate physical aid, countless communities are galvanizing direct aid -- liaising shipments of oxygen concentrators, donations, and other supplies to trusted relief initiatives on the ground in India. Yet, there are now millions who are grieving the loss of direct family members in odd times of social-distance. So many more are quarantined and searching for coping mechanisms. On an even subtler level, "there is a fear that keeps you alive, and there is a fear that keeps you from living." As labor-of-love virtual circles spring up to that end, we surface more questions than answers: How can we collectively hold the immeasurable toll of widespread grief and loss, fear and anxiety, and their long-term mental, emotional, and cultural impacts? How can we engage the goodwill around the world to support a matrix of solutions that balance emergency with emergence? We don't know but perhaps unexpected "non-linear" solutions may arise as we hold these inquiries together -- not merely for India, but for life at large.
Among the many luminous spirits on our call, and many faiths like Hindu, Sikh, and Jain, we feel blessed to have global prayers offered by:
Buddhist monks Jin Chuan and Jin Wei, from Northern California's DRBU and Berkeley Monastery, whose depth of cultivation shines through the humilty and compassion imbued in their very presence.
Christian minister, Rev. Bonnie Rose, of an interfaith church in Southern California. A former nurse, actress, community leader and nurturer of a wide-ranging motly family of animals -- her irreverent reverence, and spirit of sacred imperfection touches all whom she encounters.
Bahá'í practitioner Professor Michael Penn, a Clinical Psychologist, Department Chair and Professor of Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, U.S. A near-death experience at the age of 22 transformed him into a seeker, his work has compassionately contributed to the field of Human Rights and one of his popular courses is titled, "The Nature of Hope".
Peace Prayer steward, Yuka Saionji Matsuura, Deputy Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai, a spiritual organization dedicated to world peace and raising the consciousness of humanity. Based in Japan, her bright and humble spirit of compassion moves all who cross her path -- whether on a train at 3AM, while addressing the UN, or at the foot of Mount Fuji.
From Judaisim, community leaders Aryae Coopersmith and Wendy Berk, who host Torah Circles where people of different backgrounds gather to study sacred Jewish texts, and "the circle is the teacher". Both have been life-time students of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and Aryae has authored a riveting book about his life titled, Holy Beggars.
Sufi practioners Aslinur and Marian, soulful authors, artists, and pilgrims based in Turkey. Aslinur Akdeniz Brehmer, who comes from a lineage of Sufis connected to Rumi's teachings, and Marian Brehmer, who has written a book on Rumi's life.
And many more offerings!
Thank you, all, for your heart of prayer.
To join, please RSVP below, and we'll share more details as we get closer.