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Sangha Spotlight

The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Buddha refers to the enlightened mind of the Buddha that is brought forth through meditation and practice. Dharma refers to the teachings of the Buddha: the “map.” Sangha refers to a community of like-minded people who are pursuing their journey together.

While all three of the jewels are essential on the Buddhist path, at Namchak we bring a special focus to the jewel of the Sangha, or community, providing tools for people to come together, form groups, and relate to one another in a deep and harmonious way.

We refer to these mindfulness groups as Learning Circles. Learning Circles are small, intimate groups that meet regularly to practice meditation, share, and study together. We provide Learning Circles with the support and tools they need to create fruitful learning environments that apply spiritual insight in a group-oriented and practical way.

Showing is usually better than telling, right? We chatted with Emily, one of our Learning Circle members, about her experience in meditation groups. And here’s what she had to share about it!

What is the name of your Learning Circle?

I have three and will be joining an in-person circle in Denver! Warriors of Love, Monday MoManga, and AWE (not sure the name of the Denver circle.)

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have a pretty positive attitude, and I love to laugh and make people smile! I travel and enjoy change. I recently moved to Denver, Colorado. I’m an in-person and online personal trainer with a focus on corrective exercise, pregnancy, postpartum, and the pelvic floor. I enjoy playing soccer, yoga, dancing, and cooking, among many other interests, including Buddhism.

Why did you join your Learning Circle?

I initially joined my first Learning Circle because I wanted to meditate daily, and I thought it would help with accountability!

What does community mean to you?

To me, community means having a group of support with a common interest or goal. Even though we come together from different backgrounds and places, we are all coming with intentions of growing and learning for our benefit and the benefit of all beings!

Tell us about one of your favorite Learning Circle meetings in the past year.

One of my favorite meetings was also one of the hardest. I was a little upset with something that had been said during an exercise we were practicing. When I decided to say something, I had a bit of a crying fit. I felt really embarrassed, and one of my other circle members started crying, too. It was so uncomfortable, and the conversation that followed brought much needed clarity.

How is your Learning Circle benefitting you?

I have had a lot of growth from my Learning Circles because of moments like the one mentioned above. Because I know it is a safe space, I feel more comfortable being messy and embarrassed. I am learning how to voice when I’m frustrated to open a discussion, which is something I have always avoided in the past. Having a space to practice communication and being more direct has impacted how I show up in my relationships. I also find inspiration and accountability for my meditation practice and to be more intentional and mindful in my life from my Learning Circles.

What types of meditations are currently resonating with you and why?

I recently have started doing Vipassana meditation. This has really helped me to be more aware of the story creation that goes on in my mind! I didn’t expect that, and I notice myself being more aware throughout the day as well.

What social causes do you feel passionate about and why?

Oh, there are so many…I think helping people with housing and financial stability would alleviate a lot of issues, especially among single moms. Moms have much power in shaping future generations, and it completely changes lives and futures to have basic needs met.

What does a more compassionate world look like to you?

A world where labels are held less tightly for ourselves and as we see others. Where we all see the good in people and remember our connection. Where an angry, sad, or hurt person is met with a hug and is able to surrender to that hug and connect with their vulnerability. Where we can shed the layers, drop our masks and armor, and find peace.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

Not really, but what comes to my mind right now is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff.” Lovely book 🙂

How can people join your Learning Circle?

We might have room for one in Warriors of Love on Thursday nights! And in-person in Denver! Email [email protected] for more information.

Anything else you want us to know?

Thank you to everyone at Namchak for all you do and all of the support you give the Learning Circles! It has impacted my life tremendously, and I have so much gratitude.

Searching for “meditation groups near me?” Check out our group meditation options with our current list of Learning Circles HERE. Note that there are options for virtual meditation!