The Dharma Gives Me Perspective
It saddens me that at a time of such uncertainty and fear, when so many people can benefit from the teachings and the practices we offer, the doors of the centre will remain closed. I love the West London Buddhist Centre, love the community of people who come to the centre, love the beautiful little Buddha in our shrine room. I love practising collectively with other committed practitioners. And I love the opportunity to introduce newcomers to meditation and Buddhist teachings knowing their value, knowing they have the potential to change lives in such beneficial ways.
It gladdens me whenever people share their positive experiences of coming to the WLBC, whether they find it a calm and pleasant environment, a place of healing or their spiritual home. Sometimes people tell me that coming to the centre has literally saved their lives. I believe them because that resonates with my own experience. Learning meditation and developing a Buddhist practice helped me let go of self-destructive behaviours, to find a better way of living my life. Even now, whenever times are tough and I’m struggling to cope, it is the Dharma that keeps me going, the Dharma that gives me perspective and the Dharma that helps me to stay connected with others and the world.
Now more than ever the world needs the Dharma so while the centre is closed we will move to offering activities online, sharing the Buddha’s teachings which are still relevant and effective all these years after he first communicated them. As well as keeping you posted as we develop our own online presence, we will be signposting you to other content which we think you might find helpful in our weekly newsletter and on our website. One course which caught my attention is, ‘Mindful Self-Care for Troubling Times’ a free online course offered by our partner organisation, Breathworks.
And we do need to take care of ourselves, not just by following guidance issued in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. We need to take care of our ourselves by continuing to work on our mental states in our meditation and our daily lives, by practising mindfulness and kindness. Trying to stay grounded in the body, turning towards our experience (however challenging) and seeing through habits and views that may add to our own and other’s suffering.
We also need to take care of each other – not just our friends in the sangha but people in the wider community. In these difficult times when so many are being asked to stay at home and to self-isolate for long periods of time, even a brief moment of connection can make a really big difference. Offering to help someone with shopping or having a chat are very practical ways we can give each other help and support.
I’ve been on the receiving end of so much kindness and generosity this week, a reminder that Metta is out there for us to receive, that Metta does not have limits.
Thinking of you all with much Metta,