Each month on or about the full moon, I’ve been trying to write a post about some aspect of dharma practice that’s relevant to what’s happening in my own life. This next full moon though, I plan to be on retreat at the Insight Meditation Society’s Forest Refuge in Barre, Massachusetts, for the whole month of May, and I won’t have access to email, computers, or technology of any kind.
Even though I’ll be in silence and solitude, I know from past experience that a powerful feeling of connection with others can happen on retreat, especially with other meditators. I’d been wondering about ways to make that felt sense of connection more tangible, then by coincidence, a friend sent me information about the “Mindful in May” challenge. This challenge combines the benefits of committing to meditate every day, with fund-raising for Charity Water.
A not for profit organisation, Charity Water donates 100% of its funds to providing clean water in regions such as West Africa, where Mindful in May founder Elise Bialylew describes ” … watching in disbelief as women walked barefoot along cliffs for miles, balancing litres of water on their heads, only to do it all again the next day … For the lucky ones the water they brought back to their families were from clean wells – for the unlucky ones, contaminated water would quickly infect their families and lead to sickness and oftentimes death. This problem seemed so overwhelming, I really wanted to do something to make a difference, but I just didn’t know how it would be possible.
Fast forward 12 years and that latent feeling of wanting to make a difference came to the surface in an unexpected way through the idea for Mindful in May. When I created Mindful in May four years ago, I never would have imagined that four years later it would have spread into a global movement and have impacted the lives of thousands living without clean water.”
To commit to the Mindful in May challenge, you sign up to meditate for 10 minutes a day for the month of May as either a team or individual. You then receive access to a one month online course, which includes a meditation program delivered daily to your inbox, including audio guided meditations and video interviews with global experts such as Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Kristin Neff and Dr Richard Davison.
If I wasn’t already on retreat at the Forest Refuge, I’d definitely be taking up the challenge! I’ll be meditating every day anyway, so if you’d like to join me in spirit you might consider signing up for “Mindful in May” here:
A second, highly worthwhile way of boosting your dharma practice in May is the online “EcoSattva Training” being offered by One Earth Sangha, starting Sunday 10 May 2015. This training has evolved from the series of five online “Mindfulness and Climate Action” conversations in the fall of 2014, and is an opportunity to “join Joanna Macy, Rev. angel Kyodo williams and other great wisdom teachers of our time as we explore, connect and support each other in engagement amid these profound changes.”
Again, an opportunity I’m sorry to miss, but hopefully some of you might be able to join it. More information here:
Whatever you’re doing in May, I wish you well and look forward to exploring the dharma with you again soon.