Read DeNNiSOmeRa’s #SeasonOfGratitude Story

To wrap up a beautiful series of Gratitude Stories, longtime Sangha member Dennis Somera shares his experience with cultivating beloved community through sangha:
For the past decade, arriving on my cushion at the East Bay Meditation Center’s People of Color Sangha has alloWEd me a deep sense of gratitude, especially surrounded by (as well as supporting) others seeking refuge from HEgemonic patriarchal white supremacist culture.
Practicing with the POC Sangha and then with the Men of Color Deep Refuge Group has deeply supported the reconnection of my Buddha nature to Sangha. The weekly and daylong affinity group meditation sessions embody EBMC’s commitment to Radical Inclusion, which structures care (from john powell) into its daily practice as an organization.
Where politicized Sangha might falter in other spaces, at EBMC, we work with each other at the nexus of power and privilege. It is currently happening with groups like White and Awakening in Sangha and the Men of Color Deep Refuge Group.
Through EBMC’s relentless efforts to create an accessible space – in terms of location, physical accessibility, the Gift Economics model, and radical inclusion – EBMC is institutionalizing a structure of care for all people. In another EBMC deep refuge group, the Restorative Practices for Dharma Practitioners, we are attempting to structure even more Sangha care by integrating restorative practices/ talking stick circles/ council structures (respectfully drawn from Restorative Justice and indigenous wisdom) into more regular practices at EBMC.
When meditation is not only radical acceptance and attendance to the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows of our own individual lives, but is also extended outward to our communities, we can practice radically attending to each other and building a structure of care in BEloved community through a more inteRElational sangha practice.
EBMC’s radically inclusive care for all is the essential foundation for building beloved community and sacred sangha. It’s the way to open the door to everyone, allow our communities to learn and heal together, and bring this transformational practice into all of our daily lives.
In gratitude,