Season of Gratitude: Weyam Ghadbian

We invite you to join in our Season of Gratitude at EBMC! As we close out 2019 we are sharing stories from our Sangha about how EBMC has positively impacted them and asking our Sangha to collectively raise $25,000 to keep EBMC sustainable and accessible for the benefit of so many. 

We are tremendously grateful to a generous Sangha member who has given a matching grant and so all gifts to EBMC between now and the end of the year will be matched dollar to dollar, up to $10,000! Please support the center today at the highest level you can and help us meet our end of year goal! 

From Weyam:

East Bay Meditation Center changed my life. 

I first came to EBMC five years ago when I was going through an excruciating breakup. I was feeling overwhelmed by tidal waves of grief, anger, self-hatred, and abandonment. A friend brought me to the People of Color Thursday night sit where Mushim Ikeda gave a dharma talk on the Four Noble Truths. I remember trying frantically to write down every word Mushim said in my notebook. Never before had I heard something resonate so deeply. The Buddhist teachings and practices I learned at EBMC revolutionized how I relate to suffering. EBMC taught me to be open to all experiences as they come and go, observing them intimately, kindly, and nonjudgmentally. 

For the first time in my life I found myself being able to befriend the bundle of memories, feelings, bodily sensations, connections to ancestors and life force energy that I call me. Through these practices, the friendship I built with myself became more robust, and it is now the place where I mostly reside. Even more profound, I noticed that the more self-compassion I cultivated, the more I became able to open to other people’s suffering in a balanced way. 

As a Syrian, queer woman, I’ve witnessed my communities in a state of unbelievable suffering. I used the practices I learned at EBMC to investigate my own intergenerational trauma as the daughter of displaced dissidents and refugees from Syria. Thanks to what EBMC taught me, I have deeply committed to practicing for the wellbeing of my people and all beings. I am now part of a small “Sangha” of Syrian and Palestinian spiritual activists who are working on bridging the divide between transformative change and spirituality in our communities, so that our people may heal and return to sacred governance of their land and live in harmony with each other and the earth. Without EBMC’s warm, loving, multiracial, queer, access-oriented sangha, I may never have been introduced to the practices in a way my heart could receive—and I am so grateful I was.    

Weyam Ghadbian is a queer Syrian healer who works at Movement Strategy Center as a “Culture Shift Doula.” She is a graduate of EBMC’s Practices in Transformative Action 4 and is currently part of the Community Dharma Leadership 6 training at Spirit Rock.