https://eastbaymeditation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/EOY-Facebook-5.png 788 940 Candi Martinez https://eastbaymeditation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/EBMC_logo_top-space.png Candi Martinez2020-12-23 12:47:002020-12-30 10:10:37“Abundance of access to true refuge” – Jared Swanson Gratitude Story
“Abundance of access to true refuge” – Jared Swanson Gratitude Story
Have you experienced generosity at EBMC? Sangha member Jared Swanson shares his experience of coming to the center and finding resources at a time when he needed them the most. Jared is part of our POC Sangha, Midday Sangha, and has received his Bodhisattva vows and precepts through EBMC.
The “magical generosity” continues as our Season of Gratitude unfolds.
I was introduced to meditation and mindfulness as a young person, however when my dad would tell me, “You are not your emotions,” my teenage self just wanted to scream “Shut up!” in his face. It took years of therapy before I got curious enough about my needs and examined cyclical behaviors that led to unnecessary suffering. A more studious approach to well-being led me to podcast dharma talks, books and teachers. My excitement grew so much that I did a Google search for “meditation in Oakland” and discovered East Bay Meditation Center. I naturally sought out Sangha before knowing what it even meant!
EBMC entered my life at the right time. I was primed and ready to find a sense of belonging and to be gentler and slower with myself and my practice. When I arrived at the center I thought, “Wait..what is this place?” It felt like a vortex of belonging and inclusion…in an office building of all places! The temple was calm and quiet and I was greeted by two Sangha members when I arrived. There was no required “buy in” to be included in the community. I’ve never experienced a place where doors keep opening for you, a place that is welcoming and kind. People really need that kindness.
As a multiracial person, I’ve never felt like I belonged. On one hand, the Latino side of my family has been completely homogenized and I grew up in predominantly white suburbs. On the other hand, I encountered hostility when some in the Latino community found out I didn’t speak Spanish and I was told I had abandoned my culture. I was confused about my identity. At EBMC, I found a place that was honest and authentic about the complexities of being a person of color and especially a multiracial person. EBMC has changed my entire point of view on therapy, healing and reciprocity. It’s hard to describe or encapsulate what EBMC is; its impact is so personal to each of us. It is a place of true vulnerability, a gift that has no capitalistic value.
I couldn’t believe that, regardless of my financial constraints, I was lucky enough to find a place to deepen my practice, access education and resources, and build healthy relationships with friends and mentors. I dove right into POC Sangha, Midday Sangha, and so many healing classes and daylongs. I don’t think I ever would have gone on a retreat had it not been for the encouragement and recommendations to scholarships by Sangha friends. I was deeply in debt when I first came to EBMC, and it’s hard to articulate the impact that affordable access to spiritual teachings, spiritual community, and spiritual friendship had on me during that time. EBMC felt like an abundance of access to true refuge.
How do I thank EBMC for sowing these purposeful seeds? How do I repay such magical generosity? I hope to be a conduit so EBMC’s mission may reach more people like me. Thank you all for making this Sangha so special. I miss being with you so dearly.