Our first story of this season is by one of our newest Sangha members, our dear Angel. Angel shares the heartwarming story of their relocation to Oakland to be closer to EBMC, moving further down the path of building their spiritual home.

Fat non-binary person with curly hair named Angel, wearing a gray and white shirt, blue jeans, and glasses, and sitting out on green grass petting a small dog.

For over a year I evaded a dear EBMC sangha member’s invitation to attend the People of Color Sangha. They understood I was lost in a deeply rooted stagnation and every week they offered to virtually attend the sangha with me. At the time, I had no compassion for myself and could not name values that guided my life. Slowly, we moved toward opening my heart to know compassion and loving kindness. The day I chose to sit in front of my computer and show up for myself on a Thursday evening, my path changed. I finally understood why the invitations kept coming despite my declines. Practice at the East Bay Meditation Center means hearing guidance in the stories of our teachers and Sangha, feeling like the freedom to move and dance in meditations, and pouring your heart into a métta meditation through song. Practice is allowing myself to sit through meditation on a difficult day knowing the dharma talk by teachers like Arisika Razak and Renato Almanzor will unearth parts of me I have not seen and guide me on how to build with others toward equanimity and joy. 

It was through virtual practice I grew to movement, but I knew there was so much more to be done. So I relocated from Los Angeles to be closer to the Sangha and the spiritual home I am building at EBMC. Stepping into EBMC in Downtown Oakland for the first hybrid event since the pandemic and seeing the massive library, justified my move to seek community and growth here in Oakland. Although I am still very new to the practice and EBMC, I look forward to more in-person connections and chances to volunteer. EBMC’s gift economics model enables everyone who seeks this kind of belonging to be in community. It is your support and dana that will allow me, and hopefully you, to move further down the path to liberation. I offer gratitude and protection to our many volunteers, teachers, and donors for providing the space to be entrenched in #EBMCGratitude.