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Regather, Remember, Rejoice! – EBMC’s 10th Dharma-thon

Help us reach our goal by supporting one of our Dharma-thoners by clicking here!

As a Dharma-thoner, you will get to enjoy a magical afternoon of powerful music, delicious food, and beloved community at the Gardens at Lake Merritt on September 25, as we Regather, Remember, Rejoice!

 

Re-gather Remember Rejoice poster


ONLINE: Introduction to Mindfulness & Meditation

An Online Class Series with Ramón Honea, Imee Contreras and Rebekah Eppley

Mondays, October 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th 2022

7:00 – 9:30PM PT (Time Zone Converter)

Closed Captioning Provided

Mindfulness is an ancient teaching that has proven to be more relevant and beneficial in these current times. It has been scientifically proven to improve empathy, manage stress levels, and increase present moment awareness. This course is ideal for those who want to begin meditation practice, develop consistency, or to revive a long-term practice.

Beginners and seasoned practitioners are all welcome to explore the basics of mindfulness, establish a daily practice, incorporate various meditation practices, and embody a mindful lifestyle.

Registered participants will receive a zoom link along with their EventBrite confirmation. 

EBMC Summer News & State of the Center Report

Read all about it! What does East Bay Meditation Center and its community have to do with cutting edge Socially-Engaged Buddhism, Deep Time Liberation, the first Yemeni music concert ever in the U.S., indigenous wisdom, the Gift Economics worldwide movement, and much more? Read all about it in the July 22, 2022 issue of the EBMC e-newsletter and the EBMC State of the Center Report.

We’re always happy to answer any questions at admin at eastbaymeditation dot org.

[photo: Alfred Schrock on Unsplash]

Practice in Transformative Action

Spring Equinox News 2022: State of the Center Report

All Things EBMC: Spring Newsletter & State of the Center Report 
Did You Know That…?
For complete information,
click to read the full
  •  EBMC has always operated from rental spaces in Oakland, California. Now we need to raise $2.9 million dollars to meet our goal to purchase and renovate a sustainable home for EBMC.
  • EBMC’s Program Director says she’s reflecting “on the robust programming and pedagogy that has shaped our year (2022) so far,” with exciting offerings such as “The Future Is Black: An Introduction to AfroFuturism, Dharma and Black Feminism,” a retreat led by core teacher Arisika Razak and shah noor.
  • EBMC’s board of directors, called the Leadership Sangha or the LSangha, has two new members, Anjali Sawhney and Stephan Gordon? Find out more about them in the March EBMC State of the Center Report!

 

  • We’re looking forward to a new database and a new website, also, in 2022.

 

  • Over the coming year, EBMC will continue to support capacity-building projects including honoraria to support teachers, ASL interpretation, expanded staffing and benefits, and major digital infrastructure improvements.

Read the full State of the Center Report HERE. 

 

EBMC supports us to address conflict and challenge injustice -Tenesha Duncan Gratitude Story!

EBMC’s Season of Gratitude concludes with a beautiful story from Sangha member Tenesha Duncan about how EBMC supports us to skillfully address conflict and challenge injustice.

“As someone who grew up in a Buddhist household, I’ve long been familiar with chanting and some meditation practices. But EBMC’s secularism and focus on social justice makes it the first space I’ve been in where I’ve felt able to bring my full Buddhist self with all the identities I carry. 

I moved to Oakland in August 2018 for a new job in philanthropy that focuses on reproductive health and justice. Within a year, the challenges I faced in this position led me to seek a therapist who, as it happened, had been a part of the PiTA program. Upon her recommendation, I attended the POC sangha. Being surrounded by the energy of so many other people of color meditating together made me realize what a magical place EBMC is. Shortly thereafter, I applied and was accepted to PiTA 7. Not only did EBMC become a welcoming spiritual home for me through this program, but what I learned about mindfulness through the study of the center’s multicultural agreements would change so much about how I approach my work and life.  

One of my most formative experiences in EBMC was at the weekend  retreat, “Embodying the Timeless Wisdom of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.” with Konda Mason and Noliwe Alexander. It was the first time I’d immersed myself in a space that celebrated Dr. King for his radicalism, his complexities, and the way his teachings connect to mindfulness and Buddhist practice. Most powerfully, it offered me the opportunity to reflect on and practice the power of right speech. I realized that the willingness to be honest, to regularly discuss tensions as they arise, and to challenge ourselves to ask questions in order to connect with the whole of people is what makes EBMC so special. These experiences and the way that EBMC holds these values makes me feel less afraid to address conflict and injustice. Here, I can trust that we, as people of color, can carry each other through tensions. Now, in my philanthropic work, I feel more confident to push on the pieces of systemic inequality that I have power over. My experience with EBMC’s values has helped me to bring mindfulness to a space that is deeply ingrained in patriarchy, classism, and white supremacy culture. 

Gift economics has also been deeply transformative for my role in philanthropy and how we talk about the shifting power in our relationship to money. Organizations like EBMC are having an outsized impact on the world relative to the resources they receive. Dana challenges me to see what we value as not just being about money, but transforming how we relate to and support one another. It is up to each of us to make sure that the justice work we are engaged in, and the radical leadership work EBMC makes possible, is sustainable. 

I am grateful to EBMC for continuing to show me all the ways I still have room to grow in my justice work, and for the way the center and its programs have strengthened my own leadership in my community.” 

***Thanks to Sangha members like Tenesha and the tremendous generosity of our community, we exceeded our fundraising goal this year and raised more than $40,000 for EBMC’s vital programming! Deep appreciation to all who made financial contributions this Gratitude Season. If you did not yet have a chance to donate, there is still time! Please click here: eastbaymeditation.org/generosity/donate Thank you!!!***

EBMC offers transformative practices for people with breast cancer – Tsehaynesh Abebe Gratitude Story!

EBMC’s Season of Gratitude continues with a moving story from Sangha member Tsehaynesh Abebe about using the powerfully transformative skills EBMC offers us to deal with life’s challenges and uncertainties.

This is the last day to reach our end-of-year fundraising goal of $30,000! Please join Tsehaynesh and donate today.

When I began the Practice in Transformative Action (PiTA) program for social change activists at EBMC, I was completing my yoga instructor training, continuing my plant medicine studies, and had been practicing various forms of mindfulness and meditation. Specifically, I was engaged in a lot of self-study to learn more about how African histories and influences play an integral role in these spaces. Being involved with PiTA exposed me, for the first time, to the experience of studying mindfulness and meditation with a diverse group of other BIPOC practitioners. We celebrated one another, our cultural backgrounds, and explored how our identities inform our spaces and practices; we were living the lesson that there is no one way to meditate or practice mindfulness. 

It was during PiTA that I had a couple of experiences with breast cancer that hit closer to home. I saw that doctors were great at providing medical care to rid bodies of cancer, but that there could be a stronger mind, body, and spirit approach to the whole person in conventional cancer care treatment. Many times receiving holistic cancer care was not covered by health insurance, or the out-of-pocket fees were so expensive that it was out of reach for many – costing thousands of dollars. I recognized that many of the approaches being taught in holistic care were those I had found through my own research or learned at EBMC and were accessible to me because of the commitment to the practice of dana there. 

I knew that the teachings I received at EBMC offered something powerfully transformative for people who are diagnosed with a chronic illness, like breast cancer.  And, it offered an approach that did not deny pain or discomfort, but also made space to acknowledge gratitude in the process. EBMC taught me that an experience did not have to be one or the other – that you can be in discomfort and also be grateful. And that you can seek to remain balanced and positive in your approach to the stress, since uncertainty is a part of life.

 I remember talking one rainy day with someone who mentioned how terrible the weather was. I replied with my gratitude for the rain and for the way that it nourishes the earth and our bodies. This was an automatic response that had arisen from my practice in PiTA with mindfulness around everyday tasks. My approach to eating had changed too. Now, I was consciously chewing and experiencing the tastes and textures of my food and thanking the earth, the sun, the rain, and the people who made this food possible – from the farm workers to those who transport the foods and those who stock the shelves, etc. 

This way of experiencing the world has strengthened my foundation for building an integrative approach to self-care and has been integral to creating an affordable and accessible integrative self-care resource for others to access this kind of support. This year, I started “Our Breast Care,” a site that offers meditations, affirmations, guided imagery, and other evidence-based resources for people who have been affected by breast cancer. This site offers instruction in a wide range of mind-body practices. Using sound, art, breathwork, and movement meditations like qi gong, Our Breast Care focuses on integrative self-care in mind-body wellness, nutrition, sleep, exercise, and the environment. 

I am so grateful to EBMC, to PiTA, and especially to Mushim Ikeda, for generously offering an experience that continues to serve as an anchoring resource for me as I evolve in the work that I do. They have made it possible for me to share what I have learned with other BIPOC individuals who do not have access to these teachings as sources for support, resiliency, healing, and wellness.  My hope is that Our Breast Care can offer a source of support and community to anyone with breast cancer, at high-risk, and/or their loved ones.  And, I hope this inspires your generous giving to EBMC.

EBMC has been the silver lining in the extreme isolation of the pandemic – Hooman Gratitude Story!

EBMC’s Season of Gratitude continues with a beautiful story from Sangha member Hooman about finding the EBMC community online as the silver lining in the extreme isolation of a global pandemic.
We have $10,000 more to raise toward our goal of $30,000! Please join Hooman and donate today.

I first heard about EBMC at a queer retreat at Spirit Rock with Larry Yang, Arinna Weisman and Pascal Auclair. At the time, I didn’t live in the Bay Area, so I got involved in meditation communities in San Diego. My circle of meditation friends and I would dream of having  something that mirrored EBMC’s strong POC and queer representation. These dreams faded after moving to Arizona, where there is even less of a queer, POC meditation community. With the onset of the pandemic, however, access to the center opened up for those of us who don’t live near Oakland. 

EBMC became my silver lining during the lockdown. Being able to regularly attend the Alphabet and POC sanghas were my means of feeling connected. Attending became  essential for coping with the extreme isolation of the first year of the pandemic. These groups were also the only outlet I had to a secular spiritual community that wasn’t about religion or religiosity but something more spiritual. I recall EBMC community teacher, Arinna Weisman, talking intentionally about the word “remember” as a way of re-membering who we are. This teaching reminded me of my humanity and the humanity of those around me, regardless of how their values might differ from my own. Within the center, I’ve found liberation in building relationships with people with whom I’ve been able to explore the difficulties and joys I’ve had in life. In the sangha, I’ve found a nourishing form of refuge, a sense of belonging, connection, and ease. That it is a secular space is important because our connections become about re-membering our shared humanity, rather than adhering to ideologies.

The teachings and communities at EBMC have profoundly affected the way that I work and relate to the people I work alongside. I see groundedness reflected in the way the volunteers, staff, and leadership at EBMC live and embody values of the organization in a way that stands in contrast to cultures of over-saturation, over-stimulation and quick gratification. For instance, at a community meeting updating everyone about EBMC’s search for a new space, “community” extended to include anyone connected to the center, not necessarily those physically close by. I was also struck by the attention the committee paid to making sure that our new space was accessible, not just by having an elevator, but by ensuring that most of the center’s operations take place on the first floor. Here, I see our values being truly embodied by the organization. When we say radically inclusive, we want everyone in our community to feel welcome, not just the majority.

In an effort to more deeply connect with and support this community, I joined the Alphabet Sangha Coordinating Committee in 2020, providing leadership and tech solutions for the sangha’s online platforms. I’m grateful to EBMC for providing such a safe and welcoming space for myself and others, now across the country and the world; and I hope you will support the center as well. 

EBMC supports us to heal from the wounds caused by toxic masculinity – Julio Rios Gratitude Story!

As we continue our annual Season of Gratitude, we bring you a Gratitude Story from Sangha member Julio Rios! Julio celebrates EBMC as a community that supports us to nurture spiritual friendships that help us heal from the wounds of oppression.
During our Season of Gratitude, we are raising $30,000 to ensure that EBMC continues to be a spiritual home for all who need it. We have raised $12,056 toward our end of year goal.

EBMC has always felt like a welcoming space, from Mushim’s Introduction to Meditation for People of Color in 2013, to Thursday POC Sangha nights ands beautiful New Year’s Eve community celebrations.  

What solidified EBMC as a home and community for spiritual friendship for me was a daylong event I attended called Visibilizing Our Invisible Wounds (for self-identified men of color) led by EBMC’s Men of Color Deep Refuge Group in 2018.  Not only did this workshop provide mindfulness tools to examine the wounds of my conditioning, but for the first time in my life, I found a group of other masculine-identified people of color who were on the same journey, many of whom modeled the vulnerability I desperately needed to heal.  For the first time, I shared my experiences being socialized as a boy, and how they had shaped my adult experience, realizing I had lost access to a tenderness that was buried deeply under my passive compliance with masculinity. I resonated with the stories of others because they were similar to mine, and I experienced a strength in vulnerability with the support of the group.  Even though many of us were meeting for the first time, we walked together in silence from EBMC to Oakland City Hall in unison, taking up space, and building community.  It was a powerful event, one I will never forget.

I still have a long way to go on this journey. I’m not sure there is an endpoint. But that day, I caught a glimpse of what freedom in a post-patriarchal world might look like, and I met a group of men, some of whom are now my closest friends, who showed me it was possible. Since then, I have served as a coordinator for the POC Sangha, and have been involved in smaller peer-led groups of men, inspired by Sarwang Parikh’s somatic therapy practice groups. I do this work because it supports my own healing journey, and because I want to share that spark of freedom with others.  

I’m grateful to EBMC for hosting the event that changed my life, as well as other events focused on men healing from toxic masculinity through mindfulness practices. With the support and generosity of our community, I hope to help the Center to keep those sparks going.

EBMC is committed to ending the suffering caused by white supremacy and patriarchy – Rhonda Magee Gratitude Story!

As we continue our annual Season of Gratitude, we bring you a Gratitude Story from Sangha member and teacher Rhonda MageeRhonda, the acclaimed author of The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities through Mindfulness, celebrates EBMC as a community of practitioners focused on bringing an end to suffering, promoting healing, and uplifting love.
During our Season of Gratitude, we are raising $30,000 to ensure that EBMC continues to be a spiritual home for all who need it. We have raised $5,780 toward our end of year goal.

I first became aware of the East Bay Meditation Center some years ago, while searching for fellow travelers on the journey into deeper study of Buddhism. As a Black woman who had become a lawyer and then law professor, I knew something about moving through a world structured by white supremacy and patriarchy, and was on the lookout for those committed to waking up to the suffering caused by that. I sought those actively creating communities of practice that seemed capable of living up to the promise of the Four Noble Truths to help bring an end to suffering while promoting healing, repairing and uplifting love.

 Fortunately for me, at a gathering of teachers from a variety of religious traditions, I met Brenda Salgado, a force of nature who would go on to serve as the Center Director for EBMC. Later, while working with other meditating lawyers to provide more support for socially-engaged practices, I learned that jon a. powell, whose work I had long admired, would be offering a workshop there. I decided to attend that conference and was immediately struck by the welcoming and fully inclusive, community feeling at EBMC.

Years later now, I’ve been fortunate to offer guided meditation and practices to support mindfulness-based engaged resilience for the POC Sangha and other practitioners at EBMC. And alongside founding teacher, Mushim Ikeda, and Crystal Johnson, I’ve helped co-create and deliver a fundraiser for EBMC: a course of study and practice aimed at sharing skills and insights of multicultural community building with the leaders of other centers of Buddhist practice across the United States and beyond.

Founded on love and generosity from within, EBMC’s leadership in the field of Buddhist practice in the United States will no doubt continue to flourish. And I look forward to deepening my work with EBMC’s dedicated and loving community. But doing so requires the support of those who can see and feel the critical value of providing trustworthy spaces for all who seek to learn, heal and grow in awareness, compassion, agency and energy for mutual aid. I am deeply honored to support EBMC’s mission of providing a safe, welcoming and inspiring place for all who seek genuine liberation in this rapidly changing and historically challenging time. I invite you to join me. Please give what you can.​​