I hope this finds you as well as possible amidst all of the rapidly changing conditions of our world. We are sending deep mettā to those impacted directly by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and, on this interconnected planet, to all communities as we feel both the strength and fragility of our interdependence.
It was a blessing to be joined by more than 350 of you here on the land for our regular Monday night meditation class earlier this week. Please let me share the link of the conversation I had with Paul Hawken around how to stay grounded and steady as we navigate the spread of the Coronavirus, global climate change, and other current challenges. We talked about how to use these conditions as a portal to connect to the teachings, right here, right now.
I also offered some teachings on compassion, courage, steadying the heart and gaining a wide perspective via video call to a big group in China the other night, some of whom are at home in quarantine. To get them to laugh, I told them there were a large number of people on retreat at Spirit Rock who paid to sit silently and not go out and not speak to anyone—and that in China they were getting their retreat for free! We talked about how the Bodhisattva turns toward difficulty and deepens their practices to quiet the mind and cultivate compassion for all.
Currently, Spirit Rock’s doors remain open to support practice and to help all of us cultivate goodwill as we face change and new challenges. Right now, we are blessed to be in the middle of our longest residential retreat practice period—our one and two-month retreatants are here, which means almost 100 people sitting meditation up the hill in our retreat center through the end of March. In the meantime, our Community Meditation Center is open for weekly classes and weekend programs to support your practice.
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds, at all levels. We are deeply committed to the safety of our practitioners, teachers, and staff on the land. We are proactively taking preventative measures throughout our campus, continuing to follow county health and government protocols, and acknowledging the dynamic and unknown nature of these conditions. We will use our practice and our policies to make the most skillful response needed as things change—which they will—and will continue to keep you up to date.
The need for the Dharma is stronger than ever. We can choose to live in our fears, confusion, and worries; or to stay in the essence of our practice, center ourselves, and be the ones on this beautiful boat of the earth that demonstrate patience, compassion, mindfulness, and mutual care.
With mettā on behalf of all of us at Spirit Rock,