Sculpted for Service

Welcome to the Thunderdome!7/2/2013

“Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a DRAGON!

It’s true though”

-Colette

Life at Dharmalaya has shifted gears recently. As new people arrive and integrate, I find that this fluid, intentional community has a life of its own. The hardest part for me to understand is why it feels so natural. Why do these people, who I just met, hold such a special place in my heart? Relationship building seems to occur at an incredibly accelerated rate here and, as a result, I am noticing certain personal attributes which hinder my ability to connect. In noticing these tendencies, I have found my ability to alter these tendencies and allow for development in an environment free of judgment—or at least free of care about judgment.

When Jensen arrived two weeks ago, I started to see the energy around Dharmalaya start to change. It was a little unsettling for me as I was finally starting to feel comfortable in my space here. I felt as if it would take me forever to accept the idea of so many people sharing this space I have come to call “home”. However, here I am, two weeks later and eight land-mates heavier and I couldn’t be happier about it. An incredible group of people have assembled here in northern Eugene, and I can already tell that great things are in store for us.

The first week has just finished and already participants and staff alike are experiencing profound changes through both spiritual practice and the penetrating energy exhibited by the individuals gathered here. I believe our intense Tuesday night journeying experience with Karuna was just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what kind of energy this amazing group is capable of generating.

With the orientation week finished, it is going to be interesting to see how the group dynamic adapts to a new environment. The transformations have already begun!

An Experiment in Community — 6/15/2013

When I arrived at Dharmalaya here in BEAUTIFUL Eugene, OR, I had no idea what would be in store for me. I arrived; expecting it to be similar to my only previous WWOOFing experience, but what I found was that Dharmalaya is unlike anywhere I have been in nearly seven years of traveling the United States.

I was introduced to the idea of starting a Community Supported WWOOFing (CSW) program almost immediately after arriving. It didn’t take long to gain enough support from the community to officially kick off the program. The idea was that Ravi, Madhu and Asha would be our gracious hosts while the surrounding community would provide either direct food donations or monetary donations to be used for food and incidentals in exchange for work on their property. The WWOOFers would then be free to manage their own food supply and live in a small community within a community.

We commenced the CSW experiment with three exceptionally motivated individuals which provided the energy needed to jump-start the program. In the first few weeks we found ourselves working with five different permaculture properties located within a mile of one another in the River Road neighborhood of northern Eugene, OR. It seemed that, through our variety of projects, everyone was having an opportunity to not only exhibit their strengths, but to pursue their own specific interests as well.

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However, as WWOOFers come, WWOOFers go. I find myself watching this program develop and succeed as not only a means to help support a very intelligent, progressive community, but as an experiment in a sort of fluid intentional community where house/land mates are often changing. In, just six weeks I have found myself working and living alongside six other WWOOFers and countless members of the community on eight properties. Projects have included design, construction, gardening, irrigation, composting, nursing plants, and various others. The people in the community here are open to allowing you added responsibility if you show an aptitude for handling it.

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As if that isn’t enough, I have also fallen into a period of deep spiritual development. Since I was a child I haven’t resonated with any form of spirituality. It was interesting to find myself drawn to meditation and yoga upon my arrival to Dharmalaya. I never felt forced or any sort of dogma being pushed upon me. Sunday group meditation was my first experience with the spiritual aspect of Dharmalaya. I was unsure what to expect, but what I found is that the whole gathering is devoted to making everyone feel happier through time tested techniques; from the opening singing to the toe tapping dance, the silent mediation and group discussion. And trust me—it works. Since then I have been developing my practice slowly, taking meditation lessons, and reading about the fundamentals of meditation. I find my ideals shifting slightly to make way for a more conscientious form of myself.

I expected Dharmalaya and Eugene to be just another temporary stop on my journey of self-discovery, although with all the incredible knowledge, people and experiences I can see materializing, I’m not sure when, if ever, I will leave.

–Ben Riley–

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