This last February I stayed in the main house as a winter steward for 2 weeks. This is something that I had done in the past: taking care of the fire, watering the plants while practising solo in the heart of winter. My expected 2 weeks of quiet meditation didn't really turned out as such! This time there were retreatants on site, visitors, and a lot of various tasks to tend to. I admit to a bit of frustration at first...After 5 days I realised that my practice at the centre was going to be one of Karma Yoga!
Once I accepted the role it became an absolute pleasure to take care of everything. I've been coming to meditate at the Dharma Centre for at least 16 years. I always come there to bathe in the silence of the retreats. All these years I could feel everyone's depth and love around me but I never really had the opportunity to interact or meet my fellow practitioners.
This time during my time at the centre I had to connect with many people from all walks of life that were linked to the place in various manners. I could see that each of them loved the place and gave their time and energy to care for it like a home. It was amazing to finally meet 'the other side' of the Dharma Centre, to meet the individuals that are not only dedicated to waking up but that are also putting their unique gifts toward this retreat centre. It is a miracle that a huge property like this runs and thrives especially when the founder Namgyal Rinpoche is not here to be the spiritual binding glue. It was wonderful to discover this invisible family of highly spiritually and emotionally developed people which holds the place together. I saw the property like a living organism that has its own reason to be and mission. It feels like magic that it can even exist with no owner, held together by groups of people that regularly change over the years.
But it's not just some whimsical mystery... a lot of us are working hard, with much joy, gratitude and appreciation to keep it alive. If you love the Dharma Centre, have special skills, extra money or extra time, do not hesitate to also show up for some Karma Yoga practice. I can testify that it will deepen your feeling of connection not only to the raison d’être of your personal practice and its core intention to always be of benefit to others, but also connect you to the property and further to a community of extraordinary people.
Gaia Orion, Visionary Artist