Ashram Reopening Party Speech


Hello my friends! It has been much too long. I am happy to announce that the Citta Bhavana Ashram of SL reopened today, Tuesday June 27! You can catch a ride here.

Below is a copy of the opening address I have given. In a separate post, you will find a copy of the short guided meditation.

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Welcome, my friends. It sure has been a while since we’ve gathered together! It is an absolute pleasure to welcome you all to the new Citta Bhavana Ashram.

Some of you may be returning, while others are new. If you are returning, you may recognize many of the hosts, musicians, and others offering their time and wisdom through this ashram. However, for all of you, this location is new. I have to extend a very warm thank you to the owner of the land, Xandria Drake, for providing us a place to be. We wouldn’t be here today without her.

This ashram closed in the fall of 2015. It’s hard to believe that was almost two years ago already! A lot of change has occurred in that time, both in SL and otherwise, and both personally and universally.

Growth occurs constantly. With every breath we take, every passing moment, every event in our lives and every time there is seemingly nothing happening, change is occurring. It is through necessity that this change is growth. Nothing becomes less than it is. Even at death, what is there only changes, it doesn’t leave.

So, though the ashram closed, the people we met here and the parts of ourselves that we learned more about remained. Hopefully, those parts have also grown, and the relationships have expanded and strengthened, and hopefully we can all come together to share what we’ve learned since then.

With the return of the ashram, the hope is not to take away from any of the other venues or offerings in SL. We recognize that there are many amazing places you can call home and find community and wisdom. We are merely another layer to this already rich world.

SL has been a big part of my life for many years. It is here that I’ve gained some of the deepest relationships I have, with people I never would have met if it wasn’t for SL. This is what I’m looking to provide here; a space to learn from each other in a supportive and caring environment. A nurturing community.

The name of the ashram is Citta Bhavana, meaning ‘cultivating heart/mind.’ Bhavana on it’s own means ‘spiritual cultivation.’ All the events here are organized to support this inner growth in some way or other, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, discussions, dances, music, ritual etc. Our hosts and guests come from many traditions around the world, and are not limited to one path or another. Instead, we believe that all paths are useful and that each person will find meaning in different perspectives. All things offered here invite you to examine your self and those around you rather than telling you how things should be.

At this ashram we ask you to invite into your life what you want to share with others as well as yourself. It is through positive, intentional action that we are able to change our perspectives and lessen our suffering. I strongly feel that as a community, we can provide the support and friendship that we all wish for along our journey. And, because of our amazing diversity, there may be something for everyone.

The current events we are offering are listed in a notecard on the wooden message board you can see by the stage. More events will be announced and added to the note as time goes on.

But one of the new offerings that I’d like to say a little about is what I call “listening hours”. Every Monday at noon SLT I will be in the office of the ashram, on the upper floor of the main building. If anyone would like to talk with someone who has no judgment, an open heart, and is here just to listen, I’ll be available. Everything you say will be completely confidential and will not be copied or repeated anywhere. If you’d like to talk outside of the designated listening hours, you are more than welcome to contact me and we can set something up.

If you are a host, artist or musician, or would like to contribute to the ashram in another way, please contact me and we can organize something. You don’t have to be a professional or have years of experience to offer something positive to the community; you only have to be you.

Now, Sunshine will be playing some wonderful tunes for us for the next little while, but please also feel free to explore at any time. There is a library; a zen garden; an onsen; various places for yoga, tai chi and meditation; and many places to sit and relax on your own or with friends or loved ones.

Once again, thank you all so much for your renewed support and interest. You are welcome to come use this space whenever you like, and for as long as you like.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu…May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. Namaste _/\_ Thank you.

It’s Winter at the Ashram…


Winter Ashram

Come see our newly designed sim:
􀀑http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dreamworld%20Crystal/105/148/22

So, you wonder, why have we decided to honour this winter season at the ashram?

The simplest answer is many, many reasons. We believe that the winter season is a time to be spent with family and friends – which all of us here in SL are for each other. We at the Ashram provide a space for community to develop beyond the common marginalizations of society. In honouring that, we have decided to hold a space for hot cocoa and cider, snowmen, bonfires, music, and kindness, amongst various other things.

Around the world there are various traditions which are celebrated during the winter season of the northern hemisphere, including Chrismas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, and various other things of course. We do recognize that it is only winter in the northern hemisphere, but who doesn’t love snow and cuddling by the fireplace in the company of friends?

All of these traditions have similar heart-qualities, which are traits or aspects recognized universally. I’m sure

we could go on forever making a list, but some that we are focusing on are gratitude, kindness, selflessness, faith, unity, cooperation, and fun!

Come to the ashram to learn more by interacting with the various decorations and activities around the sim, as well as spend some time with friends. There may be some gifts around, too 😉

If you have a tradition that is not represented at the ashram, please contact Chraeloos Resident and we can arrange it to be included! Yes, this means new things will be added regularly so please come by often!

Thank you for your continued support and sharing this space with us!

Yours truly,
♥ The Ashram Team

Read a bit about these traditions below:

Christmas – December 25
This is a celebration held by all Christians and many non-Christians world-wide that commemorates the brith of Jesus Christ. Most often it is celebrated through church services, gift giving, family and other social gatherings, and symbolic decorating. Christmas trees, caroling, David’s star, and hanging

lights are examples of symbols used in decoration for this holiday. It is from this holiday which Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, etc. emerged. This figure is a common figure in many Western cultures who brings gifts to the homes of good children on the night before Christmas day, known as Christmas Eve.

Kwanzaa – Deceember 26-Jan 1
This is a celebration held in the United States and Western African Diaspora which honours African heritage, unity and cultura in African-American culture. It was first celebrated in 1966-7. During this week the seven principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba) are celebrated, one for each day. These are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). A common wish recited: “May the love of family and the heritage we share light the way with happiness and pride for generations to come.”

Hanukkah – 25 day of Kislev (dates change yearly as it

is based on the Hebrew calendar rather than the Gegorian calendar).
This tradition is also known as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. A common symbol is the menorah or hanukiah, a candelabrum of nine candles, one lit each night of the holiday. The ninth spot is usually above or below the rest and is used for practical candle-use, as lighting the eight lights for purposes other than publicizing and meditating upon Hanukkah is forbidden.

Winter Solstice – December 21 or 22 (depends on the year)
This is an astronomical event which has been celebrated by many cultures over history, but these days is mostly recognized by Wiccans and Pagans. It is a celebration honouring the Sun reaching its lowest excursion relative to the equator. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year, and for those in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the longest day of the year. It represents

rebirth, and is celebrated world-wide in various cultures involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals and other celebrations including all three listed above. Many figures in mythology can be said to represent this time of year, bringing about new crops. It is also related to light winning over dark and rebirth in all it’s aspects.