Community care is the practice of creating an environment that welcomes all who come to FCM and providing a wide variety of opportunities for support and fellowship.
To build community and connections among practitioners, FCM and the local sanghas offer many formal and informal activities and programs to get to know and appreciate each other in personal ways. This also includes organizing groups to meet particular needs, e.g. FCM phone sanghas (when local sanghas are not available) and special interest groups.
The purpose of social activities is to build bonds of friendship and caring by getting to know each other in different contexts, strengthening the sense of community and learning/practicing/enjoying various skills and experiences together.
Local sanghas organize activities such as yoga and qigong classes, movie nights, vegetarian cooking classes, nature outings, singing/poetry gatherings and concerts, and potluck meals. Some of the activities are family-friendly to encourage people to bring their children to the Center.
Please talk to any FCM member and/or follow us in the weekly Mindfulness Matters newsletter and the FCM Events/Calendar
on the website for more information.
The Tampa Practice Center has designated one Sunday per month for practitioners (both FCM members and non-members) to bring their children and teens. While the parents/grandparents of children over 5 years old practice in the Meditation Hall, we provide young people with an opportunity to practice gentle meditation and other fun activities in an environment of mindfulness and loving-kindness. If the child is 5 or younger, we ask that the adult stay with them in the Education Building.
Please see the FCM Events/Calendar
(Family Programs are the first Sunday of each month) for more information and to register for the Family Program.
New members are welcomed in several ways and asked to complete a simple questionnaire so that FCM can better support their practice. New members can opt to have a senior practitioner assigned as their mentor for 3 - 6 months in order to receive personalized encouragement when first establishing a daily meditation practice. Special events are organized periodically for new members to meet our teacher in a small group setting. Finally, community care volunteers also reach out to members to assess their needs and follow-up with lapsed members to learn how FCM can better serve its members.
"Kalyana Mitta" is the Pali term for spiritual friends. Kalyana Mitta groups are small groups of sangha members who commit to meeting together on a regular basis to discuss and share their experiences in the practice. These groups occur in addition to weekly sangha gatherings and are less structured. KM groups are a powerful means of strengthening and broadening our practice. The group setting provides an opportunity for members to practice deep listening and to support and nurture each other in efforts to bring the practice into daily life. They are an enjoyable way to deepen practice and form connections and friendships with others who are on this same Dharma path.
Groups begin with sitting meditation followed by mindful sharing and discussion. In Dharma discussion members are able to benefit from each other’s experiences by sharing the joys, difficulties, insights, and aspirations of their practice. The groups end with a brief time for each member to reflect and share his or her thoughts on the session.
Group members develop a deep sense of trust and acceptance that allows for true exploration of our Dharma journeys of personal transformation. Members of FCM can access information about current KM groups by clicking here
When a local sangha is not available within reasonable geographic reach, FCM members can join a phone sangha that meets regularly and is facilitated by senior FCM practitioners. Prior participation in an FCM intensive or retreat is preferred, and a commitment to participate in all calls is required when a member joins a phone sangha. Deep sharing and deep listening is practiced, and sometimes a particular Dharma talk is the focus of the call.
Community care also means “being here” for each other. It involves knowing the FCM community well enough to identify situations where individuals are in need of special attention and providing support and referrals to specific resources when appropriate. “Being here” includes reaching out to people who are no longer attending functions regularly and to people who we know are acutely suffering.