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New Friday Morning Selfless Service Opportunity

09 Jan 2018 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Selfless service is a service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for the person performing it.  Maria Sgambati is the Coordinator of Selfless Service and under her leadership we have begun devoting one Saturday morning a month where we collectively gather for selfless service.  That effort has been so successful in deepening our practice of mindfulness, building our community and maintaining our facility that we have decided to expand it to a weekly Friday mornings (except for the first Friday because we will have the monthly meeting on that Saturday).  On the other Friday mornings we will complete the tasks that need to happen weekly (e.g., cleaning the kitchen and the education building).  There is no expectation of result or award in selfless service but many of us have found that it is always a joyful effort. 

We will begin Friday morning selfless service on January 12th and the general schedule will be:

7:00 – 8:00 am

Sitting at Sunrise Meditation

8:00 – 8:30

Light Breakfast

8:30 – 8:50

Short sitting to resettle everyone and guidance on tasks

8:50 – 10:15

Work meditation

10:15 – 10:30

Closing Circle

You can attend all or any part of the morning.  You might not be an early riser and would rather come in time for breakfast at 8:00 and work meditation at 8:50 or you might want to leave earlier than 10:30.  You can come for sitting meditation for the full hour or 30 minutes or 15 minutes.  No registration is necessary.  We want this to work for your schedule so you are free to make any necessary adjustments.

This is an opportunity for the maintenance and care of our practice center so that all who come might find peace and beauty there.  However, we are not in such a hurry to get the work done that we forget to maintain our practice of mindfulness.  In fact, most of us have found that the more we concentrate on mindfulness, the more energized and happy we are in the work.    I was surprised the first time we did Saturday morning selfless service that when I went home I still had plenty of energy to spend the afternoon doing yard work. 

The Plum Village website says, “Working meditation links us to our everyday life, both here and when we return home.  As we are working at out computer or preparing dinner for our family or teaching a class, we can practice stopping, calming and refreshing ourselves with our conscious breathing.  We can relax and smile at our co-workers and pace ourselves to maintain a light and serene state of being.”

Selfless service is also an opportunity to connect with others in the FCM community.  It is wonderful to be part of this community and to be on the path with other Sangha brothers and sisters.  We recognize our interdependence with them and it is with gratitude that we serve each other in this important way.  It opens our hearts to practice the Buddhist teachings on compassion and being of benefit to all human beings.

Some of the comments made during closing circle on the first monthly selfless service morning of 2018 were:

  • Rich Brown – “I am grateful to the 27 people who got out of bed when it was 40 degrees to ensure that this work gets done.  We need people’s help.”
  • Liz Stepp – “I am deeply grateful to work with people to take care of this place we love.”
  • Maria Sgambati – “Many hands make light work.”
  • Pat Lucas – “By far, the most peaceful and nurturing time I’ve had this week.”
  • Diane Powell – “This embodied a community practicing together in harmony and awareness.”
  • Brian Stepp – “[Quoting Woody Allen] “Ninety percent of success is just showing up.  Selfless Service is like that and it is nice to see so many people just showing up.”

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