I toyed with the idea of following the path of the Order of Interbeing (OI) for several years, but it didn’t manifest because I was busy with Wake Up and I had no idea about whether I could get in or if I wanted to do it. I had read an inspiring book Learning True Love by Sister Chan Khong, and later on Verena from my Sangha encouraged me to apply as a OI aspirant; that gave me last push I needed. I sought to deepen my practice and I wanted the support of like-minded friends: it worked out well!
I was able to do a 2-year aspirancy with the Order of the Interbeing in the Netherlands. Last year, we met for a couple of weekends at the Vriendenhuis Nooitgedacht, a lovely Sangha house where we can follow activities of Thay’s teachings. We went deeper into the 14 Mindfulness Trainings, invited the bell, and did some chants and ceremonies.
There were one or two principal Mindfulness Trainings we focused in every meeting. We then shared about them via email and during our weekends. At the beginning of the first year, I had some concerns about whether I would be connected with the older members of the Order of the Interbeing because of my relatively young age, but those worries proved unfounded. Our group was growing closer, and it was really good to see everyone again and again. We have also had lots of of laughter, and I looked forward to going there again every time. The reflection on my practice was formerly first an individual process. An important part of the process, however, is that you share with others about your experience and your path. I have noticed that this has brought more continuity and depth in my practice.
My perception about the Order of the Interbeing is subject to change. At first, I was not sure what to think about it: I was scared to be part of a closed, exclusive club in a movement that promotes inclusiveness. What I have discovered is a network of like-minded practitioners who really make the practice a part of their life and are therefore working to make the world more beautiful. I found a Sangha that supports each other to integrate the practice into daily life. The Order of Interbeing is not a group of practitioners who know it all, but it is one of the possible paths that you can follow to keep practicing. I think a lot more people are needed in the Order of the Interbeing, and I hope that more will sign up for the OI aspirancy program. In this way, this Sangha can grow increasingly in momentum, and we let ourselves be inspired more and more by our ancestors of the School of Youth for Social Services.
Loyal Opening of the Heart and a facilitator of the Sangha in Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Jerome is a 37-year-old practitioner and lives together with his wife Eefje and his son Onne. Besides being a dad, enjoying the practice & playing with his two-year-old, he works as a psychotherapist in private practice.
This article was originally published in Dutch on wkup.nl