Sangha of the Month for July 2014: Wake Up Madrid
By Ben Curtis
Wake Up Madrid was formed after the visit of the monastics from Plum Village in Spain during April and May 2012 and also thanks to the passion and commitment of two young people JuanPe and Héctor, who offered to lead the group since the beginning and continue doing so until this day. Without their presence and dedication, probably Wake Up Madrid wouldn’t be like how it is now and wouldn’t have this cheerfulness, vitality, spontaneity, respect that characterize them.
Who forms the community?
Many people have passed through Wake Up and it’s thanks to all of their influences that have allowed shaping the group the way it is today. Most of us are young people who are starting the practice, but we have a great deal of enthusiasm to continue watering the seed of mindfulness within us and in our way of life.
Where and when do we meet?
We are fortunate to be able to have our gatherings in the Parque del Retiro in Madrid, behind the Crystal Palace. The truth is that being surrounded by lush trees and having the ability to sit on a fresh green blanket is a luxury to practice and share mindfulness.
Every Friday, we meet there at 6pm and even though we’ve set the meetings to last two hours, many times we’re often surprised to see that night has fallen and that some candles and a blanket of stars are the only witnesses to the passage of time.
How is each of our meetings?
What’s magical is that each gathering takes on a different aspect, sometimes very deep and introspective, and other times more cheerful and spontaneous. We usually have a set number of practices that we love.
We usually start with a stretch of the body through yoga, make way for the sitting meditation and walking meditation, and usually end with a warm group-sharing: sometimes on a theme to reflect a particular practice to pay special attention or simply an openness of how we feel in the present moment.
Another thing we love to do is to sing, especially songs from Plum Village and many others. We have a great time singing! And to feel that state of joy, spontaneity and innocence is supported with a practice so simple and beautiful.
What characterizes Wake Up Madrid?
Apart from the precious practices of sitting/walking meditation, sharing, etc. that we practice in every gathering, something that makes this group unique is that there’s a total openness to initiatives that go out among the group members.
We want the aspect of the mindfulness to be always present, but we also give space for people to propose different activities and in one way or the other, get the group involved: either by leading a small practice of Chi Kung, dances, yoga in partners, expression through painting, a different meditation or some relaxation technique, some games… So we all contribute and we ensure this ingredient of openness and spontaneity.
Magical days that we lived!
Each gathering is unique, but maybe we can highlight two of them that were particularly enriching. One of those was our first Day of Mindfulness. We went to a small house located in a Wake Up friend’s natural space, and we enjoyed a mindful cooking, followed by a savor of every delicious bite of the food prepared with much love. After a friendly sharing after lunch, we went to take a walk in nature and said goodbye to a day so beautifully lived.
The second day to be highlighted was our unique celebration of “A Day of Happiness.” On 20 March, we gathered in one of the busiest sites of Madrid, the Sol zone, and we shared our joy with people: we played games, sang, danced, wrote on a mural what happiness meant to each one of us, gave hugs everywhere, spread positive words … and of course we came home with a heart filled of happiness about being united one way or another or being united with as many as other hearts.
And now that you know Wake Up Madrid better, we invite you to live it and share it with us! Contact us at madrid[at]wkup[dot]org