Sangha of the Month for February 2017: Wake Up Berlin
How did Wake Up get started in Berlin?
The founders met in 2007 during a meditation retreat at the EIAB. In 2010, they decided to continue their practice by starting a group for young people in Berlin. At first, we met at the founder’s home once a week. The Sangha was still very small, maybe 3-5 people, and the founder mostly facilitated the evenings.
What kind of people come to your Sangha?
Our group is pretty multicultural. We have quite a few Vietnamese practitioners and people from different Wake Up groups around the world, or practitioners who know the tradition from one of the retreats. We are open to facilitate the evenings in German and in English, and we don’t mind switching spontaneously. We have a stable core group of about 12 people who come more or less regularly and who pay for the room. I feel like this is a group for people who don’t necessarily “fit into” society patterns and who are looking for some stability and connection in a huge city like Berlin.
Where and when do you meet?
We meet every Tuesday at 7.45pm in different people’s homes.
On average, how many people show up?
About 10 people, plus-minus. 19 was our record!
What is the format of your Sangha sessions?
There are always two facilitators during the evening, and they change each week. We start off with a “weather report,” where we say something about our internal weather; then we often carry on with a silent or guided meditation. We sometimes do mindful movements or walking meditation, read a text, listen to a Dharma talk, sing a PV song, or enjoy a total relaxation. We have some very talented “relaxers” in our group who have a lovely singing voice. I think every member in our group has their own special talent when facilitating. We always end with a Dharma sharing. Everyone is free to change the program and incorporate new ideas. The summers are the best because we can go out into the park.
What challenges have you faced as a Sangha and how did you deal with them?
After a long time, we decided to move to a public room, so that we could have a neutral space for more practitioners rather than being a closed group at someone’s home. We also wanted to be able to write the full address on the website. Berlin is a huge city. It’s like a city made of villages.
We have our practice room just in the middle, so that it is convenient for everyone (or evenly inconvenient for everyone. 😉 ) Some of us miss the more cozy atmosphere. So, very rarely, we also meet outside of Tuesdays to meditate or eat together. Now, with the new room, we also have to pay the rent, i.e. we have to keep an eye on our finances. About 12 people are paying 10€ each month for the room and we receive danas.
Another thing which is hard is that often a lot of bureaucratic/organizational work sticks with just one person. Not everyone can devote so much free time to Wake Up outside of their work. For the content of the evenings, it’s sometimes difficult to know if there are boundaries or where to set them. Is mantra singing ok? Can we read texts from different authors? At some point, people who are joining our group also know Wake Up from other places and like to feel returning to a family they already know. Therefore for us, it’s important to have two facilitators each Tuesday, one with more experience so that there are two voices who can discuss the program for the evening.
To get in touch with Wake Up Berlin, click here to email them
Click here to read about friends from Wake Up Berlin living together in a Wake Up House. 🙂