Sangha of the Month for May 2015: Wake Up Pereira
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How did Wake Up get started in Pereira, Colombia?
The first time we heard about mindfulness was from our yoga teacher Paola García, 3 years ago. Since then we got really interested in the practice mainly because of the peace and calm that she radiates. We searched the Internet looking for information about Thay, his books, teachings and videos, and we began developing our own practice of meditation based on breathing.
Finally in 2014, we had the opportunity to attend a Plum Village retreat that was being held in Bogotá. We came back with full of strength, confidence and inspiration to start a Sangha here in our city (Pereira, Colombia). Since then we meet every Friday along with all the people who want to come to practice breathing meditation, share experiences and practice Thay’s teachings, taking care of our mind and body as a community.
Who attends your Sangha?
All kinds of people, especially young people (less than 35 years old). All of them come to look for a way to become happier, calmer, to be in control of their emotions and appease their minds. Elderly people also visit us regularly; they enjoy the company of the younger ones and both groups constitute our community.
People who attend our Sangha come from different kinds of ideologies, political ones, religious ones, but inside our community there is a huge sense of respect, all feeling accepted and valued. Things like social position or origin are not important at all.
When and where do you meet?
We meet every Friday at 6.45 p.m in our yoga school.
How many attend the sangha?
Between 15 to 20 people and approximately 10 are regular members.
Tell us about your Sangha sessions.
Our sessions last 2 hours. We practice sitting meditation, walking meditation, conscious movements and mindfulness games. In every occasion, we take the chance to watch a video of Thay or read a section of any of his books; then we open a space for everyone to share their opinions on the subject. At the end, we share a cup of tea and some fresh fruits.
Once a month, we go on a field trip to meditate and have a nice time together by the river, the mountains and Mother Nature.
What makes Wake Up Pereira special?
We practice in a way that practice becomes part of our daily lives, to be capable to transform us, and make us a lot happier. We practice from the heart, from our real lives and we believe that honesty, that sincerity is what makes Wake Up Pereira very special.
Do you have any dreams regarding your Sangha and your mindfulness practice?
We would like our Sangha to become a permanent refuge for all the practitioners of mindfulness in this city. We would like to keep nurturing our community with the energy of this Sangha as long as possible and help everyone who come looking for a chance of transformation and healing.
We would love to be visited by the monastic community and be able to share a beautiful retreat experience or a workshop along with the people of our town.
We dream about people being able to get enough inspiration and strength not only in order to keep their daily practice, but also for being able to share it with others in their neighbourhood, workplace, family, and create Sanghas wherever needed.
Personally, we would like to visit Plum Village and attend a 21-day retreat, especially a retreat for teachers.
I hope that our practice grows along with the global community of practitioners and that we could continue supporting each other in order to build peace inside ourselves and in our countries.
Note: This Sangha is currently inactive.