History of the Longmont Shambhala Meditation Group
Bill Lyford In the Photo: Bill Lyford, Group Coordinator
The Longmont delek has been active for over 9 years, with weekly sitting practice in various members' homes and Shambhala Day brunches also in members' homes. Paul Cattermole started a Google group (longmontdelek) in 2006 so that we could contact people via email; currently there are about 75 people in this group.
In the autumn of 2010 the number of people attending our weekly sitting practice was reaching the limit for the capacity of our living rooms. At about the same time, Cliff Clusin, a local Zen teacher, was investigating the possibility of leasing space in a public building where he could conduct his teaching and sitting practice with his Zen community. In order to do this, he needed to rent the building out to other groups on an hourly basis. He contacted our group to see if we were interested.
At that time we had no organized leadership, simply people deciding where to gather for our weekly sittings, and where to have our potluck brunches. Because we needed to make some decisions, a group of six people arose to become what we've called the steering committee, which took on leadership of the delek. The original members of the steering committee were Tim Fischer, Bill Lyford, Trudy Lyford (previously, Trudy Van Leuven), Eric Meyer, Janet Solyntjes, and David Cook (since deceased).
We polled the membership of our delek and decided that we could afford to rent the public space from Cliff through donations from the group. We signed up with Cliff to use the space for two hours (7 to 9 pm) every Thursday evening for our weekly sitting practice, and for three hours (9 am to noon) on the first Sunday of each month for a nyinthun.
Auspiciously, Sakyong Mipham's "Letter of the Morning Sun" arrived last November, adding to our enthusiasm for making this move. On January 2nd, in our first event in the new location, called The Meditation Place, we performed a lhasang (smoke offering) and read the "Letter of the Morning Sun" to our community. We have been meeting in the new space since then. We also hosted a potluck dinner in our new space for the Saturday evening of the September Lineage Festival.
Further encouraged by the "Letter of the Morning Sun", last spring we surveyed our members to determine our future course. This resulted in the formation of three focus groups, one for practice and education, one for health and well-being, and one for communications. We invited members of the community to join these focus groups.
After the focus groups met independently several times, we realized that there was substantial overlap among the three groups. Starting early this summer, the members of the focus groups began meeting with the steering committee; this larger group evolved into the present leadership.
Up to that time we had simply been the Longmont Delek. However, the leadership group realized that we were really bigger than a delek. At Janet Solyntjes' suggestion, we decided to investigate the possibility of becoming a Shambhala Meditation Group.
Building on the work of the focus groups, the leadership developed a "view-to-action" plan which was presented at a special program at The Meditation Place with Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown in October. Acharya Simmer-Brown spoke about the background for the Sakyong's 2020 vision, after which we rolled out our "view-to-action" plan to the members of our group. The plan was well received by those present, so we are continuing to work on implementing that plan. As you might guess, becoming a Shambhala Meditation Group was one of the actions included in our plan.
In September, Anna Weinstein from Shambhala International was contacted about the possibility of us becoming a Shambhala Meditation Group. She sent us information on the requirements, one of which is having a Coordinator and Council. In early November, Mr. Lyford was chosen to be the coordinator for our group. His first duty as the coordinator was to complete the application process so that we could become a Shambhala Meditation Group. The application was submitted on November 18th, and official confirmation was received on Monday, December 12.
We have a temporary website at http://mistnow.org, where our "view-to-action" plan can be found, along with much more information about the Longmont Shambhala Meditation Group.
Although our name has changed, the Thursday evening sittings and the Sunday morning nyinthuns will continue as they have been over the past year. We will be adding new programs to our calendar over time.
Yours in the vision of the GES,
Bill Lyford
Coordinator of the Longmont Shambhala Meditation Group
Some Interesting 2012 News
The Longmont Shambhala Meditation Group was part of Wake Up! in the Park, July 28th 2012.
Read more about it here.