This week we explore our third community of Surat. Less to say, we are in total awe with the way this community functions against all odds, creating a sense of self by dissolving the self. ‘Awakin gatherings’ are a grassroots expression of spirituality, service, and gratitude. It started in a simple living room, proposes no particular teaching or preaching, and attracts a unique combination of people every week. Our general format is an hour of silent meditation, followed by another hour of sharing thoughts, and then a vegetarian meal together.
How do people join the community? Awakin circles are more magical than logical. Every Thursday’s the host family leaves the door to their house open for anyone and everyone to come and share the space. Who has come or with whose reference? Why does someone join? Why does someone stay? Why does someone love it? We let the answers be in the space, without really contemplating it. The point is to just experience it. Be there every week and experience the community through listening, through stories. What are some of the rituals that lay the ground for the circle? Awakin gatherings all over the world happen once a week. Usually on Wednesday/Thursday. A driven host family usually hosts these beautiful circles, along with preparing meals for the people attending it. In Surat, we have had almost 200-250 circles in the past 4 years. We start the circle with 1 hour of silence following with a passage of discussion. Following that we have dinner together. Sometimes we eat dessert we don’t know who brought. Sometimes an anonymous sweet box is delivered. In many parts of the world, people also indulge in silent dinners to mindfully enjoy the meal. What are the roles that members play in the community?
Every member plays a very important role in the circle. They speak for 1-2 minutes and for the next one hour they listen to others pour their heart out. Listening without judging, without instantly shifting to solution or advice mode is valuable to us. How do the individual experiences connect to the community’s overall goals? As such, the only goal of this community is to spread joy and love. We do have some common concepts that drive us all, ‘one small step at a time’, “ripple effect”, “be the change you want to see in the world”, “gratitude”, “go with the flow”, “pay it forward” and we let much more emerge. Do the shared experiences speak to a diverse group of members? Although we are people that belong to different countries, different races, different age groups it’s the hearts that connects us together. All coming together to share, listen, and explore the within. How can the community tell the stories of its members and events and what value does it create? We are a bunch of story lovers you can. When we hear an inspiring story, we infect others with that story to keep the chain of inspiration going. In our community, we call this ‘Pay it forward’. Where does the community meet regularly - physically or digitally? We meet physically every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. but nowadays due to the lockdown we have shifted our meets to zoom meetings.
You can learn more about Awakincircles at https://www.awakin.org Awakin.org is about deepening our self-awareness, in a community of kindred spirits. By changing ourselves, we change the world.
Over the next few weeks, we will reach out to more such communities of the city and try and understand different aspects of their respective communities. Are there any communities you think would be an interesting feature of our blog series? Let us know.