My Dharma Initiative

Tomorrow morning, I’m going to the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, in Woodacred, California, to join with over a hundred people from around the world who are embarking on a two-year “Community Dharma Leader Training.” (Having watched the late great TV show “Lost” with my daughter, I can’t help but think of it as the “Dharma Initiative.”)  Sometimes, I think of it as volunteering for an impossible task–training to help create an awakened society.   But at other times, I feel there is nothing more obvious or practical for me to do.  It feels like it’s time–past time–to step out of the circle of Parabola, the circle of ideas, and get engaged.  I want to learn what others care about.  There will be people in this program who are fighting AIDS in South Africa, others trying to bring peace into the prisons.  What great themes and practices and insights sustain and interest them?  What is needed now?  I also wanted to dare to live according to what I think of as “awakened values” — to find out how I might help bring a little peace and sanity to this suffering world.   I was very touched by Roger Lipsey’s article on the extraordinary inner life of the great peacemaker Dag Hammarskjold in the current “Desire” issue of Parabola.  It strikes me more and more powerfully, that life needs each of us, the world needs us.  We are meant to contribute as we can, to contribute the little bit of truth or insight or understanding we may have to the world.  We come to know our true natures and possibilities only by giving ourselves away, testing ourselves against the forces of the world.  What is inside must shine out and what is outside must be taken in (and even maybe break our hearts) and finally maybe no inside and no outside, just one life.   For now, maybe it’s enough to say that the world is on fire and I am volunteering to be trained to be one more pair of hands on the bucket brigade.   To do otherwise just seems like a horrible way to grow old.

18 thoughts on “My Dharma Initiative

  1. Tracy, this sounds like a wonderful trip and it’s always good to answer the call to serve others. There is a kenosis in that too.

    I’m guessing that you will be doing this for two years, but as something extra in your life.

    Your not leaving your day job are you? Would we miss you and your gifted insights if that were the case. I hope not.

    Peace – Ron

    1. Thank you, Art, Ron, Scott, and Nick, for your good wishes.

      Ron, I’m not leaving Parabola. I will not be gone for two years–mostly I will do my “training” here in NY. I’m just very eager to learn what themes and ideas other people and other groups find important, even pressing–how Parabola might better serve.

      Scott, I will be thinking of what Liselle Reymond and Dag Hammarskjold others said about living within in the thick of it. But also about what Nick said about speaking with the Sufi men about light–about having an encounter and exchange you couldn’t have predicted.

      Who know what will happen? It just feels important to put myself in the path of the unexpected, to be in a larger context, listening, taking in impressions.

      I’ll report back very soon!

      Peace and much appreciation,


  2. tracy,
    you are embarking on a new kind of adventure for you, i think.
    it’s a noble intention and i hope you either find something of real value or bring the values you have developed to them.

    stay aloof at first. remember what liselle reymond said when she talked about ‘prakriti’ in “to live within”.

    i can hardly wait to hear your first reports on the experience.

    1. Thank you, Scott–and Nick, for your good wishes. I will be thinking of what Liselle Reymond and others said. And also Scott, about what you said about speaking with the Sufi men about light–about having an encounter and exchange you couldn’t have predicted.

      Who know what will happen? I’ll report back.

  3. That’s exciting news Tracy!! I love your explanation of why you’re undertaking this training. I’ve been wanting to say “hello” to you for awhile and no longer have your email address. I came across your blog 2 weeks ago so here I am. Do you remember me from the IMS Family Retreat? How’s your daughter? I send you my best wishes. Will you continue with the blog?

    Sending you metta,


  4. go well, tracy. all those i know who have undertaken the community dharma leader training love the program and benefit from it enormously. and they bring those gifts back to community. please remember, too, that your writing and editing are also great contributions to awakening.

    with metta,

  5. I would like to add my well wishes to you as you follow this new path. I look forward to any and all missives from your new location (even if it isn’t a new physical location).

  6. WoW, Tracy! wonderful & exciting. I hope we catch up soon. You certainly are getting into the mix…how you can sort it all out & move forward. wishing you the best awakening & the opportunity to be of service, Ellen Ruth Topol

  7. Thank you for posting. I have been reading one article at a time at the library in this Desire edition of Parabola. What strikes me, and always has, and is magnified in all of the readings is that in order to lust after peace and correcting suffering, one must in fact increase it. How could one covet an object of desire if there were simply nothing to do, because that object vanished? Can humans indeed learn from what God has shared and made available to us? Simply alone, Being.

    Have a nice trip!

  8. Fast, on a rough road ridin
    High, through the mountains climbing
    twisting, turning further from my home.
    Young, like a new moon rising
    Fierce, through the rain and lightning
    Wanderin out into this great unknown.

    And I don’t want no one to cry, but tell em’
    If I don’t survive ………

    I was Born Free!
    I was borrrrrrn free
    I was born free, Born Free.

    Free, like a river raging
    Strong, if the wind I’m facing.
    Chasing dreams and racing father time.
    Deep like the grandest canyon,
    Wild like an untamed stallion.
    If you can’t see my heart you must be blind.

    You can knock me down and watch me bleed
    But you can’t keep no chains on me.

    I was Born Free!
    I was borrrrrrn free
    I was born free, Born Free.

    And I’m not good at long goodbyes but look down
    Deep into my eyes.

    I was born free!
    oh oh yeah
    Heyy yayaaa yaayayaaa.
    oooooh hooo…

    Calm facing danger
    Lost, like an unknown stranger
    Grateful for my time with no regrets.

    Close to my destination
    Tired, frail and aching
    Waitin patiently for the sun to set.

    And when its done believe that I will yell it from that mountain


    I was Born Free!
    I was borrrrrrn free
    I was born free, Born Free.

    And I will vow to the shining seas and celebrate God’s Grace on


    I was Born Free!
    I was borrrrrrn free
    I was born free, Born Free.

    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh
    Oh, ohh ohh ohh

    I was born free.

    1. Thanks! It was actually kind of like this for me inside! I even climbed a mountain pretty much every morning…and that was often the best part of the day.

  9. Thanks Tracy. You’re kind. I thought you would delete the posting as being inappropriate. This video for me is about the inner search, the difficulties and moments and possibilities of freedom and being reborn. Kid Rock sings it with such heart and feeling that even though seemingly it is about democratic freedom, because of the flags, I think he instinctively knows and manifests something else entirely.

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